President Zardari Says Pakistan Won’t Use Nuclear Weapons First

President Zardari Says Pakistan Won’t Use Nuclear Weapons First

By Pratik Parija

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) — President Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan won’t be the first country to use a nuclear weapon in any conflict with India and called for improved economic and political ties between the traditional South Asian rivals.

“I don’t feel threatened by India and India shouldn’t feel threatened by us,” Zardari said in a videoconference at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi today.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, have been seeking to improve ties between themselves in the past five years after coming close to a fourth conflict in 2002.

Zardari said the impulse for reaching an accord on the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, divided between the neighbors and claimed by both, should come from the people and politicians. He hoped that the need for a visa to cross the border could be scrapped and that an “e-card swipe” would suffice.

India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in quick succession in May 1998, leading to sanctions against both. The sanctions were lifted against Pakistan after it joined the U.S.- led war on terrorism in 2001.

India ended more than three decades of nuclear isolation this year, having previously conducted a test in 1974, after reaching an agreement on fuel and technology supplies with the Nuclear Suppliers Group as part an accord with the U.S. India has said it won’t be the first user of an atomic weapon.

The Pakistan president said that he wanted to increase trade with India and China by taking advantage of their geographical closeness. He said trade, and not aid, was what Pakistan needed, saying that nations have been spoiled by aid.

IMF Bailout

He said the Pakistan government has sent a letter of intent to be vetted by the International Monetary Fund.

Pakistan is counting on the $7.6 billion IMF bailout to help build up its foreign-exchange reserves, which shrank 75 percent in a year to $3.5 billion, and to attract investment that will boost an economy predicted to grow at the slowest pace in seven years.

The $150 billion economy may grow 4.3 percent this fiscal year to June 30, lower than the earlier predicted 5.5 percent, Waqar Masood, secretary at the finance ministry, said on Nov. 19. Inflation will exceed the government’s previous target of 12 percent, he said.

Political wrangling left the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, which came into power in March, unable to tackle inflation at a three-decade high and fix power shortages. Zardari, 52, was elected President in September.

Additional Aid

Pakistan is hoping the IMF loan may help it win additional aid from a group of other lenders and donor nations, including the U.S., the U.K., China and Saudi Arabia. The group’s Nov. 17 meeting in Abu Dhabi adopted a “work plan” for financial help to Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Pakistan left its last IMF program in 2004 with a credit rating from Standard & Poor’s of B+, four levels below investment grade. S&P on Nov. 14, one day before the latest IMF loan was announced, cut the nation’s rating to CCC, citing a risk of default on external debt payments.

Moody’s Investors Service, which rates Pakistan’s debt at B3, said Nov. 17 the rating remains on review for a downgrade as the country needs to show it will secure additional assistance from donors and other lenders.

The Pakistani rupee in October plunged to an all-time low and the balance of payments deficit in the first three months of the fiscal year started July 1 widened to $3.95 billion, from $2.27 billion a year earlier. The deficit reached a record $14 billion last year.

India Caucus

Zardari, speaking from Islamabad, said he’s asked for a caucus to be formed in parliament aimed at examining suggestions for improving ties with India.

The Pakistan president said he expects to discuss terrorism and other issues with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

Pakistan has repeatedly demanded a halt to U.S. strikes near its border with Afghanistan saying they weaken its ability to fight terrorism. The U.S. says Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters who fled from Afghanistan to the mountains of the tribal region after the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2001 have crossed back over the border to attack Afghan and coalition targets.

Zardari didn’t answer directly when asked whether he would invite former president and military dictator Pervez Musharraf to join his government.

“That would be up to parliament to decide,” the president said. “But I can assure you this much that he’s having a comfortable time and he’s busy playing, the last I heard, golf, which is more than what I was doing when he was in power.”

QUACKING ON THE EVE OF DISASTER

QUACKING ON THE EVE OF DISASTER

Lame duck President Bush speaking recently about the economic depression we now face said: “We must save capitalism,” “Government is not the total solution,” “Capitalism is the only way,” and “The key is sustained economic growth with free trade within the US and with other nations.”

Most of us realize at long last that unregulated capitalism is in fact a total disaster for the human race.  We have given capitalism all possible monetary support and freedom to display its worth.  President Carter deregulated the airlines. President Reagan broke the union movement. The two Bush Presidents and Clinton gave capitalism full military support for its imperialistic expansion abroad.  President Clinton, advised by Robert Rubin, gave Wall Street everything it wanted:  The safety net was abolished, so as to drive more desperate people into the work force who would take whatever wage was offered.  Capitalists were given full legal and military protection to invest abroad.  President Bush installed capitalists who should be regulated to do the regulating, and abolished or weakened regulations that in any way inhibited capitalist investment.  For more than 50 years, we have primed the capitalist pump with “military Keynesianism.”  We have tried capitalist ideas and ideologies of “trickle down economics,” and “neo-liberalism.”  Despite all of this, capitalism has failed us.

The truth is that capitalism has destroyed itself and imposed extreme risk and danger of planet wide economic depression and actual starvation on all of us. The truth is that further “economic growth” and “growing the economy” following the failed capitalistic way will destroy the planet.

So far President-elect Obama and the Democratic leadership seem to be doing a bit of quacking of their own as capitalism implodes. President-elect Obama wants the government to bail out the big three auto makers in Detroit , and seems to want to get things going again the way they were before August 2007.  Do we really want to finance Detroit to build more locomotive sized SUVs and Humvees?  Do we really want to stimulate the construction industry to build more over-priced housing subdivisions that require 50 to 60% of a buyer’s income to finance on long term loans?  Do we really want to restore the real estate bubble?  The Silicon Valley bubble?  Do we really want to give public money to Wall Street’s investment banks to encourage them again to loan money?  Loan money to do what?  Use the money to do what?  Do we want to give Wall Street public money with no conditions, no oversight, and no real controls whatever?  President-elect Obama and the Democratic leadership have done exactly that.  The fact is that capitalism was obviously in deep trouble prior to August 2007.

There are no constructive creative ideas for dealing with the current crisis coming from the left either.  For example the editors of the respected socialist journal, Monthly Review, write in a November editorial:  “It is not our job to fix their (capitalistic) system.”  So, Monthly Review editors, whose job is it?  Who will come up with the ideas that will get us from where we are to where we need to be for a sustainable civilized existence?

We still have the necessary building blocks to maintain a sustainable civilization:

In President Obama we have a towering intellect with inner security, calm pragmatic judgment and a compassionate heart as the new leader of the free world.

This President has the enthusiastic support of voters in the US and people everywhere on the planet.

Although the implosion of capitalism has eliminated many of our jobs and will eliminate many more, we are all anxious and willing to work.

We all have human needs for health care, housing, clothing, a stable food supply, energy, safe bridges and levees, truthful sources of information, and leisure time.

We care about each other. We are willing to work cooperatively together, and to care for each other, to meet our needs.

We are willing to petition, march, rally, and organize between elections to support true leaders and to make sure that our needs are met.

Given that capitalism has imploded, what ideas can we rally around?  What can we demand of President Obama?

We can demand a permanent public planning agency something like the War Production Board of World War II staffed with pragmatic, non-ideological, public spirited, bright persons who are willing to direct lending and production to those sustainable human needs that we share.  If Detroit should not make SUVs, what should it make?

We can demand that our government provide us with security that we will all have nutritious food no matter what.  Many citizens do not now have that peace of mind and some are buying guns to protect themselves from hungry mobs.  Although we hope and pray that farmers will continue to grow food at a profit, and truckers will distribute the food at a profit, there may be a total collapse of the profit system, as some economists predict.  Hence, we demand that our government have an alternate plan to hire farmers to grow food and to hire truckers to deliver it if necessary.   We must terminate our unthinking worship of capitalism.  We must not make the mistake of Franklin Roosevelt who ordered the killing of pigs when thousands were hungry in order to restore profit making for farmers.

We can demand that the government stop relating to us as if we were only consumers, and meet our deep need to be producers and creators with a decent share of the income from our production.

We can demand that our government become our bank, our lending agency of last resort, to finance small businesses and cooperatives that produce products and services that meet our needs.  We can demand that the Federal Reserve Bank, controlled by private bankers, be abolished.

We can demand that our government become our employer of last resort.  If, for example there are no doctors willing to meet our health needs at a price we can afford, let our government subsidize medical schools and hire doctors and physician’s assistants to serve us.

We can demand that our government make available to us radio and TV frequencies so that we can discuss our needs and solutions with each other and with our elected representatives, and so that our President has a means free of the dead hand of capitalist ownership to report to us about how he is implementing our demands and our needs.  We can reinstate the “fairness doctrine” and implement the true purposes of the Federal Communications Act to foster public enlightenment, and to provide the complete and accurate information that we need to govern ourselves.

We can and should tax the extreme wealth and income at the very top of our society.  It is the only source of funding available to do what needs to be done.  It is not only because “it is unjust for some people to have more than they need when others are needy,” but because the wealthy have hugely profited at our expense because of recent policies.  We should studiously avoid bailing out the wealthy and their failed institutions and ideas.  David Chandler, a California Quaker and businessman has calculated the wealth now held by the top 1%:  It is as much wealth as all that we at the bottom 95% own.  Most of us do not know about the immense total wealth held by the wealthiest 1%. It is a well kept secret. It is at least $13 Trillion, and that estimate is conservative and does not count secreted wealth.  This $13 Trillion is held by 30 thousand people. These 30 thousand hold as much wealth as 300 million of us. If we stack up $100 bills, $1,000 stack would be a stack between ¼ inch and ½ inch high. A million dollar stack would be 39 inches high. A billion dollar stack would be 3280 feet high or 6/10 of a mile. A trillion Dollar stack would be 621 miles high.  $13 Trillion would be a stack over 8000 miles high.  See http://lcurve.org/

Free of the propaganda coming from the top 1%, we can evaluate the power and numbers of “terrorists,” and make a determination as to whether there are less expensive and more effective ways such as effective police work and negotiation, to deal with them rather than a permanent planet-wide war.

We must halt all public financial support of capitalism and capitalists.  Let capitalists stand or fall on the true principles of capitalism without public subsidy, and without “socialism for the rich” or “military Keynesianism.”  We need not let capitalism take us humans and civilization down with it.

WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER

WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER

By: Peter Chamberlin

 

In the kingdom of the master deceivers black is white, war is peace and freedom is slavery.  The object of the avalanche of lies that washes over us all on a daily basis is to so overwhelm us with lies and half-truths that we can no longer recognize the truth, even when it is staring us in the face.  Whenever a society reaches this stage of disinformation saturation then truth itself becomes the most effective lie.

 

Fantasy becomes the coin of the realm, as truth no longer reflects its absolute weight, appearing no different from the darkness that surrounds it.  In this world, the imaginings of delusional minds are given life, as people embrace the concept of the suspension of disbelief.  When people are trained to voluntarily dispense with reason, for the sake of entertainment, they become ripe for ultimate deception.  People will believe anything.

 

Into this darkened delusional realm psychological manipulation devices are introduced, such as television and movies, for the insertion of complex ideas into the unreasoning escapist minds of the masses.  Using these tools, the master manipulators practice their dark arts of psychological manipulation, to eradicate unacceptable ideas and to implant new acceptable versions of “reality” into the minds of the conditioned sheeple. 

Through technology political leaders indoctrinate the people into embracing the elite’s beliefs; the exact opposite of the democratic ideal.  Through this brainwashing process roles are reversed, the people are coerced into representing the will of the “representatives.”  This unholy union of politicians with the scientists and intellectuals who developed the mind-warping sciences is taking America first, and then the rest of the world, into what has been called a “technocratic era” (See: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America’a Role in the Technocratic Era)

New World Order spokesman David Rockefeller (Brzezinski’s sponsor) was not afraid to speak plainly about our planned fate, when he boasted that:

 

“The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely
preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in the past centuries.”  

 

The plans to create a “scientific dictatorship” for us have been hidden in plain sight, because very few people cared to open their eyes wide enough to adjust to the overwhelming darkness.  Our movies and television programs echoed with the idea that the planned technocracy is an inevitable “evolutionary” step, that, overall, it will be a good thing for mankind.  Science fiction is the most fertile medium to indoctrinate us with hope in the future and faith in science as our salvation. 

 

In “The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship Part Two: Science Fiction and the Sirius Connection,” Phillip D. Collins asserts that:

“Traditionally, ‘science fiction’ has appeared to most people as an adolescent genre, the province of time-wasting fantasies. This has been the great strength of this genre as a vehicle for the inculcation of the ideology favored by the Cryptocracy. As J.H. Towsen points out in Clowns, only when people think they are not buying something can the real sales pitch begin. While it is true that with the success of NASA’s Gemini space program and the Apollo moon flights more serious attention and respectability was accorded ‘science fiction,’ nonetheless in its formative seeding time, from the late 19th century through the 1950s, the predictive program known as ‘science fiction’ had the advantage of being derided as the solitary vice of misfit juveniles and marginal adults.” (Hoffman, 205)

Thus, ‘science fiction’ is a means of conditioning the masses to accept future visions that the elite wish to tangibly enact. [Ed. Note: SF also widely uses Darwinian notions and language to project a fantastic future. This is another area of potential research.] This process of gradual and subtle inculcation is dubbed ‘predictive programming.’ Hoffman elaborates: ‘Predictive programming works by means of the propagation of the illusion of an infallibly accurate vision of how the world is going to look in the future’ (Hoffman, 205). Memes are instilled through the circulation of ‘mass appeal’ documents under the guise of ‘science fiction’ literature. Once subsumed on a cognitive level, these memes become self-fulfilling prophecies, embraced by the masses and outwardly approximated through the efforts of the elite.”

Judging by some of the most popular science fiction movies like Matrix, V Is For Vendetta and Children of Men, it would seem that the master manipulators want us to not only learn and accept the concept of a technocratic brotherhood, but also to accept the idea that rebellion is a necessary precursor to that eventual day of global “federation.” 

 

In order for that “great day” of the technocratic era to arrive, everyone in society will have to be conditioned to accept the official construct, and all those who fight the new system will have to be removed from society.  America must experience martial law day, in order to clear the way for the new order.

 

Believe it or not, there is an organization Technocracy.org that actually promotes acceptance of the technocratic order:

“Technocracy is science applied to society”

“Technocracy is technological social design”.

“Technocracy is a blueprint of a new method of social operation”.    

 

In my opinion, this organization exists solely to rehabilitate the word “technocracy.”

In keeping with the theme of this paper, we must ask the question, have the master deceivers revealed the actual plan for manipulating the world into accepting this new scientific global dictatorship?  Has the plan been revealed to us, under the clever disguise of fiction?  There is one piece of universally discredited evidence that fits this description, THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION.  Because of vague similarities in order and cited examples with an earlier work of fiction, Dialogue In Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquie, the work was discredited as plagiarism, thus eliminating discussions of the accuracy of the descriptions given for the inner workings of the global conspiracy that is pushing the world dictatorship of bankers and intellectuals.  I urge everyone concerned with the plans for the new world order to examine both of these books and judge for yourself whether or not certain powerful individuals do control our press, our banks, our government, etc.

Returning to The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship Part One, researcher Collins points-out that:

“There was an original text on which the published version of the Protocols was based. This original text was not a forgery. On the contrary, it was authentic. But it had nothing whatever to do with Judaism or an ‘international Jewish conspiracy.’ It issued, rather, from some Masonic organization or Masonically oriented secret society that incorporated the word ‘Sion’.” (Baigent, et al, 194)

Given the Masonic language, one can completely discard the racist contention that the Protocols constitute evidence of an ‘international Jewish conspiracy.’ Nevertheless, the document holds some authenticity:

 ‘The published version of the Protocols is not, therefore, a totally fabricated text. It is, rather, a radically altered text. But despite the alterations certain vestiges of the original version can be discerned’.’ (Baigent, et al, 195)

The remnant vestiges of the original text strongly suggest Masonic origins. Having established the Masonic authorship of the Protocols, one may return to issue at hand: Freemasonic involvement in the promotion of Darwinism. Consider the following excerpt from the Protocols, which reads distinctly like a mission statement:

‘For them [the masses or cattle] let that play the principal part which we have persuaded them to accept as the dictates of science (theory). It is with this object in view that we are constantly, by means of our press, arousing a blind confidence in these theories. The intellectuals of the goyim [the masses or cattle] will puff themselves up with their knowledge and without any logical verification of it will put into effect all the information available from science, which our agentur specialists have cunningly pieced together for the purpose of educating their minds in the direction we want.”

If this is correct, then “we” in the text refers to the conspirators, and “goyim” refers to us sheeple.  Re-reading the original with these changes paints a pretty accurate picture of the multiple deceptions and power plays that comprise the key elements of the conspiracy to enslave this planet to the narrow interests of elitist intellectual financiers. 

 

Much of the world is about to be reduced to rubble so that we the people might be sifted like sand, to steal from us the little that remains.

Here is the best movie description of the new stateless world of sedated sheeple and the corporate empires that I have come across, from the movie “Network.”

 

“You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it.

Is that clear?

You think that you have stopped a business deal.

That is not the case.

The arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country and now they must put it back!

It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity.

It is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples.

There are no nations.

There are no peoples.

There are no Russians.

There are no Arabs.

There are no Third Worlds.

There is no West.

There is only one holistic system of systems!

One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting multi-variant, multinational dominion of dollars!

Petrol dollars, electro dollars, multi-dollars,

Reichsmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels!

It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet.

That is the natural order of things today.

That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today.

And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature!

And you will atone.

Am I getting through to you?

You get up on your little 21-inch screen

And you howl about America and democracy.

There is no America.

There is no democracy.

There is only IBM and ITT.

And AT&T, and Du Pont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon.

Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state?

Karl Marx?

They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theorise, minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments  just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale,

The world is a college of corporations,

inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business.

The world is a business.

It has been since man crawled out of the slime.

And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world,

In which there is no war or famine, oppression or brutality.

One vast and ecumenical holding company,

For whom all men will work to serve a common profit.

In which all men will hold a share of stock,

All necessities provided,

All anxieties tranquilized,

All boredom amused.

And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

“Why me?” 

Because you’re on television, dummy.

 

“I have seen the face of God.”

You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

 

 

Supplying Afghanistan looks increasingly sketchy

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Supplying Afghanistan looks increasingly sketchy

Yesterday’s Washington Post story about the search for an alternative supply route into Afghanistan was another indicator of the vulnerability of the NATO-American strategy in that country. For seven years, the U.S. has had a military commitment, of varying size, to Afghanistan. If an alternative supply route into Afghanistan from the west and north was so obvious and simple, it surely would have been implemented long ago.

The fact is that such a route is neither obvious nor simple, and no desire for a “surge” strategy for Afghanistan is going to change that fact. Furthermore, the logistical constraints of military operations in Afghanistan apply equally to additional U.S. Army brigade combat teams or to a proposed doubling in the size of the Afghan army. Both alternatives for increasing allied combat power will require external, U.S.-supplied logistics support.

Now to excerpts from the WaPo article:

About 75 percent of NATO and U.S. supplies bound for Afghanistan — including gas, food and military equipment — are transported over land through Pakistan. The journey begins in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi and continues north through Pakistan’s volatile North-West Frontier Province and tribal areas before supplies arrive at the Afghan border. The convoys then press forward along mountain hairpin turns through areas of Afghanistan that are known as havens for insurgents.

Drivers at this busy border crossing say death threats from the Taliban arrive almost daily. Sometimes they come in the form of a letter taped to the windshield of a truck late at night. Occasionally, a dispatcher receives an early-morning phone call before a convoy sets off from Pakistan. More often, the threats are delivered at the end of a gun barrel.

“The Taliban, they tell us, ‘These goods belong to the Americans. Don’t bring them to the Americans. If you do, we’ll kill you,’ ” said Rahmanullah, a truck driver from the Pakistani tribal town of Landikotal. “From Karachi to Kabul there is trouble. The whole route is insecure.”

[…]

Yet the scramble to find new routes appears to indicate the attacks have had some effect. The United States has already begun negotiations with countries along what the Pentagon has called a new northern route. An agreement with Georgia has been reached and talks are ongoing with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, according to an Oct. 31 Pentagon document. “We do not expect transit agreements with Iran or Uzbekistan,” the Transportation Command told potential contractors.

[…]

Meanwhile, heavy security along the Pakistan-to-Afghanistan route has slowed NATO supply traffic to a trickle at Torkham, according to Afghan customs officials and drivers here. To the east, more than 1,000 trucks waited at a near-standstill on the Pakistani side of the pass on Tuesday, engines idling in an hours-long purgatory of dust and unmet deadlines. To the west, a thin stream of tractor-trailers lurched toward the Afghan customs office, churning slowly through an unceasing throng of merchants, day laborers and refugees.

Security restrictions forced customs officials to slow the flow of traffic to 25 trucks every few hours. Before the Taliban raid and border closure last week, an average of 600 to 800 tractor-trailers moved through Torkham a day, according to Afghan customs officials. Customs officials said they hoped at best to see 200 trucks pass
through on Tuesday.

Since 2001, the Bush administration never considered dealing with the bizarre regime in Turkmenistan. For a time, the U.S. used the so-called K-2 base in Uzbekistan until the Bush administration could no longer tolerate the human rights practices in that country. A glance at a map reveals few other realistic approaches into Afghanistan from the north.

Perhaps most damaging, the creation of a main supply route from the north would cede enormous diplomatic leverage over to Russia. It is true that the Russian government has an interest in NATO’s success in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Russia, through its influence in the “near abroad,” most notably Kazakhstan, would have immense authority to turn the northern MSR on and off at its will. How could any Russian government official not be reminded of the German Sixth Army’s plight at Stalingrad?

Pakistan has an interest in keeping the Khyber Pass open. But having the interest doesn’t mean it has the authority to do so.

When President Obama receives his briefings from the Joint Chiefs on military options for Afghanistan, I hope he receives straight talk from the generals about the risks and consequences of these courses of action.

Pakistan called a ‘wild card’ in intelligence forecast

Pakistan called a ‘wild card’ in intelligence forecast

* US intelligence report says northwestern territories will remain ‘poorly governed’
* Food, water will be scarce, advanced weapons plentiful
* China, India likely to join United States atop a multipolar world
* Qaeda’s weaknesses to attract broad-based support might cause it to decay
* Iran, Turkey, Indonesia seen gaining power

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has been called a ‘wild card’, whose northwestern territories will remain ‘poorly governed’, as cross-border activities continue to cause instability in nearby areas of Afghanistan.

According to a report – Global Trends 2025 – issued by the National Intelligence Council on Thursday, Afghanistan will remain an essentially tribally-centred nation facing continual conflict. The future of Iraq does not look much better. China, however, is projected to emerge as the world’s second strongest economic power after the United States, while the latter will have “less power in a multipolar world than it has enjoyed for many decades”. Russia has the potential to be richer and more powerful, but only if it expands and diversifies its economy, predicts the report.

US economic and political clout will decline over the next two decades and the world will be more dangerous, with food and water scarce and advanced weapons plentiful, the report projected.

The analysis also said the current financial crisis on Wall Street is just the first phase of a global economic reordering. The US dollar’s role as the world’s major currency would weaken to become a “first among equals,” the report said.

The outlook is intended to inform US president-elect Barack Obama of factors that will influence global events. It is based on a year-long global survey of experts and trends by US intelligence analysts.

“The next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks,” said the report, which was more pessimistic about US influence and the potential for conflict than the last outlook for 2020.

Thomas Fingar, chairman of the intelligence council and deputy national director of intelligence for analysis, said harmful outcomes were not inevitable.

“It is not beyond the mind of human beings, or political systems, (or) in some cases (the) working of market mechanisms to address and alleviate if not solve these problems,” Fingar told reporters. “We could have a better world in 2025.”

China and India, following a “state capitalism” economic model, were likely to join the US atop a multi-polar world and compete for influence, the report said.

Russia’s potential was less certain, depending on its energy wealth and internal investment. But Iran, Turkey and Indonesia were also seen gaining power.

A world with multiple power centres has been less stable than one with a single or two rival superpowers, and there was a growing potential for conflict, the report said.

Global warming will be felt, and water, food and energy constraints may fuel conflict over resources.

“Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments and technological innovation and acquisition, but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries,” the report said.

“Types of conflict we have not seen for a while — such as over resources — could re-emerge,” it said. .

There was a greater, but still small, risk of nuclear attack, based on spreading technologies and the weakening of international non-proliferation systems.

The report said terrorism would likely be a factor in 2025 but suggested that Al Qaeda’s ‘terrorist wave’ might be breaking up.

“Al Qaeda’s weaknesses – unachievable strategic objectives, inability to attract broad-based support, and self-destructive actions – might cause it to decay sooner than many people think,” it said.

“Because history suggests that the global Islamic terrorist movement will outlast Al Qaeda as a group, strategic counter-terrorism efforts will need to focus on how and why a successor terrorist group might evolve during the remaining years of the ‘Islamic terrorist wave’.”

The report was vague about the outcome of current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2025, the government in Baghdad could still be “an object of competition” among various factions seeking foreign aid or pride of place.

Afghanistan “may still evince significant patterns of tribal competition and conflict.”

“The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in considering the trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan,” it said.

The report also identified three potential up and coming powers, all from the Muslim world but not from its Arab core. They are Indonesia, Turkey and Iran. khalid hasan/agencies

AMERICAN HYPOCRISY AS CHINA AIDES PAKISTAN LIKE THE US HELPED INDIA

U.S. opposes Chinese reactor sales to Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Nov 22: The United States this week objected to Chinese plans to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan near Chashma.

Senior Pakistani officials announced last month that China had agreed to build two additional reactors at Chashma, where Beijing has already built one nuclear power station and is erecting another. The earlier projects were formalized before China joined the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, the body that sets nuclear trade guidelines.

Nuclear Suppliers Group rules bar sales of sensitive nuclear technology and materials to nations, such as Pakistan, that have not joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and do not allow international monitoring of all their nuclear activities. Earlier this year, the group agreed to exempt India from the sales ban, opening the door for New Delhi to purchase civil nuclear technology from the France, Russia, the United States and others.

“The U.S. position is that cooperation on the construction of two new reactors, Chashma III and IV, would be inconsistent with the commitments China made at the time of its adherence to Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines in 2004,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Reynolds in correspondence this week to Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.). Reynolds was responding to a letter Markey wrote last month to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern about the reactor deal.

“At that time, China’s representatives detailed in a statement China’s ongoing nuclear cooperation with Pakistan that would be ‘grandfathered’ upon China’s adherence; nothing in that statement permitted construction of reactors beyond Chashma I and II,” Reynolds stated.

“Any new cooperation, therefore, would require consensus approval by the NSG for an exception to the guidelines,” he continued. “Although Pakistan’s energy needs are real and increasing, we believe Pakistan’s proliferation record would make NSG consensus difficult where China to request an exception.”

Markey praised the State Department opinion and referred to a multinational nuclear smuggling ring once led by top Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

“Pakistan is responsible for more nuclear proliferation than any other single country; nuclear cooperation is off the table,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that international nonproliferation rules bar China from providing Pakistan with new nuclear reactors,” Markey added. “This is clear from a plain-language reading of the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines, and I am very pleased that the Bush administration has agreed with this view.”

“China should not violate its international obligations by selling new nuclear reactors to Pakistan. The United States has clearly stated that such a sale would be against international nonproliferation rules, and I hope other countries stand up to deliver the same message,” he said.

Fighting Terrorism Fairly and Effectively

Fighting Terrorism Fairly and Effectively

Recommendations for President-Elect Barack Obama

Over the past seven years, the US government’s consistent disregard for human rights in fighting terrorism has diminished America’s moral authority, set a negative example for other governments, and undermined the goal of reducing anti-American militancy around the world. The use of torture, unlawful rendition, secret prisons, unfair trials, and long-term, arbitrary detention without charge has been both morally wrong and counterproductive.

Upon taking office, President Barack Obama should promptly and decisively reject the abusive practices of the past administration and embrace an effective counterterrorism policy grounded in respect for human rights. By making a high-profile, public commitment to a new course, and by taking bold steps toward reform, he can signal to the nation and to the world that his administration understands that US counterterrorism policy should be consistent with the country’s basic values and with international law.

I. Close the Military Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay
II. Abolish the Military Commissions and Prosecute Terrorist Suspects in Federal Court
III. Reject Preventive Detention as an Alternative to Prosecuting Terrorist Suspects
IV. Reject the “Global War on Terror” as the Basis for Detaining Terrorist Suspects
V. Issue an Executive Order to Implement the Ban on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
VI. End the CIA Detention Program..
VII. Prohibit Renditions to Torture
VIII. Account for Past Abuses
IX. Provide Redress for Abuse
X. Repudiate Justice Department Memos and Presidential Directives that Permit Torture and Other Abuses
XI. Protect Innocent Victims of Persecution Abroad from Being Defined as Terrorists

U.S. Eyes ‘Surge’ of Over 20,000 for Afghanistan

A US Army Humvee (R) drives past A French Army AMX-10 tank in Afghanistan’s Kapisa Province on October 26, 2008. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images))

U.S. Eyes ‘Surge’ of Over

20,000 for Afghanistan

CORNWALLIS, Nova Scotia—The Pentagon is considering a plan to send more than 20,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next 12 to 18 months to help safeguard elections and quell rising Taliban violence, officials said on Friday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he and top commanders had discussed sending five brigades to Afghanistan, including four brigades of combat ground forces as well as an aviation brigade, which a defense official said would consist mainly of support troops. An Army combat brigade has about 3,500 soldiers.

Gates said much of the infusion could take place before Afghanistan holds elections by next autumn.

“I think it’s important that we have a surge of forces before the election,” said Gates, who stressed no decision on troop deployments had been taken.

“We’ve had some very preliminary discussions,” he told reporters after meeting to discuss southern Afghanistan with his counterparts from NATO countries with troops deployed in the region.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said more support troops, also known as “enablers,” could also head to Afghanistan as Gates considers a request by U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan, the top commander of NATO and U.S. forces in the country.

“The commanders are looking for well north of 20,000 forces. Gates wishes to fulfill the commanders’ request,” Morrell told reporters as the U.S. defense chief returned from Cornwallis.

Violence in Afghanistan has surged to the highest levels since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the country’s Taliban government.

An Army combat brigade is already scheduled to arrive in eastern Afghanistan in January to begin training Afghan forces.

Most of the remaining forces, which could begin deploying as early as next spring, would likely head to poppy-growing southern Afghanistan where commanders say the NATO force of 18,000 troops is too small to contend with an increasingly confident Taliban insurgency.

There are now some 70,000 Western forces in Afghanistan, including 32,000 U.S. forces — 14,500 under NATO command and 17,500 under a U.S. command.

‘Surge’

Gates’ use of the term “surge” to describe the influx drew parallels with the 2007 U.S. force build-up that placed an extra 30,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and contributed to a sharp decline in violence there.

“The key is how do we reverse the trends of the last couple of years or so in terms of rising violence and create a better security environment in which economic and civic development can go ahead and take place,” Gates said.

“We are clearly going to be putting more troops in and I think that the prospects for being able to have these elections successfully are good,” he said.

“We all recognize the need for the Afghan government—with our help—to demonstrate some progress over the course of 2009,” he said.

Gates rejected speculation Afghanistan could be heading for a dire situation.

“The notion that things are out of control in Afghanistan or that we’re sliding toward a disaster I think is far too pessimistic,” he said.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to focus more on the Afghan war and plans to persuade other nations to send more soldiers.

But Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Obama should look to other NATO members first, rather than turning to the other seven states that took part in the Cornwallis meeting: Canada, Denmark, Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, Estonia and Romania.

“The reality is there are other NATO doors that President-elect Obama should be knocking on first,” he told the news conference. Canada has long complained that the nations with troops in southern Afghanistan are bearing a disproportionate share of the military burden.

“There is an enormous amount of goodwill that has been engendered by President-elect Obama that he might be willing to spend for a cause that he clearly believes in,” said MacKay.

Many NATO countries insist on stationing their troops in quieter parts of Afghanistan and strictly limit what kind of combat activities they can carry out.

Russia Plans to Sell Missile System to Iran

Russia Plans to Sell Missile System to Iran

By Gordon Thomas

MI6 has warned that Russia is poised to sell its own sophisticated S-300 missile defence system to Iran if the European Union and Washington push for Georgia and Ukraine to have NATO membership

The revelation came hours after EU heads had met at a Brussels conference to discuss how best to handle the ever-mounting tensions with Moscow.

The Secret Intelligence Service discovered Moscow’s plans after monitoring visits to Tehran last month by a team of Russian military scientists who had helped to create the S-300 system.

Dan Goure, a senior Pentagon arms adviser on the system, described it as “one that surely scares every Western air force”.
It can track up to 100 targets at once and destroy aircraft at a range of 75 miles.  Operational, it could dramatically affect any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

However, MI6 analysts believe the Moscow offer to provide the system to Iran is to create a foreign policy confrontation to test the mettle of a new US president.

It could also prove a test of resolve for Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who has been leading the EC drive to confront Moscow over militants in the Caucasus region.
“Using the S-300 is a powerful bargaining move that has been clearly orchestrated by Vladimir Putin.  He sees the steady encroachment of NATO into the former Soviet bloc and the recent granting of independence to the ex-Serbian province of Kosovo as a threat”, said an MI6 analyst.

Last week MI6 agents confirmed that some of the basic components of the S-300 system had been transferred to its close ally, Belarus, ready for a possible transfer to Tehran.

The news has increased concern in Israel and Ehud Olmert, the country’s outgoing prime minister, has told Britain’s own embattled prime minister, Gordon Brown, that Israel intends to continue withholding military assistance to Georgia in an effort to placate Russia.

But an MI6 report from its agents in Iran says that the Iran government believes Moscow has agreed to supply the S-300. Dan Goure, the Pentagon analyst, added: “If the deal went through, it would be a game changer for tackling Iran.  And it could be the catalyst which would trigger Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack on the nuclear sites”.
But in London, Ministry of Defence analysts argue that it would take a year for the S-300 to become operational once a site has been found for it in Iran.

An indication that the site could be near the Syrian border with Iran has emerged at a meeting in Moscow between Putin and Bashr al Asad, the Syrian president, to “discuss military deals”.  One proposal is that the S-300 would provide Syria with a shield against an Israeli attack.

From the Kremlin to Caracas, how oil collapse changes everything

From the Kremlin to Caracas, how oil collapse

changes everything

As the price of a barrel falls to below $50 for the first time in years – to a third of its value just a few months ago – petrol will be cheaper but the shockwaves mean crisis for oil-producing nations and further instability for a battered global economy

Russia

Russia is lurching towards a major economic crisis, experts predicted yesterday, following news that the price of oil had slumped to under $50 (£33.72) a barrel. The collapse was likely to have catastrophic consequences including a possible devaluation of the rouble and a severe drop in living standards next year, they said.

With oil prices tumbling and his credibility at stake, Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, yesterday insisted that the economy was still robust. The country would survive the global financial turmoil – which he blamed on the US – he told delegates from his United Russia party.

But the Kremlin is aware that any loss of confidence in the Russian economy could lead to a loss of confidence in Putin and his ally Dmitry Medvedev, who took over from Putin as president in May.

Putin said his administration would do everything it could to prevent a recurrence of the last oil-related crash in 1998, which saw the savings of many ordinary Russians wiped out. But the plummeting oil price leaves him little room for manoeuvre. Experts suggest Russia’s economy is facing profound difficulties, despite two huge stabilisation funds accumulated during the booming oil years.

The fall in oil prices from $147 this July has blown a hole in the government’s budget calculations. It is now facing a $150bn shortfall in its spending plans and will have to slash expenditure in 2009. Putin sought to assure hard-up Russians that their social benefits would not be affected. “We will do everything in our power … so that the collapses of the past years should never be repeated,” he said.

The oil slump, however, exacerbates Russia’s already severe problems. Since May Russian markets have lost 70% of their value. Russia’s central bank has spent $57.5bn trying to prop up the ailing currency. “If the trend continues, with the government supporting the rouble, oil prices falling and a slowing economy, we are going to have a major crisis,” said Chris Weafer, of the Moscow brokerage Uralsib.
Luke Harding in Moscow

Iran

Iran is the second largest Opec oil producer and already feeling the pain of declining prices more than any other in the Middle East. Its “rainy day” oil stabilisation fund, used to release profits when revenues decline, is reportedly badly depleted as a result of mismanagement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government. The precise figure is a state secret, but a member of parliament revealed recently it was $7bn – just enough to cover one year of imported petrol.

Ahmadinejad has seen two central bank governors resign and faces daily criticism of his policies. A strike by the powerful “bazaari” class over a new VAT tax – which would have aggravated inflation already at nearly 30% – was seen as a warning. Iran is especially vulnerable because 80% of its revenue comes from oil. The IMF calculated recently that for Iran to balance its budget, the price of crude oil must not fall below $95 a barrel. With prices now below $50 the shortfall could be staggering.

The effect of declining oil prices will be felt both domestically and internationally. Ahmadinejad is expected to stand for a second presidential term next June but the lack of cash will restrict his plans to replace subsidies with direct cash payments – widely seen as a vote-buying tactic. US and UN sanctions imposed over the nuclear issue are already limiting Iran’s ability to issue letters of credit and thus increasing its cost of trade.

Saudi Arabia has been happy to use high Opec production levels and low prices to contain Tehran’s plans for regional hegemony. US experts and lobbyists now talk openly of exploiting the drop in oil prices to make the sanctions more effective.
Ian Black, Middle East editor

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer and exporter, is expected to cut back on current spending and also adjust ambitious long-term development plans in the light of the slump in prices.

But cautious fiscal policies will place the kingdom in a relatively strong position, with the current budget based on a price of around $45-50 a barrel. Expansion next year will require around $55-62.

The worry must be that in a country with no elections, parliament, political parties or taxes, the combination of slowing development projects and a widening gap between the wealthy elite and ordinary people could be destabilising.

Publicly, the message from the top has been that there is no need to panic, even as falling prices of crude oil and the global financial crisis were becoming inextricably linked and starting to wreak havoc in the Gulf economies.

By mid-November, the stock exchanges of Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had declined by 62.5%, 50.4% and 29.5% respectively. Kuwait, which sits on 9% of world oil reserves, is expected to see its first budget deficit in 10 years if prices continue to fall. That will mean a long-term incentive to diversify away from oil.

In Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, government-run investment funds have also suffered from heavy exposure to US and European stocks. But the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has assets of $500bn to $1tn.

Dubai, the glitziest part of the UAE, which has seen an oil-fuelled boom in property but has little oil of its own, is starting to see a slowdown. But some welcome that as a way of reducing the number of foreign expatriates and re-establishing a disappearing sense of national identity.
Ian Black, Middle East editor

Venezuela

Hugo Chávez has reduced Venezuela’s support for foreign allies and is poised to make deeper cuts at home and abroad as plunging oil revenues hit his socialist revolution. The government has warned of austerity measures after years of high spending on social programmes, nationalisations, arms and diplomacy. South America’s energy giant relies on oil for half its exports and 95% of government revenue, leaving the president’s ambitions vulnerable to a crunch.

“Oil revenues are the weapons he has been using to fight this war. He is going to have to make big changes,” said Pietro Pitts, of Latin Petroleum magazine. “He will have to cut spending, or devalue the bolivar, or both.”

Chávez recently said Venezuela would ride out any financial storm and that oil prices of $80 or $90 a barrel would be sufficient. This now looks optimistic. With next year’s budget in tatters, and foreign investment slowing, the government made cuts even before the latest price fall. Last month it postponed construction of a $4bn refinery in Nicaragua, a key ally, and announced tougher terms for subsidising oil exports to some Caribbean countries.

The state oil company slashed spending on the social programmes which have underpinned Chávez’s popularity. Aid to Bolivia and Ecuador, and subsidised oil to Cuba, may be hit next. The finance minister, Alí Rodríguez, said the 2009 budget “will have significant restrictions” compared with this year’s $63.9bn and officials would have to cut back on luxuries.

Some analysts think Venezuela can weather the crisis with the help of rumoured $40bn reserves. But Venezuela is racked by 36% inflation, and previous governments crashed when oil crashed.

Obama and Lieberman: Two of a Kind

frlieberman_obama

Obama and Lieberman: Two of a Kind

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

“McCain considered choosing Lieberman as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin.”

Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman is an unrepentant proponent of United States government terror. He was enthusiastically in favor of the occupation of Iraq, advocating for war even before George W. Bush became president. Lieberman is the most vocal cheer leader for war against Iran, telling shameful lies about that nation in hopes of seeing the United States and Israel carry out a military attack. He is openly contemptuous of the rest of the Democratic Party, literally kissing Bush on the lips at the 2006 State of the Union address.

Whatever else may be said about him, Lieberman is not stupid. When he embarked on his plan to endorse John McCain, and disparage Barack Obama, his party’s nominee, he did so believing that he would not pay a price for his actions. So great was Lieberman’s confidence in his untouchability, that McCain considered choosing him as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin.

Despite giving aid and comfort to the Republican party, Lieberman will remain a member of the Democrat Senate caucus that doesn’t even need his votes any more. There will be at least 57 Democratic Senators, more than enough to move any agenda that its members are willing to support. Barack Obama, now de facto party chief, gave the signal that Lieberman be spared the punishment he deserves.

Not only would Democrats be right to toss Lieberman out of their caucus, but his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security committee should also come to an end. The neo-con Democrat hung on to his seat in 2006 after losing a primary and running as an independent. He emerged victorious only because he lied to Connecticut’s voters. He lied about wanting to end the Iraq occupation and he lied when he said he would investigate Bush administration handling of the response to hurricane Katrina.

Lieberman wasted no time in returning to form after he won re-election. He declared that investigating Katrina would be “a waste of Congress’ time.” When even Republicans ran from openly pro-war stances, Lieberman insisted that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. Like any wrong doer who goes unpunished, Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time. He endorsed John McCain and spoke on his behalf at the republican convention.

“Lieberman’s behavior grew more brazen over time.”

Obama’s victory should have been the nail in Lieberman’s coffin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the authority to immediately strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Instead of doing what he has the power to do on his own, he told an outright lie, “Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase, Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut.” After saying those words with a straight face, he punted to the rest of the Democrats in the Senate.

A secret ballot vote will determine Lieberman’s fate as the Homeland Security Chairman. Only two Democrats, Vermonters Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, have publicly stated that they will vote to oust Lieberman. The few who will speak publicly are all suffering from weak spine disease. They concede that Joe did the party wrong, but are unwilling to act against him. If Reid will not do the right thing, his colleagues are unlikely to as well.

It is amusing to watch “progressives” express shock and horror at the sight of Lieberman’s victory over Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats. They rant and rail against the perfidy of their leaders and wonder why Obama lets Lieberman off the hook so easily.

As always, the explanation for seemingly irrational behavior is quite obvious. Lieberman’s supporters have the deepest pockets of all Democratic party supporters. Simply put, there is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.

Barack Obama knows this better than anyone. When he entered the Senate as a freshman in 2005 he chose Joseph Lieberman as his mentor. The following year Obama endorsed Lieberman when he faced his primary challenge. It seemed incongruous for a politician thought of as a progressive to support the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.

“There is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.”

How better to make the case with wealthy Democratic neo-cons than to cozy up to Holy Joe? Anyone serious about becoming president must have their support and the Lieberman stamp of approval surely gave Obama entre to sources of funding he would not have had otherwise.

The two men are equally cynical. Obama got over any hurt feelings he may have had when he remembered how Lieberman helped him amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time. If he acts against him now, he risks the wrath of the same check bundlers he, Reid and the rest of the party still need.

Lieberman’s motives are simple. He believes in America’s war of terror, and in the “special relationship” with Israel. He wanted to make sure that the confident black man didn’t forget who was boss. If McCain won, Lieberman would be in the catbird seat. If McCain lost, he was still in the catbird seat with the full knowledge that the Democrats would be afraid to touch him.

No need to ask why Lieberman is still sitting pretty. If Obama won’t touch him, and Reid won’t touch him, then his gambit will likely pay off. Their mutual cynicism got both men what they wanted. They will now live happily ever after.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedo

More on Cheney Indictment for Engaging in Organized Criminal Enterprise

Private immigration prisons

A murdered inmate in a private prison..leads to an audit… leads to the discovery of corruption…leads to an indictment of Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The indictment, based on a seven year investigation, finds a direct connection between Cheney and Gonzales and the corruption that led to this murder.

It’s being called an organized criminal enterprise.

The indictments are real.