Russian diplomat’s body found on Hatay shore

[That's the second Russian diplomat to turn-up dead around the Mediterranean lately.  SEE: Top Russian Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament Expert Found Dead, Naked, Skull Crushed-In]

Hatay – Anatolia News Agency

A body found by fishermen on the coast of Çevlik in the border province of Hatay five days ago has been identified as Russian diplomat Yuri Ivanov, Anatolia News Agency reported Friday.

The diplomat drowned while on vacation in Latakia in Syria, but his body could not be found despite widespread search operations. Authorities said the wind and waves must have dragged the body toward the Samandağ district’s coast.

Officials said they had been able to identify the body by corresponding with both domestic and international authorities and were helped by Ivanov’s cross necklace.

The body was sent for an autopsy to the Forensic Medicine Institute in the neighboring province of Adana before being released to the diplomat’s relatives in Samandağ.

Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant Begins Receiving Fuel In One Week

Russia says to start up Iran Bushehr plant August 21

A general view shows the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran, November 30, 2009. REUTERS/Vladimir SoldatkinA general view shows the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran, November 30, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Vladimir Soldatkin

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW | Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:58am EDT

(Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it will begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor of Iran‘s first atomic power station on Aug 21, an irreversible step marking the start-up of the Bushehr plant after nearly 40 years of delays.

Russia agreed in 1995 to build the Bushehr plant on the site of a project begun in the 1970s by German firm Siemens, but delays have haunted the $1 billion project and diplomats say Moscow has used it as a lever in relations with Tehran.

The United States has criticized Russia for pushing ahead with the Bushehr project at a time when major powers including Russia are pressing Tehran to allay fears that its nuclear energy program may be aimed to develop weapons.

But Western fears that the Bushehr project could help Tehran develop a nuclear weapon were lessened when Moscow reached an agreement with Iran obliging it to return spent fuel to Russia. Weapons-grade plutonium can be derived from spent fuel rods.

Russian and Iranian specialists are to begin loading uranium-packed fuel rods into the reactor on August 21, a process that will take about 2-3 weeks.

“This will be an irreversible step,” Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia‘s state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said by telephone. “At that moment, the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be certified as a nuclear energy installation,” he said.

“That means the period of testing is over and the period of the physical start-up has begun, but this period takes about two and a half months,” he said, adding that the first fissile reaction would take place in early October.

The head of Iran‘s nuclear energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said a ceremony inaugurating the plant would be held in late September or early October, when the fuel is moved “to the heart of the reactor.”

The reactor will be linked to Iran‘s electricity grid about six weeks later when it is powered up to a level of 50 percent, Salehi told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Diplomats say the Bushehr plant, monitored by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, poses little proliferation risk and has no link with Iran‘s secretive uranium enrichment program, seen as the main “weaponization” threat, at other installations.

Russia started the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant in late 2007 and deliveries were completed in 2008.

Moscow and Washington agree that importing fuel makes unnecessary Iran‘s own enrichment project — the main focus of Western concerns that Tehran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran, the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer, rejects such allegations and says its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity or producing isotopes for medical care.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said on March 18 that Russia planned to start up the reactor at the Bushehr plant in the summer of 2010.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Mark Heinrich)

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev–26 November 2004

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev

26 November 2004

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.

They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 – the two words “gotov je”, meaning “he’s finished”, a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.

In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime’s days are numbered.

Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists’ weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.

Last year, before becoming president in Georgia, the US-educated Mr Saakashvili travelled from Tbilisi to Belgrade to be coached in the techniques of mass defiance. In Belarus, the US embassy organised the dispatch of young opposition leaders to the Baltic, where they met up with Serbs travelling from Belgrade. In Serbia’s case, given the hostile environment in Belgrade, the Americans organised the overthrow from neighbouring Hungary – Budapest and Szeged.

In recent weeks, several Serbs travelled to the Ukraine. Indeed, one of the leaders from Belgrade, Aleksandar Maric, was turned away at the border.

The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros’s open society institute.

US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.

The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime. That leader is selected on pragmatic and objective grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.

In Serbia, US pollsters Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates discovered that the assassinated pro-western opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, was reviled at home and had no chance of beating Milosevic fairly in an election. He was persuaded to take a back seat to the anti-western Vojislav Kostunica, who is now Serbian prime minister.

In Belarus, US officials ordered opposition parties to unite behind the dour, elderly trade unionist, Vladimir Goncharik, because he appealed to much of the Lukashenko constituency.

Officially, the US government spent $41m (£21.7m) organising and funding the year-long operation to get rid of Milosevic from October 1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around $14m.

Apart from the student movement and the united opposition, the other key element in the democracy template is what is known as the “parallel vote tabulation”, a counter to the election-rigging tricks beloved of disreputable regimes.

There are professional outside election monitors from bodies such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups.

Freedom House and the Democratic party’s NDI helped fund and organise the “largest civil regional election monitoring effort” in Ukraine, involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They also organised exit polls. On Sunday night those polls gave Mr Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed.

The exit polls are seen as critical because they seize the initiative in the propaganda battle with the regime, invariably appearing first, receiving wide media coverage and putting the onus on the authorities to respond.

The final stage in the US template concerns how to react when the incumbent tries to steal a lost election.

In Belarus, President Lukashenko won, so the response was minimal. In Belgrade, Tbilisi, and now Kiev, where the authorities initially tried to cling to power, the advice was to stay cool but determined and to organise mass displays of civil disobedience, which must remain peaceful but risk provoking the regime into violent suppression.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia.

International Republican Institute

International Republican Institute

last updated: August 17, 2008

IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

The International Republican Institute (IRI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a vehicle for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development, was created by the Ronald Reagan administration in 1983 to push democratization efforts and roll back the influence of the Soviet Union. More recently, the tax-payer-funded IRI has claimed to play a role preventing global terrorism, though some of its interventions since 9/11 have been criticized for undermining democracy. A 2006 IRI brochure declared, “When IRI began its work in 1983, advancing democracy was seen as a noble endeavor; today, it is recognized as a defense against terrorism.”1

During a 2005 speech at an IRI event, President George W. Bush described the institute’s work in the context of his “freedom” agenda in the Middle East and elsewhere. He said, “I appreciate the work IRI is doing to advance the cause of liberty. For more than two decades, IRI has been at the forefront of democratic change in more than a hundred countries. You’ve trained the next generation of leaders, you’ve strengthened political parties, you’ve monitored elections, and you’re helping to build civil societies.” He later added: “If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and resentment and violence ready for export. The United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East; a strategy that recognizes the best way to defeat the ideology that uses terror as a weapon is to spread freedom and democracy.”2

IRI’s activities have included funding clandestine opinion surveys in Cuba (2008),3 monitoring the controversial and violence-tainted elections in Kenya (2007),4 and undertaking public opinion polls in Pakistan after President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency (2007).5 Its “democracy building” program in Haiti was accused of undermining both U.S. State Department diplomacy efforts and the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,6 and IRI channeled money from the United States to forces in Venezuela that tried to overthrow President Hugo Chavez in 2002.7

Although officially nonpartisan, IRI is closely aligned with the Republican Party, just as its sister organization, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), is aligned with the Democratic Party. Sen.John McCain (R-AZ) has served as IRI chairman since 1993, and Lorne Craner, the former assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights and labor in the George W. Bush administration, is IRI president.

A July 2008 Times article, titled “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” described IRI as “McCain’s institute” and highlighted the connections between the IRI, the McCain campaign, and various lobbying interests. Reporter Mike McIntire described a 2006 IRI event: “First up that night in September 2006 was the institute’s vice chairman, Peter T. Madigan, a McCain campaign fund-raiser and lobbyist whose clients span the globe, from Dubai to Colombia. He thanked Timothy P. McKone, an AT&T lobbyist and McCain fund-raiser, for helping with the dinner arrangements and then introduced the chairman of AT&T, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., whose company had donated $200,000 for the event. AT&T at the time was seeking political support for an $80 billion merger with BellSouth—another Madigan client—and Mr. Whitacre lavished praise on Mr. McCain, a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee. When Mr. McCain finally took the podium, he expressed ‘profound thanks’ to AT&T before presenting the institute’s Freedom Award to the president of Liberia, a lobbying client of Charlie Black, an institute donor and McCain campaign adviser.”8

McIntire reported, “The institute is also something of a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman, who is the second sitting member of Congress—and now candidate for president—ever to head one of the democracy groups. Operating without the sort of limits placed on campaign fund-raising, the institute under Mr. McCain has solicited millions of dollars for its operations from some 560 defense contractors, lobbying firms, oil companies and other corporations, many with issues before Senate committees Mr. McCain was on.”9

Accompanying the Times story was a list of IRI directors and their connections to corporate interests, lobbying groups, and the Republican Party, as well as the amount of money they donated to McCain’s presidential campaign—a total of $36,700.10 The list indicated IRI board members who are also involved in McCain’s presidential campaign: Craner, IRI president; Gahl Hodges Burt, former White House social secretary; Janet Grissom, automaker lobbyist; Madigan, IRI vice chairman and a lobbyist for foreign governments; Alec Poitevint, Republican committeeman; Randy Scheunemann, head of the lobbying firm Orion Strategies, a campaign adviser on foreign policy and national security to Senator McCain, and a former member of the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq; Joseph Schmuckler, senior executive at Mitsubishi Securities; and Richard Williamson, lobbyist for AT&T. Other IRI board members include L. Paul Bremer, former special envoy to Iraq; Alison Fortier, vice president of Lockheed Martin; Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association and former Republican National Committee chairman; Michael Kostiw, a Senate aide to McCain and former Texaco lobbyist; and John Rogers, managing director of Goldman Sachs.11 The article also featured photos of McCain presenting IRI’s “Freedom Award” to Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2004, and George W. Bush in 2005.12

Despite this, the IRI seems hesitant to acknowledge its partisanship. For instance, in response to the July 2008 New York Times article, the institute released a statement saying, “While some IRI staff are Republicans, some are also Democrats and some are not members of any political party. … Some of IRI’s board members have chosen to support Senator McCain’s candidacy, just as some of NDI’s member’s [sic] have chosen to support Barack Obama’s.”13

Origins and Leadership

The IRI is the indirect product of the democratic globalism efforts of the AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the two main U.S. political parties.14 In 1982 President Ronald Reagan proposed a new organization to promote free-market democracies around the world, the NED. In 1983 Congress approved the creation of NED, which was funded primarily through the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and secondarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Designed as a bipartisan institution, NED channels U.S. government funding through four core grantees: IRI, NDI, the Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Solidarity Center (the AFL-CIO’s international operations institute).15

Like NED and the other core grantees, the early focus of IRI was on the Caribbean and Central America—a region that in the 1980s was the focal point of the Reagan administration’s revival of counterinsurgency and counter-revolutionary operations. After the Soviet bloc began to disintegrate in 1989, according to IRI’s website, the institute “broadened its reach to support democracy around the globe.”16

McCain became IRI chairman in 1993. “Shaken by the loss of the White House in 1992, Republicans scrambled to reinvigorate their party by giving higher profiles to some of its promising prospects. Mr. McCain, just re-elected by a convincing margin, was given two new positions: head of fund-raising and recruiting for the Senate Republicans and chairman of the International Republican Institute.”17 Among the changes he brought, reports the Times, was a shift in focus from Latin American to the former Soviet bloc.18

During McCain’s tenure, IRI’s leadership has included members of the center right, far right, and neoconservative factions of the Republican Party. George A. Folsom, former IRI president and CEO, was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, serving on the Treasury Department task force. An international investment banker, Folsom was a leading member of the Scowcroft Group, an international advisory firm headed by Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor and current IRI board member. IRI’s senior vice president is Georges Fauriol, the former director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Fauriol has also worked with the right-wingForeign Policy Research Institute and the USIA.

The IRI has expanded greatly in recent years. Its 2008 budget was about $78 million, with programs in some 60 countries and about 400 employees.19 Most recently, it has extended its operations into Central Asia, having opened offices in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. In Latin America, IRI has offices in Guatemala, Peru, and Haiti. In Africa, IRI has offices in Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola. IRI’s offices in Asia are found in Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, and Mongolia. In Central and Eastern Europe, IRI has offices in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Turkey.20

War on Terror

The IRI has actively supported the Bush administration’s “war on terror” with programs in 10 countries in the Greater Middle East region. The institute has been accused repeatedly of using potentially misleading polling data to push the Bush agenda, both at home and abroad. “During the Afghan presidential election of October 2004, IRI’s pre-election poll showed Hamid Karzai with a strong lead, and its exit poll, released immediately after the vote and well before the ballots were counted, also gave him over 50% of the vote. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group subsequently suggested that these polls might have helped head off scrutiny of an election that had initially been met with well-founded suspicions of fraud. IRI’s polls also serve to influence public opinion in the United States. A year ago, MediaMatters pointed out that the Washington Post had cited an IRI poll showing that ‘60% of Iraqis believed the country is headed in the right direction’ without indicating the partisan nature of its source. In September 2004, President Bush had cited a similar IRI poll at a press conference, saying, ‘I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America. It’s pretty darn strong. I mean, the people see a better future.'”21

IRI’s Middle East and North Africa program reported in 2007, “Although advocates of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa face entrenched interests that feel threatened by reform, notable progress accompanied the challenges witnessed in 2005. Women now have the right to vote in Kuwait, domestic observers can monitor multiparty elections in Egypt, popular protests in Lebanon led to the end of Syrian occupation, and the first elected parliament in more than three decades took office in Afghanistan. The International Republican Institute (IRI) provides support to these advocates of reform in the fields of elections, civil society, and governance programs.”22

However, efforts to fund democracy activities in the Middle East have at times backfired. In a June 2007 article for the New York Times Magazine, Negar Azimi recounted how efforts to funnel money to Iranian groups through the Office of Iranian Affairs, an outfit established in 2006 within the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and at one point overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, were facing criticism “not only from Iranian officials but also from some of the very people whose causes it aims to advance.”23

Reported Azimi: “For the Iranian government, the democracy fund is just one more element in an elaborate Bush administration regime-change stratagem. (‘Is there even a perception that the American government has democracy in mind?’ Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif, asked me recently in New York. ‘Except among a few dreamers in Eastern Europe?’) In recent months, Tehran has upped the pressure on any citizens who might conceivably be linked to the democracy fund and, by extension, on civil society at large, making the mere prospect of American support counterproductive, even reckless. … It is particularly telling, perhaps, that some of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian government have been among the most outspoken critics of the democracy fund. Activists from the journalist Emadeddin Baghi to the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi to the former political prisoner Akbar Ganji have all said thanks but no thanks. Ganji has refused three personal invitations to meet with Bush.”24

Head of the Office of Iranian Affairs at the time was David Denehy, who according to Azimi is “a veteran of democracy promotion programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the International Republican Institute and a close associate of [former] Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. During the Iraq War, he served in Baghdad from June to October 2003, where his focus was on civil-society development.”25

Attempted Coup in Venezuela

Many observers accused Washington of being behind the failed April 2002 coup against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, but the Bush administration denied any U.S. involvement. However, a relatively clear connection emerged between the U.S. government and the anti-Chávez movement: millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money channeled through the IRI and other U.S. organizations to groups opposed to Chávez during the years preceding the April coup. Via NED funding, IRI had been sponsoring political party-building workshops and other anti-Chávez activities in Venezuela. “IRI evidently began opposing Chávez even before his 1998 election,” reported journalist Mike Ceaser. “Prior to that year’s congressional and presidential elections, the IRI worked with Venezuelan organizations critical of Chávez to run newspaper ads, TV, and radio spots that several observers characterize as anti-Chávez.”26 Further, according to Ceaser, “The IRI has … flown groups of Chávez opponents to Washington to meet with U.S. officials. In March 2002, a month before Chávez’s brief ouster, one such group of politicians, union leaders, and activists traveled to D.C. to meet with U.S. officials, including members of Congress and State Department staff. The trip came at the time that several military officers were calling for Chávez’ resignation and talk of a possible coup was widespread.” An opposition figure who benefited from IRI support told Ceaser that bringing varied government opponents together in Washington accelerated the unification of the opposition. “The democratic opposition began to become cohesive,” he said. “We began to become a team.”27

In an April 12, 2002, written statement to the media, IRI President George A. Folsom rejoiced prematurely over Chávez’s removal: “The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country,” he wrote. “Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the government of Hugo Chávez.”28

The Coup in Haiti

In the first year of the George W. Bush administration, IRI received USAID funding for a new “party-building project” in Haiti, where it had been involved in since 1987. In 2004, the Aristide government collapsed. Before IRI closed its Haiti office in 2007, IRI’s USAID-funded party-building activities focused on working with and training the political opposition.29

According to Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Program at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., IRI was the key U.S. actor in Haiti for several years. In 2004 he said, “NED and USAID are important, but actually the main actor is the International Republican Institute (IRI), which has been very active in Haiti for many years but particularly in the past three years. IRI has been working with the opposition groups. IRI insisted, through the administration, that USAID give it funding for its work in Haiti. And USAID has done so but kicking and screaming all the way. IRI has worked exclusively with the Democratic Convergence groups in its party-building exercises and support. The IRI point person is Stanley Lucas who historically has had close ties with the Haitian military. … The IRI ran afoul with Aristide right from the beginning since it has only worked with opposition groups that have challenged legitimacy of the Aristide government. Mr. Lucas is a lightning rod of the IRI in Haiti. The United States could not have chosen a more problematic character through which to channel its aid.”30

As the New York Times reported, “what emerges from the events in Haiti is a portrait of how the effort to nurture democracy became entangled in the ideological wars and partisan rivalries of Washington.”31

“The Bush administration has said that while Mr. Aristide was deeply flawed, its policy was always to work with him as Haiti’s democratically elected leader,” the Times reported. “But the administration’s actions in Haiti did not always match its words. Interviews and a review of government documents show that [the IRI,] a democracy-building group close to the White House, and financed by American taxpayers, undercut the official United States policy and the ambassador assigned to carry it out.” 32

The Raw Story reported: “The secretive aspect to some of IRI’s activities, combined with its repeated involvement in subverting left-leaning politicians and parties, creates the appearance that it may be acting as one more tool in the Bush administration’s arsenal for regime change by any means available. The recent increase in IRI’s federal funding—which almost tripled, from $26 million to $75 million, between 2003 and 2005—adds grounds to this suspicion.”33

    The Right Web Mission

    Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

    Sources

    1. International Republican Institute brochure, 2006, http://www.iri.org/pdfs/2006IRIBrochure.pdf.
    2. George W. Bush, “Supporting Emerging Democracies,” Remarks at International Republican Institute Dinner, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC, May 17, 2005.
    3. Marc Lacey, “In Rare Study, Cubans Put Money Worries First,” New York Times, June 5, 2008;  [MISSING CITATION?]
    4. Maini Kiai and L. Muthoni Wanyeki, “A Deal We Can Live With,” New York Times, February 12, 2008.
    5. David Rohde and Carlotta Gall, “Most Want Musharraf to Quit, Poll Shows,” New York Times, December 13, 2007.
    6New York Times editorial, “No Help to Democracy in Haiti,” February 3, 2006.
    7. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    8. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    9. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    10. “McCain’s Institute,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    11. “McCain’s Institute,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    12. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    13. International Republican Institute, “IRI Statement Responding to The New York Times Article ‘McCain’s Lobbyist-Laden Group,’” July 28, 2008, http://www.iri.org/newsreleases/2008-07-28-IRI-NYT.asp.
    14. Tom Barry, “The Crusade of the Democratic Globalists,” International Relations Center, July 14, 2005.
    15. For an institutional perspective on the origins of the NED and its affiliated organizations, see David Lowe, “Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy,” National Endowment for Democracy, http://www.ned.org/about/nedhistory.html.
    16. International Republican Institute, “History,” http://www.iri.org/history.asp.
    17. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    18. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    19. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008; International Republican Institute, “Site Map,” http://www.iri.org/sitemap.asp.
    20. For a complete list of the countries where IRI is active, see International Republican Institute, http://www.iri.org/sitemap.asp.
    21. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    22. International Republican Institute, ”Middle East and North Africa,”http://web.archive.org/web/20061027235713/http://www.iri.org/mena/mena.asp.
    23. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    24. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    25. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    26. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    27. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    28. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    29. International Republican Institute, “Facts about IRI’s Work in Haiti,” updated July 2008, http://www.iri.org/newsreleases/2008-07-18-Haiti-faq.asp.
    30. Tom Barry, “Aristide’s Fall: The Undemocratic U.S. Policy in Haiti,” IRC America’s Program, February 27, 2004.
    31. Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg, “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos,” New York Times, January 29, 2006.
    32. Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg, “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos,” New York Times, January 29, 2006.
    33. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    34. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.

    Subversive Reagan Outfits, IRI and NDI, Criticize Democracy in Ukraine

    [Yanukovich should consider criticism by these two subversive revolutionary groups as high praise, considering that they are creations of Ronald Reagan.  Despite their international acclaim as "democracy-building" institutions, the ideas of "democracy" and "patriotism" that they claim to promote are not derived from the  Spirit of '76, but from the spirit of 1976, the ultra-right-wing  political revolution that has brought America and the world to the edge of oblivion.  These institutions promote the corporate democracy of Ronald Reagan, Neut Gingrich, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama--NOT--that of Jefferson, Franklin and Washington.

    Contrary to its name, the International Republican Institute (IRI) doesn't promote patriotic Republicanism, or democracy, it uses corporate contributions from its vast right-wing network of connections, along with matching government grants, to create a version of the American political machinery in a targeted country.  The result is a political machine which is totally American corporate/government financed, which creates a massive system of political patronage tilted in the favor of pro-American candidates.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) does not promote either individualism or majority rule, it serves to select and groom the right individuals to serve the American agenda and to facilitate the activities of various political unions committed to this agenda.

    Together, the IRI and the NDI make-up a united front for exporting revolution in the disguise of democracy to specific targeted countries.  In many cases, the process has successfully hired a foreign clientele to foment revolution against their own governments.    Treason for hire is the name of the game.  Our forefathers are rolling in their graves.]

    US Groups To Censure Ukraine’s Yanukovich

    KIEV, Ukraine — Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukraine’s president, will be criticised by two pro-democracy institutes for backtracking on democratic gains made since the Orange Revolution in 2004.

    Viktor Yanukovych
    A joint statement will be made public in coming days by the institutes representing the top political parties from the US.

    Written by the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, the statement – obtained by the Financial Times – focuses on recently adopted election legislation that unfairly undermines the chances of opposition parties in a forthcoming October 31 election to regional legislatures.

    Marking the sharpest international criticism of Mr Yanukovich’s democratic credentials yet, the statement follows rising complaints by domestic opposition parties and media.

    Both have accused Kiev’s Moscow-friendly leader and loyal coalition of waging a Kremlin-styled crackdown on democracy and press freedoms since taking over as president.

    Referring to the election law that was adopted by pro-presidential allies in parliament on June 29 and signed by Mr Yanukovich on July 27, the statement attacks the law for “limiting electoral potential” of opposition parties by banning participation of election blocs and parties registered less than one year ago.

    “Restrictions on new parties and independent candidates appear to be unreasonable in light of principles established by the Ukrainian constitution, as well as international obligations and commitments that Ukraine has undertaken,” the statement reads.

    Pro-democracy activists have praised the progress Ukraine has made since the Orange Revolution. Back then, a rigged presidential vote favoring Mr Yanukovich was overturned leading to a five-year presidential term by his pro-western rival, Viktor Yushchenko.

    Ukraine was seen as a rare beacon of democracy in Russia’s backyard and activists hoped the trend would continue despite Mr Yanukovich’s remarkable political comeback in winning the presidency this February.

    But IRI and NDI point to the recent developments as big risks for democracy in Ukraine, saying: “These developments could be characterised as changing the legal framework to create restrictions on political competition and … unreasonable denial of citizens’ rights to legitimate choices.”

    Mr Yanukovich’s majority coalition in parliament was also criticised for adopting the new rules too close to the election “in a non-transparent manner with virtually no public debate”.

    Opposition parties claim that their leaders and associates have faced increasing political persecution. Three high-level officials that served last year in the government of Yulia Tymoshenko, now an opposition leader, have been jailed on corruption charges.

    On Wednesday, Ms Tymoshenko’s party headquarters on the Crimean peninsula was raided by secret service agents.

    Mr Yanukovich has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

    But in an open letter this week, the International Press Institute urged Mr Yanukovich to put an end to a “disturbing deterioration in press freedom over the last six months”.

    “There are fears that since then the clock has been rolled back on recent press freedom gains in Ukraine,” the Vienna-based institute added.

    Source: The Financial Times

    Turkish president calls for civil disobedience to save Bosphorus

    SEVİM SONGÜN
    ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
    Turkish President Abdullah Gül.
    Turkish President Abdullah Gül.

    President Abdullah Gül’s apparent call Thursday for activists to use civil disobedience to keep tanker ships out of the Bosphorus Strait was welcomed by some environmentalists while others said the call for cooperation was self-serving.

    “On the issues of the construction of hydroelectric power plants, mines and the damage done to forests, [the government] is not listening to us and sees [environmentalists] as an obstacle,” Zafer Murat Çetintaş from the Istanbul Environmental Council told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.

    Çetintaş also claimed the government can take action to keep these ships from entering the strait by preparing a law exclusively for that body of water.

    Under the Montreux Convention, commercial shipping firms have the right to free passage through the Bosphorus in peacetime, although Turkey claims the right to impose regulations for safety and environmental purposes. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted concerns about a similar disaster on the heavily trafficked Istanbul waterway, which divides the city of some 15 million people.

    “These tanker ships are passing through the strait; nothing like that is happening anywhere else in the world. What I clearly say here is that I call on nongovernmental organizations and media outlets to be more sensitive to this issue and make efforts to keep these tanker ships away from the Istanbul strait,” Gül said Thursday, speaking at the opening of the 21st International Sailing Boat Races in Istanbul.

    “This should be voluntary work. You can prevent some things by force with laws and international laws. But [this] can be prevented by voluntary action based on environmentalist sensitivities,” the president said.

    Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Türk told the Daily News that Turkey cannot ban commercial ships from passing through the strait under international law, unless a ship’s load poses a danger to the environment or is higher than the regularly allowed tonnage. Professor Türk added that the president’s call is meaningless because protests cannot force the closure of the strait to tankers.

    Deniz Sözüdoğru, the communication coordinator for Greenpeace Mediterranean, said the group was glad to hear of Gül’s support. “It is very nice that the president is drawing attention to these problems and calls NGOs to action. We would like him to call us to collaborate on other problems as well,” Sözüdoğru told the Daily News.

    Silence is not an option

    Silence is not an option

    – by Kamran Shafi

    Relatives and policemen carry the flag-draped coffin of Sifwat Ghuyur, a senior police officer, to a burial site during his funeral in Peshawar August 5, 2010. Ghuyur was killed in a suicide attack on his car a day earlier in the city of Peshawar, a police official said. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz / Dawn

    Enough is bloody enough! Enough of deafening silence as our people, women, men and children, are mercilessly killed and maimed and widowed and orphaned by cold-blooded murderers and their handlers and motivators.

    How many more Safwat Ghayyurs and Mushtaq Baigs and Faisal Alvis and Malik Saads and Abid Alis and Khan Raziqs will have to die before those who are equipped and paid to prevent, or at the very least anticipate attacks such as those that killed these fine men, will begin to do their jobs? Whilst I have started this piece with the mention of officers in the service of Pakistan, I am by no means making light of the deaths of thousands of nameless innocents such as the women and children in Meena Bazaar, Peshawar, or the hungry poor at Data Darbar, Lahore.

    It is time that all of us Pakistanis stood up and loudly asked the establishment a raft of hard, even unpalatable to it, questions and demand answers. We must ask why it is that not a single suicide-jacket maker has been apprehended and prosecuted in all the years that these beasts have been going about their ghastly business. We must ask why not even one explosives supplier has been caught and brought before a court of law. We must ask why not one, just one, motivator has been exposed and locked up so that he may not spread his poison any more.

    We must ask why not even one facilitator, people who move these mindless creatures with explosives strapped to their bodies from one place to another, has been arrested and put away. Or why even one suicide attack or car bombing has not been prevented by our much-praised ‘agencies’. We must ask why high-profile officers such as young Safwat Ghayyur were not provided such intelligence cover as would have uncovered the surely elaborate plan hatched by the terrorists to get this officer.

    We must ask how it was that the man who apparently fit the profile of a suicide bomber almost perfectly: young, hanging about outside a sensitive agency (the Frontier Constabulary headquarters) waiting for his quarry; probably wild-eyed, entered Peshawar cantonment in the first place. I went to Peshawar a few weeks ago and it took my wife and I and our driver a full three minutes of questioning, checking of our ID cards, opening the hood and the dickey of the car, having a soldier peer into the car and so on, before we were let through just one barricade. There were three within the cantonment before we got to where we were going and the procedure was repeated at each one, albeit in abbreviated fashion. So how did that misguided, mindless youth stroll into the secure area to do his dreadful deed?

    We must ask too, what is the very first duty of any agency of any state. Surely it is the protection of its own people first and foremost, and as the end result of that the protection of the country as a whole. We must ask if our much-talked-about agencies are succeeding in these primary duties. We must ask if the attacks that have robbed so many of our people of their very lives are the direct result of a massive and ongoing intelligence failure. The frank answer is that the ‘agencies’ have failed and are failing all ends up in doing their primary duty: witness the audacious attacks by terrorists at any target of their choosing anywhere in the country, including that holy of holies, the GHQ. Including, indeed, on installations, and the transport, of the ISI itself.

    Which reminds me. There is an email doing the rounds that tells us that our ISI is the best intelligence agency in the whole wide world. The ranking of the world’s intelligence agencies according to this email is as follows: our very own ISI (and more strength to it, I say), Mossad (Israel), MI-6 (UK), the CIA (US), MSS (China), BND (Germany), FSB (Russia), DGSE (France), RAW (India) and ASIS (Australia). Two immediate questions come to mind. If the ISI is really as good as it is made out to be, how come our country is in the state it is in? Second, if RAW is as bad as to be the 9th worst intelligence agency in the world, how come it can pull off actions as diverse as bombing Data Darbar and R.A. Bazaar in Lahore and Lahore cantonment respectively; arming and provisioning Baloch separatists; and attacking our Ahmadi brothers in their mosques in Lahore? Could it be that RAW is not as bad as the list would have us believe, and the ISI not that good?

    Jokes aside, however, we must ask the hard questions and also make demands of our agencies, paid as they are from our taxes and revenue. The very first is to say to them to please secure our own country first and then attempt to project Pakistani power across our borders, say in Afghanistan. It is to say, please use all the significant resources at your command — the list referred to also tells us that the ISI has up to 10,0000 (I kid you not) operatives worldwide — to at the very least open the Thal-Parachinar road so that the poor people who live in Parachinar do not have to get to their homes via Kabul, Afghanistan.

    May I say please, sirs, sort out the criminal terrorists in your own country before you attempt to broker peace between Karzai and (some of) the Taliban. May I say please, sirs, if you cannot secure your own country how can you possibly have the gall to boss the neighbourhood around? Look inwards, sirs, at the veritable mess this poor country is in and do something about it. Surely you know that the last time the Parachinar road was opened, 10 men and six women were killed and eight men (all of them our Shia brothers and sisters, please note) were taken as hostages. At least find out where these poor hostages are, and have them released. Surely being number one you can do it.

    kshafi1@yahoo.co.uk

    Source: Dawn, 10 Aug, 2010

    Two suspects arrested in Habib Jalib case

    Two suspects arrested in Habib Jalib case

    Inspector General Balochistan Malik Mohammad Iqbal revealed the arrests while speaking to the media in Quetta.

    Two suspects, in connection with the Balochistan National Party leader Habib Jalib, were arrested on Friday.

    Inspector General Balochistan Malik Mohammad Iqbal disclosed that the arrested are relatives of slain the BNP leader and their names have been identified as Mushi Ejaz Ahmed and Muneer Ahmed.

    He said four accused were involved in the killing of Jalib and raids are being conducted to arrest the two other accused. He said the weapons and the motorbike, that were used in the murder, have also been recovered.

    Gunmen had shot dead the BNP-Mengal leader and former senator Habib Jalib in Quetta last month, sparking violent protests in different parts of the volatile province. The BNP had called 40-day mourning and a three-day strike in the province.

    We Are With the Flood-Victims–Primer Gilani

    [How will Rahman Malik know who has been taken by the flood or who has been "disappeared" by other means?  Balochs should give Malik the name of every missing person.]

    The Baloch Hal News

    QUETTA: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani has vowed that federal government would not leave the people of Balochistan in the lurch and would utilize all available resources for the relief and rehabilitation of flood affectees as it was the prime responsibility of the government. “International community should help Pakistan so that it could tackle colossal damages caused by devastating floods in the country”, he expressed these views while talking to newsmen and flood affectees of Jaffarabad district on Thursday.

    Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani accompanied by Minister Information Qamar Zaman Kaira,  Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Raza Rabbani made an aerial view of the flood affected areas of Balochistan and met with affected people in Sohbatpur of Jaffarabad district.

    He said that flash flood had caused devastation at a large scale across the country, and Pakistan was not in a position to tackle this serious situation alone. He appealed to international community to assist flood affectees.

    Gilani said that the government had mobilised all available resources to ensure relief to the affectees and added that with the help of the people, armed forces, local and international aid agencies, the difficult situation would be tackled.

    The Prime Minister said that if needed, the government would divert development fund to rehabilitation of affected people in the country after halting development activities besides reviewing budgetary allocations in the wake of devastating floods.

    He said that meeting of the Council of Common Interests would be convened so that all four chief ministers, federal cabinet and other stakeholders could review the situation and evolve a strategy for the rehabilitation of flood affected people. “Federal government would provide complete details of utilization of the aid to the people”, he said and adding that all information would be placed on the website so that it was accessible to all.

    He said he had tasked Interior Minister Rehman Malik to finalize a list of those who have been killed or displaced in the recent floods.

    Premier said that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had been given task to provide relief goods to all flood affected areas of Balochistan and added that steps were being taken to prevent waterborne disease in the flooded areas.

    He assured that all legally installed tubewells in the province would be provided subsidy.

    The Prime Minister also distributed rations, cash and tents amongst the flood victims.

    Expressing condolences over the heavy loss of live and property, he announced Rs 50 million for food to the affected people of Balochistan through utility stores on emergency basis, besides announcing one thousand tones of food.

    Prime Minister announced restoration of subsidy on electricity for agriculture tube wells in Balochistan that was withdrawn by NEPRA few days back.

    Earlier, Chief Minister Balochistan briefed Prime Minister Gilani about the details of damages caused by the heavy rains and floods in the province.

    Provincial ministers, including  Mir Sadiq Umrani, Amin Umrani, Gazal Gola and Mir Saleem Ahmed Khosa  were also present on this occasion.

    Gilani Government Puts On “Relief” Sideshow In Balochistan

    ‘Fake’ flood relief camp magically appears during Gilani’s Balochistan visit

    2010-08-13 16:20:00
    The government of Pakistan’s Balochistan province has been accused of setting up a fake flood-relief camp during Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s visit to Sohbatpur on Thursday.

    According to The Daily Times, when helicopters carrying Gilani and his cabinet members landed in Sohbatpur, local officials had showcased the relief camp, consisting of empty tents.

    However, locals said that it was the first time that had seen the camp, and claimed that it was not there on Wednesday.

    “We have just seen the camp, which local authorities claim is providing medical and relief facilities to us,” the paper quoted a local resident, as saying.

    “We were living in misery due to the floods for the last 10 days. But nobody had came to us except for the Pakistan Army personnel,” he added.

    The tents are brand new, untouched and without any sign of the rough weather and floodwater.

    Over 1,600 people have been killed and 15 million affected as raging floodwaters continue to wreak havoc in the country.

    It first struck Balochistan on July 22 before inundating the worst-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

    In addition to causing major human loses, it has destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, washed away crops and livestock. (ANI)

    A strategy gone awfully wrong

    A strategy gone awfully wrong

    PRAVEEN SWAMI

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad. File Photo: AP
    APU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad. File Photo: AP

    The HuJI’s story illustrates just why the U.S. needs to compel Pakistan to crack down on jihadists operating from its soil.

    “They are justified in their pursuit,” Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri told a journalist in October last, just weeks after a United States airstrike almost claimed his life, “they know their enemy well.”

    Recently, acting in concert with the United Nations, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a slew of sanctions against Kashmiri and the organisation he commands, the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami. The sanctions, which freeze assets Kashmiri may have in the U.S. and forbid financial transactions with him, are largely symbolic. Key figures from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad have long been subject to similar sanctions — but to little effect.

    Nestled in North Waziristan, a mountainous region along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan that is under the effective control of Islamist guerrillas, Kashmiri’s forces will be little impacted by the sanctions. The Pakistan army has been reluctant to move against them, saying it is too stretched by counter-insurgency campaigns elsewhere to open a new front.

    If there is one thing the complex story of the HuJI illustrates, it is this: unless the U.S. finds a way of compelling Pakistan to act against the jihadist groups it has nurtured for so long, its cities and citizens will continue to be at risk.

    Like so many jihadist groups of global reach and ambition, the HuJI was a product of the U.S.-authored, Saudi Arabia-funded and Pakistan-backed Islamist insurgency against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

    In February 1980, three religious scholars at the Jamia Uloom al-Islamia seminary in Karachi’s Binori Town set up the first Pakistani jihadist group to fight in that war. Maulana Irshad Ahmad, Maulana Muhammad Akhtar and Maulana Abdul Samad Sial called their organisation the Jamiat Ansar-ul-Afghaneen, or the organisation of the companions of the Afghan people.

    The Harkat-e-Inqiab-e-Islami, led by Peshawar-based cleric Nasrullah Mansoor, paid for the young clerics’ first weapons. Akhtar was elected to head the Jamiat Ansar-ul-Afghaneen in 1985, after Irshad was killed in combat. He took on the pseudonym “Saifullah” or the sword of God.

    For the first eight years of its existence, the organisation — which came to call itself HuJI towards the end of its campaign there — focussed on Afghanistan. From the outset, though, it had global ambitions. Its objectives, Pakistani newspaper The News reported in 2001, were “to fight against the oppression of the Muslims by the infidels all over the world through the revival of the traditions of jihad. It wants to recapture for the Muslims their glorious past.”

    In 1991, the HuJI initiated operations against India. It also, analyst Muhammad Amir Rana has recorded in his book A-Z of Jihadi Organisations in Pakistan, set up sister networks in Bangladesh, Chechnya and Uzbekistan. Figures published in the Pakistani media make clear that the HuJI’s Jammu and Kashmir operations were, by far, its most ambitious: its leaders claimed to have lost 650 men in combat there till 2004, against just 43 in Afghanistan between 1980 and 1989.

    Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate pumped in cash to pay for this expansion: at its peak, the HuJI was reported to be running eight training facilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which processed over 4,000 jihadists. But the battle over resources precipitated a split. In 1991, a faction led by Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman Khalil set up the rival Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

    For the next two years, clerics at the Jamia Uloom al-Islamia worked hard to heal the rift. Finally, in 1993, the two organisations merged into the Harkat-ul-Ansar. In 1994, the Harkat ul-Ansar dramatically announced its presence by taking control of the Chrar-e-Sharif mosque in central Kashmir. From later that year, though, problems began to develop. Key leaders, notably Maulana Masood Azhar and Nasrullah Langriyal, were held by Indian forces. Then, as evidence emerged of the organisation’s role in the kidnapping and murder of western tourists in Jammu and Kashmir, the Harkat-ul-Ansar came under intense U.S. pressure that eventually led to its proscription by that country in 1997.

    Not long after, the Harkat-ul-Ansar split again into its constituent formations. The Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami went into decline after the autumn of 1995, when Akhtar was held on charges of attempting a coup against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The Harkat ul-Mujahideen did better — for a time. But in January 2000, Azhar was released from jail in return for the passengers of an Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar. He returned to Pakistan, and with the ISI’s patronage, founded the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Following a bitter power struggle, he took over much of the Harkat ul-Mujahideen.

    Kashmiri had been a bit-actor as much of this story unfolded: he claimed in interviews that he was jailed in India, and that he participated in a major terrorist strike in New Delhi but there is no evidence to back either claim. Born in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 1964, Kashmiri joined the HuJI soon after dropping out of a mass communications degree course in Islamabad. He was among a small group of ideological radicals who resisted the ISI’s pressure to join Azhar’s JeM and, following the India-Pakistan crisis of 2001-2002, scale back operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Pushed out of Jammu and Kashmir in 2005, Kashmiri was increasingly drawn to the jihadists fighting in Afghanistan. He was even briefly detained on suspicion of having participated in an attempt to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf.

    In theory, Azhar supported the global jihadist project. “The fundamental argument of each one of Azhar’s books and many published speeches,” Pakistani scholar and diplomat Husain Haqqani wrote in a 2005 paper, “appears to be that puritanical Islam faces extinction at the hands of an ascendant secular culture, just as the fledgling religion was challenged by unbelievers in its earliest days.” Indeed, “Azhar’s argument for fighting India in Kashmir is rooted in the same theological arguments that Osama bin-Laden has cited in his declarations of war against the United States.” But where bin-Laden was willing to fight against the U.S. in Afghanistan, the ISI-linked Azhar wasn’t.

    Kashmiri began working closely with the jihadists opposed to the Pakistani state — and, by 2009, drifted into the ranks of the al-Qaeda. “The defeat of the American global hegemony,” he explained in a 2009 interview to Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, “is a must if I want the liberation of my homeland Kashmir.”

    The HuJI cadre have been responsible for training hundreds of insurgents operating against the western forces in Afghanistan, as well as a string of bombings in both that country and Pakistan. That, however, is not the extent of their ambitions — and reach.

    Less than a month after the failed bomb strike on Kashmiri, the Federal Bureau of Investigations held Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley — and found evidence that the new-form of HuJI he commands holds out a credible transnational threat. Long a key Lashkar operative, Headley had, among other things, helped collect a video footage that guided a 10-man assault team to its targets in Mumbai in November 2008. But he became increasingly frustrated with the organisation’s reluctance to support operations against the West.

    Headley railed against the Lashkar’s leadership, saying it had “rotten guts.” “I am just telling you,” he hectored a Lashkar-linked friend in a September 17, 2009 phone conversation, “that the companies in your competition have started handling themselves in a far better way.”

    Kashmiri received Headley at a camp in North Waziristan last year. “The bazaar,” Headley wrote in an internet post, “is bustling with Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Bosnians, some from European Union countries and, of course, our Arab brothers. According to my survey, the foreign population is a little less than a third of the total. Any Waziri or Mehsud I spoke to seemed grateful to God for the privilege of being able to host the foreign Mujahideen.”

    In the months before his arrest, Headley made contact with Kashmiri and began tapping his associates for assistance to bomb the offices of Jyllands Posten, a Copenhagen newspaper which incensed many Muslims by publishing cartoons they believed were blasphemous.

    Earlier this year, an audiotape released to mark the death of al-Qaeda operative Said al-Masri claimed Kashmiri even had a role in attacks against India. “I bring you the good tidings,” he said, “that last February’s India operation was against a Jewish locale in the west of the Indian capital [sic., throughout], in the area of the German bakeries — a fact that the enemy tried to hide — and close to 20 Jews were killed in the operation, a majority of them from their so-called statelet, Israel. The person who carried out this operation was a heroic soldier from the ‘Soldiers of the Sacrifice Brigade’ which is one of the brigades of Qaedat al-Jihad [the al-Qaeda's formal name] in Kashmir, under the command of Commander Illyas Kashmiri, may Allah preserve him.”

    For years, the U.S. ignored groups like the HuJI, trusting the ISI to ensure that their India-focussed energies never turned to the West. That strategy, Illyas Kashmiri’s story makes clear, has comprehensively failed.

    Clinton Hails Cast-Driven India As “Global Example for Liberty”

    ‘Indian Dream’ a global example for liberty, says Hillary Clinton

    Narayan Lakshman

    Washington: United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday extended a message of felicitation to all Indians, celebrating with them the country’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary.

    In a statement, Ms. Clinton said, “Each year on August 15th, we join with Indians around the world to honour Mahatma Gandhi and the heroes of the Indian independence movement who proved that great change can be achieved through non-violent resistance.”

    Inspired generations

    She said that the courage and determination of these leaders had inspired generations of leaders around the world, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who had advanced the U.S.’ own struggle for civil rights and equality.

    Commenting on the promise of freedom, tolerance, and prosperity of the “Indian Dream,” Ms. Clinton said that 63 years after independence, India as a world leader continued to offer an example for people who yearn for democracy and liberty around the globe.

    On the occasion the Secretary reiterated that the U.S. was committed to further strengthening its cooperation and partnership with India and, as President Obama had noted during the Strategic Dialogue a few months ago, “the relationship between our two countries is unique.”

    Ms. Clinton in her congratulatory message said that the bilateral relationship was rooted in common interests, shared values and democratic traditions, and strengthened by extensive people-to-people connections.

    She added that the administration looked forward to further developing these bonds when President Obama visited India this fall, because it was only through dynamic, global cooperation between India and the U.S. that the defining challenges of the 21st century might be addressed.

    She said, “Once again, I congratulate the people of India on all you have achieved and wish you a safe and joyous Independence Day celebration.”

    What is the truth about Hamid Gul?

    [What is the truth about Hamid Gul?]

    “The last I heard was that he was in the transport business in Rawalpindi and doing quite well. I have also heard him on a TV show describing himself as a visionary. So I think he is probably a visionary transporter with a sideline in TV talk. How can even the ISI object to that?”

    Hamid Gul’s spy games

    Gul looks on as Hafiz Saeed addresses a rally in Lahore in June. PHOTO: EPA

    KARACHIGeneral (retd) Hamid Gul, a former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, has been named in the reports released by WikiLeaks as a vital cog in the planning of attacks by the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda against Nato forces in Afghanistan. Gul is notorious for his pro-Taliban and anti-American views but the reports accuse him of playing a far more insidious role.

    The role of Hamid Gul

    ‘Make the snow warm in Kabul’

    The information contained in the WikiLeaks reports is, if true, damning. An entry from December 30, 2006 describes an alleged meeting between Gul and three senior, unnamed Taliban members that took place in Nowshera on December 17. In it, Gul is quoted as saying he had dispatched three men to use Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to attack International Security Assistant Force (Isaf) in Kabul during Eid celebrations. Gul is also alleged to have provided the IEDs, which are described as being Chinese-made.

    The report says: “Gul instructed two of the individuals to plant IEDs along the roads frequently utilised by Government of Afghanistan (GOA) and Isaf vehicles. The third individual is to carry out a suicide attack utilising a suicide vest against GOA or Isaf entities. Reportedly Gul’s final comment to the three individuals was ‘make the snow warm in Kabul’, basically telling them to set Kabul aflame.”

    Eid-ul-Azha fell on December 31 that year. According to reports released by WikiLeaks, there were a number of attempted IED attacks before and after Eid. On December 30, “TF (task force) Iron Grays reported 8x IEDs were linked together approximately four kilometres northeast of FOB (Forward Operating Base) Methar Lam [...] TF Iron Grays reported a total of 8x Ammonium Nitrate IEDs had been removed (buried approximately 1 foot in the ground on the side of the road, with approximately 30 lbs of ammonium nitrate per plastic container) wired together as a command detonated IED”.

    A report filed on December 31 cites that a patrol struck an IED and one vehicle was damaged, but no casualties were recorded.

    Nowshera, while a hideout for the Swat leadership of the Taliban, has never been known as a hub of the Afghan Taliban. The only Afghan Taliban leader confirmed to have set up base in Nowshera was Mullah Kabir who was the governor of Nangahar province when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and was arrested in the city this February. However the Chinese, at least officially, do not export landmines.

    Prison break?

    Hamid Gul is also implicated in a kidnapping plot. A report filed on January 14, 2008 says that the former ISI chief worked with Qari Naqibullah to kidnap United Nations (UN) officials in Jalalabad and use the hostages to trade for the release of three Pakistan army soldiers, posing as doctors, and six other detainees being held in the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Afghanistan.

    While Qari Naqibullah is believed to have had possession of IEDs, there is no record of this plan being carried out. Guantanamo Bay detainee Said Amir Jan, who lived next to Naqibullah, confessed in his hearing to have a stock of IEDs and that we was planning attacks in Jalalabad.

    According to intelligence provided by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) on January 29, 2008: “Taliban Mullah Habibullah plans to attack the Pul-e-Charkhi jail to free three Anti-Coalition Forces (ACF) Pakistani prisoners.”

    The only known kidnapping of UN officials in Afghanistan was in 2004, when three UN staff were kidnapped and then released. Additionally, there is a curious factual error in the report where it describes Gul as a “retired Pakistani ISI general currently serving with the Lashkar-e-Taiba faction of the PAKMIL (Pakistan military)”. Gul, whatever rhetorical support he may have given them, never actually served with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. And the Lashkar-e-Taiba, whatever support it may have received from the military, is certainly not a faction of the military.

    Revenge

    A report from January 2009 refers to a meeting in Wana between Gul, Taliban commanders and a group of Arabs in which it was decided to avenge the killing of a person, presumably an Afghan Taliban or al Qaeda member, by the name of Zamarai, by carrying out IED attacks in Sarobi district.

    While the name ‘Zamarai’ is unknown, it is possible that they were referring to Usama al Kini, the head of al Qaeda operations in Pakistan, who was killed in an air strike on an unconfirmed date in January earlier this year. Al Kini is the only Afghan Taliban or al Qaeda member who was killed in the two months leading up to that alleged meeting.

    However, the vivid details of the reports and plots paint a curious picture. In the January meeting, Gul allegedly “encouraged the AAF (anti Afghan forces) leaders to focus their operation inside of Afghanistan in exchange for the government of Pakistan’s security forces turning a blind eye to the presence of AAF commanders and fighters in Pakistan. Additionally, the AAF leaders approved a plan to send 50 Arab and 50 Waziri fighters to Ghazni province, Afghanistan in early February 2009. According to Hamid Gul, the aerial threats in the area were controlled from the airport in Wana.”

    Deny, deny, deny

    Gul has been vehement in his refutation of the information contained in the WikiLeaks reports. He told the Christian Science Monitor, “This is utter nonsense … malicious, fictitious, and preposterous – and if this is the condition of US intelligence, then I am afraid it is no wonder they are losing in Afghanistan, and they will lose everywhere they try to poke their nose.” The ISI also denied that Gul had been freelancing for them. ISI spokesman Zafar Iqbal was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying, “He hasn’t worked for the ISI in any capacity since he left the organisation.”

    Journalist Mohammed Hanif, when asked whether Gul was still actively involved or had become a mere talking head, says, “Many may not remember but he is the same dude who 20 years ago set out to conquer Jalalabad after the Soviets withdrew. On his way to Jalalabad he started taking these little media breaks to talk to journalists, to make TV appearances etc. That’s why he still hasn’t made it to Jalalabad but he has never quite called off his campaign. Some might say that his progress has been a bit slow but do you even know how many talk shows there are on Pakistani news channels?”

    According to Hanif, “The last I heard was that he was in the transport business in Rawalpindi and doing quite well. I have also heard him on a TV show describing himself as a visionary. So I think he is probably a visionary transporter with a sideline in TV talk. How can even the ISI object to that?”

    Suspicious

    But even before the reports had been released, Hamid Gul was accused of aiding and abetting terrorism, although never with any proof.

    In October 2006 then-President Pervez Musharraf said ex-ISI members may be helping the Taliban. He specifically mentioned those who were at the forefront of the agency from 1979-89, the period when the ISI was aiding the mujahideen to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. These remarks were considered to include Gul and, indeed, Gul himself felt the need to respond to Musharraf’s statement and deny that he was helping the Taliban.

    In 2007, Benazir Bhutto wrote a letter to Musharraf and identified three people she considered a threat to her security, which included Hamid Gul.

    After the Mumbai attacks of 2008, the US government appealed to the United Nations to place him on a list of international terrorists but the move was vetoed by China.

    Yet the charges continue to surface, probably because of Gul’s repeated rhetorical support for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. In an interview with Al-Jazeera he said of the Taliban, “I support their cause of Afghan resistance. I lend them my moral support because I have in the past had strong connections with them.” He was equally effusive of al Qaeda when he spoke to United Press International soon after 9/11: “I know Bin Laden and his associates. I’ve been with them here, in Europe and the Middle East. They are graduates of the best universities and are highly intelligent with impressive degrees and speak impeccable English.”

    Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.

    Chávez agrees to clamp down on rebels

    Chávez agrees to clamp down on rebels

    TOM HENNIGAN in São Paulo

    COLOMBIA AND Venezuela ended their diplomatic stand-off on Tuesday after Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez agreed to step up efforts to prevent Colombian rebels from operating on Venezuelan soil.

    Mr Chávez broke off ties with his Andean neighbour on July 22nd after the government in Bogotá presented evidence to the Organisation of American States which it said proved the government in Caracas tolerated the presence of Colombian guerrillas on its territory.

    The satellite images reportedly identified 87 rebel camps housing 1,500 guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and the smaller National Liberation Army (Eln). Colombia has long suspected the left-wing Mr Chávez of proving covert support to the Marxist groups.

    The deal to re-establish ties was hammered out during four hours of talks between Mr Chávez and Colombia’s new president Juan Manuel Santos in the Colombian resort of Santa Marta, held in the house where South American independence hero Simón Bolívar died in 1830.

    Mr Chávez, who expressed his “love” for Colombia, arrived at the meeting with a biography of Bolívar as a present for Mr Santos, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday. The Venezuelan leader idolises Bolívar after whom he named his political movement.

    Speaking to reporters, Mr Chávez, wearing a sports jacket with the colours of the Venezuelan flag, said his government “did not support, nor permitted, nor would permit the presence of guerrillas, terrorists or drug-traffickers on Venezuelan territory”.

    Tuesday’s agreement will see both governments set up a commission which will “seek to prevent the presence and actions of illegal armed groups” and “increase the presence of both states in the frontier zone”. The process will be supervised by the Union of South American Nations, the regional body whose head, former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner, attended Tuesday’s talks. Four other commissions will seek to boost cross-border trade and infrastructure and invest in social projects along the border.

    The communique made no mention of the legal action by Mr Santos’ predecessor against Mr Chávez at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his alleged support of rebels.

    Tuesday’s agreement to “re-launch and re-establish” relations follows years of an increasingly acrimonious war of words between Caracas and the US-backed government in Bogotá.

    Mr Chávez sent troops to their shared border in 2008 following a Colombian raid on a Farc base in Ecuador, which is a close ally of Venezuela. Last year he froze most cross-border trade after Bogotá signed an agreement that gave the United States military access to seven bases in Colombia.

    He denounced the deal as part of a US plan to try and dominate a region that in the last decade has moved to the left with a series of radical anti-US governments.

    Last year Mr Chávez denounced Mr Santos as “a pupil of the Yankee extreme right” saying his election as president would threaten the peace of the entire continent. Mr Santos responded by accusing the Venezuelan leader of inventing risks abroad in order to consolidate his control at home.

    Pakistan Fight Stalls for U.S.

    [It must be time for "Plan B," or C or D.]

    Pakistan Fight Stalls for U.S.

    By JULIAN E. BARNES and SIOBHAN GORMAN in Washington and TOM WRIGHT in Islamabad

    [HAQQANI-JP]Associated PressPakistani paramilitary troops leave camp for patrol last month in Wana, South Waziristan, where they are fighting Pakistani Taliban.

    WASHINGTON—The U.S. military has stopped lobbying Pakistan to help root out one of the biggest militant threats to coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say, acknowledging that the failure to win better help from Islamabad threatens to damage a linchpin of their Afghan strategy.

    Until recently, the U.S. had been pressing Islamabad to launch major operations against the Haqqani network, a militant group connected to al Qaeda that controls a key border region where U.S. defense and intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden has hidden.

    The group has been implicated in the Dec. 30 bombing of a CIA base in Khost, a January assault on Afghan government ministries and a luxury hotel in Kabul, and in the killing of five United Nations staffers in last year’s raid on a U.N. guesthouse.

    But military officials have decided that pressing Pakistan for help against the group—as much as it is needed—is counterproductive.

    U.S. officials believe elements of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, are continuing to protect the Haqqani network to help it retain influence in Afghanistan once the U.S. military eventually leaves the country. U.S. officials say the support includes housing, intelligence and even strategic planning,

    [HAQQANI]

    During a trip to Pakistan last month, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chose not to raise the issue of an offensive against the Haqqani network—a departure from the message U.S. defense officials delivered earlier this year.

    The U.S. also had intensified the pressure for Pakistani operations in North Waziristan in May after the attempted bombing of New York’s Times Square was linked to militants in Pakistan.

    Pakistan officials reject the U.S. conclusions about their efforts. They say they are taking significant action against militants in North Waziristan. They say their intelligence service has severed all ties with the Haqqani network. Islamabad points to a series of surgical strikes the Pakistani military has executed in North Waziristan, and say they have ratcheted up those efforts in recent months in a precursor toward more aggressive moves.

    Pakistan’s operations complement a Central Intelligence Agency drone campaign targeting militants in North Waziristan, a Pakistani official said.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised the Pakistani effort to rout al Qaeda and other militants from Swat and South Waziristan. “Are they doing a lot to help us? The answer is yes,” Mr. Gates said Thursday.

    U.S. officials acknowledged the recent Pakistani operations, but discounted their value against the Haqqani network.

    A U.S. defense official said that most of the raids have been against the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group that poses no direct threat to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but opposes the Pakistani government.

    Pakistan has failed to act on detailed intelligence about the Haqqanis provided in recent months, said a senior military official. “Our forces have put a significant dent in the Haqqani network,” said the official. “It would be good if the [Pakistanis] would do the same on their side.”

    U.S. officials say they have concluded that making more demands, public or private, on Islamabad to start a military offensive against the Haqqani network will only strain U.S.-Pakistani relations.

    The Haqqani network has decades-long ties with al Qaeda leaders that date back to their days of fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan prior to al Qaeda’s formation.

    The network now is believed to provide al Qaeda with protection, shelter and support in North Waziristan. The group’s historic base is in Afghanistan’s Khost province and it remains the most potent insurgent force in the eastern part of the country and is closely aligned with the Taliban.

    The number of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan is thought to be very small, under 100; Haqqani network fighters number in the thousands.

    The U.S. shift partly is in recognition that the Pakistanis simply may not have the military capacity to expand operations enough to secure the North Waziristan area, one U.S. official acknowledged.

    Pakistani efforts in North Waziristan so far are too small to have a significant impact, said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who headed the Obama administration’s first review of U.S. policy toward Afghan and Pakistan.

    “It is mostly show to keep the Americans happy,” he said.

    In the wake of Pakistan’s recent flooding, U.S. officials also are concerned the Pakistanis may ratchet back counterterrorism operations as they redeploy troops to help respond to a burgeoning humanitarian crisis.

    U.S. defense officials now argue the only way to convince Pakistan to take action in North Waziristan is to weaken the Haqqani network so much that Pakistan sees little value in maintaining an alliance with the group—though they acknowledge that will be harder without Pakistani help.

    The U.S. military has stepped up its own operations against the Haqqani network since April, and most significantly in the last two weeks, according to military officials. Strikes have significantly reduced the Haqqani network’s ability to mount attacks in Kabul and outside their traditional tribal areas of eastern Afghanistan, said senior U.S. military officials.

    In eastern Afghanistan, a task force of elite troops assigned to target the Haqqani network conducted 19 operations in April, 11 in May, 20 in June and 23 in July. The high pace continued in the first week of August with seven operations.

    The Haqqanis threatened to disrupt an international conference in Kabul last month, but were not able to make good on the threat.

    G20 SEOUL–THERE WILL BE A STORM

    G20 SEOUL: THERE WILL BE A STORM

    by Barb Dwyer – CIMC
    Thursday Aug 12th, 2010 9:34 AM

    “The wind from above assumes its old forms of arrogance and haughtiness. The police and the Federal Army close ranks around money and corruption. The wind from below once again travels the ravines and valleys; it is beginning to blow strongly. There will be a storm…” -Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN

    On August 3rd, the Korea Times reported that the National Police Agency will be mobilizing more than 400,000 police around the G-20 Summit in Seoul, November 11th & 12th, 2010. Multinational CEO’s and leaders of the worlds twenty richest nations will meet during the G-20 on three islands, which have a price-tag of around 83 million(USD) to build…That’s right, build. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, a total of three manmade “floating islands” are being built on the Han River between the Banpo and Dongjak bridges, and will be secured by anchors.

    While thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets during past G-20 Summits in North America and Europe, South Korean workers and activists have a long history of being even more militant in their struggle against the destructive policies of globalization than their counterparts in the Northwest hemisphere. In December of 1996, the South Korean parliament passed a new labor law which began a “structural adjustment” austerity program on behalf of the IMF and World Bank. These programs require countries to make debt repayment a priority, and as a consequence forces them to cut essential social services such as health, education, and development, thus lowering their standard of living. These programs also open the door to the privatization of natural resources, such as ancient forests and public water supplies, to be exploited by multinational corporations.

    In the days that followed, 12 million South Korean workers went on strike to counter the new undemocratic labor law. In the years that followed, South Korean’s continued to protest against the destructive policies of neoliberalism, most notably the WTO in 2003, World Economic Forum in 2004, APEC in 2005, and numerous other occasions. As the G20 approaches, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has announced it is planning to hold a rally and march on November 11th, the first day of the Summit. According to their website, “…the KCTU will do everything in our power to stage a massive anti-neoliberalism struggle that will gain attention of people and workers around the globe. To this end, we will prepare to hold People’s Action and be a leader of a great transformation.”

    South Korean workers have often utilized the direct action tactics of resistance, such as strikes and factory takeovers, to large street demonstrations. It is not uncommon that the workers are also armed with slingshots, molotov cocktails, and sticks. Often times, in an act of more desperate resistance, workers commit suicide outside of their factories, sometimes through self-immolation. South Korean police on the other hand, much like their counterparts around the globe, have also demonstrated their willingness to continually brutalize their own citizens to quell public dissent of these policies. It is a well documented and common tactic for South Korean police to scrape the bottom of their metal shields on the concrete in order to sharpen the edges into a blade before they thrust their shields into the throats of protesters. Over the years, this brutal police tactic has led to the horrific deaths of many South Korean workers.

    All this comes at a time when the fallout from past G-20’s are still fresh in the air. During the 2009 G-20 Summit in London, Ian Tomlinson was beaten to death by police. On July 21st, 2010, his wife and nine children learned that the London police would not investigate his death, despite video and photographic evidence. None of the officers went to the aid of Tomlinson, who stumbled 100 yards down the road before collapsing and dying in front of thousands of demonstrators. In Canada, the police have begun an old-fashion witch hunt for the people they suspect are responsible for the property damage that occurred during the G-20 in Toronto. Up to 17 people are being charged with conspiracy and at least 4 individuals still remain in jail. In the wake of the Pittsburgh Summit, many cases still remain in court regarding criminal charges against activists, as well as the excessive use of force by police.

    Whenever, and wherever, these large summits take place they are always preempted by a heavy campaign of psychological operations (PSYOPS) to prepare the population for the inevitable urban warfare and heavy handed police tactics that ensue. Authorities, for months ahead of time, tell local residents propaganda, such as “the rioters will threaten your lives” and “burn your city like Seattle in 1999” and that the “police are here to protect YOU, from THEM.” However, our collective experiences globally show us who the real violent faction is…In the past, we’ve seen all too often the police instigate violence, only to have the embedded corporate media twist the facts in their reporting later on. Given who they are protecting, and who pays their salary, it should be no surprise that the goal of both the police and corporate media is to delegitimize demonstrators and create pretexts to silence them. It is commonplace now that peaceful citizens are rounded up like sheep in “mass arrests” in order to create and/or expand their intelligence database of dissidents. The people who choose to resist and/or practice self-defenses are often labeled “terrorists” and face a multitude of oppressive weapons such as live-round and less-lethal ammunition, chemical weapons, and even newer oppressive directed energy technologies such as the LRAD sound cannon. Not only are the policies of neoliberalism destructive to human lives, the environment, and future of humanity in general, it could not be made possible without the collaborating authorities that protect these elite criminals through violence and deception.

    As we’ve seen in other locations where these summits were held, South Korean police have already began their crackdown on immigrants, homeless, unions, students, and activists. Authorities there have launched large-scale deportations and raids against migrant workers and street vendors are slowly being moved out to prepare the battlefield. According to the Korean Times, “During a recent rally in front of Myeongdong Cathedral in downtown Seoul, Michel from the Philippines, the chief of the Migrants’ Trade Union, condemned the ongoing crackdown, saying, ‘“The Korean government is using the G-20 Summit as an excuse to trouble minorities. We want the government to end their oppressive behavior. End the crackdown!”’

    Amidst the growing state repression in the lead up to the G-20 in Seoul, the South Korean National Police Agency (NPA) has created a special police unit as part of its effort to enhance security around the summit. Police operations headquarters will be set up in Seoul September 1st and will bring in elite mobile field force units of “riot troops” from across the nation. All officers will continue to be on high alert until November when hundreds of finance/business CEO’s and world leaders gather in Seoul, in an attempt to fix the crisis their policies created. This will undoubtedly become a milestone for the G-20 and within the anti-globalization movement, as South Korea becomes the first country in the Asian region, and from the “emerging world”, to host a G-20 Summit.

    Based on the outcome of previous G-20 Summits and the response of South Korean police to demonstrations in the past, it is almost guaranteed that the South Korean people can expect extreme police repression and increased erosion of their hard-won democracy, before, during, and after the summit. As in the past, the G-20 will almost certainly conclude in an undemocratic fashion, and will attempt to promote and solidify more of the same oppressive neoliberal policies the working people of the world struggle against every day. On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and machinery of death; on the other side is humanity.

    There will be a storm…

    PARTICIPANTS OF G-20 SEOUL
    ***Please note this is an incomplete list of participants***

    INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:
    IMF
    World Bank
    WTO
    United Nations
    NEPAD
    OECD
    Africa Union
    ASEAN
    Financial Stability Forum
    International Labour Organization

    MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS:
    (Over 100 CEOs will attend the Seoul G20)

    Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann
    HSBC British Holdings Group Chairman Stephen Green
    U.K. Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands
    Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit
    U.S. Black-stone Group Chairman Stephen Schwarzman
    VISA Chairman Joseph Saunders
    Japan’s Nomura Holdings CEO Kenichi Watanabe
    China Merchants Bank CEO Ma Weihua
    Luxembourg’s Arcelor Mittal Chairman Lakshmi Mittal
    Switzerland’s Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
    U.S. Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs
    French energy company Total CEO Christophe de Margerie
    Germany’s Bosch Group Chairman Franz Fehrenbach
    France’s AREVA CEO Anne Lauvergeon
    France’s Alstom Chairman Patrick Kron
    France’s Veolia CEO Antoine Frerot
    Spain’s Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau
    India’s Infosys Technologies CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan
    CEOs of Denmark’s Vesta Wind Systems
    CEO Ditlev Engel
    Brazil’s Vale CEO Roger Agnelli
    Italy’s Eni Chairman Roberto Poli
    China’s Li & Fung Group Chairman Victor Fung
    Sweden’s SEB/SABB/AB Electrolux Chairman Marcus Wallenberg
    Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company CEO Yaschika Hasegawa
    China Southern Power Grid Chairman Zhao Jianguo

    COUNTRIES:
    Oceania:
    Australia
    Eurasia:
    Russia
    Turkey
    East Asia:
    China
    Japan
    South Korea
    Europe:
    EU
    France
    Germany
    Italy
    UK
    North America:
    Canada
    Mexico
    USA
    South America:
    Argentina
    Brazil
    Africa:
    South Africa
    South Asia:
    India
    Southeast Asia:
    Indonesia
    Western Asia:
    Saudi Arabia

    PLA General:US engaging in gunboat diplomacy

    [Obama and Brzezinski obviously feel comfortable making a play against China at this time.  Recent American/Russian new "detente" eliminates the Russian distraction for the American strategists at the exact point in time when contracts must be signed for the pipeline deals to survive and China has emerged with a winning hand in Central Asia and the Middle East.  With the American economy collapsing behind the Imperialists, it is vital that they choose which final confrontation strategy has the best odds to win, since this is likely to be their chance to grab the biggest prize. Putin has wisely sided with the side that has the biggest and best war toys.

    Obama is looking to find-out just how "inscrutable" the Chinese really are.  It looks like it might be time for a game of  nuclear "chicken."]

    The United States will dispatch the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to the waters west of South Korea (the Yellow Sea) to participate in a series of U.S.-South Korean joint military drills, a spokesperson for the United States Department of Defense recently announced during a press conference. This is a 180-degree turn from the statements made by an official from the Pentagon in mid-July.

    The Chinese government has reiterated that it firmly opposes the activities of foreign naval ships in the Yellow Sea and other offshore areas of China that affect China’s security interests and urged relevant sides to pay serious attention to China’s concerns and stance. However, the United States has insisted on sending aircraft carriers to the Yellow Sea to provoke China. What information has this transmitted? At least it shows that the foreign policy of the United States is still showing three features that have long been part of its global strategy.

    The first is hegemony, under which the United States claims, “Since I am the dominant player in the world, I can go anywhere I want and others have no rights to interfere.” The philosophical foundation of the American hegemonic mindset is the deep-rooted “manifest destiny” theory held by some Americans.

    According to the theory, the American Nation is the most outstanding nation in the world. Its leadership in the world, which is bestowed by God, is undeniable. Therefore, Americans have the responsibility to handle world affairs and will appear wherever problems take place. Nevertheless, the results are usually the opposite – things become worse with the involvement of the United States.

    The reason behind this is that they are convinced that the social system of the United States is the most advanced in the world. Therefore, they strive to sell their “democratic values” across the world, which sometimes means resorting to military action. They believe that the American nation is the most excellent, so they must “lead the world” and other nations have no choice but to follow them.

    The United States will exercise its military power to punish the nations that do not follow its will. In their eyes, the security of other countries and nations is always put in the second position and even considered to be insignificant. They do not need to pay attention to security concerns raised by any other country.

    The second is gunboat diplomacy. It can be summed up by the position that, “If you do not obey me, I will flex my muscles first. Then, if you do not behave better, I will teach you a lesson with my fists.” The best example of U.S. gunboat diplomacy is the Naval Operations Concept 2010 approved by the U.S. president in May this year, which vividly described U.S. “maritime interests.” According to the concept 2010, the U.S. naval forces will develop six core competencies: forward presence, deterrence, maritime security, sea control, power projection and humanitarian assistance.

    What high-sounding language! First, the so-called forward presence means that the United States can send its gunboats to every corner of the world, tyrannize the weak and extend its security boundaries to others’ doorsteps. This way, the United States can even claim the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea is covered within its security boundary.

    Second, the so-called deterrence is no different from bully tactics, namely that “if you do not obey me, I will punch you.” Third, the so-called maritime security is to ensure the inviolability of U.S. gunboats. The United States only cares about its own safety, and it should not be expected to ever care about others’ safety. Fourth, the so-called sea control applies the logic of “whoever controls critical sea-lanes controls the seas, and whoever controls the seas controls the world.”

    Fifth, the so-called power projection is obviously for war rather than peace. Sixth, the so-called humanitarian assistance is only for the Americans and U.S. allies, while others only receive brutal and rough treatment from the United States. This U.S. behavioral style shows that it is still holding on to the Cold War mentality and still implementing gunboat diplomacy, the philosophical foundation of which is the law of jungle, namely bullying the weak.

    Ironically, the United States, which has a blind belief in its military force and “speaks” only through its gunboats, is at once embarrassingly trapped in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The third feature of U.S. foreign policy is unilateralism, namely, “No matter how many people it involves, I am superior to all others, and I can do whatever I like. Everything must bend to American interests and will.” The philosophical foundation of American unilateralism is based on the zero-sum game and its basic principle is: what I obtain must be what others lose and vice versa, so what others obtain must be what I lose.

    Therefore, the United States is never willing to communicate and consult with other countries, let alone think from others’ point of views. Since Obama came into power, he has claimed to have broken clearly with former President Bush’s unilateralist policies and pursued “smart power” diplomacy.

    However, judging from the United States and South Korea’s insistence on holding joint military drills around the waters of the Korean Peninsula, we see neither multilateral security cooperation nor the display of smart power. What we see is only unilateral confrontation and showing off of hard power.

    The Chinese are peace-loving people, and China is now taking a peaceful development road different from when the imperialist powers rose. We do not want to be against any country, but we are not fearful if other countries ignore our solemn positions and core interests. A country must have the dignity and its army must have deterrence power.

    China adheres to the principle “We will not attack unless we are attacked, and we must retaliate only if we are attacked,” which is definitely not a joke to the Chinese people and the army. Doesn’t the United States proclaim itself to be the most democratic country? Then, they should know in the 21st century, they ought to learn to respect others and listen to the public opinions of other countries, using wisdom but not gunboats to solve problems.

    By Major General Luo Yuan, deputy secretary general of the Society of China Military Sciences, translated by People’s Daily Online

    Chinese Air Force in Night Drill Over West Sea

    Chinese Air Force in Night Drill Over West Sea

    Chinese fighter jets took part in an unprecedented night flight drill recently over the West Sea preparing for a U.S. air raid.

    Quoting the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Daily, the South China Morning Post on Wednesday reported fighter jets from the North China Sea Fleet took off from the Liaodong and Shandong peninsulas for a night drill over Bohai Gulf.

    The drill lasted about two hours in the early morning. “Data collected from night flying will help our army to cope with combined operations on modern battlefields,” the PLA Daily commented.

    “The air division is equipped with new generation fighter jets,” the daily added without specifying the number and model.

    The Hong Kong daily quoted Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based security expert and retired general, as saying the drill “had also been part of an escalating response to joint U.S.-South Korea military drills in the Yellow [West] Sea.” He said the Chinese military wants to send a message “that it is also capable of dealing with night attacks.”

    englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 12, 2010 08:30 KST

    US Provoking Series of Naval Escalations With N. Korea

    [Hypocrite ambassadors race around the globe denouncing any act of resistance or self-defense from US provocations.  When an US and S. Korean armada spends a couple of days off the Korean coast, firing enough weaponry to destroy a Third World military force, it is not a "provocation," but when N. Korea does the same thing it threatens world peace?  One act is clearly an act of resistance to aggression.  Don't depend upon another smart ass American diplomat to tell you which is which.]

    U.S. Says N.Korean Artillery Fire ‘Killed a Lot of Fish’

    The United States on Monday expressed concern over North Korea’s firing of artillery shells off the west coast. “It is not a helpful sign by North Korea, and this is exactly the kind of behavior we would like to see North Korea avoid,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

    Asked whether Pyongyang will resort to further provocations, Crowley said, “Regrettably, the answer is we’re likely to see more provocations. All we can continue to communicate to North Korea is that there will be no reward for these provocations.”

    He said it is “unclear” what North Korea “feels it is trying to achieve through this ongoing chest-thumping that it has engaged in,” he said. “All we can say is that we will continue to work effectively and closely with South Korea, other countries in the region, and there will be no reward for North Korea.”

    He pledged to work with the international community to implement UN sanctions against the North and “continue to find ways as we’ve talked about to put pressure on the North Korean government to change course.” But Crowley downplayed the effect of the artillery fire, saying, “I’m sure it resulted in a lot of dead fish,” and added, “We certainly hope that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will protest.”

    englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 11, 2010 12:12 KST

    Colombian President Calls Bogota Car Bombing ‘Terrorist Act’

    Colombian President Calls Bogota Car Bombing ‘Terrorist Act’

    VOA News12 August 2010

    Police anti-explosive unit agents inspect the wreckage of a car bomb that exploded outside the building of Caracol Radio station in Bogota, 12 Aug 2010

    Photo: AP

    Police anti-explosive unit agents inspect the wreckage of a car bomb that exploded outside the building of Caracol Radio station in Bogota, 12 Aug 2010

    Police in the Colombian capital, Bogota, are investigating a car bombing that injured at least nine people and damaged nearby buildings and vehicles.
    Newly-inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos visited the scene after the blast early Thursday and was briefed by police. He called the bombing a terrorist act and vowed to continue fighting such attacks.

    Police say the explosion occurred near a building that houses Radio Caracol in the northern part of the city.  They say the car was packed with at least 50 kilograms of explosives and shattered windows in vehicles in the street, and several stories up in nearby buidlings.
    Police cordoned off the street to protect bystanders from falling glass.
    No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
    A police spokesman said it is unclear what the target was, as a bank is on the same block as the radio station and the American Embassy is not far away.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.