American Resistance To Empire

Evidence suggests CIA funded experiments at state hospital

Evidence suggests CIA funded experiments at state hospital

November 30, 2008

Few people in Vermont remember Dr. Robert W. Hyde, but one of his former patients can’t forget him. The doctor was involved in one of the nation’s darkest chapters in medical science: In the 1950s, Hyde conducted drug and psychological experiments at a Boston hospital through funding that apparently originated with the CIA. Later, he became director of research at the Vermont State Hospital.

The patient, Karen Wetmore, is convinced that Hyde and other researchers subjected her and possibly other patients to experiments paid for by the CIA at the Waterbury facility.

In addition to her claim, new evidence, though incomplete, suggests that such tests might have been conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.

Several books and numerous newspaper accounts have detailed how techniques developed through testing, including on mental health patients at hospitals in other parts of the country, are related to the interrogation methods used in Guantanamo and other locations in the war on terror. These well-known and well-documented drug experiments began in secret after the Korean War and were sponsored by the U.S. government.

News accounts and histories of the experiments have not mentioned the Vermont State Hospital, but a congressional committee concluded that dozens of institutions, some of which have never been identified, were involved in secret experiments for the CIA.

A complicated, disturbing story

Wetmore, who grew up in Brandon and now lives in Rutland, resided at the Vermont State Hospital for extended periods in her teens and early 20s.

Hyde had a long and distinguished career as a psychiatrist and university researcher before he returned to Vermont in the late 1960s. He died in Bakersfield, his birthplace, in 1976.

This story centers on the possible intersection of Hyde’s research work and Wetmore’s experiences at the state hospital. The strands of the narrative, constructed from government documents and her memory, is complicated, confusing and sometimes disturbing.

Her claim, that the Waterbury hospital was involved in experimentation on patients, has never been reported despite numerous instances in which it could have come to public attention, including a lawsuit that Wetmore settled out of court.

Further complicating matters is Wetmore’s severe memory loss, which she says is the result of her treatment at the Vermont State Hospital where she says she was given experimental drugs, experienced repetitive electroshock therapy and was subjected unwittingly to other tests. Her medical records from the Vermont State Hospital, including daily logs and summaries of her treatment support these claims.

Another obstacle for Wetmore is the social stigma of mental illness. She says once a patient is committed to a mental hospital, “the first thing they take away from you is your credibility.”

In order to figure out what really happened to her at the Vermont State Hospital and to overcome this credibility gap, Wetmore has spent more than 12 years collecting and analyzing reams of government documents, including state hospital records, declassified CIA paperwork and histories of MK-Ultra, the code name of the CIA’s best-known clandestine research projects on mind-control.

At many points Wetmore reached dead ends: The government denied her requests for certain documents and heavily redacted key evidence from others. Some documents were destroyed.

In 1997, Wetmore decided to bring a lawsuit against the state. A psychiatrist and a Rutland lawyer agreed to help her with the case and spent months collecting and poring over evidence. They both came to the conclusion that Wetmore was the subject of drug experiments at the hospital.

Wetmore and her advocates could not unequivocally link her case to the CIA’s research activities at other institutions through government documents from the agency, but histories of the CIA’s psychiatric testing, other documents and a preponderance of circumstantial evidence around Wetmore’s treatment based on her medical records suggest the Vermont State Hospital may have been one of the sites for secret experimentation.

The CIA destroyed much of the evidence regarding the drug and psychological tests on unwitting patients in the 1970s as the truth about its funding for the tests came to light, according to a 1975 congressional review headed by U.S. Sen. Frank Church.

Several authors have examined government research programs in other parts of the country, but they have not fingered the Vermont State Hospital as a site for the secret experiments.

Several striking conclusions have arisen from their research and Wetmore’s paper trail:

  • As a teenager, Wetmore was a patient at the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury. While Hyde was not her primary doctor, he at least reviewed her case. She was also treated with powerful drugs, some of which were almost certainly experimental.
  • Hyde was an international pioneer in the development of mind-altering drugs and in their use in treating mental illness. He was involved in research programs sponsored and secretly funded by the CIA and the U.S. military. With an Army psychiatrist, he also conducted research on drugs designed to produce mental illness in healthy people who volunteered for such studies. In 1949, Hyde was an early experimenter with LSD: He volunteered to take the drug himself.
  • The Army psychiatrist, Dr. Max Rinkel, was particularly interested in using LSD to induce in mentally healthy people a schizophrenia-like state. The symptoms exhibited by these test subjects show similarities to those Wetmore experienced, according to her medical records from the Vermont State Hospital.
  • The experiments conducted by Rinkel, Hyde and their associates (sometimes even on themselves) were an important part of secret programs run by and for the CIA to construct “black operations” for prisoner interrogation and other espionage and military uses. “Black ops” were designed to look like civilian programs, even to the researchers, with the CIA gleaning the results.
  • The intelligence funding was often disguised as grants that were passed through organizations or other agencies. Psychiatric researchers at dozens of sites around the country, including state hospitals, prisons and universities, many of which have never been identified, cooperated sometimes knowingly and sometimes unwittingly in research on human test subjects.
  • Finally, official documents Wetmore has uncovered show that the Vermont State Hospital had a history of experimenting with drug treatments on its patients. At least one of those experiments, which predated Hyde’s tenure at the hospital, was financed by the federal agencies identified by researchers as a conduit for money for the CIA “black-ops” experimentation. In addition, the Vermont State Hospital doctors were corresponding about that grant work with Dr. John Gittinger, a CIA scientist in Washington, D.C.

    Many of the people affiliated with the Vermont State Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s when Hyde worked at the Waterbury facility said they do not believe or do not have evidence that either the hospital or Hyde carried out such experiments on patients at the Waterbury facility. Few of the individuals interviewed for this story were willing to speak on the record; many of the most important potential sources are now deceased.

    The Vermont State Hospital’s current director, Terry Rowe, said she is not familiar with the questions Wetmore raises.

    “This is information that was unknown to me,” Rowe said. “I don’t know it if is valid or not.”

    It is also important to note that although the experiments represent an ugly period in American psychiatric research, they were followed by a revolution in the field of mental health. In some instances, the same scientists who were involved in CIA-funded experiments also conducted the research that has led to the development of drug therapies that have enabled many patients to live comparatively normal lives.

    This phenomenon in turn has allowed mental hospitals and other institutions around the nation to significantly reduce the number of patients who require 24-hour care.

    A researcher’s dark connections

    The trail linking Karen Wetmore’s treatment at Vermont State Hospital to the CIA is twisting, sometimes nearly impossible to follow and for the most part cold, but what kept Wetmore going was the recurring and distinctive footprint of Dr. Robert Hyde.

    Hyde was 25 when he graduated as a Reserve Officer Training Corps student at the University of Vermont’s school of medicine in 1935. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and worked as an intern at the Marine Hospital in New Orleans.

    He later became a researcher at Boston University and Harvard University and assistant superintendent at Boston Psychopathic, a hospital associated with Harvard now known as the Massachusetts Mental Health Center – and one of the key institutions connected to the CIA research. Hyde then served as assistant superintendent at Butler Health Center in Providence, R.I., before returning to Vermont as director of research at Vermont State Hospital.

    Hyde died on Aug. 1, 1976, leaving a widow and no children. He was, in the words of a co-worker at the Waterbury hospital, “a sweetheart.”

    He also was an intellectual adventurer. In 1949, while serving as assistant superintendent at Boston Psychopathic, he experimented on himself, taking what many believe to be the first acid trip in America.

    “There is no way of determining who was the first American to take LSD. But one of the earliest was a Boston doctor named Robert Hyde,” Jay Stevens wrote in “Storming Heaven,” a history of the drug. “What followed was fascinating. Right before their eyes, Hyde, the even-keeled Vermonter, turned into a paranoiac, as a swarm of little suspicions — why are those people smiling? Was that a door closing? — began eating away at his composure.”

    It was Hyde’s colleague, Rinkel, who is credited with bringing the first batch of LSD into the United States. Earlier in 1949, Rinkel had obtained a supply of LSD from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland, where it was developed, and brought it home with him to Boston Psychopathic. Rinkel and Hyde went on to organize an LSD study at the facility in which they tested the drug on 100 volunteers, reporting their initial findings in May 1950 at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

    So began the scientific foray into an aspect of mental health research that struggled for funding, although it eventually produced revolutionary breakthroughs in the field. The new drug therapies led to a significant reduction in the number of institutionalized mental patients nationwide. At the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury the shift has been dramatic. Once there were 1,200 patients housed at the facility; now it treats about 50.

    Long before the Boston researchers’ work laid the foundation for those groundbreaking psychiatric studies, it garnered attention from another, less benign profession. Soon after the Rinkel-Hyde report appeared in the APA journal, the CIA became interested in the researchers’ work, according to Stevens and others who have researched the subject.

    “Early on they contacted Rinkel and Hyde at Mass. Mental Health, and with Hyde as the principal contact began pouring as much as $40,000 a year into LSD research,” Stevens wrote.

    The CIA and the U.S. military had their own reasons for wanting to finance such experiments, an interest dating at least to the Korean War when American prisoners of war were subjected to various psychiatric drugs.

    In the 1950s, the New York Times, reporting on congressional hearings and studies of the effect of Communist interrogation of U.S. prisoners, wrote: “Chinese Communist attempts to create confusion, disloyalty and doubts about this country’s role were highly effective among American prisoners captured during the Korean War, an Army psychiatrist said here today.”

    The article went on to report on the 1950 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association and on Rinkel’s research “based on the experimental reproduction of mental illness in 100 normal volunteers. The illness, similar to schizophrenia, was induced by small dosages of the chemical d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).”
    More recently, since the United States launched the war on terror, government use of earlier research into mind-altering drugs and torture-resistance techniques for U.S. soldiers have come under scrutiny. Military interrogators employ related tactics at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at other sites around the world, according to articles in the New York Times, the New Yorker magazine and a book by New Yorker staffer Jane Mayer, “The Dark Side.”

    The Korean War torture methods were outlined in a chart published in a 1957 Air Force study.

    “The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guanatanmo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency,” according to a New York Times report in 2008.

    Another recent mention of the connection between “spies and shrinks” was made in an Oct. 18 Newsweek article.

    “The ties go back decades, to the early years of the Cold War when psychologists helped the CIA experiment on U.S. citizens with mind-altering drugs. The relationship has warmed and cooled over the years, heating up whenever defense or intelligence officials wanted better mind-control methods, ways to direct people’s behavior or detect deception,” according to the magazine.

    The quote came from an article about Steven Reisner, a psychologist who is vying to become head of the American Psychological Association. Reisner wants to end cooperation of the organization’s members with interrogators.

    It’s not clear Rinkel and Hyde knew the CIA and U.S. military were secretly financing their work — although histories of the subject make the case that they did.

    Their colleagues and friends, however, insist the researchers did not collude with military intelligence.

    In 1977, in response to an investigation into the CIA experiments, Harold Pfautz wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times defending his own research — funded in part by the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, an MK-Ultra front — and that of Hyde.

    Pfautz wrote: “I know that I (and I am convinced that Dr. Robert W. Hyde, then superintendent of the Butler Health Center, as well as my other colleagues) had no knowledge of the CIA auspices and functions of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology. In a word this was a ‘black’ operation — deceptive and intended to deceive — on the part of the government and addressed to me as a citizen.”

    No one has specifically looked at whether MK-Ultra experiments occurred in Vermont. Former employees, attorneys and doctors familiar with the facility and its patients, as well as researchers who have studied case histories of the hospital’s patients, have all said they found no evidence of unethical experimentation before Hyde returned to the hospital or after that would lead them to believe that the institution had been used for MK-Ultra experimentation.

    Among the strongest defenders of Hyde’s reputation is Lois Sabin, who was an administrator at the hospital for years and served for a time as director of nursing education.

    Sabin is adamant that Hyde left his interest in experimental research behind him when he returned to Vermont to work at the state hospital.

    “He was a very brilliant man and a great asset at the hospital,” said Sabin, who is now retired and still lives in Waterbury. “I thought he was a sweetheart. He was very, very knowledgeable.”

    A trail of missing documents

    Conclusive answers to the many questions Hyde’s history raises may never be known: many of the documents concerning the CIA funding, the front organizations and the drug experiments on mental health patients have been destroyed. In addition, many of those who were involved in the programs or may have known about them have died.

    A 1994 Government Accounting Office report on the clandestine research notes that at least 15 of the 80 facilities around North America known to have participated in the research remain unidentified and may never be, while others, including Boston Psychopathic Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, are well-known.

    In the McGill case, a prominent Albany, N.Y., psychiatrist, Ewen Cameron, was accused of working for the CIA and performing experiments on patients in a mental hospital there in the 1950s and 1960s.

    According to a book on the subject by John Marks, “Patients of Dr. Cameron were subjected to a regimen that included heavy doses of LSD and barbiturates, the application of powerful electric shocks two or three times a day, and prolonged periods of drug-induced sleep.” In 1988, the U.S. government paid nine former patients $750,000 to settle a lawsuit in the matter, and the Canadian government has also paid dozens of compensation claims.

    Wetmore is convinced that mind-altering experiments were also conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.

    Some of the procedures used in Cameron’s experiments, specifically electroshock and drug therapies, appear to be similar to those that appear on Wetmore’s medical charts at the state hospital.

    To support her claim, Wetmore cites a report on the results of a federal research grant for schizophrenia and the use of tranquilizers that was undertaken at the Vermont hospital in the late 1950s. The report was written long before Hyde became director of research at the state hospital and before Wetmore was a patient there.

    This research project included experimental use of the use of tri-fluoperazine on patients at the Waterbury hospital, an antipsychotic drug that is still used for some schizophrenia sufferers.

    The study reported disturbing results, including: “On the third day, the charge attendant said, ‘It’s like old times. It’s bedlam.’”

    “Thirteen patients were suffering severe withdrawal reactions indistinguishable clinically from a moderate withdrawal reaction following long-term ingestion of morphine,” according to the study results. Later in the study an attendant said nine patients were “constantly pacing back and forth like caged lions.”

    One of the consultants working on the study was Dr. Milton Greenblatt, who was also assistant superintendent at Massachusetts Mental Health Center — the former Boston Psychopathic, where Hyde was assistant superintendent.

    An even more direct link is in a report on a personality study at the Vermont State Hospital between 1963 and 1966 titled, “The Use of Programmed Instruction with Disturbed Students” and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The institute was one of the cover organizations used to conceal the source of funding for various CIA projects. These groups also paid for research unrelated to military or espionage studies.

    The study lists a Washington, D.C., address, 1834 Connecticut Ave. N.W., as a source for personality-testing information. That address is identified as a front for the spy agency in Marks’ book about the CIA’s experimental work, “The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.”

    The top CIA psychologist, John Gittinger, developed this personality assessment test that, according to Marks, became a centerpiece of the agency’s psychological work.

    The researchers in the Vermont hospital program not only used Gittinger’s test; they also sent him results of their own trials, according to a report on the research grant written by Vermont State Hospital doctors.

    So, was the Vermont State Hospital one of the institutions used by researchers to perform now-discredited experiments on hapless mental patients like Karen Wetmore? She believes absolutely that it was; others say they doubt it.

    The evidence is circumstantial and incomplete. Unless someone brings a case to court that breaks down the barriers that have been erected by the CIA, conclusive answers to questions Wetmore and the documentation she has gathered raises are unlikely.

    A patient on a quest

    The first time Wetmore was admitted to the Vermont State Hospital she was just a young girl.

    “It’s the only time I ever saw my father cry,” she said recently.

    A troubled child, Wetmore had been treated at outpatient mental health clinics, but her illness persisted. At 13, after she threatened her mother and was found wandering confusedly in the halls of her school in Brandon, Wetmore was committed to the Waterbury hospital for a little less than a year in 1965-1966 and again between 1970 and 1972.

    Now in her mid-50s, Wetmore, is physically frail and drawn looking. She lives alone in Rutland and is still in therapy. She speaks hesitantly when she talks about what little she recalls of her experiences at the Vermont State Hospital.

    In the intervening years, Wetmore has tried to trace the cause of her mental illness. She believes several traumas may have triggered her lifelong struggle with multiple personality disorder (a dissociative disorder in which the sufferer often compartmentalizes memories and aspects of their personality) and a form of extreme anxiety, a condition her doctors referred to as “hysteria” in the 1960s.

    Wetmore says that as a child she remembers seeing someone die in a fire. She also says she was traumatized by sexual abuse that she believes was perpetrated by a family friend. She attempted suicide twice as a young woman.

    When she was 15, Wetmore seemed well enough to be released from the Waterbury hospital. Looking back, she says she seemed to be recovering from her mental illness.

    She had been out of the Vermont State Hospital for two years when she was engaged to an 18-year-old from Brandon. In 1969, her fiancé was killed in a car accident.

    “That pretty much did it for me,” Wetmore said.

    Over the next few years, she was in and out of the state hospital, and she was eventually transferred to the psychiatry ward of Mary Fletcher in Burlington. Wetmore was 20 when she was finally released in 1972.

    Wetmore’s road to mental health has been difficult. She attempted suicide before and after her time in the hospital and was held in the psychiatry ward at Rutland Regional Hospital several times, including after her stints at the state hospital.

    Gradually, she gained control of her life, though even now there are long periods of her personal history she cannot remember. To retrace her forgotten steps she has documented what happened to her through medical records starting in the mid-1990s. Now boxes of documents and shelves of books line a closet in the Rutland apartment where she lives.

    “We had to go through hell and high water to get my medical records,” she said.

    Dr. Thomas Fox, the Rutland doctor who treated Wetmore, was so appalled by the nature of her state hospital treatment records that he agreed to help her with a lawsuit against the state in 1997. Fox, who also became a top mental health official with the state of New Hampshire before his death, had never before agreed to be an expert witness in a civil litigation.

    A 140-page deposition and an outline by Fox show that he concluded that Wetmore was an unwitting subject of experimental testing while she was a patient at the Vermont State Hospital.

    “Although Plaintiff was not schizophrenic or otherwise psychotic, she was treated with medication as if she were. Even though it was noted by the Defendants early on that she was allergic to these medications, that they would alter her behavior adversely, and that they would cause her permanent damage and even threaten her life, she was involuntarily administered massive doses of these drugs throughout the periods of her confinement,” according to Wetmore’s lawsuit. “Plaintiff was kept almost constantly in seclusion, often bound with wristlets behind her back, and left to lie unattended and unrelieved, naked on a tile floor.”

    “I became convinced, based on the record, that Karen had been mistreated at certain phases of her treatment in (Waterbury), and that, from a professional standpoint, the way in which we police ourselves, the way in which we keep each other ethical and competent, when we identify that, we (members of our profession) should do something about it,” Fox said in a deposition in the lawsuit to Wetmore and the state’s lawyer. “That’s my feeling, you should act on it.”

    He wrote in an outline that he prepared for her lawsuit in 2000: “I must conclude, in my opinion, that Karen was involved in drug experimentation without her knowledge or consent.”

    Fox said he reached this conclusion because at the hospital Wetmore was kept in “seclusion” or isolation for extended periods of time — apparently for weeks at a stretch during a period of months. She was given placebos, and her medications were changed, indicating there was an experimental aspect to her care, he wrote.

    Moreover, the treatment Wetmore received did not follow standard treatment for “hysteria,” the diagnosis that Fox said would have been most supported by her symptoms. Wetmore has also been diagnosed at the hospital with multiple personality syndrome — an assessment she agrees with — and schizophrenia, which she and Fox both said was not accurate. Treatment for schizophrenia is significantly different from care for a multiple personality syndrome diagnosis.

    While at the hospital Wetmore was given electroshock treatment — sometimes many times a day according to her medical records — and Metrazol, a drug that can induce seizures and whose federal approval has since been revoked.

    She was also subjected to other treatments, including with other medications and shock treatment, the nature of which are still not fully known.

    Fox also noted that during the periods in which Wetmore was there the Vermont State Hospital was engaged in drug research.

    In the midst of building her lawsuit, Wetmore realized she had to drop it because of her failing physical health. She had a heart attack, her second. Wetmore, who still has several serious physical health problems, reached a private settlement with the state instead, according to Alan George, her attorney.

    George, a sometime utility lawyer who practices in Rutland, said recently that because of the strength of the case he was very reluctant to accept that settlement agreement.

    “I didn’t really want to drop that suit,” George remembered. “I thought we had a pretty solid suit, frankly.”

    Wetmore’s lawsuit, based on the hard evidence required for a court of law, did not delve into what she believes to be the connections between her case and CIA research at the hospital.

    Fox steered clear of that aspect of the case in his work with Wetmore, he said in the deposition for her lawsuit.

    “I didn’t find it germane to what I viewed as my task. It was outside the scope of what I perceived the issues to be,” he said.

    “We never really got to the bottom of that (CIA connection). We did not try the case based on some grand, national conspiracy even though Karen had connected some of the dots,” George said.

    George said they chose not to pursue her theories about the CIA in part because most of the people were dead by the time the lawsuit was filed. Even so, George said, some aspects of Wetmore’s treatment were very strange.

    “The whole regimen of drug therapy … was bizarre,” he said. Furthermore, the background of some of those involved or consulted about the research at the hospital did strike George as odd.

    “There is no question about who these characters were and what they were involved in,” he said. “But all of that was guilt by association.”

    On the other side of this equation, though, are various mental health professionals in Vermont, including former state Mental Health Commissioner Jonathan Leopold, who in 1971 wrote a letter to Wetmore’s worried mother reassuring her that her daughter was undergoing treatment and doctors, including Dr. Robert Hyde, were reviewing her case.

    He also wrote: “Her behavior was very difficult and at times she represented a real danger to herself and to others. She was never, of course, left for three days and nights unattended in a separate room as all patients are taken out at frequent intervals for care and exercise and an opportunity to use the toilets.”

    Wetmore’s daily logs of her hospital stay and medical records appear to contradict that statement.

    Whatever the connections between the federal government and what happened to Wetmore in the state hospital, the experience has left Wetmore physically frail, but as determined as ever to find out what really happened to her.

    Wetmore says she doesn’t think mental health patients should ever be involved, even when they apparently give consent, in psychological experiments no matter how beneficial they may be to society. Her experience, she says, is proof of how such studies can damage the life of a vulnerable person.

  • A Deadly Threat


    A Deadly Threat

    Words Fay Ferguson
    Photos Adel Samara

    The massive car bomb which killed 17 people in Damascus in September shocked the country. Many fear Syria, a country renowned for its internal stability, is being increasingly targeted by extremist forces.

    On September 27 at 8.45am, a deadly bomb blast ripped through a crowded intersection on the main road leading out of Damascus to the international airport, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others. Quick to the scene, Syrian state TV broadcast live pictures of the bloody aftermath, shocking a nation which had not witnessed such violence on its own soil in 20 years.

    It soon emerged a suicide bomber driving a car packed with 200kg of explosives was responsible for the attack which Syrian authorities quickly labelled the work of a “Takfiri” (Sunni fundamentalist) group. Five weeks later on November 6, Syrian state television aired an hour-long programme in which 12 people from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen confessed to planning the bombing with the purpose of “harming the Syrian government”. They claimed to be members of Lebanon’s al-Qaeda orientated Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni fundamentalist group which came to prominence in the summer of 2007 during clashes with the Lebanese army in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, north of Tripoli.

    The confessions, accompanied with video footage of the cell’s weapons arsenal, passports, bank statements and cash stockpile, worked to show that Syrian authorities are adept at catching those who jeopardise internal security. It also revealed a terror threat was manifesting itself on two adjoining playing fields. First, the jihadi cause was finally bleeding its way through the Iraqi borders as fighters seek new battlefronts. Second, the attack was potentially the bloody face of anti-Syrian power politics. Whatever the motives, Syria, a country renowned for its domestic tranquillity in a troubled region, now seems to be under threat from the same kind of brutal violence that is all too common in neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq.

    Anti-Syrian power politics

    The televised confession of Wafa al-Abssi, daughter of notorious Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker al-Abssi, alleged the group was financially supported by Saudi sympathisers and Syrian critics in the Lebanese government. Abssi claimed Lebanon’s Future Movement, led by pro-Western parliament majority leader Saad Hariri, provided funds to Fatah al-Islam. Hariri’s Future Movement, known for its close relationship with the Saudi royal family, has long accused Syria of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Saad’s father, an allegation Damascus denies.

    Mazen Bilal, a Syrian political analyst, said radical Islamist groups emerging in Lebanon in recent years could be the new infantry on a silent battlefield. “We have a kind of intelligence war in the region,” he said. “Some of the big players are at odds with each other, unable to agree on anything.”

    Abssi’s confession backs up an earlier report by American Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh which claimed the US, Saudi Arabia and pro-Western parties in Lebanon were funding Sunni terrorist groups. In a subsequent interview with CNN in May 2007, Hersh said his investigations revealed that US Vice President Dick Cheney, US Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams and Saudi National Security Advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan had agreed that the Wahhabi Saudi regime would provide covert funding for Fatah al-Islam to thwart the perceived Shiitization of Lebanon by the popular Syrian-backed Hezbollah party, the main opposition to the Sunni-backed Future Movement. “The US was deeply involved,” Hersh said. “This was a covert operation that Bandar ran with us. The Sunni government in Lebanon was also providing funding.”

    Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit and senior fellow at the global terrorism analysis centre, the Jamestown Foundation, also backs up the allegations. In a paper titled A Mujahideen Bleed-Through from Iraq published last month, Scheuer writes: “Riyadh’s activities in northern Lebanon hold the promise of fulfilling two longstanding Saudi goals, 1) Creating a well-armed Sunni-Salafi movement as a military counterweight to the Shia Hezbollah and 2) to enable Riyadh to cause domestic instability for their Syrian enemy.”

    Since the airing of the confessions from the alleged September 27 bombers, Syria has called for the establishment of a joint committee with the Lebanese government to investigate Fatah al-Islam’s support base. “These people are both criminals and victims because they are misguided into doing wrong deeds,” Khalid Aboud, secretary to the Syrian parliament, told Syria Today. “We want to find out who pushed them into attacking Syria.”

    The Future Movement denies it has any links to Fatah al-Islam. In a statement released on November 7, it accused Damascus of airing the confessions in an attempt to deflect attention away from the UN probe into Hariri’s assassination due to be released this month. It has formerly accused Damascus of being behind the terror group, charges which Damascus has always denied.

    Lebanese threat

    Analysts claim radical groups like Fatah al-Islam, also held responsible for a flurry of bomb attacks against the Lebanese army in Tripoli over the past four months, have gained a foothold in Lebanon due to an internal security vacuum and a weak central government. “Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, together with the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war, forced the precipitate decline of effective governmental authority in Lebanon, allowing Jihadis to use the country for transit and basing,” Scheuer wrote.

    Bilal echoed similar concerns and pointed to the growth of the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood after the Lebanese civil war. “Radical Islamist groups gain momentum in uncertain times,” he said.

    At a summit attended by France, Turkey and Qatar in Damascus on September 4, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was worried about “extremist forces” based in northern Lebanon. “Anything positive accomplished in Lebanon will be worthless without a solution to extremism and the Salafist forces that are moving in Lebanon,” Assad said. A few days after his warning and prior to the Damascus blast, Syria deployed some 10,000 troops on the border with northern Lebanon. Syrian officials said the deployment was to “crack down on smuggling across the borders”.

    Border security

    The issue of border security took on lethal significance with the confession of Abdul Baqi Hussein, a Syrian identifying himself as the cell’s operations coordinator. After fighting in Iraq, Hussein said he returned to Syria in 2004 where he met with al-Qaeda members in Aleppo. He claims to have joined Fatah al-Islam in 2006 in Tripoli, where the logistics of the Damascus attack were discussed. “We were able to smuggle the explosives for the bombing into Syria from Lebanon with the help of a Syrian named Abu Obaida,” Hussein said. “He also helped move fighters into Iraq… the suicide bomber was a Saudi called Abu Aisha.”

    Hussein’s confession shows Fatah al-Islam was able to carefully plan their attack via a sophisticated network stretching across the Levant. The broadcast came just two weeks after a US military raid from Iraq into Syria killed eight people. Syria says they were civilians. Unnamed US officials say the attack targeted an al-Qaeda leader responsible for smuggling fighters and weapons in and out of Iraq.

    The US has long accused Syria of doing too little to secure its border with its eastern neighbour. It’s an accusation which Syria sees as unfair. Umran Zauby, a Syrian political analyst, said no country can fully control its borders. “Even the US, with all of its advanced technology, can’t totally control its border with Mexico,” he said. “Syria asked for military equipment to help it secure the border, such as night vision equipment from the UK, but Washington told London to ignore the request, claiming it would end up in the hands of insurgents.”

    Mujahideen bleed-through

    The instability following the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 saw the country become a global hub for jihadi fighters. With security improving in the country, particularly as America puts many former local Sunni insurgents onto the US payroll, many Middle Eastern analysts say al-Qaeda fighters are now looking to take their fight to neighbouring countries. “North Iraq is relatively stable, so fighters can’t move to Turkey and this leaves Syria trapped between two crises and vulnerable,” Bilal said. “The threat to Syria comes from Arab lands spawning radical fighters.” Bilal also warns Syria must be wary of a home-grown threat which will be increasingly radicalised by battle-hardened Iraqi fighters slipping into Syria. “Syria has sleeping cells which are now being awoken by these fighters,” he said. “But unlike other Arab countries, it doesn’t provide a social incubator for them to flourish.”

    Scheuer says fighters are pouring out of Iraq and into the Levant as part of a shift in al-Qaeda’s strategic focus to emphasise the liberation of Palestine. In a report published in February, Scheuer refers to statements made in early 2008 by prominent jihadi leaders Osama bin Laden, Abd al-Rahman al-Ghazzawi and Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, encouraging Palestinians to assist the “immigrant” mujahideen who will arrive from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. “The likelihood that these three messages were just coincidence seems small,” Scheuer writes. “Each stresses the importance of Iraq, the Levant countries and al-Qaeda allies residing therein as bases from which military assistance can be sent to the Palestinians.”

    Clashes between Syrian security services and militants in Idleb, other northern regions and Damascus’ Palestinian Yarmouk camp in the days following the Damascus attack show a heavy crackdown is underway. In her confession, Wafa al-Abssi said her ex-husband Mohammad Tauma was killed earlier in the year by Syrian security forces whilst attempting to cross into Iraq. Moreover, General David Petraeus, former coalition-commander in Iraq, praised what he perceived to be a change in Syrian policy towards securing the border in September 2007. “Syria has taken steps to reduce the flow of foreign fighters through its borders with Iraq,” he said.

    Whether the Damascus bombing is evidence that Syria is paying the price for changing its policies remains to be seen. What is not in doubt is the attack has shocked the country. “I’m not worried about the larger groups because their cells are now high on the radar and easily caught,” Bilal said. “I fear the smaller terrorist groups. A few people can cause a lot of damage.”

    Mumbai attackers trained by special forces: Experts

    Mumbai attackers trained by special forces: Experts

    Press Trust of India
    Sunday, November 30, 2008 6:44 PM (Moscow)

    A top Russian counter-terrorism expert on Sunday underlined that the Mumbai attackers were not “ordinary terrorists” and were probably trained by the special operations forces set up in Pakistan by the US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    “The handwriting and character of the Mumbai events demonstrates that they were not ordinary terrorists,” said Vladimir Klyukin, an Afghan war veteran.

    “Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control,” stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special “Vympel” commando group of the former Soviet KGB.

    He said for such guerrilla operations at least two-three years of preparatory work with the involvement of experienced instructors is required. Klyukin did not rule out that the Mumbai attackers could have taken part in similar attacks in other regions.

    “People from the streets, without any planning and training are simply not able to hold four big complexes in a city so long,” Soviet special services veteran was quoted as saying by largest Russian Interfax news agency.

    He also presumed that there were at least 50 attackers given the geography and scale of the strikes. Klyukin lauded the “right” decision of the Indian authorities not to succumb to terrorist demands.

    He, however, regretted that India lacks special anti-terror units similar to the Russian, Israeli, British or German.

    Nearly 200 people were killed in the multiple terror attacks in the Indian financial capital, hitting five-star hotels and other targets frequented by Westerners.




    U.S. appears to be losing its secret war in Somalia

    THE BLACKWATER SYNDROME: Pentagon’s End Run Around the Draft


    Blackwater gunboats will protect ships

    By Kim Sengupta

    The American security company Blackwater is planning to cash in on the rising threat of piracy on the high seas by launching a flotilla of gunboats for hire by the shipping companies.

    The firm, which gained international notoriety when its staff killed civilians in Iraq, has already equipped one vessel, called The McArthur, which will carry up to 40 armed guards and have a landing pad for an attack helicopter.

    The McArthur, a former survey ship, arrives in the Gulf of Aden, the scene of the recent high-profile hijackings and shootouts with Somali pirates, at the end of the year. It is to be joined by three or four similar vessels over next year to form the company’s private navy.

    Blackwater, which has strong ties with the Republican administration in Washington, was the subject of investigations by the US Congress and the Iraqi government after its guards shot dead 17 people in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square last year, a massacre which led directly to changes in law regarding security contractors in Iraq.

    Several security companies are rushing to the region despite the presence of British, American, Russian and Indian naval warships, among others, sent to protect ships. For fees ranging from £8,000 to £12,000 for transits of three and five days, companies are offering teams of unarmed guards, “non-lethal deck security personnel”.

    With more than 60 ships attacked in the Gulf and ship-owners paying an estimated £75m in ransom for the return of crew and cargo, the security companies foresee a lucrative business.

    One US company, Hollowpoint Protective Services, says it is offering a comprehensive service of hostage negotiations backed by armed rescue operations if the talks fail. Eos, a British concern, says it favours a “non-lethal” approach with the use of sophisticated laser, microwave and acoustical devices. But Blackwater plans to have the largest and most heavily armed presence among the security contractors. The company believes that the presence of escorting gunboats will have a deterrent effect, with criminal gangs being forced to switch to more vulnerable targets.

    A Blackwater spokeswoman, Anne Tyrrell, said there have already been about 15 inquiries about its anti-piracy service. The company refused to reveal how much it will charge. Its executive vice-president, Bill Matthews, said the US Navy and the Royal Navy do not have the resources in the region to provide total security, opening up a role for companies such as his. He added: “While there are temporary needs that perhaps outpace the limited resources of the Department of Defence [Washington] and the Ministry of Defence [London], the private sector is available to fill those gaps.

    “We have been contacted by ship-owners who say they need our help in making sure goods get to their destination. The McArthur can help us accomplish that. We have not sought to enter the space until recently. It was not part of our business plan. But as the world changes, so does our business plan.”

    Nick Davis, a former British Army pilot who runs a company in Poole called Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions, said: “It frightens me that Blackwater is going down there. Their background is not in deterrence. Their background is in weapons. To me, the best people to be armed are the military. Pirates might approach McArthur without knowing it’s a Blackwater boat and try to hijack it.”

    Chris Austen, chief executive of Maritime & Underwater Security Consultants, in London, said ship-owners should be cautious about armed guards. “There are some flags that prohibit the carriage of arms or the use of violence. There are some insurers that will not accept it, and your insurance will be void.”

    Guns for hire: The violent option

    The massacre on Baghdad’s “Bloody Sunday” became a lethal symbol of the aggression with which Blackwater’s private army carried out its mission in Iraq. I saw the deadly result of panicked security guards opening fire at a crowded Nisoor Square in the city centre. Round after round mowed down terrified men, women and children. At the end of the shooting spree, 17 people were dead and 20 injured. The killings sparked one of the most bitter and public disputes between the Iraqi government and its American patrons, and brought into focus the often violent conduct of the Western security companies – and that of Blackwater in particular. Operating in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, they were immune from scrutiny or prosecution. This was the seventh shooting of civilians involving Blackwater. The company’s reputation in Iraq was particularly controversial. After Nisoor Square, the Iraqi government threatened to expel Blackwater. But it was forced to let the company operate again under pressure from Washington.

    Evidence Contradicts Western Media Reports- Americans and Brits Were NOT Targets

    Mumbai Death Toll Reaches 195, 295 Wounded

    FACTBOX – India says 22 foreigners killed in

    Mumbai attacks

    23 wounded

    FACTBOX - India says 22 foreigners killed in Mumbai attacks Reuters – Hotel guest walk towards a bus after being evacuated from the besieged Trident-Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai …

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian officials said 22 foreigners were killed in the Mumbai attacks and 23 wounded, a senior home ministry official said on Saturday.

    Following is a table of the nationalities of the foreigners killed.

    Australia -1

    Canada – 2

    China – 1

    Germany – 3

    Italy – 1

    Israel – 3

    Japan – 1

    Mauritius- 1

    Singapore – 1

    Thailand – 1

    United States of America- 1

    United Kingdom – 1

    The identity of the remaining five foreigners is yet to be established. However, the U.S. State Department has said that five American citizens had been killed.

    ‘Foreign militants entering Balochistan via Pak-Afghan border’

    ‘Foreign militants entering Balochistan via Pak-Afghan border’

    * ‘Major chunk of Indian aid to Afghanistan being used to support anti-Pakistan quarters’

    By Tahir Niaz

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistani intelligence agencies have gathered credible information on the influx of foreign militants and sophisticated weapons into Pashtun areas of Balochistan – with some also headed to Karachi – via the Pak-Afghan border, sources told Daily Times on Thursday.

    The sources claimed that the weapons were being supplied to Balochistan’s Chaman, Pishin and Qila Abdullah districts for the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), by ‘anti-Balochistan and anti-Pakistan quarters’.

    They said Pakistani agencies had seized at least 726 missiles in addition to other weapons over the last few days. The Pakistani authorities have also secretly conveyed to organisations supporting anti-Pakistan quarters to cease their activities or face action. The sources said the authorities wanted to settle the matter without bringing it into the limelight.

    Indian aid to Afghanistan: With 334 land routes leading into Pakistan from Afghanistan along the 2,560-kilometre border, the sources believe that a major portion of the $125 million recently given to Afghanistan by India was being used to support anti-Pakistan quarters in parts of Balochistan. The sources believe the hub of Pakistan’s business, Karachi, is also among the targets.

    They said the federal government had made plans to check the insurgency in Balochistan, and orders on the situation had already been given to the provincial government and intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.

    Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have also collected credible evidence against hardcore Baloch leaders, and they would soon be produced in courts of law.

    Chabad Houses have history of criminal activity

    Chabad Houses have history of criminal activity

    November 29-30, 2008 — Mumbai gangland war and its global tentacles

    WMR previously reported that the violent and bloody attack on Mumbai represents a pay-back from exiled Indian Muslim Mumbai gangland warlord Dawood Ibrahim who fears that the CIA was conspiring with the Pakistani government to extradite him from Pakistan to India. Such an event would effectively cede control of Mumbai’s lucrative organized crime territory to Hindu extremist criminal syndicates allied with the Hindu terrorist Shiv Sena group.

    The targeting of the Lubavitcher Chabad House in Mumbai, where a New York rabbi and his wife were killed by one team of gangsters that arrived by sea from Pakistan, was likely more score settling by Ibrahim who suspected that Israeli Mafiosi were conspiring with Hindu extremist gangs to supplant Ibrahim’s criminal influence in Mumbai.

    There is a history of Chabad Houses not only being used as safehouses and logistics centers for Israeli intelligence but as storefronts for criminal activity. In March 1989, U.S. law enfocement rounded up a criminal network in Seattle, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Colombia, and Israel that involved a Chabad House that was involved in money laundering and currency violations.

    The Associated Press reported from Newark, New Jersey that Adi Tal, a former employee of Israel’s El Al Airlines who emigrated to the United States from Israel in 1983, and his chief assistant Nir Goldeshtein, were found guilty by the U.S. District Court in Newark of laundering $25 million. The cash was sent to Panama and Colombia directly and smuggled to Britain, West Germany, and Israel as personal and cashier’s checks, money orders, and cash. The money was then wired to Panamanian bank accounts. Tal and Goldeshtein lived in Edison, New Jersey. They had moved there from Seattle. Goldeshtein had attempted to deposit $437,000 in Citibank’s London branch.

    Federal prosecutors said Tal conspired with Jose Stroh, one of the Cali, Colombia drug cartel’s chief money launderers. Sixteen people were indicted in the case but five were never captured. Of the five, Nir Levy, Rea Lev-Ari, and Dov Feldman, escaped to Israel and avoided extradition back to the United States. Among the fugitives was Tal’s recruiter, Enrique Korc of Israel. Among those indicted was Rabbi Sholom Levitin, the founder and head of the Chabad House in Seattle. Tal claimed that the laundered money was Israeli “investments” and Levitin denied knowing that the money he was laundering was illegally obtained. Federal prosecutors said Tal told his “mostly Israeli operatives” that the money was not connected to organized crime but, according to the March 23, 1989 AP report from Newark, told them “the cash came from Israel for investment in the United States or that it was somehow connected to the Mossad, Israel’s secret service.”

    UPI reported on March 17, 1989 that one of the Israelis indicted and found guilty, former Israeli Air Force Captain Moshe Begim, said he was told the cash was Mossad money being used to fund anti-Communist guerrillas in Central America. Federal prosecutors described Begim and another member of the Israeli gang, Baruch Zeltzer, as leaders of the Los Angeles and Seattle operations, respectively. Zeltzer lived at the Chabad House in Seattle. Another Seattle Israeli military veteran, Avsholom Hazan, was also found guilty and sentenced to prison. Two Israelis in Begim’s Los Angeles operation, Alon Redko and Guy Marom, also an ex-Israeli Defense Force member, were also found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment. Most of the Israelis indicted were also former employees of El Al.

    In 2007, Israeli police arrested top Chabad leaders for laundering money from Kfar Chabad, Israel. Israel’s Channel 10 reported that one of the suspected money launderers using the Chabad operation was Arkadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli mafiosi figure who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Jerusalem. Among those arrested was Yosef Aharanov, director of the Young Chabad Association, who the Jerusalem Post reported had been the head of the “Bibi is Good for the Jews” campaign that championed Chabad support for Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister in 1996.

    On November 27, 2008, WMR reported: “Bangkok police have long suspected Chabad House as a center for the Israeli Mafia, which runs its Ecstasy and Ice trade from Bangkok for all of Southeast and East Asia. The Israeli Mafia also reportedly runs heroin labs in Myanmar, where an Israeli military officer serves in Myanmar’s feared military counter-intelligence agency.”

    There are Chabad Houses located in Bogota and Barranquilla, Colombia; La Paz, Bolivia; Kinshasa, Congo; San Jose, Costa Rica; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Quito, Ecuador; Tbilisi, Georgia; Baku, Quba, and Sumqait, Azerbaijan; Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, China; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Luang Prabang, Laos; Cancun and Tijuana, Mexico; Thamel District of Kathmandu, Nepal; Cusco and Lima, Peru; Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui, Thailand; Caracas, Venezuela; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

    In addition to Mumbai, Chabad Houses are also located in Bangalore, Goa, and Manali, India.

    Did a Criminal Mastermind Stage the Mumbai Nightmare?

    Did a Criminal Mastermind Stage the Mumbai


    As in the case of America’s Afghan war protégé Osama bin Laden, the blowback to U.S. covert policy came suddenly, this time with spectacular effects in Mumbai. The assault on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel will probably go down as the first lethal blow to the incoming Obama administration. The assailants, who spoke Punjabi and not the Deccan dialect, went to a lot of trouble to torch the prestigious hotel, which is owned by the Tata Group. This industrial giant is the largest business supporter of the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, and Tata is now planning to become a nuclear power supplier. The Clintons, as emissaries of Enron, were the first to suggest the nuclear deal with New Delhi, so Obama inherits the Mumbai catastrophe even before he takes office.

    By Yoichi Shimatsu, New America Media. Posted November 28, 2008.

    The Mumbai attacks carry the signature of Ibrahim Dawood, a Indian living in Pakistan and former crime boss turned self-styled avenger.


    Don’t miss Sandip Roy’s article at the bottom of this report, arguing that the gun-toting, Versacet-shirt-wearing assailant whose image was beamed across the world at the start of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai who could as easily have been one of the victims as one of the terrorists.

    The coordinated nighttime assault against seven major targets in Mumbai is reminiscent of the 1993 bombings that devastated the Bombay Stock Exchange. The recent attack bears the fingerprints of the same criminal mastermind – meticulous preparation, ruthless execution and the absence of claims or demands.

    The eerie silence that accompanied the blasts are the very signature of Ibrahim Dawood, now a multi-millionaire owner of a construction company in Karachi, Pakistan. His is hardly a household name around the world like Osama bin Laden. Across South Asia, however, Dawood is held in awe and, in a twist on morals, admired for his belated conversion from crime boss to self-styled avenger.

    His rise to the highest rungs of India’s underworld began from the most unlikely position as the diligent son of a police constable in the populous commercial capital then known as Bombay.

    His childhood familiarity with police routine and inner workings of the justice system gave the ambitious teenager an unmatched ability to outwit the authorities with evermore clever criminal designs. Among the unschooled ranks of Bombay gangland, Ibrahim emerged as the coherent leader of a multi-religious mafia, not just due to his ability to organize extortion campaigns and meet payrolls, but also because of his merciless extermination of rivals.

    Dawood, always the professional problem-solver, gained the friendship of aspiring officers in India’s intelligence service known as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He soon attracted the attention of American secret agents, then supporting the Islamic mujahideen in their battle against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan. Dawood personally assisted many a U.S. deep-cover operation funneling money to Afghan rebels via American-operated casinos in Kathmandu, Nepal.

    Eager to please all comers, Dawood occasionally got his wires crossed, providing travel documents and other amenities to Islamist airplane hijackers. In response, Washington spymasters tried to unofficially “impound” his investment in the Nepalese casinos. Dawood’s fury is legendary among locals. An honorable businessman, he held to the strict belief that a deal is a deal and there can be no reneging for any reason.

    As Bombay moved into the league of Asia’s premier cities – hotel rates and apartment rentals are the highest in the region – Dawood could have led a comfortable life as top dog. Instead he suffered a spasm of conscience, a newfound moral outrage, when rightwing Hindu nationalists destroyed a mosque in northern India in 1992, slaying 2000 Muslim worshippers, mostly women and children.

    One a day in the following May, his henchmen set off bombs across Bombay, killing more than 300 people. His personal convictions had – uncharacteristically – overcome his dispassionate business ethics. Reeling in shock, his top lieutenant, a Hindu, attempted to assassinate Dawood. A bloody intra-gang war followed, but as always Dawood triumphed, even while away in exile in Dubai and Karachi.

    In the ensuing decade, at the height of violence in Kashmir, Dawood sent his heavily armed young trainees by boat from Karachi on covert landings onto Indian beaches. This same method was used in the Mumbai assault with more boats, seven craft according to initial navy reports.

    Why the timing of this raid, on the dawn of Thanksgiving in America? The leader of India’s opposition and former deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani had long sought Dawood’s extradition from Pakistan, a move opposed by the then military government in Islamabad. With the restoration of civilian rule, the new Pakistani prime minister (Gillani) consented to New Delhi’s deportation request.

    Washington and London both agreed with the India’s legal claim and removed the longstanding “official protection” accorded for his past services to Western intelligence agencies. U.S. diplomats, however, could never allow Dawood’s return. He simply knows too much about America’s darker secrets in South Asia and the Gulf, disclosure of which could scuttle U.S.-India relations. Dawood was whisked away in late June to a safe house in Quetta, near the tribal area of Waziristan, and then he disappeared, probably back to the Middle East.

    As in the case of America’s Afghan war protégé Osama bin Laden, the blowback to U.S. covert policy came suddenly, this time with spectacular effects in Mumbai. The assault on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel will probably go down as the first lethal blow to the incoming Obama administration. The assailants, who spoke Punjabi and not the Deccan dialect, went to a lot of trouble to torch the prestigious hotel, which is owned by the Tata Group. This industrial giant is the largest business supporter of the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, and Tata is now planning to become a nuclear power supplier. The Clintons, as emissaries of Enron, were the first to suggest the nuclear deal with New Delhi, so Obama inherits the Mumbai catastrophe even before he takes office.

    Dawood, ranks fourth on Forbes’ list of the world’s 10 most wanted fugitives from the law. After the new round of attacks that killed more than 100 people and laid waste top five-star hotels, Dawood can now contend for the No.1 spot in the coming months and years. In contrast to the fanatic and often ineffective bin Laden, Dawood is professional on all counts and therefore a far more formidable adversary. Yet some in Pakistan’s military intelligence agency say that Dawood is dead, killed in July. This version of events is much the same as a variation of the bin Laden story. If true, then his underlings are carrying on the mission of an outlaw transfigured into a legend.

    Yoichi Shimatsu. Former editor of The Japan Times in Tokyo and journalism lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing,, Shimatsu has covered the Kashmir crisis and Afghan War.

    Hindutva and Zionism, Agents of Imperialism & Gandhi’s Death

    Hindutva and Zionism, Agents of Imperialism &

    Gandhi’s Death

    What happened to the anti-imperialist anti-Zionist pro-Palestinian heritage of India? First, we might want to start with Gandhi. Towards the end of 1947, Gandhi made his statement, in response to a question by Doon Campbell of Reuters.

    “It has become a problem which seems almost insoluble. If I were a Jew, I would tell them: ‘Do not be so silly as to resort to terrorism…’ The Jews should meet the Arabs, make friends with them and not depend on British aid or American aid, save what descends from Jehovah.”
    It is interesting to note that Gandhi recognized the actions of the Zionists in the 1940s as “terrorism.” On January 31, 1948 barely months later, a man by the name Nathuram Godse shot Gandhi.

    The ruling elite’s in India and Israel should be easily able to find common ground, since most of those elite seem to be racists and bigots.

    From India’s caste system, with its degrees of ritual purity and of social status, from the Brahmans to the Untouchables to the Apartheid Jews only State of Israel, with their Rabbis who help formulate law to their version of the untouchables, the indigenous Palestinians, these two countries seem like a good fit for one another.

    To help maintain their grip on power, they need “terrorists” incidents and other brazen acts to keep the people in a state of fear, crying out to the same ones who were behind those acts for help.

    Israeli agents seemed particulary interested in getting their tentacles into India and Kashmir the year prior to 9/11.

    To help set up the MOSSAD/CIA false-flag of 9/11?
    (This is a lengthy article, so only part of it is copied here.)

    Hindutva and Zionism, Agents of Imperialism

    Meanwhile, politically the BJP has embraced Israel and turned a cold shoulder to the Palestinians, betraying the bonds of friendship shared by the Palestinian and Indian people in this process. Hindutva ideologues are talking about Hindu-Yahudi unity and the need to fight against ‘terrorism,’ a euphemism for Palestine’s and India’s Muslims. Hindu extremist websites gloat about the need to work together with Israel to target Muslims in South Asia. Recently a virulent organization calling itself “” had its website shut down. It came back without a problem when the virulent Jewish extremist Kahane organization (Haktiva) came to the rescue. Rabid extremists working together for a common cause: Muslims are the targets, but also most importantly, the entire peoples of the Arab and Iranian nations, and the great masses of people in South Asia are targets for these two running dogs of American imperialism. Hindutvadis are happy to see such cooperation, while Israel murders Palestinians with impunity, and India reels under the Hindutva onslaught.

    Israel has also been suspected of involvement in the incitement of virulent anti-Muslim activities in India, as has been pointed out by Faisal Kutty, a writer from Kerala state who noted that a meeting took place, shrouded in secrecy between BJP high officials and Israeli officials preceding a completely uncharacteristic violent communal anti-Muslim riot in the normally peaceful and harmonious state of Kerala in 1992.

    Kerala’s Muslims are the oldest Muslim community in India, tracing their roots to the early Arab Muslim traders who plied the Indian Ocean Arabian Sea trade route. They make up 20 percent of the population in Kerala while Hindus are 60 percent and Christians 20 percent. Kerala has the highest rate of literacy in the country, in no small part due to the work of the ruling Communist Party over the last several decades to build a literate and thriving, secular state. Comparatively, the other South Indian states under the heel of chauvinistic ethnocentric parties have no comparable achievements. Faisal Kutty also notes that the first serious communal clash between Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus and Muslims occurred shortly after the opening of an Israeli interests section in the U.S. Embassy in Colombo. The section was later closed by the Sri Lankan government.

    These suspicions cannot be unfounded because of similar reports about Israeli agents wandering in Kashmir as well as the BJP government’s fascination with ‘security cooperation,’ a code word for ‘how to keep the natives in line,’ and the overt statements made by Hindutva ideologues about “Hindu-Yahudi” unity. Recently the BJP has built close security ties with the U.S. and Israel under the guise of “fighting terrorism.” It is certain that this is a step towards turning India into a “security” state as both the U.S. and Israel will provide technological support in terms of arms, intelligence and who knows what else. This will most definitely be used in the BJP’s attack on India’s people, especially Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and anyone opposed to Hindutva, those they call with contempt, “pseudo-secularists.” The people of Kashmir will no doubt also be targeted by these new alliances, as well as Andhra, Punjab, Assam and the North East where militant struggles for human rights and freedom have continued for most of the half century following the British exit.

    Organizations like the Bajrang Dal, a Hindutva version of the Storm Troopers, the same group who last year burned to death an elderly Australian missionary and his children, also find inspiration and who knows what else in Zionist Israel. The Indian Express, June 30, 2000 had an article titled “Desi Mossad is getting ready at Bajrang Dal’s Ayodhya camp.” It begins: “I, as a member of Bajrang Dal, swear in the name of Lord Hanuman to always remain prepared to protect my country, religion and culture,” 150 young men, between 15 and 21 years of age, recite in unison. On several occasions, the cadres and their leaders mention Israel and the Mossad as their inspiration.

    ‘Asked what he did at the camp, an activist whispers, “I am from the secret service of Bajrang Dal. Israel’s Mossad is my inspiration. I can’t tell you more.”

    ‘Dal leaders in their defence, cite example of Israel where all citizens have to undergo a mandatory training in physical fitness and arms handling. But, isn’t Israel’s geographical situation peculiar? “`India’s even worse. Israel has threat only from outsiders while India faces threat from even those inhabiting it,” Sharma replies.

    These are words from people who frequently terrorize India’s Muslims and Christians. They are the paramilitary mobs of Hindutva, not boy scouts or martial artists.

    In recent years Israeli “counter-terrorism” assistance is also being mobilized, most evidently in (though not restricted to) Jammu and Kashmir, where the government of India sees a political issue as a ‘security’ issue, in the age-old imperialistic tradition of ignoring the human, civil and political rights of the Kashmiri people while making every effort to suppress the voice of Kashmiris.10

    The Times of India, Friday 22 September 2000 reports that

    ‘A high-level team of Israeli counter-terrorism experts is now touring Jammu and Kashmir and several other states in India at the invitation of Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani to make an assessment of New Delhi’s security needs, high-level government sources said.’

    ‘The Israeli team, headed by Eli Katzir of the Counter-Terrorism Combat Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, includes a senior Israel Police commander and Israeli military intelligence officials. The team will prepare a “feasibility study” of Indian security needs and assess the areas in which Israel can offer assistance to New Delhi in tackling the activities of insurgent and terrorist groups.’

    BJP’s corruption: money for nothing, and a few lousy Barak missiles, Hindutva Zionism in action.

    In the short span of time that the BJP has been in power in Delhi, its claims of being patriotic and honest have been thrown in the dustbin. Earlier this year, a team of investigative journalists videotaped a series of bribe taking and bribe negotiating episodes involving people in the highest levels of government including the armed forces. Using a fictitious arms deal the team easily bribed its way into the offices of high-ranking Indian officials in the armed forces and the government. The ease with which it was possible to bribe these officials shocked the country. Imagine what levels of corruption might be possible when very efficient efforts at the same are carried out by international professional arms dealers, mercenaries and other organizations?

    The most damaging episode in this was a videotaped recording of the leader of the BJP, yes, the party leader, taking a wad of money and also mentioning that he prefers dollars! Overnight, the BJP’s never ending charade of patriotism and honesty turned into outright guilt and defensive noises about ‘foreign conspiracy!’ As if the taking of bribes by the highest officials of the land especially for defense related deals, itself does not constitute treason and conspiracy of the highest order! These so-called ‘patriots’ of the BJP are willing to send Indian soldiers as cannon fodder to their stupid warmongering disasters, with equipment that is sub standard, and available only because the officials procuring them were bribed into doing so. Thus the so-called Barak missile found its way from Israel to India, while India’s own Trishul missile, which outperforms the Barak, got pushed out, perhaps because the Indian defense industries couldn’t match the Mossadis in bribery and intrigue!?

    Pakistan prepared to abandon war on terror to fight India

    Pakistan prepared to abandon war on terror to fight India


    ISLAMABAD — Pakistan demanded evidence yesterday for Indian charges it was involved in the Mumbai attacks and reversed its decision to send its spy chief to aid the probe.

    Deep mistrust between the rivals, who have already fought three wars, endangers efforts by its western allies to battle al-Qaida and Taliban hiding along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

    Rising tensions yesterday prompted Pakistani security officials to warn the government would pull its troops from the fight along the Afghan border to respond to any Indian mobilization.

    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi insisted that Pakistani authorities — including intelligence agencies that New Delhi has long accused of sponsoring terrorism — were not behind the carnage. “If they have evidence they should share it with us,” Qureshi said. “Our hands are clean.”

    Asked how Pakistan would respond, the second official said it would pull all its troops from the hotspots along the border with Afghanistan to its highly militarized eastern frontier.


    “All troops from our western border would be withdrawn to redeploy them at the eastern border,” the official said. “Not a single soldier will remain”

    He acknowledged that there was no indication of India mobilizing its forces; however, he claimed that India’s air force has been put on “red alert.”

    U.S. appears to be losing its secret war in Somalia


    U.S. appears to be losing its secret war in Somalia

    To glimpse America’s secret war in Africa, you must bang with a rock on the iron gate of the prison in this remote port in northern Somalia…

    By Paul Salopek

    Mostly, though, it is a policy time bomb that will be inherited by the incoming Obama administration: a little-known front in the global war on terrorism that the U.S. appears to be losing, if it hasn’t already been lost.

    BERBERA, Somalia — To glimpse America’s secret war in Africa, you must bang with a rock on the iron gate of the prison in this remote port in northern Somalia. A sleepy guard will yank open a rusty deadbolt. Then, you ask to speak to an inmate named Mohamed Ali Isse.

    Isse, 36, is a convicted murderer and jihadist. He is known among his fellow prisoners, with grudging awe, as “The Man with the American Thing in His Leg.”

    That “thing” is a stainless-steel surgical pin screwed into his bullet-shattered femur, courtesy, he says, of the U.S. Navy. How it got there — or more to the point, how Isse ended up in this crumbling, stonewalled hellhole at the uttermost end of the Earth — is a story that the U.S. government probably would prefer to remain untold.

    That’s because Isse and his fancy surgery scars offer what little tangible evidence exists of a bare-knuckled war that has been waged silently, over the past five years, with the sole aim of preventing anarchic Somalia from becoming the world’s next Afghanistan.

    “Your government gets away with a lot here,” said the prison warden, Hassan Mohamed Ibrahim, striding about his antique facility with a pistol tucked in the back of his pants. “In Iraq, the world is watching. In Afghanistan, the world is watching. In Somalia, nobody is watching.”

    It is a standoff war in which the Pentagon lobs million-dollar cruise missiles into a famine-haunted African wasteland the size of Texas, hoping to kill lone terror suspects who might be dozing in candlelit huts.

    It is a covert war in which the CIA has recruited gangs of unsavory warlords to hunt down and kidnap Islamic militants and — according to Isse and civil rights activists — secretly imprison them offshore, aboard U.S. warships.

    “Somalia is one of the great unrecognized U.S. policy failures since 9/11,” said Ken Menkhaus, a leading Somalia scholar at Davidson College in North Carolina. “By any rational metric, what we’ve ended up with there today is the opposite of what we wanted.”

    What the Bush administration wanted, when it tacitly backed Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in late 2006, was clear enough: to help a close African ally in the war on terror crush the Islamic Courts Union. The Taliban-like movement emerged from the ashes of more than 15 years of anarchy and lawlessness in Africa’s most infamous failed state, Somalia.

    At first, the invasion seemed an easy victory. By early 2007, the Courts had been routed, a pro-Western transitional government installed, and hundreds of Islamic militants in Somalia either captured or killed.

    But over the past 18 months, Somalia’s Islamists — now more radical than ever — have regrouped and roared back.

    On a single day last month, they flexed their muscles by killing nearly 30 people in a spate of bloody car-bomb attacks that recalled the darkest days of Iraq. And their brutal militia, the Shabab, or “Youth,” today controls much of the destitute nation, a shattered but strategic country that overlooks the vital oil-shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden.

    Even worse, Shabab’s fighters have moved to within miles of the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, threatening to topple the weak interim government supported by the U.S. and Ethiopia.

    Meanwhile, in the midst of a killing drought, more than 700,000 city dwellers have been driven out of bullet-scarred Mogadishu by the recent clashes between the Islamist rebels and the interim government.

    Somalia’s hapless capital has long been considered the Dodge City of Africa — a seaside metropolis sundered by clan fighting ever since the nation’s central government collapsed in 1991. That feral reputation was cemented in 1993, when chanting mobs dragged the bodies of U.S. Army Rangers through the streets in a disastrous U.N. peacekeeping mission chronicled in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

    The airport — the city’s frail lifeline to the world — is regularly closed by insurgent mortar attacks despite a small and jittery contingent of African Union peacekeepers.

    Foreign workers who once toiled quietly for years in Somalia have been evacuated. A U.S. missile strike in May killed the Shabab commander, Aden Hashi Ayro, enraging Islamist militants who have since vowed to kidnap and kill any outsider found in the country.

    Today most of Somalia is closed to the world.

    It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way when the U.S. provided intelligence to the invading Ethiopians two years ago.

    The homegrown Islamic radicals who controlled most of central and southern Somalia in mid-2006 certainly were no angels. They shuttered Mogadishu’s cinemas, demanded that Somali men grow beards and, according to the U.S. State Department, provided refuge to some 30 local and international jihadists associated with al-Qaida.

    But the Islamic Courts Union’s turbaned militiamen had actually defeated Somalia’s hated warlords. And their enforcement of Islamic religious laws, while unpopular among many Somalis, made Mogadishu safe to walk in for the first time in a generation.

    When the Islamic movement again strengthened, Isse, the terrorist jailed in Berbera, was a pharmacy owner from the isolated town of Buro in Somaliland, a parched northern enclave that declared independence from Somalia in the early 1990s.

    Radicalized by U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is serving a life sentence for organizing the killings of four foreign aid workers in late 2003 and early 2004. Two of his victims were elderly British teachers.

    Sources say Isse was snatched in 2004 by the U.S. after fleeing to the safe house of a notorious Islamist militant in Mogadishu.

    The job was done by Mohamed Afrah Qanyare, a warlord in a business suit, who said four years ago his militia helped form the kernel of a CIA-created mercenary force called the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism in Somalia.

    The unit cobbled together some of the world’s most violent, wily and unreliable clan militias — including gangs that had attacked U.S. forces in the early 1990s — to confront a rising tide of Islamic militancy in Somalia’s anarchic capital.

    Isse was wounded in the raid, according to Qanyare, now a member of Somalia’s weak transitional government who divides his days between lawless Mogadishu and luxury hotels in Nairobi. Matt Bryden, one of the world’s leading scholars of the Somali insurgency who has access to intelligence regarding it, confirmed the account. They say Isse was then loaded aboard a U.S. military helicopter summoned by satellite phone and was flown, bleeding, to an offshore U.S. vessel.

    Navy doctors spliced a steel rod into Isse’s bullet-shattered leg, according to defense lawyer Bashir Hussein Abdi. Every day for about a month afterward, Isse’s court depositions assert, plainclothes U.S. agents grilled the bedridden Somali at sea about al-Qaida’s presence. The CIA never has publicly acknowledged its operations in Somalia. Agency spokesman George Little declined to comment on Isse’s case.

    In June, the British civil-rights group Reprieve contended that as many as 17 U.S. warships may have doubled as floating prisons since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Calling such claims “misleading,” the Pentagon has insisted that U.S. ships have served only as transit stops for terror suspects being shuttled to permanent detention camps such as the one in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    In a terse statement, Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet that patrols the Gulf of Aden, said only that the Navy was “not able to confirm dates” of Isse’s imprisonment.

    For reasons that remain unclear, he was later flown to Camp Lemonier, a U.S. military base in the African state of Djibouti, Somali intelligence sources say, and from there to a clandestine prison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Isse and his lawyer allege he was detained there for six weeks and tortured by Ethiopian military intelligence with electric shocks.

    Security officials in neighboring Somaliland confirmed that they collected Isse from the Ethiopian police at a dusty border crossing in late 2004. “The Man with the American Thing in His Leg” was interrogated again. After a local trial, he was locked in the ancient Berbera prison.

    The CIA’s anti-terror mercenaries in Mogadishu may have kidnapped a dozen or more wanted Islamists for the Americans, intelligence experts say. But their excesses ended up swelling the ranks of their enemy, the Islamic Courts Union militias.

    “It was a stupid idea,” said Bryden, the security analyst. “It actually strengthened the hand of the Islamists and helped trigger the crisis we’re in today.”

    Somalia’s 2 million-strong diaspora is of greatest concern. Angry young men, foreign passports in hand, could be lured back to the reopened Shabab training camps, where instructors occasionally use photocopied portraits of Bush as rifle targets.

    Some envision no Somalia at all.

    With about $8 billion in humanitarian aid fire-hosed into the smoking ruins of Somalia since the early 1990s — the U.S. will donate roughly $200 million this year alone — a growing chorus of policymakers is advocating that the failed state be allowed to fail, to break up into autonomous zones or fiefdoms, such as Isse’s home of Somaliland.

    But there is another possible future for Somalia. In Bosaso, a port 300 miles east of Isse’s cell, thousands of people swarm through the town’s scruffy waterfront seeking passage across the Gulf of Aden to the Middle East. Dressed in rags, they sleep by the hundreds in dirt alleys and empty lots. Stranded women and girls are forced into prostitution.

    “You can see why we still need America’s help,” said Abdinur Jama, the coast-guard commander for Puntland, the semiautonomous state encompassing Bosaso.

    A military think tank at West Point studying Somalia concluded last year that, in some respects, failed states were admirable places to combat al-Qaida, because the absence of local sovereignty permitted “relatively unrestricted Western counterterrorism efforts.”

    Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

    Militant Hindutva on the rise – silence that seeks to hide this reality

    Women of the Hindu Right:

    The RSS (Rashtriya Sevika Samiti)

    Militant Hindutva on the

    rise – silence that seeks to

    hide this reality

    A Hindutva recruitment poster

    Taking aim: Bajrang Dal women’s brigade, Lucknow, 2001

    October-November 2007)

    by Subhash Gatade

    Nanded, in Maharashtra, is a town with a significant population of different faiths – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist. Nanded could well have become a new metaphor for secularism as practised in the Subcontinent, but this was not to be. Instead, Nanded has come to represent the emergent danger of a violent new brand of Hindu militancy, with due support from a section of the state machinery. A place that was once witness to the final days of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism’s Tenth Guru, has today metamorphosed into an epicentre of violent Hindutva. Indeed, Nanded represents the build-up of the violent fundamentalist Hinduism of the past half-century. The town has been witness to a new spate of acts that can be inarguably dubbed ‘terrorism’.

    The inner workings of this new form of Hindutva were on show recently in two, evidently accidental, explosions in Nanded within a span of nine months, in April 2006 and February 2007. These blasts, which killed four people, took place at the houses of activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena. The arrival of Nanded on India’s ‘terror’ map was followed by media investigations into similar previous incidents, which also showed the involvement of Hindu youth in terrorist actions.

    The new element here is the increasing similarity between Hindu militancy and ‘terrorism’ of other hues. While various enquiry commissions have looked into riots in post-Independence India and corroborated the proactive role played by the RSS in instigating riots, the irony of the situation is that the organisation is still able to maintain its ‘missionary’ image. Part of this is because the group has long maintained a strict division of labour within its ranks, delegating much of the ‘dirty work’ to fringe workers. The Nanded blasts proved to be an exception to this pattern, as the RSS links were obvious. This is why, in the immediate aftermath of the explosions, the Sangh Parivar leadership went to great lengths to suppress the news. Indeed, activist friends of this writer in Maharashtra were themselves unaware that any such incident had taken place.

    One set of blasts took place in a house belonging to Laxman Rajkondwar, an old RSS activist, and killed two youths belonging to the Bajrang Dal and RSS, while injuring three others. The explosives that were being made were to be used during the entry into Maharashtra of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani’s Bharat Suraksha Yatra, the idea being to warn of the grave security situation existing in the country. Later investigations found that the plan had been to instigate communal riots in Nanded that could have spread to adjoining areas. Such a situation, it was hoped, would boost the sagging morale of both the BJP and its ageing stalwart, Advani (see accompanying story, “Befuddled, jingoistic party”).

    The aim was clearly to instigate a communal conflict. A police raid on one of the deceased’s houses found maps of nearby mosques, as well as clothes and caps usually worn by Muslims in the area, which the activists were going to wear to sneak into and attack the mosques and gurudwaras. The only thing still needed was explosives. The making of bombs in a house owned by an old RSS activist – one who supposedly also dealt in firecrackers, at that – seemed like the perfect plan.

    Of course, the story neither begins nor ends in Nanded. Since 2003, at least five, and perhaps six, Hindutva-related explosions have taken place in central Maharashtra alone, in Parbhani, Purna, Jalna and Nanded. Malegaon also witnessed a bomb blast last year, killing 40 people, with strong indications of a Hindutva hand behind it. (The final picture will emerge after an ongoing investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation finishes.) Beyond the geographical similarities, the details of the attacks were uncanny: each took place between 1:45 and 2:00 in the afternoon, just after Friday prayers, at the most prominent mosque in town. (The bomb that went off in Nanded in 2006 exploded on 6 April, a Thursday, but was apparently meant to be set off at an Aurangabad masjid the following day.)

    At the same time, this cannot be dubbed a Maharashtra-centric phenomenon. Madhya Pradesh’s former chief minister, Digvijay Singh, has publicly admitted to the involvement of various groups and individuals affiliated with the RSS in similar acts in his state. As for the rest of the country, no systematic study of saffron ‘terror’ has yet been undertaken. One reason for this could be the thin line that separates the different anushangik (affiliated) organisations of the RSS, thereby making it possible to move from the ‘legal’ to the ‘illegal’ without great effort. Indeed, there is every possibility that funds collected from the Hindu diaspora for philanthropic work might also have been channelled to further ‘terrorist’ activities.

    Reuters Makes It Official: 19 Crazy Muslims Did It


    Indian anger rises as Mumbai cleans up

    By Rina Chandran

    MUMBAI (Reuters) – Mumbai on Sunday mopped up the streets where Islamist gunmen rampaged and killed nearly 200 people over three days, while Indian anger over the attack’s alleged Pakistani links threatened the nuclear rivals’ ties.  (More here, if you really need it)

    Mumbai attacks: India raises security footing to ‘war level’


    Mumbai attacks: India raises security footing to

    ‘war level’

    India will increase security in the country and on its borders to a “war level” in the wake of the deadly attacks in Mumbai that have been blamed on militants linked to Pakistan, a government minister said.

    The only one of the gunmen captured alive is believed to be from Pakistan and India claims to have proof of a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks.

    In response to a string of public accusations from Delhi, officials in Islamabad said troops could be moved to the Indian border if relations continue to deteriorate.

    “Our intelligence will be increased to a war level, we are asking the state governments to increase security to a war level,” Sriprakash Jaiswal, India’s minister for state for home affairs, told Reuters.

    “They can say what they want, but we have no doubt that the terrorists had come from Pakistan,” Mr Jaiswal said.

    Earlier federal Home Minister Shivraj Patil submitted his resignation following anger over the delayed response to the attacks.

    India has already boosted coastal security with the Indian Navy and the coast guard carrying out coordination patrols.

    The Mumbai attackers are said to have come to the city by sea from the Pakistani port of Karachi, according to security officials.

    The Lashkar-e-Taiba a Pakistan-based group that has been blamed for previous attacks in India has been identified by the Indian authorities as responsible for the massacres which left at least 174 people dead.

    Indian commandos said the attackers had demonstrated professional techniques, firing in short bursts, setting traps and even stocking up with almonds and dried fruit to keep their energy up during the fighting.

    Commandos brought 300 survivors out of the five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where the siege ended early yesterday. Some 250 others were rescued from the Oberoi-Trident hotel and 60 people were brought out of the Jewish centre.

    Those rescued included a British couple who were among a group of six people who hid for six hours in a toilet cubicle at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. At one stage, the terrorists searched the darkened area with a torch but did not see or hear them huddled together.

    The Pakistani Government yesterday denied involvement in the terror plot and has promised to help in the investigation. Asif Ali Zardari, the President, pledged to act swiftly if given any evidence of involvement by Pakistani nationals. “As president of Pakistan, if any evidence comes of any individual or group in any part of my country, I shall take the swiftest of action in the light of evidence and in front of the world,” he said.

    A team of British police and security officers is also in Mumbai to help with the inquiry, along with American FBI agents.

    Gordon Brown said yesterday that the attack had raised “huge questions” about how the world should address violent extremism.

    Speaking in London, the Prime Minister said: “A great multi-faithed democracy has been laid low by terrorists. It raises huge questions about how the world addresses violent extremism.”

    Fires, explosions and gun battles during the siege devastated the 105-year-old Taj Mahal Palace hotel. At the height of fighting, hundreds of people, many of them Westerners, were trapped or taken hostage.

    Television pictures of a satellite telephone captured from a terrorist appeared to show a constant stream of calls to Pakistan during the operation. Officials also said they had traced the group’s route from recorded GPS co-ordinates on the devices.

    The group sent eight operatives on a reconnaissance mission to Mumbai earlier this year, Indian officials have claimed.

    Security officials, Scotland Yard and diplomats in Britain played down reports yesterday of a British link to the terror plot. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We have been speaking to the Indian authorities at a high level and they say there is no evidence that any of the attackers are British.





    India is the first country in the 21st century to have a massive genocide: 2,000 burned alive in 2002. In Kashmir this month, Indian soldiers shoot and kill an aging Kashmiri politician during a peaceful protest. Four years ago, a European priest and his son were burned alive by long-haired, saffron-clad Hindu religious workers. Welcome to secularism’s false prophet, a nation of rising religious extremism, two dozen raging freedom movements, all hidden under the mask of a colorful film industry that provides distraction for a troubled country.

    WARNING: The second report below contains some disturbing images, not suitable for children and sensitive readers.


    The Face Of India Hidden From The World

    There is a distinct lobby in United States and Britain that played a criminal role in fostering Indian terrorism. It did this by covering up Hindu terrorism against Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and low-caste Indians. Have you seen any of the above pictures published by any American or British newspaper or news service? See [left] the charred bodies of Indian Muslims burned alive by Hindu mobs in 2002, in the 21st century’s first genocide. And [center] you might think this picture is from a Hollywood movie set on pre-historic humans. No. These are Hindu religious devotees, or terrorists to be more accurate, who went on the rampage in a north Indian city in 1992 were they attacked and demolished a huge historical mosque going back 500 years. And to the right, the picture of an Indian woman who happened to be on the route of a mob of Hindus in the Gujrat genocide of 2002. She was an Indian Muslim. So they attacked her, tore her clothes off and then burned her alive.


    Fading India In Kashmir

    Tensions heightened when fanatic Hindu mobs imposed an economic blockade on the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway with Kashmiri Muslim truck drivers targeted. Indian Punjab, tellingly, followed suit, according to a BBC report, to once again expose the great myth of Indian secularism. Be part of the great developments taking place in Indian-occupied Kashmir in August 2008. India showed its ugly face to the world this month, when Indian settlers and outsiders tried to impose an economic blockade on Srinagar. While we are busy in Pakistan in our political instability created by the ruling coalition, Kashmir is in the middle of change. This is the time for Pakistanis to pay attention and support the Kashmiris against Indian brutality. Read this simple and fascinating story of the coming change.

    By Abbas Jafari

    Friday, 15 August 2008.


    SRINAGAR, PakistanIt started end of May and has built steadily ever since: the resistance to the Indian occupation of Jammu & Kashmir.

    The movement began when the state government agreed to grant 40 hectares of forest land to the Amarnath Cave Shrine Board as the rest and recuperation area for Hindu pilgrimage to the cave. What followed is a general strike and students’ protests against the plan throughout the Muslim-majority state and persuaded the state government to take a stand, fearing this was another ploy by the Indian government to change the demography of the disputed state from Muslim to Hindu.

    This prompted Hindu retribution and violent clashes were reported between Muslims, Hindus, police and the Hindu protestors in Jammu, with more troops having to be called in for a curfew to be imposed. Reports of assaults on Muslims poured in, along with Muslim homes being set ablaze.

    Shutdowns followed across the entire Kashmir Valley called by a freedom leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in an expression of solidarity with the Muslims in Jammu. Geelani noted that the administration had failed to protect the lives and properties of the Muslims in Jummu with Hindus on the rampage and matters began to spiral out of control.

    Tensions heightened when fanatic Hindu mobs imposed an economic blockade on the Jummu- Srinagar National Highway with Kashmiri Muslim truck drivers targeted. Indian Punjab, tellingly, followed suit, according to a BBC report, to once again expose the great myth of Indian secularism.

    Another BBC report from Srinagar had Muslim truck drivers refusing to travel on that road, fearful for their lives. The BBC Srinagar correspondent reported that fruit exports worth millions of dollars perished, as a consequence, with stocks of food grain, fuel and other needed supplies rapidly running out.

    Just before retaliatory violence reached fever-pitch, a two-day International Kashmir Peace Conference in Washington (July ’08) is reported to have called for “the establishment of an independent and credible investigative commission to probe human rights abuses”. This call was reinforced when Z.G. Muhammad, the acclaimed author of ‘The Cindering Chinars‘ and ‘Kashmir in War and Diplomacy’, quoted the venerated Mr. Yusuf Buch enunciating at the conference: “In Kashmir, campaigns of murderous cruelty have been sustained for decades; when the population gets tired of militant insurgency, the repression seems to subside but when an act of police or paramilitary savagery is protested, the orgy of murder and rape is re-enacted.”

    Clearly aware of this, India‘s prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, turned to Hindu nationalist leader of the opposition L.K. Advani and called for an all-party conference to resolve the issue. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) represented by Mr. Advani, was said to have been much more inclined towards guarding the interests of the Amarnath Sangharsh Samati (ASS), the spear-head of the Jammu agitation. The ASS reportedly was not prepared to accept anything short of the allocation of the 40 acres of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board – which is based in New Delhi!

    Subsequently, an 18-member cross-party parliamentary delegation was dispatched to Jammu and Srinagar for a solution to draw the major concession from some of the moderates in Kashmir‘s All Parties Huriayat Conference, of their having no objection to the Hindu demand for a separate state in contiguous areas where Hindus constituted the majority. These areas were identified as Jammu, Kathua, Samaba, Udhampur, and half of Resai, with the majority Muslim areas of Poonch, Rajouri, and Doda districts merged with the adjoining Muslim belt.

    Simultaneously, the Conference endorsed the demand of the Kashmiri fruit farmers and traders to take their produce to across the Line of Control (LOC) to Muzzfarabad to draw in urgently needed supplies from across the border. On this
    India‘s electronic media asked India‘s home minister Shivraj Patil whether bifurcation or trifurcation (as Ladakh’s Leh district is Bhuddist) of Kashmir could be a possible solution, to which question the home minister replied he was not competent to judge.

    The upshot: an additional 10,000 troops deployed to disrupt the Muzaffarabad- bound march and more killings. With the government unable to stem the tide of unrest, the Huriyat Conference’s Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omer Farooq were quickly put under house arrest, while Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JFKL) leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik’s fast-unto-death protest saw him hospitalized and in critical condition. If that was not enough, Indian security forces then shot dead an alleged resistance fighter along with two farmers and following that, an important Huryiat Conference leader, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, together with an unspecified number of others, as a reported 100,000 protestors began their march to Muzaffarabad.

    Despite a curfew being imposed in all 10 districts of Indian-occupied Kashmir close to 250,000 gathered for the funeral prayers of the slain leader and thousands are reported to have stormed Geelani’s home to free him. Farooq too was released soon after and the two called for peace as communal killings ravaged the Valley. But are peace and harmony possible in an area where the Muslim majority sees itself persecuted for its religious beliefs?

    Zafar Choudhary, in his Countercurrent August 8 article ‘Why is Jammu burning’ underplays this. He writes, “What has shattered in the last 45 days is the myth that ‘Jammu’ and ‘Kashmir’ can behave like a common entity called ‘Jammu and Kashmir’ … In the early days of agitation, the popular slogans heard in Jammu were “we want the land returned … These slogans are no more audible. Now people are asking for an end to Kashmir‘s domination over Jammu. The problem is now no more between the government and the local people on a controversial decision. It has been now projected as Jammu versus Kashmir … When small spark has put the state on fire it has also demonstrated that efforts of dousing flames in one region may well prove as fuel in the other. It is high time that New Delhi‘s Kashmir policy is redrawn and sentiments beyond Kashmir are also taken care of.”

    That as it may, the sentiments evoked on the Jammu blockade have accentuated Muslim-Hindu differences in Kashmir and the front-page picture of the crowd gathered to pay homage to Sheikh Abdul Aziz published in Pakistan’s Daily Times on Wednesday August 13, is indeed worth a thousand words.



    India’s ‘Hindu Al-Qaeda’: Why

    Hindu Extremists Invaded Taj


    The Muslim Book And The Taj Mahal: The Untold Story

    Why would Hindu extremists attack Taj Mahal? The West does not know that a mosque is part of this mausoleum built by a Muslim ruler for his wife. The four walls of the monument that look toward India from all directions speak only one language: Arabic, from the Holy Quran, carved in large inscriptions. You can’t miss it. The Indians have masterly hidden this truth in their attempt to own this marvel as an Indian product. But Hindi extremists won’t have any of it. They are attacking Taj Mahal precisely because of its Muslim heritage.

    A group of saffron-clad Hindu extremists entered the Muslim marvel of Taj Mahal, started walking around the monument performing Hindu prayers. Welcome to

    India’s Hindu terrorists. India is creating al-Qaeda-style civilian militant groups and arming them with heavy weapons. Financing is coming from the narco-trade run by none other than Indian military. This is the face of India that New Delhi’s image makers want to hide from the world.

    By ABDUL RUFF Colachal

    Saturday, 26 July 2008.


    NEW DELHI, IndiaIndia is said to be multi-faceted nation with a flourishing multi-culturalism and securalism, but in reality it expects Muslims and other minorities to make way for the Hindu onward march in every field.

    Hindus want every thing in India for themselves. They have enjoyed all benefits of progress and development to themselves leaving nothing to Muslims, except insults and jails.

    This write up focuses on Indian chauvinistic activities in the spheres of religion, cultural heritage of Muslims, the plight of Kashmiris and the hidden agenda of the Indian occupation of Jammu & Kashmir.

    ONE: Why should India train Hindu extremists, Militants and others?

    A group of 10 Hindutva activists-cum-militants belonging to Shiv Sena, a core fundamentalist political outfit, sneaked into the Taj Mahal at Agra on July 24 and performed prayers (puja) within the precincts on Thursday. They were taken into custody and later released without any hurdles.

    The Hindu Shiv Sena activists, including three women, bought tickets and entered one by one into the Taj Mahal in the afternoon. They performed some kind of puja and ‘parikrama‘ (circling of the monument) of the Muslim edifice/ structure with folded hands. After a while they were forced to stop the ritual when some people brought the matter to the ‘knowledge’ of the security personnel, who in the first place allowed them to enter and even saw them wearing saffron scarves. A minor scuffle ensued after which the police took them to the Taj Ganj Police station.

    This is a routine matter for Indian governments when Hindus perform illegal activities. Had Muslims enter the temples and remove the idols and clean up the structure to be able to offer prayers to God, the matter would be different.

    Hindu outfits, who consider themselves above law and have every right to do anything they please with Muslims and their mosques, have been on a rampage for political reasons with concocted stories against Islam.

    The latest story or discovery of Hindu extremists and their researchers led by Shiv Sena is that the 17th century monument is actually a Shiva temple. Hindu extremists have announced earlier that they would perform puja and aarti on every Monday during the Hindu month of ‘Shravan’, considered auspicious for the worship of Shiva. This past Monday, they had been prevented from entering the Taj Mahal. They later performed the ‘rituals’ at the Taj Mahal corridor.

    A Shiv Sena chief in Agra said they had gone there as ordinary citizens of India and felt like praying. ‘So, what’s wrong with that,’ he asked. The officer belonging to the Archaeological Society of India who is in-charge of the Taj Mahal tried to justify what the Hindu fundamentalists tried to do at the Taj Mahal:

    “They came in a group as ordinary citizens and purchased tickets. We were with them all the time along with the Taj Ganj police station in-charge. With folded hands they went towards the mosque and went back. How could we have prevented their entry as they did nothing objectionable? I don’t know why such a hullabaloo is being made about it. They told me their program is for Mondays and had come today just to see the Taj Mahal.”

    As a Hindu extremist organization thriving on anti-Islamic and anti-Minority sentiments, Siva Sena’s activities, like any other extremist religious groups, are supposed to be under scrutiny by the government, but as this incident shows, the government knows about such activities and knew in this case what the Hindu extremists were planning to do, and yet the Indian authorities allowed the Hindus do their prayers (puja) inside the Taj Mahal. The Hindus were conducting their worship in a Muslim mosque which houses the tomb of the wife of the Moghul emperor.

    Enough of this nonsense for this nation where people are being divided along religious and fundamentalist lines. It is high time Indian judiciary stepped in to clear up the Hindutva mess the rulers over decades have created in appeasing the majority population.

    TWO - Why India trains Hindu militants?

    Even as India keeps blaming Pakistan of training freedom fighting Kashmiris, it also trains the Hindu militants and Kashmiri Muslims. With this Indian strategists have decided to kill Kashmiris directly by Hindus themselves, leading a civil war in Jammu & Kashmir. The great idea behind this new scheme is to delay granting independence to Jammu & Kashmir.

    As if state terrorist forces are not enough to kill the Kashmiri Muslims, now the UPA government of India and the Indian-occupied J&K government under Governor’s rule have embarked upon a massive training of Hindu militants in Jammu region to fight the so-called Muslim ‘terrorists’, which only means Kashmir Muslims, who still demand sovereignty back from the occupying terror forces of India.

    After establishing Village Defense Committees (VDC) and handing people with modern weaponry in hilly areas of Jammu province to fight ‘militancy’, Indian terror security agencies are now busy establishing Self Defense Committees (SDC) in all the hilly villages of Jammu. The SDCs would be like VDCs but every member of SDC is given an AK-47 rifle and other heavy weaponry to use against anybody without any accountability. The SDCs consist of 15 volunteers from every village who are registered with the police department before receiving rifles and ammunition.

    Thus, Sarankote Police Station in Poonch district has been converted into a zonal office for registering SDCs and people are being introduced to SDCs through the public address system and many SDCs have already been registered. ‘The people who are being registered as members of SDCs are mostly illiterate and there is every possibility that these people can misuse the weapons for their personal grudges or animosities. This can result in a civil war in the area,’ says an elderly inhabitant of Poonch.

    This policy of distributing heavy weapons to local civilian militias has anguished the Muslim population in these areas, who feel threatened as police is handing over the weapons only to the members of Hindu community.

    Yet, the moot question remains: Why should India train extra Hindus when it has surplus terror military forces, charged with the ‘patriotic’ task of killing the Kashmiris and when they have been doing the ‘job’ pretty well over decades as heavy militarization of Jammu Kashmir by India, killing thousands of innocent Kashmiris?

    THREE - India promotes Narcotics in JK

    Very few Indians know that their military units are thoroughly corrupt. Anti-social and anti-people activities like smuggling and narcotics are a part of the Indian military services. Police on 10 July arrested an Indian army trooper and recovered heroin worth Rs. 10,000,000 fom his possession in Rajouri district.

    Acting on a tip-off, police intercepted soldier Sumeet Singh at Inphaja Morh in Kandi belt Saturday night and recovered the heroin. Singh, who is working with 13 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry regiment, is presently posted at Udhampur and was on leave when arrested. A case under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) has been registered against him. Military establishment has confirmed the arrest.

    It is amusing to note that Indian propaganda abroad includes branding Kashmiris, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis as terrorists and placing slur on Kashmiri, Afghani and Pakistani Muslims involved in drug trade and narcotics.

    Genocide, secret mass graves, illegal land grabs, economic terrorism, promotion of Hindu religion in Kashmir, and now trade in narcotics and drugs are the goals of the occupying Indian terror forces from India in Kashmir.

    Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal is a research scholar, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

    EXCLUSIVE: Signs Of An Attempted Coup In New Delhi

    42-21293336 brasstacks_policy_paper_-_hindu_fascist_violence_against_christians19_edited1


    Above, a CCTV snapshot of one of the Mumbai terrorists, wearing the sacred Hindu armband [see right] and carrying a machine gun. Below, a picture of a typical member of Hindu terror groups, wearing the same armband. The band is sacred to fundamentalist Hindus who believe wearing it shows devotion and brings good luck from gods.


    EXCLUSIVE: Signs Of An

    Attempted Coup In New Delhi

    With a traumatized nation and a paralyzed government, a core group of secular ideologues and Hindu nationalists are executing a ‘soft coup’ in New Delhi to bring to power hawks who want to pursue America’s agenda of grooming India as a regional policeman, sort out Pakistan and confront China. India will self-destroy in the process. India’s military and intelligence has been penetrated. The man who uncovered the plot, Hemant Karkare, the antiterrorism chief of Mumbai police, was the first target of the mysterious terrorists. Patriotic Indians need to wake up and save their country.


    Saturday, 29 November 2008.


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Preliminary signs emerging from India’s power center, New Delhi, paint a picture of an unstable situation. Security is already compromised. But a bigger story is taking place in New Delhi, not Mumbai. There are disturbing signs that India, a nuclear-armed nation of a billion people, is witnessing a ‘soft coup’ attempt involving secular rightwing ideologues and Hindu nationalists.

    Exploiting the fears of a traumatized nation and a government caught sleeping at the wheel, a core group of rightwing ideologues within India’s military, intelligence and political elite are trying to overthrow Manmohan Singh’s government. The plan apparently is to help the rise of rightwing elements in power and firmly push India in a confrontation with Pakistan and some other countries in the region.

    The objective of this core group is to see India emerge as a superpower closely allied with the United States. They are excited about American plans for India as a regional policeman and have no problem in confronting China and Pakistan to achieve this status. They think time is slipping and they don’t want a hesitant political leadership in their way. Already the instability in the wake of Mumbai attacks is being exploited to start a war with Pakistan. The fact that this will also help U.S. military that is facing a tough time in Afghanistan appears to be more than just a coincidence.

    In the very first hours of the Mumbai attack, the unknown terrorists were able to achieve a singular feat: the targeted murder of Hemant Karkare, the chief antiterrorism officer in the Indian police. The man was responsible for exposing the secret links between the Indian military and Hindu terror groups. His investigation resulted in uncovering the involvement of three Indian military intelligence officers in terrorist acts that were blamed on Muslim groups. At the time of his murder, Karkare was pursuing leads that were supposed to uncover the depth of the nexus between the Indian military and the sudden rise of well armed and well financed Hindu terrorism groups with their wide network of militant training camps across India.

    Curiously, a CCTV camera has caught on tape one of the unknown terrorists when he arrived with his group at their first target: a train station. The man, dressed in a jeans and a black T-shirt and carrying a machine gun [see picture below], is wearing an orange-colored wrist band very common among Hindu religious people. As a comparison, a recent picture of a Hindu militant activist taken during an event this year is shown below where the militant is wearing a similar band.

    An aggressive advertisement campaign has already begun across India urging a scared population to rise against the government.

    On Friday, front-page advertisements appeared in several newspapers in Delhi showing blood splattered against a black background and the slogan “Brutal Terror Strikes At Will” in bold capital letters. The ads signed off with a simple message: “Fight Terror. Vote B.J.P.”

    The Indian, the Pakistani and the international media has not woken up yet to this ‘soft coup’ taking place in New Delhi. Some observers and journalists are beginning to catch its first signs. This is how a New York Times reporter, Somini Sengupta, has characterized it today:

    “Mr. Singh’s government had lately hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party with evidence that its supporters, belonging to a range of radical Hindu organizations, had … been implicated in terrorist attacks. Indeed, in a bizarre twist, the head of the police antiterrorism unit, Hemant Karkare, killed in the Mumbai strikes, had been in the midst of a high-profile investigation of a suspected Hindu terrorist cell. Mr. Karkare’s inquiry had netted nine suspects in connection with a bombing in September of a Muslim-majority area in Malegaon, a small town not far from Mumbai. “

    Evidence is emerging that Karkare knew he was facing the prospect of a violent death because of the investigation he was pursuing. What Karkare probably didn’t know is that his elimination would come in such a perfectly executed operation.

    Only hours before Karkare’s violent death, his close friend, retired Colonel Rahul Gowardhan, received an envelope. Karkare called him to say he was sending him a confidential letter. This is how Times of India has reported the story:

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    Just some hours before that, Karkare had sent a letter to him in an envelop which had some “personal” content. “Hemant had called me up on Wednesday,” said Gowardhan, a top official with MSEDCL. “As I was in a meeting, we decided to postpone the talk. He hung up saying he would be sending me an envelope. When I wanted to know the content, he told me to just read the letter that’s inside it. I returned home and read it. I cannot share the content of the letter with anyone,” said Gowardhan.

    The highly sophisticated nature of the attack in Mumbai, lasting for almost 60 hours, diminishes the chances of a foreign invasion and increases the possibility that influential elements in Indian intelligence and Hindu militant organizations might have helped orchestrate this incident, pretty much like they did in the Sept. 29 Malegaon attack, in which they tried to simulate a Muslim terrorist group. In that attack, in which three Indian military intelligence officers have been arrested, the objective was to provoke a Muslim backlash that could justify a massive state crackdown against minorities.

    Observers are already seeing how the hawks within the Indian establishment and Hindu militant organizations have seized the initiative from a paralyzed government. The Indian army and intelligence are already penetrated. Now the real culprits are channeling the fears of a traumatized people toward Pakistan.

    India is on the same path today that the Bush administration hawks took the American nation on after 9/11. But this time, patriotic Indians have the benefit of hindsight. They should stop the secular warmongers and Hindu militants from hijacking their country. The future of the entire region depends on it.

    Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

    Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on

    Iran border

    MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran’s borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

    “The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,” the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

    He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran “that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost.”

    He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

    Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.

    A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

    The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

    The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

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