Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

LAHORE: Masked gunmen stormed Manawan police academy Monday, unleashing a fierce firefight that has left at least 26 dead in an echo of the commando-style assault on Sri Lanka’s cricket team.

Armed with grenades and assault rifles, and some of them dressed in police uniform, the attackers shot their way into the camp near Lahore and were continuing to trade fire six hours later with security forces.

Bodies of policemen were lying face down on the parade ground as rescuers carried out casualties on sheets and gunfire rattled round the compound at Manawan.

Paramilitary soldiers, armed and wearing flak jackets and helmets, opened fire and fanned out around the perimeter of the site, which was surrounded by scores of police cars and armoured vehicles, Geo news reported. People gathered outside the centre were boosting the morale of the operation forces engaged in carrying out the operation against terrorists.

“The number of killed is at least 26,” police officials told journalists, adding that around 90 were rushed to hospital. The security officials said the number of deaths could rise due to the crossfire. There were also television reports of hostages being taken, but that could not be confirmed.

“There were three or four back-to-back blasts from hand grenades and rocket launchers,” policeman Mohammad Riaz told Geo news from inside a room where he was barricaded with others.

“They directly targeted us. Suddenly there were bodies all around me,” one injured policeman told Geo news from his hospital bed.

Eyewitnesses said that half the assailants were in police uniform and half in civilian clothing. They were armed with hand grenades and rifles, and killed security guards at a rear entrance to get in.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik suggested homegrown terror movements were responsible.

“The nation knows these terrorist organisations,” he told Geo news, adding: “The question is — from where they are getting grenades, guns and rocket launchers in such a large number?”

Indian officials condemned the latest attack, saying it threatened security across the region and that its military was on alert for any “spillover.”

“We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

Militants Swarm Lahore Police Academy

Elite troops outside the academy

Elite troops arrived 90 minutes after the fighting began

There was confusion outside the Manawan police training academy in Lahore, Pakistan, for at least 90 minutes after the gunmen stormed the place.

Some kind of coherent response developed only later, with elite police commando units, the paramilitary rangers as well as army troops surrounding the compound.

Policemen interviewed by TV crews on the spot said the attack came during the morning parade hour when more than 800 trainees were out, all unarmed.

The militants entered the sprawling compound, apparently by scaling the boundary wall, and threw grenades at the parading trainees.

Ilyas, a police constable and eyewitness, told reporters: “We were exercising in the training ground inside the compound when we heard a blast.”

“A great cloud of dust blew over us and I felt something hit my face. When I touched my face there was blood all over.”

“Then I saw a man firing a Kalashnikov running towards us. He had a beard and his face was partially covered by a bandanna. Three of my colleagues fell down in the burst of firing. I just turned and ran. Thank God, I managed to get away.”

Police sub-inspector Mohammad Riaz, one of the trainers who is holed up inside the school, told a TV reporter that he was trapped inside with “10 to 12 people, including policemen and recruits”.

He said the attack happened when a police parade was going on around 0730. About 750 policemen were participating in the parade, he said.

“I was in my room. Suddenly there was an explosion. Then a second, and a third. Some three or four big explosions, after which firing from heavy weapons started,” said Mr Riaz.

“They [probably] first threw in some grenades or rocket propelled grenades from outside the wall. The recruits started running. I saw them running. I tried to get out [of the room], but then heavy weapon fire started from all directions.”

“I couldn’t judge where it was coming from. All the windowpanes of the building were broken. Then we took shelter in a room and stayed there until the rescue people arrived.”

Mr Riaz said the attackers were present at “three or four positions”.

“Two or three men are on the second floor [of the building], some are on the third floor above, said the policeman, who said he was armed with a gun.

Some of the trainees did manage to escape, one of them with a bullet in his leg.

TV cameras peeping from over the boundary wall captured motionless images of five or six policemen, lying on the ground in the parade area.

They appeared dead, though some may have been only injured.

Some civilians were also hit and injured on the road outside the compound, apparently when the attackers fired in the direction of police security at the gate along the road.

Rescue workers have been able to take some of the injured out of the school in armoured personnel careers.

Speculation

Despite growing incidents of militant attacks across the country, the school only had peacetime security in place at the time.

Besides, some experts interviewed on TV said the training schools usually had small armouries, with old weapons not fit to counter the modern weapons of the militants.

A senior retired police official, Afzal Shigri, said it was not known whether the trainees were new recruits or trained officials on mid-service training.

He said new recruits were unlikely to challenge the attackers, but if there were any trained police officers in there, they might find a way to overcome the attackers even without any arms.

But defence analyst Lt-Gen (rtd) Talat Masood said that Pakistani policemen did not match the level of physical endurance and motivation that the militants had displayed time and again.

When the elite forces arrived 90 minutes later, they were welcomed by the crowd of spectators outside the school with loud chants of Allah-O-Akbar (God is Great).

Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop

 

Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop

By: Peter Chamberlin

Another anomaly in the “war of [mistakes] terror” may have been solved.The unfolding story about the anti-Pakistan psyop revolves around Britain’s MI6 and the “Pakistani Taliban.”

What exactly were Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple doing in Helmand?At the end of December, 2007 the European diplomats were arrested and evicted from Afghanistan for “talking to the Taliban.”News reports after the fact reveal that the two diplomats were actually agents of British MI6 secret service, sent to strike a bargain with top Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah or his younger half-brother Mansoor.The negotiations are alleged to have begun in early summer, according to the British press.

But the operation began much earlier than that, in March, when Mansoor Dadullah was released on March 19 in a prisoner exchange for Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was being held by feared Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah.


Again, according to the British press, the whole attempt at turning Mansoor began in an operation tokill his brother.The recruiting attempt began with that prisoner exchange which freed Mansoor. He was tracked from Quetta back to Helmand where British Special Forces killed Mullah Dadullah on May12, 2007, using the latest technology (Predators) to follow his satellite phone signal.Either they supplied him the phone or they simply tailed him from Helmand to Quetta, where they managed to pick-out his the satellite phone.

The evidence that the operation began with the prison release of Mansoor is only circumstantial, that being that it was the Western negotiators who introduced him into the equation(the Taliban leader didn’t mention Mansoor in the initial contact, naming only Taliban spokesmen Mohammad Hanif and Abdul Latif Hakimi) and the British press admits that Mullah was killed by successfully following Mansoor.

A voice recording of a man claiming to be top Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah has said an Italian journalist captured by the militants has confessed to spying for the British military…Apparently referring to the detentions of two Taliban spokesmen, the man in the recording also accused the Western media of bias.

“They give one-sided freedom to media. We don’t give a one-sided freedom to media. The media should be all free or should be banned totally.

“No one can accept … that the Taliban journalists be in prisons and their journalists be free.”

The hold-up to introduce the Mansoor operation into play cost Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s driver, Sayed Agha his head.

RAI-1 channel beamed images of Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver Sayed Agha and his interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi, kneeling blindfolded before gun-wielding militants.More..
It then showed Agha being beheaded

Ajmal Naqshbandi

Ajmal Naqshbandi worked as a guide for visiting reporters

more about “LiveLeak.com – Italian TV Shows Hosta…“, posted with vodpod

Mastrogiacomo was freed to celebrate his life and mourn the brutal death of his friend.The American and British military geniuses who conceived the Dadullah ploy rejoiced at the success of their devious diversion and celebrated before the fact the coming fate of Mullah Dadullah.

On May 10 2007 ,Tony Blair announced that he will formally step down from his post on June 27; no reason is given.

On or about May. 11,British military begins talks with Afghan “civilians” (read:Taliban).

Dadullah was killed by a British commando attack two days later, on 13 May 2007.

The British were arrogantly intent on reviving their colonial skills at dealing with and against the local tribes (See The Legendary Fighters of Waziristan), so they apparently sought-out Mullah Dadullah in an attempt to replicate his successful negotiations with Pakistan.The Taliban chieftain must have balked at negotiations with “slaves of America,” (meaning the British or the Afghan puppet regime), since he termed such negotiations as “impossible” in an interview with Al Jazeera given at about that time.Even though negotiations with the Taliban’s old friends in Pakistan was acceptable to him, it was beyond the pale to suggest to the old mujahedeen veteran negotiating with the back-stabbing Americans and Brits.

Even though he was known as a ruthless killer and a charismatic militant leader, reaching Dadullah seemed feasible to the Brits, after all, he had just signed a truce on September 24, 2006between the Pakistani Army and the local Taliban. Mullah Omar had sent one of his most trusted and feared commanders, Mullah Dadullah, to ask local militants to sign the truce.

“Had they been not asked by Mullah Omar, none of them were willing to sign an agreement,” said Lateef Afridi, a tribal elder and former national assembly member. “This is no peace agreement, it is accepting Taliban rule in Pakistan’s territory.”

“An Interior Ministry statement said Dadullah was killed in fighting with security forces in Helmand’s Girishk district on Saturday night.”

The Western powers missed a grand opportunity to excise the real “al Qaida” Wahabbi fighters from Pakistani territory, when they failed to see the significance of the Pakistani/Taliban accord created by Mullah Omar.Thousands of “al Qaida” Uzbeks were entrenched in Waziristan, waging war against the local populace to enforce their version of “Shariah” law, and instigating war against the Pakistani Army.The treaty signed by Dadullah stopped the anti-government warfare and later inspired local tribal leaders to raise “Lashkars” (militia forces) to fight against the “al Qaida” and to expel them from the region.

Instead of supporting Pakistan’s efforts and bringing peace to the Afghan Taliban’s troublesome rear areas by building on the division that was opening-up between the actual “al Qaida” terrorists and the local Pashtun tribal militias, Bush and Cheney chose to use the Predator and terrorist attacksas a tool for closing the gap between the battling groups, in order to wage war upon the Pakistani government for defying their orders.

On the night that Dadullah was killed, May 13, 2007, fierce fighting broke-out between the Pakistani and Afghan (or coalition) forces:

“early Sunday when the Pakistani army attempted to position their forces in mountains in Goyee area of Jaji district of the south-eastern Paktia province, General Zahir Azimi, Afghan defence ministry spokesman told a press conference.”

This killing of Afghans by Pakistani troops outraged the local tribesmen, who began to marshal tribal defenses to defend against the aggression.

May 15 Mansoor replaces Dadullahas new Taliban commander.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the local “Taliban” were busily engaged in inter-tribal warfare, to expel Uzbek/”al Qaida” criminals from their midst.

On 15 May 2007 a powerful bomb ripped through a hotel Peshawar has killed at least 24 people.

“The Marhaba, is popular with tribal visitors from Afghanistan.”

Onmay 18, 2007 four policemen were seized in Islamabad at the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid).

The relationship between the European spies and Mansoor Dadullah developed throughout the year.

On July 24, Abdullah Mehsud was killed near Quetta.

On Oct. 18, 2007 Benazir Bhutto returned to Karachi, to be greeted with a massive suicide bomb attempt on her life. “Al Qaida” was blamed for the blast.

November 3, 2007, President Musharref declares a national emergency in Pakistan.

On 13 Dec 2007 Britain is understood to have given the green light to President Hamid Karzai to undertake talks with Taliban militants as part of a long-term strategy to bring peace in Afghanistan..

December 14, 2007, the formation of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan (TTP).

December 16, Musharref lifts the state of emergency declared on Nov. 3.

On 26 Dec 2007 Karzai orders the arrest of the British agents.

On December 27 Benazir Bhutto was killed,

Dec. 29, 2007, Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed read to AFP over the telephone a statement issued by Omar that said Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was sacked

“because he disobeyed orders of the Islamic Emirate’ of Taleban.”

What was the order that Mansoor failed to follow?Was he cast-out for dealing with the Brits, or for blowing the deal with the Brits?Or was he shunned because he ordered the assassination of the popular female Pakistani politician on orders from some shady higher authority?

Riots and killing broke-out across Pakistan after the murder of Bhutto, turning into an opportunity for the British-influenced TTP to begin a new wider campaign of terror in FATA and North West Frontier Province.

7 January 2008:

Gunmen stormed the office of Taleban commander Maulavi Nazir in Wana on Sunday night and killed three of his supporters and wounded four others, officials said.

They said five people were killed in the nearby Shkai area in another attack on the office of Commander Khanan, who is loyal to Mullah Nazir.

Officials say they suspect the attackers to be Uzbek militants, who are opposed to Mullah Nazir”.

The wave of terror expanded to the major cities:

10 January 2008 “A suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and wounded another 60 when he hurled himself at policemen standing outside the high court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore this morning.”

The Sararogha Fort raid occurred on 15-16 January 2008 when several dozen Islamic militants overrun a paramilitary fort in South Waziristan,

more about “Vidpk.com – Militants have captured S…“, posted with vodpod

[The last half of the video discusses the economic problems, “less than dollar a day wages,” that drive desperate people into seeking radical, non-conventional solutions to their lives, such as joining militant groups.Here is where Obama’s plan of economic pay-offs and incentives might find a lot of “reconcilables.”]

On Jan. 29 the CIA launched its Predator war upon Pakistan.

Feb. 11, 2008 Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a senior Taliban figure, has been wounded and captured along with five lieutenants by Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, the Pakistani military reported.

Mansoor Dadullah arrested near Quetta Feb. 12, 2008

It is thought Mansoor may have been double-crossed as part of a deal between the hardline “neo” Taleban in Pakistan, and local security forces.

“[Semple] had become close to tribes in northern Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule in the late 1990s.Semple has a Muslim Pakistani wife.”This places him in a good place to recruit Northern Alliance and Uzbek fighters for a destabilizing mission into Pakistan, under the guise of a new insurgent group like the TTP (Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan), which formed later in December.Mullah Dadullah had attended the promotion ceremony of Baitullah Mehsud to Taliban commander and brokered the truce between Mehsud and the Army September 24, 2006.

The deal that the British were offering was to employ Dadullah and all 2500 of his fighters, some as militia-type forces, others for honest labor on non-opium projects.While this was going on the British were waging a psyop to disorient the local Taliban and to turn them against each other, through hired spies, they were devastating the local cadres, causing everyone to mistrust their comrades.Were Dadullah’s fighters being sent into Waziristan to target Pakistani leaders, to start the same process of sowing mistrust?Had the Brits hired these guys as an army of mercenary spies?

Are the Brits part of the same coalition who is funding the TTP?Did the TTP launch its offensive in reaction to British treachery, or led into the escalation by British influence?Considering the long-range meddling that preceded Bhutto’s assassination, it is probable that the offensive was just another manipulation by the Brits and their financial backers (the invisible financiers who produce the whole show).

In most cases of recent Sunni militant groups associated with the name “al Qaida,” the Saudis and their Gulf State friends have proven to be the secret sources of operational funds, command and control, just as it has been since the jihad in Afghanistan began in 1979.Between the radical militant groups linked to “al Qaida,” and the radical Wahabbi madrassas that pump-out new “Taliban,” Saudi Arabia (Pakistan’s other “best friend”) is also slowly cutting the Nation’s throat.Pakistan’s “friends” will be the death of her yet.

Was the Taliban split that was being staged a mirror image of the British/American “split” over Afghan policy that initiated the whole process of revelation and shakedown in late December.Was Mansoor busted by Mullah Omar on December 29 because the operation was exposed, or because of the assassination of Benizir Bhutto on the 27th?The idea of exposing the plot to the media told the Taliban that they could not even trust their leaders.

June 10, 2008, American Predator attacks Pakistani outpost at Gora Prai, resulting in the deaths of 11 paramilitary troops of the Frontier Corps.

July 8, 2008, the Indian embassy in Kabul is bombed, killing the military attaché, Pakistan is blamed for the attack.

July 11, 2008, Nine Pakistanis hurt in fire from Afghanistan

WANA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Seven Pakistani soldiers and two civilians have been wounded by firing from inside Afghanistan in the latest incident along the border between the uneasy U.S. allies… “About 60 rounds fell in Angoor Adda,”

On July 12, 2008, after a strategic meeting between US and Pakistan military leaders, an open rift was exposed between the two sides for all the world to see, at that time, the Predator war against Pakistan went into high gear (See: US/Pakistan Showdown/Throwdown July12).

August 18, 2008, Musharref’s resignation is accepted by the National Assembly.

Sep 6, 2008, the scandal-ridden widower of Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari (“Mr. Ten Percent”) is given the job of playing Pakistan’s president, for the next act of the deadly psycho-drama.

The war being waged against the Pakistani government since then is an even greater staged event.Pakistan is being dismembered by the concentrated application of fear and tension through repeated Predator and terror attacks upon groups of citizens, local madrassas and government forces.The people doing this in Pakistan are the same people who were doing it in Afghanistan.Whether this dismemberment, primarily by way of the TTP movement, is a product of a British psyop or a combination of US and British spies carrying-out a great play act together is immaterial; the important thing for Pakistanis to realize is that their so-called “friends” have built a hostile force in their midst.Cooperation with America or Britain, to eliminate the terror that so many people have worked so hard to create is suicidal.

President Obama claims to want to turn the situation around in “Af-Pak.”If he is serious about this claim then the first thing he will do is put an end to the ongoing psyop against Pakistan and take control of targeting for the Predator flights away from the CIA, or any other western agency and offer it to Pakistani Army Gen. Kayani.If Pakistan wants to use these air assets in a war against the militant network, then that should be their decision to make, not ours.

Last Friday, President Obama basically embraced the British plan for negotiating with the Taliban, which basically entails bribing them into “reconciliation” (the latest euphemism for ceasing hostilities). The process is focused on finding the reconcilables and separating them from the unreconcilables, in order to totally eliminate the uncooperative groups. The American counter-insurgency tactics rely on proxy forces to carry-out the violent prodding that is meant to discover the true natures of the targeted leaders, the “tickling” referred to by previous CIA captain Michael Hayden.It is the underhanded spy agency tactics chosen by the previous administration which have prolonged both the Iraq and the Afghan wars; why should the goons they placed in charge now be trusted to run the new front in Pakistan?This can no longer be the CIA’s war.

Asia Times senior correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad gives the following assessment of the British plan of divide, buy and conquer, and the resultant US/NATO “split” over the issue:

more about “NATO split over Afghanistan – Truveo …“, posted with vodpod

The process described in the video could possibly work, if the underhanded moves are stopped and Pakistan and the Western powers are on the same page.If NATO honors the “red line” commitment made by Ambassador Holbrooke, to not send NATO troops across the Durand Line and lets Pakistan call the shots for where and when American airpower will be brought to bear, then the war in Pakistan might be won, as a realistic first step towards halting Afghanistan’s downhill slide.But winning this war by anyone’s measure first requires a complete break with the Bush/Cheney policies that wrecked it.

The Taliban ruse is based on the “Al Qaida” ploy, set in stone at the beginning of the “war on terror” (which has now allegedly been downgraded).“Al Qaida” is an invention of the Bush/Cheney cabal.It never existed before 1999-2000.The bin Laden group, which has been dubbed “al Qaida” is a CIA fabrication, used as a conflict generator/force multiplier.The incident that began Bush’s terror war was also a manufactured event.

The purpose for creating this international militant army was to bring-about the “clash of civilizations.It was to serve as a self-perpetuating recruitment mechanism, funded by international trafficking in weapons and drugs.By perpetuating a false version of Islam based upon a worship of violence and jihad, then committing widespread violence, atrocities and crimes against the human race, the “Islamic” terror generator seduced thousands of young Muslim men into serving Shaitan.

May Allah guide you, Pakistan, in this hour of temptation.If you accept America’s billions to fulfill the contract of waging total war upon the Pakistani citizens of the Frontier Region then you will be selling your souls to Shaitan, while cutting your own throats.But if you choose to wage war against the “epicenter of terrorism” that you have allowed the United States to create in your western regions, then you will have no choice but to accept a gracious hand if it is offered, especially if it is overflowing with the overwhelming technological force that you will need for the task.

It’s Pakistan’s call to make.

peter.chamberlin@yahoo.com

Obama Adviser Gen. James Jones Claims Predators Produce Low “Collateral” Damage (Civilian Deaths)

Drone strikes are effective: US

By Anwar Iqbal

Washington and Islamabad will decide ‘collaboratively’ whether to continue these drone strikes: US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.—File Photo

‘The attacks have done a couple of things: One, they have been targeted very specifically against al Qaeda, two, they produce very low collateral damage,’ he said.

THE CLAIM:

The stepped-up Predator campaign has killed at least nine senior al-Qaida leaders and dozens of lower-ranking operatives

THE TRUTH:

According to one estimate by Agence France Presse, Predator strikes have killed “more than 340 people since August 2008″, a fair number of whom are civilians.

WASHINGTON: US drone attacks inside Pakistan were ‘having an affect,’ said US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones, adding that Washington and Islamabad will decide ‘collaboratively’ whether to continue those strikes.

In an interview to Dawn after President Barak Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gen. Jones defended the drones strikes as effective and said they were causing low collateral damage.

‘They are having an affect (but) whether they continue or not will be up to the Pakistani government and our government working side by side in a collaborative way,’ said the general.

‘The attacks have done a couple of things: One, they have been targeted very specifically against al Qaeda, two, they produce very low collateral damage,’ he said.

This marks the first time a senior US official spoke on record on the drone attacks. US officials usually do not acknowledge their involvement in these attacks and instead urge journalists to contact Pakistani authorities whenever such an attack takes place.

The drone attacks were first ordered by the Bush administration. The Obama administration has not only continued those strikes but some Obama officials have indicated recently that the drones may attack targets inside Balochistan as well.

Meanwhile, another US official, Assistant State Secretary Richard Boucher, assured Pakistan that his country had no plans to send American troops inside the Pakistani territory.

Mr Boucher said Pakistanis, a US ally in the fight against terrorism, were operating on their side of the border. ‘We operate differently on the other side of the border.’

The US, he said, understood that the Pakistanis did not want American forces inside Pakistan. ‘We’ll respect that, but at the same time we want to make sure we are them supporting properly,’ he said.

Another US official charged with implementing US policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, acknowledged frustrations, calling the fight to bring stability to Pakistani border areas ‘the most daunting challenge’ of the new regional plan because Pakistan had imposed a ‘red line.’

‘The red line is unambiguous and stated publicly by the Pakistani government —no foreign troops on our soil,’ he said.

Gen. Jones said the new US policy focused more intensively on Pakistan than in the past, and said this was ‘normal, because it’s a newer problem.’

He said that Washington’s relation with Pakistan, were ‘in a restart mode; that is to say that we are having very intensive dialogues. We’re building trust and confidence between the armed forces.’

At a separate White House briefing, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Middle East and South Asia expert, who chaired the White House review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: ‘Al Qaeda operates within a very sophisticated syndicate of terrorist organisations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.’

President Obama wants to make sure that this mission has a focus and a clear, concise goal, he said. ‘And that goal, as he spelled it out, is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, and to ensure that their safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot threaten the United States anymore,’ Mr Riedel said.

Zionist Press in Israel and London Pushes Israeli “Super Drones” Disinformation

‘UAVs hit Gaza-bound weapons convoys’

Jerusalem Post – ‎1 hour ago‎
By JPOST.COM STAFF Israel used unmanned aircraft in a series of attacks on Iranian convoys in Sudan which were attempting to smuggle long-range missiles

Report: Israel used unmanned drones to attack Sudan convoys

Ha’aretz – ‎4 hours ago‎
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies The Israel Air Force used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle weapons

Report: Israel used drones in Sudan

Ynetnews – ‎5 hours ago‎
Sunday Times quotes defense officials as saying Hermes 450 UAVs attacked convoys trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza. According to report, trucks were

ABC: IAF attacked 3 times in Sudan

Ha’aretz – ‎10 hours ago‎
By Yossi Melman and Yoav Stern The Israel Air Force carried out three air strikes in Sudan, not two, according to a report yesterday by ABC News.

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan

Times Online – ‎12 hours ago‎
ISRAEL used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The missiles have the range to strike

Hezbollah denounces alleged airstrikes on Sudan

eTaiwan News – ‎15 hours ago‎
AP Sudan says it believes Israel carried out the airstrikes in the remote mountainous desert region of northeast Sudan last month.

Hizbullah denounces alleged air-strikes on Sudan

Ynetnews – ‎16 hours ago‎
Hizbullah is denouncing alleged air-strikes on Sudan targeting weapons smugglers. Sudan says it believes Israel carried out the strikes, which Khartoum

Hizbullah: Sudan strikes a new Israeli crime

Ynetnews – ‎19 hours ago‎
AP and Ynet In a statement issued Saturday, Hizbullah called the airstrikes a new Israeli crime and urged Arab leaders meeting in Qatar next week to craft a

Report: Israel carried out 3 attacks on Sudan arms smugglers

Ha’aretz – ‎20 hours ago‎
By Haaretz Service and AP Israel has carried out three air strikes since January against what was believed to be Iranian arms shipments passing through

ANALYSIS / Sudan has become playground for terror groups

Ha’aretz – ‎Mar 26, 2009‎
By Zvi Bar’el Did the truck convoy making its way from Port Sudan to Egypt carry weapons from Iran, China or Russia – Sudan’s three major arms suppliers?

Ex-pilots split on what Sudan strike means for Iran

Ha’aretz – ‎Mar 26, 2009‎
By Anshel Pfeffer Former senior Israel Air Force officers are divided over what the IAF’s alleged strike on an arms convoy in Sudan means for the

Report: Israel Used UAVs to Attack Missile Convoys in Sudan

Arutz Sheva – ‎1 hour ago‎
by Yehudah Lev Kay (IsraelNN.com) The London Sunday Times reported that the Israeli Air Force used Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) to carry out strikes on

Egypt’s Al-Shurooq first broke the story showing US planes

DEBKA file – ‎1 hour ago‎
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources trace how an air strike on an Iranian arms convoy bound for Gaza, uncorroborated by witnesses or any other

So who did bomb the Iranian arms trucks in Sudan?

DEBKA file – ‎2 hours ago‎
The only solid fact emerging from the fanciful “reports” traded between Western and Middle East media over the bombing of an Iranian arms convoy bound for

London Times Tries to Turn Sudan Convoy Attack Into Grounds for Iran War

DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THIS GARBAGE?  The distance between southern Israel and Port Sudan is approximately 1,000 miles in a straight line.  The Israeli manufacturer of the drone cited maximum payload at 150 kg., and showed only sensors under the “payload” section.  Remember, initial reports claimed that there were “18- holes [craters?] diameters ranging between 160 and 430 meters.” Whatever was used to hit this convoy was not the drones claimed, so the accompanying claims about this being an Iranian convoy carrying broken-apart missiles is likely a lie, as well.

hermes_450_4hermes_450_12

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan

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ISRAEL used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The missiles have the range to strike Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona, defence sources said.

The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attacked two convoys, killing at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts. All the lorries carrying the long-range rockets were destroyed. Had the rockets been delivered to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, they would have dramatically raised the stakes in the conflict, enabling Palestinians to wreak terror on Tel Aviv.

According to western diplomats, Israel attacked the Iranian convoys at the end of January and in the first week of February in the remote Sudan desert, just outside Port Sudan. The convoys had been tracked down by agents from Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency.

The raids were carried out by Hermes 450 drones. One source claimed they were accompanied by giant Eitan UAVs, which have a 110ft wingspan, similar to that of a Boeing 737. The drones, controlled via satellite, can hover over a target for 24 hours. The Hermes 450 squadron is based at the Palmahim air base, south of Tel Aviv, but it remains unclear from which airfield they took off.

In a phrase that every Israeli recognised as a claim of responsibility for the raid, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declared last week: “We operate in every area where terrorist infrastructures can be struck.” He added: “We are operating in locations near and far, and attack in a way that strengthens and increases deterrence. There is no point in  elaborating. Everyone can use their imagination. Whoever needs to know, knows.”

Khartoum initially accused America of being behind the attacks. “We contacted the Americans and they categorically denied they were involved,” said Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ali al-Sadig.

His comments were the first official acknowledgment of the air strikes, first reported last week by the Egyptian newspaper El Shorouk. “We didn’t know about the first attack until after the second one. They were in an area close to the border with Egypt, a remote desert area, with no towns or people,” Sadig said.

Defence sources said the chief reason for choosing the drones was that a convoy forms a “slippery” target. “When you attack a fixed target, especially a big one, you are better off using jet aircraft. But with a moving target with no definite time for the move UAVs are best, as they can hover extremely high and remain unseen until the target is on the move.”

According to sources, the convoys were carrying Fajr3 rockets, which have a range of more than 40 miles, and were split into sections so they could be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza from Egypt. “They built the Fajr in parts so it would be easy to smuggle them into Gaza, then reassemble them with Hamas experts who learnt the job in Syria and Iran,” said a source.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards masterminded the smuggling operation. “The Iranians arrived in Port Sudan and liaised with local smugglers,” said a source. The convoy was heading for the Egyptian border where, for a fat fee, local smugglers would take over.

North Korea may also launch midrange missile: report

North Korea may also launch midrange missile: report

A model of North Korea's Scud-B missile is seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, March 27, 2009.
A model of North Korea’s Scud-B missile is seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul
Jo Yong-Hak

TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea is preparing to launch a close- to mid-range ballistic missile separately from the long-range missile that Pyongyang has said it will launch next month, the Sankei Japanese daily reported on Sunday.

The secluded state may fire the close- to mid-range missile shortly after the long-range missile is launched, the paper said, quoting unnamed Japanese government sources.

The report come as Pyongyang is poised launch a communications satellite between April 4-8 that regional powers believe will actually be a test of a long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, which is already believed to be on its launch pad.

North Korea has given international agencies notice that the rocket’s planned trajectory should take it over Japan, dropping booster stages to its east and west. Any attempt to shoot the rocket itself down would be an act of war, it has said.

Japan deployed two ballistic missile destroyers to the Sea of Japan on Saturday to intercept any dangerous debris in the event that the controversial missile launch planned by North Korea goes wrong.

Al Jazeera aired footage of Taliban Mullah Dadullah

In the interview, Dadullah basically says that How can we negotiate with “the Americans or their slaves” after the grief that they have brought to our women and our elders, after they have stripped our prisoners naked, defamed our Prophet PBUH and slandered our holy book?

Israeli assault on the press conference with injured American’s parents


“There is no respect for the grieving”
Barghouthi shocked by the Israeli assault on the press conference with injured American’s parents

Palestinian National Initiative

tristan_at_tree-sit_in_berkely.jpg

Tristan Anderson

25 March 2009

Ramallah: Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative condemned heavily yesterday Israeli aggression consisting in shutting down and beating Palestinian activists and journalist during the press conference held by the parents of Tristan Anderson, the American peace activist who was shot in Ni’lin last week.

“The boundaries of minimum respect for the victims have been crossed once again. We feel that there are no limits in the Israeli troops behaviour, no respect for the grieving of Tristan’s family”, the deputy said, shocked.

Tristan Anderson, 37 years old, an American citizen and peace activist, had an Israeli high velocity gas canister shot at his head in Ni’lin on the 13th of March. His skulls shattered several injuries and he was left in a very critical state at Tel Aviv hospital.

On Monday, during a press conference held by Tristan’s parents, a woman and a journalist were beaten by the Israeli troops. 11 persons were detained including 3 foreign peace activists.

The press conference was held in a very symbolic place, known as the ‘protest tent’, in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Al Kurd family has taken up residence for months after being evicted from their home.

Several journalists were reported being prevented to attend the conference. The Israeli army demanded that the event will be shut down. As several refused, they assaulted the audience, beating and detaining activists, media crews and officials.

“Such a raid leaves me speechless”, condemns the Deputy. ‘But we have to stand up loud. The Anderson family has the right to tell the world what Tristan has endured and express solidarity and their indignation and feelings regarding the shooting of their son. America is a country where freedom of speech is a core value. But once entering the Israeli controlled territory, nothing prevails anymore. Israeli soldiers have no shame and this should be reported. Loudly.”

Contacts:
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi: 0599/ 201 528
Or: 0599/ 940 073
Follow-up of the site’s activity RSS 2.0 | Private area | SPIP

2 arrested over Pakistan mosque bombing

2 arrested over Pakistan mosque bombing

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Two suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing of a mosque that killed at least 51 people, Pakistani authorities said Saturday.

Friday's blast brought the roof of the mosque down on worshippers attending prayers.

Friday’s blast brought the roof of the mosque down on worshippers attending prayers.

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The two were arrested about 30 minutes after the Friday bombing after police spotted them fleeing the scene, said local official Rahat Gul.

The suspects were being questioned about the deadly blast that also wounded more than 100 people.

The blast occurred at Jamrod in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border.

This is the latest assault in a region populated by Islamic militants in Pakistani safe havens along the Afghan border, where NATO and the U.S.-led coalition have been battling Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

The bombed-out mosque had been frequented by Pakistani security officials who work at checkpoints along the route used by NATO to carry supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

The strike came hours before President Barack Obama explained his new urgent strategy for fighting Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the latest in a long line of attacks in the region that have been staged on days of political importance in the volatile Afghan and Pakistani region.

The two-story mosque had been packed with about 250 worshippers attending Friday prayers when the bomber, thought to be among the worshippers, detonated the explosive, authorities said.

The building collapsed as the explosion rippled through the structure, and rescue crews deployed to the scene were searching through the rubble for more victims.

What is the Truth About Life in Kabul?




By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Kabul

It is easy to tell that this war is not going well for the Afghan government and its foreign allies.

Afghan policeman stands guard in front of the fortified gate of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs on 8 March

The defences in Kabul betray the deteriorating security situation

More than ever, Kabul city centre resembles a fortress. In the two years since I was last here more roads have been closed off, and the blast barriers around embassies and government buildings have grown thicker and higher.

Nato troops still patrol the city in full combat gear, and, judging by the number of armed guards standing on the streets, this is a boom time for private security firms.

But the response to the worsening security situation in the city is lopsided. This is now a city of four million people, but the police force numbers only 4,000.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the security forces are even more stretched.

‘Enable the Afghans

US President Barack Obama’s announcement that they will receive more resources and more training will therefore be welcome news for many, not least the Afghan Defence Minister Gen Abdul Rahim Wardak.

An Afghan girl leads her donkey to get water in Kabul last Sunday

Afghans want to see changes in their daily lives

“Since the beginning in 2002 I have been telling everyone that the most cost-effective way for our friends and allies, and politically the less complex way, and the way to save the lives of our friends and allies, is to enable the Afghans themselves,” he told me before President Obama spoke.

“That is the only sustainable way to secure Afghanistan. It will take some time to train and equip a bigger force, but I that think once it is completed the gradual draw down of international forces can start,” he said.

The head of the international forces in the country, Gen David McKeirnon, is also keen to emphasis the vital role that the Afghan security forces increasingly are able to play.

‘Bottom-up approach’

The day before President Obama’s announcement, he was at the graduation ceremony for the first units of the Afghan Public Protection Force, which will operate at the community level.

The 240 men come from Wardak province, just to the south of Kabul, which was badly hit by the Taleban insurgency last year.

After three weeks of training by US special forces, these men will soon be sent back to their villages, to be a first line of defence. The plan is to replicate this force across the country.

“This is an example of a bottom-up approach, where we can have communities come together and help provide security and a unity of voice,” Gen David McKeirnon said.

But like much of Washington’s new strategy, Afghans have heard many things like this before.

It is only when they see changes on the ground, and in their impoverished and war-scarred communities, that they will begin to believe that there is indeed a new strategy, and one that works.

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns

shanty-1.jpg
An encampment of tents under an overpass in Fresno

shanty-2.jpg
Guillermo Flores, 32, said he had looked for work in the fields and in fast food, but had found nothing. For the last eight months, he has collected cans, recycling them for $5 to $10 a day, and lived in a hand-built, three-room shack, a home that he takes pride in, with a door, clean sheets on his bed and a bowl full of fresh apples in his propane-powered kitchen area. “I just built it because I need it,” said Mr. Flores, as he cooked a dinner of chili peppers, eggs and onions over a fire. “The only problem I have is the spiders.”


JESSE McKINLEY
Published: March 25, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. — As the operations manager of an outreach center for the homeless here, Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center.

Residents of Sacramento’s Tent City to Move to Fairground (March 26, 2009)

“They just popped up about 18 months ago,” Mr. Stack said. “One day it was empty. The next day, there were people living there.”

Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”

While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

In Seattle, homeless residents in the city’s 100-person encampment call it Nickelsville, an unflattering reference to the mayor, Greg Nickels. A tent city in Sacramento prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to announce a plan Wednesday to shift the entire 125-person encampment to a nearby fairground. That came after a recent visit by “The Oprah Winfrey Show” set off such a news media stampede that some fed-up homeless people complained of overexposure and said they just wanted to be left alone.

The problem in Fresno is different in that it is both chronic and largely outside the national limelight. Homelessness here has long been fed by the ups and downs in seasonal and subsistence jobs in agriculture, but now the recession has cast a wider net and drawn in hundreds of the newly homeless — from hitchhikers to truck drivers to electricians.

“These are able-bodied folks that did day labor, at minimum wage or better, who were previously able to house themselves based on their income,” said Michael Stoops, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group based in Washington.

The surging number of homeless people in Fresno, a city of 500,000 people, has been a surprise. City officials say they have three major encampments near downtown and smaller settlements along two highways. All told, as many 2,000 people are homeless here, according to Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager, who said that drug use, prostitution and violence were all too common in the encampments.

“That’s all part of that underground economy,” Mr. Barfield said. “It’s what happens when a person is trying to survive.”

He said the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments in the next several weeks, to determine how many people needed services and permanent housing. “We’re treating it like any other disaster area,” Mr. Barfield said.

Mr. Barfield took over his newly created position in January, after the county and city adopted a 10-year plan to address homelessness. A class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless people against the city and the California Department of Transportation led to a $2.35 million settlement in 2008, making money available to about 350 residents who had had their belongings discarded in sweeps by the city.

The growing encampments led the city to place portable toilets and security guards near one area known as New Jack City, named after a dark and drug-filled 1991 movie. But that just attracted more homeless people.

“It was just kind of an invitation to move in,” said Mr. Stack, the outreach center manager.

On a recent afternoon, nobody seemed thrilled to be living in New Jack City, a filthy collection of rain- and wind-battered tents in a garbage-strewn lot. Several weary-looking residents sat on decaying sofas as a pair of pit bulls chained to a fence howled.

Northwest of New Jack City sits a somewhat less grim encampment. It is sometimes called Taco Flats or Little Tijuana because of the large number of Latino residents, many of whom were drawn to Fresno on the promise of agricultural jobs, which have dried up in the face of the poor economy and a three-year drought.

Guillermo Flores, 32, said he had looked for work in the fields and in fast food, but had found nothing. For the last eight months, he has collected cans, recycling them for $5 to $10 a day, and lived in a hand-built, three-room shack, a home that he takes pride in, with a door, clean sheets on his bed and a bowl full of fresh apples in his propane-powered kitchen area.

“I just built it because I need it,” said Mr. Flores, as he cooked a dinner of chili peppers, eggs and onions over a fire. “The only problem I have is the spiders.

Sindh High Court (SHC) moved against ‘US meddling’ in Pakistan’s internal affairs

SHC moved against ‘US meddling’ in Pakistan’s internal affairs

KARACHI: A constitutional petition was filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC) here on Friday to challenge alleged meddling of US diplomats in the internal affairs of Pakistan, supporting opposition parties and meeting politicians for fanning unrest in the country.

The petition was filed by a local lawyer Sohail Hameed, who maintained that after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US government was now meddling in the internal affairs of Pakistan by using an indirect method of controlling political parties through their influence, forcing the government of the day to enter into a compromise on the terms dictated by the opposition.

He submitted that as per the Constitution of Pakistan (Objective Resolution), the government is bound to defend the territorial integrity of Pakistan and ensure independent governance as per Islamic ideology.

The petitioner stated that a series of meetings by US diplomats in Pakistan, are aimed at fanning political turmoil. Citing the president of Pakistan, prime minister and interior and foreign secretaries as respondents, the petitioner sought direction to the respondents to ensure independence of the country and to prevent US meddling into internal affairs of Pakistan. The petitioner also sought direction to the respondents to file a case before the US courts of law against US officials intervening in Pakistan’s political and other affairs. staff report

Can Mehsud be captured now?

Can Mehsud be captured now?

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Rahimullah Yusufzai

Baitullah Mehsud, a larger-than-life figure from the tribal region of South Waziristan, continues to draw attention on the world stage. Recently, Time magazine named him in its annual list of the 100 most influential persons in the world. And a few days ago, the US announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

In a way, the reward is an indictment against Pakistan for its inability to bring to justice a wanted Pakistani. Now that a precedent has been set, it is possible that more Pakistanis will be placed on the most-wanted lists internationally and monetary rewards announced for their arrests.

Ironically, the government of Pakistan hasn’t offered any such reward for Mehsud’s arrest, even though he and his outlawed organization, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is routinely blamed by authorities for most of the suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in the country. He has been charged in some police cases but has yet to be tried in a court of law or convicted.

It is possible that the US government took Pakistani authorities into confidence before announcing the cash reward for Mehsud’s capture. In fact, government functionaries in Pakistan have been privately complaining and using certain media outlets to highlight the issue of lack of cooperation from the US in targeting and eliminating people like Mehsud. They have pointed out that US drones failed to attack Mehsud and his hideouts even when intelligence information about his possible location was shared with American military commanders. One such occasion was a largely-attended press conference that Mehsud addressed in a government school in a part of South Waziristan inhabited by his Mehsud tribe and was widely reported in the media. By announcing a reward for Mehsud’s capture under its Rewards for Justice programme and including his name in its most-wanted list of Al-Qaeda facilitators, the US appears keen to address Pakistan’s concerns and at the same time further enlist its cooperation in achieving American objectives in its “war on terror.”

After being discarded by the UK, the term “war on terror” has now been abandoned by the US due to the belated realisation that it was misleading and was provoking large sections of the world’s Muslim population who believed it was a war against Islam. However, mere change of wording is unlikely to have the desired effect. Instead, the Western powers would have to change their policy of using unbridled force against those with a different worldview and pursue dialogue while resolving contentious issues. Also, there is need for change in the unconditional American and Western support for Israel and the neglect of Palestinian suffering, their backing for snon-representative rulers in Islamic countries and their urge to replace unfriendly governments in Muslim nations with those behaving as puppets.

It is interesting to note that on the day the reward for Mehsud’s capture was announced, the US State Department also made public two cash awards for those who could help in the arrest and conviction of an Afghan, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and a Libyan, Abu Yahya al-Libi. The fact that the US added a Pakistani, an Afghan and a Libyan to its list of most wanted people showed the trans-national character of the enemies of America. Also, all three are young, Mehsud being the oldest at about 35; Haqqani and al-Libi are under-30. This explains the transition taking place in Islamic militant organisations like Al-Qaeda and Taliban with younger people taking centre-stage in place of the older generation of militants. More importantly, the new generation of militants seems to be more radical and better organised. This also shows that killing or capturing older militants such as Osama bin Laden, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mulla Mohammad Omar is unlikely to greatly damage their organisations as younger and equally determined Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are ready to take over the moment the pioneers of these groups are eliminated or apprehended.

The $5 million reward for Mehsud’s capture places him just below Mulla Omar in terms of his importance to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reward for the latter’s arrest is $10 million and that for bin Laden and Zawahiri $25 million each. Mehsud he has time and again declared that his leader is Mulla Omar, who is Afghan.

The US charge-sheet against Mehsud is rather weak. The State Department statement announcing the reward for his capture noted that Mehsud is “regarded” as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in South Waziristan and that Pakistani authorities “believe” that the suicide attack against Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was staged by militants loyal to him. The statement also says that “press reports also have linked Mehsud to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the deaths of other innocent civilians.” Further, the US government pointed out in the statement that Mehsud had stated his intention to attack the United States. He was accused of conducting cross-border attacks against US forces in Afghanistan and posing a clear threat to American citizens and interests in the region. It is doubtful if all this would be enough to persuade independent judges to convict Mehsud in a court of law.

The reward for Haqqani’s capture is an acknowledgement of the Afghan Taliban commander’s hitherto underestimated power and influence. Earlier, the reward for his arrest was $200,000. It shows the US has finally recognised the threat the so-called “Haqqani Network” poses to the American, NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. His father, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of the most powerful Afghan Mujahideen and Taliban commanders in the 1980s and 1990s. The younger Haqqani, reverentially referred to as Khalifa by his followers, has built a bigger reputation by spearheading a relentless resistance campaign against the NATO and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan and Kabul and inflicting heavy losses on them. Most attacks, including the daring suicide bombings taking place in Kabul, are reportedly organised by Haqqani’s fighters.

The State Department statement doesn’t provide much grounds to seek his conviction in a court. It refers to an interview that he gave to an American news organisation in which he admitted planning the Jan 14, 2008, attack against the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including American citizen Thor David Hesla. He is accused of coordinating and participating in cross-border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from his hideout in Pakistan’s tribal areas and of maintaining close ties to al-Qaeda.

The same holds true for al-Libi, who is referred to by the State Department as an Islamic scholar and a prominent member of Al-Qaeda. The reward for his capture is $1 million. The statement recalls that al-Libi was captured in 2002 and imprisoned at the US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan. It doesn’t say that al-Libi and three other Arab fighters escaped from the heavily-guarded prison in Bagram in what was undoubtedly an unprecedented security lapse. The four Al-Qaeda fighters led by Abu Nasir al-Qahtani issued a videotape after their escape and described in detail their miraculous getaway from the maximum-security jail.

The Rewards for Justice programme hasn’t been very successful in netting the wanted men in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The cash awards are huge but not tempting enough to lure those who may have information that will lead to the capture of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and the 20 or so Asl-Qaeda and Taliban figures on the most wanted US list. Ramzi Yousaf and Aimal Kansi were apprehended in Pakistan with the help of informers who were tempted by the cash reward offered by the US. Certain other low-key, unimportant and, in a number of cases, innocent people were also captured, and according to General Pervez Musharraf’s book, delivered to the US in return for monetary prizes starting from $5,000. Most beneficiaries of the cash rewards were apparently personnel of Pakistan’s security and law-enforcement agencies.

In Mehsud’s case, there would be greater chances of netting him compared with figures like bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and Haqqani through the offer of cash reward. Unlike the others on the wanted list, his location and hideouts are known and confined to a limited area in South Waziristan and, occasionally, in North Waziristan. Besides, he has earned the enmity of both Pakistani security establishment and rival groups of militants. The suicide attack by one of his suicide bombers against the rival militant group led by Haji Turkestan in Jandola, the gateway to South Waziristan, on March 26 shows the intensity of his battle with militants and tribes that are standing up to him, reportedly at the behest of the government. However, the public announcement of the $5 million reward for Mehsud’s capture would alert him and make him even more careful about his movements. The lure of money is surely a powerful incentive and one comes across bounty hunters who come to our part of the world in the hope of finding bin Laden and his associates. But it seems the people who know the hideouts of these wanted militants are so committed to their cause that no amount of money could tempt them to give away the location of the wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban figures.

The writer is resident editor of The News in Peshawar. Email: rahimyusufzai @yahoo.com

Shadowlands

Shadowlands

Saturday, March 28, 2009
The relationship between our security services and the various iterations of the Taliban over the last fifteen years has recently been described as ‘ambiguous’ by an American Senator – which understates the case by several orders of magnitude. There is no doubt and it is well-enough documented that Pakistan (urged on by the American CIA) gave support to the Taliban in their formative years as a tool to dislodge the Russians from Afghanistan. There emerged a group that eventually held the governance of most of Afghanistan. Pakistan was one of a handful of nations to recognize the Taliban government. No western nation ever did and the Taliban government in Afghanistan existed in a diplomatic limbo, which may now be seen as a significant lost opportunity. Relationships could have been built then that would have served us all well now, but they were not and the post 9/11 Taliban have emerged as the ultimate loose cannon – powerful, destructive and difficult to predict. Today there are credible reports that the various Taliban groups are coming together in anticipation of the US troop surge to fight the American and NATO forces. If they do they will be formidable indeed.

In this shadowy world of unacknowledged relationships and covert alliances the intelligence agencies of all the player-nations are busy with their dark agendas – including our own. By their very nature secret agencies will willingly say little or nothing of what they do and when and where they do it and who they do it with. It is usually the media who ferret out what secret agencies are up to, and this week the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal carry reports that ‘S division’ of our own ISI are involved in supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and by extension supporting them here as well. These reports are of course immediately denied and waved away, our government assuring us that we have no part in this meddlesome business. Then there is a quiet caveat…if any of our people are involved it must be rogue officers, men of junior rank operating on their own and without official blessing. Beyond the pale. It is the sotto voce caveat that gives the confirmation, sows the seeds of doubt and gives credence to the reports in the NYT and the WSJ.

By the time these words are read we will know the details of the new American strategy, the Af-Pak plan. There is money in there for both countries – but it is going to be closely linked to performance indicators. Richard Holbrooke as recently as March 23 has spoken of the possibility of extending the war from FATA into other areas, specifically Quetta. He spoke of the need for tighter control of the Afghan-Pakistani border and linking aid to Pakistan’s willingness and actual performance against extremist forces. He even hinted that the US-led coalition would not hold back if targets were found anywhere in Pakistan. With America in aggressive mode and demanding results, our own agencies may find themselves in some difficulty if they are indeed supporting Taliban figures and groups. What would be the American response if they could credibly demonstrate that on the one hand we appeared to be fighting alongside them towards shared goals; whilst on the other we were supporting the very elements that we were supposed to be fighting against? The trilateral relationship that has begun to develop between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, and the more inclusive and consultative position of the Obama administration, could be threatened were such found to be the case. Worse still, our own secret agencies could themselves become targets – and it is clear that the US is going to have few scruples about hitting them. This is not the time for ambiguity. We need clarity and, within the bounds of necessary secrecy, a little more transparency and accountability from our secret agencies. De-coupling from the Taliban Express is a job better done by ourselves – but if we don’t do it then Uncle Sam may well do it for us, and hang the consequences.

Japan to shoot down DPRK missile

Japan to shoot down DPRK missile

Saturday, March 28, 2009
TOKYO: Japan gave its military the green light on Friday to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket, with tensions high ahead of a planned launch that the US and allies say will be an illegal missile test.

Japanese and US warships have already deployed ahead of the April 4-8 window, when the secretive North has said it will launch a communications satellite — warning that shooting it down would be seen as an act of war.

But South Korea, Japan and the United States have all warned the North that any launch would be unacceptable, amid fears the regime is actually intending to test a long-range missile that could reach North America.

Russia — which with the two Koreas, China, Japan and the US is part of a six-party forum working on the North’s nuclear disarmament — urged Pyongyang not to carry out the launch, saying there was no need to “ignite passions”.

The security council in Japan, officially pacifist since the end of World War II, decided ahead of time to shoot down any incoming missile that could hit its territory rather than wait until a launch. “The security council this morning decided to issue a destruction order in advance,” said Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada. “We will do our best to handle any flying object from North Korea.”

Japan later began relocating its Patriot missile defence batteries ahead of the expected rocket launch, local media reported. The North said on Thursday that even referring a launch to the United Nations would ruin the long-running and erratic six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, during which North Korea has already tested one missile and an atomic bomb.

US National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said the North wanted to show it had the technology to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The North is believed to be preparing to test a Taepodong-2 that could hit Alaska.

“North Korea is attempting to demonstrate an ICBM capability through a space launch,” Blair said.

Japan has announced no plans to strike the North Korean rocket unless it appears to pose a direct threat, for example due to a mishap that could send an errant missile or debris flying toward the country.

“There are various scenarios — for example, a case of failure,” Hamada said. “It’s extremely unpleasant that an object flies over our territories.” Pyongyang has reportedly already put a rocket onto one of its launch pads, raising the stakes in a delicate diplomatic stand-off that has come just two months into the new US administration of President Barack Obama.

North Korea said on Thursday that bringing any launch to the United Nations would be a “hostile action” that would end the negotiations.

The United States, which says the launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution, has vowed to do so.

“The six-party talks will become non-existent,” a spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry told official media. In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told reporters: “North Korea would be better off refraining from it.”

“There is no need to ignite passions around this problem,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s nuclear envoy headed to Washington on Friday for talks with US officials as regional powers scrambled to coordinate a joint strategy for North Korea’s planned rocket launch.

In Washington, envoy Wi Sung-lac plans to meet President Barack Obama’s envoys on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth and Sung Kim as well as with Japan’s nuclear envoy, Akitaka Saiki, who will also be in Washington, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

“As North Korea’s rocket launch preparations gather pace, I will have consultations on the issue and the six-way talks” on dismantling the North’s nuclear programme, Wi told reporters before his departure.

PM Gilani Promises Drones Attacks Will Continue on Same Targets, Nothing Changed

PM says no more drone attacks in Swat, Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said there will be no more drone attacks in Swat and Balochistan as Pakistan has already discussed the issue with US.

Addressing a meeting of parliamentary party, Prime Minister said that we will accept the verdict of court in Sharif brothers eligibility case and Punjab government. We had extended the hand of friendship, which was accepted by opponents.

Premier Gilani has directed the members not to chant slogans during President’s address to parliament.

Another Predator Attack?

Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Bombing of packed Pakistan mosque likely to further inflame region

At least 50 were killed in the suicide attack on the Sunni mosque in Khyber Agency.

By Ben Arnoldy

DELHI, INDIA – A suicide bomber entered a crowded mosque in northwest Pakistan and detonated an explosive that killed more than 50 people during Friday prayers.

It’s unclear who was behind the attack, which took place in tribal region West of Peshawar known as the Khyber Agency. Security forces tasked with protecting NATO supply lines were among those praying and subsequently killed at the mosque, according to local reports.

By attacking a packed Sunni mosque at Friday prayers, the perpetrators showed a brazen disregard for popular sentiment in the region, analysts say.

“I think people in the frontier will be scared to send their children and men to the mosque. And I think the moderate sort of religious people in Pakistan will be calling for some action against these people,” says security analyst retired Brig. Gen. Mahmood Shah.

Earlier this month, militants bombed a Sufi shrine in Peshawar. The attack damaged the tomb of Abdur Rahman Baba, a Sufi saint and one of the most famous poets in the Pashto language. Many local Pashtuns are fond of reciting his verses. Although that attack struck at a popular ethnic figure, it was largely seen as a sectarian strike against the Sufi faith.

Today’s attack marks the first bombing of a Sunni mosque in the region, says Mushtaq Yusufzai, a Peshawar-based reporter with The News, a newspaper based in Pakistan. Although the attack will further anger local people, Mr. Yusufzai doesn’t see that turning into an effective backlash against militant groups.

“The people cannot react, they are helpless. They cannot fight against these unseen fighters,” he says. In the past, local tribal leaders have organized lashkars, or armed posses, to go after militant groups. But militants retaliated by killing tribal elders and burning their homes, breaking much of the local resistance.

Yusufzai said he talked to some locals who claim to have seen drones recently in area the rumors, valid or not, will no doubt add to growing resentment of US airstrikes in the region. He also said the attacks came as a surprise because local Taliban were believed to have agreed to focus their efforts on the fight in Afghanistan.

Why Would “Islamists” Bomb Fellow Muslims at Prayer for American Attacks?

Pakistani tribesmen at the site of a suicide blast

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Grief-stricken relatives and residents Saturday buried the victims of a suicide bombing at a northwestern Pakistan mosque that left about 50 dead, officials and witnesses said.

A suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at the packed mosque in the northwestern tribal town of Jamrud, also leaving scores wounded in one of the bloodiest recent attacks in Pakistan.

Relatives of the dead, helped by residents, dug graves in the rugged terrain and prayed, administration official Bakhtiar Mohmand said.

“The whole town is in mourning,” Mohmand said.

“There are several trucks parked near the mosque and apparently the drivers and helpers of these trucks, who stopped to offer prayers (on Friday), died in the bombing,” Mohmand told AFP.

Several limbs picked out of the rubble of the mosque were also buried in a nearby graveyard.

There was no claim for the attack, but Pakistani security officials said they suspected the bombing was to avenge operations against Taliban fighters and other Islamist militants aimed at securing NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

US officials say northwest Pakistan has degenerated into a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan and have regrouped to launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.

Extremists opposed to the Pakistan government’s decision to side with the United States in its “war on terror” have carried out a series of bombings and other attacks that have killed nearly 1,700 people in less than two years.

Militants attack NATO supply terminal in Pakistan

Militants attack NATO supply terminal in Pakistan

Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
By Riaz Khan Associated Press Writer / March 28, 2009

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Dozens of suspected militants fired rockets early Saturday at a transport terminal in northwest Pakistan that is used to ship supplies to NATO troops based in Afghanistan, police said.

At least 12 shipping containers were damaged in the attack at the Farhad terminal in Peshawar, capital of troubled North West Frontier Province, local police official Zahur Khan told The Associated Press. He said police opened fire at the insurgents but they managed to flee.

The attack came less than a day after a suicide bomber blew up in a packed mosque in North West Frontier Province’s Khyber tribal region, killing 48 people and wounding scores more in the worst attack to hit Pakistan this year.

Afghan-based U.S. and NATO forces get up to 75 percent of their supplies via routes that pass through Khyber and a southwestern Chaman border crossing — areas where Taliban militants are believed to be operating.

Islamic militants were suspected in Friday’s deadly mosque attack, apparently to avenge recent military operations in the area aimed at protecting the NATO supply route, authorities said.

The route passes in front of the mosque, where about 200 worshippers were present at the time of the blast.

Shortly after the attack, tribal police detained two suspects who were making a video near the mosque and investigators believed the men were linked to those who orchestrated the bombing, two local security officials said Saturday.

The officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media — provided no further details and only said the men were still in police custody and being questioned.

Several security officers were also killed in Friday’s attack, which came hours before President Barack Obama unveiled a revised strategy to “disrupt, defeat and dismantle” the al-Qaida terrorist organization and the Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan.

Afghan and Pakistani officials praised Obama’s emphasis on civilian aid to their countries, saying it would be an effective way to deal with the growing militant violence.

Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan have often killed scores of Pakistani civilians in attacks. Mosques and funerals have been targeted before, but Friday’s blast was seen by many as plumbing new depths of evil.

“What kind of holy war is this? Only poor people have been killed,” said Asfandyar Wali, head of the ruling secular party in the northwest. “This is not about implementing Islamic law, this is not about holy war. This is outright insurgency.”

Tariq Hayat, the top administrator of the Khyber tribal region, said 48 bodies were found in the rubble, and he predicted the death toll would likely rise. More than 100 people were wounded, medical officials said.

Pakistan has been hit by scores of attacks by al-Qaida and Taliban militants since the Muslim country withdrew its support for the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and supported the U.S.-led invasion of that country.

Until Friday, the deadliest recent attack was in September, when a suicide truck bomb killed at least 54 people and devastated the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the capital.

The militants are mostly sheltering in the border region, which Western officials say they use as a base to attack U.S. and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, where violence is also running at all-time highs. The lawless, mountainous region is believed to be a possible hideout for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism–S. CON. RES. 11

111th CONGRESS 1st SessionS. CON. RES. 11

Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and reaffirming the support of Congress for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 19, 2009

Ms. COLLINS (for herself, Mr. CARDIN, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. RISCH, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr. SANDERS, Mr. BAYH, Mr. BENNETT, Mr. CASEY, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. KYL, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. SHELBY, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. BARRASSO, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. BROWN, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mr. MENENDEZ, Ms. CANTWELL, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. WICKER, Mr. THUNE, Mr. VOINOVICH, Mr. HATCH, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. NELSON of Florida, Mr. KERRY, Mr. MCCONNELL, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. CORKER, and Mr. BURR) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and reaffirming the support of Congress for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and for other purposes.

Whereas the United States Government has consistently supported efforts to address the rise in anti-Semitism through its bilateral relationships and through engagement in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of American States;

Whereas, in 2004, Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act (Public Law 108-332), which established an Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, headed by a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism;

Whereas the Department of State, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, and others have reported that periods of Arab-Israeli tension have sparked an increase in attacks against Jewish communities around the world and comparisons of policies of the Government of Israel to those of the Nazis and that, despite growing efforts by governments to promote Holocaust remembrance, the Holocaust is frequently invoked as part of anti-Semitic harassment to threaten and offend Jews;

Whereas, since the commencement of Israel’s military operation in Gaza on December 27, 2008, a substantial increase in anti-Semitic violence, including physical and verbal attacks, arson, and vandalism against synagogues, cemeteries, and Holocaust memorial sites, has been reported;

Whereas, among many other examples of the dramatic rise of anti-Semitism around the world, over 220 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported to the Community Security Trust in London since December 27, 2008, approximately eight times the number recorded during the same period last year, and the main Jewish association in France, Counsel Representatif des Institutions Juives de France, recorded more than 100 attacks in January, including car bombs launched at synagogues, a difference from 20 to 25 a month for the previous year;

Whereas, interspersed with expressions of legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and actions, anti-Semitic imagery and comparisons of Jews and Israel to Nazis have been widespread at demonstrations in the United States, Europe, and Latin America against Israel’s actions, and placards held at many demonstrations across the globe have compared Israeli leaders to Nazis, accused Israel of carrying out a `Holocaust’ against Palestinians, and equated the Jewish Star of David with the Nazi swastika;

Whereas, in some countries, demonstrations have included chants of `death to Israel,’ expressions of support for suicide terrorism against Israeli or Jewish civilians, and have been followed by violence and vandalism against synagogues and Jewish institutions;

Whereas some government leaders have exemplified courage and resolve against this trend, including President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who said he `utterly condemned the unacceptable violence, under the pretext of this conflict, against individuals, private property, and religious buildings,’ and assured `that these acts would not go unpunished,’ Justice Minister of the Netherlands Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who announced on January 14, 2009, that he would investigate allegations of anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred and violence at anti-Israel demonstrations, and parliamentarians who have voiced concern, such as the British Parliament’s All-Party Group Against Anti-Semitism, which expressed its `horror as a wave of anti-Semitic incidents has affected the Jewish community';

Whereas, despite these actions, too few government leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America have taken action against the anti-Semitic environments in their countries and in some cases have even promoted violence;

Whereas other leaders have made hostile pronouncements against Israel and Jews, including the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who called Israel’s actions a `Holocaust against the Palestinian people’ and singled out Venezuela’s Jewish community, demanding that they publicly renounce Israel’s `barbaric acts’ and in so doing implying that the Jewish community is co-responsible for any actions by the Government of Israel and thus a legitimate target, the leader of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar, who recently called for Jewish children to be attacked around the world, and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, who vowed to confer the status of `martyr’ on `anyone who dies in this holy struggle against World Zionism';

Whereas incitement to violence against Jews also continues in state-run media, particularly in the Middle East, where government-owned, government-sanctioned, or government-controlled publishing houses publish newspapers which promulgate anti-Jewish stereotypes and the myth of the Jewish blood libels in editorial cartoons and articles, produce and broadcast anti-Semitic dramatic and documentary series, and produce Arabic translations of anti-Semitic tracts such as `The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and `Mein Kampf';

Whereas Jewish communities face an environment in which the convergence of anti-Semitic sentiment and demonization of Israel in the public debate have fostered a hostile environment and a sense of global insecurity, especially in places such as Belgium, Argentina, Venezuela, Spain, and South Africa;

Whereas, in response, the United States Government and other governments and multilateral institutions have supported international government and civil society efforts to monitor and report on anti-Semitic activities and introduce preventive initiatives such as tolerance education and Holocaust Remembrance; and

Whereas challenges still remain, with the governments of many countries failing to implement and fund preventive efforts, accurately track and report anti-Semitic crimes, and prosecute offenders: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress–
    • (1) unequivocally condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to rationalize anti-Jewish hatred or attacks as a justifiable expression of disaffection or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere;
    • (2) decries the comparison of Jews to Nazis perpetrating a Holocaust or genocide as a pernicious form of anti-Semitism, an insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, and an affront both to those who survived and the righteous gentiles who saved Jewish lives at peril to their own and who fought to defeat the Nazis;
    • (3) calls on leaders to speak out against manifestations of anti-Semitism that have entered the public debate about the Middle East;
    • (4) applauds those foreign leaders who have condemned anti-Semitic acts and calls on those who have yet to take firm action against anti-Semitism in their countries to do so;
    • (5) reaffirms its support for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; and
    • (6) urges the Secretary of State–
      • (A) to maintain the fight against anti-Semitism as a foreign policy priority of the Untied States and to convey the concerns of the United States Government in bilateral meetings;
      • (B) to continue to raise with United States allies in the Middle East their failure to halt incitement to violence against Jews, including through the use of government-run media;
      • (C) to urge governments to promote tolerance education and establish mechanisms to monitor, investigate, and punish anti-Semitic crimes, including through utilization of the education, law enforcement training, and civil society capacity building initiatives of the Tolerance and Non-discrimination Department of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE);
      • (D) to swiftly appoint the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State;
      • (E) to ensure that Department of State Annual Country Reports on Human Rights and International Religious Freedom Reports continue to report on incidents of anti-Semitism and the efforts of foreign governments to address the problem;
      • (F) to provide necessary training and tools for United States embassies and missions to recognize these trends; and
      • (G) to ensure that initiatives of the United States Government to train law enforcement abroad incorporate tools to address anti-Semitism.

The Planned Killing of Benazir Bhutto

The Planned Killing of Benazir Bhutto

by Ramtanu Maitra

The gruesome killing of Benazir Bhutto in the evening hours of Dec. 27 in Pakistan’s garrison town of Rawalpindi is yet another step in the process of weakening, and eventual break-up, of Pakistan.

Despite the crocodile tears shed in Washington and London over Bhutto’s assassination, it was a disaster waiting to happen and therefore, was altogether expected. Those who believed, naively, that Bhutto’s mission was to reinstate democracy in Pakistan and put its usurpers, the Pakistani military, in the background, do not realize why she was inserted into the scene, which was already rife with violence. The truth is that the British imperial circles, with their stooges in Washington, set up Bhutto’s execution, to advance their scheme to break up Pakistan, and create chaos throughout this strategic region. (See Lyndon LaRouche’s statement on British role.)

Bhutto, no doubt, was a mass-based political leader, but she was a woman (an excuse used by the puppet Islamic jihadists to commit violence against a person), and she was goaded into the scene by the United States—perhaps now the most hated nation among Muslims in general—to serve Washington’s purpose, which was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and force it to share power with a democratic politician. According to the master strategists in Washington, that is the best of both worlds—the Pakistani military stays friendly, while the United States shakes off its guilt of backing a military dictator.

It is not known what transpired in the telephone call between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Benazir Bhutto that led to Bhutto’s decision to return. What promises were made will not be known unless Rice can shake off the national security garb and tell the truth. The one who knew, and could tell others, is gone.

The 9/11 event had enticed a weak-in-the-head Bush Administration to embark on a journey, the path of which was paved by the British colonialists. The vestiges of British colonial aspirations exist not only at Buckingham Palace, but even more so in the power of the intrigue and secrecy-ridden City of London.

Britain and the Muslims

The partition of India, and the formation of Pakistan, a Muslim nation, by the British Raj, was not done because the British liked Muslims. They had slaughtered them by the thousands in 1856, when the Hindus and Muslims joined hands under the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, to drive out the firenghee (white-skinned foreigners). Those who remember that untold part of the history of the Indian independence movement, talk of the piles of bodies lying in the streets of Delhi slaughtered by British soldiers. Most of them, like Benazir Bhutto and her colleagues who died on Dec. 27, were Muslims. The Muslims were “traitors” aspiring to reinstate the “despicable” and “corrupt” Mughal dynasty, London screamed.

The key to the British Empire’s financial success was its ability to manipulate Islam. The British Empire-builders eliminated the Islamic Caliphate, created nations out of deserts, eliminated some nations, and partitioned others to create Islamic nations. Britain was aware that the oil fields of Arabia would be a source of great power in the post-World War II decades. The western part of British India bordered Muslim Central Asia, another major source of oil and gas, bordering Russia and Muslim Afghanistan. British India also bordered Islamic Iran and the Persian Gulf—the doorway to the oil fields of Arabia. In order to keep its future options open, Balochistan, bordering northeastern Iran, and the tribal Pushtun-dominated areas bordering Afghanistan, remained as British protectorates.

So, when the break-up of British India was planned by Churchill and others, Balochistan was not a problem. The problem was the Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which was led by a pro-Congress Party leadership, and had voted in the last referendum before partition, to join Hindu-majority India.

What London wanted was that the large Hindu-dominated India must not have common borders with Russia, or Central Asia. That could make it too powerful and, worst of all, energy independent. Pakistan was created by the gamesmen in London because they wanted a weak Muslim state that would depend heavily on the mighty British military. The Cold War period held this arrangement in place, to the satisfaction of the British. The Kashmir dispute, triggered from London to cut off Indian access to Afghanistan, served the British policy-makers well.

But the post-Cold War days are different. China is rising in the north and seeking entry into the Persian Gulf and Central Asia through the western part of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. China has a long-term plan to build, and build, and build, infrastructure in this area, to bring resources into its vast but thinly populated western sector that extends from bordering areas of Kazakstan under the shadows of the Tien Shan mountains in the West, to the Shaanxi province deep inside China.

What is the connection of this history to the gruesome incident that happened in the darkening shadows of Liaquat Ali Bagh in Rawalpindi? It is important for the Pakistanis, as well for the other citizens of the Indian subcontinent, to know and assimilate.

Britain wants another partition of Pakistan. Whether Washington wants it, or not, it is playing second fiddle to this absurd policy. This time, a new nation is supposed to emerge—a weak and disoriented nation, born out of violence, just like the partition of British India. This nation will consist of Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Balochistan—all situated west of the Indus River and bordering he British-drawn disputed Durand Line that allegedly separates Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Why Bhutto?

The purpose of inserting Benazir Bhutto into the scene, after eight years of self-imposed exile, at a time when law and order had completely broken down, and even the Pakistani military was coming under serious attacks from the Islamic militants, was two-fold. The first objective, which Bhutto achieved in no time, was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and generate demands in the street for the military to get back to barracks.

It is understood by the majority of Pakistanis, that despite the corruption that envelops the military, it is the only force in the nation that could, in the short term, maintain law and order, and fight the secessionists.

Once she put the Pakistani military on the defensive, Benazir did not become irrelevant. She became the designated qurbani (sacrifice). The killing of Benazir Bhutto has already unleashed domestic violence. In the midst of grieving Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activists and workers, who feel betrayed and orphaned, will be the killers whose objective is to challenge the military and postpone the Jan. 8 elections. They would provoke the military to shoot at the people.

It is to be noted that the international Islamic radicals, who dip heavily into the British and other foreign intelligence sources, have infiltrated over the years into the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the lower echelons of Pakistan’s military. That makes the task of keeping Pakistan together even more challenging.

The death of Bhutto was a step to breaking up Pakistan. She, however, wanted to unify the country. The Pakistani people must see to it that her death was not in vain.

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan

The President:  Good morning.  Please be seated.

Before I begin today, let me acknowledge, first of all, Your Excellencies, all the ambassadors who are in attendance.  I also want to acknowledge both the civilians and our military personnel that are about to be deployed to the region.  And I am very grateful to all of you for your extraordinary work.

I want to acknowledge General David Petraeus, who’s here, and has been doing an outstanding job at CENTCOM, and we appreciate him.  I want to thank Bruce Reidel — Bruce is down at the end here — who has worked extensively on our strategic review.  I want to acknowledge Karl Eikenberry, who’s here, and is our Ambassador-designate to Afghanistan.  And to my national security team, thanks for their outstanding work.

Today, I’m announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.   And this marks the conclusion of a careful policy review, led by Bruce, that I ordered as soon as I took office.  My administration has heard from our military commanders, as well as our diplomats.  We’ve consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments,
with our partners and our NATO allies, and with other donors and international organizations.  We’ve also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. And now I’d like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people.

The situation is increasingly perilous.  It’s been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Attacks against our troops, our NATO allies, and the Afghan government have risen steadily.  And most painfully, 2008 was the deadliest year of the war
for American forces.

Many people in the United States — and many in partner countries that have sacrificed so much — have a simple question: What is our purpose in Afghanistan?  After so many years, they ask, why do our men and women still fight and die there?  And they deserve a straightforward answer.

So let me be clear:  Al -Qaeda and its allies — the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.  And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows Al- Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.

The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan.  In the nearly eight years since 9/11, Al -Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.  This almost certainly includes al Qaeda’s leadership:  Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  They have
used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, to train terrorists, to communicate with followers, to plot attacks, and to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan.  For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.

But this is not simply an American problem — far from it. It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order.

Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to Al -Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and in Kabul.  If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it, too, is likely to have ties to al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around theworld is at stake.

For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people –especially women and girls.  The return in force of al Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence.

As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people.  We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future.  We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.

So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal:  to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al -Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.  That’s the goal that must be achieved.  That is a cause that could not be more just.  And to the terrorists who oppose us, my
message is the same:  We will defeat you.

To achieve our goals, we need a stronger, smarter and comprehensive strategy.  To focus on the greatest threat to our people, America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq.

To enhance the military, governance and economic capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have to marshal international support.

And to defeat an enemy that heeds no borders or laws of war, we must recognize the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan — which is why I’ve appointed Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who is here, to serve as Special Representative for both countries, and to work closely with General Petraeus to integrate our civilian and military efforts.

Let me start by addressing the way forward in Pakistan.

The United States has great respect for the Pakistani people.  They have a rich history and have struggled against long odds to sustain their democracy.  The people of Pakistan want the same things that we want:  an end to terror, access to basic services, the opportunity to live their dreams, and the security that can only come with the rule of law.  The single greatest threat to that future comes from Al -Qaeda and their extremist allies, and that is why we must stand together.

The terrorists within Pakistan’s borders are not simply enemies of America or Afghanistan — they are a grave and urgent danger to the people of Pakistan.  Al- Qaeda and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They’ve killed many Pakistani soldiers and police.  They assassinated Benazir Bhutto.  They’ve blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state.  So make no mistake:  Al -Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within.

Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The President’s plan for the increasingly troubled region is ambitious, although his goals are more limited than Bush’s.

By Howard LaFranchi

President Obama unveiled a new Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy Friday that includes new troops — beyond the 17,000 additional US soldiers the president has already ordered ­ new civilian development personnel, and new aid.

But the plan also for the first time sets benchmarks – or, as the president preferred to call them, “metrics” – for US involvement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting the military engagement is not open-ended and that both the Afghan and Pakistani governments must deliver on particular objectives. Those include reining in corruption for the Afghans and closing down Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens for the Pakistanis.

The new “comprehensive” strategy underscores how both Afghanistan, where 38,000 US troops are already on the ground, and Pakistan, a nuclear power threatened by a growing Islamic militancy, are crucial to the battle with Islamic extremism. The futures of the two countries are “inextricably linked,” Mr. Obama said.

In explaining the new strategy before an audience of military and diplomatic officials and flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Mr. Obama invoked the memory of the 9/11 attacks more forcefully than ever before in his young presidency.

He revisited the history of Al Qaeda planning the attacks from camps in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and he insisted that Al Qaeda is now “actively planning attacks on the United States” from “safe havens in Pakistan.” As a result, Obama says, “For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.”

More limited goals than Bush

Perhaps mindful that the strong reference to 9/11 might remind listeners of the former administration’s justification for and handling of two wars, Obama also pointedly declared that the US was “not blindly staying the course” in Afghanistan. The new strategy is designed to “restore basic security in Afghanistan,” he said, without reference to the lofty goals of democratization and freedom set by former president Bush.

The new strategy calls for 4,000 additional troops to focus on training Afghanistan’s army and police. Such training is already under way by US and NATO forces, but the addition of several thousand new trainers reflects reports from the field that the training undertaken so far is yielding results. The plan also calls for several hundred additional civilian government and development experts, while it endorses a proposal before Congress for $1.5 billion in development aid to Pakistan over each of the next five years.

Announcement of the anticipated plan is the result of a two-month inter-agency review that consulted military, diplomatic and civilian development officials and experts as well as the leaders of the two principle countries involved and NATO partners. It paves the way for discussing the new strategy with international partners next week.

Secretary Clinton will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague next Tuesday armed with the new strategy. Subsequently, Obama will take it up with NATO leaders when he attends the Alliance’s 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France, next Friday. Those two events will permit Obama to underscore his point that the challenge presented by Afghanistan and Pakistan “is not simply an American problem — far from it — [but] is instead an international security challenge of the highest order.”

To support that position, Obama reminded the foreign ambassadors who attended the strategy unveiling that terrorist attacks in London, Bali, North Africa, and Kabul and Islamabad have been linked to “Al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan.”

Situation in the region deteriorating

The new strategy reflects concerns that surfaced even before the new administration took office that the situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan was rapidly deteriorating, in part because the US and Allied presence in Afghanistan lacked a clear objective. Dispatched during the transition between administrations to the region, Vice-President Joe Biden returned to Washington “very worried” about the absence among US troops and officials of a clear idea of what they were doing, administration officials say.

“When this administration came into office we found a policy adrift and a lack of focus on the central challenge,” says Denis McDonough, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

The administration says the new strategy narrows the focus of US involvement to Al Qaeda.

“Disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda – the president set down a marker that this is our goal in Afghanistan,” adds Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council director for communications.

History of foreign occupation

But the heavy emphasis on economic development and governance, while eschewing the imposition of Switzerland-level foreign standards, also reflects an understanding that the US and its allies cannot succeed if they are seen by locals to be simply serving their own interests. Foreign armies installed in Afghanistan with expressly domestic security objectives — the Soviet Army invasion of the 1990’s for example – have come to be seen as occupiers and have not fared well.

In unveiling his plan, Obama made no mention of the growing use of unmanned Predator drones to attack and kill terrorists located in Pakistan’s autonomous tribal regions. The missile attacks have stirred already strong anti-American sentiment among Pakistanis – a challenge that would surely be exacerbated if the US decides to follow through on the idea of extending the drone strikes to areas of western Pakistan under the Pakistani government’s control.

The new focused strategy is viewed as a step forward by many analysts, though some are seconding the president’s warning that the road ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains perilous.

Pointing to data showing an expansion last year of Afghan territory where the Taliban holds a permanent presence to 72 percent, and significant increases in the number of suicide and roadside bombing attacks, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says almost all indicators point to a “rising threat.”

In a new report, Mr. Cordesman commends recent efforts to lay out to the American public the challenge the US faces, but says more “transparency” and honesty about the complexity of the conflict is necessary.

Critics urge more limited role

Others fault Obama’s new plan, saying more troops and more money are not the answer. Saying that “most of the greatest successes scored against Al Qaeda since 9/11 have not relied on large numbers of US troops,” Malou Innocent of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, says small-team special operations and short-term “capacity building” are a better answer. Extensive development projects, she adds, require security coverage “at a level we cannot provide.”

The president’s strategy also includes a nod towards Tehran. To emphasize his conviction that the challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan require a regional approach, Obama announced creation of a “contact group” of countries from Central Asia, the Gulf, China, India, and notably including Iran.

Administration officials say no official invitations to join such a group have been extended, but inclusion of Iran reflects both memory of the helpful role Iran played early in the war with Afghanistan’s Taliban, and recognition that Tehran is more likely to do mischief if left outside.

REVOLUTION NOW ! THE REVOLT OF THE MILITANT GARDENERS

REVOLUTION NOW ! THE REVOLT OF THE MILITANT GARDENERS

by William H. Kötke


The use of the word Revolution will cause the secret police who are
doing world-wide electronic surveillance, to open another file (Hello!
Project Echelon). That’s just fine. Those dinosaurs need some
alternative information. The information for them is that they, the
governments that employ them and the bankers that own the governments,
are on a severe downhill slide. The growth system that they depend on
has reached its apogee. The fuel of that growth over the centuries has
been topsoil, forests, fish stocks, clean water, petroleum and a
dependable climate in which to grow food. That’s all over now;
industrial civilization has eaten it all up. The most creative ideas
of present world leaders is to make money and grow big – that’s it!
The machine world of industrial civilization is dead. The hollow
personalities and biorobots of the planetary ruling elite have led the
human species into a cul de sac. The joke is, now that the human
species is facing extinction from mass die-off and the final nuclear
exchange over the last of the resources – these fat men in business
suits are down on the floor scrambling for the last coins. What a
joke!; take power in a crumbling civilization that is hell bent on
planetary suicide?  No thanks. An exponentially exploding population,
each with expanding material consumption: based on dwindling
resources, and a dying planet, will not work!

My German immigrant grandfather was a hard working sawmill worker
with five children, who built his own house and lived frugally in
Northern Idaho, until the depression, when the sawmill shut down and
the banker locked the door and left town with all the sawmill workers’
savings, just like hundreds of other bankers around the country. But
did the sawmill workers learn anything? No, they lived in a controlled
information environment. They were saving up for a 1949 Chevrolet
after the war. They liked Ike. They even said that some of the leaders
were born again Christians. They were led along.

My family progressively lost their independence in the slide toward
dependence. The grandchildren do not have the skills to build a house.
My mother grew up living in a hole in the ground called a “dugout” on
a homestead in Western Kansas. They were survivors!  None of the
children have those skills. We have been forced into specialist slots
in the industrial machine. We make money in order to purchase our
survival systems. We live a life of powerless dependency upon the
financial powers who sign the paycheck and sell the food; powers who’s
money web connects all the way to the International Bank of
Settlements in Switzerland. The world power of money controls our
lives.

The Inca civilization that covered a huge land mass in South America
functioned without any money. There were no poor people in that
society. The money power came and smashed their society. They stole
their art objects made of gold, melted them down and sent them away to
the bankers of Europe. The living standard of the native people of
that area still has not come back up to what they enjoyed five hundred
years ago.

In the U.S. we have a similar icon which stands outside the money
system. Those were the Minute Men (and Women). These were independent,
self-sufficient people with power. At any point they could drop their
hoe, grab the musket and go fight the British Empire. The leaders of
industrialism dumped vituperation on them, calling them “homespun.”
They were probably angered that they couldn’t draw these people into
the money web of profit and interest. These people were too powerful.
They depended only on their neighbors. They raised their own healthy
food. They built their own buildings. They grew the flax and spun the
cloth for their own clothes. The money system could not get leverage
on them. They were not part of the system that produces profits for
the thin layer at the top.

We can vote and vote and vote, for the stooges in business suits that
the ruling elite props up for us, but militant gardeners are already
rallying to the cry coming out of Western Oregon, “food not lawns!”
The guerilla gardeners are already dropping seeds in vacant lots and
railroad right-of-ways. The suits want to rig the game so that we have
no representation? Well, we will just take over the food supply of the
country and dump the corporate cronies from the industrial food
system, in the creek  In Russia after the fall, sixty percent of the
food supply was grown in citizen gardens. As we get more power over
our own survival systems, we will target the real estate parasites by
creating our own solar heated and hand made houses.

The basic fact of empire is centralization of power. This is where
the militant gardeners really hit them where it hurts – in the pocket
book. Decentralization is the word that causes trembling up and down
the halls of the International Bank of Settlements. As the militant
gardeners achieve power over their own survival systems through
self-sufficiency, they extricate themselves from the web of the money
power. Decentralize now! We take power over our own lives by our
creativity! When the planetary food monopoly has collapsed, we will
offer food to the suits of all countries, in exchange for dismantling
the nuclear weapons which are armed and aimed at us and are so
frantically over-produced they are capable of destroying each others
societies twenty-eight times over!

Already we can hear the cries of those in coveralls holding pitch
forks. Land reform! We, the descendants of our great leader, Emiliano
Zapata say, “Land to the tiller!” The ownership of our planet has the
same configuration as the 500 billionaires who control more wealth
than half the world’s population.

THIS REVOLUTION WON’T BE EASY – WE HAVE TO CHANGE OUR MINDS

Do not ask the militant gardeners what they think about the present
planetary civilization, ask them how they feel about it. Industrial
civilization has created an over- intellectualized culture for us to
live in. We live in industrially produced, artificial environments and
we are provided with an industrially produced artificial media reality
for the intellect to chew on. We are the culture of the intellect. We
are the specialists who know more and more about less and less. We as
a society, intellectually understand a million dead in Iraq, but have
no feeling about it. Death and life is simply an intellectual equation
for the industrialist, but life is a feeling for the militant gardener
who is encouraging life to grow. Reality comes down to a cash nexus
for the industrialist and reality comes down to the intelligence of
the heart for the militant gardeners. The intelligence of the heart
has already produced whole, enveloping, conclusive feelings about the
present planetary situation while the narrow intellect continues to
churn out details.

The superpredators of empire have stolen our being, and as the Native
American prophet, John Trudell says, they are feeding on that energy.
The empire has defined our power away. Militant gardeners know that
high school science experiments show that germinating seeds which are
prayed upon grow more vigorously than nearby seeds that are
disparaged. The ruling elite’s definition of what a human is,  says we
can’t do that. Everybody has an aunt or a grandma who has precognitive
dreams. That’s out too. Many have uncles or grandfathers who
communicate with plants and trees. Why are these human abilities – and
many more! – kept secret? They are kept secret because the empire has
defined us into powerlessness. If we believe we can’t do those things,
we can’t. We are living beings and we communicate with the living
beings around us through the intelligence of the heart.

The intelligence of the heart allows the militant gardener to have
respect for life itself. This is the political program: respect life,
cooperate with life and help it grow here on our blue planet.

The economics of the gardening revolution is the solar budget. The
climax ecosystem, such as an old growth forest or a natural prairie,
is the most efficient at producing volume of photosynthesis because
climax ecosystems have the greatest number of species per area
(biological diversity). Photosynthesis, which is the initial energy
feed of the living planet, then becomes the standard of economic
measurement. As individual plants grow old and fall on the soil, the
soil community transforms this energy into food for new plants. This
is a biological energy flow system. The economics of gardening is to
add to that energy flow and to restore ecosystems in the surrounding
area. The Solar Currency would then be generated by the increased
health and vigor the humans were adding to the earth’s life (growth of
biomass per acre).

Militant gardening is only a precursor to growing our own lives, the
lives of the children and the life of our village. Love is the power
of militant gardening. Experiments by high school students show that
love makes plants grow better than those disparaged. Gardeners also
grow children.

One does not plant the seeds until the soil is prepared. In a
gardening village where conscious conception is practiced, parents who
have made the choice to conceive would be especially loved in a ritual
manner by the elders. Medical research has shown that the future child
will be shaped by genomic imprinting of the parents and the condition
of their genes before conception. The conception itself, in a
gardening village, would be ritually accomplished with the full
conscious intent of the parents and village.

The celebrated medical researcher, Bruce Lipton has demonstrated that
the DNA of the fetus in utero changes with impacts on the mother. As
the mother perceives reality and reacts, her body produces a set of
particular hormones from among the large inventory that we have. The
hormones flow through the blood and trigger actions by various organs.
These hormones then get her body ready for the event she is
perceiving. They also go in the bloodstream to the baby which reacts
in kind. If the mother is subject to fear-stress, then hormones of the
flight or fight nature are produced. This cuts off blood to the
forebrain and gives it to the reptilian brain for a physical response.
In a fear based culture such as industrial civilization, there is
constant stress. Gardeners know that when plants are stressed they
become unhealthy.

Many hundreds of medical studies have shown that babies born to
anxious mothers will more often suffer a wide array of diseases and
disabilities and die sooner than others. What these new medical
revelations point to is that money has nothing to do with a child’s
ultimate flowering. In a village, where gardeners could sing, chant or
communicate in some other regular way, with the baby in utero, this
would add to the baby’s healthy growth by spreading the love
vibrations to it. Each human is an extremely tender flower that can be
injured by fear, anger and violence. The more care we can focus on
growing children, means the more healthy and bright our children will
be and the better chance our species will have to survive. This is
true progress and growth.

In a village where the growth of life is the practice, the child
bearing women are the centerpiece. The child bearing woman is the
mother of the village and the hope of the future. It is from this
biological fact that the structure of village society can flow.

The CIA and other spook degenerates have been fomenting revolts
around the world and naming them with advertising words, like “the
orange revolution,” the “velvet revolution” and such. Contrarily, the
revolt of the militant gardeners could- legitimately- be called, “the
revolution of the flowers,” because every garden has them.

Wm. H. Kötke has been disturbing the establishment and committing
thought crimes for a long time and is the author of, The Final Empire:
The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future and Garden
Planet: The Present Phase Change of the Human Species, which can be
viewed at www.gardenplanetbook.com.

The Worsening U.S. Failure

By Emily Spence
At the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen, attended by more than 2,500 researchers and economists, studies have been presented portraying a world in which there is a strong possibility that fifty percent of the Earth’s surface could become uninhabitable in the not too distant future, a slight shift upward in temperature could let loose a carbon “time bomb” from arctic soils, crop yield losses could be thirty percent or more on several continents by 2030, seventy-five percent of the Amazon forest cover would be totally destroyed by a three degree C. boost for more than a century and a staggering amount of methane stored for millions of years in permafrost is rapidly entering the atmosphere of which there exists approximately 70 billion tonnes of it in the Siberian bog alone with global estimates tabulated to be between 300 billion and 500 billion tonnes [1]. (Many scientists consider that a 4 degree C. temperature climb is the minimum amount that can be expected based on the carbon load spewed out to date into the air and water bodies around the world.)
At the same time, Lester Brown warns of the looming large scale conflicts that will arise over dwindling water supplies, paucity of food and lacks of other basic necessities [2] while the UN Population Division reports that the human population will exceed 9 billion in 2050, representing a fifty percent increase from the 6.7 billion people currently alive today [3]. Moreover, all of these assorted, although interconnected, difficulties are occurring at a time during which oceans are losing a huge amount of life due to high levels of acidification and other human induced impacts while close to one third of all species known to man have already become extinct between 1970 and 2005 [4]. Furthermore, demand for energy continues to surpass provision in a world that must largely discontinue fossil fuel use with an immediate all-out effort to prevent a run-away climate catastrophe of the sort that could render much of the Earth incapable of supporting life.
In light of overall environmental degradation, ever larger human population, ongoing major resource depletion, over-consumption of products that have been overproduced by too small a work force to involve full employment and climate change effects all increasing in their impacts, it seems likely that the worldwide economy will never completely recover and expand. Certainly cutbacks in both economic and population growth are absolutely necessary to curtail further ruin of the natural world on which all life ultimately depends for its continued survival.
Meanwhile, wealth will continue to flow to the top ultra-affluent elite while siphoned off of the middle and lower classes through various schemes like company managers outsourcing jobs to lowest wage populations whose salaries barely sustain them while finished products are marked up a hundred percent or more. Concurrently, further financial bailouts will continue to prop up outrageously high salaries, along with other  schemes being implemented jointly by government and business leaders so that the upper class is enriched at the expense of everyone else [5].
In addition, military force, if deemed needed in homelands, will likely be used to quell the unrest that will start breaking out when people face severe food insecurity and home foreclosures on a far greater scale than is currently present. Simultaneously, the debt load carried by many of the bankrupted governments will be so great as to render them unable to ease many of the crises faced by typical, at risk citizens as climate and economic hardships deepen based on a deteriorating natural world whose resources have been used up faster than the replenishment rate for fish, fresh water, lumber and other critical provisions.
It would seem that such an array of alarming factors would create huge unrest in the U.S., such as has taken place in many other countries like France that recently faced strikes and organized marches involving more than a million workers [6]. However, most Americans, having been trained in schools and by society in general to be passive and obedient, have not as yet gotten angry unlike so many others across the globe.
Instead, they, apparently, keep hoping and patiently expecting that President Obama and his cohorts will correct all of the myriad staggering problems confronting America and they do not know that our public servants, for the most part, cannot do so as the difficulties are far too great and varied to successfully address. As such, these officials will simply continue most of the major polices that recent prior administrations have carried out, including expansion of the resource wars in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere so as to ensure adequate supply of petrol for the U.S. military, the single biggest user of oil in the world, and availability of raw materials for American favored companies. They will, also, maintain support of globally oriented business ventures in multiple other ways, continue to shore up failed financial institutions and their avaricious advocates, pander to K Street expectations and largely ignore the urgency required to prevent ever more average Americans being progressively crushed by the financial downturn.
Similarly, our government representatives will not go all out to support alternative energy sources being put in place as fully and quickly as possible, along with ratifying on the scale needed other measures to stymie energy leaks and promote limits in use. However, what could be expected from these leaders when the continuance of day to day Congressional operations indirectly are, in large measure, funded by government owned Chinese companies through Treasury bond purchases and whose managers fully expect that, when the recession is mostly ended, Americans will once again fully resume their high rate of purchase of Chinese made goods? Could anyone really imagine Barack Obama stating that U.S. financial and other globally oriented institutions represent failed unworkable models for business when the ideal moment presented itself after Wall Street initially tanked? Could he be pictured stating that Americans should focus upon developing local, small scale industries, farms and banks that enhance communities, create a sufficient number of jobs and ensure environmental well being since people tend to look after their own group and surroundings? (They’d have to be incredibly cavalier to willingly destroy their own water sources, fisheries, forests and agricultural lands in a bid for immediate fiscal gain in lieu of keeping long term continuation in mind.)
Nonetheless, such a switch in scale, one away from transnational commerce, is necessary to foster sustainable lifestyles, limits in product importation (which requires lavish use of fossil fuel in transportation) curtailment in consumption of unnecessary goods, development of reasonable wages, full employment and improvements in the natural world. The latter outcome arises from the simple fact that people are more careful in resource use when their livelihoods and, inevitably, incomes are dependent on maintenance of a robust surrounding habitat from which they derive their living.
In a similar vein, it is hard for buyers to tabulate the environmental cost for imported goods. One can never see the devastation behind the abundance of products spread out across stores like super Wal-Marts as the conditions, such as DDT use, at the source are generally hidden from view. In addition, such a downscale move is clearly preferable to continuation of a pattern wherein jobs are mostly created for the lowest paid and highest paid workers — the sweat shop and field laborers in developing countries and the affluent owners of the international companies for which the poverty stricken drudges slave.
At the same time, it should come as no surprise that any company CEO or CFO would pick locations for overseas activities that have little or no environmental and worker safety regulations, nor chance for lawsuits being brought when workers are hurt or killed on the job. After all, they are expensive to handle as was discovered from data collected at any former sites (i.e., any American factories) before jobs shifted offshore. So outsourcing labor is clearly lucrative from many standpoints beyond simple wage issues.
Consequently, one has to ask: Are these predatory practices improving humanity and the world as a whole? Does not ongoing economic growth, unless very carefully carried out, rob the Earth away from our children, grandchildren and subsequent generations? Are not many of our politicians so caught up in the frenzy, glittering allurements and greed of corporate culture that they forget their chief responsibilities and the reason that they hold office? Did they let slip from memory the mandates to protect and uplift the quality of life for all of their constituents and strengthen the nation overall?
Even if the answers to these questions are negative, there probably won’t be much by way of any real protest in America about governmental plans, including ones that encouraged U.S. based companies to situate operations off of American soil, until it becomes too late to monumentally change anything. In other words, there will be no wide scale objection to bad programs until it is way after the fact in the great hoodwinking of the public.
Meanwhile, the ever mounting costs for enlarging the war efforts and the ongoing bailout of transnational corporations, in tandem, drain huge sums of money away from provision of quality universal healthcare, reasonable Social Security payout, adequate Medicare and Medicaid benefits, quality public education, sufficient support of alternative energy initiatives, the strengthening of industry and agriculture on the home front, and other programs required to empower U.S.A. and its citizens. Indeed, it is conceivable that, at some point, government representatives will simply declare that there is little money left to give towards general welfare while they and their kleptocratic cronies walk away, literally walk away, with their millions and billions of dollars made off of the armaments industry [7], consulting fees, bailout bonuses, high salaries and other perks from making the sorts of decisions that have been, by and large, disastrous for the majority of Americans and many others across the world, who have to deal with the consequences of unbridled U.S. military and industrial excursions in their own countries.
At the same time, it becomes increasingly noticeable that the “big business” model is successful primarily because it’s proponents ruin the land, waterways and atmosphere by taking all that can be snapped up as fully as possible with companies moving on to new sites to plunder when the earlier ones are exhausted in whatever materials were eked out from them whether they are minerals, metals, fish, timber or whatever else is removed. In exchange, often toxins, such as poisonous sludge from mining operations in the water supply, are left behind, along with depleted soil that needs, if it is still to be used, to be pumped with a tremendous load of manmade chemicals to force it back into service.
Similarly, local populations are left to cope with the aftermath at the point that their surroundings are so heavily destroyed that they can barely sustain themselves, such as occurs when whole forests are clear cut, mountaintops are blown up to obtain coal, strip mining tears up land for as far as the eye can see or a fishing zone has collapsed in entirety through stock depletion. In tandem, typical corporate policy is not to offer reasonable payment for raw materials so that money can be returned to improve local conditions. Instead, the lucre is simply pocketed by distant company managers and stockholders, who tend not to care one iota about the welfare of the communities from which their resources and employee pool originate.
In an analogous vein, the customers for the finished products are also “taken for a ride.” Clearly, they are charged an exorbitant amount more than the cost to produce in order to further enhance management and stockholders’ profits in the trillions of dollars.
In the end, such patterns absolutely take unfair advantage of the common workers, the purchasers and assorted eco-niches with only one main goal — that of making a financial killing as much as can be achieved. In addition, what will be left for future generations given the quickening pace with which the related planetary ruin is happening?
Tragically too many U.S. government officials are personally invested in the current financial and military programs to address the critical needs of our nation and the world relative to full employment, resource diminishment, support of the natural habits, population growth and climate change while knowing fully well the dire consequences of their neglect. They are deliberately putting the present and future generations at risk for their own private aims. As such, their blatant disregard represents a failure of the worst sort conceivable.
By their refusal to take the lead in preparing the U.S.A. and the world in general for vastly harder times ahead and by their not trying their utmost best to offset the difficulties as much as possible now, they show nothing short of gross ineptitude verging perhaps on criminality. Especially this is the case as they continue to loot the nation on behalf of Wall Street and global consortiums alike rather than earnestly serve the people who voted them into office.
At the same time, the majority of U.S. citizens, themselves, are to blame for their leaders’ dereliction of duty. Sadly, the public has not sufficiently demanded accountability.
Nonetheless, Americans can try to keep money in their communities by purchasing regionally made goods as much as possible, involve in activities that create local industry and agricultural ventures, and attempt to delimit their involvement in anything having to do with the sorts of gargantuan commercial enterprises that, obviously, were created for one purpose only — to benefit the oligarchs at the expense of everyone else. Naturally, these actions can take place at the same time that people rise up to collectively command that government officials follow their lead.
Yet, they don’t, for now, appear capable to do so. All considered, they have forgotten Andrew Jackson’s caution: “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” Instead, they seem only too willing to passively accept worsening peril rather than to courageously press for radical changes so that their nation can be set on a new and better course.
This in mind, they must in unison begin to soon insist that human and planetary well being be valued, along with profits. If not, we and future generations will all pay the price — one that will, without doubt, be far too great to bear.
References:
[1] “Speech: Professor Penny Sackett, Chief Scientist [for Australia], Science and Parliament: Engaging in a changing climate (17 March)” at http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/media/science-and-parliament.pdf, Beddington: World faces ‘perfect storm’ of problems by 2030 … (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/18/perfect-storm-john-beddington-energy-food-climate and John Beddington is UK’s chief scientist), A global temperature rise of 7C will render half of world’s … (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/12/global-warming-temp-rise-population)

[7] FINANCE: U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars (ipsnews.net/news.asp? idnews=41893), “Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon.”
Emily Spence is a progressive living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved with assorted types of human rights, environmental and social service efforts.

An Empty Tribal Belt? Pakistan Is Betraying Its Proud Tribesmen

An Empty Tribal Belt? Pakistan Is Betraying Its Proud Tribesmen

An empty buffer zone is slowly emerging, separating Afghanistan and Pakistan’s populated areas. A half-million Pakistanis are in tents, homeless and no one is bothered. Is it an American conspiracy and a Pakistani complacency? The Pakistani media and politicians are criminally ignorant and busy in their own power games while a major strategic change is taking place inside and around their country.

By Ahmed Quraishi

Friday, 28 March 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThis picture saddened me no end. The proud tribesmen of Pakistan, those who beat the English and the Russians and fought their way to liberate half of the Indian occupied Kashmir are now facing an American conspiracy and a Pakistani complacency.

America’s Afghan blunders have resulted in expelling the proud Pakistani tribesmen from their homes and turned almost half a million of them into refugees in their own country.

If this wasn’t enough, here comes Pakistan to treat them as animals in the ‘tent cities’ built for them near Peshawar. And then come the Americans and the Indians to spread literature encouraging the Pashtun to demand a separate homeland called Pashtunistan.

For a year and a half, we at AhmedQuraishi.com and PakNationalists Group have been explaining to Pakistanis, with original reporting and informed analysis, how Pakistan’s tribal belt was peaceful until 2005, and how ‘non-state actors’ in Washington DC have used the Afghan soil to create, arm and sustain insurgencies inside Pakistan that run from the Chinese-built Gwadar port in the south to the Chinese border in the north. The suicide bombings, the attacks and the destabilization is punishment for Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan and for insisting to stick to Kashmir against the wishes of India, Washington’s new regional slave-soldier.

The anti-Pakistan insurgencies hide behind the covered faces of the so-called Pakistani Taliban who receive money and weapons from Afghanistan.

Now the Americans want to expand the process of more and more Pakistani tribesmen leaving their homes and escaping deeper inside Pakistan. The suspicion is that Washington wants to create a buffer zone between the U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Pakistan, a zone inhabited by no one. All Pakistani tribes pushed out. The strategy is working. The number of these Pakistanis who have become refugees inside their own country is nearing half a million.

Pakistani media and journalists are playing an unfortunate role in helping the Americans by focusing on failed Pakistani politicians and their power games that are diverting the attention of the Pakistani public opinion from the important issue of the plight of these brave Pakistani tribesmen and how our government is silently abetting the Americans in humiliating them.

I wrote recently in The News that Pakistan needs a Putin, a Pakistani nationalist who loves his homeland and his people and who is ruthless enough to do what’s right for all of us and for the homeland and liberate it from the clutches of the stooges of the Americans and the Brits. I hope he comes before it’s too late.

Originally posted at Ahmed Quraishi’s The Lounge. Click and check his recent article on the possibility of putting former President Musharraf on trial.

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