Islamic Terrorism: Afghanistan to Bosnia and Then September 11

Islamic Terrorism: Afghanistan to Bosnia and Then September 11

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent

An Islamic mosque interior

The former conflict in Bosnia was manipulated by Islamic and Western media because both focused on the “innocent Muslims” and the need to protect Muslims from the forces of evil. In other words, “the forces of evil” were Christian Serbs and it was essential to protect the Muslims. However, nothing is ever that simple because a “hidden war” was happening in which radical Islamists and terrorists were allowed to travel to Bosnia despite the vast distances. Also, many well known terrorists and terrorist organizations were allowed to freely bypass so many security checks. Therefore, just what was this “hidden hand” and how did this calamity impact on September 11th?

According to Vojin Joksimovich, author of The Revenge of the Prophet, he states on page 298 that “Osama Bin Laden saw a great opportunity in Bosnia and established a base of operations in Europe against Al Qaeda’s true enemy, the U.S. The Afghan Jihad and the Gulf War combined to produce fertile ground for 9/11. However, Bosnia became the direct springboard for 9/11, the Madrid train bombings and probably London.”

However, during the Bosnian conflict the mass media ignored the role of radical Islam and international terrorist networks. The same mass media also did not show Christian Serbs being beheaded or killed in other vile ways. Instead, the media focused on an overtly simplistic point of view and this applied to demonizing the Christian Serbs and ignoring the reality on the ground. This applies to radical Islamists and international terrorists killing and slaughtering at random and in the full knowledge that their crimes would be ignored.

Despite this, some writers and specialists are trying to enlighten people about the real “hidden war” and the more you dig, the more it becomes clear that both the Muslim leadership and international terrorists had “a free hand” in Bosnia. This in itself links Islamists from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a host of other nations, to both the war in Bosnia and September 11th. However, if this link is openly seen and debated, then how would this look in America and to people all over the world who have an interest in both the past conflict in Bosnia and the ongoing Islamization of Kosovo?

B. Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi) states in the South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No 2251, that “al-Sharq al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned, London-based daily, ran a front-page story on Abu Abdel Aziz and his activities in Bosnia. In August 1994, “Al-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem (The Straight Path)”, an Islamic journal published in Pakistan (Issue No. 33), carried an interview with Abu Abdel Aziz. The journal, without identifying his nationality, reported that Abu Abdel Aziz spoke perfect Urdu and that he had spent extended periods in Kashmir. It was stated that Abu Abdel Aziz’s followers, believed to be mostly Indian Muslims from the Gulf, were part of the seventh battalion of the Bosnian Army (SEDMI KORPUS, ARMIJA REPUBLIKE BH).

B. Raman continues that in the interview he expressed that “I was one of those who heard about Jihad in Afghanistan when it started. I used to hear about it, but was hesitant about (the purity and intention of) this Jihad. One of those who came to our land (presumably Saudi Arabia) was Sheikh Dr. Abdallah Azzam. I heard him rallying the youth to come forth and (join him) to go to Afghanistan. This was in 1984 — I think. I decided to go and check the matter for myself. This was the beginning (of my journey with) Jihad. Then the conquest of Kabul came.”

“A new Jihad started in Bosnia, (we moved there), and we are with it. As to Arab Mujahideen (in Bosnia), they do not have a separate battalion. There is a battalion for non-Bosnian fighters. Arabs are a minority compared to those of the Mujahideen (gathered from around the World). This battalion is under a unified command and is called Kateebat al-Mujahideen (Mujahideen Battalion), or “El-Mudzahidin” as they call them in Bosnian. Militarily, it has a link to the Bosnian government under the general command of the Bosnian Armed Forces. It is in fact part of the seventh battalion (SEDMI KORPUS, ARMIJA REPUBLIKE BH) of the Bosnian Army. I am a field commander under the “General Unified Armed Command”. We have full jurisdiction in the region we are responsible for (Editor’s note: Mostly central Bosnia). The general command of the Muslim forces wants to see results; it does not dictate strategy or action.”

However, during the Bosnian conflict we were never told about the “hidden war” and this applies to Bill Clinton and the role of radical Islam and terrorism. Yet we are not talking about an empty conspiracy theory, on the contrary, the Republican Policy Committee on January 16, 1997, which can be viewed by clicking onto http://rpc.senate.gov/releases/1997/iran.htm is damning, to say the least. Therefore, it is clear that many people within important circles in America are also alarmed by the real facts because Islamic terrorist networks are still operating in Bosnia and in other parts of the Balkans.

The House Subcommittee report concludes on page 2 that “The Administration’s Iranian green light policy gave Iran an unprecedented foothold in Europe and has recklessly endangered American lives and US strategic interests.” The report also highlights the role of other nations and leading terrorists who conspired with Bill Clinton during the collapse of Yugoslavia.

It states the need “To understand how the Clinton green light would lead to this degree of Iranian influence, it is necessary to remember that the policy was adopted in the context of extensive and growing radical Islamic activity in Bosnia. That is, the Iranians and other Muslim militants had long been active in Bosnia; the American green light was an important political signal to both Sarajevo and the militants that the United States was unable or unwilling to present an obstacle to those activities — and, to a certain extent, was willing to cooperate with them. In short, the Clinton Administration’s policy of facilitating the delivery of arms to the Bosnian Muslims made it the de facto partner of an ongoing international network of governments and organizations pursuing their own agenda in Bosnia: the promotion of Islamic revolution in Europe. That network involves not only Iran but Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (a key ally of Iran), and Turkey, together with front groups supposedly pursuing humanitarian and cultural activities.”

The report is clearly highlighting “the hidden hand” and how radical Islamists like Osama Bin Laden were allowed to fund and cause untold misery and suffering in Bosnia. This is clearly an untold story or a story on the margins because images of Bosnia according to the majority of the mass media was about a democratic led Bosnian Muslim leadership which supported pluralism and the rule of law. However, in reality you had elements within the Bosnian Muslim leadership, alongside the secret Clinton agenda, shaking hands with Islamic terrorists and killers who were intent on killing Christian Serbs in order to create an Islamic state.

The report also focuses on the role of so-called humanitarian organizations which were supporting the terrorist network by stating that “…….one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phony humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96] TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Bin laden, a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96] (Sheik Rahman, a native of Egypt, is currently in prison in the United States; letter bombs addressed to targets in Washington and London, apparently from Alexandria, Egypt, are believed connected with his case. Bin Laden was a resident in Khartoum, Sudan, until last year; he is now believed to be in Afghanistan, “where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.” [WP, 9/22/96])

In my earlier article called Bosnia and Clinton’s Radical Islamists, I stated that “Sky News has obtained clear and proper evidence of a major cover-up and footages of massacres against Serbian Christians have been seen. According to the investigation and footages which were shown, it is abundantly clear that thousands of radical Islamists from all over the world were given a free-reign in Bosnia”.

“This free-reign meant that innocent Serbian Christians were to meet terrible and disturbing deaths at the hands of radical Islamists who celebrated openly while cutting the heads off innocent civilians. The same Islamic forces which unleashed September 11th and which stone people to death in order to create “year zero,” were welcomed openly by ex-President Clinton and by people within his administration.”

Returning back to Vojin Joksimovich, he states on page 248 that “The Clinton administration not only turned a blind eye to radical Islam but also actively supported the Islamists, including the Al Qaeda terrorists. This commitment to actively support an Islamist agenda in the Balkans offers a plausible explanation why Bin Laden and Al Qaeda did not show up on the radar screen in Washington until late 1995.”

Vojin Joksimovich continues on page 249 by stating that “By virtue of making Iran-led Islamists and Al Qaeda allies of convenience in the Balkans, the Clinton Administration had provided an invaluable service to terrorism. Iran and Al Qaeda established a beachhead in the centre of Europe. Al Qaeda formed a terrorist brigade called Al Mujahid, which played the pivotal part in 9/11 and the Madrid train bombings.”

In other words, while the mountains of Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan were vital in arming and funding radical Islam against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan, the Islamic terrorist network was now given a beachhead to spread their terror in the centre of Europe. At the same time, Islamic networks and organizations learnt how to play the media card and how to utilize the humanitarian network system in order to further the cause of radical Islam. Also, it is clear that intelligence agencies were involved in creating false passports and Islamists could freely travel between many continents. Therefore, the Islamic revivalist movement was spreading from Afghanistan and Pakistan and moving to Europe and further afield.

B. Raman also highlights the international nature of the Bosnian war by stating that “Arab “Afghans” have been moving further afield as well. Some are in Bosnia, helping fellow Muslims fight the Christian Serbs. Between 200 and 300 of these veterans of the Afghan war, including non-Arab Muslims, are based in Zenica in Bosnia, where they are widely feared. Hundreds of “Afghans” have made their way to Bosnia. The number of non-Bosnian Muslims in the military is estimated at between 500 and 1,000 from a dozen countries in the Middle East. From all accounts, they have fought with some distinction. Some 300 “Afghans,” organized into a unit known as “the Guerrillas,” operate with the Bosnian 3rd Corps in Zenica. Algerian leader Kamar Kharban, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, has visited Bosnia several times over the last two years.

“The ‘Afghans’ and other Muslim volunteers have also been a source of friction with the Bosnians, who are largely secular Muslims. The outsiders’ religious zeal and arrogant commitment to their holy war has angered their hosts. But many of the volunteers represent wealthy organizations or countries whose support the beleaguered Bosnians count on. The “Afghans” are believed to have been behind the murder of British aid worker Paul Goodall on Jan. 27, 1994, near Zenica. Three Muslim volunteers, all Arabs carrying fake Pakistani passports, were shot dead by Bosnian military police at a roadblock near Sarajevo. Three others were arrested by police for questioning in the murder. The Al-Kifah, or Struggle, Refugee Center in New York, which used to recruit and raise funds for Mujahedeen headed for Afghanistan, last year announced it was switching its operations to Bosnia. It was established in the mid-1980s by Egyptian Mustafa Rahman as a joint venture with Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, spiritual leader of Gamaat al-Islamiya. “

In 1996, in a book titled “Offensive In the Balkans”, Mr. Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Republican Task Force On Terrorism And Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives, wrote as follows on the Bosnian Jihad:

“…The build-up of new Islamist units was completed in Bosnia- Herzegovina in the spring of 1995. These forces are closely associated with the Armed Islamist Movement (AIM) and Islamist international terrorism, and include the first organized deployment of Martyrdom Forces (suicide terrorists), both veteran Arabs and newly trained Bosnians.

“These new activities were conducted under the guidance of the new Islamist headquarters in Teheran and Karachi, decided upon during the Popular Arab Islamic Conference (PAIC) convened in Khartoum in the first days of April 1995. The Conference decided to establish “new Islamist representative offices” for the international Islamist movement. The new regional center in Tehran will be responsible for Islamist activities (training, equipping, operational support, etc.) in Bosnia-Herzegovina (as well as other politically-sensitive hot spots), while the comparably new center in Karachi would be responsible for Islamist activities in Albania (and Kosovo). Furthermore, this overall Islamist effort and build-up is not just to cope with the situation in the Balkans, but also to be used as A SOUND BASE FOR THE ISLAMISTS’ ABILITY TO EXPAND OPERATIONS INTO WESTERN EUROPE – mainly France, the UK and Germany…”

“Meanwhile, the leadership of the Armed Islamic Movement (AIM) was formally notified in mid-May 1995 that the “Mujahedin Battalion is an officially-recognized army battalion of the Bosnian army. It is comprised of non-Bosnian volunteers, called ANSAR, along with Bosnian Mujahedin. The formal name of the unit is “Armija Republic BiH, 3 Korpus, Odred el-Mujahedin”. The commander, an Egyptian “Afghan”, was identified as “Ameer Kateebat al-Mujahedin Abu al-Ma’ali” – a religious-military title and a nom the guerre. The Islamist force is based in Travnik and Zenica areas in central Bosnia…”

In my article called Radical Islam and Terrorism in the Balkans I state that “If we turn the clock back and focus on Alija Izetbegovic it is clear that he had stated that he believed in an Islamic state and he clearly welcomed radical Islamists into Bosnia. The former leader was instrumental in helping to spread radical Islam because in his book The Islamic Declaration it is clear that Izetbegovic desired an Islamic state and pictures show him smiling with radical Islamists who were bent on slitting the throats of Christians.”

Izetbegovic stated that “… Muslim nations will never accept anything that is explicitly against Islam, because Islam here is not merely a faith and the law, Islam has become love and compassion. He who rises against Islam will reap nothing but hate and resistance. …”

Therefore, the leader of the Muslims in Bosnia during this period, Alija Izetbegovic, shared a common thread with the global jihad movement because he also stated“… In one of the thesis for an Islamic order today we have stated that it is a natural function of the Islamic order to gather all Muslims and Muslim communities throughout the world into one. Under present conditions, this desire means a struggle for creating a great Islamic federation from Morocco to Indonesia, from the tropical Africa to the Central Asia. …”

The international nature of the Bosnian war is clear and B. Raman also highlights an important international meeting because he comments that “Other reports indicated that in May 1995, like-minded fundamentalist groups formed a “Rapid Deployment Force” called “Katiba al Mujahideen (Battalion of the Mujahideen) at a meeting held in the Philippines. The meeting was attended among others by al-Sheikh Abu Abdul Aziz, described as the Chief Commander of the 7th Brigade of Muslim forces in Bosnia, Salamat Hashan, the Chairman of the Moro Islamic Front (Philippines), Abdul Karim, Chairman of the Islamic Front (Eritrea) and Prof. Hafiz Mohd Saeed, Amir MDI (Pakistan). The meeting chalked out the following objectives- (a) nationalities and frontiers on the basis of races was an un-Islamic perception; (b) to work in support of Muslims in all those parts of the world where action was being taken against them; (c) the Mujahideen of the newly formed Katiba Al-Mujahideen would carry out militant operations and fight in Kashmir to eliminate un-Islamic perceptions of nationalities and frontiers.”

In concluding this article, I will return back to the book called The Revenge of the Prophet by Vojin Joksimovich because you have a very interesting quote which sums up the “hidden war.” On page 146 Gregory Copley states “What is clear is that analysts and the media in the West did not, and still do not, understand the linkage between the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia in the 1990s and the broader terrorist wars, which have been waged against the West.”

Also, on the same page Vojin Joksimovich states a very interesting quote because he states that “It is not far fetched to assert that if the U.S. allowed the Serbs to deal with the Islamists in Bosnia, the 9/11 calamity may have been averted.”

Irrespective of your opinion about the Bosnian war, which was a war where innocents were killed on all sides. It is clear that a “hidden war” was going on and this war was kept from people by the mass media and national governments who had vested interests. However, major players gave Islamists a free hand and it is clear that Islamists had a higher agenda and this agenda is still ongoing because Saudi funding continues to support radical Islam in Bosnia and throughout the Balkans.

However, did events in Bosnia enable September 11th to take place? This answer may be unanswerable or the answer may be known but kept secret because of the consequences?

Despite this, it is clear that Islamists did obtain a beachhead in Europe whereby Islamic military camps and international Islamists could use Muslim dominated areas in Bosnia and then Kosovo. It is also abundantly clear that fake passports were easily given and international systems were set up in order to move Islamists and terrorists to Bosnia and Kosovo. Also, it is clear that radical Islam is gaining ground today in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Therefore, given the past history and the terrorist free hand, you may just have another ticking time bomb which may erupt in the future?

The Military Conundrum: Follow Orders, Or Follow The Constitution?

The Military Conundrum: Follow Orders, Or Follow The Constitution?

By Giordano Bruno

Neithercorp Press – 02/18/2010

posse_comitatus.jpg

I should preface this article by saying that I am not a military man, nor have I ever been.  Something in my genetic or spiritual makeup prevents me from taking orders from those who have not yet earned my personal respect, an act which a professional soldier is expected to conform to on a daily basis.  I did spend a good part of my adolescence next to one of the largest military bases in the country, and I remember vividly the effect this had on the atmosphere of the city I lived.  Many of my high school friends had considered no other career beyond joining the armed forces.  Most joined immediately after graduation, and very few did so because they wanted to go to war, or imagined themselves as “rough riders” off to kill evil doers.  Of course, there was the random guy who had played too many computer games, thinking he would fall right into the Navy Seals and become a comic book superhero, but for the most part, those I knew who had joined did so because job options were limited, and the military offered financial security.

I relate this because I have found an increasingly inaccurate view being promoted on both sides of the debate over the moral path and the proper role of military forces.  One side hates the military passionately, viewing it as a venomous monstrosity, a dark creature sent to do the bidding of crooked politicians and Globalist puppeteers.  The other side idolizes and romanticizes the military as some kind of infallible shield of the West, an organization touched by the heavens that deserves our unquestioning reverence.  The reality is much less cinematic or fantastical.  The reality, is that most military personnel are simply regular people, not angels, or demons, but normal individuals like you and I in an extraordinarily difficult position.

For them, the search for a stable life and perhaps a college degree has led them into unjust wars based on the lies and political maneuvering of Elitists, fighting an enemy created using smoke and mirrors magic tricks and CIA compartmentalization.  Now, they must fight a “war on terrorism,” a war which can never be won because anyone can be labeled a terrorist, and therefore, the enemy never disappears, he is never defeated, his face only changes from one campaign to the next.

Some in the military have bought into the war on terror fairytale wholeheartedly.  Some because they feel they have to in order to give purpose to their actions and the lives they lead in those far off deserts.  Many others are questioning why they are being sent to these places to find Al-Qaeda, only to end up fighting the local civilians who see them as an occupying force.  Some military men are questioning the intentions and even the legitimacy of our government altogether.  In the very near future, it is quite possible that all men and women of the armed forces will be confronted with a fundamental dilemma of conscience; does the government they fight for truly represent the people they are tasked to defend, and what will they do if that same government turns on the people it is meant to represent?

Martial Law and the Constitutional Imperative

A currency crisis looms on the horizon for the United States with the very real possibility of ending in hyperinflation and the bankruptcy of the Treasury.  The deliberately faulty monetary policies of our government and the private Federal Reserve have made this occurrence inevitable.  Such an event would result in the most intensely threatening social atmosphere America has seen since the Civil War.  Hyperinflation causes not just a breakdown of the general economy, but also erases the savings of the entire nation by devaluing the dollar to worthlessness.  Unlike the Great Depression (a deflationary collapse), a hyper-inflationary disintegration would shut down ALL economic activity except for trade and barter.  Civil unrest would be difficult to avoid.  When people begin to starve, even the most apathetic will take to the streets.

Preparations for a breakdown of this magnitude have already been made, most likely because elements of the government know full well that their financial actions will cause an economic disaster.

Towards the end of his second term, George W. Bush issued Presidential Security Directive 51, which under continuity of government gives the Executive Branch and the head of the Department of Homeland Security full control over state and local governments without the consent of Congress during a national emergency.  The document was considered so volatile that the White House censored most of its contents.  In fact, not even Congress has been allowed to see the entire PDD 51 document, which in itself is a gross violation of Constitutional Law.  PDD 51 along with the Patriot Act also allows the President to declare a “national emergency” whenever he sees fit, thus giving him the power to pronounce himself de facto dictator of the U.S. without any checks or balances from the other branches of government.

Barack Obama, to the shock of many Democrats who believed he would rescind such orders after taking office, has actually supported them fully and is now quietly hiding Patriot Act legislation in his latest jobs bill so that Congress will be forced to pass it. (Note that politico.com buried this info on the last page of the article.)

The provisions of the Posse Comitatus Act are meant to prevent military forces from occupying American soil in a law enforcement capacity.  However, the act has been all but eroded away through legal wrangling, as was evident in the actions taken during the Hurricane Katrina incident in New Orleans:

more about “National Guard Confiscating Guns In N…“, posted with vodpod

Under martial law, all Constitutional rights and personal liberties are no longer legally protected.  For instance, the Patriot Act and the Homegrown Terrorist Act allow the government to label anyone, regardless of how ambiguous the charges, as an enemy combatant.  This includes American civilians.  As an enemy combatant, you would no longer have rights under Habeas Corpus.  You could be apprehended, charged, and locked away without ever seeing a lawyer, without ever contacting your family, and you could be held indefinitely (life imprisonment without a trial).  Many Americans have a tendency to take for granted such official protections as the right to a trial or even a simple phone call.  In a martial law scenario, it would be difficult to conjure even the semblance of a fair legal system.

Military control over civilian affairs often leads to totalitarianism, and not always because this is what military personnel wish for.  The military system itself is not built on Constitutional ideals, and is therefore philosophically and politically incapable of administrating a society based on personal liberty.  The military does not operate on democracy.  Soldiers do not vote on decisions.  They are not given the legal option of choice.  They live in a highly restrictive social structure in which orders are passed and followed generally without question.  Most importantly, soldiers are not trained to dispense balanced justice or mediate civilian affairs; they are trained to kill enemies, and that is all.  Martial law not only tears down much need barriers between the military and civilian dichotomy, but it also simultaneously creates a dangerous division.  The military is trained to fight and destroy the opposition, but what happens when the citizenry itself is painted as the opposition?  Without a Constitutional framework, only disaster will result.

Even more disturbing is the philosophical methodology being fed to military personnel over the past two decades.  Concepts put forward by propagandists like former Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, who purports that a soldier’s only concern should be killing, that questions of morality and ethics are “relative” (ideas pushed by men like Machiavelli and The Marquis De Sade), and that in order to win, the modern American soldier must set aside his conscience and become as monstrous as his enemy:

The New Warrior Class

In Praise of Attrition

Ralph Peters was an advisor to John McCain during the last presidential election, and his views are widely circulated to this day.  The moral relativism Ralph Peters promotes is designed in a very specific and psychologically strategic way.  He preaches the need for a sense of national pride and defense of democracy and invokes images of evil cave dwelling Islamic goblins driven by religious blood lust and a complete lack of empathy for human life.  We are the righteous “crusaders,” and they are the “invading horde.”  Then, Peters states unequivocally that in order for us to “win” the war on terror (which cannot be won), our men and women in the armed forces must BECOME the demon they have been sent to thwart.  It is a strange but effective manipulation; invent an enemy from thin air, build that enemy up as the most vicious and malevolent force the world has ever seen, then, tell your soldiers that they cannot fight effectively against such a force unless they are willing to be just as vicious and unethical.  If successful, this manipulation could lead our armed forces towards a collective mindset drowned in shadow, enabling acts so horrendous, a repeat of WWII-like genocide and wholesale oppression would not be out of the question.  The crimes of those working at Abu Ghraibare only one small example.

The Next Fake Enemy:  Homegrown Terrorists

Since 2007, the government has worked in tandem with the Department of Homeland Security and globalist disinformation groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League to push a new brand of propaganda aimed at diffusing the growing influence of the Liberty Movement and the philosophy of Constitutionalism, apparently in preparation for the institution of martial law.  This propaganda is designed to categorize and label all Constitutionalists as “homegrown terrorists” and in some cases even attempts to link them with Al-Qaeda.  This is a common disinformation tactic called “False Association.”  Globalists in our own government hope that by drawing false connections between the Liberty Movement and terrorism, they can dissuade the public from listening to our arguments objectively, or perhaps even make the public fear us as a threat to their safety.  Their hope is that by polarizing sections of the populace against each other, Americans will be completely distracted from the real threat; the dissolution of our Democratic Republic and the centralization of power into the hands of an elite minority.

The move to brand anyone who opposes globalization, or anyone who supports a Constitutional foundation as a terrorist is made quite obvious in a recently leaked DHS supported document now known notoriously as the MIAC Report.

This report was part of a wider effort by the Virginia “Fusion Center” and their work on “threat assessment.”  The documents they released were so broad in their definitions of terrorism that in fact, under their guidelines, almost ANYONE could be labeled as a potential terrorist.  Not only this, but the documents also set the stage for false flag attacks.  There will come a day when any event, real or engineered, will be immediately accredited to “homegrown extremists” regardless of evidence.

One example of ADMITTED terrorism engineered by our government in conjunction with the CIA and security agencies in Europe would be “Operation Gladio.”  American Special Forces with the consent of European officials killed innocent civilians and then falsely blamed communist subversives and terrorists.

The Fusion Center documents were for law enforcement eyes only, and were not meant to be seen by the public.  They show conclusively that the government is indeed making every effort to pigeon-hole average citizens as a threat to national security.   They show that this is not some random and misguided report by an overzealous politician, but a widespread and organized move by several sectors of government to demonize Constitutionalists.  In fact, fusion centers like that in Virginia have been set up all over the country.

What these documents reveal, is that there may come a time in the near future where military and law enforcement personnel could be ordered to forgo the Constitutional laws they were originally mandated to protect, and suppress American citizens whose rights they were supposed to defend.

The Choice:  Rationalize The Crime, Or Follow Your Conscience

In the event of an economic collapse, many rationalizations will be used to manipulate the military and the public into conforming to martial law.  Military men and women will be told that it is necessary to maintain a sense of order, and without this order, many people will die, and the country will fall to ruin.  They will also be told that anyone who opposes martial law is simply an “extremist,” and that these people should be dealt with accordingly.  The public will be told that while the government along with central banks did in fact trigger the financial crisis, it was merely an “accidental blunder” and that the only solution is to dissolve personal liberties for our own safety and the “greater good.”  We will be told that these restrictions are “temporary,” and that one day our rights will be returned once all is well again.  Eventually, when these rights are not returned as promised, they will tell us that the Constitution is an outdated concept, that its tenets are no longer feasible in our modern age of terrorism, that we must progress to a more “realistic” way of constructing and governing our society.  That a new order has dawned…

Men and women in the armed forces will be faced with a decision; do they believe the lies and overt rationalizations, do they defy their Constitutional mandate and deny Americans their rights, or do they trust their conscience, and disobey orders?

Both choices offer severe consequences.  While defying unlawful orders is not only honorable but reasonable, it could result in punishment up to and including being labeled “traitorous.”  Following orders would mean avoiding retribution, and a soldier could even convince himself while committing unconstitutional acts that he is “simply doing what he was told,” but in the end, only a sociopath can escape his conscience, and no one escapes the effects, direct or indirect, inherent in their actions.

Some soldiers have already organized around the principle of conscience, and have stated that if asked to carry out any procedure that would facilitate martial law, they would refuse.  The largest of these organizations is called Oathkeepers.

In his essay entitled “The New Warrior Class,” Ralph Peters describes his definition of the difference between a “warrior” and a “soldier.”  Of course, in his view a warrior is a sort of mercenary thug, a man driven only by violence and greed, without honor or morality, a “destroyer of order.”  He describes a soldier as being driven by allegiance to the state, willing to sacrifice himself for said state, and a “restorer of order.”  His definitions appear to be based on nothing more than his own whims and biases.  I am not a soldier, but I have been a martial artist for most of my life, and I understand the warrior mentality; what we call Bushido.  If I were to rewrite Peters’ duality, I would say that a warrior is a man who chooses his battles based on a personal directive, while a soldier is a man whose battles are chosen for him regardless of what he believes.

A soldier who follows orders which he knows to be reprehensible, which he knows in his heart to be wrong, is treading down the path of the mercenary, the hired thug.  Suppressing the citizenry for the sake of order is also unnecessary not to mention inconsequential.  Order can never be truly restored under a government with auspices of criminality.

While the threat of punishment may be dissuasive to some soldiers considering defiance, the bottom line is that there are things far more important in this world than orders from on high, or the fear of personal danger.  Each and every one of us is born with inherent and archetypal qualities, and these qualities establish our inner dialogue, our morality.  Where these qualities come from is not yet certain, but scientifically, and psychologically, they are a fact of existence.  Without them, we would be lost.  Without them, we become our own destroyers.  Every human being is given this gift; the gift of free will, the chance to make a choice.  May those in the military use this gift of choice wisely, for if they do not, they risk a future in which such freedom is bound, and our truest natures are enslaved.

Opium, the CIA and the Karzai Administration

“The ‘poppy for medicine’ initiative of the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS, formerly known as The Senlis Council): to establish a trial licensing scheme, allowing farmers to sell their opium for the production of much-needed essential medicines such as morphine and codeine.”

Can the US Triumph in the Drug-Addicted War in Afghanistan? Opium, the CIA and the Karzai Administration

Peter Dale Scott

9opium18522.jpg
Japan Focus , April 9, 2010

Alfred McCoy’s important new article for TomDispatch (March 30, 2010) deserves to mobilize Congress for a serious revaluation of America’s ill-considered military venture in Afghanistan. The answer to the question he poses in his title – “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State? – is amply shown by his impressive essay to be a resounding “No!” . . . not until there is fundamental change in the goals and strategies both of Washington and of Kabul.

He amply documents that

• the Afghan state of Hamid Karzai is a corrupt narco-state,to which Afghans are forced to pay bribes each year $2.5 billion, a quarter of the nation’s economy;

• the Afghan economy is a narco-economy: in 2007 Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country’s GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.

Map of Afghanistan showing major poppy fields and intensity of conflict 2007-08

• military options for dealing with the problem are at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive: McCoy argues that the best hope lies in reconstructing the Afghan countryside until food crops become a viable alternative to opium, a process that could take ten or fifteen years, or longer. (I shall argue later for an interim solution: licensing Afghanistan with the International Narcotics Board to sell its opium legally.)

Perhaps McCoy’s most telling argument is that in Colombia cocaine at its peak represented only about 3 percent of the national economy, yet both the FARC guerillas and the right-wing death squads, both amply funded by drugs, still continue to flourish in that country. To simply eradicate drugs, without first preparing for a substitute Afghan agriculture, would impose intolerable strains on an already ravaged rural society whose only significant income flow at this time derives from opium. One has only to look at the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, after a draconian Taliban-led reduction in Afghan drug production (from 4600 tons to 185 tons) left the country a hollow shell.

On its face, McCoy’s arguments would appear to be incontrovertible, and should, in a rational society, lead to a serious debate followed by a major change in America’s current military policy. McCoy has presented his case with considerable tact and diplomacy, to facilitate such a result.

The CIA’s Historic Responsibility for Global Drug Trafficking

Unfortunately, there are important reasons why such a positive outcome is unlikely any time soon. There are many reasons for this, but among them are some unpleasant realities which McCoy has either avoided or downplayed in his otherwise brilliant essay, and which have to be confronted if we will ever begin to implement sensible strategies in Afghanistan.

The first reality is that the extent of CIA involvement in and responsibility for the global drug traffic is a topic off limits for serious questioning in policy circles, electoral campaigns, and the mainstream media. Those who have challenged this taboo, like the journalist Gary Webb, have often seen their careers destroyed in consequence.

Since Alfred McCoy has done more than anyone else to heighten public awareness of CIA responsibility for drug trafficking in American war zones, I feel awkward about suggesting that he downplays it in his recent essay. True, he acknowledges that “Opium first emerged as a key force in Afghan politics during the CIA covert war against the Soviets,” and he adds that “the CIA’s covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world’s largest heroin producing region.”

But in a very strange sentence, McCoy suggests that the CIA was passivelydrawn into drug alliances in the course of combating Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the years 1979-88, whereas in fact the CIA clearly helpedcreate them precisely to fight the Soviets:

In one of history’s ironic accidents, the southern reach of communist China and the Soviet Union had coincided with Asia’s opium zone along this same mountain rim, drawing the CIA into ambiguous alliances with the region’s highland warlords.

There was no such “accident” in Afghanistan, where the first local drug lords on an international scale – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abu Rasul Sayyaf – were in fact launched internationally as a result of massive and ill-advised assistance from the CIA, in conjunction with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. While other local resistance forces were accorded second-class status, these two clients of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, precisely because they lacked local support, pioneered the use of opium and heroin to build up their fighting power and financial resources.1 Both, moreover, became agents of salafist extremism, attacking the indigenous Sufi-influenced Islam of Afghanistan. And ultimately both became sponsors of al Qaeda.2

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (top) and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf

CIA involvement in the drug trade hardly began with its involvement in the Soviet-Afghan war. To a certain degree, the CIA’s responsibility for the present dominant role of Afghanistan in the global heroin traffic merely replicated what had happened earlier in Burma, Thailand, and Laos between the late 1940s and the 1970s. These countries also only became factors in the international drug traffic as a result of CIA assistance (after the French, in the case of Laos) to what would otherwise have been only local traffickers.

One cannot talk of “ironic accidents” here either. McCoy himself has shown how, in all of these countries, the CIA not only tolerated but assisted the growth of drug-financed anti-Communist assets, to offset the danger of Communist Chinese penetration into Southeast Asia. As in Afghanistan today CIA assistance helped turn the Golden Triangle, from the 1940s to the 1970s, into a leading source for the world’s opium.

In this same period the CIA recruited assets along the smuggling routes of the Asian opium traffic as well, in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Italy, France, Cuba, Honduras, and Mexico. These assets have included government officials like Manuel Noriega of Panama or Vladimiro Montesinos of Peru, often senior figures in CIA-assisted police and intelligence services. But they have also included insurrectionary movements, ranging from the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s to (according to Robert Baer and Seymour Hersh) the al Qaeda-linked Jundallah, operating today in Iran and Baluchistan.3

CIA map tracing opium traffic from Afghanistan to Europe, 1998. The CIA cite, updated in 2008 states “Most Southwest Asian heroin flows overland through Iran and Turkey to Europe via the Balkans.” But in fact drugs also flow through the states of the former Soviet Union, and through Pakistan and Dubai.

The Karzai Government, not the Taliban, Dominate the Afghan Dope Economy

Perhaps the best example of such CIA influence via drug traffickers today is in Afghanistan itself, where those accused of drug trafficking include President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai (an active CIA asset), and Abdul Rashid Dostum (a former CIA asset).4 The drug corruption of the Afghan government must be attributed at least in part to the U.S. and CIA decision in 2001 to launch an invasion with the support of the Northern Alliance, a movement that Washington knew to be drug-corrupted.5

In this way the U.S. consciously recreated in Afghanistan the situation it had created earlier in Vietnam. There too (like Ahmed Wali Karzai a half century later) the president’s brother, Ngo dinh Nhu, used drugs to finance a private network that was used to rig an election for Ngo dinh Diem.6 Thomas H. Johnson, coordinator of anthropological research studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, has pointed out the unlikelihood of a counterinsurgency program succeeding when that program is in support of a local government that is flagrantly dysfunctional and corrupt.7

Thus I take issue with McCoy when he, echoing the mainstream U.S. media, depicts the Afghan drug economy as one dominated by the Taliban. (In McCoy’s words, “If the insurgents capture that illicit economy, as the Taliban have done, then the task becomes little short of insurmountable.”) The Taliban’s share of the Afghan opium economy is variously estimated from $90 to $400 million. But the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the total Afghan annual earnings from opium and heroin are in the order of from $2.8 to $3.4 billion.8

Clearly the Taliban have not “captured” this economy, of which the largest share by far is controlled by supporters of the Karzai government. In 2006 a report to the World Bank argued “that at the top level, around 25-30 key traffickers, the majority of them in southern Afghanistan, control major transactions and transfers, working closely with sponsors in top government and political positions.”9 In 2007 the London Daily Mail reported that “the four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government.”10

The American media have confronted neither this basic fact nor the way in which it has distorted America’s opium and war policies in Afghanistan. The Obama administration appears to have shifted away from the ill-advised eradication programs of the Bush era, which are certain to lose the hearts and minds of the peasantry. It has moved instead towards a policy of selective interdiction of the traffic, explicitly limited to attacks on drug traffickers who are supporting the insurgents.11

This policy may or may not be effective in weakening the Taliban. But to target what constitutes about a tenth of the total traffic will clearly never end Afghanistan’s current status as the world’s number one narco-state. Nor will it end the current world post-1980s heroin epidemic, which has created five million addicts in Pakistan, over two million addicts inside Russia, eight hundred thousand addicts in America, over fifteen million addicts in the world, and one million addicts inside Afghanistan itself. Nor will it end the current world post-1980s heroin epidemic, which has created five million addicts in Pakistan, over two million addicts inside Russia, eight hundred thousand addicts in America, over fifteen million addicts in the world, and one million addicts inside Afghanistan itself.

The Obama government’s policy of selective interdiction also helps explain its reluctance to consider the most reasonable and humane solution to the world’s Afghan heroin epidemic. This is the “poppy for medicine” initiative of the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS, formerly known as The Senlis Council): to establish a trial licensing scheme, allowing farmers to sell their opium for the production of much-needed essential medicines such as morphine and codeine.12

The proposal has received support from the European Parliament and in Canada; but it has come under heavy attack in the United States, chiefly on the grounds that it might well lead to an increase in opium production. It would however provide a short-term answer to the heroin epidemic that is devastating Europe and Russia – something not achieved by McCoy’s long-term alternative of crop substitution over ten or fifteen years, still less by the current Obama administration’s program of selective elimination of opium supplies.

An unspoken consequence of the “poppy for medicine” initiative would be to shrink the illicit drug proceeds that are helping to support the Karzai government. Whether for this reason, or simply because anything that smacks of legalizing drugs is a tabooed subject in Washington, the “poppy for medicine” initiative is unlikely to be endorsed by the Obama administration.

Afghan Heroin and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection

There is another important paragraph where McCoy, I think misleadingly, focuses attention on Afghanistan, rather than America itself, as the locus of the problem:

At a drug conference in Kabul this month, the head of Russia’s Federal Narcotics Service estimated the value of Afghanistan’s current opium crop at $65 billion.  Only $500 million of that vast sum goes to Afghanistan’s farmers, $300 million to the Taliban guerrillas, and the $64 billion balance “to the drug mafia,” leaving ample funds to corrupt the Karzai government (emphasis added) in a nation whose total GDP is only $10 billion.

What this paragraph omits is the pertinent fact that, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, only 5 or 6 percent of that $65 billion, or from $2.8 to $3.4 billion, stays inside Afghanistan itself.13 An estimated 80 percent of the earnings from the drug trade are derived from the countries of consumption – in this case, Russia, Europe, and America. Thus we should not think for a moment that the only government corrupted by the Afghan drug trade is the country of origin. Everywhere the traffic has become substantial, even if only in transit, it has survived through protection, which in other words means corruption.

There is no evidence to suggest that drug money from the CIA’s trafficker assets fattened the financial accounts of the CIA itself, or of its officers. But the CIA profited indirectly from the drug traffic, and developed over the years a close relationship with it. The CIA’s off-the-books war in Laos was one extreme case where it fought a war, using as its chief assets the Royal Laotian Army of General Ouane Rattikone and the Hmong Army of General Vang Pao, which were, in large part, drug-financed. The CIA’s massive Afghanistan operation in the 1980s was another example of a war that was in part drug-financed.

more about “Can the US Triumph in the Drug-Addict…“, posted with vodpod

Video shows the CIA’s Hmong Army led by Gen. Vang Pao in action in Laos

Protection for Drug Trafficking in America

Thus it is not surprising that the U.S. Government, following the lead of the CIA, has over the years become a protector of drug traffickers against criminal prosecution in this country. For example both the FBI and CIA intervened in 1981 to block the  indictment (on stolen car charges) of the drug-trafficking Mexican intelligence czar Miguel Nazar Haro, claiming that Nazar was “an essential repeat essential contact for CIA station in Mexico City,” on matters of “terrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence.”14 When Associate Attorney General Lowell Jensen refused to proceed with Nazar’s indictment, the San Diego U.S. Attorney, William Kennedy, publicly exposed his intervention. For this he was promptly fired.15

A recent spectacular example of CIA drug involvement was the case of the CIA’s Venezuelan asset General Ramon Guillén Davila. As I write in my forthcoming book, Fueling America’s War Machine,16

General Ramon Guillén Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, “The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airport as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels.” Time magazine reported that a single shipment amounted to 998 pounds, following earlier ones “totaling nearly 2,000 pounds.”17 Mike Wallace confirmed that “the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia into Venezuela.”18 According to the Wall Street Journal, the total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillén may have been more than 22 tons.19

But the United States never asked for Guillén’s extradition from Venezuela to stand trial; and in 2007, when he was arrested in Venezuela for plotting to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, his indictment was still sealed in Miami.20 Meanwhile, CIA officer Mark McFarlin, whom DEA Chief Bonner had also wished to indict, was never indicted at all; he merely resigned.21

Nothing in short happened to the principals in this case, which probably only surfaced in the media because of the social unrest generated in the same period by Gary Webb’s stories in the San Jose Mercury about the CIA, Contras, and cocaine.

Banks and Drug Money Laundering

Other institutions with a direct stake in the international drug traffic include major banks, which make loans to countries like Colombia and Mexico knowing full well that drug flows will help underwrite those loans’ repayment. A number of our biggest banks, including Citibank, Bank of New York, and Bank of Boston, have been identified as money laundering conduits, yet never have faced penalties serious enough to change their behavior.22 In short, United States involvement in the international drug traffic links the CIA, major financial interests, and criminal interests in this country and abroad.

Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, has said that  “Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis.” According to the London Observer, Costa

said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result…. Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. “In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor,” he said.23

A striking example of drug clout in Washington was the influence exercised in the 1980s by the drug money-laundering Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). As I report in my book, among the

highly-placed recipients of largesse from BCCI, its owners, and its affiliates, were Ronald Reagan’s Treasury Secretary James Baker, who declined to investigate BCCI;24 and Democratic Senator Joseph Biden and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which declined to investigate BCCI.25

In the end it was not Washington that first moved to terminate the banking activities in America of BCCI and its illegal U.S. subsidiaries; it was the determined activity of two outsiders  – Washington lawyer Jack Blum and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.26

Conclusion: The Source of the Global Drug problem is not Kabul, but Washington

I understand why McCoy, in his desire to change an ill-fated policy, is more decorous than I am in acknowledging the extent to which powerful American institutions—government, intelligence and finance—and not just the Karzai government, have been corrupted by the pervasive international drug traffic. But I believe that his tactfulness will prove counter-productive. The biggest source of the global drug problem is not in Kabul, but in Washington. To change this scandal will require the airing of facts which McCoy, in this essay, is reluctant to address.

In his magisterial work, The Politics of Heroin, McCoy tells the story of Carter’s White House drug advisor David Musto. In 1980 Musto told the White House Strategy Council on Drug Abuse that “we were going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets. Shouldn’t we try to avoid what we had done in Laos?”27 Denied access by the CIA to data to which he was legally entitled, Musto took his concerns public in May 1980, noting in a New York Times op-ed that Golden Crescent heroin was already (and for the first time) causing a medical crisis in New York. And he warned, presciently, that “this crisis is bound to worsen.”28

Musto hoped that he could achieve a change of policy by going public with a sensible warning about a disastrous drug-assisted adventure in Afghanistan. But his wise words were powerless against the relentless determination of what I have called the U.S. war machine in our government and political economy. I fear that McCoy’s sensible message, by being decorous precisely where it is now necessary to be outspoken, will suffer the same fate.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His book, Fueling America’s War Machine: Deep Politics and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection is in press, due Fall 2010 from Rowman & Littlefield.

He wrote this article for The Asia-Pacific Journal.

Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, “Can the US Triumph in the Drug-Addicted War in Afghanistan? Opium, the CIA and the Karzai Administration” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 14-5-10, April 5, 2010.

See the following articles on related subjects:

Alfred W. McCoy, “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State? The Opium Wars in Afghanistan.”

Peter Dale Scott, America’s Afghanistan: The National Security and a Heroin-Ravaged State

Peter Dale Scott, Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and the Afghan and Iraq Wars

Jeremy Kuzmarov, American Police Training and Political Violence: From the Philippines Conquest to the Killing Fields of Afghanistan and Iraq

MK Bhadrakumar, Afghanistan, Iran and US-Russian Conflict

Peter Van Agtmael, All You Need is Heroin: U.S. Troops in Their Own Hand

Notes

1 Eventually the United States and its allies gave Hekmatyar, who for a time became arguably the world’s leading drug trafficker, more than $1 billion in armaments. This was more than any other CIA client has ever received, before or since.

2 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 74-75: “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, said by the 911 Commission to have been the true author of the 9/11 plot, first conceived of it when he was with Abdul Sayyaf, a leader with whom bin Laden was still at odds [9/11 Commission Report, 145-50]. Meanwhile several of the men convicted of blowing up the World Trade Center in 1993, and the subsequent New York “day of terror” plot in 1995, had trained, fought with, or raised money for, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. [Tim Weiner, "Blowback from the Afghan Battlefield," New York Times, March 13, 1994].

3 Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, July 7, 2008

4 New York Times, October 27, 2009.

5 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 536. At the start of the U.S. offensive in 2001, according to Ahmed Rashid, “The Pentagon had a list of twenty-five or more drug labs and warehouses in Afghanistan but refused to bomb them because some belonged to the CIA’s new NA [Northern Alliance] allies” (Ahmed Rashid, Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia [New York: Viking, 2008], 320).

6 Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin, 1997), 239. Cf.New York Times, October 28, 2009.

7 Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, “Refighting the Last War: Afghanistan and the Vietnam Template,” Military Review, November-December 2009, 1.

8 The alert reader will notice that even $3.4 billion is less than 53 percent of the $10 billion attributed in the previous paragraph to the total Afghan GDP. These estimates from diverse sources are not precise, and cannot be expected to jibe perfectly.

9 “Afghanistan: Drug Industry and Counter-Narcotics Policy,” Report to the World Bank, November 28, 2006, emphasis added.

10 London Daily Mail. July 21, 2007. In December 2009 Harper’s published a detailed essay on Colonel Abdul Razik, “the master of Spin Boldak,” a drug trafficker and Karzai ally whose rise was “abetted by a ring of crooked officials in Kabul and Kandahar as well as by overstretched NATO commanders who found his control over a key border town useful in their war against the Taliban” (Matthieu Aikins, “The Master of Spin Boldak,” Harper’s Magazine, December 2009).

11 James Risen, “U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Lords Tied to Taliban,” New York Times, August 10, 2009: “United States military commanders have told Congress that…only those [drug traffickers] providing support to the insurgency would be made targets.”

12 Corey Flintoff, “Combating Afghanistan’s Opium Problem Through Legalization,” NPR, December 22, 2005.

13 CBS News April 1, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/01/world/main6353224.shtml.

14 Cables from Mexico City FBI Legal Attaché Gordon McGinley to Justice Department, in Scott and Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 36.

15 Scott, Deep Politics, 105; quoting from San Diego Union, 3/26/82.

16 Fueling America’s War Machine: Deep Politics and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection (in press, due Fall 2010 from Rowman & Littlefield).

17 Time, November 29, 1993: “The shipments continued, however, until Guillen tried to send in 3,373 lbs. of cocaine at once. The DEA, watching closely, stopped it and pounced.” Cf. New York Times, November 23, 1996 (“one ton”).

18 CBS News Transcripts, 60 MINUTES, November 21, 1993.

19 Wall Stree Journal, November 22, 1996. I suspect that the CIA approved the import of cocaine less  “as a way of gathering information” than as a way of affecting market share of the cocaine trade in the country of origin, Colombia. In the 1990s CIA and JSOC were involved in the elimination of Colombian drug pingpin Pablo Escobar, a feat achieved with the assistance of Colombia’s Cali Cartel and the AUC terrorist death squad of Carlos Castaño. Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War, 86-88.

20 Chris Carlson, “Is The CIA Trying to Kill Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez?” Global Research, April 19, 2007.

21 Douglas Valentine, The Strength of the Pack: The People, Politics and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA (Springfield, OR: TrineDay, 2009), 400; Time, November 23, 1993. McFarlin had worked with anti-guerrilla forces in El Salvador in the 1980′s. The CIA station chief in Venezuela, Jim Campbell, also retired.

22 The Bank of Boston laundered as much as $2 million from the trafficker Gennaro Angiulo, and eventually paid a fine of $500,000 (New York Times, February 22, 1985; Eduardo Varela-Cid, Hidden Fortunes: Drug Money, Cartels and the Elite Banks [Sunny Isles Beach, FL: El Cid Editor, 1999]). Cf. Asad Ismi, “The Canadian Connection: Drugs, Money Laundering and Canadian Banks,” Asadismi.ws: “Ninety-one percent of the $197 billion spent on cocaine in the U.S. stays there, and American banks launder $100 billion of drug money every year. Those identified as money laundering conduits include the Bank of Boston, Republic National Bank of New York, Landmark First National Bank, Great American Bank, People’s Liberty Bank and Trust Co. of Kentucky, and Riggs National Bank of Washington. Citibank helped Raul Salinas (the brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas) move millions of dollars out of Mexico into secret Swiss bank accounts under false names.”

23 Rajeev Syal, “Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor,”Observer, December 13, 2009.

24 Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), 357.

25 Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 373-77.

26 Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 449.

27 Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2003), 461; citing interview with Dr. David Musto.

28 David Musto, New York Times, May 22, 1980; quoted in McCoy, Politics of Heroin, 462.

:: Article nr. 64948 sent on 10-apr-2010 04:48 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=64948

Evidence That Iran Is Developing Nukes? Don’t Expect Any.

Evidence That Iran Is Developing Nukes?

Don’t Expect Any This Time Around

by Mark R. Crovelli

Scarcely a day goes by anymore without some cocksure Israeli cabinet member or loudmouthed American “diplomat” sounding the alarm that Iran is covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons. We hear ominous warnings that the Western world will suddenly be at risk of complete annihilation by those crazy Ayatollahs, should they succeed in their quest to develop the bomb. “No one  will be safe!” they cry, “Because, in addition to being hell-bent on incinerating Israel in a nuclear holocaust, those lunatic Iranians might even launch nuclear strikes against other Western countries! We have to crush and kill the Iranians right now, before they finish building their bombs – even if that means making the United States the single most despised country in the world.”

What is extremely interesting, however, is that none of the pundits, Knesset members, presidents, congressman, or foreign lobbyists ever bother to tell us how they know that Iran is trying to build a bomb in the first place. They don’t bother to do this, quite frankly, because there is absolutely no evidence that the Iranians are trying to build nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Commission, which is charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities (and to which the Iranians voluntarily submit, unlike the Israelis), has adduced not one shred of evidence that Iran has diverted any uranium for any non-civilian purposes. Not one of the 16 American intelligence agencies has adduced any evidence whatsoever that the Iranians have restarted their nuclear weapon program after having voluntarily halted it in 2003. Not a single person in the whole world has adduced any evidence that the Iranians have acquired the technological know-how to be able to build a nuclear weapon, and some prominent people even doubt that they could ever acquire the know-how, even if they wanted to.

In other words, the members of the political class in the United States and Israel once again feel free to make fantastic and terrifying claims about a Middle Eastern government in order to convince us of the need to invade and kill more people who have not attacked us. This time, however, the political class hasn’t even given us the courtesy of manufacturing a false trail of evidence in order to convince us of their claims. The political classes’ contempt for the American and Israeli citizenry is apparently so overweening this time around that they haven’t even deigned to cook up a few juicy lies about, say, aluminum tubes, to substantiate their allegations of Iran’s intention to develop and use nuclear weapons.

The political class in America has apparently learned its lesson from the reign of George II when it comes to fabricating evidence to induce needless wars. Serving up false evidence can get a politician into trouble if it looks like he is intentionally trying to mislead the public into dying and killing for pointless or idiotic reasons. Given this, why risk fabricating evidence if you don’t have to? If your electorate is stupid or gullible enough to believe anything you, a lying politician, say, why not simply omit evidence altogether? Far better is to simply make fantastic and unsubstantiated claims today, and, when those claims inevitably get exposed as utterly false at some point in the future, simply assert that “everyone” thought they were true. The American public is not asking for any evidence of Iranian ambitions to produce nuclear weapons, so why go out of your way to supply it to them?

Without a trail of traceable lies and false evidence there is no way to indict any specific politician. In fact, the politicians involved in this sort of underhanded manipulation can use the exposure of the truth to their advantage as well. For, once exposed, they can wring their hands and publicly lament that “everyone” was misled so badly. “Woe is us!” they will cry out, “We were all misled! This just proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need to spend more tax money on intelligence gathering to avoid this kind of mistake in the future” However, don’t expect them to explain how “everyone” got the erroneous idea into their heads in the first place, and don’t expect them to use the opportunity to end the pointless and murderous war they have already started. Most of all, don’t expect them to apologize for all the dead American soldiers and foreign civilians that their war will produce.

The emergence of this form of evidence-free war rationalization is an ominous sign, because politicians only pull this chicanery if they think they can get away with it. In any sane and reasonable nation, politicians know that there must be compelling and explicit reasons for people to send their children abroad in order to kill and die. Politicians in reasonable nations who are contemplating blowing up lives, fortunes and foreign people feel obligated to provide evidence to their own people that they must sacrifice and suffer for some good reason. That the current gaggle of politicians in Washington is providing no such evidence while still threatening to attack Iran, means that politicians believe that the American people are gullible, stupid or indifferent almost to the point of insanity. And it looks as though they are right. To not demand evidence of grave, imminent and real harm before going off to kill and die means that American soldiers are blindingly obedient to the point of being without conscience and without brains. To have no moral objection in invading a foreign nation that has never attacked you and has no intention of attacking you, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, is not only morally reprehensible beyond comprehension, but a sign that the most Americans are in fact just as stupid and gullible as the politicians are hoping.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for any evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in order to justify a new war in the Middle East. The lesson’s been learned: faked evidence will only get you into trouble, and real evidence…well, there isn’t any.

Mark R. Crovelli writes from Denver, Colorado.

Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: The Torture Victim and the Taliban Recruit

Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: The Torture Victim

and the Taliban Recruit

Friday 09 April 2010

by: Andy Worthington, t r u t h o u t

photo
(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Mark CogginsLara604)

Such is the hysterical disregard for the law in parts of the United States that when, on March 22, District Court Judge James Robertson ordered the release from Guantánamo of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a 38-year-old Mauritanian who was once described as the “highest-value detainee at the facility,” Republican lawmakers were in uproar.

The Hill reported that Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri), the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, stated, “While Holder’s Justice Department should appeal this outrageous decision , I’m not holding my breath. Holder seems more intent on closing Guantánamo Bay than keeping terrorists locked up where they belong.” The Hill also reported that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter to Holder asking him to appeal the ruling, in which he wrote, “It is certainly possible, if not likely, that Mr. Slahi will re-engage in efforts to commit terrorist attacks against innocent Americans if allowed to go free. This ruling clearly puts the American people in danger and should not be allowed to stand.”

As it transpired, Attorney General Eric Holder was not happy with the ruling either and did not need to be slandered by Senator Bond to issue his own complaint. Speaking from a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Holder said that, although “[w]e obviously respect the decision that the judge made, [h]opefully an appeals court will look at the evidence that we presented in the habeas proceeding and come to a contrary conclusion.”

The Torture of Mohamedou Ould Slahi

The reasoning behind Judge Robertson’s ruling is not yet clear, as his opinion has not been publicly released. Noticeably, however, Slahi was subjected to several years of torture, which began soon after he was taken in by the Mauritanian authorities on November 20, 2001, at the request of the Bush administration. “My country turned me over, shortcutting all kinds of due process of law, like a candy bar to the United States,” he said in his combatant status review tribunal at Guantánamo in 2004.

After he handed himself in, he was transferred by the US to Jordan – one of at least 15 prisoners rendered to Jordan by the CIA between 2001 and 2004 – where he was held for eight months and where, he said, what happened to him was “beyond description,” and he was tortured “maybe twice a week, a couple times, sometimes more.” He was then transferred to the US prison at Bagram in Afghanistan for two weeks and arrived in Guantánamo on August 4, 2002.

As the highest-value detainee at Guantánamo – in the days before Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 13 other high-value detainees were flown in from secret CIA prisons in September 2006 – Slahi was again subjected to torture, which included prolonged isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings, death threats and threats that his mother would be brought to Guantánamo and gang-raped. This program, which was implemented in May 2003 and augmented with further “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, culminated in August 2003 in an incident when Slahi was taken out on a boat, wearing isolation goggles, while agents whispered, within earshot, that he was “about to be executed and made to disappear.” As Der Spiegelexplained in an article in 2008, “He was so terrified that he urinated in his pants.”

After this, as Slahi himself described it (in a letter to his lawyers dated November 9, 2006), “I yes-sed every accusation my interrogators made. I even wrote the infamous confession about me was planning to hit the CN Tower in Toronto based on SSG [redacted] advise. I just wanted to get the monkeys off my back.”

However, his treatment was so severe that, in May 2004, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch of the Marine Corps, who had been assigned his case as a prosecutor the year before, resigned rather than pursue the case. In a meeting with the chief prosecutor, Army Col. Bob Swann, Lieutenant Colonel Couch “told Colonel Swann that in addition to legal reasons, he was ‘morally opposed’ to the interrogation techniques ‘and for that reason alone refused to participate in [the Slahi] prosecution in any manner.’”

By all accounts, Slahi’s torture ended as soon as he began cooperating. As Der Spiegel explained in 2008 and The Washington Post reported last week, after he “broke,” he became one of Guantánamo’s most cooperative prisoners, granted special privileges, including fast food and a small garden plot and regarded as a source of invaluable information – even though more skeptical observers might conclude that the information provided by a man broken by torture might, in fact, be less than reliable.

However, it is improbable that whatever tortured confessions were extracted from Slahi – who has persistently maintained that he had no prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks – would have been enough for Judge Robertson to grant his habeas petition, unless it was, in addition, demonstrated to him that other sources alleging Slahi’s involvement with the 9/11 hijackers were also unreliable.

Doubts About Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Significance

Here, the US authorities’ claims about Slahi begin to look rather dubious. Although the 9/11 Commission Report described him as “a significant al-Qaeda operative” who “recruited 9/11 hijackers in Germany,” the more detailed narrative, as revealed in the report, is less conclusive. Instead, as I explained in my book “The Guantánamo Files”:

[I]t was stated that Ramzi bin al-Shibh and three of the 9/11 hijackers – Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jeddah – were traveling on a train in Germany when they met a man named Khalid El-Masri and “struck up a conversation about jihad in Chechnya.” El-Masri told them to contact a man named Abu Musab (Slahi’s alias) in Duisburg, but when they met him, he told them it was difficult to get to Chechnya because travelers were generally detained in Georgia and advised them to go to Afghanistan for training instead.

As I also explained:

Slahi himself has disputed this story, denying an allegation that he “recruited for jihad,” but even if it were true, it proves only that he was a recruiter for a war in Chechnya that was regarded by many Muslims as a legitimate struggle, who sent would-be recruits for training in long-established training camps in Afghanistan and does not connect him in any meaningful way to 9/11.

Despite this, the US authorities have persistently presented his activities in Germany as more significant than the 9/11 Commission Report suggested, choosing to ignore the official story – that the hijackers attracted bin Laden’s attention once they were in Afghanistan – and claiming that Slahi arranged for one of them “to meet Osama bin Laden and that this individual then swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden and became an important and influential al-Qaeda member.”

The US government’s star witness is Ramzi bin al-Shibh and as Der Spiegel explained in 2008, the recruitment story originally came from him. However, bin al-Shibh was also tortured in US custody and, in addition, as Der Spiegel noted:

The German investigators familiar with the history leading up to the 9/11 attacks are more cautious in their assessment of Slahi’s position within al-Qaeda. They say that bin al-Shibh’s statements about Slahi recruiting the attackers has “legend status,” and that none of their information supports his assertions.

We will have to wait for Judge Robertson’s opinion to be released to discover whether these were his conclusions too, but it certainly seems possible, just as it also seems probable that the authorities’ attempts to implicate Slahi in all manner of other plots – in particular Ahmed Ressam’s plot to blow up Los Angeles Airport in 1999 – are also overblown. Slahi said that he falsely confessed to being part of Ressam’s plot while being tortured in Jordan and explained that, although he moved to Canada in 1998, hoping to find work as an electrical engineer, he returned to Mauritania in January 2000 because he was kept under constant surveillance by the intelligence services. “Wherever I went I had people right behind me at the market watching my butt,” he said in his tribunal at Guantánamo. “I said what the heck? This is not the life I want to live.”

Overlooked in the assertions that Slahi was a key figure in the 9/11 attacks, rather than, perhaps, a peripheral figure in jihadi circles, is a specific explanation for why the Americans asked the Mauritanian authorities to detain him in November 2001. As I also explained in “The Guantánamo Files”:

It was not as if he was an unknown quantity. As well as being questioned in Canada, he had been investigated in Germany, had been questioned in Senegal on his way to Mauritania in January 2000 and had also been questioned on two occasions by the Americans themselves: by three FBI agents and “another guy from the Department of Justice” in Mauritania in February 2000 and again in October 2001, when an American agent took part in an interrogation and, according to Slahi, threatened to bring in “black people” to torture him.

If he really had anything to hide after all this, it seems unlikely that he would have so willingly waited around for the Mauritanian authorities to pick him up at his house on November 20, 2001, when his long ordeal began.

While Slahi’s story, stripped of its core allegations, begs questions about what kind of involvement with jihadi groups is necessary for a judge to deny a Guantánamo prisoner’s habeas corpus petition and hurl him back into ongoing detention without charge or trial, a case that followed Slahi’s a few days later demonstrated that being in Afghanistan at the time of the US-led invasion in October 2001 and being in some sort of proximity to Arab forces fighting with the Taliban, was enough for a prisoner to lose their habeas petition.

A Taliban Recruit Loses His Habeas Petition

The prisoner in question, Mukhtar al-Warafi, a Yemeni who was 27 years old when he was seized in northern Afghanistan in November 2001,survived a massacre in a mud-walled fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, where hundreds of prisoners – mostly, but not all, foot soldiers for the Taliban – had been taken after surrendering to the Northern Alliance. According to a statement read out by a military officer assigned to represent him at a review board at Guantánamo, al-Warafi studied medical procedures in Yemen, “had nothing to do whatsoever with the Taliban,” and went to Afghanistan “to help provide medical assistance to the poor and the public.”

As with Slahi, the opinion of the judge in his case, Royce C. Lamberth, has not yet been released, but it is certain that Judge Lamberth will not have been convinced by al-Warafi’s story and will not have accepted his statement that, although he admitted traveling to Khawaja Ghar in Afghanistan and carrying an AK-47, he said that he had it for self-defense and that it was given to him by a doctor he worked with at a clinic, nor his statement that he provided first aid at the al-Ansar clinic in Kunduz, for all types of people, but not “to wounded soldiers.”

I am not yet in any position to say whether I think Judge Lamberth made the correct call in al-Warafi’s case, but as with other cases where peripheral figures involved with the Taliban have been consigned to indefinite detention as a result of losing their habeas petitions, I must reiterate that each of these results does nothing to justify the Bush administration’s detention policies in the war on terror.

Instead, rulings like these demonstrate only that, in defining who can legitimately continue to be held at Guantánamo, the Executive, lawmakers, the Supreme Court and the lower courts have all allowed an unjustifiable situation to prevail in which minor foot soldiers are still being equated with terrorists. This is in spite of the fact that it is patently obvious that the former should, all along, have been held as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, rather than being flown halfway around the world to an experimental interrogation camp where large numbers of them were, in one way or another, subjected to variations of the enhanced interrogation techniques to which Slahi was subjected.

To critics of the habeas cases, like the Brookings Institute’s Benjamin Wittes and Robert Chesney, the seeming discrepancy between the ruling in the cases of Slahi and al-Warafi will only reinforce the opinions they voiced in an op-ed for The Washington Post back in February, when they claimed that judges were making wildly different rulings because, when “[t]he Supreme Court asserted jurisdiction over Guantánamo in summer 2008,” the justices “coyly refrained from giving any guidance on the myriad important questions that the cases it authorized would predictably generate.”

Wittes and Chesney want Congress to establish new rules, but, in a letter to the Post, David Cole of the Center for Constitutional Rights demolished this argument, pointing out that that “their complaints are predicated on a naive view of both the judicial process and the legislative process and their prescription is unlikely to solve the ‘problem’ they identify.”

Cole continued:

No one should be surprised that different judges reach different results on difficult legal issues. That’s why we fight about judicial appointments and why we have an appellate process that facilitates uniform rules.

Nor is legislation likely to reduce the disagreements. First, it is wildly optimistic to think that this Congress could agree on a detention standard. Second, the inquiries involved – such as assessing whether statements are voluntary or coerced, how far the “taint” from a coerced statement extends to other evidence, or whether an individual poses a threat that warrants preventive detention – are not susceptible to bright-line rules, but require careful case-by-case application of standards. It’s a job for judges, not Congress.

Cole is undoubtedly correct. However, what these recent rulings have shown is not that anyone should have a problem with judges reaching different verdicts, but that in ordering the release of Slahi, but not the release of al-Warafi, the problems are not with the judges, who can discern whether there is any evidence or not, but with the fundamental confusion between al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This confusion is enshrined in the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which provides the basis for detaining those associated with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

If no proof was found that Slahi was associated with al-Qaeda, that should be enough to secure his release. If, on the other hand, al-Warafi was associated with the Taliban, on the very fringes of al-Qaeda activity in Afghanistan during the US-led invasion, I cannot see how that justifies his ongoing detention.

There are, we are told, a number of terrorists in Guantánamo – as many as 35, according to the recommendations made by President Obama’s interagency task force, regarding those who should be put forward for trials. On last week’s evidence, however, neither Slahi nor al-Warafi qualify as terrorists and neither, I believe, should continue to be held.

Andy Worthington is a journalist and the author of “The Guantanamo Files” (Pluto Press), the first book to tell the stories of all the prisoners in Guantanamo. He maintains a bloghere.

PM Gilani Makes Idiotic Solution, That India and Pakistan Need More American Meddling

US, major countries must mediate between India, Pak to resolve issues: Gilani

2010-04-10 12:40:00
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has once again urged the United States and other major countries to mediate between India and Pakistan in order to resolve long pending issues between them, so as to enable Islamabad to focus on the war against terrorism and militancy.

Talking to a visiting US Parliamentary Delegation led by Senator Thomas Carper, Gilani, without mentioning Kashmir, asserted that Pakistan wants a peaceful resolution of all the core issues and disputes with India through restoration of composite dialogue.

Gilani also told the delegation that the US must ‘prioritise disbursement of its economic assistance’ by initiating projects in health, agriculture, education and power sectors in order to improve its public image in the country.

He also expressed the hope that Washington would deliver funds committed by it soon to help Islamabad implement development work in militancy hit areas of the country. (ANI)

Kyrgyzstan buries its dead, U.S. halts troop flights

Kyrgyzstan buries its dead, U.S. halts troop flights

* U.S. stops all military passenger flights through Manas

* Cargo, humanitarian, fuelling flights continue

(Adds call on Bakiyev, Putin meeting, details)

By Maria Golovnina ATA-BEIIT, Kyrgyzstan, April 10 (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan on Saturday buried several of those killed in the overthrow of the government, while security concerns prompted the U.S. military to halt troop flights from its base in the Central Asian state. Up to 10,000 mourners gathered on the edge of the burned-out Kyrgyz capital at a mass funeral to commemorate at least 78 people who died in protests this week during which troops fired on crowds besieging the presidential headquarters. “Those who died on April 7 are the heroes of Kyrgyzstan,” Roza Otunbayeva, the interim government chief, told the crowd.

“It was our duty to establish justice. Those who are being buried here today are all our children, the children of Kyrgyzstan.”

Mourners carried coffins draped in the red-and-yellow Kyrgyz national flag and clutched portraits of the dead at a memorial complex built in honour of the victims of mass executions ordered by Soviet leader Josef Stalin in the 1930s.

Relatives lowered bodies into 16 graves lined in rows and joined hands in prayer, while mullahs chanted in Arabic.

Omurbek Tekebayev, a key figure in the provisional government, told the crowd: “Our people defeated the dictator.”

Mourners showed little sympathy for President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Kuat Niyazbekov said his brother had died in the uprising.

“We don’t even know what really happened on the square, what his last minutes of life were like,” he said. “We can’t forgive a president like that.”

The uprising in Kyrgyzstan, where a third of the 5.3 million population lives below the poverty line, forced the president to retreat to his stronghold in the south of the country and has raised doubts over the future of the U.S. air base near Bishkek.

Bakiyev’s refusal to step down remains the main question as tenuous calm returned to the streets of Bishkek, still strewn with rubble and broken glass after days of violent clashes.

Otunbayeva has offered Bakiyev safe passage out of Kyrgyzstan if he steps down. His exact whereabouts are unclear.

“We would really like to start negotiations. We will solve everything peacefully,” Keneshbek Dushebayev, head of the new state security service, told reporters. All flights carrying troops from the Manas base, a vital cog in supplying NATO operations in Afghanistan, were suspended from Friday evening, a spokesman for the base said. Troops are using alternative routes in and out of Afghanistan.

“While normal flight operations at Manas were resumed on Friday, a decision was taken Friday evening to temporarily divert military passenger transport flights,” the base’s spokesman, Rickardo Bodden, told Reuters by telephone.

Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was a security-related decision made by the base commander on the ground. [ID:nLDE638198]

CENTRAL TO WAR EFFORT

Pentagon officials say Manas is central to the war effort against the Taliban, allowing around-the-clock flights in and out of neighbouring Afghanistan. About 50,000 troops passed through last month alone.

Members of Kyrgyzstan’s self-proclaimed new leadership have said the U.S. lease on the base could be shortened.

Russia, which sees former Soviet Kyrgyzstan as part of its traditional sphere of interest, also has an air base in the country. A Russian official, who declined to be named, said on Thursday that the country should have only a Russian base.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became the first world leader to recognise the authority of the self-proclaimed government, just hours after it took power, raising suspicions that Moscow had played a role in the events.

Otunbayeva has described Russia as a key ally and publicly thanked Putin for his support. Almazbek Atambayev, deputy head of the new government, met Putin in Moscow on Saturday but there were no details of the talks.

She has accused Bakiyev’s supporters of stoking a violent response. In the southern city of Jalalabad, 200 of his supporters gathered near a billboard picturing a smiling Bakiyev shaking hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

A crowd of 5,000 ethnic Uzbeks, who comprise a large part of the population in southwest Kyrgyzstan, rallied several kilometres away, saying they supported Kyrgyz unity and opposed any attempt to divide the north and south of the country. (Additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov in Jalalabad; Writing by Robin Paxton and Maria Golovnina; editing by Myra MacDonald)

Anti-Russian Polish President Killed in Russian Plane Crash

[Polish President Lech Kaczynski was an "Ultra-Catholic, populist, right wing, anti-communist, anti-free-market, anti-Russian," who supported Putin's adversary Saakashvili in his aggression against S. Ossetia.  He was the principle advocate of the new American anti-missile shield to be stationed in Poland.  These facts create suspicion about his death  ina Russian airliner today.  Was this another chess move by the Russian chess-master?

"Shots were fired Sunday as the motorcade of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Polish President Lech Kaczynski was passing a checkpoint near Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia province, where Russian and Georgian troops confronted each other in August, Saakashvili invited Kaczynski to Georgia for the fifth anniversary of the "rose revolution" that sent Saakashvili to power."

"Poland ready to join U.S. missile shield plan," Oct . 21, 2009. "Poland ratifies SOFA deal on U.S. troop presence," 27/02/2010]

Polish president feared dead in plane crash

The Polish president’s plane has crashed as it approached a Russian airport, killing 130 people.

Published: 9:08AM BST 10 Apr 2010

Lech Kaczynski

Lech Kaczynski has been president of Poland since December 2005 Photo: AP

President Lech Kaczynski was travelling with his wife from Warsaw to Smolensk airport, 220 miles southwest of Moscow.

Sergei Antufiev, the regional governor of the Smolensk, said that everyone on board had been killed.

“It clipped the tops of the trees, crashed down and broke into pieces,” Mr Antufiev, told Russia-24 television news network by telephone. “There were no survivors.” Polish state news agency PAP also said there were no survivors.

Conditions around the airport were described as foggy when the Tupolev Tu-154 came down a mile from the airport.

A Polish government official said the head of the Polish army and the head of the presidential administration were also on board the plane, along with the president’s wife and families of other senior officials.

The plane was also carrying the governor of Poland’s central bank, Slawomir Skrzypek.

Mr Kaczynski, 60, has been president since December 2005. He is married with one daughter.

Questions for Tariq Ali On Afghanistan

Questions for Tariq Ali

by Theodore Hamm and Christian Parenti

Tariq Ali will deliver a talk, “Obama’s War,” at the School for Visual Arts on Monday, April 19, as part of the London Review of  Books’ 30thanniversary celebration. Ali’s Night of the Golden Butterfly, the final novel in his critically acclaimed Islam Quintet, comes out this month from Verso.

Rail: What do you make of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recent observation that an “amazing” number of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed by U.S. forces? That fact is not surprising—but shouldn’t such high-level acknowledgment of it provoke real opposition to the war?

Tariq Ali: It should but it won’t because North American and European citizens (the latter in large majorities) who oppose the war feel disempowered. In the U.S., of course, Obama promised to escalate the war, an election pledge he has carried out with a vengeance and unless directly affected—as in the days of the draft—liberal Americans don’t care that much if foreigners are being killed. McChrystal’s remarks were designed largely for consumption in Afghanistan: he was simultaneously appealing to Afghans and warning the killer squads to go easy.

Rail: Do you think that Obama’s personal popularity is the main reason why there’s no visible antiwar movement?

Ali: Partially. He speaks of the war in terms of good and evil and gets the benefit of the doubt since his supporters are sure he’s good and even his opponents think the Afghan resistance is evil.  As I mentioned above the main reason for the lack of an effective antiwar movement is that most Americans barely realize they’re at war since they don’t have to fight. The use of mercenaries represents a big shift compared to the U.S. wars of the last century.

Rail: Why do you believe that Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan? Are there important material interests there or is it merely a matter of politics and American “credibility”?

Ali: I think he believes in it, just like he said when he was running for the Senate that he would support Bush if he decided to bomb Iran. The fact that Obama is undoubtedly intelligent doesn’t automatically make him an enlightened liberal as we have seen domestically and abroad.

Rail: In the past you have cast Hamid Karzai as nothing but a U.S.puppet. What do you think is going on with him now?

Ali: He still is a puppet in the sense that if NATO withdrew he would have to accompany them. Obviously even puppets get angry when they are badly treated. Peter Galbraith’s and Holbrooke’s  crude attempts to dump Karzai backfired. In the old days in South Vietnam recalcitrant puppet leaders were bumped off by the CIA. The problem now is that the U.S. has nobody to replace Karzai. He’s their most credible puppet and he has now become enormously rich thanks to his brother’s trading ‘skills’ (heroin and gun running are lucrative) which enables him to buy some local support. The fact that the U.S. tried to remove him and failed has improved his standing a tiny bit but all this attention has also gone to his head and when puppets begin to fantasize that they’re not what they are that things  sometimes get out of control. McChrystal and Eikenberry are only too aware of this and for that reason have been trying to smooth ruffled feathers.

Rail: What is the relationship between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban?

Ali: The Afghan Taliban consists now of several factions. The Mullah Omar faction has recently denounced the Pakistan Taliban for targeting the Pakistani security forces rather than NATO. As for the rest it is difficult to know. Some of the factions have been in contact with the U.S. for some years engaged in informal negotiations but no agreement has been reached. So when Karzai, too, speaks of bringing in the Taliban into the government one shouldn’t be too surprised. Washington would also like the ‘good’ Taliban to do the same. Attempts to divide the insurgents never stop but until now have had only limited success.

Rail: To what extent are India and Pakistan fighting a proxy war, or at least  jockeying and struggling against each other, in Afghanistan?

Ali: Until recently the Indians backed Karzai and they have a strong diplomatic and extra-diplomatic presence in southern Afghanistan. They see it as payback time for Pakistan which sent in jihadis to Kashmir in the 90’s. So the interests of the two South Asian states are at loggerheads. India will do what it can to stop Pakistan re-asserting its influence after theNATO withdrawal. But talk of a proxy war is exaggerated. There is aU.S./NATO occupation of the country backed by both Pakistan and India.

Rail: In the United States we hear very little about the Russian occupation or about the history of Afghan communism. Tell us a bit about the Saur revolution of the late 1970s. Does it have a potentially positive legacy in Afghanistan today?

Ali: The Soviet occupation was a disaster on virtually every level and created the basis for what has followed: a country that has been wrecked by wars and occupations from 1979 to this day, i.e. longer than the First and Second World Wars, longer than the U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam.

All this might not have happened had the Russians not sent in the Army in December 1979. I said so at the time. The mode of occupation was very different. The Russians were backing a government that was attempting to create a health service, free education for all (including women) and combatting obscurantism. It did so in a crude way and Wild West style shoot-outs between rival Communist factions in which President Taraki was killed did not create too positive an image. The U.S. occupation is neo-liberal in style. The rich get richer and the slums outside Kabul grow larger.

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Towards Social Collapse?

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Towards Social Collapse?

By Emily Spence

Recently, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the DoE, announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau”. However, his statement was not made known through a major U.S. mainstream media outlet.  Instead, it was covered in France’s “Le Monde” as follows: article in Le Monde.

One could assume that the U.S. assessment of the oil decline was exposed through this particular publication perhaps due to some arrangement that Barack Obama made with Nicolas Sarkozy. (Maybe it is an indirect way to alert the French while keeping most Americans still in the dark on the topic so that the later bunch can ignorantly carry onward as usual. After all, no unsettling prognosis should disturb their slow return into shopoholic ways that keep the economy, particularly China’s on which the U.S. federal government depends for loans, going strong.)

All considered, there was not, as far as I know, even a ten second blurb about Glen Sweetnam’s message issued via newscasts in New England where I live. At the time of his declaration, their reports primarily covered ad nauseam the recent flood again … and again.

In a similar vein, no reporter discussing the deluge dared to raise the point that worsening extreme weather is on the way with climate change consequences in the mix, along with oil’s relationship to these outcomes. Moreover, imagine the effect on the Dow or NASDAQ if Glen Sweetnam’s estimation and a discussion of connected economic ramifications got splashed all across the U.S.A.

What exactly are the implications? In Life After Growth, Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Institute, states, “In effect, we have to create a desirable ‘new normal’ that fits the constraints imposed by depleting natural resources. Maintaining the ‘old normal’ is not an option; if we do not find new goals for ourselves and plan our transition from a growth-based economy to a healthy equilibrium economy, we will by default create a much less desirable ‘new normal’ whose emergence we are already beginning to see in the forms of persistent high unemployment, a widening gap between rich and poor, and ever more frequent and worsening financial and environmental crises—all of which translate to profound distress for individuals, families, and communities.”

In other words, we collectively have to stop our delusions about perpetual economic growth and find another way to live from this point forward. We need to stop pretending that all is well because our myopic view of life shows no oil or other major shortfalls in the very near future. If we do not face up to the truth, the repercussions are clear.

Instead of  an “ignorance is bliss” outlook, it’s markedly better to have long range vision and see the coming monster so that meaningful preparations can be made. Scrutiny of the landscape behind and ahead followed by timely adaptation is required. A suitable response is preferable to someone or some group blindly sticking to the same old patterns that could have worked well in the past, but are no longer functionally viable. (Shortsighted government leaders trying to wring the last drops of oil out of the Earth to continue globalized commercial goals certainly provide a clear case in point.)

Certainly, reality does not conform to fanciful hopes and dreams regardless of the degree that they are compelling due to familiarity or any other reasons. A willful adherence to past choices and whimsies just won’t help under the circumstances. As John Adams suggested, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

At the same time, our current standard of living clearly is provided by our ability to burn through unimaginable amounts of fossil fuels, including an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil a year whilst roughly 40 percent of global energy consumption stems from petroleum. Conversely, people without access to such rich energy sources, whether in developed or developing nations, rightfully equate prosperity and access to material goods with fossil fuel use.

After all, no “green” substitute can even come close to the energy density obtained by their derivatives. As such, Robert Bryce, managing editor of “Energy Tribune” and author of the newly released Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future, points out in Let’s Get Real About Renewable Energy at online WSJ: “We can double the output of solar and wind, and double it again. We’ll still depend on hydrocarbons.”

In his view, the reason is that we can never, in a reasonable amount of time, reach the colossal scale needed to supply sufficient energy by alternative means. Likewise, “[renewables] cannot provide the baseload power, i.e., the amount of electricity required to meet minimum demand, that Americans want.”

At the same time, access to fossil fuels will increasingly be a major driver of small and large conflicts around the world with the biggest contenders –  most notably the U.S.A., China and Russia — using ever more forceful means to gain advantage over rivals. As such, the current Middle East and African wars are diminutive in scale compared to the contention that lies ahead.

In addition, the pending oil shortfall will cause products, services and food that rely on oil to skyrocket in cost. Moreover, petroleum derivatives serve as the foundation for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, transportation of goods to markets, the majority of the grocery packaging operations (i.e., the manufacture of containers in addition to the bottling and canning processes, etc.) and, of course, operational farm machinery.

All considered, imagine just farms alone being run without sufficient oil. Would they be capable to supply enough food for close to seven billion people without it? How will they provide for the nine to ten billion expected to be on the Earth in approximately forty years?

Henry Kissinger stated, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” However, he perhaps neglected to consider that our food, practically all industry and finance are deeply tied to energy and that, in turn, is tied to fossil fuels.

According to a Greenpeace USA report released last month, “‘Nearly 71 percent of U.S. electricity comes from fossil fuels, including 53 percent from coal. Of the remainder, 21 percent is generated from nuclear power, 15 percent from natural gas, 7 percent from hydro, and less than 2 percent from other renewable sources.’ As a result of this energy mix, the U.S. emits more than 2,500 million metric tons of C02 (MMtC02) every year.”

In addition, coal and gases, that can be converted into power supplies, are not endlessly abundant. So in light of our energy dilemma, what can be expected in times ahead?

According to Thomas Wheeler in It’s the End of the World as We Know It, “The consensus is the suburbs will surely not survive the end of cheap oil and natural gas. In other words, the massive downscaling of America – voluntary or involuntary – will be the trend of the future. We are in for some profound changes in the 21st century. The imminent collapse of industrial civilization means we’ll have to organize human communities in a much different fashion from the completely unsustainable, highly-centralized, earth-destroying, globalized system we have now. There will need to be a move to much smaller, human-scale, localized and decentralized systems that can sustain themselves within their own landbase. Industrial civilization and suburban living relies on cheap sources of energy to continue to grow and expand. That era is coming to an end. One of the most important tasks right now is to prepare for a very different way of life.”

Nonetheless, Barack Obama and his cohorts have recklessly decided to try to extend our period of dependence on oil for “business as usual” instead of using a significant portion of it, along with a lavish amount of federal funds, to establish a firm foundation for alternative energy provision and the massive, societal changes that are on the way. In other words, they are still trapped in an all-out effort to support globalized industry (including its offshored job market and gargantuan transportation network) instead of their preparing the public for post-peak oil lifestyles in which human welfare and regionalized community development are emphasized.

Assuredly, facilitation of such a constructive switch would help America across the board. The reason is that the redirection of wealth away from horrific resource wars, macro-scale business and pernicious corporate bailouts towards the creation of robust decentralized economic bases would yield many benefits. The action could generate jobs, serve to protect the raw materials and the natural environments on which communities rely and curb fossil fuel use since many products would be created and used locally. It could, also, lead individuals and groups into gaining the necessary skills and understandings to create assorted merchandise, foster developments of co-ops and other innovative organizations like Simple Gifts Farm, as well as strengthen the U.S. economy at the grassroots level.

Moreover, their backing of transnational corporate agendas is plainly ruinous for environmental well-being and multitudinous societies across the globe. It, also, ensures that the most affluent class continues to make staggering financial gains at the expense of others. As such, many people face increasing deteriorating circumstances while, in tandem, their surrounding natural world falls apart due to resource plunder and environmental disasters.

As Bruce Sterling indicates, “No civilization can survive the physical destruction of its resource base.” Indeed, closed resource and energy systems have built-in limits to growth regardless of whether there are increases in population, resource consumption or energy demands.

The results of exceeding the constraints are undeniably clear. They include armed invasions and resource grabs from populations least capable to defend their assets and lands from aggressors, dwindling supplies of critical commodities as thresholds are reached and, ultimately, diminished economic gains, anyway.

All the same, any government employee who advocates for a cutback in energy use or globalized trade would be committing political suicide. He would, also, face a hostile public, including industrialists and farm owners, along with his being shunned by lobbyists and reelection campaign contributors alike.

Simultaneously, it is apparent that ‘revolving door‘ politics between corporate executives, politicians and bureaucrats with whom global-scale moguls sometimes collude do, in fact, exist and even lead, in some instances to regulatory capture. The overall outcome from such a pattern is unchecked corporate exploitation, deceit and power mongering during which time nations’ general populations become progressively destitute. Meanwhile, the über-class, without meaningful regulatory brakes on free market enterprise, obtain ever greater control over worldwide resources and the financial wherewithal to seize even more control over time.

Likewise, the overall arrangement leads to multinational business owners seeking ever cheaper labor wherever it exists and even if it involves young children or unsafe practices, ever new consumers and an endless supply of raw materials from developing regions with lax (if any) conservation regulations. They, also, abandon countries in which coveted materials, when not already commandeered, are protected by stiff environmental laws. Concurrently, jobs continue to drain from nations if their standard minimum wages are not the absolute lowest to be found or there are no new stores of resources to tap.

In relation, Jan Lundberg indicates, in The People Of The Brook Versus Supermarket Splendor, “Social relations are defined today by tolerance of tyranny: of harmful industrial profit schemes, unfair ownership of huge property holdings, and astronomical financial wealth. As soon as the post-peak oil house of cards topples, ‘new’ social structures will be (re)established. There’s a growing number of people already welcoming the end of false wealth’s tyranny and of civilized arrogance.”

Clearly, our choices in terms of the future that we want to create will in time be largely determined by  limitations in oil and other resources. It stands to follow that we can either have a last man standing orientation in which only the most affluent and powerful people have lavish supplies of expensive energy and material goods or we can foster deglobalization, which leads into equitable sharing of resources, job creation, strengthening of community ties, assurance that local resource bases are not exceeded and creation of a social foundation that does not increasingly divide the world between the rich and the poor members of society.

The second option, also, protects against the sort of widespread financial collapse that occurs in the buoy model. In such an arrangement, a descending buoy, when additional buoys are hooked by a line to a sinking one, drags the others to some degree downward based on proximity wherein the ones having the closest connections are pulled down the most. Alternately put, guess about what happens next when one’s own economy, assets, social well being and so forth are precariously linked to declining partners. Is it a structurally safe arrangement?

All considered, it is easy to notice that some individuals and countries faring relatively well throughout the ongoing recession are ones whose economic foundations have been largely isolated from worldwide influences. Moreover, the nations mostly immune to the downturn tend to be oriented towards serving the needs of their own populations, have been largely regionalized in focus, and generally have smaller, comparatively simple, manageable economies, as the U.S. and other countries, in my opinion, should aim to duplicate as much as possible.

In the end, “Our country’s leaders have three main choices: Taking over someone else’s oil fields until they are depleted; carrying on until the lights go out and Americans are freezing in the dark; or changing our life style by energy conservation while heavily investing in alternative energy sources at higher costs,” according to Charles T. Maxwell. I would add to his perspective that our leaders and the rest of us must, in fairly short order, start creating self-reliant, ecologically healthy communities, ones that are durable and flexible so as to reasonably withstand difficult outside forces, such as lack of sufficient oil or, in the least, the crippling post-peak oil prices, that will come to pass. Only if we successfully do so can we avoid the most dire consequences from the severe deficits to come.

With the current peak-oil interval, we have a grace period when oil is still fairly inexpensive and abundant. At the same time, we cannot expect our government leaders to help society transition off of heavy oil dependence on account of their being controlled by “big business” interests. Therefore, it is up to average citizens to create the reforms that lead into localized economic and social development. If the enterprise is not actively taken in a timely fashion, the resultant chaos, as pointed out by Dmitry Orlov in The Five Stages Of Collapse, will be unavoidable.

Emily Spence is an author living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved in human rights, environmental and social services efforts.

India Hopes Influx of Foreign Mountain Climbers Will Internationalize Kashmir

India opens nearly 100 Himalayan peaks for foreign climbers in Kashmir, says official

By Aijaz Hussain

SRINAGAR, India — Foreigners will be allowed to climb nearly 100 high-altitude Himalayan peaks for the first time on the Indian side of Kashmir, an official said Friday.

The move by the Indian government to allow foreign climbers follows a significant decline in violence by insurgent groups in the region since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004, said Farooq Ahmed Shah, a state tourism official.

The move is aimed at helping to boost tourism, an important source of income for Kashmiris and their saucer-shaped valley of fruit orchards, lakes and wildflowers.

Before the start of the insurgency by separatists in 1989, hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to the region – known as the Switzerland of the east – to enjoy the glacier-fed streams flowing through the forests and grasslands or lounge on houseboats floating on Srinagar’s Dal Lake.

“We are optimistic that the decision will give a big boost to tourism and attract more and more foreign tourists,” Shah told The Associated Press.

Separatist violence caused the number of tourists to drop to a few thousand every year, deterred by travel warnings from Western governments and extensive media coverage of fighting between government forces and insurgents.

The government in the Indian state of Jammu-Kashmir declared 2010 a “visit Kashmir year” following an improvement in the security situation, Shah said.

“The decision has been taken at the highest level and nearly 100 peaks in Ladakh region are open for trekking and mountaineering,” he said.

These peaks are situated at an altitude ranging from 9,840 feet (3,000 metres) to nearly 26,246 feet (8,000 metres).

The Indian climbers have been scaling those peaks for decades.

Aijaz Ahmed, a travel operator, said the opening of the peaks to foreign tourists would help promote Kashmir.

“The tourism sector has suffered a lot during the last two decades. We’re hopeful the decision will attract foreign tourists to the region,” he said.

Ladakh is a remote part of the former princely state of Kashmir, which is at the heart of the decades-old conflict between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan. The heavily militarized region also borders China. A part of Ladakh – an ethnically distinct region with historical ties to Tibet – has been controlled by China for decades.

More than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan since 1989.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Muslim militants. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the rebels.

More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian crackdown.