ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Pakistani forces clash with NATO troops

Pakistani forces clash with NATO troops
Mon, 15 Sep 2008 16:08:32 GMT

Pakistani security forces have repulsed a ground attack by the NATO troops at Pakistan-Afghanistan border in South Waziristan, sources say.

Local officials and tribal elders told reporters that the fight between Pakistani forces and the NATO troops started late on Sunday at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border village Angoor Adda and continued for four hours but caused no casualties.

The tribesmen along with the security forces responded to the NATO attack and their fire power prevented the foreign forces from entering Pakistan territory to hunt for the wanted militants.

As the fighting erupted, the authorities sealed the Pak-Afghan border and the local residents fled the area for safety.

Also, earlier on Monday, some US drones violated the Pakistani airspace but after facing Pak fighter jets’ fire, fled the area.

In September, more than 17 civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike in the same region, Angoor Adda.

Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani vowed to defend the country “at all costs” and the local tribesmen also promised they would counter any US attack inside Pakistan territory.

The tribal areas especially Waziristan region have recently witnessed a string of missile attacks launched from suspected US drones.

The Pentagon Legacy of the MBA President

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, The Pentagon Legacy

of the MBA President

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Part two of Frida Berrigan's three-part series on the expansion of the Pentagon is just the sort of post -- a major story of the Bush era -- that you can only get at this site. The expansion and privatization of the Pentagon should, of course, be the subject of front-page pieces in newspapers across the country as the dark legacy of the Bush presidency begins to be considered. In the light of just this sort of work from TomDispatch, let me mention a new feature at the site. If you look to your right while at the main screen, you'll see a clickable button ("Resist Empire. Support TomDispatch.") that leads you to a secure page where, if you wish, you can give modest $$ to help this site fund projects like Berrigan's and do outreach work of various kinds. I've always enjoyed the "freeness" of TomDispatch, but readers, from time to time, have sent in contributions anyway. Now, this added feature makes it easier, if you are so disposed, to do so and, believe me, I'll be grateful. We'll use whatever you send our way to improve the site. (Just make sure you never send in even a dollar that you need!) And, by the way, click over to Book TV on C-SPAN2, if you want to catch an appearance I made with Michael Schwartz for the new book, The World According to TomDispatch.]

Having laid out the staggering expansion of a budget-busting Pentagon — as diplomat, arms dealer, spy, intelligence analyst, domestic disaster manager, humanitarian caregiver, nation-builder, and global viceroy — in part one of her series on the Bush military legacy, Frida Berrigan, arms expert at the New America Foundation, turns to the issue of privatization. In these last seven years, the Pentagon’s key role as war fighter has increasingly become a privatized operation. In Iraq, for instance, a Congressional Budget Office report in August revealed that the U.S. has already spent at least $100 billion on private contractors. (Pentagon auditing has, however, been so bad that that’s considered a low-ball figure.)

Approximately one out of every five war dollars spent on the war went private. That’s not so surprising, as James Risen of the New York Times reported, since private contractors now outnumber the 146,000 U.S. troops in that country. At 180,000, they represent, as Risen writes, “a second, private army, larger than the United States military force, and one whose roles and missions and even casualties among its work force have largely been hidden from public view.”

Moreover, as modest drawdowns of U.S. troops occur, American taxpayer dollars going to private contractors in Iraq, especially private security contractors, are actually on the rise. Part of the charm of privatizing war, of course, is that you can also privatize information about it, so we really have little idea just how many armed, Blackwater-style mercenaries there are in that country (though the number may rise into the tens of thousands). No less curious, amid all the talk of drawdowns and withdrawals, you seldom see any serious discussion of those hired guns in the mainstream. When withdrawal does come, who withdraws them? Who decides that? Who knows?

In the meantime, let Frida Berrigan take you past the obvious Blackwater issues and into the deeper quagmire of the massive privatization of the American military. It’s an issue whose time should long ago have arrived, but don’t hold your breath till the media discussion and debate begins. Tom

Military Industrial Complex 2.0

Cubicle Mercenaries, Subcontracting Warriors, and Other Phenomena of a Privatizing Pentagon
By Frida Berrigan

Seven years into George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror, the Pentagon is embroiled in two big wars, a potentially explosive war of words with Tehran, and numerous smaller conflicts – and it is leaning ever more heavily on private military contractors to get by.

Read More >>

Crashed jet carrying cocaine linked to CIA

Crashed jet carrying cocaine linked to CIA

By Jeremy R. Hammond
Online Journal Contributing Writer


Sep 15, 2008, 00:24

A private jet that crashed last year in eastern Mexico and was found to be carrying more than 3 tons of cocaine was also used by the Central Intelligence Agency for clandestine operations, the Mexican daily El Universal reported September 3.

The newspaper cited documents from the United States and the European Parliament which “show that that plane flew several times to Guantanamo, Cuba, presumably to transfer terrorism suspects.” It said the European Parliament was investigating the jet for its possible use in “extraordinary rendition” flights, whereby prisoners are covertly transferred by the U.S. to a third country.

In June 2006, the British Department for Transport website published flight data on US aircraft into or out of the UK. According to the site, “This data had previously been released by Eurocontrol to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to assist with its enquiry into allegations of ‘extraordinary rendition’ flights operating in Europe.” The jet that crashed in Mexico, with registration number N987SA, is listed in the data report.

According to El Universal, FAA records show that the jet flew to Guantanamo on May 30, 2003. From June 23 to July 14, the jet flew from New York to Iceland, France, Italy, and Ireland. From July 16 to 20, it flew from the U.S. to Canada, the UK, Ireland, the UK, Canada, and back to the U.S. again. From April 7 to 12, 2004, it went from New York to Canada, the UK, Canada, and again to the U.S. The jet then flew to Guantanamo again. On April 21, it flew from the U.S. to Canada, France, the UK, Canada, and back to the U.S. It left the U.S. for Guantanamo once more on January 21, 2005.

The jet crashed on September 24, 2007. According to an Aviation Safety Network description of the accident, the Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159 Gulfstream II jet with registration N987SA crashed near Tixkokob in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. ASN describes it as an “Illegal Flight” and reports that “When being chased by Mexican military helicopters, the crew carried out a crash-landing. No bodies were found in the wreckage, but soldiers found 132 bags containing about 3.6 tons (3.3. metric tons) of cocaine.”

An initial Reuters report on the crash noted, “Drug planes packed with South American cocaine — often with passenger seats ripped out to make space — frequently fly through Mexico and Central America en route for the United States. Some unload their cargo at clandestine airstrips south of the border where traffickers send it on by road or sea.”

El Universal, in its initial report on the crash in 2007, stated that the cocaine was in 132 bags and noted the registration number of the wrecked plane.

McClatchy Newspapers observed a few days after the crash that “news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorist suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington, D.C., and Guantanamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantanamo.”

In November of last year, reporters from the Tampa Tribune followed up on the international investigation that resulted after the Gulfstream II crash. An expert on the drug trade from the University of Miami told the reporters that cocaine is being moved by air through Florida more frequently, as an alternative to being brought into the U.S. in the southwest.

The Gulfstream II jet was one of two planes being used by the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel, also known as the Pacific Cartel, to carry cocaine. The other jet, a DC-9, had been seized and was found to be carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine. Both aircraft were purchased by the cartel from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The DC-9 with tail number N00SA, was seized on April 11, 2006, carrying an amount of cocaine valued at an estimated $82.5 million, according to Airport-Dat.com. Reportedly sold in March, the jet was scheduled to depart for Simon Bolivar International airport in Venezuela on April 5. FAA records show that at the time of the seizure, it was still registered to Royal Sons Inc., which operates out of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. It was deregistered two days after the seizure and listed as exported to Venezuela.

At the time of the crash, the Gulfstream II was registered to Donna Blue Aircraft Inc., owned by Joao Luiz Malago and Eduardo Dias Guimaraes, who had reportedly purchased the jet in July and then sold it to two Florida men on September 16, 2007. Two days later, the jet left Fort Lauderdale for Cancun. Then, according to Mexican authorities, it flew to Columbia to pick up the cocaine and was en route to deliver the drugs when it came to the attention of the military and crashed in the resulting chase.

Some have speculated that Donna Blue Aircraft may have been a front company. The Florida Department of State Division of Corporations lists the “Date Filed” for the company as March 29, 2007. And from June 1, it was listed at an address in Coconut Creek, Florida. Then, on June 18, 2008, the company name was changed to North Atlantic Aircraft Services, Corp., listed at the same address, but with Malago as the sole owner.

Journalist Daniel Hopsicker visited the Coconut Creek location and found no sign that such a business existed there. Hopsicker wrote, “Moreover the brief description of Donna Blue on its Internet page, apparently designed to ‘flesh out the ghost a little,’ is such a clumsy half-hearted effort that it defeats the purpose of helping aid the construction of a plausible ‘legend,’ or cover, and ends up doing more harm than good . . . For example, the website features a quote from a satisfied Donna Blue Aircraft customer. Unfortunately his name is ‘John Doe.’ And the listed phone number is right out of the movies: 415.555-5555.”

The company’s website (now offline) stated only, “we are in this business over 20 years, attending South, North and Central america, with outstanding service, we are today most trusted company in this market. our customer loyality make us different” [sic]. According to Whois, the site was created on August 20, 2007, a month after the Gulfstream II was reportedly bought by the company and less than a month before it crashed carrying the cocaine. Once uploaded, the site was apparently never updated and seems to have gone offline sometime after February 2008. According to the site description still available on Alexa, the company opened in 1995 despite the fact, as noted above, that the date the company was filed with the Florida Department of State was in March 2007.

Malago sold the jet to Clyde O’Connor. The name of Gregory D. Smith also appeared as a co-signer on the bill of sale.

A reporter from the Broward-Palm Beach New Times contacted Gregory D. Smith of Global Jet Solutions. When asked about the plane crash, Smith replied, “I’m not allowed to discuss that — I’m sorry,” and hung up. Contacted a second time, he said, “I’m not going to divulge anything.”

O’Connor had once written a letter to the editor in response to an article on the death of a police officer saying that “one less cop is not a bad thing.” He was convicted in 2001 for criminal air safety violations. In October 2007, he was detained by Canadian officials after they searched a Cessna 210 he had flown to Nova Scotia and found two Derringer pistols he had failed to report.

Reporters from McClatchy Newspapers attempted to reach O’Connor at one of his companies, Execstar Aviation in Fort Lauderdale, but the number had been disconnected. “Adding to the plane’s mystery,” their article noted, “are allegations that it made trips in 2003, 2004 and 2005 between the United States and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. detention center for suspected terrorists is located.”

Baruch Vega, a Columbian who has worked with the FBI, DEA, and CIA in law enforcement operations told Narco News that one of the main pilots used in operations for flights between Florida and South America was named Greg Smith.

Vega said, “Well originally . . . I met Greg Smith . . . we needed a pilot, a very trustful pilot, someone we could trust to bring in the [Colombian] drug traffickers to surrender. Then the members of the FBI recommended to get in contact with this guy [Smith] because he was very close to them. Ever since we flew only with him. Everything was with him. . . . I never asked anything [about Smith’s background]. But he [Smith] brought a couple of pilots because we always have two pilots in the plane. He occasionally brought pilots from the US Customs. I tell you one thing. We flew with Greg Smith easily 25 to 30 times. All [the] operations [were] between the end of 1997 to 2000.”

He added that there were “DEA agents in the plane and of course drug traffickers who were coming to surrender with attorneys.” He also said the name of the company from which the aircraft were chartered was Aero Group Jets. A court document confirms one instance in which the CIA had worked with the DEA to bring a fugitive Colombian drug trafficker, one Mr. Cristancho, to Florida by means of an aircraft rented from Aero Group Jets.

According to Narco News, “A check of the public records available through Florida’s Department of State lists the registered agent/officer of that now inactive company as Gregory D. Smith.”

When contacted by Narco News, the Gregory Smith identified in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times story denied that he was the same Greg Smith as the one whose signature appeared as co-signer on the bill of sale of the Gulfstream II. He said his middle initial is “J’ and that he had been wrongly identified.

Narco News obtained a copy of a 2007 document with the signature of Gregory Smith from Global Jet Solutions and compared it with the signature Gregory D. Smith in a 1998 annual report from Aero Group Jets filed with the state of Florida. The signatures “appear to be different,” Narco News concluded. They do indeed appear to be different signatures, but the fact that the two samples are nine years apart also must be taken into consideration, as a person’s signature may evolve over time.

In a follow up report, Narco News tracked down Malago, who denied that he operated a front company. “Some people told on Internet,” he said, “that my company is a CIA cover office and that bring me a lot of problems. First this is not true and you can imagine if this people came to talk with me. I have family and don’t want any more problems there.”

Malago also agreed to share a copy of the bill of sale of the Gulfstream II jet with Narco News, which reported, “In comparing the two signatures, there are some differences, such as one is signed as Gregory D. while the other is signed simply as Greg, with no middle initial. However there are some striking similarities as well, including the fact that some of the letters appear to be penned in precisely the same way.”

Mike Levine, a former undercover DEA agent who has worked as an expert witness in court cases, told Narco News, “I did much of this handwriting comparison work, without using an expert, but my opinion was accepted before grand juries as having a significant amount of work experience in comparing handwritings (IRS, BATF, Customs and DEA). I would say the samples you sent me are definitely the same handwriting.”

Although inconclusive, there is compelling evidence that the Gregory Smith who cosigned with O’Connor for the purchase of the Gulfstream II from Malago was indeed the same Gregory Smith who was involved in piloting flights for CIA and DEA operations out of Florida.

The recent article from El Universal noted that the Gulfstream II jet had also been previously owned by AGI Holdings Corp., which sold it to S/A Holdings LLC, a company for which, the paper says, there is virtually no information.

The use of front companies by the CIA to provide cover for its operations is well known and documented.

In December 2005, the Toronto Star ran a story on CIA “ghost flights.” It noted that a plane with registration N196D was registered with the FAA under Devon Holding and Leasing, Inc. — but that no such company existed.

“There is no Devon Holding and Leasing Inc. at 129 W. Center St. in Lexington, N.C. There is no phone listing. The city offices have never heard of it; neither has the Chamber of Commerce. The law offices of James A. Gleason are at 129 W. Center St., but five days of inquiries there failed to yield an answer to this simple question: Does anyone in this office know of a company called Devon Holding and Leasing? It is almost certainly a CIA shell company, existing on paper only, and the turboprop was likely carrying a ‘ghost’ prisoner to a country where torture is used during interrogations.”

Devon Holding and Leasing was being investigated by the European Parliament for its possible role in the CIA’s rendition program, and was named by investigators as a CIA “shell company.”

In one documented case of extraordinary rendition, the Toronto Star story continues, the CIA flew Maher Arar, who is from Ottawa, from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Syria, where he was tortured as a suspected terrorist. In another case, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr was abducted from the streets of Milan and taken to Egypt, where he was tortured. Saad iqbal Madni was similarly taken from Jakarta and flown to Cairo, where he was held for two years before being delivered to Guantanamo Bay. He claims he was tortured in Egypt.

On the use of front companies by the CIA: “It’s careless tradecraft,” says John Pike, an expert on U.S. intelligence matters at GlobalSecurity.org. “They [the CIA] have allowed the tail-spotters into the game and they have not come to grips with the advent of the Internet, and not come to grips with the massive parallel processing which is underway with all those tail-spotters.” The planes are supposed to be registered with legitimate companies, so they just blend in and can’t be traced to the CIA, Pike says. “These are not real companies. They should be using good-looking companies which arouse no suspicion at all.”

The New York Times ran a story in 2005 stating that Aero Contractors Ltd. was a CIA front company. “When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country,” the Times report said, “an Aero Contractors plane often does the job. If agency experts need to fly overseas in a hurry after the capture of a prized prisoner, a plane will depart Johnston County and stop at Dulles Airport outside Washington to pick up the C.I.A. team on the way.”

The Times also stated, “The company was founded in 1979 by a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency’s Vietnam-era air company” and that “Aero appears to be the direct descendant of Air America.”

The article in the Times declined to note, however, the CIA’s well-documented role in heroin trafficking through Air America in Southeast Asia during the war in Vietnam.

Adding to the intrigue, in December 2007, Narco News reported that according to DEA officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the crashed Gulfstream II jet “was part of an operation being carried out by a Department of Homeland Security agency” codenamed “Mayan Express.” The effort was “spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the sources claim.”

The report continues: “The operation also appears to be badly flawed, the sources say, because it is being carried out unilaterally, (Rambo-style), by ICE and without the knowledge of the Mexican government — at least it was up until the point of the coke-packed Gulfstream jet’s abrupt impact with the Earth.

“’This is a case of ICE running amok,’ one DEA source told Narco News. ‘If this [operation] was being run by the book, they would not be doing it unilaterally,’ — without the participation of the DEA — ‘and without the knowledge of the Mexican government.’”

The DEA confirmed to Narco News that it was handling the investigation into the crash. The pilots were apprehended after their initial escape from the crash site and apparently “spilled the beans on the ICE operation during their interrogation by Mexican authorities, DEA sources tell Narco News.”

“One proposition that all of the law enforcers who spoke with Narco News agreed on with respect to the Mayan Express is that even if DEA was precluded from participating in the effort, the CIA almost certainly was involved on some level.”

Narco News also noted that a report from a British government agency listed the Gulfstream II jet as one “European investigators were interested in obtaining more information about in relation to a probe into CIA rendition flights” and added that other sources also suggested that “Mayan Express” might have been a CIA operation using ICE for cover.

Narco News reported again in 2008 on yet another plane that was apparently involved in a drug trafficking operation. On November 26, 2004, a twin-prop Beechcraft King Air 200 landed and was abandoned on a makeshift runway in a cotton field in Nicaragua. Traces of cocaine were found in the plane. The cocaine had apparently been loaded onto a truck. Several days after the plane was abandoned, law enforcement officials arrested the occupants of a truck carrying 1,100 kilos of cocaine.

The abandoned aircraft’s tail number was N168D, registered to none other than Devon Holding and Leasing Inc., the same company used as a front by the CIA for its extraordinary renditions operations, as noted previously.

Then the story of that plane gets even more convoluted, as FAA records show that the plane registered under Devon Holding and Leasing Inc. with tail number N168D actually belongs to a different kind of plane, model CN-235-300. The Beech 200’s actual tail number is N391SA, registered with the FAA under Sky Way Aircraft Inc.

Sky Way Aircraft Inc. can also be linked to Royal Sons Inc., which, as noted above, was still the registered owner of the DC-9 that was seized carrying more than 5 tons of cocaine. The parent company of Sky Way Aircraft was Skyway Communications Holding Corp., which had originally arranged to purchase the DC-9 that was ultimately registered with Royal Sons Inc. The president of Royal Sons, Frederick J. Geffon, was also a shareholder in Skyway Communications. In addition, the two companies had at one time jointly filed for a loan to purchase another DC-9, tail number N120NE. The CEO of Skyway Communications, James Kent, had also served under contract with the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the Department of the Navy.

Like the DC-9, the Beech 200 was sold to a buyer in Venezuela in October 2004, about one month before it was abandoned in the cotton field and linked by authorities to cocaine trafficking.

The Beech 200 may have been a part of the Mayan Express operation. According to Narco News, “Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with U.S. Customs, ICE’s predecessor agency, speculates that the Mayan Express operation is not controlled by ICE at all, but is, in fact, a CIA-run operation using ICE as a cover. He adds that the CIA has agents operating inside many federal law enforcement agencies utilizing what is known as an ‘official cover.’”

A former ICE agent also told Narco News he suspected the CIA was behind the drug plane operations.

There is no shortage of precedents for alleged CIA involvement in drug trafficking.

Alfred W. McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, first published in 1972, documented CIA complicity in drug trafficking such as its involvement in the opium and heroin trade in southeast Asia.

Journalist Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance series is a well known investigation into allegations of the CIA’s involvement in the Los Angeles crack epidemic in the 1980s to help finance the Contras in the terrorist war to overthrow the elected government of Nicaragua.

Michael Ruppert, former narcotics officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, famously confronted CIA director John Deutch at a televised conference with information on specific CIA operations, which he cited by name and said he had documentation on, and said the CIA had been dealing drugs in L.A. for a long time.

And there is evidence that the CIA flew drugs into Mena, Arkansas during Bill Clinton’s governorship, in its operations to finance the Contras.

In 1993, CBS 60 Minutes broadcast The CIA’s Cocaine. The former head of the DEA, Judge Robert Bonner, told correspondent Mike Wallace that the CIA had an unauthorized operation to bring drugs into the U.S. “If this has not been approved by DEA or an appropriate law-enforcement authority in the United States,” Bonner said, “then it’s illegal. It’s called drug trafficking.”

Bonner, asked to rationalize the operation, suggested that it might “lead to some valuable drug intelligence about the Colombian cartels.”

A DEA agent interviewed for the show said that she had been told by the CIA officer in charge of the CIA station in Caracas, Venezuela, that they had to keep the cartel happy by delivering their cocaine to their dealers in the U.S. “The CIA and the Guardia Nacional,” she explained, “wanted to let cocaine go on into the traffic without doing anything. They wanted to let it come up to the United States, no surveillance, no nothing.”

The CIA had gone to the DEA with its proposal, which was rejected. “They made this proposal,” said Bonner, “and we said, ‘No, no way. We will not permit this. It should not go forward.’ And then, apparently, it went forward anyway.”

Senator Dennis DeConcini of the Senate Intellience Committee also told Wallace, “It was an operation that I don’t think they should’ve been involved in. . . . I don’t doubt that the drugs got in here.” He called the operation “a mistake.”

Morley Safer closed the piece by saying, “And what happened to the tens of millions that were paid for the CIA’s cocaine? Well, General Guillen insists he didn’t get any of it. But Judge Bonner says one thing is certain, the Colombian cartel did. They got their money once the dope made it to our streets.”

Senator and 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry told NBC’s Dateline that the CIA was complicit in the flow of drugs into the U.S. His Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations found that “it is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking” and that this activity did not go unnoticed by the government agencies.

Kerry also headed up a Senate investigation into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) that documented the CIA’s involvement in the bank, which was a criminal front for money launderers, drug traffickers, arms dealers, and even nuclear proliferators.

The government went into damage control. In 1997, the Department of Justice issued a report addressing the allegations of CIA involvement in drug trafficking, and the CIA released its own report the following year.

The full story behind the crashed Gulfstream II jet and the other planes that were found to have been involved in drug trafficking is far from known. But the facts that have surfaced to date strongly indicate CIA involvement of one kind or another. The agency’s fingerprints, one might reasonably say, are all over this one.

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent researcher and writer whose articles have appeared on numerous alternative news websites. He maintains a website, www.yirmeyahureview.com, dedicated to critical analysis of U.S. foreign policy, particularly with regard to the U.S. “war on terrorism” and the Middle East. He currently resides with his wife in Taiwan. You may contact him at jeremy@yirmeyahureview.com.

Latin America uniting against neocons of Washington

Latin America uniting against neocons of Washington


By Wayne Madsen

(WMR) — Antipathy and disgust for the Bush administration and its neocon ideological ilk, including the key players and advisers in the John McCain campaign, have long taken root in the Middle East and South Asia. Names like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, and Ledeen are held in utmost contempt throughout the Middle East and Muslim worlds.

The same kind of hatred for the United States and its neocon Latin American policy is now sweeping through South and Central America. In Latin America, it is individuals with names like Goldberg, Levey, Shapiro, Mukasey, Berman, Brownfield, and Shannon who have rankled Latin American nerves by their meddlesome actions in not only grossly interfering in the domestic affairs of Latin American nations, including fomenting insurrection and acts of terrorism, but designating certain Latin American leaders and officials as aiding in drug trafficking and terrorism.

The lack of non-Cuban exile Hispanic surnames involved in crafting the U.S.’s Latin American policy is astounding considering the percentage of Hispanics in the United States.

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon told Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-CA) House Foreign Affairs Committee in July that “several” Venezuelans were providing support to Hezbollah, a rather bizarre mixing of Middle East and Latin American neocon policies in an obvious effort to please Berman, one of Israel’s most ardent supporters in the U.S. Congress.

From Bolivia to Venezuela and Honduras to Argentina, Latin American governments are standing firm against the interference by the American administration, which has done everything possible to stoke the flames of insurrection and secession in energy-rich areas of Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who faces CIA and U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)-sponsored right-wing rebellions in the energy-rich provinces of Santa Cruz, Pando, Tarija, and Beni, expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg for interfering in Bolivia’s domestic affairs and supporting the right-wing rebels.

The State Department’s spokesman Sean McCormack, whose snottiness is unprecedented for a spokesperson for America’s seat of foreign diplomacy, responded by expelling Bolivia’s ambassador. McCormack had earlier joked that Russia could send warships to Venezuela if it could find any that could make it that far.

In a side quarrel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly upbraided British neocon and pro-Israeli Foreign Secretary David Miliband by stating “who are you to fucking lecture me?”

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, in solidarity with Morales and reacting to yet another CIA-planned coup against him, after an April 2002 coup organized by then-U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro failed, ordered U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy to leave Venezuela. The State Department responded by expelling Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington.

In an act coordinated between Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), headed by Adam Szubin, the assets of two current and one former Venezuelan officials were frozen after accusations that they aided and abetted drug smuggling and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is attempting to oust U.S. narco-fascist from power in Colombia.

Levey and Szubin named Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, the director of Venezuela’s Military Intelligence Directorate (DGIM); Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, director of Venezuela’s Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP); and Ramon Emilio Rodriguez Chacin, the recently-departed minister of Interior and Justice, in the freeze order. The three were named by the Bush regime after DGIM and DISIP uncovered a plot by CIA-based retired Venezuelan military officers to seize the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas and blow up Chavez’s presidential aircraft, killing Chavez and his aides. The coup organization was identified as the “2-D Movement” or the “December 2 Movement.”

A spokesperson for the Venezuelan National Assembly described the plotters as some of the same military officers who participated in the CIA-backed 2002 coup against Chavez. The charges by Chavez came as Morales said the United States was behind the explosion of a natural gas pipeline from Bolivia to Brazil. The charges of American involvement in terrorist plans and attacks in Latin America came while Americans were being subjected to a gross use of another anniversary, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to whip up nationalistic fervor.

Chavez also agreed with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that the trial in Miami of Guido Antonini, who is accused of attempting to deliver a suitcase of cash from Venezuela to help the presidential campaign of Kirchner in Argentina, was an attempt to “trash” both he and Kirchner. The Venezuelan and Argentine leaders are both ardent critics of neocons, their international free trade and financial contrivances, and the Bush regime.

The Justice Department of Attorney General Michael Mukasey is using the Miami cash-for-Argentina trial to damage Chavez and his Interior minister, Tarek el-Aissami. El-Aissami’s only crime appears to be that his father was born in Syria, which, of course, for neocons in their myopic and archaic of the world, is tantamount to having a direct link to terrorism.

Argentina has shown solidarity with both Venezuela and Bolivia in their showdowns with the United States. However, disgust with neocon-occupied Washington does not end with Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina. Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo extended his full support to Morales in his confrontation with the right-wing provincial secessionists. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya refused to accept the credentials of the new U.S. ambassador to Tegucigalpa, in solidarity with Morales and Chavez. Zelaya announced solidarity with Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, and Venezuela in their showdowns with the United States.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also supported Bolivia and Venezuela in expelling the American ambassadors and announced that Nicaragua, like Venezuela, was prepared to establish closer military links with Russia. Ortega particularly supported Bolivia sending Goldberg packing, saying the U.S. envoy had interfered in Bolivia’s internal affairs.

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos also charged that Washington was trying to undermine Nicaragua’s government by pressuring international organizations to cancel aid packages to the country. Nicaragua also recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from the U.S.- and Israeli-backed Republic of Georgia.

After El Salvador presidential candidate for the progressive Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), Mauricio Funes, visited Argentina to meet with Kirchner, the neocon media began to claim that Funes was being funded by Chavez of Venezuela. The neocons, bereft of any hard evidence of “plots,” are always apt to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories that take in everyone whom they have targeted in their political sights.

The signs that the Bush regime and the neocons are on a major political offensive in Latin America are also demonstrated by the discovery in Guatemalan Vice President Rafael Espada’s office in Guatemala City of three hidden microphones — one installed in a telephone, one in a calculator, and the third in a reception room. Guatemala’s progressive president, Alvaro Colom, has expressed solidarity with Bolivia and Venezuela. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, who has faced CIA-backed secessionists in the Guayaquil area, also stood in solidarity with Morales and Chavez. Correa has ordered the United States Air Force to vacate a military air base at Manta next year and he accused the United States military of assisting Colombia in cross-border raids into Ecuador. Correa said if any evidence emerged of U.S. diplomats violating Ecuador’s sovereignty, they would also be expelled.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia also backed Morales against the secessionists as did Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez.

Latin America’s political, military, and economic powerhouse, Brazil, also warned against any attempt by secessionists in Bolivia to overthrow Morales. Earlier, Brazil and Argentina announced they were eliminating the U.S. dollar as an international monetary exchange medium. Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s foreign policy adviser, Marco Aurelio Garcia, told UPI that Brazil would oppose any rival or unconstitutional government in Bolivia. There are reports that U.S. “paramilitaries” are active in fomenting unrest in both Bolivia and Venezuela.

Washington has also revived the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet, to be based in Jacksonville, Florida, a move that Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia claim is a return to U.S. “gunboat diplomacy.”

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2008 WayneMadenReport.com

Shock waves hit Wall St. as 2 big firms fall

TIME TO CASH-IN YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES!!!

FIRST BANKS AND INVESTMENT, NOW INSURANCE

FIRMS ARE FOLDING

Shock waves hit Wall St. as 2 big firms fall

40 minutes ago

NEW YORK – In a stunning reshaping of America’s financial landscape, two venerable Wall Street firms fell from the shock waves of a credit crisis that has plunged the financial system into turmoil, as stocks tumbled across the globe Monday in response.

Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old bank burdened by $60 billion in soured real-estate holdings, filed for federal bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after attempts to rescue firm failed. Bank of America Corp. said it is snapping up Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in a $50 billion all-stock transaction.

Stock markets fell precipitously and Treasury bond prices soared as investors reacted to some of the most dramatic economic news in modern U.S. history. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 300 points, though the market’s initial losses were not as steep as some investors had feared.

The developments took place as U.S. voters, who rank the economy as their top concern, prepare to elect a new president in seven weeks. Presidential candidates John McCain, a Republican, and Democrat Barack Obama, immediately called for stricter financial regulation.

Obama called the news “the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression” of the 1930s.

President George W. Bush meanwhile signaled that the government would not continued to bail out Wall Street, saying only that “we are working to reduce disruptions and minimize the impact of these financial market developments on the broader economy.”

“The policymakers will focus on the health of the financial system as a whole,” Bush said during the White House appearance with visiting Ghanian President John Kufuor.

The demise of the independent Wall Street institutions comes six months after the collapse of Bear Stearns and 14 months after the beginning of the credit crisis, sparked by bad mortgage finance and real estate investments.

Ominously, American International Group Inc., the world’s largest insurance company, was asking the Federal Reserve for emergency funding and planned to announce a major restructuring Monday

A global consortium of banks, working with government officials in New York, announced a $70 billion pool of funds to lend to troubled financial companies. The aim of the bank consortium, according to participants who spoke to The Associated Press, was to prevent a worldwide panic on stock and other financial exchanges.

Ten banks — Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS — each agreed to provide $7 billion “to help enhance liquidity and mitigate the unprecedented volatility and other challenges affecting global equity and debt markets.”

The Federal Reserve also chipped in with more largesse in its emergency lending program for investment banks. The central bank announced late Sunday that it was broadening the types of collateral that financial institutions can use to obtain loans from the Fed.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the discussions had been aimed at identifying “potential market vulnerabilities in the wake of an unwinding of a major financial institution and to consider appropriate official sector and private sector responses.”

Europe’s major central banks also moved quickly to calm markets, pumping billions of euros and pounds into the financial system to shore up confidence.

The European Central Bank said it received 51 bids for 90.3 billion euros ($127 billion) on its one-day tender of 30 billion euros ($42.6 billion) with a bid rate of 4.25 percent, a clear sign that demand for cash is over the top.

Similarly, the Bank of England in London offered 5 billion pounds (nearly $9 billion) in a three-day auction that drew bids for 24.1 billion ($43 billion), or nearly five times the amount that was offered.

The Zurich-based Swiss National Bank said it was also providing liquidity in “a generous and flexible manner” at an overnight rate of 1.9 percent, but wouldn’t say how much was on offer.

Still, the FTSE-100 share index was down 4.07 percent in London, the Paris CAC-40 was off 4.5 percent and Germany’s DAX 30 index of blue chips sagged 3.23 percent.

Asia’s biggest stock exchanges in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for holidays, but India’s Sensex tumbled 3.4 percent, Taiwan’s benchmark index plummeted 4.1 percent and Singapore dropped 3.2 percent.

Samuel Hayes, finance professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, said the Bush administration may get a lot of blame for the situation, which could benefit Obama.

“Just the psychological impact of this kind of failure is going to be significant,” he said. “It will color people’s feelings about their well-being and the integrity of the financial system.”

Lehman Brothers’ announcement that it is filing for bankruptcy came after all potential buyers walked away. They were spooked by the U.S. Treasury’s refusal to provide any takeover aid, as it had done six months ago when Bear Stearns faltered and earlier this month when it seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In an effort to calm the markets, Lehman pre-announced third-quarter results on Wednesday. In an affidavit filed with the bankruptcy court, Lehman Chief Financial Officer Ian Lowitt said that action “did little to quell the rumors in the markets and the concerns about the viability of the company.” He said the uncertainty made it impossible for Lehman to continue.

Employees emerging from Lehman’s headquarters near the heart of Times Square Sunday night carried boxes, tote bags and duffel bags, rolling suitcases, framed artwork and spare umbrellas.

Its businesses in Britain were placed in administration Monday, said the administrator, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and employees carrying boxes and bags were walking out of Lehman’s London offices.

Merrill Lynch, another investment bank laid low by the crisis that was triggered by rising mortgage defaults and plunging home values in the U.S., agreed to be acquired by Bank of America for 0.8595 shares of Bank of America common stock for each Merrill Lynch common share.

That values Merrill at $29 a share, a 70 percent premium over the brokerage’s Friday closing price of $17.05, but well below what Merrill was worth at its peak in early 2007, when its shares traded above $98.

Bank of America has the most deposits of any U.S. bank, while Merrill Lynch is the world’s largest brokerage. A combination of the two would create a global financial giant to rival Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank in terms of assets.

If the deal goes according to plan, Bank of America will be able to offer Merrill’s retail brokerage services to its huge customer base. Where there is duplication, however, the combination of the two companies could result in more layoffs. Both Merrill and Bank of America have already cut thousands of investment banking jobs over the past year.

The deal would not come without risks, however. Merrill Lynch, like many of its Wall Street peers, has been struggling with tight credit markets and billions of dollars in assets tied to mortgages that have plunged in value. Merrill has reported four straight quarterly losses.

Bank of America’s own finances are far from robust. As consumer credit deteriorates, the bank has seen its profits decline, and the company is still in the midst of absorbing the embattled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, which it acquired in January.

Insurer AIG, hit hard by deterioration in the credit markets, said it is reviewing its operations and discussing possible options with outside parties to improve its business after a week when its stock dropped 45 percent amid concerns about the company’s financial underpinnings.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both reported early Monday on their Web sites that the American International Group is seeking an additional $40 billion in emergency funds — possibly from the Federal Reserve — to help it avoid a credit rating downgrade, which would make it more expensive for AIG to raise money. The insurer has already raised $20 billion in fresh capital this year.

AIG was working with New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo and a representative of the governor’s office through the weekend to craft a solution that protects policyholders, according to Dinallo’s spokesman David Neustadt.

“It’s clear we’re one step away from a financial meltdown,” said Nouriel Roubini, chairman of the consulting firm RGE Monitor.

The end of Lehman may not stop the financial crisis that has gripped Wall Street for months, analysts said. More investment banks could disappear soon.

The independent broker-dealers “are going the way of the dodo bird,” said Bert Ely, an Alexandria, Virginia-based banking consultant.

That’s partly because some of the firms, particularly Merrill, made bad bets on real estate. But several analysts said that investment companies will need the deep pockets of commercial banks to survive the next few years.

Roubini said it’s difficult to accurately gauge the health of companies like Merrill because their financial health depends on how they value complex securities. As a result, their finances aren’t very transparent, he said.

That can lead to a loss of confidence in the financial markets, he said, which can overwhelm an investment bank even if it is financially healthy by some measures.

“Once you lose confidence, the fundamentals matter less,” he said.

The common denominator of the financial crisis, analysts said, is the bursting of the housing bubble. Home prices have dropped on average 25 percent so far. Roubini predicted they could drop another 15 percent.

The crisis has begun to slow the broader economy as banks make fewer loans and consumers have begun cutting spending. Many economists are now forecasting that the economy could slip into recession by the end of this year and early next year.

That, in turn, could cause additional losses for commercial banks on credit cards, auto loans and student loans.

The wreckage could prompt the Federal Reserve to do an about face and once again cut a key interest rate this week or possibly later this year. Just a few days ago, a rate cut appeared largely off the table, but now it has emerged as a possibility as the Fed prepares to meet Tuesday.

The International Monetary Fund predicted earlier this year that total losses from the credit crisis could reach almost $1 trillion. So far, banks have only taken about $350 billion in losses.

Decade worth of messages, interviews from bin Laden leaked to web

Decade worth of messages, interviews

from bin Laden leaked to web

Ten years of messages and interviews with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden have been leaked. Translated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the documents were posted on a blog Friday.

Posted to Secrecy News blog on September 12, and copied to similar sites like Wikileaks.org, the ten years of messages span from 1994-2004. The packet, issued in 2004, is nearly 300 pages, and labeled “official use only”. It was translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), a division of the CIA, and includes interviews with bin Laden from various news agencies and also includes messages he sent directly to the United States.

One message includes bin Laden’s denial of having anything to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

“Following the latest explosions in the United States, some Americans are pointing the finger at me, but I deny that because I have not done it. The United States has always accused me of these incidents which have been caused by its enemies. Reiterating once again, I say that I have not done it, and the perpetrators have carried this out because of their own interest,” said bin Laden on September 16, 2001, just five days after the attacks.

Bin Laden also states that he was living in Afghanistan at the time of the attacks and that “I have held talks with His Eminence Amir ol-Momenin [Taleban leader Mola Mohammad Omar Mojahed], who does not allow such acts to be carried out from Afghanistan’s territory.” Again on September 28, 2001 in an interview with Karachi Ummat, bin Laden denies any involvement with the attacks and further denied that al-Qaeda had anything to do with plotting and carrying out the attacks.

The US strategy for Afghanistan won’t work

The US strategy for Afghanistan won’t work

Patrick Cockburn:

“Covert action is frequently a substitute for policy,” was an aphorism first coined by the former director of the CIA Richard Helms. Its truth is exemplified by the decision of President Bush in July to secretly give orders that US special forces will in future carry out raids against ground targets inside Pakistan, without getting the approval of the Pakistani government.

Mr Bush’s order is fraught with peril for the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. In one respect, it is a recognition at long last by Mr Bush that the Taliban and their al-Qa’ida allies could not stay in business without the backing of Pakistan. This is hardly surprising, since it was Pakistani military intelligence which largely created them in the first place.

It was always absurd for the White House and the Pentagon to pour praise on the former Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf as their greater ally against terrorism, despite the clearest evidence that it was the Pakistani army which has been keeping the Taliban going since 2001.

True to Helms’s nostrum, Mr Bush has not adopted a new policy, but is resorting to covert operations, the political disadvantages of which are obvious, and military benefits dubious. A good example of this is the first of these operations undertaken under the new dispensation. On 3 September, two dozen US Navy Seals were helicoptered in to South Waziristan in Pakistan, where they attacked a compound, aided by an AC-130 gunship. When they retreated, they said they had killed many al-Qa’ida fighters, though a senior Pakistani official later said that the true casualty figures were four Taliban and al-Qa’ida “foot soldiers” and 16 civilians, including women and children.

It is a curious way to usher in democracy in Pakistan. Once Pakistan emerges from its preoccupation with the Ramadan fast, it will create nothing but anger among Pakistanis. It will alienate the Pakistani army, which has been humiliated and disregarded. Politically, it only makes sense in terms of American politics, where it will be seen as a sign that the administration is doing something in Afghanistan. It also diverts attention from embarrassing questions about why the Taliban is such a potent force seven years after it had supposedly been destroyed in 2001.

Use of covert forces to achieve political ends with limited means has always held a fatal attraction for political leaders. CIA officials have become used to being dumped with insoluble problems, with peremptory orders to “Get rid of Khomeini” or “Eliminate Saddam.” Plots to do just that are the common theme of a thousand Hollywood movies, which revolve around the dispatch of elite forces into enemy territory, where they successfully dispatch some local demon.

In reality, covert warfare seldom works. Up-to-date intelligence is hard to come by. Take, for instance, the repeated claims by the US Air Force that it had killed Saddam Hussein during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. This was meant to be based on up-to-the minute information, much of which turned out to be spurious. Of course Saddam had survived, though not the poor civilians who had the ill luck to live or work where the Iraqi leader was meant to be.

The media plays a particularly nasty role in all of this. Stories of the attempts to kill Saddam Hussein were given maximum publicity. Their total failure was hardly mentioned. The reaction of the Pentagon to the killing of large numbers of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan has traditionally been first to deny that it ever happened. The denial is based on the old public relations principle that “first you say something is no news and didn’t happen. When it is proved some time late, that it did happen, you yawn and say it is old news.”

For some reason, the Israelis have a reputation for being good at undercover operations. This is hardly difficult in Gaza, where the enemy is so puny and vulnerable. But while I was stationed in Jerusalem for this newspaper, Israeli intelligence was involved in a series of ludicrous fiascos. My favourite was when the chief Mossad agent in Syria turned out not to exist, though his Israeli handler happily pocketed several million dollars that the spy was supposedly receiving for his treachery. The handler concocted the agent’s reports and one of these, falsely claiming that Syria was plotting a surprise military offensive, even managed to get the Israeli army mobilised.

Israel also provides a classic example of a covert operation that will produce limited gains if it is successful, and a diplomatic disaster if it does not. In September 1997, two Mossad agents carrying forged Canadian passports tried to assassinate Khaled Mashal, a Jordanian citizen, in the centre of the capital Amman. He was the head of the political bureau of Hamas in Jordan. The ingenious method of assassination was to inject a slow-acting poison into his ear as he entered his office. In the event, the would-be poisoner was captured after a chase through the streets of Amman. Four other agents took refuge in the Israeli embassy.

The mission had been given the go-ahead by the Israeli prime minister of the day, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had simply ignored the idea that it might go wrong. King Hussein was reduced to threatening to storm the Israeli embassy unless Israel handed over an antidote to the poison. Israel was forced to release Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the head of Hamas, and other Palestinian prisoners from jail.

Covert operations only really succeed when they have strong local allies who want outside support. There are two recent outstanding examples of this. In Afghanistan in 2001, US special forces reinforced the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and, most importantly, gave them forward air controllers who could call in air strikes. Two years later, US special forces played a similar role in northern Iraq, when they provided air support to Kurdish troops attacking Saddam’s retreating army.

But if covert forces are acting alone, they are very vulnerable. What will happen to them in Pakistan if they get in a fire fight with regular Pakistani forces? What will they do if they are ambushed by local tribesmen allied to the Taliban? Usually, the first to flee in these circumstances are the local civil authorities and the civilian population, so the Taliban will be even more in control than they were before.

Helms’s dictum was right. The Bush administration got itself into a no-win situation in Afghanistan. “The US attack on Iraq,” writes the Pakistani expert Ahmed Rashid, in his newly-published Descent into Chaos, “was critical to convincing Musharraf that the United States was not serious about stabilising the region, and that it was safer for Pakistan to preserve its own national interest by clandestinely giving the Taliban refuge.”

The covert action in Pakistan is merely an attempt to divert attention from the consequences of this bankrupt American policy.

A letter to America: you cannot be serious

A letter to America: you cannot be serious

Dear America, Before you say it, I know: presumptuous. No one can speak to a multitude or to a nation, even if your presidential candidates entertain the fantasy. The United States is too big, too diverse, to allow that sort of intimacy. Is it even, from sea to shining sea, a single nation? Does New Hampshire speak much, or clearly, to New Mexico?

So many cultures, races, nuances. Too many variations from the modern media homogeneity norm, or even, dare I say it, from your cherished self-image. You are still, as Europeans too easily forget, a free association of states, each of them proud, each distinct. Some once styled themselves sovereign; most are jealous still of their remaining rights. That can’t be easy.

You disagree among yourselves, too, over what America is and what that means. Even at this distance, we pick up the chatter. We glimpse a few of your tensions. Even your “culture wars” have become a cliché in our discourse. We miss the important details, but as often as not we get it. After all, we pay more attention to you than you ever do to us.

Sorry. Did that sound antipathetic, as in “anti-American”? Let’s deal with that. I’ve said a few things down the years. It is likely that I will say a few more. You have a reserve currency, extraordinary military strength, and an unsurpassed cultural reach: people notice. If they have any sense, they also notice that America is no sort of monolith. But when things are done, by a democracy and in a people’s name, we call that “America”.

The irony is, in any case, that you are not beset on all sides. A great many foreign people spend a great deal of time defending your actions. Sometimes, for my money, the very depth of their loyalty is suspicious. Yours is not their country. I’m more of the Bush-didn’t-win-Florida school, but I do not hold every last American responsible for the consequences of a convenient (for some) Supreme Court decision. That would be like blaming me for Tony Blair. (And no, I did not vote for Trusted Ally Number One. I like to think I saw the Blessed Cheesemaker coming).

But you still think the world is against you? Try thinking, if you can, as a Russian thinks. Their country, right or wrong. Their patriotic dead. Their great lost empire, their exceptionalism, their certainty that dark and alien others always wish them ill. So how does a Russian view the world when tiny Georgia fires rockets “pre-emptively” on tinier South Ossetia and finds America taking the side of the rocketman “in freedom’s name”? Let’s just say that our Russian fails to share your perspective.

Or how about a Palestinian? The world cries injustice, historic, enduring, and a continuing justification for resistance, none of it pretty. You talk peace, but you say Israel – now where did this phrase come from? – right or wrong. Do the moral calculus. Stinking anti-Semites who would wipe Israel from the map do not justify every action Israel takes. But that is not, as the world hears it, the word from America.

This is not, historically speaking, a big deal. The American Century may well be at an end, with only the debts – unfeasibly big debts – to be settled. The Chinese, the Arabs, the Europeans, even the Russians hold your IOUs. When the money runs out, aircraft carriers are window dressing. Besides, no-one in the British islands is in a position to talk. Our empire was far more reckless than yours has ever been, and we could not hold a blood-red candle to Spain, France, Germany, Holland or even little Belgium. No-one ever gave thanks for having the Russians or the Chinese in charge. These things come and go.

But you say – Kipling and Rhodes would have understood – that you are the last best hope for mankind. Speaker after speaker at the Republican convention, and more than a few at the Democrat equivalent, talked (boasted?) of the greatest nation in the world ever. No precedent. I refer you once more to British imperial history. I also suggest, though, that when such things are said sincerely, certain obligations follow. You enthuse over Sarah Palin instead.

Perhaps, like so many modern politico-media phenomena, that will pass. Over here, after all, we thought George W Bush was the most improbable thing your conservatism could contrive. Shows you what we know. A George Bush who was merely stupid and mendacious seemed the extreme edge of what the presidential process might produce when someone’s vital interests were at stake. But what do we bystanders now understand? If polls are to be trusted (another story) Mr Bush is profoundly unpopular while Ms Palin, his spiritual kid sister, is homecoming queen. You can sense our puzzlement.

Our disgust is something that many of you no doubt take for granted. A book-banning, anti-abortion, creationist with scant consciousness, if any, of the outside world is not a brand that travels well. Ms Palin reportedly does not travel at all, save to cross fly over Canada. Her personal life is none of my concern. Her lipstick seems to suit her. But am I truly supposed to believe that she is suited for high office? That, surely, is the argument behind her impressive approval ratings.

But I forget. According to those around Mr John McCain, the official Republican general election candidate, your presidential contest is “not about the issues”. Come again? Have you run out of things to talk about, America? I can see that Mr McCain might have a long list of things he would rather not discuss, most of them involving the incumbent with whom he shares a party. But does your polity truly intend to suspend all disbelief, all debate, all thought, because of a well-groomed moose-killer?

They tell me the other guy is struggling to cope with this new fact of political existence. That, I would have thought, was the sole point and purpose of Ms Palin’s elevation to the ticket. When you cannot cope with another man’s fluency, trust to slogans and big pictures and what cynical men call “perceptions”.

Let’s be clear about that, too. I am not one of those Europeans who succumb to the charisma of Mr Obama. I have watched Mr Blair work a room. Unfashionably, I thought the Democrats should have stuck with a deplorable Clinton. I also thought the Obama Berlin gig an absurdity. I do not trust anyone who answers “hope” and “change” to every hard question. And I have no belief in an “anti-war” candidate who proposes dusty death without end in Afghanistan.

Mr Obama remains – you know this bit – the first African-American to have a serious hope of becoming president. Yet what do we find? Merely journalists adjusting every too-close-to-call poll in their heads to accommodate their certain knowledge of race in American life. We Europeans, some of us, do not therefore form judgments. This continent invented industrialised racism, and persists with the habit of mind. But seriously: a black man talking seriously or a moose-killer forbidden to attempt coherent speech? And your choice is?

Too close to call. America, that is almost beyond words. I have neither a personal nor a partisan interest. Ms Palin and Mr Obama alike are foreign to me. Yet if Mr Bush has been a dangerous absurdity, what is the latest Republican president-but-one? Since I’m asking the questions, I’ll answer.

Ms Palin is a symbol of deep American introversion, of the fact that you have ceased to take yourselves seriously and, more important, don’t much care who knows it. Arguments over the relationship between the wider world and your choices have become irrelevant. You have detached yourself, finally, from the global community. This is isolationism as never before conceived. “American” in my life has been lingua franca, for better or ill. Now you talk to yourself.

And you talk, my friends, in the sort of gibberish that once you spurned. It’s not about Ms Palin, as such. It is about the process that creates a candidate-grin manipulated to serve darkness, ignorance, fear, a war economy, and the flaunting of stupidity.

Nice going.

Pakistan Caring for Hundred of Thousands of Refugees From America’s Terror War

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Pakistan Caring for Hundred of Thousands of Refugees From America’s Terror War

Pakistan can tackle militancy itself: Fehmida

Updated at

Acting president distributes cheques among Bajaur IDPs


By our correspondent

PESHAWAR: Acting President Dr Fehmida Mirza on Sunday said Pakistan would resolve the problem of militancy on its own, adding that the government was committed to safeguard the sovereignty and geographical frontiers of the country.

She was talking to journalists after addressing a ceremony at the Frontier House here to distribute cheques among the displaced people of Bajaur Agency. Dr Fehmida Mirza said, “Our security forces are effectively combating militancy and there is no need of any foreign force to fight terrorism in our country.”

The acting president said the prime minister had announced a package of Rs 10 million for relief and rehabilitation work in the affected areas of the Bajaur Agency. She said a comprehensive strategy of the socio-economic uplift would be put in place for the area.

Fehmida urged the media to project a positive image of the country and refrain from putting on air reports and footages that might harm the national interests. About the relief activities, she said President Asif Ali Zardari had generously contributed to relief funds for the affected people of the Bajaur operation.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony, the acting president asked the people to unite and support the government fighting off the challenges confronting the country. She said the country was faced with the grave challenges of militancy and terrorism and to wipe out militancy the government was working on a three-pronged strategy.

She said greater emphasis would be laid on education, health and other social development areas so that the standard of life of tribal people could be improved significantly.She appealed to the international community for generous financial assistance to implement the development strategy of the government.

The acting president assured the affected people of Bajaur that efforts were underway to create conditions conductive for their early return to their homes. Fehmida said parliamentarians would visit the affected areas to assess the extent of damage done there to enable the government to work out a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation programme.

The relief activity for the displaced people would be further streamlined to make their stay outside their areas comfortable, she added. Later, the acting president distributed cheques of Rs 10,000 each to 200 affected families of Bajaur Agency.

Earlier, the acting president had a brief meeting with NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani at the Governor House and discussed various matters of mutual interest. APP adds: Dr Fehmida Mirza urged the nation to be united on one platform and play its due role effectively for meeting the challenges faced by the country. She said the country was presently facing numerous challenges and the government needs support of the nation in overcoming these hardships.

She said every citizen had to rise above political affiliation and think like a Pakistani for playing his role in his respective field for the stability and progress of the country. She said the root cause of growing wave of terrorism in the country was poverty and deprivation of people, adding it was time to redress all the grievances of the people.

The government, she continued, will carry development schemes in these neglected areas and in this regard would also request the international community to cooperate. She also urged the people of the neglected areas to cooperate with the government because without their support and assistance the goal of development could not be achieved. She said the government had adopted a proper policy of providing education and other basic needs to people at their doorsteps besides giving women their due rights.

Dr Fehmida said the government and parliament were alive to the sufferings of the people of Bajaur and Swat districts due to growing insurgency and military operation to control lawlessness.

Dr Fehmida said she wanted to meet the affected families at the relief camps so that she could inspect arrangements being provided to them, but due to some security problems the function was held at the Frontier House. However, she said she would soon visit the residences of the affected families after their return to their homes.

Posted in Uncategorized

Deliver Us From Chaos: Ten Political Commandments

Deliver Us From Chaos: Ten Political Commandments

William John Cox

When the CIA engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953 in favor of the more compliant Shah, who would have ever thought that 26 years later the nation’s youth would invade our embassy and take our diplomats as hostages? When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 without just cause, who could have foreseen that five years later as many as a million Iraqis have been killed, tens of thousands of American soldiers have been grievously wounded or died, more than a trillion tax dollars have been wasted, and our troops are still not welcomed as liberators? When the CIA and the U.S. ambassador secretly engineered the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003 and after the U.S. encouraged the Israeli-trained Georgian army to invade the disputed enclave of South Ossetia five years later, who could have predicted Russian peacekeepers would be killed causing Russia to invade Georgia and overrun its lilliputian army provided by U.S. taxpayers? The only thing for certain to result from all such Machiavellian maneuvers is chaos, pure chaos.

The classical theory set forth in Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick in 1987 is that “a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York.” Basically, any attempt to accurately discern outcomes from discrete and random inputs is much like reading entrails or trying to guess which card will be dealt after God reshuffles the deck “under the table” after each hand.

From a political standpoint, chaos theory requires us to consider the effect of a vice president flapping his lips on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf or in the former U.S.S.R. republic of Georgia on starting World War III or Cold War II.

In May 2007, Vice President Cheney threatened that, “With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we’re sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike, we’ll keep the sea lanes open.” And, “We’ll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.”

Last week, Cheney belligerently stated, “America will do its duty to work with the governments of Georgia and our other friends and allies to protect our common interests and uphold our values.”

Given the fact that between them, Iran and Russia control a substantial portion of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves, it would seem such bellicosity can only have dire consequences for those of us whose petroleum supplies are running thin and whose military is dangerously overextended.

With the presidential election only a few weeks away, and the candidates all trying to out-tough the others by threatening war against Iran and Russia or promising to “finish the job” in Afghanistan by invading Pakistan, a brief discussion of how an application of chaos theory could improve the practice of politics might of interest.

Seeking Order Within Chaos

Although the systems being studied, such as the weather, may appear at first to be disordered, chaos theory seeks to identify the underlying order in the apparently random data.

Meteorologist Edward Lorentz first experimented with the theory in 1960 as he worked with twelve computerized equations to model the weather. He observed that a tiny, statistically insignificant, difference in the starting value resulted in a wildly different weather pattern at the end. Thus, while the flapping of a single butterfly’s wings only produces a tiny change in the local atmosphere, over a period of time, the world’s climate may be dramatically different from what it might have otherwise been.

In addition to the weather, a variety of systems exhibit chaotic behavior, including fluid dynamics, lasers, electrical circuits, and population growth. However, these systems are not entirely disorderly and they lend themselves to a degree of mathematical order and determination.

Unfortunately, there are no existing mathematical formulas to help predict the consequences of political words, decisions, and actions; however, it might be rewarding to at least have a basic set of standards to improve the reliability of political practice.

Political Commandments

The Ten Commandments have existed for more than 3,500 years as an ethical guide for human behavior and are recognized by all three of the major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Whether or not one is a believer, the Commandments provide a commonsense guide to avoid adverse consequences in most decision making and conduct.

In order to reduce political chaos, the following suggestions are offered as discussion points for establishing a basic set of political standards.

Certainly, if these standards were being commonly adhered to, the irrelevant and random noise of the current presidential campaign might be reduced and we would hear less about lipstick on pigs and more about the critical issues facing our country in the next four years.

I. Have no master before you except those who elect you. Never forget whose trust you hold. Only citizens of the United States can vote in its elections, and corporations, irrespective of wealth and power, are not citizens.II. Look at the big picture. Just like playing chess, political statements, decisions and acts must be based not just upon the immediate situation or motivation, but on how they conform to everything known about the issues and the probable consequences. If not enough is known, then gather more data before speaking or acting.

III. Create thoughtful policies. Among other things, policy is based upon traditions, experience, practice, law and commonsense. It serves as a logical guide for decision making and the creation of programs. Modify policy when circumstances change or when more is learned.

IV. Don’t be stupid. Accept proven facts, and reject unproven beliefs. Engage brain before putting mouth in motion.

V. Don’t tell lies. Respect, honor and value the truth. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

VI. Follow the law. Or, change the law. Ignore the law at your peril.

VII. Don’t be greedy. Don’t steal or take what doesn’t belong to you or your government.

VIII. Respect and care for others. The cultures and beliefs of others are special to them and must be respectfully considered in the decisions and actions that affect them. Have empathy for others and the pain and hardships they suffer.

IX. Don’t hurt or kill others. There may be some legitimacy in unavoidable self defense, but an unprovoked attack is always the mark of a cowardly bully.

X. Follow the Golden Rule. The Rule, in one form or another, is a basic part of all religions and has a foundation in ancient Greek philosophies, including that of Epictetus, “What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others.”

Judgment Day

The current crop of candidates for president and vice president are all flapping their lips (with and without lipstick) making thoughtless statements that can and will come back to haunt us in the future.

Obama says he will “take the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan” (a nuclear-armed nation against which we have not declared war). Biden called Obama’s threat “misguided,” but goes on to compound the offense, “The last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan that we are about to violate their sovereignty.”

McCain sided with Cheney when he told Georgian President Saakashvili that he and his country have the support of Americans in their struggle for “freedom and democracy.” According to McCain, “Russia used violence against Georgia to send a signal to any country that chooses to associate with the West.” Claiming to speak for everyone (Republicans, Democrats, Independents and those not allowed to vote), McCain said, “I know I speak for every American when I say to him [Saakashvili] today, we are all Georgians.”

When Palin was asked if under the NATO treaty, the U.S. would have to go to war if Russia again invaded Georgia, she responded, “Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help. [sic] And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable.”

What are these people thinking? These are the kinds of careless statements that can ignite a nuclear war in which millions, perhaps billions die – when humanity gets wiped out along with a lot of other innocent creatures of God! At least, shouldn’t we expect those who seek our vote to learn from history, particularly our most recent experiences? Can’t they see what has happened in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia as a result of our ill-advised meddling?

It’s like there’s a Dr. Strangelovian “Doomsday Machine” out there and these politicians either don’t know about it, or else they know about it and just don’t care, or perhaps they really aren’t as smart as they’d like for us to believe.

Hopefully, God will be kind enough, and forgiving enough, to allow us to escape the flames of devastating consequences scorching their tower of babbling when the day for judgment arrives.

Peter Hitchens on the Creepy Plotters Who Rule Us

Peter Hitchens on the Creepy Plotters Who Rule Us

An excellent article from Peter Hitchens in the Mail.

There is no such organisation as ‘Al Qaeda’. The spooks know this, Cabinet Ministers know this and so do the ‘security correspondents’ who so readily trot out the spooks’ point of view on our broadcasting networks.Of course, there are terrorists, and there are also fantasists, fanatics, low-lifes and camp followers who plot and attempt horrible things. Some of them even call themselves ‘Al Qaeda’ these days because they have learned that this is a good way to scare us.
But, while they are a menace, they are not as big or as organised a menace as the Government likes to make out.

The State and the vainglorious bureaucrats of the ‘security’ services need to pretend that the terrorists are a tightly organised and terrifying threat, to make themselves look big as well – and to help them get hold of new powers to snoop on us and push us around.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1055560/Its-creepy-plotters-rule-really-scared-of.html

The most vital distinction in Western politics today is not between left and right, but between the authoritarians in office and libertarians who resist.

30,000-pound Bunker Buster, Postmarked “Iran”

The Boeing-developed Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a 30,000-pound bomb designed to burrow deep beneath the earth and detonate more than 2 tons of explosives. The Boeing-

developed

Massive Ordnance

Penetrator is a

30,000-pound bomb

more than 2 tons

of explosives.

Boeing

Bunker-busting bombs added to U.S. arsenal

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is expanding its arsenal of bunker-busting bombs to knock out suspected programs to make weapons of mass destruction, such as Iran’s, interviews and military planning documents show.

The Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which leads efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction, has almost doubled its research spending on how to counter such weapons to $257 million in 2008 from $139 million in 2007, budget documents show.

Its highest-profile project is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb designed to burrow deep beneath the earth and detonate more than 2 tons of explosives to breach bunkers.

The Air Force, which plans to test the 20-foot-long bomb this fall on the B-52 bomber, is also exploring how to drop the weapon from the B-2 warplane, said Vicki Stein, an Air Force spokeswoman.

The Pentagon is also buying smaller bunker-buster bombs to meet requests by commanders in the Middle East and Korea.

Air Force commanders sought help from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to examine cave complexes in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan that had been bombed by the Air Force, agency director James Tegnelia told Congress in March. Tora Bora is where U.S. and Afghan troops fought a lengthy battle in late 2001 against al-Qaeda forces allied with Osama bin Laden.

In a related effort, the agency has identified planes with “Angel Fire” spy technology as key to its efforts, according to budget documents. Developed by the Air Force and Marine Corps to counter roadside bombs, Angel Fire technology gives military analysts the ability to zoom in on targets and replay imagery to determine changes over time.

The bomb and spy plane seem aimed at Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons, says John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. Producing enriched uranium, the key ingredient in nuclear weapons, is thought to be the focus of a facility at Natanz, he said. Iran has maintained electricity is the goal of its nuclear program.

The Air Force will not reveal specific targets for the penetrator, Stein said. She said there is an urgent need for the bomb “to defeat hard and deeply buried targets” that they can’t reach. The bomb is designed to destroy facilities used by “hostile states” to build and store such weapons, their delivery systems and command and control facilities, she said. The request has been made by the military’s Central Command, which has responsibility for Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

Commanders do not need the huge bomb for an imminent attack, says former Air Force secretary Michael Wynne. Instead, the need for such a large bomb became apparent in Iraq when smaller bombs failed to destroy hardened bunkers buried deep underground by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Angel Fire technology, according to Defense Department documents, allows viewers to zoom in on a target and use a “Tivo-like” function to replay previous events that occurred at the site.

That capability would allow military planners to observe a site like Natanz, Pike said. That would allow them to target workers when they congregated in one spot, such as a housing complex. Killing those workers could set back their program for years, he said.

Pakistan troop fire turns back U.S. helicopters

Pakistan troop fire turns back U.S. helicopters

By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Firing by Pakistani troops forced two U.S. military helicopters to turn back to Afghanistan after they crossed into Pakistani territory early on Monday, Pakistani security officials said.

The incident took place near Angor Adda, a village in the tribal region of South Waziristan where U.S. commandos in helicopters raided a suspected al Qaeda and Taliban camp earlier this month.

“The U.S. choppers came into Pakistan by just 100 to 150 meters at Angor Adda. Even then our troops did not spare them, opened fire on them and they turned away,” said one security official.

The U.S. and Pakistani military both denied that account, but Angor Adda villagers and officials supported it.

Pakistan is a crucial U.S. ally in its war on terrorism, and its support is key to the success of Western forces trying to stabilize Afghanistan. But Washington has become impatient over Islamabad’s response to the threat from al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal regions on the border.

At least 20 people, including women and children, were killed in the South Waziristan raid earlier this month, sparking outrage in Pakistan and prompting a diplomatic protest.

Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said in a strongly worded statement last week that Pakistan would not allow foreign troops onto its soil and Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be defended at all costs.

Another security official said on Monday that U.S. armored vehicles were also seen moving on the Afghan side of the border, while U.S. warplanes were seen overhead.

He said Pakistani soldiers sounded a bugle call and fired in the air, forcing the helicopters to return to Afghan territory.

CONFLICTING VERSIONS

Military spokesman Major Murad Khan confirmed that there had been shooting. But he said the American helicopters had not crossed into Pakistani airspace and Pakistani troops were not responsible for the firing.

“The U.S. choppers were there at the border, but they did not violate our airspace,” Khan said.

“We confirm that there was a firing incident at the time when the helicopters were there, but our forces were not involved.”

A spokesman for the U.S. military at Bagram Airbase, north of Kabul, said its forces had not reported any such incident.

“The unit in the area belongs to the (U.S.-led) coalition. They are not reporting any such incident,” the U.S. military spokesman said.

But the official denials were contradicted by Pakistani civilian officials and villagers in Angor Adda.

One official told Reuters by telephone that “the troops stationed at BP-27 post fired at the choppers and they turned away”.

Two Chinook helicopters appeared set to land when troops began shooting, alerting tribesmen who also opened fire on the intruders, said a senior government official in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

A resident described the tension in the village through the night. “We saw helicopters flying all over the area. We stayed awake the whole night after the incident,” he said.

The fiercely independent tribesmen of the region carry weapons regardless of whether they are militants.

PAKISTAN ARMY FIGHTING MILITANTS

The New York Times newspaper reported last week that U.S. President George W. Bush has given clearance for U.S. raids across the border.

The raid on Angor Adda on September 3 was the first overt ground incursion by U.S. troops into Pakistan since the deployment of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in late 2001.

The United States has intensified attacks by missile-firing drone aircraft on suspected al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistani tribal lands in the past few weeks.

Despite apparent U.S. frustration with Pakistan, the Pakistani army has been involved in fierce fighting with Islamist militants in Bajaur, another tribal region, and Swat, a valley in North West Frontier Province, close to the tribal lands.

Pakistani forces, using helicopter gunships and artillery, killed at least 16 fighters and wounded 25 in Bajaur on Sunday. More than 750 militants have been killed in an offensive there that began in late August.

The U.S. pressure comes at an awkward time for President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Zardari was elected on September 6, having forced former army chief Pervez Musharraf to quit last month, almost nine years after Musharraf took power in a coup.

The new Pakistani president is in London and due to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown to talk over the border situation.

Bush held a video conference with Brown last week to discuss a new strategy for the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier.

Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have both endorsed the stand taken by General Kayani.

Evidence photos for sabotage training of the Georgian peacekeepers

Evidence photos for sabotage training of the Georgian peacekeepers

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..
Photo of the Russian military prosecutor made available.
Russia sets international organizations evidence of the practice of targeted sabotage of the Georgian peacekeepers. It said the chief military prosecutor of Russia, Sergei Fridinski, on Wednesday before journalists.

Evidence photos for sabotage training of the Georgian peacekeepers

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..
The pictures show alongside the Georgian peacekeeping forces with foreign military uniforms and badges. The instructors show the soldiers how to build bombs.

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..

Fridinski images presented to journalists by Russia of Abkhaz security forces in the Kodori valley has received.

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..

“Normally, you learn there (on the Georgian items), as people and save themselves, but these pictures we see that the soldiers train sabotage,” said the chief military prosecutor of Russia.

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..

Georgian peacekeeping forces training of sabotage under the guidance of foreign instructors.

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..

One of the photos taken by the Abkhaz security forces have been handed over.

Beweisfotos für Sabotagetraining der georgischen Friedenstruppen. © Foto von der russischen Militärstaatsanwaltschaft zur Verfügung gestellt..

REBIRTH OF THE ROBBER BARONS

Derivative terrorism by robber barons

By Seymour Richman

MONTEREYShould we label today’s hedge funds, pension funds, university endowment funds and oil rich sovereign funds as robber barons? Are they to join Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Jay Gould on the list of giants who earned enormous profits as they relentlessly and with questionable actions reshaped American industry and finance and in doing so gave rise to many federal regulations and antitrust controls?

If we look at commodity derivatives and in particular oil, prices for which have doubled since early last year, we do find a number of institutions, not individuals, that are dangerous derivative terrorist barons. They are accumulating wealth that would astonish the robber barons of our prior century. With care only for unbelievable million dollar and billion dollar profits they are raising fears on the part of every person and almost every corporation here at home and throughout the entire world.

I created two successful management consulting and marketing businesses based on my studies of public opinion and propaganda. While at college I relied heavily on reports, magazines and studies at New York’s Main Library at 42nd Street. I waited and waited until my number flashed on the great wall and then spent hours in the reference room compiling data and knowledge from material delivered



from the caverns below.Fifty years later I retrieve data instantly from Google sites to verify what traders, columnists, economists, and government officials are saying about oil and gasoline pricing. The Web sites reveal that they are, for the large part seriously wrong. You can also learn this if you take a little bit of time reviewing news stories, looking at the data on Web sites such as Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Federal Energy Commission, OPEC, International, Petroleum Exchange, Commodity Futures Commission and many more.

Just search oil prices, oil derivatives and commodities and you may be shocked at the data they offer. You will learn that the price of oil, which was $60 dollars a barrel early in 2007 and which has more than doubled since then, is not due to what you have been led to believe.

OPEC and all oil exporting countries throughout the world charge the price of a barrel of light sweet crude oil as set daily by derivative contracts that are traded daily on NYMEX. They are happy with their dollars. OPEC is expected to earn a net of $1 trillion this year. Russia is now an oil wealthy country. Of the more than 290,000 open contracts the other day on NYMEX and representing 290,000,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil, it is a fact that basically all are petroleum paper transactions since only about one percent of all oil contracts and the oil they represent are ever delivered. NYMEX and traders readily admit that oil futures contracts, except for the about one percent, are only for trading and speculation. Tandem tracking of data on web sites states that supply and demand is not in effect in today’s derivative commodity markets despite secretary of the treasury Henry Paulson and others saying repeatedly that supplies are more than adequate.

Demand is declining, yet prices of oil contracts rise. World events are fodder for brokers, analysts and reporters. The stories of disruptions, new offshore drilling, hurricane, riots etc. are forgotten in weeks and prices fall and rise as derivatives continue to trade largely independent of events.

What is happening, as you can tell from computer data from all sources, is that the voracious hedge funds, pension funds, university funds, oil government and other funds are now seeking returns that they formerly realized from stocks, mergers and real estate. They have special computer specialists and math whizzes on staff who trade commodity derivatives, some times minute by minute to earn giant profits while protecting their investments from serious losses and even benefiting from price declines.

It is a fact that private investors, only very, very rarely invest in commodity futures. Hedge fund investing can be understood and we can challenge this speculation. But we should more seriously question the morality of university funds and workers’ pension funds investing in commodities since they have proven to be responsible for such much upheaval in the lives of most Americans. Such investments can be made illegal.

Tandem tracking denies that the falling dollar is responsible. What is clear is that oil and other commodity speculative investing has produced the robber barons of today.

India has banned all commodity futures trading. We may have to do likewise and legislate that only the producer and the actual users of wheat, corn, oil etc. be permitted to sell and buy their products for instant or future delivery. No margin investments should be permitted.

What about gasoline prices and the price of a barrel of oil? Tandem tracking on government Web sites and others proves that there is no actual relationship between what you pay at the pump and the cost of a barrel of oil. The gasoline producers have succeeded in linking the two in the consumer’s mind. It is not a reality since they own their oil wells or have long term multi-year contracts with foreign and domestic oil producers. They charge what they can and all have earned record profits.

Despite the recent record cost of oil on NYMEX, at the same time Exxon Mobil reported a $40 billion profit for the quarter. Prices at the pump are declining because of the outrage expressed by consumers and legislators. The producers of gasoline know that they will have to face Congress and calls for repeal of tax benefits and excess profit taxes. Their public relations ads have begun.

What to do? Look at the facts on the Google sites. Challenge the so-called experts. You have Google on your side. Realize what is truly happening.

Joseph Goebbels once said that if you repeat a lie often enough if becomes the truth. Also, we have learned that those who do the repeating eventually come to really believe their own statements.

Hopefully Congress and the president will ban or regulate and tax today’s robber baron derivative terrorists who are causing such worldwide personal pain. Congress has done it before and now it is just as important that we limit the effect that this paper trading has on home heating oil, gasoline ,jet fuel, fertilizer, plastics, chemicals, manufacturing, employment, transportation, food and more.

The speculative financial derivative commodity futures on the NYMEX also reflects worldwide over the counter and electronic trades and is at historical and unacceptable levels. The results are gigantic upheavals at home and throughout the world which must be seriously and firmly dealt with.

FEMA Executive Orders

FEMA  Executive Orders

http://www.trunkerton.fsnet.co.uk/

Some people have referred to it as the “secret government” of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions of dollars. This government organization has more power than the President of the United States or the Congress, it has the power to suspend laws, move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant and hold them without trial, it can seize property, food supplies, transportation systems, and can suspend the Constitution. Not only is it the most powerful entity in the United States, but it was not even created under Constitutional law by the Congress. It was a product of a Presidential Executive Order. No, it is not the U.S. military nor the Central Intelligence Agency, they are subject to Congress. The organization is called FEMA, which stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Originally conceived in the Richard Nixon Administration, it was refined by President Jimmy Carter and given teeth in the Ronald Reagan and George Bush Administrations.

FEMA had one original concept when it was created, to assure the survivability of the United States government in the event of a nuclear attack on this nation. It was also provided with the task of being a federal coordinating body during times of domestic disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Its awesome powers grow under the tutelage of people like Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, the architects on the Iran-Contra scandal and the looting of America’s savings and loan institutions. FEMA has even been given control of the State Defense Forces, a rag-tag, often considered neo-Nazi, civilian army that will substitute for the National Guard, if the Guard is called to duty overseas.

THE MOST POWERFUL ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES.

Though it may be the most powerful organization in the United States, few people know it even exists. But it has crept into our private lives. Even mortgage papers contain FEMA’s name in small print if the property in question is near a flood plain. FEMA was deeply involved in the Los Angeles riots and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the black helicopter traffic reported throughout the United States, but mainly in the West, California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado, are flown by FEMA personnel. FEMA has been given responsibility for many new disasters including urban forest fires, home heating emergencies, refugee situations, urban riots, and emergency planning for nuclear and toxic incidents. In the West, it works in conjunction with the Sixth Army. FEMA was created in a series of Executive Orders. A Presidential Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed.

Executive Order Number 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency that is to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An “emergency czar” was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies. The bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic.

Executive Order Number 12656 appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry. Here are just a few Executive Orders associated with FEMA that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation.

General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA’s Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA’s role as a “new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis.” FEMA’s powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate: The National Security Act of 1947, which allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities; The 1950 Defense Production Act, which gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy; The Act of August 29, 1916, which authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency; and The International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.

HURRICANE ANDREW FOCUSED ATTENTION ON FEMA.

FEMA’s deceptive role really did not come to light with much of the public until Hurricane Andrew smashed into the U.S. mainland. As Russell R. Dynes, director of the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware, wrote in The World and I, “…The eye of the political storm hovered over the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA became a convenient target for criticism.” Because FEMA was accused of dropping the ball in Florida, the media and Congress commenced to study this agency. What came out of the critical look was that FEMA was spending 12 times more for “black operations” than for disaster relief. It spent $1.3 billion building secret bunkers throughout the United States in anticipation of government disruption by foreign or domestic upheaval. Yet fewer than 20 members of Congress, only members with top security clearance, know of the $1.3 billion expenditure by FEMA for non-natural disaster situations. These few Congressional leaders state that FEMA has a “black curtain” around its operations. FEMA has worked on National Security programs since 1979, and its predecessor, the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency, has secretly spent millions of dollars before being merged into FEMA by President Carter in 1979.

FEMA has developed 300 sophisticated mobile units that are capable of sustaining themselves for a month. The vehicles are located in five areas of the United States. They have tremendous communication systems and each contains a generator that would provide power to 120 homes, but have never been used for disaster relief. FEMA’s enormous powers can be triggered easily. In any form of domestic or foreign problem, perceived and not always actual, emergency powers can be enacted. The President of the United States now has broader powers to declare martial law, which activates FEMA’s extraordinary powers. Martial law can be declared during time of increased tension overseas, economic problems within the United States, such as a depression, civil unrest, such as demonstrations or scenes like the Los Angeles riots, and in a drug crisis.

These Presidential powers have increased with successive Crime Bills, particularly the 1991 and 1993 Crime Bills, which increase the power to suspend the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and to seize property of those suspected of being drug dealers, to individuals who participate in a public protest or demonstration. Under emergency plans already in existence, the power exists to suspend the Constitution and turn over the reigns of government to FEMA and appointing military commanders to run state and local governments. FEMA then would have the right to order the detention of anyone whom there is reasonable ground to believe…will engage in, or probably conspire with others to engage in acts of espionage or sabotage. The plan also authorized the establishment of concentration camps for detaining the accused, but no trial.

Three times since 1984, FEMA stood on the threshold of taking control of the nation. Once under President Reagan in 1984, and twice under President Bush in 1990 and 1992. But under those three scenarios, there was not a sufficient crisis to warrant risking martial law. Most experts on the subject of FEMA and Martial Law insisted that a crisis has to appear dangerous enough for the people of the United States before they would tolerate or accept complete government takeover. The typical crisis needed would be threat of imminent nuclear war, rioting in several U.S. cites simultaneously, a series of national disasters that affect widespread danger to the populous, massive terrorist attacks, a depression in which tens of millions are unemployed and without financial resources, or a major environmental disaster.

THREE TIMES FEMA STOOD BY READY FOR EMERGENCY

In April 1984, President Reagan signed Presidential Director Number 54 that allowed FEMA to engage in a secret national “readiness exercise” under the code name of REX 84. The exercise was to test FEMA’s readiness to assume military authority in the event of a “State of Domestic National Emergency” concurrent with the launching of a direct United States military operation in Central America. The plan called for the deputation of U.S. military and National Guard units so that they could legally be used for domestic law enforcement. These units would be assigned to conduct sweeps and take into custody an estimated 400,000 undocumented Central American immigrants in the United States. The immigrants would be interned at 10 detention centers to be set up at military bases throughout the country.

REX 84 was so highly guarded that special metal security doors were placed on the fifth floor of the FEMA building in Washington, D.C. Even long-standing employees of the Civil Defense of the Federal Executive Department possessing the highest possible security clearances were not being allowed through the newly installed metal security doors. Only personnel wearing a special red Christian cross or crucifix lapel pin were allowed into the premises. Lt. Col. North was responsible for drawing up the emergency plan, which U.S. Attorney General William French Smith opposed vehemently. The plan called for the suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to FEMA, appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and the declaration of Martial Law. The Presidential Executive Orders to support such a plan were already in place. The plan also advocated the rounding up and transfer to “assembly centers or relocation camps” of a least 21 million American Negroes in the event of massive rioting or disorder, not unlike the rounding up of the Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The second known time that FEMA stood by was in 1990 when Desert Storm was enacted. Prior to President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, FEMA began to draft new legislation to increase its already formidable powers. One of the elements incorporated into the plan was to set up operations within any state or locality without the prior permission of local or state authorities. Such prior permission has always been required in the past. Much of the mechanism being set into place was in anticipation of the economic collapse of the Western World. The war with Iraq may have been conceived as a ploy to boost the bankrupt economy, but it only pushed the West into deeper recession. The third scenario for FEMA came with the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King brutality verdict. Had the rioting spread to other cities, FEMA would have been empowered to step in. As it was, major rioting only occurred in the Los Angeles area, thus preventing a pretext for a FEMA response.

On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald published reports on FEMA’s new goals. The goal was to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. Lt. Col. North was the architect. National Security Directive Number 52 issued in August 1982, pertains to the “Use of National Guard Troops to Quell Disturbances.” The crux of the problem is that FEMA has the power to turn the United States into a police state in time of a real crisis or a manufactured crisis. Lt. Col. North virtually established the apparatus for dictatorship. Only the criticism of the Attorney General prevented the plans from being adopted. But intelligence reports indicate that FEMA has a folder with 22 Executive Orders for the President to sign in case of an emergency. It is believed those Executive Orders contain the framework of North’s concepts, delayed by criticism but never truly abandoned. The crisis, as the government now sees it, is civil unrest. For generations, the government was concerned with nuclear war, but the violent and disruptive demonstrations that surrounded the Vietnam War era prompted President Nixon to change the direction of emergency powers from war time to times of domestic unrest.

Diana Reynolds, program director of the Edward R. Murrow Center, summed up the dangers of FEMA today and the public reaction to Martial Law in a drug crisis: “It was James Madison’s worst nightmare that a righteous faction would someday be strong enough to sweep away the Constitutional restraints designed by the framers to prevent the tyranny of centralized power, excessive privilege, an arbitrary governmental authority over the individual. These restraints, the balancing and checking of powers among branches and layers of government, and the civil guarantees, would be the first casualties in a drug-induced national security state with Reagan’s Civil Emergency Preparedness unleashed. Nevertheless, there would be those who would welcome NSC (National Security Council) into the drug fray, believing that increasing state police powers to emergency levels is the only way left to fight American’s enemy within.

In the short run, a national security state would probably be a relief to those whose personal security and quality of life has been diminished by drugs or drug related crime. And, as the general public watches the progression of institutional chaos and social decay, they too may be willing to pay the ultimate price, one drug free America for 200 years of democracy.”

The first targets in any FEMA emergency would be Hispanics and Blacks, the FEMA orders call for them to be rounded up and detained. Tax protesters, demonstrators against government military intervention outside U.S. borders, and people who maintain weapons in their homes are also targets. Operation Trojan Horse is a program designed to learn the identity of potential opponents to martial law. The program lures potential protesters into public forums, conducted by a “hero” of the people who advocates survival training. The list of names gathered at such meetings and rallies are computerized and then targeted in case of an emergency.

The most shining example of America to the world has been its peaceful transition of government from one administration to another. Despite crises of great magnitude, the United States has maintained its freedom and liberty. This nation now stands on the threshold of rule by non-elected people asserting non-Constitutional powers. Even Congress cannot review a Martial Law action until six months after it has been declared. For the first time in American history, the reigns of government would not be transferred from one elected element to another, but the Constitution, itself, can be suspended. The scenarios established to trigger FEMA into action are generally found in the society today, economic collapse, civil unrest, drug problems, terrorist attacks, and protests against American intervention in a foreign country. All these premises exist, it could only be a matter of time in which one of these triggers the entire emergency necessary to bring FEMA into action, and then it may be too late, because under the FEMA plan, there is no contingency by which Constitutional power is restored.

Meltdown as bank collapses

Meltdown as bank collapses

By Stephen Foley in New York

Wall Street banks were preparing for one of the most dramatic shake-ups in the finance industry’s history last night as it emerged that Lehman Brothers, an investment bank with a 158-year history, was working on a plan to declare bankruptcy.

As a marathon session of weekend talks went into its final hours, an even bigger rival, Merrill Lynch, also assembled its board to vote on a takeover offer. With the opening of Asian markets as a deadline, the signs were that two of the most powerful corporations in global finance could disappear. Insiders said other financial institutions were examining the creation of a massive fund, perhaps as large as $50bn (£28bn), which would be used to prop up other firms that get into difficulty.

Whatever the exact shape of the deal, it was clear that it would have profound – and unpredictable – consequences for the world economy. The events represent a crescendo for the year-long credit crisis, which has wiped out half-a-trillion dollars in investments held by Wall Street’s biggest firms, forced governments to nationalise once-proud financial institutions and has made it ever harder for ordinary people and businesses to get loans. Failure to end the crisis soon could tip the world into a severe recession, say economists.

For that reason, the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, had called in the chief executives of Wall Street’s biggest banks for crisis talks over the future of Lehman Brothers on Friday night, but few expected such dramatic action would be necessary.

One by one, the major players revealed that the credit crisis had so weakened their finances that they would not be able to fund a rescue deal for Lehman. When the UK bank Barclays walked out of negotiations to buy the company yesterday, there seemed no option left but a liquidation of Lehman.

Fears grew over the weekend that Lehman’s failure could trigger a crash when Asian markets resumed trading. The Fed and the US Treasury refused to hand over government money to prop up firms brought low by their own bad mortgage investments.

There were signs, however, that the Fed was considering taking some action to aid markets by loosening conditions for lending money to Wall Street firms.

The question is whether a once-in-a-generation shake-up on Wall Street will bring stability and help restore confidence, or presage a new leg-down in the credit markets that are the lifeblood of the global economy.

It is certain to throw thousands more bankers out of work. Lehman employs 25,000 people around the world, including 4,500 in London, where it has its European headquarters.

Coming on the heels of the fire sale of the government-backed Bear Stearns in March, the disappearance of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch would mean the Big Five investment banks will become just two.

Bank of America was cajoled by the Fed into talks to buy Merrill Lynch after walking away from negotiations with Lehman Brothers yesterday. It will pay $40bn, but not in cash, issuing Merrill Lynch investors instead with new BofA shares. If the takeover is consummated, it will spare Merrill Lynch, one of the most famous brands on Wall Street, from the ignominious fate of Lehman Brothers, which declined to accept cut-price offers to refinance the firm earlier in the year, only to find that its value continued to plummet and its business began to wither.

Dealers across Wall Street were called in for an unprecedented shadow trading session, supervised by the derivatives industry regulator, aimed at reducing exposure to Lehman. The trades would only go into effect if Lehman filed for bankruptcy before midnight, NY time.

Such a liquidation has not been tried since the explosion of derivatives trading, which meant the collapse of one institution could mean unpredictable losses elsewhere. Bill Gross, of Pimco, one of the most outspoken fund managers, predicted an “immediate tsunami” if Lehman fails.

Pakistan’s Taliban (TTP) Are CIA – JUST LIKE I SAID

General Kayani Must Not Blink and Pakistan’s Taliban Are CIA

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Now the ball is in General Kayani’s court; will he be the one to blink first? Will he be forced by his civilian masters – Zardari and Gilani not to follow up on his promise and become subject of ridicule? Clearly, the U.S. is stung by Pakistan discovering who is the real enemy.

General KiyaniGeneral Kiyani

Pakistan has decided to liquidate the so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ and is succeeding with popular support. It has become apparent that the insurgency in the FATA and elsewhere in NWFP is aided and abetted by the U.S. It wants to weaken the control of the federal government over the provinces and regions of Pakistan and it does not care whether it is achieved by Islamists or by ethnic nationalists. It supports the BLA as well as Baitullah Mehsud. It maintains its contacts with the MQM, the ANP, Baloch Nationalists as well as the JUI. It came to court the PPP as it concluded it was not overly concerned with ‘national interests’.

Pakistan is nervous; it cannot believe that the United States can turn on its ally so fast and so easy. President Bush has proclaimed a new war theater in Pakistan alongside Iraq and Afghanistan. But President Bush is dead wrong; the nature of the war in the three countries in quite different.

In Iraq, the resistance to U.S. occupation is organized by sectarian militias that are not excluded from participation in politics; they even have representation in government.
In Afghanistan, the resistance is carried out primarily by the Pashtun majority, which is represented in government only by traitors and turncoats.

Pakistan is not occupied. In Pakistan, the main terrorist organization – Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – has political aims and it seeks to capture and control territory. The TTP is sponsored by the CIA, which provides it money, weapons and equipment.

All the three countries – Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – are similar in that the American aim is the same: to fragment the nation and impose unpopular/weak governments that will bend to U.S. will.

Although the story came out several weeks ago, the people of Pakistan are still stunned by the revelation that the TTP is CIA sponsored. The public first came to know of this in the newspapers that during the visit of Prime Minister Gilani to the U.S., his staff showed evidence of CIA support to TTP.

It Mr. Gilani some courage to tell U.S. that the ‘foreign support’ to Baitullah Mehsud came from the U.S. One thought it would put the U.S. on the defensive that those being accused and targeted by America for cross-border raids have been trained and supported by the U.S. Instead, the U.S. ratcheted up its propaganda against Pakistan. Baitullah Mehsud moves freely throughout the region promoting terrorism that will justify American actions. His men possess the most-advanced communication and possibly even satellite intelligence.

Pakistan army took a long time to read the signs because it just could not believe that the U.S. could resort to such diabolical stratagem against its ‘ally’.

The Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, announced on September 10 that the coalition forces would not be allowed to operate inside Pakistan. His statement came within hours of the testimony by U.S. Chief of Joint Staff, Admiral Mullen, that the strategy for the war in Afghanistan had been revised and that targets in Pakistan would be struck without prior notice or warning to Pakistan. General Kayani expressed outrage at the U.S. helicopter raid near Angor Adda on the Pakistan Afghan border that lasted 30-minute; three houses owned by the Wazir tribesmen were the target of the raid that killed 23 people, including women and children. What added insult to injury was the report that Prime Minister Gilani’s National Security Adviser Major General (retd) Mehmud Durrani formally wrote to his U.S. counterpart Steven Hadley, on September 5, warning that Pakistan would not allow any foreign forces to operate on its territory. In his letter, Durrani made it clear that the rules of engagement of the coalition forces were well defined and there was no provision that allowed the US/NATO forces in Afghanistan to operate inside Pakistan.

On Thursday, September 11, the Pakistan Army was given permission to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country. The same day, the Pakistan ambassador to the U.S. also met some national security advisers of the Bush administration and got the assurance that the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan would not operate inside Pakistan or launch any strike. As if to rub salt in the wound, the same night the coalition forces launched another missile attack on Miranshah, killing more than 12 people.

What is happening? What is the U.S. up to? More importantly, what can Pakistan do?

Clearly, the U.S. is stung by Pakistan discovering who is the real enemy. Pakistan has decided to liquidate the TTP and is succeeding with popular support. The U.S. should have been satisfied that the Pakistan Army is pursuing the TTP, but it is not. Clearly, the TTP is the excuse not the target. The American objective is to destabilize Pakistan. I refer to the article titled ‘The Destabilization of Pakistan’ by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, Canada, in which it was revealed, before Feb. 18 elections, that U.S. sees an opportunity in the elections to advance its agenda and is supporting the terrorists inside Pakistan towards that end. He wrote:

“Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of “decentralization”, to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan’s fragile federal structure.”…. “U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence. The official justification and pretext… to extend the “war on terrorism”. Concurrently, to justify its counter-terrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the “terrorists.”

It has become apparent that the insurgency in the FATA and elsewhere in NWFP is aided and abetted by the US. It wants to weaken the control of the federal government over the provinces and regions of Pakistan and it does not care whether it is achieved by Islamists or by ethnic nationalists. It supports the BLA as well as Baitullah Mehsud. It maintains its contacts with the MQM, the ANP, Baloch Nationalists as well as the JUI. It came to court the PPP as it concluded it was not overly concerned with ‘national interests’. The economic conditions have been deteriorating so fast that the economy is being described as close to ‘melt-down’. The only remaining condition yet to be met for ‘destabilization’ to become unstoppable is the ‘demonization’ of the Pakistan Army.

That explains why General Kayani’s defiant statement was quickly followed by another Predator attack. Now the ball is in General Kayani’s court; will he be the one to blink first? Will he be forced by his civilian masters – Zardari and Gilani – not to follow up on his promise and become subject of ridicule? But Pakistan has options. First and foremost, the objectives of the so-called ‘war on terror’ would have to be revised; it must henceforth deal exclusively with clearing FATA and Swat of TTP, and pacifying the area.

The approach of the people of Pakistan towards the U.S. has been transformed by the raid on Pakistan’s soil. Until now, they thought that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan was no threat to Pakistan. They had a benign view of the war despite the horrendous civilian casualties. They thought the war brought funds for development and democracy in its wake. Now the support for U.S. presence in the region is zero. The people see the United States as the main enemy; the so-called extremists are the proxies and surrogates of the USA.

Second, the firm forthrightness of the Army Chief has made him popular and brought admiration for the armed forces, instead of being demonized. The PPP, which felt secure in power after the elevation of its co-chairman to the office of the President, is likely to feel threatened. The Prime Minster has already said that his Government would deal with the situation through diplomacy. But if the bombs continue to rain in FATA and more helicopter raids occur, the people would be outraged and demand retaliation. What would the Government do? It is time to be cool and act; diplomacy rarely works when it is mere talk. Since most of the raids are by air, Pakistan needs to deploy anti-aircraft weapons to protect outposts and villages. The U.S. and NATO would need to be informed that violation of air space would be considered ‘hostile’ and dealt with as such.

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan depend on supply from or transit through Pakistan for a number of things. None need to stop but accidents do happen. After all, the U.S. did not solicit the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; they just let Baitullah Mehsud go through with what he was planning anyway. After deployment of anti-aircraft weapons on the border and ‘go slow’ strike on the tail from Karachi to Khybar, the ball would be in the U.S. court. It could take another step on the escalation ladder or sense might prevail.

However, Pakistan cannot afford to blink first. There will be rows between the civil and military leadership and it is hard to tell if the military advice would be accepted. But the Zardari Administration is already on the wrong side of the public opinion on the issue of restoration of the judges made dysfunctional by General Musharraf. He will be on the wrong side of the public opinion once again if he did nothing in the face of mounting casualties of soldiers and civilians a the hands of the USA.

Honest Assessment of the Situation in Pakistan.

Honest Assessment of the Situation in Pakistan.

Hue and cry about ISI

By Asif Haroon Raja

After taking Pakistan on board in October 2001 as a coalition partner, a web around Pakistan was cleverly woven by USA-India-Afghanistan-Israel combine with a view to destabilise, denuclearise and de-Islamise it and turn it into a client state of India. For the achievement of these objectives, our strengths were to be emasculated and our psycho-politico-religious-social vulnerabilities accentuated.

The state institutions, army, nuclear assets, fighting elements within FATA and elsewhere were marked as targets. To start with victory of King’s Party through rigged elections was validated since rubber stamp National Assembly under the control of blue-eyed Musharraf suited them. In response to the allegation that foreigners were based in South Waziristan, Musharraf agreed to induct the army in the quagmire of FATA.

Cards of religious extremism and cross border terrorism were played. After maligning AQ Khan nuclear network’s involvement in nuclear proliferation, fear was created that sooner than later our nuclear assets would be stolen or taken over by extremist elements. It was said that our nuclear assets were unsafe and our control systems inadequate. Musharraf accepted all the charges pasted on Pakistan and vowed to remove their concerns. All Jihadi groups were banned and their funds frozen and Kashmir issue put in the back burner. Our agencies and police in conjunction with FBI and CIA hounded and nabbed religious extremists and hundreds were handed over to USA without trials. Purging of conservative elements serving in nuclear setups and ISI was done at the behest of USA.

Soon after, a vicious propaganda campaign was launched against the army in 2004 to defame it. Baluchistan was heated up and BLA reincarnated from nowhere forcing the army to take stock of the situation. Both flanks of the country were enflamed. Musharraf was pressed in 2006 to hold elections and restore full democracy. Chief Justice Iftikhar was made non-functional in March 2007 since he had taken suo moto notice on missing persons and was seen as a threat to future plans conceived by USA-Mush. After extracting firm commitments from late BB on certain sensitive issues, USA brokered a deal as a result of which she was allowed to return under NRO. On finding that she had begun to charter an independent course, she was bumped off. Musharraf was allowed to impose emergency on 3 November to remove defiant judges and replace them with pliant judges. MMA was conked out to allow liberal parties to come to fore.

Consequent to elections in February 2008, although another dummy legislature was put in place under Gilani to complete the ritual, however, real power remained in the hands of cultivated persons with soiled past who captured key appointments. Decisions on crucial matters rested in their hands and they were also linked with Musharraf who was told by his mentor not to vacate presidency. Oil crisis were created to bring down all our economic indicators. Restoration of deposed judges was complicated to breed judicial crisis and political instability. Pakistan was then declared as the most dangerous country. Having purposely destabilised peaceful Fata, it was demonised through a well orchestrated media campaign where Osama and some of the top Al-Qaeda leaders were believed to be hiding. It was declared as the most dangerous place on earth from where a 9/11 like attack against USA could emanate.

It was then alleged that not only the army was not doing enough to control terrorism in Fata; some of its elements as well as the FC and the ISI were in collusion with the Taliban and were not within the control of the government. US military commanders blamed Pakistan for the sudden surge of Taliban and increase of fatalities of Nato troops in Afghanistan which in their view was because of inking of peace deals with militants and ISI’s linkage with them. Since June their posture has become aggressive and Pakistan is painted as real threat to world security. Bush has threatened Pakistan of dire consequences if Pakistan is again found involved in terrorist attack in Afghanistan. USA also pressed Pakistan to scrap peace deals and deal with the militants firmly and show results or else US-Nato troops would be constrained to barge in and act unilaterally.

Using its old policy of stick and carrot, USA succeeded in pressurising Pakistan government to do away with its policy of dialogue and recommence the policy of force. Series of military operations have been launched, first in Khyber Agency, then in Hangu and in Swat and now in Bajaur Agency. Mohmand Agency will be next in the firing line. This is part of the preparatory manoeuvre to soften the ground for US-Nato offensive against North and South Waziristan sometime in September.

It was in context with war preparations that the ISI was picked up as the chief suspect contributing towards successes of the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was also accused of playing a double game. In American assessment the ISI was bound to jeopardise their intended operation in FATA.

Having gained monopoly over the internet, wireless communication, satellite communication, mobile network, GPS and imagery system, USA has succeeded in penetrating each and every system in vogue and rendering the world naked and vulnerable. Nothing remains hidden from its roving eyes. Its success is however dependent upon the cooperation extended by the country receiving its technology. In Pakistan, it has yet to fully penetrate within our nuclear setup, ISI and Nadra. Placement of ISI under MI-6 agent Rehman Malik was the first step towards its emasculation. Strategic Planning Division controlling various nuclear organisations is another target whose funds for R&D have been radically reduced by PPP government.

Having worked intimately with CIA since from 1981 till 1989 and again from 2001 onwards, it should be asked as to why the ISI has suddenly come in bad books of USA with which CIA and so much of hue and cry is being made. The ISI accidentally stumbled across hard evidence indicating deep involvement of CIA and RAW in Swat, FATA and Baluchistan. It learnt that the duo had friendly terms with militant groups within FATA which were fighting Pak army and was unfriendly with those who were pro-army. Hellfire missiles were fired from Predators to disrupt peace negotiations or to gun down pro-army elements. Having smelt the rat, the ISI quietly started to monitor their activities and tracked their agents involved in sabotage, and wherever possible, restrained from sharing intelligence. Having played dual game for so long while pretending to be friends, Americans have felt so outraged over ISI’s modest effort to safeguard Pakistan’s interest that it has been put on the firing line.

The ISI has been brought under vicious propaganda spearheaded by India and duly supported by Afghanistan and USA. The US senior most officials including Bush have alleged that ISI has links with Jallaluddin Haqqani based in Khost whose set up is engaged in fighting Nato-Afghan troops in Afghanistan. They charge that the ISI forewarn the Pakistani Taliban about US air strikes against suspected targets in Fata and that it has evidence of ISI’s involvement in attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul on 7 July. However, the accusers have not furnished any proof to substantiate their allegations.

PPP leaders with feet of clay panicked and a notification placing ISI and IB under Ministry of Interior was issued on 26 July. Abrupt issuance of the notification to time it with visit of Gilani to Washington was a clear indication that the move was made to appease Bush. The plea taken was that it would help protect army and ISI from defamation and earning a bad name. Placement of premier agency under the leash of iniquitous and unelected Rehman Malik whose performance in the last four months leave much to be desired caused consternation to many. Mercifully the notification was cancelled because of severe criticism but efforts to cut it to size would continue.

Even if it is agreed that the ISI has links with Pakistani Taliban in FATA, there is nothing immoral about it since they are also Pakistanis and not foreigners. There is nothing alarming about its contacts with Afghan Taliban since both Pakistan and USA had helped the Taliban to capture power in 1995. 1.8 million Afghan refugees are still residing in Pakistan. RAW, besides destabilising all its neighbours, is also busy destabilising Pakistan from its new base in Afghanistan in concert with RAM, Mossad and CIA. Afghan refugees who have returned, Uzbeks and Baloch dissidents are being trained by RAW in Afghanistan and launched into selected areas with full connivance of CIA. BLA leadership based in Helmand is patronised by RAW and CIA. Foolproof evidence of RAW’s activities in Baluchistan had been furnished to visiting Bush in March 2006 and also to Karzai. Pakistan’s lukewarm complaints have however been ignored because of lack of aggressiveness and consistency on part of our leaders.

Contrary to Pakistan’s diffidence to avoid naming the culprit openly and making noise about it, India has blamed Pakistan for each and every terrorist act taking place in India or in IHK. At times it has cooked up dramas to serve its vested interests. ISI was blamed for terrorist attack on State Assembly in Srinagar in August 2001 and then on Lok Sabha in December 2001. Both attacks were stage-managed to justify carrying out biggest ever troop mobilisation against Pakistan. The purpose behind it was to coerce Pakistan to change its policy on Kashmir as it had done in Afghanistan and rein in all Jihadi groups. This time the target is ISI which has acted as a first line defence against RAW’s conspiracies and has at times used its long arm within India. The Indians are instrumental in convincing and colouring US perceptions about ISI and are keen to make it impotent.

Having destabilised FATA, adjoining districts of Frontier province and Baluchistan, MQM has now been geared up to destabilise Karachi under the plea of threat of Talibanisation. Altaf has given a call to the activists of MQM to arm and train themselves in martial arts to confront the self-created threat. The MQM will go to any length to please its foreign masters. By September both eastern and western borders would be heated up and Pakistan will again be coerced militarily to extract more concessions. In October 2001, USA’s position was strong and it had bargained from a position of strength. Musharraf had melted all too soon and conceded more than what Americans had expected. He again wilted under Indian pressure in 2002 and ceded several concessions. Today, USA stands on a weak wicket and is not in a position to dictate terms but Pakistan also is weak and ruled by weak-willed rulers. Dual faced Zardari’s sincerity will be tested soon when Musharraf will be impeached.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig based in Rawalpindi and a defence and political analyst.

Last Gasp of a Doomed Currency

Last Gasp of a Doomed Currency

by Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital | September 12, 2008

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In the latest example of financial market madness, the recent government “bailout” of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae has perversely resulted in a sharp rise in the value of the U.S. dollar. If the markets were functioning rationally, the transference of staggering new liabilities to the U.S. Treasury would have been immediately seen as catastrophic for the dollar. Instead the markets have ignored the obviously negative long-term implications and have remained fixated on the more immediate effects. However, rather than solving the problems, the government’s actions merely confirm my worst fears, and increase the chances for a hyper-inflationary outcome.

By transforming $5.5 trillion of suspect mortgage-backed securities into seemingly bullet-proof Treasury bonds, the move has sparked a relief rally in the dollar as foreign investors no longer have to worry about defaults or markdowns. In fact, to holders of Fannie and Freddie debt, it no longer matters what happens to the housing market. Home prices can drop another 50%, every single homeowner can default on their mortgage, and bond holders will not lose one dime. This has emboldened foreign investors, and temporarily increased demand for both dollars and Freddie and Fannie debt.

Had the government done the right thing and not guaranteed Freddie and Fannie debt, I believe we would now be experiencing an outright financial crisis. The dollar would be falling sharply along with real estate prices, gold would be soaring and the recession would be deepening. However, by nationalizing Freddie and Fannie, the government has merely delayed the crisis. The borrowed time will cost us dearly, as the day of reckoning will now likely involve much steeper losses for our currency.

The Freddie and Fannie takeover does nothing to address the underlying problems that forced the companies into bankruptcy in the first place. All of the bad mortgage debt still exists. In fact, based on this bailout, there will be trillions more in bad mortgages insured over the next few years. The only thing that has changed is how the losses will be distributed. Instead of falling solely on bond holders, who had chosen to invest in mortgage debt, they will now be dispersed among U.S. taxpayers and all holders of U.S. dollars, who made no such choices.

Over the next year or two, my prediction is that several trillion dollars of existing mortgages, not currently insured by Freddie or Fannie, will be transferred to the pile. Going forward the vast majority of new mortgages made to Americans will be bought by Fannie or Freddie. Therefore in a few short years the $5.5 trillion of initially transferred liabilities could grow to more than $10 trillion of new obligations for the U.S. Treasury.

The defenders of the bailout claim that Fannie and Freddie debt does not represent true obligations because they are fully collateralized by homes. But anyone with a casual interest in the current real estate market knows that homes are now only worth a fraction of outstanding mortgage debt. And that fraction gets smaller every day. My guess is that $10 trillion of federally insured mortgages could result in $2 trillion of losses, which amounts to more than $25,000 per American family.

Also, there is no reason to believe that the bailout merry-go-round will end with Fannie and Freddie. Faltering investment bank Lehman Bros. is now positioned to receive the kind of Federal backstop that smoothed the purchase of Bear Stearns back in March. Bailouts of automotive and airline companies can’t be long in coming. Once the market perceives a Federal magic wand, it becomes politically impossible to stop waving it.

In addition to adding new sources of debt in the form of mortgage backed securities, the government is also piling on debt the old fashioned way…through budget deficits. Recent projections put the 2008 deficit at $410 billion, not counting the Iraq war or any costs related to financial bailouts. It is my guess that the annual Federal budget deficit will soon approach, and then exceed, $1 trillion, and that the national debt, including actual bonds and guaranteed mortgages, will soon exceed $20 trillion. When these untenable obligations force Treasury and agency investors to shift focus from default risk to inflation risk, a mass exodus from both Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (now Treasuries in disguise) will ensue. The stampede will trample the dollar.

When the dust settles, the Federal government will be left with staggering liabilities that will be impossible to repay with legitimate means (taxation or borrowing). To make good, they must rely on the printing press to create money out of thin air. The rapid expansion in money supply will push the dollar down mercilessly.

Right now every asset on the planet is being sold except the U.S. dollar. To me this rally looks like the last gasp of a dying currency. Just like a toy rocket ship, once the dollar runs out of fuel it will crash back down to Earth.

THE ISRAELIZATION OF US FOREIGN POLICY

THE ISRAELIZATION OF


US FOREIGN POLICY


By Brother Nathanael Kapner

THE ISRAELI ‘6 DAY WAR’ of 1967 drove the leaders of Israel to look for a new partner. This was because President De Gaulle suspended all arms shipments to Israel because Israel initiated the 6 Day War against French advice.

In November of 1967, De Gaulle had some choice words about the Jews who had spurned his counsel – and a warning to the world:

“The establishment of a Zionist homeland in Palestine has raised certain fears. The question must be asked whether the settlement of this community on a land acquired under more or less justifiable conditions would not lead to continued conflicts.

Some people even feared that the Jews, an elite people, sure of themselves and domineering, would, once assembled again on the land of their ancient greatness, turn their Zionist pursuit into a burning and conquering ambition.

Since 1956, we have witnessed a warrior State of Israel that is determined to increase its boundaries. Israel has reached further objectives in only six days of fighting. Now Israel organizes itself on conquered territories, the occupation of which cannot go without oppression and expulsions” Here.

Israel then turned to the US, the world’s leader in military technology. At the same time, Syria & Egypt asked Russia for assistance. Israel knew it could use “Cold War logic” to persuade the US to throw its military might behind the warrior state.

And given the influence of wealthy American Jews & the Jewish controlled media – along with the prospects of expanding an already powerful ‘Jewish Lobby’ – the conditions were now ripe for the ‘Israelization of US Foreign Policy.’

ORGANIZED JEWRY WORKS FOR ISRAEL NOT AMERICAAMERICAN JEWRY NOW WORKED FERVERISHLY to put pressure on political candidates to espouse unconditional support for Israel. In several states, Jewish money from the powerful Jewish Lobby Group known as AIPAC tilted elections towards the most pro-Israeli candidates. In addition, Jewish organizations worked effectively to defeat candidates who took positions even mildly critical of Israel.

Illinois Congressman Paul Findley was one such victim of the Jewish Lobby’s manipulations. Owing to the Jewish Lobby’s lavish campaign spending on Findley’s opponent, coupled with a ruthless media campaign against him, after 22 years in Congress, Findley lost the election in 1982 simply because he challenged the ruling line on US support for Israel. (Jews have corrupted our political system absolutely.)

In October of 2007, Findley had these choice words for the Jewish Lobby:

“There is an open secret in Washington. All members of Congress swear to serve the interests of the United States – but there is an unwritten exception: The interests of one small foreign country always trumps US interests. That nation of course is Israel” Here.

The Jewish Lobby subverts democracy when it engages in smear campaigns that intimidate and silence critics. Is it not time that we call politicians to account for their undying allegiance to a foreign state which serves only the interests of the Jews?

9/11 LIES & AMERICAN-ZIONIST IMPERIALISM MASKED BENEATH THE BANNER of The War On Terrorism, lurks the intrigues of the omnipresent Jewish neocon political bloc.

According to foremost political analysts, the events of 9/11 allowed the preexisting ideological agenda of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf and relabeled as the borderless War On Terror.”

Indeed, the traumatic effects of the induced 9-11 events enabled the Zionist agenda of the Jewish neocons to become the foreign policy of America.

What is this neocon agenda?

The US should use its military to establish an empire that includes the whole world – a global Pax Americana with Israel as its partner.

The US should implement a doctrine of preemptive war for the sake of bringing about “regime change” in countries regarded as hostile to US-Israeli interests.

The US should use this new doctrine to gain control of the world’s oil, both in Afghanistan, with its proximity to the Caspian Sea, & in Iraq.

IN AN INTERVIEW on March 24 2008, former UN official, Dr Richard Falk, called for an official commission to study the role of the Jewish neocons in the 9/11 attacks. Falk said, “The neoconservatives looked for a situation that would galvanize the American people. There is much grounds for suspicion of a neocon role in the events of 9/11.”

We Eagerly Await The Day When Jewish Neocons Like Richard Perle & Philip Zelikow Are Put On Trial For Their Role In The Tragic Events Of 9/11.

How Do We Build the Resistance?

M Ahmed

The time has come to bypass Congress/Senate ,suspend their activities and investigate them for any/all crimes and only reinstate those who are not guilty. All representatives must take regular independent empathy / humanity test to prove fitness to hold office. Independent Peoples Jury to control / monitor lobbyist interest groups. Ban all payments to representatives from interested companies/lobbyists/people/organizations. Representatives to receive government salary, health care scheme and expense and pension.

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