Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida

“The United States and its allies in the war on terrorism must defuse the widespread image of Al Qaeda as a ubiquitous, super-organized terror network and call it as it is: a loose collection of groups and individuals that doesn’t even refer to itself as “Al Qaeda.” Most of the affiliated groups have distinct goals within their own countries or regions, and pose little direct threat to the United States. Washington must also be careful not to imply that any attack anywhere is by definition, or likely, the work of Al Qaeda.

This phenomenon of “exaggerated enemy” is not new.” –Debunk the myth of Al Qaeda,

Its size and reach have been blown out of proportion

Global Research, January 13, 2008

The myth of “al Qaida” is built on an expansive foundation of many half-truths and hidden facts.  It is a CIA creation.  It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute “enemy” for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan.  Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of a mythical worldwide network of Islamic terrorists from the exploits of the Afghan Mujahedeen. The CIA already had their own network of Islamic militant “freedom fighters,” all that was needed were a few scattered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the “great leader.”

The really tricky part of creating a mythical terrorist monster out of an incomplete truth is laying-out the facts behind your mythical story without revealing the whole truth about your part in its creation.  In order to explain away the billions of dollars worth of weapons and training that went into the operation, they chose a rich jihadi, a Saudi millionaire named Osama bin Laden, who had been a faithful recruiter and business agent of the Mujahedeen.  He was painted as the sole financier of the entire enormous operation that was centered in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Bin Laden may not even have known that he was playing a part in a deceitful CIA global drama until after the fact.  It is more likely that his history was chosen many years later to serve as the legacy of “al Qaida,” than it is that he was a brainwashed tool of the spy agency all along.

The story of bin Laden is the story of the secret CIA/ISI insurgent camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Osama was 22 years old in 1979, when he was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.

“Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities was used to finance the recruitment of Mujahedeen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.”  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7746

Researcher Kurt Nimmo writes:

“The database of Islamic fighters that was collected by the program was labeled n Arabic, ‘Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’, which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the Arabs commonly used the short word ‘Al Qaida” which is the Arabic word for ‘base.’”  http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=3569

In 1989, the US, under George Bush Sr. moved to abandon Afghanistan, making preparations to attack Saddam Hussein long before he had ever moved against Kuwait in 1991.  As far as Bush knew, the spy agency had obeyed his orders to abandon the Afghan tribal bloodbath and civil war, but the CIA knew better than the Commander-In-Chief.  This fit in well with a deceitful Secretary of Defense, who had also believed that he knew better than his boss, (as evidenced by Cheney ordering his underling Paul Wolfowitz to draw-up an alternative foreign policy, known as the “Defense Planning Guidance”).  The covert foreign policy of Reagan and Carter had became even more secret, as control of the camp network was submerged even deeper into the bowels of the secret world of the CIA.

The CIA  did not pull out of the jihadi program after the Soviet withdrawal, leaving it solely in the ISI’s hands.  There is a massive trail of evidence which proves that all the Islamist extremists who were trained under this program, to undermine Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt, the US and England, were not all Pakistan’s doing.  This has always been a CIA program.  The attempt to pretend that we were washing our hands of it, was to give “plausible deniability” to the President of the United States, that he had ordered an end to the effort.  CIA appeared to comply, as they covertly ignored the position of their old boss and set their own foreign policy.  The ensuing Kashmiri conflict, started in 1989 by American and Pakistani trained forces, was an act of war against India. Which part of the Executive Branch was responsible for the new plan?  Who this a presidential decision, or was it a rogue agency that decided on its own to turn the Islamists against us, manipulating the Islamists into openly kill 3000 Americans on 9/11?  Whose plan were the Islamists and the covert planters of explosives executing on that new day of infamy?

Pakistanis seethed with anger at the US for abandoning them in the mess we had made; they were only doing what America had demanded of them.

“Many in the ISI loathe the United States. They view America as an unreliable and duplicitous ally, being especially resentful of the 1990 sanctions, which came one year after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the ISI is dominated by Pashtuns, the same tribe that is the Taliban‘s base of support across the border in Afghanistan. Partly because of its family, clan, and business ties to the Taliban, the ISI, even more than Pakistani society in general, has become increasingly enamored of radical Islam in recent years.” [Slate, 10/9/2001]…

On October 12, 1999 the ISI installed the government of Pervez Musharref, in a coup d’etat, removing Nawaz Sharif out of fear that he might give-in to American pressure and stop supporting the Taliban.

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/context.jsp?item=a101299pakistancoup

After the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, the camps kept churning out highly-skilled terrorists, to foment other armed insurgencies in places like Kashmir (lasting until the war with India in 1999).  The CIA/ISI camps were terrorist factories, as they kept turning out successive armies of paramilitary units and skilled terrorists.  They trained many of the Bosnian fighters in 1992 and 1995, Chechens in 1994 and 1996, Taliban in 1995 and 1996, and the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998-99.  Former honor students of the camps went on to attempt to kill Benazir Bhutto in 1993 (Yousef and KSM), bomb the World Trade Center the first time (Yousef). Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was an agent of chaos, who immediately set about destabilizing the victorious Mujahedeen in Afghanistan by firing rockets at Kabul, igniting the Afghan civil war.  Mullah Omar received satellite intel from the CIA, revealing to him the location of a hidden convey of Soviet trucks loaded with weaponry, giving him the upper hand in the civil war.

According to India’s Embassy, Pakistan’s terrorism network consisted of :

“38 terrorist training centres from where recruits were regularly sent on “jehad” missions to Kashmir and other parts of the world…Facts and figures about Pakistan’s role in fostering terrorism in India compiled by Indian security forces are as follows: Number of terrorist camps in Pakistan 37; number of terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 49; number of Pakistan-run terrorist camps in Afghanistan: 22; total number of hardcore terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 2300; total number of foreign mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 900; number of Pakistan terrorists killed by Indian security forces: 291; number of Indian civilians killed by Pakistan terrorists: over 29,000…Harkat-ul-Ansar, Al-Badr, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, all associated with terrorist financier Osama bin Laden.” 

http://www.indianembassy.org/press/New_Delhi_Press/September_1999/Pak_Terrorism_Network_Sept_15_1999.htm

In the early years, the camps produced two terrorist superstars, Ramsey Yousef and Ali Mohamed.  While Yousef did spread his talents and skills liberally throughout the Muslim world, it was Ali who made the terrorists more skilled and successfully instigated many large terrorist attacks.  As an officer in the Egyptian military, he had served in the same unit as the assassins who killed Anwar Sadat.  He later moved about freely in the world of Islamist radicals at the al-Farouq mosque and al Qaida recruitment center in Brooklyn, which had produced El-Sayeed Nosair, the killer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, brought the “blind sheikh” together with bin Laden and his Islamic “charities,” as well as Osama’s spiritual mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

As an American Special Forces trainer, Ali acquired specialized skills and combat training programs, which he taught in the camps.  Under the name “Abu Mohamed al-Amriki,” he offered Zawahiri a CIA bribe of $50 million to attempt to overthrow the Egyptian government in 1998.  He did the groundwork for the plot to blow-up two American embassies in Africa and at least one attempt to assassinate Qaddafi.  Ali Mohamed is the linchpin in the plot to fabricate the al Qaida super-enemy.  It will be the task of future historians to determine whether he was manipulating al Qaida for the CIA or playing the CIA for al Qaida – perhaps both answers are correct.

The CIA/ISI camps, organized by Ali, the trainer, were a source of instruction for nearly every terrorist attack upon the West.  Graduate Ramsey Yousef and “the blind Sheikh”  were instrumental to the first World Trade Center bombing, while Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the brains behind the successful second bombing.  Their associate, CIA pawn Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was instrumental in turning the successful Afghan revolution into a civil war and keeping it going.  He was also a key player in the Taliban resurgence against the US.   The Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization trained 300 men at these camps.  The London 7/7 terrorists and the “shoe bomber” all visited these camps before their attacks. Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols allegedly came into contact with some of this group (possibly in the same area as Ramsey Yousef, at a time when both were there) on his visits to the Philippines before the OKC  attack.  It is rumored on the Internet that Saudi intelligence told the FBI that Saddam Hussein had commissioned Pakistanis to bring down the Murrah Building.  The infamous dark-skinned “John Doe No. 2″ might have been a Pakistani.  He was described as a Middle Eastern type.

After Clinton took over from Bush, he rediscovered the Islamist Network.  Parts of the hidden program begin to resurface.  According to author Yossef Bodansky (director Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare), in 1993,

“Clinton began a covert operation with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, to send money and arms to Bosnia-Herzegovina…complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo…involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline  elements of Al Qaida in Albania.”

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Bosnia/bodansky2.html

“Some of these actions were under direct command of Al Qaida “number two” Ayman al-Zawahiri, who oversaw the program to smuggle weapons and mujahedeen though Croatia into Bosnia.  This secret program was later duplicated with the Kosovo Liberation Army, and again in nearby Macedonia, as well as in Chechnya.”

http://www.amazon.com/Bin-Laden-Man-Declared-America/dp/0761535810

Clinton also is alleged to have used these Al Qaida offshoots against Egypt, after President Mubarak opposed Clinton’s use of force against Iraq in February 1998.  Some of these Islamists, again led by Zawahiri, had tried to assassinate Mubarak in 1995.

The Islamist foreign policy of the United States did not end with Bill Clinton, or even with the 9/11 attacks.  Bush is playing the same card throughout the Muslim world, as we see him apply the “El Salvador option” (adapted from the Islamist program) to every situation claimed to be caused by “elements associated with al Qaida.”  We are hiring and training gangs of Sunni mercenaries to start wars throughout the Muslim world.  Either we hire them openly, like the “Awakening” group in Iraq, semi-secretly, like the PAJEK Kurds hired to hit Iran and the Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon, or back them super-secretively, like elements of the Pakistani Taliban, whom we mislabel as “al Qaida.”

Our own spy agency is behind the killing of thousands of American soldiers and civilians all over the world.  They are also responsible for continued Afghan opium production, as it has always served as the primary funding source for CIA paramilitary operations there.  The poppies funded the original Pakistani camps and their current resurgence.  Much of the poppy fields and most of the camps lie within a sixty-mile radius of Peshawar.  This is the zone of instability that overlaps the northernmost regions of Pakistan bordering Kashmir, the epicenter of the massive October 2005 earthquake that further devastated the people.

Within this sixty-mile radius lies the infamous Tora Bora “fortress,” bin Laden’s redoubt, where his forces made their last stand in Afghanistan.  It was built on the Kabul River, near the Swat Valley, the site of the original camps and the current Pakistani/Taliban battles, set-off by Musharref’s  meeting of US demands.  Tora Bora is part of the Darunta Camp complex [34°28'00"N 70°22'00"E], the former location of Al-Badr I military base near Jalalabad.  According to Internet sources, bin Laden allegedly took possession of this facility directly from the CIA, upon his return from Sudan in 1996.  At the time of the US invasion of Afghanistan, American media sources were hyping Tora Bora as a super fortress, equipped as an underground city, even having its own hydroelectric plant.  This underground facility would have had to have cost at least a billion dollars to construct.  They released this artist’s rendition to the public as US bombers were dropping everything they had on it.   disputed the fortress story

http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/2002image/netherpopup.gif

The satellite photos below are supposed to be from the Darunta site, matching closely the level of complexity attributed to the facility during the battle, which the media quickly denied as hype, after our troops failing to get bin Laden there, preferring to show instead, a bunch of primitive caves.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/
afghanistan/images/ik_darunta_tunnel_overview_an_s.jpg

The following map pinpoints the large helipad used to supply Darunta–

http://maps.google.com/maps?
f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Darunta+afghanistan&sll=34.116797,70.
217421&sspn=0.004299,0.009334&ie=UTF8&ll=34.490499,70.372066&spn=0.01712,0.037336&t=k&z=15&iwloc=E&om=0

The ongoing offensive in the Swat zone of instability began when Pakistan agreed to US demands to assault the “Red Mosque” Islamic compound in Islamabad.  The storming of the compound ignited an uprising in the Northwest Provinces by followers of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz.  The Islamists had become more and more successful at their attempts to spark the building democratic-revolution, emboldening Pakistani lawyers to mount large protests, threatening to sweep Musharref and his US allies away.  Musharref has escalated the confrontation with the Islamists by supporting the ISI attempt to blame one of them, Baitullah Mehsud, for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

One-hundred seventy-five miles south of the Swat Valley war zone, around the town of Wana, Mehsud has stood with al Qaida and the foreign Taliban against local Islamists, headed by Maulvi Nazir, who has been waging war to evict al Qaida foreigners (mostly Uzbeks) and Afghan Taliban from his territory.  The al Qaida flocked to the area in 2001 after being driven from the Kandahar area in Afghanistan, which adjoins northwest Baluchistan.  Nazir has followed the same pattern that we have seen the people adopt in Iraq, where Sunnis turn against al Qaida because of their brutal attacks to force harsh Sharia law upon them.  After Nazir could stand no more, he gathered together 900 of his friends from the “local Taliban,” to drive the mostly Uzbeki al Qaida from South Waziristan.  The government provided aid to Nazir’s fight, but when government forces tried to actively fight alongside the defending Waziri, it felt the combined retaliation of both sides.

Recently, nine of Nazir’s representatives to upcoming peace talks with the government were killed in rocket attacks, blamed on Uzbekis who were connected to Mehsud.  The attack was probably another part of the ISI disinformation campaign to turn local Islamists against Mehsud’s Taliban, designed to trigger more of the anti-Uzbeki attacks.  After the attack, Nazir issued a deadline for all of the Mehsud to leave the area.  The Waziri are expected to attempt to drive the Mehsud tribesmen northward of Wana, into the Kurram Agency, which has a large Shiite population.  This area will have to become the focus of CIA/ISI secret plans to foment religious war against the Shia, supporters of Iran, by driving the Sunnis and Shiites together.  Kurram adjoins the area of Tora Bora, on the edge of the large circular zone of instability. Baitullah Mehsud has also been linked to attacks upon Shiites in the Kohat area.  Other reports from the area claim that Mehsud is marked for assassination by a government death squad.

http://www.topnews.in/pak-agencies-devise-strategy-kill-baitullah-mehsud-210441

Wana sits squarely on the trail used by Islamic fighters traveling from the Swat region to the heated battlefield in Southeastern Afghanistan, on the northern edge of the Baluch region.  This is the border area between the multinational Pashtun and Baluch tribes.  The Taliban are primarily a Pashtun movement.  It appears that the goal of the US is to use these inter-tribal hostilities to erase the borders of the two countries.  In 2005, al-Qaeda and the Taliban took over this area, “transforming Baluchistan from a logistics center to an operational base.”
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369909

The sparsely populated Baluch area is also home to Pakistan’s huge reserves of natural gas, the chosen route for the India-Iran gas lines, and several nuclear research and delivery sites.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/facility/pakistan-fac3.gif

Recent attacks by Jundallah terrorists into Iran came from this region.

The recent attempt to blame Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a textbook example of the Pakistani ISI duplicity in the region.  Even while government spokesmen finger Mehsud for the hit, other ISI operatives and journalists (Pakistani neocons) are spreading rumors, alleging his involvement with the anti-America/Musharref resistance.

“To neutralise that strategic blunder, the ISI operatives are trying to present Pakistan and Pakistan army as a target of the US aggression. Of course they are the primary targets of the US.  But Musharraf definitely is not.  To indirectly generate sympathies for Musharraf, the ISI analysis try to explain how Pakistan military is being strategically sabotaged, forgetting the fact that this has nothing to do with the US plans against Musharraf because Musharraf is the key facilitators of all anti-Pakistan plans by the neocons and warlords in Washington.  The ISI attempt to parade Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and the Maulana of Swat as ISI agents just doesn’t hold water…If Al-Qaeda is in fact fighting for the US against Pakistan, what is all this fuss about the ‘war on terrorism’ on the part of Mush and his cronies in Islamabad?”

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/48555

The author of that commentary may have been more of a prophet than he realized, when he asked if al Qaida was fighting for the United States.  Hasn’t it been said, that the best place to hide something is to put it in plain sight?  Rumors created by ISI liars may be more factual than that which they proffer as truth.  By starting a whispering campaign to tell the truth about their intentions they know that it won’t be believed, because of its source.  Known liars like Bush and Musharref, speaking honestly about their intentions, cover the truth with their  dishonest reputations.

In the northern quadrant of this zone is the critical Swat Valley region, the focal point of the ongoing military offensive.  In this jihadi stronghold, we find al Qaida Uzbeks again fomenting rebellion.  “Radio Mullah,” otherwise known as Maulana Fazlullah of Swat, works diligently to broadcast his fundamentalist Wahabbi/Taliban values, backed up by 500 well-armed followers, including Uzbek fighters.   He is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, founder of the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws).  Here hardcore Taliban, al Qaida, TNSM and other organizations await the promised arrival of the American Special Forces, planning to repel them just as they have successfully done with the Pakistani Army. Also within this same circle lies a large percentage of Pakistan’s nuclear development and delivery systems.

The escalating drama that is planned for this region, dreamed-up by the sick mind of Dick Cheney and his pals from the dark side over at CIA, is now set to play out in the planned Frontier Corps.  The insane notion of training still more paramilitary units to fight the old ones is a continuation of the same tragedy that has played-out in this cursed region for thirty years or more.  The plan is to use Special Forces to train new Islamists and to stage attacks that will hopefully ignite an intra-Taliban war, or, even better, an Iraqi-type religious civil war.  Either scenario will open a path to American bombers heading through the back door into Iran.

Global Research Articles by Peter Chamberlin

High alert sounded at Attari after Lahore siege

Dharmendra Rataul

Attari: We could hear powerful blasts throughout the day. We thought there were some exercises going on in Pakistan,” said a Border Security Force jawan posted at the Indo-Pak joint border check post here. He was reacting to the daring terrorist attack on Pakistan’s police academy near Lahore, which is merely 8 km from here. Situated on the Lahore-Wagah GT Road, the academy was under siege on Monday and the gunbattle was clearly audible at Attari.

Though it was business as usual at the joint check post, there has been an unprecedented step-up in security. “We saw Pakistani Rangers swing into action immediately as they were called away from the border post to fight the terrorists,” said BSF officials requesting anonymity.

“We have put the forces at high alert. This is for the first time that terrorists have struck so close to the international border,” said BSF Inspector General Himmat Singh, adding, “I would not be able to comment more, but we have

taken all precautionary measures required and security and patrolling on the border has been stepped up.”

Goods trucks, Lahore-Delhi and Delhi-Lahore buses crossed over to Pakistan as usual, but an uneasy calm prevailed due to the security forces becoming more vigilant. “When I took the truck to Pakistan, the security forces there did not allow me to alight from the truck. I kept sitting inside as the goods were unloaded,” said Balbir Singh, a truck driver.

Though IG Himmat Singh did not confirm, BSF sources said the BSF had taken up the matter of foolproof security to visitors during the Retreat ceremony on Monday. More than 20,000 visitors gathered for the Retreat ceremony at sunset today. “The number of passengers on Pakistan’s side was lesser,” said Resham Singh, a porter at the border.

On the other hand, the Lahore-Delhi bus carrying 40 passengers and Delhi-Lahore bus with 22 passengers on board crossed into India and Pakistan, respectively, amid tight security. “The route of the bus was diverted in Pakistan and security has been increased,” said Ashaliya Masih, a traveller. The number of passengers on Samjhauta Express that arrived from Pakistan at Attari was drastically low on Monday. While the number is usually 500 to 600, the train had just 238 persons on board, confirmed Railways authorities at Attari international railway station.

BSF on high alert along Wagah border

IT’S GETTING PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT MEHSUD AND HIS GOONS ARE TRYING TO EMBROIL THE PAKISTANI ARMY IN ANOTHER WAR ON ITS EASTERN BORDER AGAINST INDIA, TO TAKE THE HEAT OFF THEMSELVES ON THE WESTERN BORDER.  C’MON, GEN. KAYANI, IF IT IS TIME FOR WAR, THEN DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF WHO STARTED IT. IT MAY BE TIME TO RECTIFY THIRTY-ODD YEARS OF MISTAKES BY BOTH OF OUR GOVERNMENTS.

BSF on high alert along Wagah border

3/30/2009 4:25:31 PM

BSF has sounded a high alert along the Wagah border after heavily armed gunmen today (March 30) stormed a police academy in Lahore, 12 km from the Indian border, killing at least 22 policemen, including 11 officers.

“An alert has been issued along the Indo-Pakistan border especially along Wagah. The troops have been asked to keep a strict vigil and remain on high alert for any possible attempts of intrusion and other suspect activities,” a senior BSF officer here said.

The alert has been issued under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) followed by BSF whenever there is an activity on the other side of the border, the officer said. The BSF has also asked officers at the Western frontier to report any suspected incident to the headquarters in the national capital immediately, the officer said.

However, the historical and ceremonial flag lowering and change of guard at Wagah will not be affected and will take place as usual in the evening, the officer added. At least five blasts were heard at the training centre at Manawan in Lahore, located a few kilometre from the Wagah border around 0700 hours today.

Challenging the excuse of anti-Semitism- I want to breathe in a clean air

Challenging the excuse of anti-Semitism

I want to breathe in a clean air

AUTHOR:  Kourosh ZIABARI ˜æÑæÔ ÖیÇÈÑی

Nobody, even the hawks and tyrants themselves, would deny the fact that the majority of world’s decision are made by a group of certain leaders who lead the certain countries of some certain regions! Our world’s population approaches 7 billion as of 2008, living in 203 sovereign states and countries, and there just something around 30 people who decide the destiny and prospect of these 7 billion “flock”, and this is exactly what we expect of the 21st century’s democracy; a revolutionized form of a then-sublime concept that the conscious human would enthusiastically long for.

Perhaps the extraordinary and outlandish ethnic cleansing and systematic massacre of civilians, committed habitually by the state of Israel, is something instinctive to the very existence of the 60-year old “country”, and as said by Gilad Atzmon in an interview which I had once conducted with him, you can not expect benevolent, human and lawful treatment of downtrodden people by the Jewish state.

However, what makes me astonishingly baffled and bemused is the approach of European and North American states to the long-standing punishment of Palestinian people by Israel. Once you dare appear and criticize Israel for its illegal actions, a bunch of mainstreams set off to mobilize and accuse you of the famous ‘anti-Semitism’, ‘anti-Judaism’ and such libels.

Interestingly, those who expound these accusations are either really uneducated and unaware about the historical facts or pretend to be so ignorant and uninformed. Etymologically, Semitism refers to the adherence of Semitic languages or ancient Semitic religions. In the former case, Semitic languages are a group of intertwined languages which comprise Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya and Hebrew. Arabic is the most widely spoken one among the Semitic languages. So anti-Semitism, in its etymological foundation, should more than likely signify the notion of being opposed to Arabic and Amharic languages, and this is basically unwarranted and meaningless.

If one considers the latter case, Semitic religions are Christianity, Islam and Judaism; Christianity and Islam rank first in the world by number of adherents namely 2.1 billion and 1.5 billion respectively. The total number of world Jews, however, does not surpass 14 million, which is comparatively insignificant in compare with the two other nations. So anti-Semitism, again do not represent the school of being opposed to Judaism, as a monotheistic religion.

Those who consciously employ this term to demoralize the critics of Israel know well that they can potentially embroil Arabs, Muslims (as all of the Arabs are not necessarily Muslims), African speakers of Semitic languages, Christians and Jews in an erosive conflict with together.

They want to portray Israel as the symbol of Judaism and intimidate the dissidents of Israel thereby, so that they retract and pull back criticizing the genocidal policies of Tel Aviv and its allies.

Issues are really complicated in this field; because you can not argue with and convince the ordinary people to believe that a “country” can not be the representative of a religion, as Saudi Arabia can not be the representative of Islam. Religion is the intuitive incorporation of moral, ethical, human and decent values in the hearts and minds of people, and no governmental system can claim that it symbolizes the absolute, supreme incarnation of the official religion which it clings to. Maybe, for example, Iran’s name is officially mingled with the name of Islam, and the governmental system is theocratic, even so, that would be irrational to judge on Islam and its reality based on the situation of Iran. Perhaps Iran might be impoverished someday due to the financial meltdown, so would it be then practicable to conclude that Islam is the religion of poverty and shortage?

In the same way, you can not evaluate religion by considering the majority. The Majority of American people (around 75% of the population as of 2002) are Christians, while the governmental system is secular; nonetheless, you can not assess the authenticity and veracity of Christianity on the ground of American people’s lifestyle, behavior, contemplation and manner. Even the practicing Christians of the U.S. are much far away from the fundamental pillars of their religion.

Similarly, Israel is not the manifestation of Judaism. Judaism denounces terrorism, killing of the innocent, occupation and trespassing. Israel introduces itself as a Jewish State, while it’s not really what it maintains; it does not practice what it preaches, and unfortunately is wrongly blending the expansionist, interventionist and reactionary notion of Zionism with Judaism as a religion.

However, these lexical, etymological and methodological differences aside, what is worth the most is that resistance against bully and oppressor is a cultural heritage that Palestinians have used to nurture during times. I believe that the bastion of resistance against aggression which the Palestinian people have long formed, examines the moral and ethical genuineness of our personalities, thinkers, rhetoricians and theoreticians.

I don’t want to give an ultimate declaration; yet I believe that the unconditional support of Israel which is extensively prevalent among the hawkish conservatives and warmonger hardliners with the pretext of defending “Israel’s right to exist” or recognizing its right to “self-defense” merely indicates an advertent blind eye to one of the most striking realities of our era.

Thousands of people are ousted from their lands, being slaughtered usually as an entertaining activity for its perpetrators and live under the harshest threats one can undergo.

We don’t request anything. Just we want the ‘international community’, if that’s not a linguistic equivalent for the U.S. and its European friends, to act, and fulfill the content of 22 UNSC resolutions which have been issued so far, to condemn the unusual actions of Israel. Israel is called the “occupying power” by the UNSC, and we want somebody to end this occupation.

I want, as a citizen of the world, to breathe in a clean, pure and unsullied air. I want to wake up one morning, and hear from the radio that occupation of Palestinians’ lands, massacre of Palestinian people and violation of Palestinians’ rights is eventually ended. May I experience that day?



Source: Tlaxcala

Original article published on 31 March, 2009

About the author

Iranian journalist Kourosh Ziabari is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered and both the source and author are cited.

URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=7323&lg=en

World Depression: Regional Wars and the Decline of the US Empire

World Depression: Regional Wars and the Decline of the US Empire

James Petras

All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigm and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch: Experts everywhere witness the collapse of the US and world financial system, the absence of credit for trade and the lack of financing for investment. A world depression, in which upward of a quarter of the world’s labor force will be unemployed, is looming. The biggest decline in trade in recent world history – down 40% year to year – defines the future. The immanent bankruptcies of the biggest manufacturing companies in the capitalist world haunt Western political leaders.

The ‘market’ as a mechanism for allocating resources and the government of the US as the ‘leader’ of the global economy have been discredited. (Financial Times, March 9, 2009) All the assumptions about ‘self-stabilizing markets’ are demonstrably false and outmoded. The rejection of public intervention in the market and the advocacy of supply-side economics have been discredited even in the eyes of their practitioners. Even official circles recognize that ‘inequality of income’ contributed to the onset of the economic crash and should be corrected. Planning, public ownership, nationalization are on the agenda while socialist alternatives have become almost respectable.

With the onset of the depression, all the shibboleths of the past decade are discarded: As export-oriented growth strategies fail, import substitution policies emerge. As the world economy ‘de-globalizes’ and capital is ‘repatriated’ to save near bankrupt head offices – national ownership is proposed. As trillions of dollars/Euros/yen in assets are destroyed and devalued, massive layoffs extend unemployment everywhere. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty stalk the offices of state, financial directorships, the office suites the factories, and the streets…

We enter a time of upheaval, when the foundations of the world political and economic order are deeply fractured, to the point that no one can imagine any restoration of the political-economic order of the recent past. The future promises economic chaos, political upheavals and mass impoverishment. Once again, the specter of socialism hovers over the ruins of the former giants of finance. As free market capital collapses, its ideological advocates jump ship, abandon their line and verse of the virtues of the market and sing a new chorus: the State as Savior of the System – a dubious proposition, whose only outcome will be to prolong the pillage of the public treasury and postpone the death agony of capitalism as we have known it.
Theory of Capital Crisis: The Demise of the Economic Expert

The failed economic policies of political and economic leaders are rooted in the operation of markets – capitalism. To avoid a critique of the capitalist system, writers are blaming the leaders and financial experts for their incompetence, ‘greed’ and individual defects.

Psychobabble has replaced reasoned analysis of structures, material forces and objective reality, which drive, motivate and provide incentives to investors, policy makers and bankers. When capitalist economies collapse, the gods drive the politicians and editorial columnists crazy, depriving them of any capacity to reason about objective processes and sending them into the wilderness of subjective speculation.

Instead of examining the opportunity structures created by enormous surplus capital and the real existing profit margins, which in drive capitalists into financial activity, we are told it was ‘the failure of leadership’. Instead of examining the power and influence of the capitalist class over the state, in particular the selection of economic policy-makers and regulators who would maximize their profits, we are told there was a ‘lack of understanding’ or ‘willful ignorance of what markets need’. Instead of looking at the real social classes and class relations – specifically the historically existing capitalist classes operating in real existing markets – the psycho-babblers posit an abstract ‘market’ populated by imaginary (‘rational’) capitalists. Instead of examining how rising profits, expanding markets, cheap credit, docile labor, and control over state policies and budgets, create ‘investor confidence’, and, in their absence, destroy ‘confidence’, the psychobabblers claim that the ‘loss of confidence’ is a cause for the economic debacle. The objective problem of loss of specific conditions, which produce profits, as leading to the crisis, is turned into a ‘perception’ of this loss.

Confidence, faith, hope, trust in capitalist economies derive from economic relations and structures which produce profits. These psychological states are derivative from successful outcomes: Economic transactions, investments and market shares that raise value, multiply present and future gains. When investments go sour, firms lose money, enterprises go bankrupt, and those prejudiced ‘lose confidence’ in the owners and brokers. When entire economic sectors severely prejudice the entire class of investors, depositors and borrowers, there is a loss of ‘systemic confidence.’

Psychobabble is the last resort of capitalist ideologues, academics, experts and financial page editorialists. Unwilling to face the breakdown of real existing capitalist markets, they write and resort to vague utopias such as ‘proper markets’ distorted by ‘certain mindsets’. In other words, to save their failed ideology based on capitalist markets, they invent a moral ideal the ‘proper capitalist mind and market’, divorced from real behavior, economic imperatives and contradictions embedded in class warfare.

The inadequate and shoddy economic arguments, which pervade the writing of capitalist ideologues parallels the bankruptcy of the social system in which they are embedded. The intellectual and moral failures of the capitalist class and their political followers are not personal defects; they reflect the economic failure of the capitalist market.

The crash of the US financial system is symptomatic of a deeper and more profound collapse of the capitalist system that has its roots in the dynamic development of capitalism in the previous three decades. In its broadest terms, the current world depression results from the classic formulation outlined by Karl Marx over 150 years ago: the contradiction between the development of the forces and relations of production.
Contrary to the theorists who argue that ‘finance’ and ‘post-industrial’ capitalism have ‘destroyed’ or de-industrialized the world economy and put in its place a kind of “casino” or speculative capital, in fact, we have witnessed the most spectacular long-term growth of industrial capital employing more industrial and salaried workers than ever in history. Driven by rising rates of profit, large scale and long-term investments have been the motor force for the penetration by industrial and related capital of the most remote underdeveloped regions of the world. New and old capitalist countries spawned enormous economic empires, breaking down political and cultural barriers to incorporating and exploiting billions of new and old workers in a relentless process. As competition from the newly industrialized countries intensified, and as the rising mass of profits exceeded the capacity to reinvest them most profitably in the older capitalist centers, masses of capital migrated to Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and to a lesser degree, into the Middle East, Southern Africa.

Huge surplus profits spilled over into services, including finance, real estate, insurance, large-scale real estate and urban lands.

The dynamic growth of capitalism’s technological innovations found expression in greater social and political power – dwarfing the organization of labor, limiting its bargaining power and multiplying its profits. With the growth of world markets, workers were seen merely as ‘costs of production’ not as final consumers. Wages stagnated; social benefits were limited, curtailed or shifted onto workers. Under conditions of dynamic capitalist growth, the state and state policy became their absolute instrument: restrictions, controls, regulation were weakened. What was dubbed “neo-liberalism” opened new areas for investment of surplus profits: public enterprises, land, resources and banks were privatized.

As competition intensified, as new industrial powers emerged in Asia, US capital increasingly invested in financial activity. Within the financial circuits it elaborated a whole series of financial instruments, which drew on the growing wealth and profits from the productive sectors.

US capital did not ‘de-industrialize’ – it relocated to China, Korea and other centers of growth, not because of “falling profits” but because of surplus profits and greater profits overseas.

Capital’s opening in China provided hundreds of millions of workers with jobs subject to the most brutal exploitation at subsistence wages, no social benefits, little or no organized social power. A new class of Asian capitalist collaborators, nurtured and facilitated by Asian state capitalism, increased the enormous volume of profits. Rates of investments reached dizzying proportions, given the vast inequalities between income/property owning class and wageworkers. Huge surpluses accrued but internal demand was sharply constrained. Exports, export growth and overseas consumers became the driving force of the Asian economies. US and European manufacturers invested in Asia to export back to their home markets – shifting the structure of internal capital toward commerce and finance. Diminished wages paid to the workers led to a vast expansion in credit. Financial activity grew in proportion to the entrance of commodities from the dynamic, newly industrialized countries. Industrial profits were re-invested in financial services. Profits and liquidity grew in proportion to the relative decline in real value generated by the shift from industrial to financial/commercial capital.

Super profits from world production, trade, finances and the recycling of overseas earnings back to the US through both state and private financial circuits created enormous liquidity. It was far beyond the historical capacity of the US and European economies to absorb such profits in productive sectors.

The dynamic and voracious exploitation of the huge surplus labor forces in China, India, and elsewhere and the absolute pillage and transfer of hundreds of billions from ex-communist Russia and ‘neo-liberalized’ Latin America filled the coffers of new and old financial institutions.

Over-exploitation of labor in Asia, and the over-accumulation of financial liquidity in the US led to the magnification of the paper economy and what liberal economist later called “global disequilibrium” between savers/industrial investors/ exporters (in Asia) and consumers/financiers/importers(in the US). Huge trade surpluses in the East were papered over by the purchase of US T-notes. The US economy was precariously backed by an increasingly inflated paper economy.

The expansion of the financial sector resulted from the high rates of return, taking advantage of the ‘liberalized’ economy imposed by the power of diversified investment capital in previous decades. The internationalization of capital, its dynamic growth and the enormous growth of trade outran the stagnant wages, declining social payments, the huge surplus labor force. Temporarily, capital sought to bolster its profits via inflated real estate based on expanded credit, highly leveraged debt and outright massive fraudulent ‘financial instruments’ (invisible assets without value). The collapse of the paper economy exposed the overdeveloped financial system and forced its demise. The loss of finance, credit and markets, reverberated to all the export-oriented industrial manufacturing powers. The lack of social consumption, the weakness of the internal market and the huge inequalities denied the industrial countries any compensatory markets to stabilize or limit their fall into recession and depression. The dynamic growth of the productive forces based on the over-exploitation of labor, led to the overdevelopment of the financial circuits, which set in motion the process of ‘feeding off’ industry and subordinating and undermining the accumulation process to highly speculative capital.

Cheap labor, the source of profits, investment, trade and export growth on a world scale, could no longer sustain both the pillage by finance capital and provide a market for the dynamic industrial sector. What was erroneously dubbed a financial crisis or even more narrowly a “mortgage” or housing crisis, was merely the “trigger” for the collapse of the overdeveloped financial sector. The financial sector, which grew out of the dynamic expansion of ‘productive’ capitalism, later ‘rebounded’ against it. The historic links and global ties between industry and financial capital led inevitably to a systemic capitalist crisis, embedded in the contradiction between impoverished labor and concentrated capital. The current world depression is a product of the ‘over-accumulation’ process of the capitalist system in which the crash of the financial system was the ‘detonator’ but not the structural determinant. This is demonstrated by the fact that industrial Japan and Germany experienced a bigger fall in exports, investments and growth than ‘financial’ US and England.

The capitalist system in crisis destroys capital in order to ‘purge itself’ of the least efficient, least competitive and most indebted enterprises and sectors, in order to re-concentrate capital and reconstruct the powers of accumulation – political conditions permitting. The re-composition of capital grows out of the pillage of state resources – so-called bailouts and other massive transfers from the public treasury (read ‘taxpayers’), which results from the savage reduction of social transfers (read ‘public services’) and the cheapening of labor through firings, massive unemployment, wage, pension and health reductions and the general reduction of living standards in order to increase the rate of profit.

The World Depression: Class Analysis
The aggregate economic indicators of the rise and fall of the world capitalist system are of limited value in understanding the causes, trajectory and impact of the world depression. At best, they describe the economic carnage; at worst, they obfuscate the leading (ruling) social classes, with their complex networks and transformations, which directed the expansion and economic collapse and the wage and salaried (working) classes, which produced the wealth to fuel the expansive phase and now pay the cost of the economic collapse.

It is a well-known truism that those who caused the crisis are also the greatest beneficiaries of government largesse. The crude and simple everyday observations that the ruling class ‘made’ the crisis and the working class ‘pays’ the cost, at a minimum, is a recognition of the utility of class analyses in deciphering the social reality behind the aggregate economic data. Following the recession of the early 1970s, the Western industrial capitalist class secured financing to launch a period of extensive and deep growth covering the entire globe. German, Japanese and Southeast Asian capitalists flourished, competed and collaborated with their US counterpart. Throughout this period the social power, organization and political influence of the working class witnessed a relative and absolute decline in their share of material income. Technological innovations, including the re-organization of work, compensated for wage increases by reducing the ‘mass of workers’ and in, particular, their capacity to pressure the prerogatives of management. The capitalist strategic position in production was strengthened: they were able to exercise near absolute control over the location and movements of capital.

The established capitalist powers – especially in England and the US — with large accumulations of capital and facing increasing competition from the fully recovered German and Japanese capitalists, sought to expand their rates of return by moving capital investments into finance and services. At first, this move was linked and directed towards promoting the sale of their manufactured products by providing credit and financing toward the purchases of automobiles or ‘white goods’. Less dynamic industrial capitalists relocated their assembly plants to low-wage regions and countries. The results were that industrial capitalists took on more the appearance of ‘financiers’ in the US even as they retained their industrial character in the operation of their overseas manufacturing subsidiaries and satellite suppliers. Both overseas manufacturing and local financial returns swelled the aggregate profits of the capitalist class. While capital accumulation expanded in the ‘home country’, domestic wages and social costs were under pressure as capitalists imposed the costs of competition on the backs of wage earners via the collaboration of the trade unions in the US and social democratic political parties in Europe. Wage constraints, tying wages to productivity in an asymmetrical way and labor-capital pacts increased profits. US workers were ‘compensated’ by the cheap consumer imports produced by the low-wage labor force in the newly industrializing countries and access to easy credit at home.

The Western pillage of the former-USSR, with the collaboration of gangster-oligarchs, led to the massive flow of looted capital into Western banks throughout the 1990s. The Chinese transition to capitalism in the 1980s, which accelerated in the 1990s, expanded the accumulation of industrial profits via the intensive exploitation of tens of millions of wageworkers employed at subsistence levels. While the trillion-dollar pillage of Russia and the entire former Soviet Union bloated the West European and US financial sector, the massive growth of billions of dollars in illegal transfers and money laundering toward US and UK banks added to the overdevelopment of the financial sector. The rise in oil prices and ‘rents’ among ‘rentier’ capitalists added a vast new source of financial profits and liquidity. Pillage, rents, and contraband capital provided a vast accumulation of financial wealth disconnected from industrial production. On the other hand, the rapid industrialization of China and other Asian countries provided a vast market for German and Japanese high-end manufacturers: they supplied the high quality machines and technology to the Chinese and Vietnamese factories.

US capitalists did not ‘de-industrialize’ – the country did. By relocating production overseas and importing finished products and focusing on credit and financing, the US capitalist class and its members became diversified and multi-sectoral. They multiplied their profits and intensified the accumulation of capital.

On the other hand, workers were subject to multiple forms of exploitation: wages stagnated, creditors squeezed interest, and the conversion from high wage/high skill manufacturing jobs to lower-paid service jobs steadily reduced living standards.
The basic process leading up to the breakdown was clearly present: the dynamic growth of western capitalist wealth was based, in part, on the brutal pillage of the USSR and Latin America, which profoundly lowered living standards throughout the 1990s. The intensified and savage exploitation of hundreds of millions of low-paid Chinese, Mexican, Indonesian and Indochinese workers, and the forced exodus of former peasants as migrant laborers to manufacturing centers led to high rates of accumulation. The relative decline of wages in the US and Western Europe also added to the accumulation of capital. The German, Chinese, Japanese, Latin American and Eastern European emphasis on export-driven growth added to the mounting ‘imbalance’ or contradiction between concentrated capitalist wealth and ownership and the growing mass of low-paid workers. Inequalities on a world scale grew geometrically. The dynamic accumulation process exceeded the capacity of the highly polarized capitalist system to absorb capital in productive activity at existing high rates of profit. This led to the large scale and multiform growth of speculator capital inflating prices and investing in real estate, commodities, hedge funds, securities, debt-financing, mergers and acquisitions — all divorced from real value-producing activity. The industrial boom and the class constraints imposed on workers wages undermined domestic demand and intensified competition in world markets. Speculator-financial activity with massive liquidity offered a ‘short-term solution’: profits based on debt financing. Competition among lenders fueled the availability of cheap credit. Real estate speculation was extended into the working class, as wage and salaried workers, without personal savings or assets, took advantage of their access to easy loans to join the speculator-induced frenzy – based on an ideology of irreversible rising home values. The inevitable collapse reverberated throughout the system – detonated at the bottom of the speculative chain. From the latest entrants to the real estate sub-prime mortgage holders, the crisis moved up the ladder affecting the biggest banks and corporations, who engaged in leveraged buyouts and acquisitions. All ‘sectors’, which had ‘diversified’ from manufacturing to finance, trade and commodities speculation, were downgraded. The entire panoply of capitalists faced bankruptcy. German, Japanese and Chinese industrial exporters who exploited labor witnessed the collapse of their export markets.

The ‘bursting’ financial bubble was the product of the ‘over-accumulation’ of industrial capital and the pillage of wealth on a world scale. Over-accumulation is rooted in the most fundamental capitalist relation: the contradictions between private ownership and social production, the simultaneous concentration of capital and sharp decline of living standards.
Obama and the Capitalist Crisis: A Class Analysis
Indicators of the deepening depression in 2009 are found everywhere:

-Bankruptcies rose by 14% in 2008 and are set to rise another 20% in 2009 (Financial Times, Feb. 25, 2009; p27).
The write-down of the Western big banks is running at 1 Trillion dollars and growing (according to the Institute for International Financing, the banking groups Washington lobby). (Financial Times , March 10, 2009 p.9).

And according to the Financial Times (ibid) the losses arising from banks having to mark their investments down to market prices stand at 3 Trillion dollars – equivalent to a year’s worth of British economic production. In the same report, the Asian Development Bank is quoted as having estimated that financial assets worldwide have fallen by more than $50 trillion – a figure of the same order as annual global output. For 2009, the US will run a budget deficit of 12.3% of gross domestic product…giant fiscal deficits…that will ultimately ruin public finances.

The world markets have been in a vertical fall:

-The TOPIX has fallen from 1800 in mid-2007 to 700 in early 2009;

-Standard and Poor from 1380 in early 2008 to below 700 in 2009;

-FTSE 100 from 6600 to 3600 in early 2009;

-Hang Seng from 32,000 in early 2008 to 13,000 at the start of 2009 (Financial Times, Feb 25, 2009; p27).

-In the fourth quarter of 2008, GDP shrank at annualized rate of 20.8% in South Korea, 12.7% in Japan, 8.2% in Germany, 2.9% in the UK and 3.8% in the US (FT, Feb.25, 2009; p9).

-The Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined from 14,164 in October 2007 to 6500 in March 2009.

-Year on year declines in industrial output were 21% in Japan, 19% in South Korea, 12% in Germany, 10% in the US, and 9% in the UK (Financial Times, Feb.25, 2009; p.9.)

-Net private capital flows to less developed capitalist countries from the imperial countries were predicted to shrink by 82% and credit flows by $30 billion USD (Financial Times, Feb. 25, 2009; p9).

-The US economy declined by 6.2% in the last three months of 2008 and fell further in the first quarter of 2009 as a result of a sharp decline in exports (23.6%) and consumer spending (4.3%) in the final quarter of 2008 (British Broadcasting Corporation, Feb. 27, 2009).

With over 600,000 workers losing their jobs monthly in the first three months of 2009, and many more on short hours and scheduled for axing throughout 2009, real and disguised unemployment may reach 25% by the end of the year. All of the signs point to a deep and prolonged depression:

-Automobile sales of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford were down nearly 50% year to year (2007-2008). The first quarter of 2009 saw a further decline of 50%.

- Foreign markets are drying up as the depression spreads overseas.

-In the US domestic market, durable goods sales are declining by 22% (BBC, Feb. 27, 2009).

-Residential investments fell by 23.6% and business investment was down 19.1%, led by a 27.8% drop in equipment and software.

The rising tide of depression is driven by private business led disinvestment. Rising business inventories, declining investment, bankruptcies, foreclosures, insolvent banks, massive accumulative losses, restricted access to credit, falling asset values and a 20% reduction in household wealth (over 3 trillion dollars) are cause and consequence of the depression. As a result of collapse of the industrial, mining, real estate and trade sectors, there are at least $2.2 trillion USD of “toxic” (defaulting) bank debt worldwide, far beyond the bailout funds allocated by the White House in October 2008 and February and March 2009.

The depression is diminishing the worldwide economic presence of imperial countries and undermining the foreign capital-financed export strategies of Latin American, Eastern European, Asian and African regions.

Among almost all conventional economists, pundits, investment advisors and various and sundry experts and economic historians, there is a common faith that “in the long-run”, the stock market will recover, the recession will end and the government will withdraw from the economy. Fixed on notions of past cyclical patterns, historical ‘trends’, these analysts lose sight of the present realities which have no precedent: the world nature of the economic depression, the unprecedented speed of the fall, and the levels of debt incurred by governments to sustain insolvent banks and industries and the unprecedented public deficits, which will drain resources for many generations to come.

The academic prophets of ‘long-term developments” arbitrarily select trend markers from the past, which were established on the basis of a political-economic context radically different from today. The idle chatter of ‘post crisis’ economists overlooks the open-ended and constantly shifting parameters therefore missing the true ‘trend markers’ of the current depression. As one analyst noted, “any starting conditions we select in the historical data cannot replicate the starting conditions at any other moment because the preceding events in the two cases are never identical” (Financial Times, Feb. 26, 2009; p24). The current US depression takes place in the context of a de-industrialized economy, an insolvent financial system, record fiscal deficits, record trade deficits, unprecedented public debt, multi-trillion dollar foreign debt and well over $800 billion dollars committed in military expenditures for several ongoing wars and occupations. All of these variables defy the contexts in which previous depressions occurred. Nothing in previous contexts leading up to a crisis of capitalism resembles the present situation. The present configuration of economic, political and social structures of capitalism include astronomical levels of state pillage of the public treasury in order to prop up insolvent banks and factories, involving unprecedented transfers of income from wage and salaried taxpayers to non-productive ‘rent earners’ and to failed industrial capitalists, dividend collectors and creditors. The rate and levels of appropriation and reduction of savings, pensions and health plans, all without any compensation, has led to the most rapid and widespread reduction of living standards and mass impoverishment in recent US history.

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Israel’s Covert War on Iran Faces Disapproving White House

Israel’s Covert War on Iran Faces Disapproving White House

The CIA lost its entire agent network in Iran in 2004 after a communications officer, intending to contact an agent via his Immarsat transmitter, accidentally hit the wrong button sending instructions to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, U.S. sources say. The photo shows an unrelated operator in an unknown location preparing to transmit imagery using Immarsat global satellite technology during the U.S. intervention in Somalia, code-named Operation Restore Hope. (Pubmilpics via Newscom)
Facing mounting U.S. opposition behind the scenes, Israel still plans to continue a covert operation to delay Iran’s nuclear program by assassinating key Iranian scientists, U.S. officials said.The Israeli program which has been in place for almost a decade, involves not only targeted killings of key Iranian assets but also disrupting and sabotaging Iran’s nuclear technology purchasing network abroad, these sources said.

Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst for Stratfor, a U.S. private intelligence company, commented publicly that key Iranian nuclear scientists were the targets of the strategy.

“With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key [Iranian] assets involved in the nuclear program and the sabotaging of the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” he said.

But U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as U.S. President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at thawing 30 years of tension between the two countries.

Part of this is due to the U.S.’s desire to use Iran’s road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there.

But Israel’s interests in the region are not the same as those of the United States, several U.S. officials said.

Pat Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said of the Israeli killings: “That’s what the Israelis would do, what we would expect them to do. They would kill Iranian scientists.”

Asked about the mounting administration disapproval, Clawson said of the killings, “It would be implausible to call off all covert ops.” He added: “If the U.S. pressures Israel, then the Israelis will simply stop talking to us about it.”

Israel’s targeted killing program has taken on new urgency since Washington made clear last year that an Israeli air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities was out of the question.

“The goal now is to delay for as long as possible, Iran getting to the point of having a nuclear weapon,” a former U.S. intelligence official said.

Asked to comment, Middle East expert Tony Cordesman, said of the killings: “There’s not that much of it going on,” and its success was dubious in any case.

Israel’s targeting killing program was done in concert with the [George W.] Bush administration, former U.S. sources said.

A former senior CIA official described several joint U.S.-Mossad operations to derail Iran’s nuclear program as “something out of slapstick.” All had failed miserably, he said.

A new wave of assassination and sabotage programs were launched in spite of the fact that in 2005, the United States had little to no intelligence about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

According to U.S. sources, in 2004, the CIA had lost its entire agent network in Iran when a CIA headquarters communications officer was about to send instructions to an agent via its Immarsat transmitter/receivers. The CIA officer attempted to download data intended for a single operative, but accidentally hit a button that sent it to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, these sources said.

The information was received by a double agent who forwarded it to Iranian counterintelligence, which quickly wrapped up the entire network, leaving Washington completely blind.

Perhaps the earliest attempt to derail Iran’s efforts was launched in 2000, under the Bill Clinton administration when, under the code-name “Operation Merlin,” it gave a Russian defector and nuclear engineer plans for an atomic bomb and he delivered it to a high-ranking Iranian official in Vienna. The operation was personally approved by Clinton.

The plans were scary – they were for a Russian-made TBA 480 “firing switch’ that could create an implosion that would trigger a chain reaction in a small spherical core of uranium.

The kicker was that the plans were full of flaws that would send the Iranian program into a technological dead end.

The Iranians were not supposed to spot the inserted design flaws that would render any device based on the plans null and void.

But according to U.S. officials, the Iranians easily spotted the flaws, and the United States may have inadvertently placed a very dangerous document among one of the world’s most dangerous nations.

Operation Merlin was still alive and kicking during the Bush administration, whose officials said they planned to try it on other countries.

In addition to targeting Iranian scientists, Israel is hard at work trying to sabotage Iran’s supply chain for the program using European front companies, U.S. officials said.

Mossad recruits workers for these companies who can obtain technical data on equipment or photographs of it, former CIA officials said. These are then forwarded to Israeli scientists for analysis and study, they said.

A few years ago, the United States and Israel came up with a joint plan to wreck the electrical grid Iran was using to power its nuclear program, a former senior official said. Again, this was a joint U.S.-Israeli program that would use an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) device to send a disabling power surge through power lines causing them to short out, U.S. officials said.

The equipment was tested in the Nevada desert, but in Iran the EMP bombs would have had to be smuggled into the country by Israelis, then placed in open areas near the nuclear installation where they could be easily spotted. The plan was abandoned, U.S. officials said.

Regarding Israel’s policy of targeted killing, it began seriously after the murder of Israeli athletes by members of Black September, a radical Palestinian group, which was “basically the PLO,” according to former CIA agent Bob Baer.

Since then it has been used to eliminate Palestinian or Islamic militants in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel’s prime minister personally approves each killing, and the work is done by “hit teams” that are made up of squadrons of Kidon, a sub-unit of Mossad’s highly secret Masada department which stages the operations, former U.S. officials said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning, “bayonet.”

A U.S. official said that Israel has staged targeted killings “in friendly countries,” but that the diplomatic world has greatly changed since former President Bush. For one thing, the United States and Iran are engaged in talks on major issues. For another, Iran is a long-standing and unforgiving enemy of the Taliban.

According to U.S. officials, in October 2001 when U.S. forces began bombing the Taliban force following the 9/11 attacks, Iran provided excellent targeting information on the Taliban.

Furthermore, the political climate has changed. The new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel has not assumed any definite shape and seems in disarray.

“The only thing Netanyahu does well is fear monger,” said the U.S. official. He said he did not think Netanyahu would remain in power for very long.

In any case, Netanyahu faces a different Washington. Even though under Clinton, Netanyahu faced a hostile president, the Israelis at least had a Republican Congress at his back for use as a counterweight. Netanyahu’s praise of deregulation and tax cuts went over well back then, but today the U.S. Republican Party is a wreck with little credibility.

There is also energy gathering in the White House for a fresh push for a Middle East peace, sources there said. For Netanyahu “the twilight is falling,” said one former U.S. official.

The Latest B.S. about the Criminal Sudan Convoy Attack

EVIDENTLY, I HAVE BEEN BLOCKED-OUT FROM READING THIS ARTICLE IN HAARETZ, SINCE I COULD ONLY ACCESS IT THROUGH THE HIDDEN PATH ACCESS POINT.  PERHAPS IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH MY PREVIOUS ARTICLE SLAMMING THE LAST VERSION OF THIS STORY, ABOUT IT BEING CARRIED-OUT WITH PUNY HERMES DRONES.  THIS IS BEGINNING TO UNFOLD LIKE ALL ISRAELI AIR FORCE STRIKES (ALLEGED SYRIAN REACTOR), WITH THE SUBSERVIENT BRITISH LEADING THE WAY WITH BULLSHIT STORIES.

NOTICE THAT NO MEDIA SOURCE ANYWHERE EVER MENTIONS THE 18 HUGE CRATERS LEFT BEHIND BY THE ATTACK, SINCE THE ORIGINAL REPORT  IN THE EGYPTIAN PRESS.

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Dozens of Israeli jets and drones attacked in Sudan’



By Haaretz Service
Tags: IAF, Sudan air strike
TIME Magazine on Tuesday cites high-ranking Israeli security officials as saying that dozens of Israeli jets and unmanned drones took part in the January strike on a Gaza-bound weapons convoy in Sudan.According to sources cited in the TIME article, the attacks were carried out by F-16 fighters, which carried out two attack runs on the convoy. F-15 fighter planes were also positioned nearby, a precaution against the possibility of hostile fighters rushing to the area.

Once the first bombing run was completed, unmanned drones laden with cameras passed over convoy site to ensure its destruction. After the footage indicated that the party was only partially hit, a second pass was ordered.

Since, according to the source, Israel had but a few days to prepare for the strike, from the time the initial Mossad tip-off was received, naval and aerial rescue teams were speedily directed to the Red Sea, ahead of a potential rescue mission, the TIME report said.

The sources told TIME that while the Americans were notified of the attack U.S. planes were not directly involved. The article added that contrary to some reports, neither a ship nor a second convoy were attacked. “There was only one raid, and it was a major operation … [involving] dozens of aircraft,” he told TIME.

Although similar shipments headed for Gaza were smuggled through Sudan before, the convoy which was attacked was unprecedented in volume, according to TIME.

The attack was aimed at warning Iran and another hostile states that Israel possesses the intelligence capability and the willingness to carry out military operations far from her borders.

Reviving Silk Route in J&K

Reviving Silk Route in J&K


Reopening of roads in J&K will revive old Silk Road and it will definitely change State’s political and economic landscape but current effort ignored Ladakh

Willayat Ali

Silk Route has served as a confluence of civilizations and the reopening of the old route will make Jammu and Kashmir a favorite spot of tourism. The major roads which connect Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the world are Jammu-Sialkot, Poonch-Rawalkot, Uri-Muzafarabad, Kargil-Skardu, Leh- Mansarovar and Leh- Yarkand. A casual look at history also reveals that these routes contributed greatly to economy, cultural and political development of Jammu and Kashmir as it known for their historical and cultural contacts with outside region-Central Asia, Xinjiang and Tibet. The fact that the section of “Silk Route”, ran through this region, highlights the historical, economic and cultural significance of the various routes. All that need to be done is to learn from history and re-establish the cultural and economic contacts along these roads and will revive the Silk Route. Opening of these roads will totally change the nature of present interactions between the various communities of these regions that include Jammu, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan and Leh Kargil.

Subsequently, this process will provide positive inputs to the Indo-Pakistan peace process, Sino- Indian relation and also further contact with Central Asia through land route. Muzaffarabad-uri Road which opened in 2005 was the biggest confidence building measures between India and Pakistan relating to Jammu and Kashmir. The opening of this route for trade recently would benefits to apple industry, shawl and wooden furniture industry, since 80% people are engaged in these sectors. As it will be seen subsequently, the Kashmir valley has adequate goods, which could be exported successfully across the LoC. Poonch- Rawalakot Road was also opened in 2006 for divided families. A beginning has been made but this need to be consolidated and expand further. Beside trade, tourism is another important sector in the Kashmir valley and this region could also become an important hub for educational activities. Politically, it would also allow both sets of Kashmiris to appreciate the levels of political freedom, governance and security issues on the other-side.
Another route Jammu-Sialkot is yet to be open. In terms of trade transaction, economy, divided families or history, the linkages of Jammu with its neighboring regions – Punjab, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad can’t be ignored. The Jammu-Sialkot links both road and rail in particular has great significance. Before independence, this road was the primary link for the people for this region with the outside world and the railway line from Lahore to Jammu ended in the heart of Jammu city. If there are train services like – Thar Express between Munabao and Kokhrapar and Samjhauta Express between Wagah and Atari why not have Chenab Express between Jammu and Sialkot.

Government of India is also considering the opening of Kargil-Skardu road. However, the government seems to be reluctant to take any decision over the opening of this road; though the leaders make promises during the elections to maintain their vote banks but they forget the given words once they come to power. The LoC not only divided the Paharis in Rajouri and Poonch and the Kashmiris in the valley, but has also divided the Baltis in Kargil and Skardu regions who would love to visit the other side and see their relatives. Skardu is 130 km away from Kargil. If the road is open, it would take just five to six hours to reach Skardu. Today it takes five to six days to reach Skardu from Kargil via Delhi. People of this region from Leh to Gilgit, believe that they are distinct, historically and politically. Geographi- cally, Ladakh and Northern Areas comprise two third (78%) of the entire Jammu and Kashmir territory and historically from times immemorial, these region from Leh to Gilgit were interconnected economically, politically and culturally. Until 1947, trade and movement of people took place continuously from Tibet to Central Asia through Leh, Kargil, Skardu and Gilgit. Traders, caravans, people and religions moved along the “Silk Route”. Today this region cut off from rest of the world during winter session as the Zojila pass closed for six months in year and the road is also one of the most dangerous in the entire region. since two year army has started courier service from Kargil to Srinagar once in week during winter which is too much depend on the mood of the pilot as they often make excuse of bad weather and do not come as per schedule which always creates unnecessary headache to the passengers. Being an important region of the state it needs to be connected by air and land routes.

If the government can provide free air service to the Kashmiris during the blockage of Jammu- Srinagar highway for few days due to snow fall; why the government is so ignorant to provide an air service to Kargil once in a week as the region remains totally cut off from the rest of world for six month during winter session. Thus, the opening of this road is important. Apart from providing opportunities to the divided families and co-linguist people to meet, it might provide opening to the Central Asia. Skardu is already linked with Gilgit, at a later stage will give this region access to the strategic Karakoram Highway from Kargil and Leh regions. This will further link this region with China and Central Asia. Another important route lies across Line of Actual Control (LAC) is Leh- Manasarovar road and leh yarkand route between India and China, again ignored by New Delhi. This route is another option to India to reach Central Asia. Until 1947, the main roads of Ladakh were part of “Silk Route” spreading its fingers into Tibet via Demchok, into Yarkhand through the mighty Karakoram pass. From salt to oil, everything comes through Leh-once a connecting valley between Yarkhand and Central Asia. Today Nubra Valleys only links to the outside world lies through the Khardungla, the highest motorable pass in the world. The local in the Nubra valley are anxious to see the reopening of the old “Silk Route”. Economically, the local population will greatly benefit out of this routes, mainly tourism. Kailash Mansurovar, one of the most revered Hindu pilgrim destinations, is only about 300 km from Demehok. India should make effort to develop the sub- region from Leh to Demchok and Karakoram areas in Nubra valley in terms of developing roads and reconsidering the permit system in the inner line. But unfortunately India did not see roads as of strategic importance, especially in its border regions. Now, the process has started, let it not be limited to only one region. A beginning has been made across the LoC, let it be strengthen further by opening all the routes. Thus, the opening of all above routes will revive the old “Silk Route” and Jammu and Kashmir once again could become the gateway to Central Asia.

Moreover, after opening of these routes, they could be used for linking Gas pipeline. The construction of road links would definitely benefits not only India and Pakistan in CBM, but also to the people of both sides of Jammu and Kashmir economically and politically. India energy needs can be accomplish by constructing pipeline from Central Asia via Afghanistan and Pakistan. As India – Iran – Pakistan Gas Pipeline proposal and Turkmen – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India Gas Pipeline proposal could be accomplish only by building good relationship with Pakistan over Kashmir issue. This age is one of looking for means of cooperation and integration despite whatever political difficulties may be involved. Given Indian growing energy needs, it has become imperative for it to tap into the huge energy reserves of Central Asia, whether in competition or in cooperation with the other major powers involved in the region.

However, given that energy pipelines will cross several national boundaries before they get to India, including those of Pakistan and China. India must necessarily adopt a cooperative approach. Either way, improving transport and other infrastructure in India’s western border states and, in particular Jammu and Kashmir, is an absolute necessity not just in terms of energy concerns but also within a purely development framework. One positive point for India is that both China and Pakistan increasing keenly their concern in the development of bilateral trade keeping other disputes on backside. In Kashmir, both countries (India and Pakistan) showed their interest to open LoC for trade purposes by keeping the Kashmir issue on back. Hopefully, the planned road construction along the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control is a sign of a change in attitudes in New Delhi as well as of an increasingly confident Indian foreign policy in its neighborhoods.

*(The author is a Research Scholar DSRS, Jammu University).
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sunni official predicts upsurge in resistance attacks

The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMSI), created in 2003, is a politically influential group of Iraqi scholars aiming to represent the country’s Sunnis. AMSI opposes the “U.S occupation,” supports resistance against it (while condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians) and calls the current political process illegitimate.

Niqash met AMSI spokesman, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faydhi, to discuss AMSI’s position on current developments. Al-Faydhi reiterated that there could be no real national reconciliation so long as the U.S occupation continues and suggested that armed resistance is on the rise.

Niqash: Is it true that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked you to participate in the political process and promised to let you join the government?

Al-Faydhi: Yes, al-Maliki extended an invitation to Dr. Harith al-Dari, Secretary-General of the AMSI, when al-Maliki was at odds with the [Sunni] Accordance Front following their boycott of the government.

The offer came through a mediator who quoted Maliki saying that “Dr. Dari, and not the Accordance Front, is the best representative of Sunnis.” He also quoted al-Maliki saying that “if al-Dari accepts to join the political process, he would deal with him.” As expected, al-Dari refused the offer and sent a message to al-Maliki, through the same mediator, saying: “It is wrong to interpret our conflicts with the Accordance Front as a matter of government positions. We disagree with them because they joined the political process designed by the occupier and based on an ugly sectarian and ethnic basis. Thus you should spare yourself the effort. If you want real national reconciliation, then you should abide by the agreements of the first and second Cairo meetings. In these meetings, we reached a number of agreements as published in the two statements issued after each meeting. If you respect these agreements and implement them, then we are very close to reconciliation.”

[The Cairo statements call for a timetable for U.S withdrawal; an acknowledgement of the legitimate resistance; ending arrests and raids; and the release of detainees held without a warrant ].

Niqash: You are talking about reconciliation but you support military operations carried out by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq. Is there joint coordination between AMSI and these organizations?

Al-Faydhi: Every researcher specialized in Iraqi issues, who follows accurate research standards and who is not subject to what others dictate him knows that AMSI does not have any relations with al-Qaeda. It has condemned many acts claimed by the organization, which we considered acts of terror, unjust and criminal. We dealt with events in Iraq by monitoring and evaluating acts, regardless of who committed them. AMSI adopted this approach because the enemy was clever in shuffling cards and attempting to distort the resistance’s image. That is why AMSI always evaluated actions before judging them; acts of resistance were praised and criminal and terrorists acts were condemned regardless of who stood behind them.

It seems that neither the Americans nor the successive governments under occupation appreciated our approach and thus they accused us of having links with these organizations. If any of them has one substantial piece of evidence against us they would have made much ado about it.

Niqash: There has been a recent upsurge in armed attacks in Baghdad, Diyala and Mosul. Do you believe that these attacks are a response by armed groups to al-Maliki’s call for reconciliation?

Al-Faydhi: Neither al-Maliki nor any other person have the right to call for reconciliation. The occupation is ongoing and all international conventions give people under occupation the right to resist their occupiers. Additionally, resistance is a teaching of God.

Regarding the escalation of armed attacks against U.S occupation forces, I don’t believe that al-Maliki’s statements have anything to do with it. I think that resistance is growing again after being undermined by many factors such as the Awakening projects. When these attempts failed, and when al-Qaeda became weak, the Iraqi resistance started to recover and to grow. We have all witnessed the rise in the number of attacks during the last month and I expect the resistance to reach its peak during the coming few months.

Niqash: How do you interpret the ongoing conflict between Sunni parties on a new Sunni parliamentary speaker?

Al-Faydhi: The political process is not of any concern to AMSI because we believe it is not a legitimate process under occupation regardless of who champion this process, the Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds. But the whole situation confirms results already predicted by AMSI when we said that the sectarian quota system will become a source of new crises and problems, not only between the different components of Iraqi society but also within each component. Regarding conflicts between Sunni parties, they should answer this question themselves.

Niqash: Aren’t you convinced that national reconciliation will bring political stability and security to the country?

Al-Faydhi: There will be no national reconciliation under an occupation which supports one party at the expense of the other. The party which receives U.S support will feel strong and will not be compelled to make any concessions. This is human nature and this is what the government is doing now. The other party, now weak, will continue to have its doubts and will interpret each act as evil and driven by occupation. Reconciliation will only become serious when occupation ends and when all Iraqis sit together around the table feeling that they are equals. Then, if no reconciliation is reached, everyone will pay the price equally.

Niqash: The political process is moving ahead and Sunni parties are supporting it.

Al-Faydhi: When a person suffers from a chronic disease no one says that he enjoys good health. He is always vulnerable to relapse at any moment as he is likely to die. The same applies to Iraq. The support of Sunni parties of the political process is of no value because parties who participated in it under occupation lost all popular support. The recent provincial elections, despite the manipulation of its results by occupation, have clearly revealed this fact. Participation in elections did not reach a maximum of 30% in the best cases. Voters did not vote for the sectarian parties who dominate the country’s political process.

Niqash: What is your view on religious fatwas that call Shiites infidels and do you think that Iraqi Shiites serve as an extension of Iranian influence?

Al-Faydhi: Since the first days of AMSI’s creation, we said that Shiites are our brothers in religion, our partners in the country and people of the Qibla [Muslims]. The rule is that we do not accuse the people of the Qibla of infidelity. This is why we visited Shiite religious authorities, such as Sheikh al-Khalisi, and worked with him and others to serve the interests of the country.

Regarding the second part of your question we have never considered Iraqi Shiites as such and we never said so. We only perceive Shiite politicians that are now participating in the current political process taking place under occupation – all of them – as extensions of Iranian influence; this is our view which we still believe in.

Niqash: What will resistance fighters do when U.S troops leave Iraq? Leaders of the Salafi-Jihadi movement say that they will take the battle to neighbouring countries.

Al-Faydhi: We are not adherents to the Salafi-Jihadi movement. AMSI is an independent and new school of thought. It has a distinctive vision and philosophy and we have had a successful experience in crisis management under the occupation of Iraq.

When Iraqis liberate their country, they will rebuild it again and fix all the damage made by war and they will establish good relations with neighbouring countries and with the international community.

Niqash: The government has arrested women described as ‘al-Qaeda members’ being used to commit suicide attacks. Islamic sharia clearly states that women should be spared in Jihad. What is your religious verdict on this matter?

Al-Faydhi: Firstly, I think that there is an exaggeration in such issues motivated and driven by the occupation and its agents. The purpose is to distort the image of jihad in Iraq. In any case, jihad is the responsibility of men; if women volunteer and their guardians allow them to do so, then they can participate in the jihad. If a woman dies in confrontation with the occupier, she will be considered a martyr. If she kills innocent people and die, she will be in an unenviable position because she committed suicide and Islam promises severe punishment to those who do so – may God spare us such punishment.

Niqash: Why did four groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Hamas-Iraq, the Mujahedeen Army and the Murabitoun Army, break with al-Qaeda after having previously been loyal to the group?

Al-Faydhi: The organizations you mentioned, according to our own sources, have no links with al-Qaeda and they never said that they were loyal to it. Thus, it is not true to say that they broke from al-Qaeda because they were not linked or loyal to it. When al-Qaeda was only targeting the U.S occupation, its operations were considered as resistance. Others considered it as part of the Iraqi resistance movement. When it started to target innocent people, conflicts started to arise and there were even armed confrontations between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and al-Qaeda in Abu Ghraib; confrontations that lasted for months and led to the deaths of many resistance and al-Qaeda members.

Remembering “Land Day,” Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army

See:  KOENIG REPORT/MEMORANDUM

Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army

By Jonathan Cook in Arrabeh

30 March 2009

Jonathan Cook looks at the events that culminated in the murder of Arab citizens of Israel who were protesting against the theft of their land in 1976 – events that are marked by Land Day.

Palestinians across the Middle East were due to commemorate Land Day today, marking the anniversary of clashes in 1976 in which six unarmed Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army as it tried to break up a general strike.

Although Land Day is one of the most important anniversaries in the Palestinian calendar, sometimes referred to as the Palestinians’ national day, the historical event it marks is little spoken of and rarely studied.

“Maybe its significance is surprising given the magnitude of other events in Palestinian history,” said Hatim Kanaaneh, 71, a doctor, who witnessed the military invasion of his village.

“But what makes Land Day resonate with Palestinians everywhere is that it was the first time Palestinians inside Israel stood together and successfully resisted Israel’s goal of confiscating their land.”

The confrontation took place between the army and a group usually referred to as “Israeli Arabs”, the small minority of Palestinians who managed to remain in their homes during the 1948 war that led to the founding of Israel. Today they number 1.2 million, or nearly one-fifth of Israel’s population.

“We were given citizenship by Israel, but have always been treated as an enemy, perceived of as a threat to the state’s Jewishness,” said Dr Kanaaneh, who last year published his memoir, A Doctor in Galilee, which offers a rare account in English of Palestinian life inside Israel during the Land Day period.

In 1976, Dr Kanaaneh, having completed his medical studies at Harvard University in the United States, was the only physician in Arrabeh.

Israel crushed organized political activity among Israel’s Palestinian citizens between 1948 and 1966, Dr Kanaaneh said. Nonetheless, popular frustration had mounted as the state expropriated privately owned Palestinian land to build new communities for Jewish citizens, many of them recent immigrants.

During military rule, historians have noted, vast swathes of land were taken from Palestinians, both from refugees in exile and from Israel’s own Arab citizens. Jews had bought only 6 per cent of Palestine by the time of the 1948 war, but today the state has nationalized 93 per cent of Israel’s territory.

“Government policy was explicitly to make the land Jewish – or Judaize it, as it was called,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The announcement in the mid-1970s of the confiscation of a further 2,000 hectares led to the creation of a new body, the National Committee for the Defence of Arab Lands, which provided a more assertive political leadership.

The minority’s decision to strike, Dr Kanaaneh said, shocked the Israeli authorities, which were not used to challenges to official policy. “Both sides understood the significance of the strike. For the first time we were acting as a national minority, and Israel was very sensitive to anything that suggested we had a national identity or a unified agenda, especially over a key resource like land.”

Although the strike was strictly observed by Palestinians throughout Israel, the focus of the protest were three villages in the central Galilee that faced the loss of a large area of prime agricultural land: Arrabeh, Sakhnin and Deir Hanna.

The prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and his defence minster, Shimon Peres, acted on the eve of the strike.

“What was surprising was that they didn’t send in the police, as you’d expect when dealing with citizens of a country, but the army,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The government’s original plan, he said, was to break the strike and force employees to go to work, but when villagers began throwing stones, the army imposed a curfew.

“When a neighbour called me to attend to his wife who had gone into labour, I walked out of my house towards an armoured vehicle waving my stethoscope,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “A soldier aimed his rifle straight at me and I hurried back inside.”

Ahmed Khalaila, who was 18 and living in Sakhnin, remembered being woken early by loudspeakers. “Soldiers were calling out that we must not leave the house … We couldn’t even look out of the windows,” he said.

When a neighbour stepped outside her house, she was shot and injured, Mr Khalaila said. He and his older brother, Khader, tried to help the woman. When they were about 50 metres from her, Khader was shot in the head.

“He was still breathing and we hoped he could be saved, but there were checkpoints at all the entrances to the village. We knew no ambulance would be coming for him.”

Eventually the family managed to get him into a car and drove towards the nearest hospital. Held at a checkpoint, Mr Khalaila said, the family watched as Khader bled to death as he lay across his younger brother’s legs on the back seat. Khader was 24 and recently married.

No one ever came to investigate what had happened, or offered the family compensation. “It was as if a bird had died,” he said. “No one was interested; no questions were asked in the parliament. Nothing.”

As well as the six deaths, hundreds more Palestinians were injured and sweeping arrests were made of political activists.

Dr Kanaaneh said the stiff resistance mounted by the villagers eventually forced the government to revoke the expropriation order.

Victory, however, was far from clear cut. The next year, Ariel Sharon, as agriculture minister, announced a programme of new Jewish settlements called “lookouts” in the Galilee “to prevent control of state lands by foreigners”, meaning Israel’s own Palestinian citizens. The three villages were surrounded by the lookout communities, which came to be known collectively as Misgav regional council.

“They were intended to be agricultural communities, but Land Day stopped that,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “Instead they became small bedroom communities, and much of the land we defended was passed to Misgav’s jurisdiction.

“Today the owners of the land pay taxes to the regional council rather than their own municipalities, and Misgav can decide, if it wants, to try to confiscate the land again. We may have got our land back, but it is not really in our hands.”


Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

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Youtube has become the defacto standard for online video and is one of
the top websites on the internet for traffic. Even though there are tons
of great Muslim and Islamic Videos on there, there is also a lot of
other videos that are not Islam related.
Alhamdullilah, there are Muslim Video alternatives to Youtube. If you
want to browse specifically for Islamic Video content and not worry
about other content, I will present to you 5 websites that will help.

Here they are:

tv.muxlim.com

Muxlim.com is a really big Muslim Social Media website. Think about it
as Facebook for Muslims. The video section of their website,
tv.muxlim.com has a lot of great and different content about Islam.

http://www.IslamicTube. net

MashAllah, IslamicTube. net is another good Muslim Video sharing website.
They have a nice, clean design and logo too.
Their videos are pulled from popular video sharing sites like YouTube
and Vimeo and also have videos hosted on their website.

http://www.guidedways. com/islamicvideo s

Guidedways.com, the group that brought you iQuran and iPray for iPhone,
also has a video sharing website. It doesn’t have much videos as the
previous two and is not updated as often, but it is still worthwhile to
check out.

http://www.halaltube. com

This website is unique among the rest in the list. It focuses solely on
English Muslim scholars and provides videos and audio for them.

Since everyone has different styles and prefer to learn with certain
scholars, this website covers the whole gamut. Everyone’s favorite
speaker should be available here.

http://www.muslimvideo. com/tv

What is unique about this Muslim Video website is that it also has a lot
of Islamic Videos in Arabic along with many English videos. So if you
know Arabic, this is a good website for you to look into.

Instead of adding a sixth item, I’m going to stick one last website
in here. http://www.MuslimVideos. com has almost the same website address but it
is another general Muslim Video sharing website. I notice it has more
general videos and less lecture videos.
If I missed any Muslim Video website, please feel free to share them in
the comments!

The Ultimate World Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

The Ultimate World

Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

By
Robert H. Williams

williams-theultimateworldorderaspicturedinthejewishutopia19571

Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible

Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible

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This article responds to a March 15 Los Angeles Times Judea Pearl one headlined: “Is anti-Zionism hate?” Pearl teaches computer science at UCLA, is the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. It was “formed….to continue Danny’s mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy in the spirit” of the man it represents, including “uncompromised objectivity and integrity….and respect for people of all cultures….”

Some of its honorary board member belie this purpose:

– former president Bill Clinton, an unindicted war criminal and backer of neoliberal plunder;

– Elie Wiesel, a shameless self-promoter, “Holocaust” exploiter, and apologist for the most outrageous Israeli crimes;

– Jordan’s Queen Noor, wife of King Abdullah II, who, like his father Hussein, rules with dictatorial police state powers; and

– Christiane Amanpour and Ted Koppel, two notables in the corporate media who never let facts conflict with their views and support for the powerful.

Pearl calls anti-Zionism “hate more dangerous than anti-Semitism, threatening lives and peace in the Middle East.” Zionism is precisely the opposite as numerous Jewish writers, including this one, have addressed.

In his book “Overcoming Zionism,” Joel Kovel explained how it fosters “imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy;” that it turned Israel “into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses” led by terrorists posing as democrats. Kovel’s book and his work got him fired from the Bard College faculty effective July 1 when his current contract expires – for daring to criticize Israel, its Zionist ideology, state-sponsored terror, and decades of lawlessness and egregious behavior.

Kovel expressed outrage that institutions like Bard aren’t bothered; that they grant Israel impunity, suppress dissent, then marginalize, punish, and remove the “heretics,” ones like Kovel who honorably and courageously write truths.

Pearl railed about a UCLA Center for Near East Studies symposium invitation to “four longtime Israel bashers” so they could attack Zionism’s legitimacy and “its vision of a two-state solution….” – a scheme to consign Palestinians to isolated cantons and steal their most valuable land.

He equates legitimate Israeli criticism and anti-Zionism with “criminaliz(ing) Israel’s existence, distort(ing) its motives and malign(ing) its character, its birth, even its conception.” He cites “Jewish leaders (condemning) this hate-fest as a dangerous invitation to anti-Semitic hysteria” even though one has nothing to do with the other and conflating them masks the real issue – Zionism’s corrosive effects and the myths on which it’s based.

Ones Pearl ignores in stating “Anti-Zionism rejects the very notion that Jews are a nation – a collective bonded by a common history – and, accordingly denies Jews the right to self-determination in their historical birthplace. It seeks the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state: Israel, (what it) ‘grants’ to other historically bonded collectives (e.g. French, Spanish, Palestinians), the right to nationhood….”

Pearl can’t accept the hard facts that Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Zand documented in his important 2008 book: “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” It exposes biblical nonsense comprising core Zionist beliefs about Jews:

– that ancient Romans expelled them;

– their exodus from Egypt, then left to wander the earth rootless;

– enslaved, oppressed, and tormented for centuries; and

– the myth that God bestowed a “Greater Israel” for Jews alone – “A land without people for a people without land.”

According to Israeli journalist Tom Segev and others:

– there never was a Jewish people, just a Jewish religion;

– there was no exile, therefore no return, and much of the Jewish Diaspora was voluntary; and

– the story was a Zionist invention, a conspiracy to justify a future Jewish state, and now vilify Palestinian self-determination as a plot to destroy it.

With regard to other “bonded collectives,” France, Spain, America and other states are nationalities, not religions. Israel is a Jewish state with rights for Jews alone. They matter. Others don’t, and therein lies the difference. Palestinians, in contrast, are occupied, impoverished, oppressed, driven from their land, vilified for being Muslims, and victimized by slow-motion genocide to destroy them and any hope for self-determination.

“Are Jews a nation,” asks Pearl? “Some philosophers would argue Jews are a nation first and religion second.” He cites the usual mythology:

– the Exodus and return to the “promised land before they received the Torah at Mt. Sinai;”

– “the unshaken conviction in their eventual repatriation to (their) birthplace (since) the Roman expulsion;” and

– their “shared history, not religion (as) the primary uniting force behind the secular, multiethnic society of Israel” – favoring Jews alone in a quasi secular/religious state where practicing another one is dangerous.

The “Jewish identity today feed(s) on Jewish history (more precisely folklore and myths) and its natural derivatives -

– the state of Israel” despite its illegitimate birth and mythological roots;

– “its struggle for survival” in spite of being the world’s fourth most powerful military, nuclear-armed; with no enemies except the ones it makes; and having a history of aggressive wars; violence over conciliation; confrontation, not diplomacy; and claiming self-defense as justification when there is none;

– “its cultural and scientific achievements,” much of the latter involving militarism and hard line security; and

– “its relentless drive for peace.”

Pearl like most others can’t accept the fact that Israel disdains peace, thrives on violence, and needs it as justification. The very notion of peace and conflict resolution terrifies it. What prime minister Yitzhak Shamir once admitted about Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war – that there was “terrible danger….not so much a military one as a political one” so a pretext was invented to attack when no threat or justification existed.

It took 18,000 lives and left South Lebanon occupied until Israel Defense Forces withdrew in May 2000, except for the 25 square km Shebaa Farms area illegally retained to this day.

Yet Pearl insists that “anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel’s sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist ‘plan’ to do away with Israel condemns 5.5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.”

He adds that “anti-Zionist rhetoric (shows) academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles. (It’s also) a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp (and) gives credence (to) the hidden agenda of every Palestinian (for) the eventual elimination of Israel.”

Now some facts misrepresented, distorted, or unstated by Pearl and other like-minded apologists:

– There never was nor is there now an “Israeli peace camp,” as explained above.

– Israel’s sovereignty isn’t the issue. It exists, is accepted, and anti-Zionists don’t dispute it. Further, since at least the late 1980s, Palestinian leaders (including Arafat and Hamas) have been willing to extend recognition. But Israel rejects all peace and reconciliation overtures, yet the dominant media and Zionists won’t mention it.

– Palestinians and other Arabs don’t target Israel and haven’t since the 1973 war. However, they justifiably defend themselves when attacked as international law allows.

– Anti-Zionists, like this writer, have no plan or desire to destroy Israel, harm its people, or render them defenseless. Demanded, however, is that Israel behave, act civilized, practice the democracy it preaches, observe international and its own laws, and be held fully accountable when it doesn’t, including its leaders for their crimes of war and against humanity to deter future ones from committing similar violations.

– Israel alone menaces Palestinians and other regional states, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Those nations, nor any others, threaten Israel, yet again media and Zionist propaganda say otherwise.

– Zionist ideology is extremist, undemocratic, and hateful. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness, and uniqueness – God’s “chosen people.” It harms Jews and non-Jews alike. Former Israeli scholar, critic, and life-long human rights activist, Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), explained the dangers of Jewish chauvinism, religious fanaticism, and its influence on America’s polity.

He called the notion of self-hating Jews “nonsensical” and explained the definition of a Jew:

….”if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (or) great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person (converted) to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion.” According to the Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law, “conversion (must be) performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner.” For females, it entails an outlandish ritual – “their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a ‘bath of purification’ ” to confirm it.

Shahak wrote extensively on how Israel discriminates in favor of Jews in most every aspect of life, including the three he called most important – “residency rights, the right to work (and to have) equality before the law.”

Zionist ideology demeans non-Jews and denies them equal rights in Israel. A body of law enforces it – to legally discriminate against non-Jewish Israeli citizens (for their religion) and Palestinians in the Territories, something unimaginable in all developed states and most others on every continent.

Shahak stated: “The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel (to affirm its existence as a) ‘Jewish’ state” quite hostile to and demeaning of other religious faiths.

This is the Zionist message and why growing numbers of Jews and many others oppose it. Supporting Zionism is repugnant, indefensible, and equivalent to defending cancer, a malignancy relentlessly destroying its host. It must be exposed, denounced, and once and for all expunged from the body politic. A CIA study suggested the alternative – that beyond 20 years, Israel won’t survive in its present form.

The Agency predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 (Palestinian) refugees. The latter (is) the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”

According to international lawyer Franklin Lamb, “the handwriting….is on the wall….history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later.”

The report also predicts the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the exodus of two million Israeli Jews to America in the next 15 years. They’re fed up and want to leave. Omitted from the report, or at least unrevealed, is that short of an equitable resolution to the long-standing Palestinian conflict, Israel eventually will destroy itself. Nations that live by the sword, die by it, and Israel is no exception.

The alternative is peace and reconciliation, something Israel flatly rejects. Unless that changes, its very existence is at stake, what history teaches but Israel has yet to learn.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to ZioPedia.org. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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Source: ZioPedia.org

Mehsud Admits to Attack on Islamabad Police Station SIC Unit Investigating Mumbai

HERE IS AN OPENING FOR EASING TENSIONS OVER THE MUMBAI INVESTIGATION.  IF THIS KILLER ADMITS TO ATTACKING THE PEOPLE INVESTIGATING THE FIRST AND THE WORST OF THESE ASSAULT TEAM ATTACKS AND THE LATEST ASSAULT AT LAHORE, THEN WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

THE GOVERNMENT IS LEFT WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO ELIMINATE THIS MENACE THAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO MATURE IN THEIR MIDST, AND FOR THAT IT WILL NEED THE FIREPOWER OF A POWERFUL FRIEND TO HELP IN THE TASK.  THE PROBLEM IS THAT THIS “FRIEND” MAY HAVE BEEN THE MAD SCIENTIST WHO CREATED THIS FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER.

Lahore ‘was Pakistan Taleban op’

Pakistan Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud

Mr Mehsud does not like to be photographed

The chief of the Pakistani Taleban, Baitullah Mehsud, has told the BBC his group was behind Monday’s deadly attack on a police academy in Lahore.

He said the attack was “in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people”.

He also claimed responsibility for two other recent deadly attacks.

Baitullah Mehsud said the attacks would continue “until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans”.

Security officials are interrogating at least four suspects captured after the attack, police say.

We will continue our attacks until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans
Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud

Eighteen people, including two civilians, eight policemen and eight militants, were killed and 95 people were injured during the eight-hour battle to wrest back control of the academy, the interior ministry said.

Pakistan’s interior minister earlier identified the Taleban as well as other extremist groups as possible perpetrators and suggested a foreign state could also be involved.

‘Retaliation’

Baitullah Mehsud is the supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan group (Movement of Taleban in Pakistan).

He operates out of a stronghold in the Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan and the US state department recently issued a $5m (£3.5m) reward for his capture.

Speaking to the BBC by phone, he also claimed responsibility for two other attacks:

  • A suicide attack on a security convoy, also on Monday, near the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province, which killed seven security personnel
  • An attack on the offices of a police station in Islamabad on 25 March

But he denied responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in north-west Pakistan on 27 March, in which at least 50 people died.

US DRONE STRIKES
Approx. 300 people killed in at least 30 drone strikes since Aug 2008
Drone strikes target tribal regions, mostly Waziristan
Hellfire missiles fired from unmanned Predator drones is main method

Baitullah Mehsud warned the attacks would continue in Pakistan and threatened future attacks on American soil, while he shrugged off the risk of “martyrdom”.

Local attacks are expected to increase in line with the newly announced US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the BBC’s Barbara Plett in Lahore.

Different Taleban factions in the border region, including Baitullah Mehsud’s, have joined forces in readiness to confront the planned American troop increase in Afghanistan, she says.

Meanwhile, as the Pakistan government attempts to build a national consensus to fight the Taleban, it is faced with trying to overcome deep opposition among its people to an American role in that struggle.

Pakistan’s ‘choice’

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan’s interior minister urged the country to unite against insurgents after the attack on the police academy in Lahore.

Police officers who were held hostage are freed by their colleagues inside the compound of a police training school on the outskirts of Lahore in Pakistan on Monday

The brazen nature of the siege exposed the challenge facing Pakistan

Rehman Malik said the country had a choice between letting the Taleban take over and uniting to fight them – adding that Pakistan’s integrity was “in danger”.

He told reporters that the militants were believed to be fighters loyal to Mehsud and included an Afghan national.

The minister also suggested that a foreign country was interfering in Pakistan’s domestic affairs.

“Some rival country, or some hostile [intelligence] agency is definitely out to destabilise our democratic forces,” he said, in a possible reference to Pakistan’s long-time foe, India.

Indian officials have condemned the attack on Lahore.

Carnage

Gunmen seized the Manawan police training school on the outskirts of the city during a morning drill on Monday.

MAJOR PAKISTAN ATTACKS
27 March 09: Suicide bomber demolishes crowded mosque near the north-western town of Jamrud, killing dozens
3 March 09: Six policemen and a driver killed, and several cricketers injured, in ambush on the Sri Lanka cricket team in central Lahore
20 Sept 08: 54 die in an attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad
6 Sept 08: Suicide car bombing kills 35 and wounds 80 at a police checkpoint in Peshawar
Aug 08: Twin suicide bombings at gates of a weapons factory in town of Wah leave 67 dead
March 08: Suicide bombs hit police headquarters and suburban house in Lahore, killing 24

Helicopter gunships backed up troops who confronted the militants. They were armed with grenades and some are believed to have blown themselves up with suicide vests.

Our correspondent, who witnessed the aftermath, saw broken glass, bullet casings and body parts scattered over the floor of the academy.

The attack came days after US President Barack Obama pledged to put Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, at the heart of his fight against al-Qaeda militants.

He said “al-Qaeda and its extremist allies” were “a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within”.

US officials have pledged to help Pakistan target so-called “safe havens” for militants in Pakistan’s north-west tribal region bordering Afghanistan

Mass-Murderer Mehsud Claims Responsibility for Latest Lahore Attack

See:  Rewards for Justice: Baitullah Mehsud

Pakistan Taliban say behind Lahore raid

By Kamran Haider

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud said on Tuesday his group had carried out an assault on a police academy in the city of Lahore in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks on militants in Pakistan.

He also suggested a bounty put on his head by the United States could be avenged by an attack in Washington.

Eight cadets were killed and scores wounded in the brazen assault that came less than a month after a dozen gunmen attacked Sri Lanka’s cricket team in the city, killing six police guards and a bus driver.

Four militants were killed and three were arrested during an eight-hour gunbattle with security forces in the police academy on Monday.

“We wholeheartedly take responsibility for

this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future,” Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked leader based in the Waziristan ethnic Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border, told Reuters by telephone.

“It’s revenge for the drone attacks in Pakistan.”

Mehsud leads the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Movement of Taliban Pakistan, a loose umbrella group of factions which has carried out attacks across the country, mainly in the northwest.

Authorities have accused him of being behind a string of attacks in Pakistan including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

Pakistani Taliban also have links with Afghan Taliban and send fighters across the border to fight Western forces in Afghanistan.

The United States last week announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the location or arrest of Mehsud.

Frustrated over Pakistan’s inability to stem growing cross-border attacks by militants into Afghanistan, the United States has carried out a series of missile attacks by pilotless drones on militant targets in northwestern Pakistan.

“MORE ATTACKS”

Mehsud shrugged off the U.S. bounty on his head, saying his militants would continue their attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan and could even mount attacks in the United States.

“You can’t imagine how we could avenge this threat inside Washington, inside the White House,” he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Friday the findings of a policy review towards Afghanistan and Pakistan with the elimination of al Qaeda in the two countries the principle objective of his strategy.

Obama also made support for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s government a centrepiece of his policies.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said on Monday the militants behind the attack in Lahore were believed to be fighters loyal to Mehsud and had come from his powerbase in South Waziristan.

Malik said one of the men captured was an Afghan who had arrived in Lahore 15 days ago and rented a house.

Militant violence has surged in Pakistan since mid-2007, with attacks on security forces, government and Western targets, severely testing the year-old civilian government.

The militants rampaged through the police training centre on the outskirts of Lahore, near the border with India, for eight hours before they were overpowered in a joint operation by the army, paramilitary rangers and a crack police squad.

Three of the militants blew themselves up during the final assault, and commandos rescued 10 police being held hostage.

Officials said 89 policemen were wounded.

(Additional reporting by Alamgir Bitani in PESHAWAR; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jerry Norton)

BEWARE! The Devil is Seeking Recruits

CIA Recruiting
Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Being a spy may involve assumed identities and coded messages, but becoming a spy isn’t exactly top secret business. These days, in fact, all you have to do if you”re interested in that particular career path is turn up your radio. The CIA is running ads on stations across the country for jobs in its clandestine service.

“Are you a person of curiosity and integrity?” asks one spot. “Are you ready for a world of challenge … a world of ambiguity and adventure?”

The Agency won”t say how much it is spending on the ad campaign, but a CIA spokesman, George Little, tells TIME via e-mail: “We continue to seek highly qualified candidates to support the mission of America”s premier intelligence agency.” (See the top 10 Secret Service code names.)

The advertising campaign is the first by the Agency under its new director, Leon Panetta, who has said he would like to recruit more people with foreign-language skills as well as more minorities.

The agency is not lacking for applicants: it gets more than 100,000 resumes a year, and the number is growing fast. Little says that if current trends hold, there may be a 40%-50% increase in applications over last year.

But the sheer volume of applications masks some of the Agency’s recruiting problems. In a roundtable discussion with journalists last month, Panetta noted that less than 13% of his staff have foreign-language skills, and 22% are from minority communities. “I’d like to get to a point where every analyst and operations officer is trained in a foreign language,” he said. Panetta also said he’d like to increase the number of minorities at the Agency to 30%, “so that we resemble America.” And he acknowledged the need for “better outreach for Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans and Latinos.” (Read Six Ways to Fix the CIA.)

The outreach program is already underway. Earlier this month, the CIA’s third-highest ranking official, Scott White, held meetings with leaders of the Arab-American and Chaldean-American communities

in Detroit, Mich. “In communities with large numbers of first- and second- generation Americans, we want the message conveyed loud and clear that we welcome their interest in employment with the Agency, especially given their language skills and knowledge of other cultures,” says Little.

The Agency is also looking to reduce its dependence on outside contractors, which increased dramatically after 9/11. “I think we have to bring those capabilities in-house,” Panetta said.

The CIA holds about 2,000 recruiting events per year—many of them at colleges and universities. It also advertises, selectively, on television, in print and even on airport billboards. The outreach extends to new media, as well. For the past two years the Agency has been using its Facebook page as a recruitment medium. Its TV ads can also be seen on YouTube

CIA officials say all this effort is bearing fruit. “We are on track to meet the hiring goals set forth by former President Bush in 2004, which mandated that we increase by 50% the number of CIA officers in certain job occupations, such as intelligence analysts and clandestine officers,” says Little.

India deeply saddened and shocked by Lahore attack

India deeply saddened and shocked by Lahore attack

New Delhi: India is deeply saddened and shocked by the terror attack on the police academy in Lahore and it condemns the incident, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said here on Monday.

Talking to reporters even as the siege was on, Mr. Menon said he hoped the authorities there would be able to resolve the situation soon with minimum loss of life. “Our sympathies and condolences go out to the families of those killed. Terrorism is a menace to the entire region.”

Pakistan: On the brink again

Pakistan: On the brink again

Gurmeet Kanwal

“The Frankenstein monster created by the Pakistan army and the ISI to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] has grown completely out of control. Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders must work together to formulate a comprehensive internal security strategy to fight radical extremism. Such a strategy must of necessity include good governance, socio-economic development and pro-active military measures against hard core extremist elements.”

Allah, army and America have worked together to save Pakistan again! President Asif Ali Zardari’s [Images] stubbornness and political immaturity and Nawaz Sharif’s [Images] all or nothing gamble had brought the shaky civilian government to the verge of collapse and ominous portents of another round of army rule were in the air. However, Hillary Clinton [Images], the US Secretary of State, personally urged restraint and General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, effectively stepped in to nip any such moves in the bud.

Though Pakistan’s civil society has re-asserted itself, the country continues to be in a complete mess and is once again reaching the tipping point on the way to becoming a failed state. The last thing Pakistan needs at this juncture in its troubled history is political instability. After Sharif’s ‘long march’ politics and the lawyers’ agitation, President Zardari has come out much weaker and will be forced to shed some of the President’s disproportionately high powers to Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] and his cabinet ministers.

Sharif has gained in strength and when elections to the National Assembly are held again soon — the Zardari government is unlikely to last its full term — his party PML (Nawaz) may gain enough seats to form the government. General Kayani has redeemed himself and reinforced his democratic credentials by convincing President Zardari to reach a compromise with the opposition.

Notwithstanding the political truce, Pakistan’s troubles are far from over. Its economy has failed to weather the ongoing financial storm; inflation is ruling in double digits; the Pakistani rupee has fallen to record lows against the US dollar and unemployment is at an all time high. Pakistan has become a rentier state that is surviving on US dole for services being rendered for logistics support — a euphemism for allowing US and NATO countries to use its territory for supplying their forces fighting the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine in Afghanistan. Since the amounts being received are far in excess of the cost of fuel and other services that Pakistan is providing, monetary compensation is obviously being given to Pakistan for silently suffering missile and air strikes launched from across its border with Afghanistan by US and NATO forces against the terrorists in the NWFP and FATA. While unveiling his new Af-Pak policy, President Barack Obama [Images] has demanded greater accountability from Pakistan in the so-called global war on terrorism. This will put even greater pressure on the Pakistan army [Images] to show tangible results.

The Pakistan army has claimed victory in the Bajaur area after months of heavy fighting, but only time will tell whether the radical extremists of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have actually been rooted out permanently. The capitulation to Maulana Fazlullah’s TNSM in the Swat Valley does not augur well for the Pakistan army’s ability to fight insurgency effectively. Besides troops of the Frontier Corps who are mainly tribesmen with personal loyalty to TTP leaders like Baitullah Mehsud, regular Pakistani soldiers have been deserting their battalions and some have refused to fight fellow Sunni Muslims.

The army also lacks counter-insurgency weaponry and equipment as it has been investing in upgrading its war fighting capability for conventional war with India, which is at worst a distant threat. The army has also not yet succeeded in fine tuning its tactics, techniques and procedures for dealing with internal security challenges, which require uniquely different preparation. The army will take at least another two to three years to upgrade its capabilities to the level necessary to face the new challenges provided it begins now in earnest and makes a determined effort to succeed.

Meanwhile, urban terrorism is gradually gaining momentum and cities like Lahore [Images], Rawalpindi and Karachi have witnessed large-scale terrorist strikes in the recent past. Radical mullahs are springing up with alarming regularity and people are being forced to pay heed to their diktats. CDs of films and music cassettes have disappeared from the shelves of shops in all but the most upscale markets. Attacks by suicide bombers have become commonplace and every new day brings news of many casualties.

The Frankenstein monster created by the Pakistan army and the ISI to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] has grown completely out of control. Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders must work together to formulate a comprehensive internal security strategy to fight radical extremism. Such a strategy must of necessity include good governance, socio-economic development and pro-active military measures against hard core extremist elements.

The international community, including India, must offer the Pakistan government all the help and encouragement that it needs to fight and root out the menace of radical extremism, or else the terrorists will spread their tentacles far and wide — including, eventually, into India.

Gurmeet Kanwal is Director, Centre for Land Warfare, Studies, New Delhi [Images].


Second Attack on Pakistani Police in One Week Reveals Link to Mumbai Investigation

See: Two killed in suicide attack on Islamabad police station

The court directed Special Investigation Cell to produce the three accused — Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Hamza alias Abu Alqa — before the court again on March 19 and produce Hamad Ameen Sadiq again on March 30.

“The SIC registered a case against eight suspects, including Zakiur Rehamn Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Hamza alias Abu Alqa, Mr Khan, Javed Iqbal, Hamad Ameen Sadiq, Muhammad Ashfaq and Muhammad Riaz on February 12 for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks.”


Pakistani police a growing target, Lahore attack shows

Interior minister says the Pakistani Taliban are behind the attack.

(Photograph)

Target: A police officer aims his weapon while entering the Lahore police academy stormed by gunmen Monday, one of several recent attacks on police in Pakistan.
Emlio Morenatti/AP

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Pakistani commandos overpowered at least 10 gunmen Monday to retake control of a police academy near Lahore.

The gunmen had eight hours earlier stormed the compound disguised in

blue uniforms, leaving eight people dead and about 100 wounded – and demonstrating for the second time this month the weakness of police forces in the heart of Pakistan. On March 3, terrorists launched a similarly brazen attack in Lahore against the Sri Lankan cricket team, killing seven people before slipping away.

“The security guards weren’t able to resist because they had no guns or no ammunition,” says eyewitness M. Ilyas, a police constable.

Police have drawn the ire of jihadi groups for leading a crackdown and investigation of their suspected involvement in the attack on Mumbai in November. Analysts are divided over how much enthusiasm the Army has for tackling militant groups – even in the face of a rise in attacks – but there’s consensus that it’s the police who have proven the most aggressive and need the most Western backing moving forward.

“The police are the weakest link. They are both the most vulnerable and the most essential to the state if there is to be an effective crackdown” on jihadi groups, says Samina Ahmed, a Pakistan-based analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG).

She takes a dim view of the military’s interest in pursuing these groups, adding that top American officials publicly expressed doubts about it as recently as last week.

Instead, civilian law enforcement is key to beating insurgents in Pakistan because the Army has done little, Ms. Ahmed says, and because establishing the rule of law is the most effective weapon against armed militancy.

But police have neither the means nor the independence to do so, she continues. Police have told ICG that since Sept. 11, 2001 the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has been given most of the power to deal with counterterrorism.

Even before Monday’s attacks, the police had paid a price for its role in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks. Last week a suicide bomber targeted an Islamabad police station at the center of the investigation. One policeman who thwarted the bomber from entering the building died in the blast.

The two Lahore attacks suggest the police are outgunned and outwitted by an increasingly sophisticated breed of militants. Monday’s attack suggests careful planning, down to the blue uniforms and timing during a parade of unarmed trainees.

The cricket attacks caught police flatfooted, despite official promises there would be top-notch security for the game. Instead, nearby police failed to respond in time to prevent the gunmen from casually getting away, though police on the scene did manage to protect the cricketers.

“It’s a new generation of terrorists – better equipped with better planning and better coordination,” says Pakistani security expert Ayesha Siddiqa. The attack “makes a case for better equipping the police and training them.”

Injured police in hospitals remain in shock over the attack, which took place close to the Indian border in the town of Manawan.

“Eight hundred of us were parading the ground when the attack began. I was injured in my leg and just ran for my life,” says constable Abid, speaking from his hospital bed.

As with the Mumbai attacks of November, television stations beamed live images of security forces caught in a protracted standoff against a handful of terrorists. Pakistani Interior Ministry advisor Rehman Malik boasted that the commando counterstrike ended “in four hours” compared to the Indian response in Mumbai, which took more than three days.

The standoff ended after Pakistani forces killed three gunmen and captured at least three more. Three of the gunmen blew themselves up.

Mr. Malik said at a press conference that the attack was carried out by fighters of Pakistani Taliban leader Beitullah Mehsud, and that one of the assailants captured was an Afghan national. “A foreign hand may be involved, though it’s a matter of ongoing investigation,” he said. “Where did they get so many grenades, rocket launchers, and vehicles?”

In the northwestern valley of Swat, a Pakistani Taliban group targeted security forces so ruthlessly until a peace deal was forged a month ago that police began taking ads out in newspapers announcing their resignation. (See related story here.) Although there’s little danger of mass desertions of police in major cities like Lahore, the attack could jeopardize the force’s morale.

“These kinds of systematic attacks would quite obviously deter some at least from trying to counter the terrorists,” says Ahmed, with the ICG. She notes that during the cricket attacks, police from a nearby station didn’t bother to respond.

However, the ability of the elite Punjab Police to regain control of the situation after less than a day “suggests that the Pakistani security establishment could be going on the offensive,” according to an email report from Stratfor, a security analysis group in Austin, Texas. Others agree that the attack could become a rallying point for police.

“The jihadis may have stirred up the hornet’s nest,” says Rifaat Hussein, a defense expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. “The police will call for more resources, more reinforcements, [and] the police in Punjab is a much bigger and stronger force than its counterpart in Swat.”



Arrested terrorist is Afghan national, says Malik

Arrested terrorist is Afghan national, says Malik

One of the terrorists arrested for Monday’s attack on a police training centre in this eastern Pakistani city is an Afghan national, interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said.

The suspect, arrested with grenades while he was trying to target some helicopters being used in operations against the terrorists who stormed the police facility, belongs to Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, Malik told reporters.

Malik was speaking after security forces captured or killed the terrorists who attacked the training centre during an eight-hour-long operation. Nine persons were killed and over 90 injured in the terrorist assault.

He said three other suspects had been taken into custody for questioning. The attack on the police centre was planned in the South Waziristan tribal region and the militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas were receiving training across the border, he added.

Malik said the suspects are being interrogated and more details would be available within three days after a high-level investigating committee completed its probe into the incident.

Punjabi and Pushtun militants (TTP) behind Manawan attack

Punjabi and Pushtun militants behind Manawan attack

Monday 30 March 2009

LAHORE: The Pakistani authorities investigating the 30/3 bloody assault on the Police Training School in Manawan on the outskirts of Lahore believe the highly trained and equally equipped terrorist squad involved in the Monday attack most likely belonged to the same group of the Punjabi militants and are backed by their like-minded Taliban jehadis from South Waziristan which had targeted the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 at the Liberty Chowk in Lahore.

The attackers killed eight police cadets before being overwhelmed by a massive counter operation jointly carried out by the Pakistan Army, Rangers and Police. Four militants died during the assault, while three suspects have been captured. The investigators say they have solid evidence to suggest that the Manawan raid was a coordinated operation carried out by the Punjabi Taliban with the logistic support of the South Waziristan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban ameer Baitullah Mehsud which had earlier attempted to target the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 in Lahore. They say the attack on the police academy was possibly a retaliatory act by the Punjabi and Pushtun militants against the Pakistan government’s growing cooperation with Washington in hunting down the Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda and Taliban linked jehadi leaders.

According to the investigators, an aide of the Manawan attackers, Hijrat Ullah alias Nadeem Asghar, who was captured alive from outside the police training centre during the operation, has already confessed having been sent by Baitullah Mehsud. The attack was carried out four days after the US State Department had authorised a reward of up to $ 5 million for information leading to the location, arrest, and/or conviction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s leader Baitullah Mehsud who is being regarded by the Americans as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan.

The investigators point out that the Manawan attackers had many features in common with the assailants of the Liberty assault and there was a possibility that those involved in the 3/3 episode had also taken part in the 30/3 attack since none of them had been arrested either during or after the gruesome operation that killed half a dozen policemen. Although the Manawan attack came three weeks after the Liberty ambush on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the authorities have so far avoided naming any particular group, amidst contradictory media reports regarding the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

As far as the similarities between the appearance and tactics of the Liberty and the Manawan attackers are concerned, the investigators say those involved in the Monday attack too carried backpacks stuffed with highly sophisticated arms and ammunition, as well as bottled water and dried food items, showing that they had actually anticipated a protracted siege. The second common feature was that the attackers had acted under a well-researched and equally organised strategy after getting prior information about the ins and outs of the Manawan building. The third common feature was the use of hand grenades by the terrorists at the police training centre to begin the operation, followed by erratic firing at police jawans with the sole aim of killing them, as had happened in the Liberty attack.

Asked about the identity of those involved in the Manawan attack, Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik said the assault was similar to the Mumbai terror strike. He told Geo TV that the terror strike in Lahore was similar to the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai that left 170 people dead. Malik hinted that home-grown militant groups were involved in Monday raid. “Who is supporting them? Who is giving them weapons? Everyone knows these banned groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad”, he added. A few hours later, having reached Lahore after the operation came to an end, Rehman Malik told newsmen that the agencies had prior information about such an attack on a police training installation.

Asked if any of the attackers had been arrested alive, Malik said while most of them had been killed by the security forces during the operation, three of them blew themselves up before being arrested. However, he added that an alleged companion of the attackers had been arrested from outside the building of the police training school who is being interrogated by the authorities to ascertain if he belonged to the same group. Asked about the findings of the Liberty attack investigations, the advisor on interior said the authorities have already obtained solid evidence about those involved in the 3/3 attack and that they are about to expose them.

To recall, six policemen and a Pakistan Cricket Board van driver lost their lives when a group of a dozen terrorists ambushed Sri Lankan cricketers’ convoy near the Liberty roundabout in Lahore on March 3, 2009. Six of the Sri Lankan players suffered injuries. A four-member police team, headed by Punjab’s Additional Inspector-General of Police (Investigation) Salahuddin Khan Niazi, and another joint investigation team comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency, Inter Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau, was subsequently established by the ministry of interior to investigate the matter and submit a report to the federal government.

Well placed sources in the country’s security establishment say despite having acquired solid evidence regarding the involvement of Punjab militants in the 3/3 terrorist attack, the Pakistani authorities are reluctant to formally name the group for unknown reasons. After preliminary investigations into the Liberty assault, the authorities had first suspected the Lashkar-e-Toiba, saying the attack on the Sri Lankan team might have been an attempt to take the players hostage and to demand the release of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the chief operational commander of the LeT who had been arrested by the Pakistani authorities in December 2008 and is presently being tried in Rawalpindi by an Anti Terrorist Court (ATC) for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But the LeT has strongly refuted its involvement in the attack.

However, while changing tack, the Pakistani advisor on interior Rehman Malik had ruled out the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Toiba in the Liberty attack in the second week of March while talking to newsmen in Islamabad. His statement was followed by some media reports, quoting official sources and saying that the 3/3 operation was actually carried out by an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni sectarian banned terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). These reports had named an al-Qaeda linked LeJ leader Matiur Rehman as the mastermind of the attack, adding that it was actually planned with the coordination of Baitullah Mehsud led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

As Pakistan shared with Sri Lanka the findings of preliminary investigations into the attack on its cricket team on March 25, without naming any particular group, a section of the Pakistan media accused India for the assault, saying the rocket-launchers and explosives used during the terrorist operation on the Sri Lankan cricket team are in the use of Indian forces. These reports cited a forensic report prepared by the Pakistani experts and saying that the four rocket-launchers and nine explosives seized from the crime scene are factory-made and used by Indian forces. According to the findings by Pakistani authorities, 40 grenades, 10 sub-machine guns, five pistols, 577 live rounds of SMGs and 160 bullets of pistols were also found from the site.

The Pakistani authorities point out that the Manawan attack came hardly three days after the American military leadership claimed to have acquired evidence that elements within Pakistani military intelligence, the ISI, continue to provide support for the Taliban. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in a CNN interview on March 27, 2009 that the ISI had links with militants on both the Pakistani borders with Afghanistan and India. “Fundamentally, that is one of the things that has to change”, he said. In another interview to the PBS the same day, the head of US Central Command General David Petraeus, said some of the militant groups had been established by the ISI and that their links continued.

Petraeus said there was evidence that in the fairly recent past, the ISI had tipped off militants when their positions were in danger. “It is a topic that is of enormous importance, because if there are links and if those continue and if it undermines the operations against Islamic militants, obviously that would be very damaging to the kind of trust that we need to build”, said General Petraeus. These statements were followed by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’s March 29 remarks: “What we need to do is try and help the Pakistanis understand these groups are now an existential threat to them and we will be there as a steadfast ally for Pakistan”.

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