|IS ISRAEL CONTROLLING PHONY TERROR NEWS?|
Who says Al Qaeda takes credit for a bombing? Rita Katz. Who gets us bin Laden tapes? Rita Katz. Who gets us pretty much all information telling us Muslims are bad? Rita Katz? Rita Katz is the Director of Site Intelligence, primary source for intelligence used by news services, Homeland Security, the FBI and CIA. What is her qualification? She served in the Israeli Defense Force. She has a college degree and most investigative journalists believe the Mossad “helps” her with her information. We find no evidence of any qualification whatsoever of any kind. A bartender has more intelligence gathering experience.
Nobody verifies her claims. SITE says Al Qaeda did it, it hits the papers. SITE says Israel didn’t do it, that hits the papers too. What does SITE really do? They check the internet for “information,” almost invariably information that Israel wants reported and it is sold as news, seen on American TV, reported in our papers and passed around the internet almost as though it were actually true. Amazing.
Do we know if the information reported comes from a teenager in Seattle or a terror cell in Jakarta? No, of course not, we don’t have a clue. Can you imagine buying information on Islamic terrorism from an Israeli whose father was executed as a spy by Arabs?
It is quite likely that everything you think you know about terror attacks such as the one in Detroit or whether Osama bin Laden is alive or dead comes from Rita Katz. Does she make it all up? We don’t know, nobody knows, nobody checks, they simply buy it, print it, say it comes from Site Intelligence and simply forget to tell us that this is, not only a highly biased organization but also an extremely amateur one also.
Is any of this her fault, Ritas? No. She is herself, selling her work. The blame is not Site Intelligence, it is the people who pass on the information under misleading circumstances.
Imagine if a paper carried a story like this:
Reports that Al Qaeda was responsible for bombing the mosque and train station were given to us by an Israeli woman who says she found it on the internet.
This is fair. Everyone should be able to earn a living and information that comes from Israel could be without bias but the chances aren’t very good. In fact, any news organization, and most use this service, that fails to indicate that the sources they use are “rumored” to be a foreign intelligence service with a long history of lying beyond human measure, is not to be taken seriously.
Can we prove that SITE Intelligence is the Mossad? No. Would a reasonable person assume it is? Yes.
Would a reasonable person believe anything from this source involving Islam or the Middle East? No, they would not.
SITE’s primary claim to fame other than bin Laden videos with odd technical faults is their close relationship with Blackwater. Blackwater has found site useful. Blackwater no longer exists as they had to change their name because of utter lack of credibility.
What can be learned by examining where our news comes from? Perhaps we could start being realistic and begin seeing much of our own news and the childish propaganda it really is.
Propaganda does two things:
1. It makes up phony reasons to justify acts of barbaric cruelty or insane greed.
2. It blames people for things they didn’t do because the people doing the blaming really did it themselves. We call these things “false flag/USS Liberty” incidents.
Next time you see dancing Palestinians and someone tells you they are celebrating a terror attack, it is more likely they are attending a birthday party. This is what we have learned, perhaps this is what we had best remember.
From an AFP article on Site Intelligence:
Rita Katz and S.I.T.E. are set to release yet another “aL-Qaeda” tape
Despite a massive manhunt by the world’s intelligence agencies, BL seems to evade their combined efforts, staying on the run. But he still has time to drop into his recording studio and cook up a fresh tape for the likes of Rita Katz and her outfit called S.I.T.E. SITE is staffed by TWO people, Katz and a Josh Devon.
WASHINGTON (AFP) The head of the Al-Qaeda network Osama bin Laden is expected to release a taped message on Iraq, a group monitoring extremist online forums said Thursday. The 56-minute tape by the hunted militant is addressed to Iraq and an extremist organization based there, the Islamic State of Iraq, said the US-based SITE monitoring institute, citing announcements on “jihadist forums.”
It said the release was “impending” but did not say whether the message was an audio or video tape. Despite a massive manhunt and a 25-million-dollar bounty on his head, he has evaded capture and has regularly taunted the United States and its allies through warnings issued on video and audio cassettes.
Source: ME Times
Yes, despite a massive manhunt by the world’s intelligence agencies, BL seems to evade their combined efforts, staying on the run. But he still has time to drop into his recording studio and cook up a fresh tape for the likes of Rita Katz and her outfit called S.I.T.E. SITE is staffed by TWO people, Katz and a Josh Devon.
Yet these two individuals manage to do what the ENTIRE combined assets of the world’s Western intelligence can’t:
Be the first to obtain fresh video and audio tapes from Al-Qaeda with Bin Laden making threats and issuing various other comments. If BL appears a bit “stiff” in the latest release, that’s because he is real stiff, as in dead.
How is it that a Jewish owned group like S.I.T.E. can outperform the world’s best and brightest in the intelligence field and be the first to know that a group like al-Qaeda is getting ready to release another tape?
How is it possible that Rita Katz and S.I.T.E. can work this magic? Maybe looking at Katz’s background will help:
Rita Katz is Director and co-founder of the SITE Institute. Born in Iraq, her father was tried and executed as an Israeli spy, whereupon her family moved to Israel [the move has been described as both an escape and an emigration in different sources]. She received a degree from the Middle Eastern Studies program at Tel Aviv University, and is fluent in Hebrew and Arabic. She emigrated to the US in 1997.
Katz was called as a witness in the trial, but the government didn’t claim she was a terrorism expert. During the trial it was discovered that Katz herself had worked in violation of her visa agreement when she first arrived in America in 1997.
She also admitted to receiving more than $130,000 for her work as an FBI consultant on the case.
|AMERICA NEEDS PAKISTAN’S HELP AGAIN –PART VI|
How Israel Wages War on the U.S.—By Way of Deception
Below is the sixth installment in a 6-part series written for Opinion Maker by Jeff Gates, author of Guilt By Association.
The Manipulation of U.S. General Colin Powell and Pakistani Cricket Star Imran Khan
Mass media and popular culture are powerful tools of manipulation when wielded by those skilled at waging way by way of deception. When shaping the opinion of an unsuspecting public, the star power of military leaders and sports heroes is routinely appropriated.
That duplicity was on display in February 2003 when Colin Powell gave false testimony to the U.N. Security Council that helped launch the U.S.-led invasion of a Muslim nation. Similar duplicity was deployed in May 2005 when Pakistani cricket icon Imran Khan launched from Islamabad a false story that provoked outrage at the U.S. in Muslim nations.
Since the “bread and circus” era of the Roman Empire, pop culture has proven a potent means to distract and misdirect. With the modern reach of mass media, pop culture can be deployed not just to manipulate the public’s mental state but also to promote for political office high-profile personalities such as astronauts, newscasters, war heroes and even well known comedians.
Those who induced the U.S. to wage war in Iraq on false pretenses used Secretary of State Colin Powell for that purpose when he was dispatched to the U.N. to vouch for phony intelligence. The Powell “brand” as a credible four-star general was appropriated by pro-Israeli war-planners to market the false impression that Iraq had mobile biological weapons laboratories.
By deploying a public official’s known integrity to obscure their duplicity, those complicit in this deceit discredited both Powell and the U.S. while also undermining the credibility of the U.N. The phony intelligence on which Powell relied was provided by George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, and vouched for by Paul Joyal, reportedly Tenet’s Ashkenazi Chief of Staff.
A similar power-of-association ploy emerged two years later when the pop culture celebrity of Imran Khan was appropriated to provoke violence worldwide that damaged the image of the U.S. A global crisis commenced soon after those handling public relations for this legend of the cricket world summoned reporters to a May 6, 2005 press conference in Islamabad.
As an international sports figure, Khan’s star power and his position as a Pakistani politician directed media attention to an April 30th issue of Newsweek where Ashkenazi journalist Michael Isikoff reported that U.S. interrogators had flushed a Koran down a toilet in an attempt to exert pressure on Muslim combatants in custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Not until May 16th did Newsweek editors publish a partial retraction along with an apology in The New York Times conceding that the widely reported story was inadequately supported by the facts. By then Isikoff’s tale of Koran desecration had gone viral.
Game Theory Warfare
The story provoked massive anti-U.S. demonstrations in Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Indonesia, Palestine, Jordan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Malaysia. Though the Guantanamo inmate retracted his statement, by then the story had done lasting damage to U.S. interests throughout the Islamic world while adding plausibility to the thematic Clash of Civilizations.
In game theory terms, the results were foreseeable because the reaction was mathematically predictable; the response could be projected—within an acceptable range of probabilities.
See: How Israel Wages Game Theory Warfare http://criminalstate.com/2009/08/how-israel-wages-game-theory-warfare/
As an Ashkenazim-dominated global media spread this provocation worldwide, the “probabilistic” outcome induced protests in Central Asia, unrest in Uzbekistan and calls for an “Islamic revolution” in Pakistan where violent protests left 16 dead.
Why would a world-renowned Pakistani cricket star be used to publicize in Islamabad an unsubstantiated story from a U.S. magazine? Answer: Khan’s pop culture status ensured that an identifiable demographic group (cricket fans) would quickly learn about—and react to—a provocation featured in a leading U.S. news weekly.
That media-induced provocation proved its potency as the story stoked extremism. For Tel Aviv’s game theory war-planners, the anticipated response became a potent weapon in the arsenal of the agent provocateur.
Mass Media as a Geopolitical Force-Multiplier
Cricket has long been a mainstay in nations historically under British colonial rule. When the desecration story was promoted in Islamabad, the editors of Newsweek, a Washington Post publication, successfully discredited not only the U.S. but also the U.K. by provoking outrage among Muslims worldwide. A bombing in London two months later was motivated by this “desecration” according to a cousin of one of the attackers on July 7, 2005.
By associating the story with a sports icon, Newsweek breached the literacy barrier common to less developed nations (54% in Pakistan). As the story spread by word-of-mouth, this provocation reached tens of millions among the illiterate as well as sports fans of younger age for whom extreme reactions come more readily.
By launching the provocation from Pakistan, the response also weakened President Parvez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally with the Taliban active in Pakistan’s western provinces and Al Qaeda suspected of seeking refuge there. Isikoff’s tale also served as a potent recruiting tool for Islamic fundamentalists. At a critical juncture, the (foreseeable) result further endangered coalition troops and also pre-staged today’s plausibility of Pakistan as a source of jihadists.
Formerly a Musharaff supporter and anti-corruption crusader, Khan had become an outspoken critic of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. By appropriating the Khan “brand,” Newsweek assured the global reach of this provocation as a pop culture star’s celebrity gained traction for a story guaranteed to prove troublesome for the U.S.-Pakistan alliance.
The timing of this provocation also addressed a key strategic need for Israel. Initial response to the April 30th article was muted. The May 6th press conference overlapped a critical May 4th news cycle when U.S. Defense Department analyst Lawrence Franklin appeared in a U.S. District Court outside Washington where he was charged with leaking to the Israel lobby classified Pentagon materials on Iran.
The pop culture-catalyzed protests and riots diverted the public’s attention away from wartime espionage by a purported ally. Instead mainstream media marketed a tale certain to outrage Muslims abroad while downplaying facts certain to anger Americans at home. The Washington Post media group has been under Ashkenazim control since June 1933 when patriarch Eugene Meyer acquired the flagship newspaper at auction.
The Newsweek provocation also diverted attention from the fact that Franklin worked for senior pro-Israeli war-planners: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Under Secretary Douglas Feith who oversaw the Office of Special Plans, a key source of the “fixed” intelligence that induced the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Whether appropriating Colin Powell’s integrity or Imran Khan’s celebrity, such “associative” weaponry works the same: the power of association is deployed by those adept at manipulating thought and emotion in order to influence behavior and shape policy in plain sight. Such operations are commonplace for those skilled at waging war by way of deception—the motto of the Israeli Mossad, the intelligence and foreign operations arm of the Jewish state.
From a geopolitical perspective, the appropriation of these “brands” mimics how Israel appropriated and systematically discredited Brand America. Over the six-decade history of this entangled alliance, our association with this enclave of nuclear-armed religious extremists cost us the global goodwill that an earlier generation earned at untold cost in blood and treasure.
The U.S. continues this perilous relationship only at great risk. Any nation that views this enclave as a legitimate sovereign state only further enables this trans-generational treachery.
An author, educator, attorney, merchant banker and adviser to policy-makers worldwide, Jeff Gates served for seven years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance prior to consulting 35 foreign governments. A Vietnam veteran, he is author of Guilt By Association, The Ownership Solution and Democracy at Risk. Seewww.criminalstate.com.
MQM and Blackwater/Xe are US sponsored mafia style mercenary outfits due to their management structure as it is almost the same both groups’ chiefs are out of Pakistan to start with.
“There is no difference between Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and MQM because both are sponsored by India and USA. Sawat type operation against MQM’s ‘Clean Shaven Taliban’ who are supporting Blackwater/Xe is a must because people will support. President Zardari, the ‘Putin of Pakistan’ can he do anything of for Karachi or he has become a cuddly toy now?”
The recent bombings of a religious procession in Karachi and fire bombings of small businesses miles away from the incident reportedly owned by mostly Sunni Tableghie Jamat a non violent religious group, got all the hall marks of ‘private mercenaries’ Blackwater with the support of MQM. According to reports it is physically not possible for any one attending the procession to go miles away, get special fire bombing chemicals and equipment to set fire 300 hundred shops in Bolton Market. It is only possible if one already knows the timing of the bombings and part of the plot. They targeted a Sunni areas where it is almost impossible for an angry ‘Shia protestor’ to reach from the crime scene keeping in the view the distances. So Shia procession was bombed, Sunni business were burnt down and MQM’s fire engines did not arrive. Seems perfect Blackwater Inc style operation?
Blackwater, MQM’s Plus plan was meticulous and well timed. (a) Timing of the bombing few days before the end of the term of City Government Term. So City Government building burnt down with the record to cover-up corruption? (b) Selection of the venues to be fire bombed (c) Torching of Light House Market predominantly owned by the Pashtuns who did not pay extortion money to the MQM – Score settled, Job done (d) Torching of Bolton Market mostly business are owned by peaceful Sunni Muslims Memon Community. They refused to be relocated outside the city because shops worth millions. High ups of the current regime allegedly President Zardari & Co had interest in the land to develop and build flats and plazas. (Job done) (e) Why MQM leaders both reportedly Shias Haider Abbas Rizvi and Faisal Sabzwari not in the Ashura procession? (f) Why police and rangers did not stop the arsonists and terrorists? (g) Who ordered them not to act? (h) Remote control bomb was planted in an ambulance which might be carrying a head too? (i) Who is Hasham Al-Zafar (central) and what is his role in the bombing and burning of Karachi? (j) What is his relationship with Saleem Shezad alleged master mind of the operation and why he only reports to Altaf Hussain?
MQM and Blackwater/Xe are US sponsored mafia style mercenary outfits due to their management structure as it is almost the same both groups’ chiefs are out of Pakistan to start with. MQM are the local collaborators of Blackwater/Xe in Pakistan?
According to sources similar kinds of chemicals and fire bombing equipments have been used in Iraq and Lebanon. Pakistan’s security agencies must look into the links between MQM lead City Government and Blackwater. What kind of assistance they are providing to the mercenaries. City mayor Syed Mustafa Kamal and Governor Sind Dr Ashrat Abad Khan recently visited sensitive institutions of the USA related to protection of US national interests aboard. Why would a mayor of a third world country visit US State Department? Did he inform Pakistani’s foreign ministry? He is on the grooming list. “To his credentials it was Mustafa Kamal who opened the door for the assassins came to kill his ‘uncle’ Azeem Ahmed Tariq, leader of the MQM, as it was an inside job. It sounds like nephew shopped his ‘uncle’ according to a source.
Altaf Hussain’s MQM and his mafia have caused more economic and human losses to Pakistan by strikes and terrorist activities then three wars with India. After the incident on Monday December 28, 2009, three thousand shops were burnt; one thousand were burnt after looting which caused loss of Rs. 60 billion to Pakistani economy. Armed men stopped fire engines for over three hours according to reports. Why?
Elements close to MQM were also allegedly involved in the terrorism, arson, and killings after tragic death of Benazir Bhutto on 27th December 2007. Many analysts believe that it was a dry run by the foreign sponsored elements to separate Karachi from the rest of the country. There is another dimension to the burring of some markets with small business. Some people from land mafia were making hostile offers to these old pre partition businesses.
There are reports that MQM has issued thousands of arms licences to its workers and sympathisers in Karachi and some of the licences might have been issued from other provinces. Disarming of the terrorist groups including MQM in Karachi is necessary to avoid future blackmails.
It is also reported that armed gunmen did not allow fire engines to leave the fire stations. All the fire engines and security cameras are under the control of City Government run by MQM whose leader Altaf Hussain controls this group in a mafia style. Within minutes he blamed ‘Taliban’ for the bombings. How did he know it was Taliban and not Indian RAW or Blackwater/Xe? Altaf Hussain deliberately tried to make this a sectarian issue in his live TV broadcast on a news channel, which matches the agenda of private mercenaries and India.
Asia Times Online reported few years ago during Musharraf era, sources says that, “only US diplomatic intervention stopped General Musharraf from taking strong action against the MQM after he received the report on the recent unrest in which the MQM was implicated. Washington indeed has a powerful southern ally in Pakistan’. After September 11, the United States identified even more with the MQM as it was the only party in Pakistan that widely mourned the attacks on the US, openly condemned the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and launched a powerful campaign in support of the US attack on Afghanistan”.
When President Zardari speak about ‘non state & political actors’, probably he also meant Altaf Hussain too? His long distance proactive and dramatic telephonic speeches are more or less what Lord Nelson said, “If you can’t baffle them with brilliance, dazzle them with bullshit!”. He is never been to Pakistan for more then 15 years but did travel to India on his British passport. Most of the members in mafia style ‘Rabita Committee’ are wanted by Pakistani authorities for heinous crimes. He hides behind this ‘kangaroo committee’.
A political analyst said, ‘to get ‘poodle status’ in US administration Altaf Hussain exaggerates things beyond imagination. For example, he claimed his supporters in Karachi increased by 10 million in just two years because he claimed to have 20 million supporters in an interview with Edgware Times in November 1998. But in 2001 MQM claimed to have 30 million supporters when MQM send a fax to Reuters on 22 September 2001. “(MQM leader) Altaf Hussain has offered the unconditional support of over 30 million MQM supporters to the U.S. president and the international community,” its London-based international secretariat said in a statement faxed to Reuters on September 22, 2001”.
According to sources, ‘Altaf group is planning and preparing for armed fight with other groups in Karachi. There might be a plan to divide Karachi on ethnic zones as Rehman Malik mentioned in Dera Ismail Khan? The alleged transfer of money from Karachi to London, Germany, Dubai, South Africa, Canada, and United States is alarming. There reports of increase in the arms sale in Karachi seem serious but what are the authorities doing?
So what is Altaf Hussain up to that is a crucial question to political and security leadership to think about. His alleged close links with the Indian agency and also acting like a mercenary force getting orders from foreign masters. It is time for the government of Pakistan to approach its friends and allies to have a clear cut answers about the real Agenda in Pakistan? Crimes of Altaf Hussain and his party MQM are so heinous that he wouldn’t dare step in Karachi even the whole period of Musharraf and now Zardari rule?
Until November 1998 Government of Pakistan was reportedly seeking extradition of Altaf Hussain who was said to be wanted in 50 murders and 150 cases of kidnapping and arson. He said in an interview with a newspaper in 1998, “It is my wish that they take me to trial in a British court then I will tell people nationally and internationally what has been happening in Pakistan.” It was Altaf Hussain and MQM who issued a memo to his workers saying,” if there was war between India and Pakistan, MQM workers will be remain neutral”. Why?
MQM’s deputy chief organiser of district Thatta and his wife were arrested by the police for trafficking 120 kilos of A class drugs according to a press report on 16th May 2004. Mohamed Ibrahim and his wife Ayesha Soho who is also member of district government were coming from Bolan area of Baluchistan on Jeep number BC 1248 when they were stopped by Dadar Police who discovered 180 kilos of HASH worth millions of from the secret compartments of the jeep. Police has registered a case number 13/2004 report against deputy chief of MQM and his wife for drug trafficking. Area in charge SHO of the area Police confirmed that suspects have confessed they have been also involved in arms trafficking from Kabul and been to Afghanistan three times. Both were sent to Sibi Jail in Baluchistan.
“MQM has been funded with the drug money apart from the extortion money taken from the top businessmen in the name of support” according to a report published by The Frontier Post on December 25, 1998. The report says, “… What is more alarming is that the Narco dollars have been used for funding the (MQM), a responsible source in the provincial government said. He added that such funding was tantamount to fuelling terrorism.” Is the Narco-terror funding still on?
By joining as local collaborator of Blackwater in Karachi MQM has provided the eyes and ears on the ground with smart guns. Even if US-India sponsored ‘Pakistani Taliban’ claim responsibility of Karachi Ashura bombings, the chemicals and smart guns used in burnings of the over 6000 small businesses and loss of Rs. 60 billion have all the hallmarks of Blackwater/Xe.
“There is no difference between Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and MQM because both are sponsored by India and USA. Swat type operation against MQM’s ‘Clean Shaven Taliban’ who are supporting Blackwater/Xe is a must because people will support. President Zardari, the ‘Putin of Pakistan’ can he do anything of for Karachi or he has become a cuddly toy now?”
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is award winning journalist and writer on foreign policy & security based in London)
By Uri Blau
Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.
One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.
The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel’s foreign relations. Someone who is liable to be particularly interested in the data collected by Spiegel is George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, who came to Israel this week for his first visit since his appointment. It was Mitchell who authored the 2001 report that led to the formulation of the road map, which established a parallel between halting terror and halting construction in the settlements.
The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements – about 75 percent – construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.
Click here to view the secret Defense Ministry database on illegal construction in the territories. It should be noted that the information is given in Hebrew
The data, it should be stressed, do not refer only to the illegal outposts (information about which was included in the well-known report authored by attorney Talia Sasson and published in March 2005), but to the very heart of the settlement enterprise. Among them are veteran ideological settlements like Alon Shvut (established in 1970 and currently home to 3,291 residents, including Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun); Ofra (established in 1975, home to 2,708 residents, including
former Yesha Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor Yosef and media personalities Uri Elitzur and Hagai Segal); and Beit El (established in 1977, population 5,308, including Hagai Ben-Artzi, brother of Sara Netanyahu). Also included are large settlements founded primarily for economic motives, such as the city of Modi’in Illit (established in 1990 and now home to 36,282 people), or Givat Ze’ev outside Jerusalem (founded in 1983, population 11,139), and smaller settlements such as Nokdim near Herodion (established in 1982, population 851, including MK Avigdor Lieberman).
The information contained in the database does not conform to the state’s official position, as presented, for instance, on the Foreign Ministry Web site, which states: “Israel’s actions relating to the use and allocation of land under its administration are all taken with strict regard to the rules and norms of international law – Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of settlements.” Since in many of the settlements, it was the government itself, primarily through the Ministry of Construction and Housing, that was responsible for construction, and since many of the building violations involve infrastructure, roads, public buildings and so on, the official data also demonstrate government responsibility for the unrestrained planning and lack of enforcement of regulations in the territories. The extent of building violations also attests to the poor functioning of
the Civil Administration, the body in charge of permits and supervision of construction in the territories.
According to the 2008 data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 290,000 Jews live in the 120 official settlements and dozens of outposts established throughout the West Bank over the past 41 years.
“Nothing was done in hiding,” says Pinchas Wallerstein, director-general of the Yesha Council of settlements and a leading figure in the settlement project. “I’m not familiar with any [building] plans that were not the initiative of the Israeli government.” He says that if the owners of private land upon which settlements are built were to complain and the court were to accept their complaint, then the structures would have to be moved somewhere else. “This has been the Yesha Council’s position for the past years,” he says.
You’d never know it from touring several of the settlements in which massive construction has taken place on private Palestinian lands. Entire neighborhoods built without permits or on private lands are inseparable parts of the settlements. The sense of dissonance only intensifies when you find that municipal offices, police and fire stations were also built upon and currently operate on lands that belong to Palestinians.
On Misheknot Haro’im Street in the Kochav Yaakov settlement, a young mother is carrying her two children home. “I’ve lived here for six years,” she says, sounding surprised when told that her entire neighborhood was built upon private Palestinian land. “I know that there’s some small area in the community that is in dispute, but I never heard that this is private land.” Would she have built her home on this land had she known this from the start? “No,” she answers. “I wouldn’t have kicked anyone out of his home.”
Not far away, at the settlement’s large and unkempt trailer site, which is also built on private land, a young newlywed couple is walking to the bus stop: 21-year-old Aharon and his 19-year-old wife, Elisheva. They speak nearly perfect Hebrew despite having grown up in the United States and having settled permanently in Israel just a few months ago, after Aharon completed his army service in the ultra-Orthodox Nahal unit. Now he is studying computers at Machon Lev in Jerusalem. Asked why they chose to live here of all places, they list three reasons: It’s close to Jerusalem, it’s cheap and it’s in the territories. In that order.
The couple pay their rent, NIS 550 a month, to the settlement secretariat. As new immigrants, they are still exempt from having to pay the arnona municipal tax. Aharon doesn’t look upset when he hears that his trailer sits on private land. It doesn’t really interest him. “I don’t care what the state says, the Torah says that the entire Land of Israel is ours.” And what will happen if they’re told to move to non-private land? “We’ll move,” he says without hesitation.
A complicated problem
Even today, more than two years after concluding his official role, Baruch Spiegel remains loyal to the establishment. In a conversation, he notes several times that he signed a confidentiality agreement and so is not willing to go into the details of the work for which he was responsible. He was appointed by Shaul Mofaz to handle several issues about which Israel had given a commitment to the United States, including improving conditions for Palestinians whose lives were adversely affected by the separation fence, and supervision of IDF soldiers at the checkpoints.
Two years ago, Haaretz reporter Amos Harel revealed that the main task given Spiegel was to establish and maintain an up-to-date database on the settlement enterprise. This was after it became apparent that the United States, as well as Peace Now’s settlement monitoring team, was in possession of much more precise information about settlement construction than was the defense establishment, which up to then had relied mostly on information collected by Civil Administration inspectors. The old database had many gaps in it, which was largely a consequence of the establishment preferring not to know exactly what was going on in this area.
Spiegel’s database contains written information backed up by aerial photos and layers of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data that includes information on the status of the land and the official boundaries of each settlement. “The work took two and a half years,” says Spiegel. “It was done in order to check the status of the settlements and the outposts and to achieve the greatest possible accuracy in terms of the database: the land status, the legal status, the sector boundaries, the city building plan, government decisions, lands whose ownership is unclear. It was full-time, professional work done with a professional team of legal experts, planning people, GIS experts. And I hope that this work continues, because it
is very vital. One has to know what’s going on there and make decisions accordingly.”
Who is keeping track of all of this now?
“I suppose it’s the Civil Administration.”
Why was there no database like this before your appointment?
“I don’t know how much of a focus there was on doing it.”
Why do you think the state is not publicizing the data?
“It’s a sensitive and complex subject and there are all kinds of considerations, political and security-related. There were questions about the public’s right to know, the freedom of information law. You should ask the officials in charge.”
What are the sensitive matters?
“It’s no secret that there are violations, that there are problems having to do with land. It’s a complicated problem.”
Is there also a problem for the country’s image?
“I didn’t concern myself with image. I was engaged in Sisyphean work to ensure that, first of all, they’ll know what exists and what’s legal and what’s not legal and what the degree of illegality is, whether it involves the takeover of private Palestinian land or something in the process of obtaining proper building permits. Our job was to do the meticulous work of going over all the settlements and outposts that existed then – We found what we found and passed it on.”
Do you think that this information should be published?
“I think they’ve already decided to publish the simpler part, concerning areas of jurisdiction. There are things that are more sensitive. It’s no secret that there are problems, and it’s impossible to do something illegal and say that it’s legal. I can’t elaborate, because I’m still bound to maintain confidentiality.”
Dror Etkes, formerly the coordinator of Peace Now’s settlement monitoring project and currently director of the Land Advocacy Project for the Yesh Din organization, says, “The government’s ongoing refusal to reveal this material on the pretext of security reasons is yet another striking example of the way in which the state exploits its authority to reduce the information at the citizens’ disposal, when they wish to formulate intelligent positions based on facts rather than lies and half-truths.”
Following the initial exposure of the material, the Movement for Freedom of Information and Peace Now requested that the Defense Ministry publish the database, in accordance with the Freedom of Information law. The Defense Ministry refused. “This is a computerized database that includes detailed information, in different cross-sections, regarding the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria,” the Defense Ministry said in response. “The material was collected by the defense establishment for its purposes and includes sensitive information. The ministry was asked to allow a review of the material in accordance with the Freedom of Information law, and after consideration of the request, decided not to hand over the material. The matter is pending and is the subject of a petition before the Administrative Affairs Court in Tel Aviv.”
Ofra, Elon Moreh, Beit El
The database surveys settlement after settlement alphabetically. For each entry, it notes the source of the settlement’s name and the form of settlement there (urban community, local council, moshav, kibbutz, etc.); its organizational affiliation (Herut, Amana, Takam, etc.), the number of inhabitants, pertinent government decisions, the official bodies to which the land was given, the status of the land upon which the settlement was built (state land, private Palestinian or Jewish land, etc.), a survey of the illegal outposts built in proximity to the settlement and to what extent the valid building plans have been executed. Beneath each entry, highlighted in red, is information on the extent of construction that has been carried out without permission and its exact location in the settlement.
Among all the revelations in the official data, it’s quite fascinating to see what was written about Ofra, a veteran Gush Emunim settlement. According to a recent B’tselem report, most of the settlement’s developed area sits on private Palestinian land and therefore falls into the category of an illegal outpost that is supposed to be evacuated. The Yesha Council responded to the B’tselem report, saying that the “facts” in it are “completely baseless and designed to present a false picture. The inhabitants of Ofra are careful to respect the rights of the Arab landowners, with whom they reached an agreement regarding the construction of the neighborhoods as well as an agreement that enables the private landowners to continue to work their lands.”
But the information in the database about Ofra leaves no room for doubt: “The settlement does not conform to valid building plans. A majority of the construction in the community is on registered private lands without any legal basis whatsoever and no possibility of [converting the land to non-private use].” The database also gives a detailed description of where construction was carried out in Ofra without permits: “The original part of the settlement: [this includes] more than 200 permanent residential structures, agricultural structures, public structures, lots, roads and orchards in the old section of the settlement (in regard to which Plan 221 was submitted, but not advanced due to a problem of ownership).” After mentioning 75 trailers and temporary shelters in two groups within the old settlement, the database mentions the Ramat Zvi neighborhood, south of the original settlement: “There are about 200 permanent structures as well as lots being developed for additional permanent construction, all trespassing on private lands.” Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan responds: “I am not familiar with that data.”
Another place where the data reveals illegal construction is Elon Moreh, one of the most famous settlements in the territories. In June 1979, several residents of the village of Rujib, southeast of Nablus, petitioned the High Court, asking it to annul the appropriation order for 5,000 dunams of land in their possession, that had been designated for the construction of the settlement. In court, the government argued, as it did regularly at the time, that the construction of the settlement was required for military needs, and therefore the appropriation orders were legal. But in a statement on behalf of the petitioners, former chief of staff Haim Bar-Lev asserted that, “In my best professional judgment, Elon Moreh does not contribute to Israel’s security.”
The High Court, relying on this statement and the statements of the original core group of settlers of Elon Moreh, who also argued that this was not a temporary settlement established for security purposes, but a permanent settlement, instructed the IDF to evacuate the settlement and return the lands to their owners. The immediate consequence of the ruling was to find an alternative site for construction of the settlement, on lands previously defined as “state lands.” Following this ruling, Israel stopped officially using military injunctions in the territories for the purpose of establishing new settlements.
The lands that were originally taken for the purpose of building Elon Moreh were returned to their Palestinian owners, but according to the database, also in the new site where the settlement was built, called Har Kabir, “most of the construction was done without approved, detailed plans, and some of the construction involved trespassing on private lands. As for the state lands in the settlement, a detailed plan, no. 107/1, was prepared and published on 16/7/99, but has yet to go into effect.”
The Shomron regional council, which includes Elon Moreh, said in response: “All the neighborhoods in the settlement were planned, and some were also built, by the State of Israel through the Housing Ministry. The residents of Elon Moreh did not trespass at all and any allegation of this kind is also false. The State of Israel is tasked with promoting and approving the building plans in the settlement, as everywhere else in the country, and as for the plans that supposedly have yet to receive final validity, just like many other communities throughout Israel, where the processes continue for decades, this does not delay the plans, even if the planning is not complete or being done in tandem.”
Beit El, another veteran settlement, was also, according to the database, established “on private lands seized for military purposes (In fact, the settlement was expanded on private lands, by means of trespassing in the northern section of the settlement) and on state lands that were appropriated during the Jordanian period (the Maoz Tzur neighborhood in the south of the settlement).”
According to the official data, construction in Beit El in the absence of approved plans includes the council office buildings and the “northern neighborhood (Beit El Bet) that was built for the most part on private lands. The neighborhood comprises widespread construction, public buildings and new ring roads (about 80 permanent buildings and trailers); the northeastern neighborhood (between Jabal Artis and the old part of the settlement) includes about 20 permanent residential buildings, public buildings (including a school building), 40 trailers and an industrial zone (10 industrial buildings). The entire compound is located on private land and has no plan attached.”
Moshe Rosenbaum, head of the Beit El local council, responds: “Unfortunately, you are cooperating with the worst of Israel’s enemies and causing tremendous damage to the whole country.”
‘One giant bluff’
Ron Nahman, mayor of Ariel, was re-elected to a sixth term in the last elections. Nahman is a long-time resident of the territories and runs a fascinating heterogeneous city. Between a visit to the trailer site where evacuees from Netzarim are housed and a stop at a shop that sells pork and other non-kosher products, mostly to the city’s large Russian population, Nahman complains about the halting of construction in his city and about his battles with the Civil
Administration over every building permit.
Ariel College, Nahman’s pride and joy, is also mentioned in the database: “The area upon which Ariel College was built was not regulated in terms of planning.” It further explains that the institution sits on two separate plots and the new plan has not yet been discussed. Nahman confirms this, but says the planning issue was recently resolved.
When told that dozens of settlements include construction on private lands, he is not surprised. “That’s possible,” he says. The fact that in three-quarters of the settlements, there has been construction that deviates from the approved plans doesn’t surprise him either. “All the complaints should be directed at the government, not at us,” he says. “As for the small and communal settlements, they were planned by the Housing Ministry’s Rural Building Administration. The larger communities are planned by the ministry’s district offices. It’s all the government. Sometimes the Housing Ministry is responsible for budgetary construction, which is construction out of the state budget. In the Build Your Own Home program, the state pays a share of the development costs and the rest is paid for by the individual. All of these things are one giant bluff. Am I the one who planned the settlements? It was Sharon, Peres, Rabin, Golda, Dayan.”
The database provides information attesting to a failure to adhere to planning guidelines in the territories. For example, an attempt to determine the status of the land of the Argaman settlement in the Jordan Rift Valley found that “the community was apparently established on the basis of an appropriation order from 1968 that was not located.” About Mevo Horon, the database says: “The settlement was built without a government decision on lands that are mostly private within a closed area in the Latrun enclave (Area Yod). There was an allocation
for the area to the WZO from 1995, which was issued as in a deviation from authority, apparently on the basis of a political directive.” In the Tekoa settlement, trailers were leased to the IDF “and installed contrary to the area’s designation according to a detailed plan? and some also deviate from the boundaries of the plan.”
Most of the territories of the West Bank have not been annexed to Israel, and therefore regulations for the establishment and construction of communities there differ from those that apply within Israel proper. The Sasson report, which dealt with the illegal outposts, was based in part on data collected by Spiegel, and listed the criteria necessary for the establishment of a new settlement in the territories:
1. The Israeli government issued a decision to establish the settlement
2. The settlement has a defined jurisdictional area
3. The settlement has a detailed, approved outline plan
4. The settlement lies on state land or on land that was purchased by Israelis and registered under their name in the Land Registry.
According to the database, the state gave the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and/or the Construction and Housing Ministry authorization to plan and build on most of the territories upon which the settlements were constructed. These bodies allocated the land to those who eventually carried out the actual construction of the settlement: Sometimes it was the Settlement Division of the WZO and other times it was the Construction and Housing Ministry itself, sometimes through the Rural Building Administration. In several cases, settlements were built by Amana, the Gush Emunim settlement arm. Another body cited in the database as having received allocations and being responsible for construction in some of the settlements is Gush Emunim’s Settler National Fund.
@Text: Regular schools and religious schools (Talmudei Torah) have also been built on Palestinian lands. According to the database, in the southern part of the Ateret settlement, “15 structures were built outside of state lands, which are used for the Kinor David yeshiva. There are also new ring roads and a special security area that is illegal.” Kinor David is the name of a “yeshiva high school with a musical framework.” The sign at the entrance says the yeshiva was built by the Amana settlement movement, the Mateh Binyamin local council and the
WZO settlement division.
The data regarding Michmash also make it very clear that part of the settlement was built on “private lands via trespassing.” For example, “In the center of the settlement (near the main entrance) is a trailer neighborhood that serves as a Talmud Torah and other buildings (30 trailers) on private land.”
On a winter’s afternoon, a bunch of young children were playing there, one of them wearing a shirt printed with the words “We won’t forget and we won’t
forgive.” There were no teachers in sight. A young woman in slacks, taking her baby to the doctor, stopped for a moment to chat. She moved here from Ashkelon because her husband’s parents are among the settlement’s founders. When her son is old enough for preschool, she won’t send him to the Talmud Torah. Not because it sits on private land, but just because that’s not the type of education she wants for him. “I don’t think there’s been construction on private land here,” she said. “I don’t think there ought to be, either.”
In the Psagot settlement, where there has also been a lot of construction on private land, it’s easy to discern the terracing style typical of Palestinian agriculture in the region. According to the database, in Psagot there are “agricultural structures (a winery and storehouses) to the east of the settlement, close to the grapevines cultivated by the settlement by trespassing.” During a visit here, the winery was abandoned. Its owner, Yaakov Berg, acquired land from the Israel Lands Administration near the Migron outpost and a new winery and regional visitors’ center is currently under construction there.
“The vineyards are located in Psagot,” says Berg, who is busy with the preparations for the new site. From the unfinished observation deck one can see an enormous quarry in the mountains across the way. “If I built a bathroom here without permission from the Civil Administration, within 15 minutes, a helicopter would be here and I’d be told that it was prohibited,” Berg complains. “And right here there’s an illegal Palestinian quarry that continues to operate.”
The politicians did it
Kobi Bleich, spokesperson for the Ministry of Construction and Housing: “The ministry participates in subsidizing the development costs of settlements in Priority Area A, in accordance with decisions of the Israeli government. Development works are carried out by the regional councils, and only after the ministry has ascertained that the new neighborhood is located within an approved city plan. This applies throughout Israel as well as in the areas over the Green Line. Let me emphasize that the ministry’s employees are charged with implementing the policies of the Israeli government. All of the actions in the past were
done solely in keeping with the decisions of the political echelon.”
Danny Poleg, spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria district of the Israel Police: “The issue of the construction of police facilities is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Security, so any questions should be addressed to them.”
The Internal Security Ministry spokesman responds: “And for construction by the police is allocated by the Israel Lands Administration in coordination with the Internal Security Ministry. There is no police station in Modi’in Ilit, but a rapid response post for the local residents on land allocated by the local authority. The land in Givat Ze’ev was allocated by the local council and the police station is located within the municipality. The road to the police headquarters was built by the Housing and Construction ministry and is maintained by the local council.”
Avi Roeh, head of the Mateh Binyamin regional council (whose jurisdiction includes the settlements of Ofra, Kochav Yaakov, Ateret, Ma’aleh Michmash and Psagot): “The Mateh Binyamin regional council, like the neighboring councils in Judea and Samaria, is coping with political decisions regarding the manner of the the communities’ expansion. However, this does not remove the need for proper planning procedures in order to expand the settlements in an orderly manner and in accordance with the law.”
For its response, the WZO sent a thick booklet, a copy of which was previously sent to attorney Talia Sasson in response to her report. “Settlement in Judea and Samaria, as in Israel, has been accompanied by the preparation of regional master plans,” says the booklet. “Steering committees from various government ministries, the Civil Administration and the municipal authorities were involved in the preparation of these plans? The (settlement) department worked solely on lands that were given to it by contract from the authorities in the Civil Administration and all the lands that were allocated to it by contract were properly
The Civil Administration, which was first asked for a response regarding the database more than a month ago, has yet to reply
[The following article from Truth Jihad raises some very tough issues that form a subtle undercurrent in the anti-war movement that both saps the will of the left to really plant themselves in the path of the war machine and gives fuel to the right, as the neocon war-mongers accuse us of being un- or anti-American. This is a false charge, that we want to see the United States defeated militarily. The fear that restrains us is that this might be true on some level, that we are supporting the people who are killing American soldiers. None of this is true. Most of the people in the American anti-war movement are there to defend our country and the world from the monsters who run our government. The soldiers are our relatives and our neighbors sons and daughters; how could we wish them harm? We are not here to bring the government down, but to clean-out the bastards who have taken it over.
What is true, is that we want to see our war machine stopped in its advance, but we want to that machine used to stabilize and repair the devastation it has caused in service to the ruling monsters. The foreign caller in the following article questions: Why don't we fight to stop our government's aggression? Violence is what they want; the more, the better. The answer is: fighting for peace merely adds to the cycle of aggression and retribution. Ending our way of violence requires that we break the cycles that feed the violence. Support for the war begins within the mind; it is there that it must be tackled.
The military is restrained by the political, in that they are self-limiting in their use of force, never using more violence than they fell that they can get away with on a political level. They are careful not to unleash too much force lest it provoke a violent reaction from the American people. As long as we are self-limiting, avoiding the urge to resort to violence, they remain self-restraining. Our infowar must strive to remain within these bounds, if we hope to become the monkey wrench in the machine.
If Americans must die in a criminal war directed by the CIA, it is preferable to me that the victims are CIA operatives instead of the soldiers under their command. In my opinion, it is wrong to celebrate in their killing, though I know that if and when they begin killing my friends and neighbors here, I would feel the same way.]
A non-US-citizen celebrates an attack on the CIA, and asks why Americans tolerate occupation
A foreign friend of mine, who must remain nameless here, recently contacted me to wish me a happy New Year and to celebrate the martyrdom operation in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of eight CIA agents. “This is wonderful!” he enthused. “Eight CIA agents at once! They must have had excellent intelligence and pulled everything off perfectly.”
I said I found it hard to get excited about a bunch of people getting killed, regardless of what they may have done to deserve it.
“That is the problem with you Americans,” he said. “Half of you are too stupid to resist your oppressors, and the other half reject violence even when it is justified and necessary.”
I told him I was flattered to be considered part of the non-stupid segment of the American public, but that even as a non-stupid non-pacifist I often find it hard to know when violence is justified or necessary.
“If your country were invaded and occupied by a hostile foreign power, your people slaughtered and tortured, your women raped, your religion and customs violated, your resources looted, would violent resistance be justified and necessary?”
“So when the people of Afghanistan blow up eight CIA agents, are their actions justified and necessary?”
“From their point of view, sure.”
“What about from your point of view?”
“As an American citizen, I’m trying to change things peacefully through legal, Constitutionally-protected means of protest.”
“You would be much more effective if you built a real resistance movement and blew up CIA agents. Or better yet CIA directors.”
I explained to him that I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how to go about blowing up a CIA director even if I wanted to. It’s obviously a lot more complicated than “stick a fuse up his ass, light it, and run like hell.” And not all CIA directors are 100% bad. Remember William Colby? And what about all those former CIA people who have spoken out for 9/11 truth? What if somebody had blown them up?
“Your country is occupied by CIA-Mossad and the finance mafia that runs it,” he said. “They killed the Kennedies. They killed Martin Luther King, Jr. They killed Wellstone. They killed Gary Webb. They kill everyone that gets in their way. They start wars that kill millions. They rig your elections. They listen to your telephone conversations, read your emails, and use your cell phone as a roving microphone. They blackmail everyone of note, and if they can’t blackmail them, they frame them or neutralize them or kill them. Every American President since Reagan has been a CIA agent. Your Constitution is a dead letter. It was dead long before 9/11.”
I admitted that this was all true.
“Your country is under occupation. In Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and other places, when people are occupied, they fight back. Why won’t Americans fight back?”
I explained that a lot of us are fighting back. It’s called the infowar.
“Infowar is great,” he said. “But it doesn’t cost them enough to change their way of doing business. If you want a bad man to change his behavior, you have to give him some incentive for change. You have to raise the cost of the bad behavior until it becomes intolerable. A lot of grumbling on the internet doesn’t really cost them very much.”
What would be the best way to raise the cost, I asked. A general strike? Riots in the streets?
“Yes, those are time-honored methods,” he said.
I explained that the whole point of the infowar is to wake enough people up so that some day soon, when the economy gets bad enough, people will take to the streets, and the cops and troops will be on our side…like the final scene in V-for-Vendetta.
“V wasn’t afraid to use violence as part of his infowar,” he said. “Nor are the people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland, Somalia, the Basque country, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Yemen, and everywhere else on earth where people are fighting occupation by the global financiers and their hired guns.
“What counts is having a culture of resistance. Where there is a culture of resistance, everybody pitches in to help. Some people set off bombs or organize attacks on occupation forces. Others, the great majority, fight the infowar and build a support network for the actual fighters. Even the biggest pacifist, where there is a culture of resistance, helps the resistance fighters by providing food, clothing, money, shelter, and encouragement, and by misdirecting the authorities and refusing all cooperation with them and sabotaging them whenever the opportunity arises.”
I asked why pacifists would be helping an armed resistance.
“Because they recognize that the violence is coming from the occupier, and that only attacks on the lives and property of the occupier can raise the cost of occupation high enough to end it.”
“But most Americans don’t perceive themselves as victims of a violent occupation,” I said. “We of the smart half see ourselves as occupiers of other countries, while the dumb ones see themselves as potential victims of violent terrorists who attack us because they hate our freedoms.”
“Forget the dumb half,” he said. “You need to convince the smart half that they are not occupiers. Why should Americans identify with the evil assholes who are raping the planet? Americans are under violent occupation, just like the people of other occupied lands, and they should build an effective resistance. You need to convince them to start thinking of it as an actual war, not just an infowar. In an actual war, the only thing that matters is reducing the enemy’s ability to wage war, and to raise the cost of his continuing to wage war until the cost becomes intolerable.”
I said I had no idea how to do that. Wouldn’t attacks on lives and property be counterproductive?
“It depends whose lives and property,” he answered. “Attacking ordinary Americans in their passenger airplanes and office buildings helps the occupiers, not the resistance. That’s why the occupiers are behind so much false-flag terrorism. But attacks on the leading men behind the occupation of planet Earth…now that could be very productive. Attacks on their property, kidnapping of their loved ones, and of course assassinations, these tactics would raise the price of their behavior. If the powerful men who craft the evil policies had to live in fear, they would have a powerful disincentive to continue crafting evil policies.”
Kidnappings? Assassinations? Are you kidding?! That would be WRONG, I screamed, Nixonesque in my self-consciousness, that would be SO wrong! Why, the very idea! How utterly APPALLING! Don’t you realize that the bad guys could be listening in even as we speak?!
My friend just chortled, remarked on what a hopeless bunch of boobs Americans are, told me that he wouldn’t ask me to celebrate any more blastings of CIA agents, wished me well in my infowar, and went back to wherever he came from.
I chewed over his words for quite some time. I decided I’m not sure I entirely agree with him, but I’ll tell you this: they’d have to waterboard me quite a bit before I’d give up his name.
[Once again the people of Pakistan are paying the price for the incompetence of the Pak Army in operation Rah e-Nijat. All that was really accomplished was the seizing of a bunch of weapons, herding of militants into other areas, the killing of civilians and the conversion of millions of simple hill-folk into refugees. Kayani and the rest of the generals knew when they started this that they were not there to kill militants, but to antagonize them, while pleasing their US masters. Today's slaughter on the playing field was as much the fault of the backers of the terrorist as it was the guy with the bomb, this includes the authority figures who allowed it. Pakistan is coming apart at the seams and it is Pakistani hands that are doing the cutting.]
At least 40 people have been killed after a suspected suicide bomb attack at a volleyball pitch in the troubled north-west of Pakistan, officials say.
Officials said the bomber drove a vehicle onto the field as people gathered to watch a match. Emergency workers put the toll as high as 70.
The attack took place in Lakki Marwat, close to North and South Waziristan.
The Pakistani army has been conducting a campaign against the Taliban in the tribal areas since October.
Dozens of people were reported to be injured in Friday’s attack. Several buildings collapsed, trapping people under rubble.
“The villagers were watching the match between the two village teams when the bomber rashly drove his double-cabin pick-up vehicle into them and blew it up,” district police chief Mohammad Ayub Khan told AFP news agency.
Mr Khan told reporters the attack may have been in retaliation for attempts by locals to expel militants.
“The locality has been a hub of militants,” he said.
“Locals set up a militia and expelled the militants from this area. This attack seems to be a reaction to their expulsion.”
The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool reports from Islamabad that among those killed were members of a local peace committee who have been campaigning for an end to the violence.
Mushtaq Marwat, a member of the group, told Pakistan’s Geo TV that the attack occurred as the committee was meeting in a nearby mosque.
“Suddenly there was a huge blast. We went out and saw bodies and injured people everywhere,” he said.
Some initial reports about the attack said the vehicle that exploded was stationary, or that a bomber had walked towards the volleyball pitch.
North and South Waziristan form a lethal militant belt from where insurgents have launched attacks across north-west Pakistan as well as into parts of eastern Afghanistan.
Our correspondent says it had been feared that while the army was congratulating itself on its campaign, militants had simply escaped to neighbouring areas such as the one where Friday’s attack happened.
The number of people killed in militant attacks in Pakistan is fast approaching 600 in just three months, with no apparent end to the violence in sight, he adds.
Militants have attacked both “hard” targets, including army or intelligence offices, and “soft” ones such as markets or the crowd that was hit in Friday’s bombing.
The attack came as a general strike was held in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, in protest against a bombing there on Monday and riots that followed.
The bombing, which killed at least 43 people, targeted a Shia Muslim march and was claimed by the Taliban.
|[Is this guy really a spokesman for Islam? Claiming that drugs come into Egypt FROM Gaza is so ridiculous that the laughter coming from the Middle East should be audible in Europe! How could Gaza be the source of anything but human misery? Israel has these people by the balls and their corrupt leaders in their pockets. Mubarrak has to go.]
A council of leading Muslim clerics has supported the Egyptian government’s construction of an underground barrier along the border with Gaza to impede tunneling by smugglers, a report said on Friday.
The Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, said that the tunnels were used to smuggle drugs and threatened Egypt’s security, the Al-Masri Al-Yawm newspaper reported.
“It is one of Egypt’s legitimate rights to place a barrier that prevents the harm from the tunnels under Rafah, which are used to smuggle drugs and other (contraband) that threaten Egypt’s stability,” the paper quoted the clerics as saying.
“Those who oppose building this wall are violating the commands of Islamic law,” they added, after a meeting attended by Egypt’s top cleric Sheikh Mohammed Said Tantawi, who is a government appointee.
Hamdi Hassan, an Islamic member of the Egyptian parliament, has filed a lawsuit against President Hosni Mubarak demanding a halt to construction of the barrier, the newspaper reported.
Earlier this week, the chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi slammed the barrier as an “unjustified crime” and as such was banned by Islam.
Sheikh Qaradawi said, in a statement, that the barrier Egypt had begun constructing was meant to “pressure the Palestinians in Gaza to surrender to Israel.”
“What Egypt is building these days on its border with Gaza is a prohibited act from the Islamic perspective,” the prominent Islamic scholar said. “It aims to close off Gaza and tighten the siege imposed on it people so that they give in to the Israeli demands,” Sheikh Qaradawi added.
Sheikh Qaradawi also called on the Egyptian government to open its Rafah border crossing point with Gaza, noting that opening the border point was a “religious and legal duty” of Egypt toward the Gazan people. “Rafah is the only lifeline for the people of Gaza. Egypt should open it rather than suffocating the Palestinians and collaborating with others to kill them.”
The scholar also appealed to both the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to pressure Egypt to stop the construction of the Wall. “The Wall is one hundred percent against the Palestinians and playing into the hands of the Israeli enemy one hundred percent,” he concluded.
Injured Hamas Members Arrested for Further Investigation on Haret Hreik BlastTwo Hamas members, who were injured during Saturday’s blast in Beirut’s southern suburbs, were arrested for further investigation amid a report that their questioning led to new information on the explosion.
A security source told al-Liwaa daily in remarks published Friday that the judiciary was able to collect evidence from the scene of the blast in Haret Hreik despite the obstacles facing investigators and the delay in their arrival to the area.
The source said that the culprits have most probably links with the target of the blast.
Informed sources also told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that the investigation didn’t drop the assumption that the bomb was inside a package.
Lebanese Military Judge Rahif Ramadan asked military police to hear the testimonies of Hamas members and more witnesses living in the area, the sources said.
Al-Hayat said Ramadan put one of the injured Hamas members under arrest in the military hospital and the other in the military police headquarters.
The newspaper’s sources refused to divulge more information on the men’s testimonies, only saying that “new facts have led to their arrest.”
Police and politicians ignore the First Amendment when we need it the most.
I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C., area for the better part of the last 10 years. So I’ve seen my share of demonstrations, although more often than not I just try to avoid the traffic nightmares they cause. Among the various classes of protests—pro-life, anti-war, environmental, and now tea parties—the most destructive are the anti-globalization marches. So when cops clashed with anti-globalization demonstrators at the Pittsburgh G-20 summit in September, it was easy to assume that most of the altercations represented justified police responses to overzealous protesters.
But a number of disturbing photographs, videos, and witness accounts told a different story. Along with similar evidence from other recent high-stakes political events, they reveal an increasing, disquieting willingness to smother even peaceful dissent.
On the Friday afternoon before the G-20 meeting kicked into high gear, a student at the University of Pittsburgh snapped a photo showing a University of Pittsburgh police officer directing traffic at a roadblock. What’s troubling is what he’s wearing: camouflage military fatigues. It’s difficult to discern a practical reason why a man working for an urban police department would need to wear camouflage, especially while patrolling an economic summit. He’s a civilian dressed like a soldier. The symbolism is clear, and it affects the attitudes of both the cops wearing the clothes and the people they’re policing.
The campus cop wasn’t alone. Members of police departments from across the country came to Pittsburgh to help during the summit, most of them dressed in paramilitary garb. In one widely circulated video, several officers dressed entirely in camouflage emerge from an unmarked car, apprehend a young backpack-wearing protester, stuff him into the car, and drive off. The sequence evoked the “disappearances” associated with Latin American dictatorships or Soviet Bloc countries. When Matt Drudge linked to the video, he described the officers in it as members of the military. They weren’t, but it’s easy to understand how someone might make that mistake.
In another video, members of a police unit from Chicago who took vacation time to work at the summit prop up a handcuffed protester and gather behind him. Another officer then snaps what appears to be a trophy photo. Two men in faraway Queens were arrested for posting the locations of riot police on Twitter, as though they were revealing the location of troops on a battlefield. Another video shows dozens of police in full body armor confronting and eventually macing onlookers (who weren’t even protesters) in the neighborhood of Oakland, far from the site of the summit, as a recorded voice orders any and all to disperse. Students at the University of Pittsburgh claim cops fired tear gas canisters into dorm rooms, used sound cannons, and shot bean bags and rubber bullets.
The most egregious actions took place on September 25, when police began ordering students who were in public spaces to disperse despite the fact that they had broken no laws. Those who moved too slowly, even from public spaces on their own campus or in front of their dorms, were arrested. A university spokesman said the aim was to break up crowds that “had the potential of disrupting normal activities.” Apparently a group of people needn’t actually break any laws to be put in jail. They must only possess the “potential” to do so, at which point not moving quickly enough for the cops’ liking could result in an arrest. That standard is a license for the police to arrest anyone anywhere in the city at any time, regardless of whether they’ve done anything wrong. In all, 190 people were arrested during the summit, including at least two journalists.
It can’t be easy to both keep order and protect civil liberties at such events. But that doesn’t mean police and city officials shouldn’t be expected to try. Yes, some protesters damaged some property at the G-20 summit, although there wasn’t much of that this time around. But the presence of a few unruly demonstrators doesn’t give the police carte blanche to crack down on every young person in the general vicinity, nor should it give the city free rein to suppress all public protest. It’s unfortunate that when the global press and the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies came to Pittsburgh, the images that emerged were not of a society that values free expression and constitutional rights but of one willing to grant police powers normally seen in authoritarian states.
This projection of overwhelming force at big events is becoming more common. At last year’s Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, police conducted peremptory raids on the homes of protesters before the convention began. In all, 672 people were jailed, including at least 39 journalists. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 442 of those 672 later had their charges either dropped or dismissed.
Four years before that, more than 1,800 people were arrested at the previous Republican National Convention in New York City. Ninety percent were never charged with a crime. One notorious photo from the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver shows a small mass of protesters, zoned far off from where any delegates or media representatives could hear them, surrounded by two walls of riot police who outnumbered them at least 2 to 1. Denver’s police union later issued a commemorative T-shirt of the event emblazoned with an illustration of a menacing cop wielding a baton and the slogan, “We get up early to beat the crowds.”
The trend may have started at the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, which saw both actual rioting and police overkill. Mayor Paul Schell not only declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, and designated swaths of the city “no-protest” zones; he actually banned civilian possession of gas masks. Police then gassed entire city blocks. The victims included many owners of the stores the police were ostensibly protecting from looters. Assistant Police Chief Ed Joiner, who was in charge of security for the event, would later tell reporters that future summits should be held only in destinations with military governments.
These are precisely the kinds of events where free speech and the freedom to protest need protection the most: when influential figures make high-level decisions with far-reaching consequences. Instead, we see the opposite. The higher the event’s profile, the more powerful the players involved, and the more important the decisions being made, the more determined police and politicians are to make sure dissent is kept as far away from the VIPs as possible. Or silenced entirely.
Radley Balko (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior editor at reason.
After mass protests against the regime, Tehran officials
seem to be looking for scapegoats.
Kayhan, Islamic Republic of Iran
Are the massive anti-government protests breaking out across Iran a result of U.S. and British activity? That’s the explanation being offered by Tehran leaders, whose hold on power appears increasing in doubt. According to this article from Iran’s state-run Kayhan newspaper, it all comes down to a desire on the part of the U.S. and U.K. to control Iranian oil and gas.
By Kian Mokhtari
December 29, 2009
Let us ask the entire world why there’s such a fuss being made about Iran?
Most free-minded people are aware that the pretexts for invading Iraq have turned out to be a pack of lies. Anti-war demonstrators in the U.S. and Britain have routinely held up banners reading: “No Blood for Oil.”
That’s because the anti-war camp in those countries has known for quite some time that “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq and the so-called “war on terror” elsewhere merely served as pretexts for the massive military taking of energy resources outside of U.S.-U.K. corporate control. There’s no talk about human rights and the total absence of democracy in oil- and gas- rich Middle East countries that are “allied” to the U.S., just as there’s no pressure on any of them to dump plans for obtaining nuclear energy. In fact, even when there are major political issues in such countries, they are quietly and quickly swept under the carpet.
Now, as if by magic, a supposed Muslim bomber trained by al-Qaeda in oil-rich southern Yemen props up and tries – quite unsuccessfully – to blow up an aircraft bound for the U.S. We ask ourselves: Is this the justification, thought up in London and Washington, for the burgeoning U.S. military presence in Yemen? And how long will it be before British troops join their American co-conspirators?
With Iraq under occupation, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already under political control and Yemen’s oil and gas rich south now steadily being garrisoned by U.S. forces, about half of the world’s energy reserves now fall under the U.S.-U.K. control.
The odd country out in the Middle East is Iran, with the world’s third largest oil reserves, and second largest gas reserves. So new pretexts must be thought up to bring Iranian resources under control!
Should they succeed, the United States and Britain would be sitting on the world’s life blood and will have the capacity to blackmail the rest of the planet, including all E.U. nations except Britain, which is already in on the act.
Do Germany and France know that their newfound prominence within the E.U. means nothing if Britain and America control all energy reserves in the Middle East?
A pretext for destabilizing Iran wasn’t long in the making. Cockamamie allegations of election fraud backed by rent-a-crowd tactics failed, as massive popular support for the Islamic Republic became clear. So other avenues had to be explored. Failed American and British shock-and-awe tactics after Iran’s presidential election were revised and replaced with a strategy of street war and attrition involving a mixture of rent-a-crowd and misleading public demonstrations.
But the significance of their failure to foment a coup in Iran hasn’t been lost on the three major powerhouses of Russia, Japan and China. Energy-hungry Japan and China have picked up on the audacity of the Anglo-American plan. With no natural energy resources of their own, both Japan and China rely heavily on the Middle East for their energy needs, and both shun being underdogs to the militant and globally dictatorial regimes of Britain and America.
Does anyone understand why Russia and China resist sanctions against Iran? Does anyone understand why Zionist-controlled mouthpieces continue to allege that Iran is after nuclear weapons, despite dozens of IAEA reports giving Iran’s civilian nuclear program a clean bill of health?
The attempted Anglo-American takeover of Iran’s energy resources and thus grabbing complete leverage over their global rivals will prove a bridge too far. We in Iran counter Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” with the audacity of reason. Our revolution, too, was audacious, and we remain vigilant while advising the world against being taken in by the dark forces of Anglo-Americanism, namely, of exploitation and colonialism.
In the words of George Jacques Danton, the great French revolutionary: Il nous faut de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace – “We need audacity, and yet more audacity, and always audacity!”
After the shameful MI6/CIA-orchestrated protests on the Day of Ashura, Obama predictably condemned what he called “Iran’s crackdown on protesters.” On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also hailed what he called the “great courage” of those who took part in the illegal protests.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Simon Lawrence Gass, the British Ambassador to Iran, to let the “little man” know what’s what and what’s not!
|[In a classic example of the lion, or the elephant and the mouse, imbecilic war-mongers are so afraid of the CIA's "Islamist" pets that they see comparisons between a couple of incompetent terrorists and Vietnam's Tet Offensive. Here is an example of neocon agitators trying to rally the misled and uninformed sheep of the United States into supporting another illegal war. We look back on the tragic beginnings of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and understand the level of pure bullshit that was sold to the American people and then unto the world to get those wars started. The same asinine, though astonishing power is at work here in the Yemen drama. Just like the fake WMD scam in Iraq, we see a well-planned, comprehensive scam unfolding in Yemen. The conspiratorial process followed by the government/corporate media nexus was described by the Bushies: "when we act, we create our own reality...all of you, will be left to just study what we do." The Yemen front in the arc of war that stretches from Pakistan to Somalia is being opened in the same manner, with ludicrous explanations given for planned terror attacks, the snake oil salesmen commit war crimes, right before our eyes...and, so far, we do nothing to stop them. Just consider this one impossible "coincidence" that is the basis of the new Yemen war fever--at the exact same moment that the Ft. Hood (influenced by Yemeni Mullah) shooter was opening fire in Texas, Saudi jets were launching their first airstrikes in Yemen, Nov. 6. This coincidence justifies sending-in US Special Forces trainers and cruise missiles. The little mentally-deficient Nigerian who lit his junk on fire was just icing on the Pentagon cake.]|
A supporter holds a picture of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah
Tha leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement accused Egypt on Sunday of “choking off an entire people” by building an underground barrier designed to obstruct tunnels which provide a lifeline for the blockaded enclave.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told a crowd of tens of thousands who had gathered for the Ashura religious ceremony that Cairo should be condemned if it continued installing the steel barrier.
He said that it would tighten the blockade imposed by Tel Aviv on Gaza since Hamas defeated a Western-backed coup bid by Fatah in 2007.
Tensions between Egypt – where most Muslim citizens are Sunni – and Hezbollah, backed by traditionally Shi’ite Iran, have been running high since last year when Mr Nasrallah accused Cairo of complicity with Israel in its siege of the Gaza strip.
He said: “In addition to the siege, there has been news about the construction of a steel wall to terminate the thin veins which are giving some life and some hope to Gaza.
“We call on the government in Egypt and the leadership to stop the wall and flooding the tunnels and to end the siege otherwise it should be condemned by all Arabs and the Muslims.”
Meanwhile, over 400 solidarity activists travelling with George Galloway’s aid convoy to Gaza began a hunger strike on Sunday after Cairo refused to allow the convoy to dock in Nuweiba port.
Free Gaza Movement spokeswoman Alice Howard said: “Volunteers on the convoy are on a hunger strike and will only take fluids until the Egyptian side gives them the nod.”
Ms Howard said that the hunger strike had begun at 11.25am on Sunday, marking the first anniversary of Israel’s devastating Cast Lead offensive against Gaza.
By John A. Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog, U.S. News
In the frenzied overreaction to the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253, this morning’s rant by Frances Fragos Townsend stands out. Townsend is a former assistant to President George W. Bush, who chaired the Homeland Security Council from 2004 to 2008. She should know better. But in today’sWashington Post, she opines that “the American people are understandably fed up” with Yemen, which harbors the terrorists that equipped dim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and she suggests that we go to war in yet another Muslim nation.
That would make three: Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan. Four if you count our aerial strikes in Pakistan. Five if, as some suggest, we bomb Iran.
I don’t know what type of war Townsend is demanding. She says we should give Yemen an “ultimatum” before the “international community” goes in to “clean it up.” But in my experience, when the “international community” does its cleaning, it’s generally the U.S. Marine Corps and Army grunts who lead the way. Donning her figurative body armor—since I don’t expect that she is prepared to join the first wave of U.S. troops as they go ashore—she declares: “The time for polite diplomacy is long past.”
We will get to how “polite” we are in a moment. But for now, let’s look at this from al Qaeda’s perspective. Hounded and pummeled, and unable to launch the kind of spectacular terrorist attack it used to be known for, an al Qaeda coven in a global backwater takes advantage of Western greed and laziness and gets a lonely, crazed Nigerian onto an airplane. He fails to detonate his explosive device, and sets himself on fire.
This frantic failure takes place some 10 days after a string of successful U.S.-aided aerial and ground attacks on terrorists in Yemen claim the lives of more than 50 terrorists and militants. It was a sorry bit of retaliation until, remarkably, Americans transformed this bungling—an embarrassment to any potent terrorist group—into an al Qaeda triumph.
Once again, we are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Fear is what the terrorists are after. And who is whipping up our fear? Americans! Overreaction is what the terrorists are counting on. And who is screaming for overreaction? The American media, and partisan commentators like Townsend.
Has everyone forgotten that fine nest of al Qaeda terrorists that we just wiped out in Yemen? Or the good work that our spies and drones and special operation forces are doing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa? Does no one comprehend how sources of intelligence and the quiet support of Arab regimes could be shut down by a Western invasion or bombing of a third Muslim nation? Or how many more crazed loners will rally to the side of radical Islam by the internationally televised spectacle of U.S. forces causing the unfortunate but required “collateral damage” in yet another Muslim civilian population?
Yemen is a wild, desolate country, with many ungoverned areas. Our “polite” strategy, in recent years, has been to enlist Yemen’s government in the fight against al Qaeda. We give them money and military and technological assistance, and they help us find the bad guys, who we kill. It is what we are trying to do in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and what helped make the surge successful in Iraq. Can the U.S. apply more diplomatic pressure? Perhaps. But this is a delicate business since, unsurprisingly, the average Muslim citizen of these countries has a healthy suspicion that what the United States really wants is to boost Israel and control Middle East oil.
We are already fighting a war in Yemen—and in Pakistan, Sudan, and Somalia. It is a secret war that seems to be showing some signs of success and requires that we show discipline and shrewdness and intelligence. So by all means let’s trash our success with a fit of vain, partisan chest-puffing.
Long ago, Osama bin Laden read us for the saps we sometimes are. The way to beat him is with brains, not empty ultimatums, or counterproductive “cleaning.”
What kind of name is “Fragos,” anyway? It sounds foreign to me. Has anyone seen her actual birth certificate?
|Behind the revelry that welcomed 2010, the reality seems to belie the hopes of billions of people who wished each other a happy and prosperous new year. The reality is that 2010 may not be much different from 2009 which began with much hope but ended in deep disappointment. The disappointments were largely because US President Barack Obama failed to deliver world peace though he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Copenhagen climate conference also failed to produce a binding treaty that would have saved the planet.
In this New Year, it is likely that Obama’s focus will be on war and more war rather than peace. He may say that he is fighting a war for peace. But in reality, his war for peace will bring death and destruction, misery and mayhem and disease and disappointment like every war does. The irony is America’s war on terror is spreading far and wide beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of ending in a final victory against terrorists. Last year saw the war coming to Pakistan in full force and this year, the US war on terror is likely to go to Yemen, if it has not gone there already.
The Christmas Day attempt by a gullible young Nigerian to blast a US-bound flight from Amsterdam has given an opportunity for US hawks, especially the neocons, to beat the war drum again. They are calling for tough military action in Yemen. The neocons and their Republican supporters accuse the Obama administration of endangering American lives by being soft on security measures. Obama hit back, saying the system had failed and ordered a full probe.
But to attribute the incident where the 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab tried to blow up a US passenger flight to intelligence failure is an insult to intelligence. A deeper analysis of the incident and events associated with it may raise a question as to whether an unholy nexus between the so-called Islamic extremists and the US neocon war mongers exists.
Suspicion is strong, especially in learned and leftwing circles, that al-Qaeda is a US monster created and let loose to produce opportunities for US troops and capitalist vultures to move into target countries. The ingenuity of the scheme is such that al-Qaeda leaders or followers themselves do not know that they are being used. It is because of al-Qaeda that the American troops are in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. And now, thanks to al-Qaeda, Americans will go to Yemen.
Terrorism is a political weapon, no doubt. But it needs to be condemned because terrorists try to achieve their objectives by harming civilians. Whether terrorism is practised by an individual, a group or even a state, it should be eliminated and the perpetrators punished.
The Nigerian youth was a typical Manchurian candidate, well coached and brain-washed. He probably did believe that his mission was a jihad. But he certainly did not realise that he was being used by secret operators via a medium called al-Qaeda.
What can one deduce from Obama’s admission that as early as August the Untied States was alerted that a Nigerian was being trained in Yemen to carry out a terrorist attack on a US target? The Nigerian’s father himself personally went to the US embassy in Nigeria and warned officials there that his son was an extremist and could be dangerous. A Washington Post report yesterday said that although electronic intercepts from Yemen indicated that an unnamed Nigerian was being groomed for an al-Qaeda mission, and other communications spoke of plans for a terrorist attack during Christmas, none of this information was flagged in a way that would have linked it to the father’s warning.
Either the US intelligence services which comprise the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Counterterrorism Centre and special units at the Pentagon, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, are a waste of US taxpayers’ money or the failure itself was part of the game — in other words it was deliberate.
Deliberate or otherwise, the failure to act on intelligence was a repeat. In 1941, it invited an attack on Pearl Harbour and in 2001, it led to the attack on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, analysts pointed out that the United States failed to act on intelligence reports that extremists were planning to use civilian aircraft as missiles to blast US landmark buildings. Some reports said the George W. Bush administration deliberately ignored such warnings. In hindsight, these failures were opportunities for wars scripted by US capitalists to fill their coffers.
If the 9/11 intelligence failure led to the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq, the alleged Christmas Day intelligence failure was a drumbeat for a war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula. Yemen, which lies south of Saudi Arabia (see map), has a population of around 24 million. More than half of its people live below the poverty line. Yemen has an unemployment rate of 40 percent while every other person in this country is an illiterate.
Indications are that 2010 will see an escalation of the multiple civil wars that have been going on in Yemen. The Yemeni government, headed by the brutal dictator, Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh, who, according to human rights group, even executes children, is fighting a separatist movement and the so-called al-Qaeda operatives in the south. In the north, the government has launched an all-out war, with the help of Saudi Arabia and the Untied States, against the Shiites, who once dominated Yemen’s politics. The Houthi rebels, who have taken up arms to promote the separatist cause of the Iranian-backed Zaidi Shiite population, say that last month alone, US war planes carried out 30 air strikes.
Reports also said US planes were also in action in the south. On December 17, a US air attack, according to Yemeni civilian sources, killed 60 civilians, including 28 children. A New York Times report said the CIA had dispatched “several of its top field operatives with counterterrorism experience to the country,” while “some of the most secretive Special Operations commandos have begun training Yemeni security forces in counterterrorism tactics.”
The mainstream US media, meanwhile, are whipping up public opinion for some sort of military action against targets in Yemen. They are trying to connect all the missing links to prove that the war on terror’s next target is Yemen. They claim that the Muslim US Army major, Nidal Malik Hasan, who shot dead 17 of his colleagues at Fort Hood, acted on the advice of a Yemeni American mullah, Anwar al-Awlaki, who has gone into hiding in Yemen.
Independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told the rightwing Fox television, “Somebody in our government said to me in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, that Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war. That’s the danger we face.” Another Congresswoman, Jane Herman, told the same Fox programme, “Yemen is the new FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan).”
Even Obama was setting the stage for a massive military operation when he pledged to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us — whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the US homeland.”
So a US war on terror in Yemen is more of a certainty this year. Beneath the veneer of the war on terror lie moves to prevent the disintegration of this pro-Western country. It certainly does not want an Iranian-backed Shiite state coming up at the underbelly of Saudi Arabia, one of the staunchest US allies and Washington’s key oil supplier. The US believes that if this happens, not only will Saudi Arabia have a security headache, but the West as well, because in times of war, the Iranian-backed Shiite state could pose a threat to ships sailing through the Suez Canal, carrying vital supplies, including some 3 million barrels of oil a day.
With Obama coming into power, many believed that the neocons had been confined to the dustbin of history. Far from it, they are active, directing and implementing the Project for the New American Century — a project that called for US military presence throughout the world, especially in resource rich and strategic regions.
Yemen is a certainly a key strategic country. The presence of US troops there also gives an assurance to Saudi Arabia that US help is at hand to crush any form of Islamic rebellion against the monarchy.
Nigerian Muslim leaders say bombing attempt against US airliner doesn’t prove any al-Qaeda terroirst action inside country.
In an interview with the Abuja-based Daily Trust, a number of Nigerian Muslim leaders argued that the failed attempts of a 23-year-old Nigerian youth to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day is not proof of al-Qaeda’s activities in Nigeria.
The announcement came after the al-Qaeda claimed that it was behind the bombing attempt of US airliner on approach to Detroit.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab purportedly was subdued when attempting to light up a “fairly sophisticated” combustible mixture aboard a Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Friday.
“There is no affiliation between this young Nigerian man and Islamic and religious groups in the country,” Muslim scholar Abdulfattah Adeyemi said.
“We can not accuse the Nigerian Muslim groups of cooperation with al-Qaeda in their terrorist acts,” he added.
Meanwhile, Friday prayers leader of Abuja University Taofik Abdulazeez warned against any hasty judgment on recent events and connecting the failed terrorist attempt to Nigeria’s internal and religious affairs.
The Muslim Supreme Council, the Muslims Federation and other Islamic organization of Nigeria condemned Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s actions vehemently.
US President Barack Obama blamed the US intelligence network and the Homeland Security for failing to identify the Nigerian man, who was already in the US and UK terrorist watch list.
Speculations suggest that Obama’s increasing pressure on security officials to pursue terrorist suspects and the media hype behind the event seem to be Washington’s effort to justify a move similar to the controversial measure taken by former US president George W. Bush, who led the invasions of Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq in the aftermath of the September 11 attack in 2001.
The current approach lumps Obama and his predecessor as well as the Neo-cons together in continuing their hegemonic policies in the Middle East.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in an attempt to capture the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Not only the US-led war did not remove the terrorist leader, it led to the killing of many civilians, including women and children.
It would appear that the ‘Nigerian’ case, as we have it, which is non-verifiable and without any shred of legally binding evidence pointing to the Nigerians being in cohorts with the actions of this ‘lone operative’ is another Afghanistan or Iraq in the making.
Nigeria, however, has plenty of oil and other resources which would provide excellent spoils of war, should the ‘war on terror’ decide to drop in on them!
Al-Qaeda’s guerrilla chief lays out strategy-Encounter with Ilyas Kashmiri, commander of the 313 Brigade
AUTHOR: Syed Saleem SHAHZAD
Ilyas made his entrance. He cut a striking figure, about six feet tall (1.83 meters), wearing a cream-colored turban and white qameez shalwar (traditional shirt and pants), carrying an AK-47 on his shoulder and a wooden stick in one hand, and flanked by commandos of his famous diehard 313 Brigade.
Ilyas now sports a long white beard dyed with reddish henna. At the age of 45 he remains strongly built, although he carries the scars of war – he has lost an eye and an index finger. When we shook hands, his grip was powerful.
The host immediately served lunch, and we sat on the floor to eat.
"So, you have survived a third drone strike … why is the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] sniffing around you so much? I asked.
The question was somewhat rhetorical. He is one of the most high-profile al-Qaeda commanders, with a Pakistani bounty of 50 million rupees (US$600,000) on his head. His position is defined differently by various intelligence and media organizations. Some say he is commander-in-chief of al-Qaeda’s global operations, while others say he is chief of al-Qaeda’s military wing.
If today al-Qaeda is divided into three spheres, Osama bin Laden is undoubtedly the symbol of the movement and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri defines al-Qaeda’s ideology and broader strategic vision. Ilyas, with his unmatched guerrilla expertise, turns the strategic vision into reality, provides the resources and gets targets achieved, but he chooses to remain in the background and very low key.
His bases and activities have always remained shrouded in secrecy. However, the arrest of five of his men in Pakistan earlier this year and their subsequent grilling helped lift the veil. Their information resulted in CIA drone strikes against him, the first in May and then again on September 7, when he was pronounced dead by Pakistani intelligence, and finally on September 14, after which the CIA said he was dead and called it a great success in the "war on terror".
"They are right in their pursuit. They know their enemy well. They know what I am really up to," Ilyas proudly replied.
Born in Bimbur (old Mirpur) in the Samhani Valley of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on February 10, 1964, Ilyas passed the first year of a mass communication degree at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. He did not continue due to his heavy involvement in jihadi activities.
The Kashmir Freedom Movement was his first exposure in the field of militancy, then the Harkat-ul Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI) and ultimately his legendary 313 Brigade. This grew into the most powerful group in South Asia and its network is strongly knitted in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. According to some CIA dispatches, the footprints of 313 Brigade are now in Europe and capable of the type of attack that saw a handful of militants terrorize the Indian city of Mumbai last November.
Little is documented of Ilyas’ life, and what has been reported is often contradictory. However, he is invariably described, certainly by world intelligence agencies, as the most effective, dangerous and successful guerrilla leader in the world.
He left the Kashmir region in 2005 after his second release from detention by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and headed for North Waziristan. He had previously been arrested by Indian forces, but he broke out of jail and escaped. He was then detained by the ISI as the suspected mastermind of an attack on then-president Pervez Musharraf, in 2003, but was cleared and released. The ISI then picked Ilyas up again in 2005 after he refused to close down his operations in Kashmir.
His relocation to the troubled border areas sent a chill down spines in Washington as they realized that with his vast experience, he could turn unsophisticated battle patterns in Afghanistan into audacious modern guerrilla warfare.
Ilyas’ track record spoke for itself. In 1994, he launched the al-Hadid operation in the Indian capital, New Delhi, to get some of his jihadi comrades released. His group of 25 people included Sheikh Omar Saeed (the abductor of US reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002) as his deputy. The group abducted several foreigners, including American, Israeli and British tourists and took them to Ghaziabad near Delhi. They then demanded that the Indian authorities release their colleagues, but instead they attacked the hideout. Sheikh Omar was injured and arrested. (He was later released in a swap for the passengers of a hijacked Indian aircraft). Ilyas escaped unhurt.
On February 25, 2000, the Indian army killed 14 civilians in Lonjot village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir after commandos had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) that separates the two Kashmirs. They returned to the Indian side with abducted Pakistani girls, and threw the severed heads of three of them at Pakistani soldiers.
The very next day, Ilyas conducted a guerilla operation against the Indian army in Nakyal sector after crossing the LoC with 25 fighters of 313 Brigade. They kidnapped an Indian army officer who was later beheaded – his head was paraded in the bazaars of Kotli back in Pakistani territory.
However, the most significant operation of Ilyas was in Aknor cantonment in Indian-administered Kashmir against the Indian armed forces following the massacre of Muslims in the Indian city of Gujarat in 2002. In cleverly planned attacks involving 313 Brigade divided into two groups, Indian generals, brigadiers and other senior officials were lured to the scene of the first attack. Two generals were injured (the Pakistan army could not injure a single Indian general in three wars) and several brigadiers and colonels were killed. This was one of the most telling setbacks for India in the long-running Kashmiri insurgency.
Despite what some reports claim, Ilyas was never a part of Pakistan’s special forces, nor even of the army. Nearly 30 years ago when he joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviets from the platform of the HUJI, he developed expertise in guerrilla warfare and explosives.
Within just months of arriving in the Afghan war theater in 2005, Kashmiri redefined the Taliban-led insurgency based on legendary Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap’s three-pronged guerrilla warfare strategy. For the Taliban, the main emphasis was to be placed on cutting NATO’s supply lines from all four sides of Afghanistan, and carrying out special operations similar to the Mumbai attack in Afghanistan.
Over the years, Ilyas has deliberately adopted a low key presence in the militants’ hierarchy. His attacks are just the opposite, although he never issues statements or claims responsibility for any operation.
His 313 Brigade is believed to be the main catalyst of high-profile operations such as the one in Mumbai and others in Afghanistan, as well as al-Qaeda’s operations in Somalia and to some extent in Iraq.
"Do you believe that the upcoming South Waziristan operation will be the ‘mother of all operations’ in the region, as some analysts say," I asked after we had finished lunch and I was alone with Ilyas and his trusted confidant.
"I don’t know how to play with words during an interview," Ilyas responded. "I have always been a field commander and I know the language of battlefields. I will try to answer your questions in the language I am familiar with. (Ilyas spoke mostly in Urdu, mixed with some Punjabi.)
"Saleem! I will draw your attention to the basics of the present war theater and use that to explain the whole strategy of the upcoming battles. Those who planned this battle actually aimed to bring the world’s biggest Satan [US] and its allies into this trap and swamp [Afghanistan]. Afghanistan is a unique place in the world where the hunter has all sorts of traps to choose from.
"It might be deserts, rivers, mountains and the urban centers as well. This was the thinking of the planners of this war who were sick and tired of the great Satan’s global intrigues and they aim for its demise to make this world a place of peace and justice. However, the great Satan was full of arrogance of its superiority and thought of Afghans as helpless statues who would be hit from all four sides by its war machines, and they would not have the power and capacity to retaliate.
"This was the illusion on which a great alliance of world powers came to Afghanistan, but due to their misplaced conceptions they gradually became trapped in Afghanistan. Today, NATO does not have any significance or relevance. They have lost the war in Afghanistan. Now, when they realized their defeat, they developed an emphasis that this entire battle is being fought from outside of Afghanistan, that is, the two Waziristans. To me, this military thesis is a mirage which has created a complex situation in the region and created reactions and counter-reactions. I would not like to go into the details, to me that was nothing but deviation. As a military commander, the reality is that the trap of Afghanistan is successful and the basic military targets on the ground have been achieved," Ilyas said.
I responded that the relocation of 313 Brigade from Kashmir was itself proof that foreign hands were involved in Afghanistan.
"The entire basis of your argument is wrong, that this war is being fought from outside of Afghanistan. This is just an out-of-context understanding of the whole situation. If you discuss myself and 313 Brigade, I decided to join the Afghan resistance as an individual and I had quite a reason for that. Everybody knows that only a decade ago I was fighting a war of liberation for my homeland Kashmir.
"However, I realized that decades of armed and political struggles could not help to inch forward a resolution of this issue. Nevertheless, East Timor’s issue was resolved without losing much time. Why? Because the entire game was in the hands of the great Satan, the USA. Organs like the UN and countries like India and Israel were simply the extension of its resources and that’s why there was a failure to resolve the Palestinian issue, the Kashmir issue and the plight of Afghanistan.
"So I and many people all across the world realized that analyzing the situation in any narrow regional political perspective was an incorrect approach. This is a different ball game altogether for which a unified strategy is compulsory. The defeat of American global hegemony is a must if I want the liberation of my homeland Kashmir, and therefore it provided the reasoning for my presence in this war theater.
Ilyas continued, "When I came here I found my step justified; how the world regional powers operate under the umbrella of the great Satan and how they are supportive of its great plans. This can be seen here in Afghanistan." He added that al-Qaeda’s regional war strategy, in which they have hit Indian targets, is actually to chop off American strength.
"The RAW [India's Research and Analysis Wing] has detachment command centers in the Afghan provinces of Kunar, Jalalabad, Khost, Argun, Helmand and Kandahar. The cover operations are road construction companies. For instance, the road construction contract from Khost city to the Tanai tribe area is handled by a contractor who is actually a current Indian army colonel. In Gardez, telecommunication companies are the cover for Indian intelligence operations. Mostly, their men operate with Muslim names, but actually the employees are Hindus."
"So should the world expect more Mumbai-like attacks?" I asked.
"That was nothing compared to what has already been planned for the future," Ilyas replied.
"Even against Israel and the USA?" I asked.
"Saleem, I am not a traditional jihadi cleric who is involved in sloganeering. As a military commander, I would say every target has a specific time and reasons, and the responses will be forthcoming accordingly," Ilyas said.
As I noted Kashmiri’s answers, I thought of how several years back he was the darling of the Pakistani armed forces, their pride. The highest military officers were proud to meet him at his base in Kashmir, they spent time with him and listened to the legends of his war games. Today, I had a different person in front of me – a man condemned as a terrorist by the Pakistani military establishment and their biggest wish is his death.
"What impressed you to join al-Qaeda?" I asked.
"We were both victims of the same tyrant. Today, the entire Muslim world is sick of Americans and that’s why they are agreeing with Sheikh Osama. If all of the Muslim world is asked to elect their leader, their choice would be either [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar or Sheikh Osama," Ilyas said.
"If it is so, why are a section of militants bent on war on Muslim states like Pakistan? Do you think this is correct?"
"Our battle cannot be against Muslims and believers. As I have mentioned earlier, what is happening at the moment in the Muslim world is a complexity due to American power games which have resulted into reactions and counter-reactions. This is a totally different debate and might deviate me from the real topic. The real game is the fight against the great Satan and its adherents," Ilyas said.
"What turned you from the most-beloved friend to the most-hated foe in the eyes of the Pakistani military establishment?" I asked.
"Pakistan is my beloved country and the people who live there are our brothers, sisters and relatives. I cannot even think of going against its interests. It was never the Pakistan army that was against me, but certain elements who branded me as an enemy to cover up their weaknesses and to appease their masters," Ilyas said.
"What is 313 Brigade?" I asked.
"I cannot tell you, except war is all tactics and this is all 313 Brigade is about; reading the enemy’s mind and reacting accordingly. The world thought that Prophet Mohammad only left women behind. They forgot there were real men also who did not know what defeat was all about. The world is only familiar with those so-called Muslims who only follow the direction of the air and who don’t have their own will. They do not have their own minds or dimensions of their own. The world has yet to see real Muslims. They have so far only seen Osama and Mullah Omar, while there are thousands of others. Wolves only respect a lion’s iron slap; lions do not impress with the logic of a sheep," Ilyas said.
As the shadows of darkness emerged, the conversation ended. The next day, a curfew was to be imposed in North Waziristan in preparation for the grand operation in the region, and I had to leave the area. Ilyas also needed to move to a new destination, as he does on a regular basis to hide from the eyes of Predator drones.