Iran’s Islamic Revolution Had Western Blessing

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Had Western Blessing

Interview with Iranian journalist and author Roozbeh Mirebrahimi

Roozbeh Mirebrahimi (left) and Abbas Amir-Entezam. / Credit:
Roozbeh Mirebrahimi (left) and Abbas Amir-Entezam.

NEW YORK, Jul 26, 2008 (IPS) – In his new book on the covert history of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, award-winning journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi says that Western powers, including the United States, accelerated events by recognising and supporting religious revolutionary forces, forcing the shah to leave the country and averting a coup by Iran’s army.

In 1953, the United States had deposed the popular government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and his cabinet via a CIA-backed coup d’état. Anti-communist civilians and army officers supported the coup.

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s second departure from Iran, almost a month before the victory of the revolution in February 1979, had dramatically raised concerns among the leaders of the revolution that Washington would try to stage another coup to bring back the shah, who had fled to the United States. However, diplomats who were at the centre of events say that an accommodation was reached between Western countries and Iran’s Islamic clergy.

In an interview with IPS correspondent Omid Memarian, Mirebrahimi said that the role of the West in facilitating the revolution has been largely ignored, particularly by the Iranian government itself. His Farsi-language book, “Untold Aspects of the Iranian Revolution” (Khazaran, 2008) is based on an extensive interview with Abbas Amir-Entezam, the spokesman and deputy prime minister in the interim cabinet of Mehdi Bazargan in 1979.

Amir-Entezam, now Iran’s longest-serving political prisoner, was an ambassador to Scandinavian countries during the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy. He was accused of spying for the U.S., arrested and sentenced to death in 1981. This was later reduced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Critics suggest the charges were retaliation against his early opposition to theocratic government in Iran.

IPS: There are rumours of a meeting between the French president’s representative and Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris, prior to the revolution. What was the significance of this meeting?

RM: While Khomeini was in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau near Paris and leading the revolution, he was asked by the current world powers to meet and to have a dialogue. He raised some demands, including the shah’s removal from Iran and help in avoiding a coup d’état by the Iranian Army. On the other side of the table, the western powers had certain demands too. They were worried about the Soviet Union’s empowerment and penetration and a disruption in Iran’s oil supply to the west. Khomeini gave the necessary guarantees. These meetings and contacts were taking place in January of 1979, just a few days before the Islamic Revolution in February 1979.

IPS: What made these same western countries turn against Khomeini and others just months after 1979 Revolution?

RM: Western powers had been monitoring the political and social changes inside Iran for a long time. They had been trying to understand the internal changes in Iran through the forces they had in Iran or the people they would send to Iran, such as [former U.S. attorney general] Ramsey Clark. They had realised that Iranian society was on the verge of a fundamental change. They chose to accommodate this change. After recognising the opposition groups, they facilitated them with opportunities such as media coverage. Through this action, changes accelerated with an unexpected speed. In the next stage, in order to prevent the Soviet Union from taking advantage of these changes, amongst all existing opposition groups they chose the religious forces to stand against communism, which was anti-religion by nature.

IPS: But why after the revolution did they turn against them?

RM: I would say because of the revolutionary atmosphere inside Iran and actions of the empowered radicals, this relationship faced challenges.

IPS: Why did U.S. officials trust Ayatollah Khomeini enough to negotiate with him?

RM: [William H.] Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Iran, was keeping a very close watch over Iran’s internal affairs and analysing all the developments. All the army and military affairs, all the macro-level decisions and reactions by the Shah’s regime, all the activities of the religious forces, activities of the communists, and all other revolutionary forces were monitored by him. According to documents and books published in the United States and other western countries, around September 1978, four months before the revolution, it was clear that the shah could no longer stay, and that they should be looking for a way to reach an agreement with the opposition. All the contacts and dialogues picked up pace during this time. The religious forces that were surrounding Khomeini at the time were people like Yazdi, Bazargan, Bani sadr, Ghotbzadeh or among the clergy, people like Beheshti and Motahhari… They were educated and relatively technocratic and the west felt that they could rely on them. After the revolution, this trust and relationship remained intact until the invasion of the U.S. Embassy.

IPS: Why did the hostage-taking occur at a time when the new government under Ayatollah Khomeini had a normal relationship with the U.S.?

RM: Ayatollah Khomeini was opposed to radical actions such as invading the U.S. Embassy. For example, this was not the first time the U.S. Embassy was occupied. Right around those early days of the revolution, during the first 10 days, the U.S. Embassy was occupied for the first time by the leftist forces such as Khalgh and other parallel forces, but this received a very strong reaction from Ayatollah Khomeini who sent Ebrahim Yazdi to the embassy to get the revolutionary occupiers out of there. During the second incident, Khomeini was caught off-guard after the incident had already taken place. Pressure by the radicals at that time caused Khomeini to react by standing behind it. That incident caused Prime Minister Bazargan to resign. Prior to this incident, the relationship of the new government with the west was still quite normal. We should not forget that exactly one day after the revolution, the United States officially recognised the new government.

IPS: So what kind of an impact did all this have on the Islamic Revolution?

RM: This book has several features. First, it reexamines the Islamic Republic’s portrayal of the history of the revolution, which is a red line in today’s Iran. Secondly, Amir Entezam himself has always been a red line for the regime, which has tried so hard to erase his name from all official records. Thirdly, a person from the new generation, born in the year of the revolution, has done all of this research. And I’m very happy that after five years of all kinds of bans and obstacles, this book is getting published.

“Al Qaida”

The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”

Part I
by Andrew Gavin Marshall


As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.

The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan.

The myth sweeps aside the facts and complex nature of terror, al-Qaeda, the American empire and literally defies the laws of physics. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The greatest enemy of the truth is not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, pervasive, and unrealistic.”

This three-part series on “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda” examines the geopolitical historical origins and nature of what we today know as al-Qaeda, which is in fact an Anglo-American intelligence network of terrorist assets used to advance American and NATO imperial objectives in various regions around the world.

Part 1 examines the origins of the intelligence network known as the Safari Club, which financed and organized an international conglomerate of terrorists, the CIA’s role in the global drug trade, the emergence of the Taliban and the origins of al-Qaeda.

The Safari Club

Following Nixon’s resignation as President, Gerald Ford became the new US President in 1974. Henry Kissinger remained as Secretary of State and Ford brought into his administration two names that would come to play important roles in the future of the American Empire: Donald Rumsfeld as Ford’s Chief of Staff, and Dick Cheney, as Deputy Assistant to the President. The Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s brother. When Donald Rumsfeld was promoted to Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney was promoted to Chief of Staff. Ford had also appointed a man named George H.W. Bush as CIA Director.

In 1976, a coalition of intelligence agencies was formed, which was called the Safari Club. This marked the discreet and highly covert coordination among various intelligence agencies, which would last for decades. It formed at a time when the CIA was embroiled in domestic scrutiny over the Watergate scandal and a Congressional investigation into covert CIA activities, forcing the CIA to become more covert in its activities.

In 2002, the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal gave a speech in which he stated that in response to the CIA’s need for more discretion, “a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran [under the Shah].”[1] However, “The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George H.W. Bush as the head of the CIA,” Saudi intelligence chief, Kamal Adham, “transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.”[2]

As CIA director, George H.W. Bush “cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adham, the head of Saudi intelligence, brother-in-law of King Faisal and an early BCCI insider.” Adham had previously acted as a “channel between [Henry] Kissinger and [Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat” in 1972. In 1976, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia formed the Safari Club “to conduct through their own intelligence agencies operations that were now difficult for the CIA,” which was largely organized by the head of French intelligence, Alexandre de Marenches.[3]

The “Arc of Crisis” and the Iranian Revolution

When Jimmy Carter became President in 1977, he appointed over two-dozen members of the Trilateral Commission to his administration, which was an international think tank formed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller in 1973. Brzezinski had invited Carter to join the Trilateral Commission, and when Carter became President, Brzezinski became National Security Adviser; Cyrus Vance, also a member of the Commission, became Secretary of State; and Samuel Huntington, another Commission member, became Coordinator of National Security and Deputy to Brzezinski. Author and researcher Peter Dale Scott deserves much credit for his comprehensive analysis of the events leading up to and during the Iranian Revolution in his book, “The Road to 9/11”,* which provides much of the information below.

Samuel Huntington and Zbigniew Brzezinski were to determine the US policy position in the Cold War, and the US-Soviet policy they created was termed, “Cooperation and Competition,” in which Brzezinski would press for “Cooperation” when talking to the press, yet, privately push for “competition.” So, while Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was pursuing détente with the Soviet Union, Brzezinski was pushing for American supremacy over the Soviet Union. Brzezinski and Vance would come to disagree on almost every issue.[4]

In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.” The Arc of Crisis stretched from Indochina to southern Africa, although, more specifically, the particular area of focus was “the nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer and for more than two decades a citadel of U.S. military and economic strength in the Middle East. Now it appears that the 37-year reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi is almost over, ended by months of rising civil unrest and revolution.”[5]

With rising discontent in the region, “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.”[6] A month prior to Brzezinski’s speech, in November of 1978, “President Carter named the Bilderberg group’s George Ball, another member of the Trilateral Commission, to head a special White House Iran task force under the National Security Council’s Brzezinski.” Further, “Ball recommended that Washington drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the fundamentalist Islamic opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini.”[7] George Ball’s visit to Iran was a secret mission.[8]

Throughout 1978, the Shah was under the impression that “the Carter administration was plotting to topple his regime.” In 1978, the Queen and Shah’s wife, told Manouchehr Ganji, a minister in the Shah’s government, that, “I wanted to tell you that the Americans are maneuvering to bring down the Shah,” and she continued saying that she believed “they even want to topple the regime.”[9] The US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, thought that the revolution would succeed, and told this to Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General under the Johnson administration, as well as professor Richard Falk, when they were visiting Sullivan in Iran in 1978. Clark and Falk then went from Iran to Paris, to visit Khomeini, who was there in exile. James Bill, a Carter adviser, felt that, “a religious movement brought about with the United States’ assistance would be a natural friend of the United States.”[10]

Also interesting is the fact that the British BBC broadcast pro-Khomeini Persian-language programs daily in Iran, as a subtle form of propaganda, which “gave credibility to the perception of United States and British support of Khomeini.”[11] The BBC refused to give the Shah a platform to respond, and “[r]epeated personal appeals from the Shah to the BBC yielded no result.”[12]

In the May 1979 meeting of the Bilderberg Group, Bernard Lewis, a British historian of great influence (hence, the Bilderberg membership), presented a British-American strategy which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.”[13] Further, it would prevent Soviet influence from entering the Middle East, as the Soviet Union was viewed as an empire of atheism and godlessness: essentially a secular and immoral empire, which would seek to impose secularism across Muslim countries. So supporting radical Islamic groups would mean that the Soviet Union would be less likely to have any influence or relations with Middle Eastern countries, making the US a more acceptable candidate for developing relations.

A 1979 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, described the Arc of Crisis, saying that, “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It went on to explain that post-war US policy in the region was focused on “containment” of the Soviet Union, as well as access to the regions oil.[14] The article continued, explaining that the most “obvious division” within the Middle East is, “that which separates the Northern Tier (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan) from the Arab core,” and that, “After World War II, Turkey and Iran were the two countries most immediately threatened by Soviet territorial expansionism and political subversion.”[15] Ultimately, “the Northern Tier was assured of a serious and sustained American commitment to save it from sharing the fate of Eastern Europe.”[16]

While Khomeini was in Paris prior to the Revolution, a representative of the French President organized a meeting between Khomeini and “current world powers,” in which Khomeini made certain demands, such as, “the shah’s removal from Iran and help in avoiding a coup d’état by the Iranian Army.” The Western powers, however, “were worried about the Soviet Union’s empowerment and penetration and a disruption in Iran’s oil supply to the west. Khomeini gave the necessary guarantees. These meetings and contacts were taking place in January of 1979, just a few days before the Islamic Revolution in February 1979.”[17] In February of 1979, Khomeini was flown out of Paris on an Air France flight, to return to Iran, “with the blessing of Jimmy Carter.”[18] Ayatollah Khomeini named Mehdi Bazargan as prime minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government on February 4, 1979. As Khomeini had demanded during his Paris meeting in January 1979, that western powers must help in avoiding a coup by the Iranian Army; in that same month, the Carter administration, under the direction of Brzezinski, had begun planning a military coup.[19]

Could this have been planned in the event that Khomeini was overthrown, the US would quickly reinstate order, perhaps even place Khomeini back in power? Interestingly, in January of 1979, “as the Shah was about to leave the country, the American Deputy Commander in NATO, General Huyser, arrived and over a period of a month conferred constantly with Iranian military leaders. His influence may have been substantial on the military’s decision not to attempt a coup and eventually to yield to the Khomeini forces, especially if press reports are accurate that he or others threatened to withhold military supplies if a coup were attempted.”[20] No coup was subsequently undertaken, and Khomeini came to power as the Ayatollah of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As tensions increased among the population within Iran, the US sent “security advisers” to Iran to pressure the Shah’s SAVAK (secret police) to implement “a policy of ever more brutal repression, in a manner calculated to maximize popular antipathy to the Shah.” The Carter administration also began publicly criticizing the Shah’s human rights abuses.[21] On September 6, 1978, the Shah banned demonstrations, and the following day, between 700 and 2000 demonstrators were gunned down, following “advice from Brzezinski to be firm.”[22]

The US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, a Trilateral Commission member, said that, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint,” and the US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure,” while Carter’s adviser, James Bill, said that Khomeini was a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty.”[23]

The Shah was also very sick in late 1978 and early 1979. So the Shah fled Iran in January of 1979 to the Bahamas, allowing for the revolution to take place. It is especially interesting to understand the relationship between David Rockefeller and the Shah of Iran. David Rockefeller’s personal assistant, Joseph V. Reed, had been “assigned to handle the shah’s finances and his personal needs;” Robert Armao, who worked for Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was sent to “act as the shah’s public relations agent and lobbyist;” and Benjamin H. Kean, “a longtime associate of Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller,” and David Rockefeller’s “personal physician,” who was sent to Mexico when the shah was there, and advised that he “be treated at an American hospital.”[24]

It is important to note that Rockefeller interests “had directed U.S. policy in Iran since the CIA coup of 1953.”[25] Following the Shah’s flight from Iran, there were increased pressures within the United States by a handful of powerful people to have the Shah admitted to the United States. These individuals were Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, John J. McCloy, former statesman and senior member of the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, who was also a lawyer for Chase Manhattan, and of course, David Rockefeller.[26]

Chase Manhattan Bank had more interests in Iran than any other US bank. In fact, the Shah had “ordered that all his government’s major operating accounts be held at Chase and that letters of credit for the purchase of oil be handled exclusively through Chase. The bank also became the agent and lead manager for many of the loans to Iran. In short, Iran became the crown jewel of Chase’s international banking portfolio.”[27]

The Iranian interim government, headed by Prime Minister Bazargan, collapsed in November of 1979, when Iranian hostages seized the US Embassy in Teheran. However, there is much more to this event than meets the eye. During the time of the interim government (February, 1979 to November, 1979), several actions were undertaken which threatened some very powerful interests who had helped the Ayatollah into power.

Chase Manhattan Bank faced a liquidity crisis as there had been billions in questionable loans to Iran funneled through Chase.[28] Several of Chase’s loans were “possibly illegal under the Iranian constitution.”[29] Further, in February of 1979, once the interim government was put in power, it began to take “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors.” Also, the interim government “wanted Chase Manhattan to return Iranian assets, which Rockefeller put at more than $1 billion in 1978, although some estimates ran much higher,” which could have “created a liquidity crisis for the bank which already was coping with financial troubles.”[30]

With the seizure of the American Embassy in Iran, President Carter took moves to freeze Iranian financial assets. As David Rockefeller wrote in his book, “Carter’s ‘freeze’ of official Iranian assets protected our [Chase Manhattan’s] position, but no one at Chase played a role in convincing the administration to institute it.”[31]

In February of 1979, Iran had been taking “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors. In 1979, as in 1953, a freeze of Iranian assets made this action more difficult.”[32] This was significant for Chase Manhattan not simply because of the close interlocking of the board with those of oil companies, not to mention Rockefeller himself, who is patriarch of the family whose name is synonymous with oil, but also because Chase exclusively handled all the letters of credit for the purchase of Iranian oil.[33]

The Shah being accepted into the United States, under public pressure from Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller, precipitated the hostage crisis, which occurred on November 4. Ten days later, Carter froze all Iranian assets in US banks, on the advice of his Treasury Secretary, William Miller. Miller just happened to have ties to Chase Manhattan Bank.[34]

Although Chase Manhattan directly benefited from the seizure of Iranian assets, the reasoning behind the seizure as well as the events leading up to it, such as a hidden role for the Anglo-Americans behind the Iranian Revolution, bringing the Shah to America, which precipitated the hostage crisis, cannot simply be relegated to personal benefit for Chase. There were larger designs behind this crisis. So the 1979 crises in Iran cannot simply be pawned off as a spur of the moment undertaking, but rather should be seen as quick actions taken upon a perceived opportunity. The opportunity was the rising discontent within Iran at the Shah; the quick actions were in covertly pushing the country into Revolution.

In 1979, “effectively restricting the access of Iran to the global oil market, the Iranian assets freeze became a major factor in the huge oil price increases of 1979 and 1981.”[35] Added to this, in 1979, British Petroleum cancelled major oil contracts for oil supply, which along with cancellations taken by Royal Dutch Shell, drove the price of oil up higher.[36] With the first major oil price rises in 1973 (urged on by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger), the Third World was forced to borrow heavily from US and European banks to finance development. With the second oil price shocks of 1979, the US Federal Reserve, with Paul Volcker as its new Chairman, (himself having served a career under David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan), dramatically raised interest rates from 2% in the late 70s to 18% in the early 80s. Developing nations could not afford to pay such interest on their loans, and thus the 1980s debt crisis spread throughout the Third World, with the IMF and World Bank coming to the “rescue” with their Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), which ensured western control over the developing world’s economies.[37]

Covertly, the United States helped a radical Islamist government come to power in Iran, “the center of the Arc of Crisis,” and then immediately stirred up conflict and war in the region. Five months before Iraq invaded Iran, in April of 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski openly declared the willingness of the US to work closely with Iraq. Two months before the war, Brzezinski met with Saddam Hussein in Jordan, where he gave support for the destabilization of Iran.[38] While Saddam was in Jordan, he also met with three senior CIA agents, which was arranged by King Hussein of Jordan. He then went to meet with King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, informing him of his plans to invade Iran, and then met with the King of Kuwait to inform him of the same thing. He gained support from America, and financial and arms support from the Arab oil producing countries. Arms to Iraq were funneled through Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.[39] The war lasted until 1988 and resulted in over a million deaths.

This was the emergence of the “strategy of tension” in the “Arc of Crisis,” in particular, the covert support (whether in arming, training, or financing) of radical Islamic elements to foment violence and conflict in a region. It was the old imperial tactic of ‘divide and conquer’: pit the people against each other so that they cannot join forces against the imperial power. This violence and radical Islamism would further provide the pretext for which the US and its imperial allies could then engage in war and occupation within the region, all the while securing its vast economic and strategic interests.

The “Arc of Crisis” in Afghanistan: The Safari Club in Action

In 1978, the progressive Taraki government in Afghanistan managed to incur the anger of the United States due to “its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies.”[40] The Afghan government was widely portrayed in the West as “Communist” and thus, a threat to US national security. The government, did, however, undertake friendly policies and engagement with the Soviet Union, but was not a Communist government.

In 1978, as the new government came to power, almost immediately the US began covertly funding rebel groups through the CIA.[41] In 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski worked closely with his aid from the CIA, Robert Gates (who is currently Secretary of Defense), in shifting President Carter’s Islamic policy. As Brzezinski said in a 1998 interview with a French publication:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.[42]

Brzezinski elaborated, saying he “Knowingly increased the probability that [the Soviets] would invade,” and he recalled writing to Carter on the day of the Soviet invasion that, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.” When asked about the repercussions for such support in fostering the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski responded, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”[43]

As author Peter Dale Scott pointed out in, The Road to 9/11:*

For generations in both Afghanistan and the Soviet Muslim Republics the dominant form of Islam had been local and largely Sufi. The decision to work with the Saudi and Pakistani secret services meant that billions of CIA and Saudi dollars would ultimately be spent in programs that would help enhance the globalistic and Wahhabistic jihadism that are associated today with al Qaeda.[44]

Hafizullah Amin, a top official in Taraki’s government, who many believed to be a CIA asset, orchestrated a coup in September of 1979, and “executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.”[45] The Soviets also intervened in order to replace Amin, who was seen as “unpredictable and extremist” with “the more moderate Barbak Karmal.”[46]

The Soviet invasion thus prompted the US national security establishment to undertake the largest covert operation in history. When Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter in 1981, the covert assistance to the Afghan Mujahideen not only continued on the path set by Brzezinski but it rapidly accelerated, as did the overall strategy in the “Arc of Crisis.” When Reagan became President, his Vice President became George H.W. Bush, who, as CIA director during the Ford administration, had helped establish the Safari Club intelligence network and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in Pakistan. In the “campaign to aid the Afghan rebels … BCCI clearly emerged as a U.S. intelligence asset,” and CIA Director “Casey began to use the outside – the Saudis, the Pakistanis, BCCI – to run what they couldn’t get through Congress. [BCCI president] Abedi had the money to help,” and the CIA director had “met repeatedly” with the president of BCCI.[47]

Thus, in 1981, Director Casey of the CIA worked with Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal who ran the Saudi intelligence agency GID, and the Pakistani ISI “to create a foreign legion of jihadi Muslims or so-called Arab Afghans.” This idea had “originated in the elite Safari Club that had been created by French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches.”[48]

In 1986, the CIA backed a plan by the Pakistani ISI “to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad.” Subsequently:

More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1986 and 1992, in camps overseen by CIA and MI6, with the SAS [British Special Forces] training future al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts. Their leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called Operation Cyclone and continued long after the Soviets had withdrawn in 1989.[49]

CIA funding for the operations “was funneled through General Zia and the ISI in Pakistan.”[50] Interestingly, Robert Gates, who previously served as assistant to Brzezinski in the National Security Council, stayed on in the Reagan-Bush administration as executive assistant to CIA director Casey, and who is currently Secretary of Defense.

The Global Drug Trade and the CIA

As a central facet of the covert financing and training of the Afghan Mujahideen, the role of the drug trade became invaluable. The global drug trade has long been used by empires for fuelling and financing conflict with the aim of facilitating imperial domination.

In 1773, the British colonial governor in Bengal “established a colonial monopoly on the sale of opium.” As Alfred W. McCoy explained in his masterful book, The Politics of Heroin:

As the East India Company expanded production, opium became India’s main export. [. . . ] Over the next 130 years, Britain actively promoted the export of Indian opium to China, defying Chinese drug laws and fighting two wars to open China’s opium market for its merchants. Using its military and mercantile power, Britain played a central role in making China a vast drug market and in accelerating opium cultivation throughout China. By 1900 China had 13.5 million addicts consuming 39,000 tons of opium.[51]

In Indochina in the 1940s and 50s, the French intelligence services “enabled the opium trade to survive government suppression efforts,” and subsequently, “CIA activities in Burma helped transform the Shan states from a relatively minor poppy-cultivating area into the largest opium-growing region in the world.”[52] The CIA did this by supporting the Kuomintang (KMT) army in Burma for an invasion of China, and facilitated its monopolization and expansion of the opium trade, allowing the KMT to remain in Burma until a coup in 1961, when they were driven into Laos and Thailand.[53] The CIA subsequently played a very large role in the facilitation of the drugs trade in Laos and Vietnam throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s.[54]

It was during the 1980s that “the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan transformed Central Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin for the world market,” as:

Until the late 1970s, tribal farmers in the highlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan grew limited quantities of opium and sold it to merchant caravans bound west for Iran and east to India. In its decade of covert warfare against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA’s operations provided the political protection and logistics linkages that joined Afghanistan’s poppy fields to heroin markets in Europe and America.[55]

In 1977, General Zia Ul Haq in Pakistan launched a military coup, “imposed a harsh martial-law regime,” and executed former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (father to Benazir Bhutto). When Zia came to power, the Pakistani ISI was a “minor military intelligence unit,” but, under the “advice and assistance of the CIA,” General Zia transformed the ISI “into a powerful covert unit and made it the strong arm of his martial-law regime.”[56]

The CIA and Saudi money flowed not only to weapons and training for the Mujahideen, but also into the drug trade. Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq appointed General Fazle Haq as the military governor of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), who would “consult with Brzezinski on developing an Afghan resistance program,” and who became a CIA asset. When CIA Director Casey or Vice President George H.W. Bush reviewed the CIA Afghan operation, they went to see Haq; who by 1982, was considered by Interpol to be an international narcotics trafficker. Haq moved much of the narcotics money through the BCCI.[57]

In May of 1979, prior to the December invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, a CIA envoy met with Afghan resistance leaders in a meeting organized by the ISI. The ISI “offered the CIA envoy an alliance with its own Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,” who led a small guerilla group. The CIA accepted, and over the following decade, half of the CIA’s aid went to Hekmatyar’s guerillas.[58] Hekmatyar became Afghanistan’s leading mujahideen drug lord, and developed a “complex of six heroin labs in an ISI-controlled area of Baluchistan (Pakistan).”[59]

The US subsequently, through the 1980s, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, gave Hekmatyar more than $1 billion in armaments. Immediately, heroin began flowing from Afghanistan to America. By 1980, drug-related deaths in New York City rose 77% since 1979.[60] By 1981, the drug lords in Pakistan and Afghanistan supplied 60% of America’s heroin. Trucks going into Afghanistan with CIA arms from Pakistan would return with heroin “protected by ISI papers from police search.”[61]

Haq, the CIA asset in Pakistan, “was also running the drug trade,” of which the bank BCCI “was completely involved.” In the 1980s, the CIA insisted that the ISI create “a special cell for the use of heroin for covert actions.” Elaborating:

This cell promoted the cultivation of opium and the extraction of heroin in Pakistani territory as well as in the Afghan territory under Mujahideen control for being smuggled into Soviet controlled areas in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts.[62]

This plan apparently originated at the suggestion of French intelligence chief and founder of the Safari Club, Alexandre de Marenches, who recommended it to CIA Director Casey.[63]

In the 1980s, one program undertaken by the United States was to finance Mujahideen propaganda in textbooks for Afghan schools. The US gave the Mujahideen $43 million in “non-lethal” aid for the textbook project alone, which was given by USAID: “The U.S. Agency for International Development, [USAID] coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program,” and “The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks.”[64]

The textbooks were “filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings,” and “were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines.” Even since the covert war of the 1980s, the textbooks “have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books.” The books were developed through a USAID grant to the “University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies,” and when the books were smuggled into Afghanistan through regional military leaders, “Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines.” USAID stopped this funding in 1994.[65]

The Rise of the Taliban

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the fighting continued between the Afghan government backed by the USSR and the Mujahideen backed by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so too did its aid to the Afghan government, which itself was overthrown in 1992. However, fighting almost immediately broke out between rival factions vying for power, including Hekmatyar.

In the early 1990s, an obscure group of “Pashtun country folk” had become a powerful military and political force in Afghanistan, known as the Taliban.[66] The Taliban “surfaced as a small militia force operating near Kandahar city during the spring and summer of 1994, carrying out vigilante attacks against minor warlords.” As growing discontent with the warlords grew, so too did the reputation of the Taliban.[67]

The Taliban acquired an alliance with the ISI in 1994, and throughout 1995, the relationship between the Taliban and the ISI accelerated and “became more and more of a direct military alliance.” The Taliban ultimately became “an asset of the ISI” and “a client of the Pakistan army.”[68] Further, “Between 1994 and 1996, the USA supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia, and pro-Western.”[69]

Selig Harrison, a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and “a leading US expert on South Asia,” said at a conference in India that the CIA worked with Pakistan to create the Taliban. Harrison has “extensive contact” with the CIA, as “he had meetings with CIA leaders at the time when Islamic forces were being strengthened in Afghanistan,” while he was a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. As he further revealed in 2001, “The CIA still has close links with the ISI.”[70] By 1996, the Taliban had control of Kandahar, but still fighting and instability continued in the country.

Osama and Al-Qaeda

Between 1980 and 1989, roughly $600 million was passed through Osama bin Laden’s charity front organizations, specifically the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), also known as Al-Kifah. The money mostly originated with wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Persian Gulf, and was funneled through his charity fronts to arm and fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan.[71]

In the 1980s, the British Special Forces (SAS) were training mujahideen in Afghanistan, as well as in secret camps in Scotland, and the SAS is largely taking orders from the CIA. The CIA also indirectly begins to arm Osama bin Laden.[72] Osama bin Laden’s front charity, the MAK, “was nurtured” by the Pakistani ISI.[73]

Osama bin Laden was reported to have been personally recruited by the CIA in 1979 in Istanbul. He had the close support of Prince Turki bin Faisal, his friend and head of Saudi intelligence, and also developed ties with Hekmatyar in Afghanistan,[74] both of whom were pivotal figures in the CIA-Safari Club network. General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, the head of the Pakistani ISI from 1980 to 1987, would meet regularly with Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and they formed a partnership in demanding a tax on the opium trade from warlords so that by 1985, bin Laden and the ISI were splitting the profits of over $100 million per year.[75] In 1985, Osama bin Laden’s brother, Salem, stated that Osama was “the liaison between the US, the Saudi government, and the Afghan rebels.”[76]

In 1988, Bin Laden discussed “the establishment of a new military group,” which would come to be known as Al-Qaeda.[77] Osama bin Laden’s charity front, the MAK, (eventually to form Al-Qaeda) founded the al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, New York, to recruit Muslims for the jihad against the Soviets. The al-Kifah Center was founded in the late 1980s with the support of the U.S. government, which provided visas for known terrorists associated with the organization, including Ali Mohamed, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman and possibly the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta.[78]

This coincided with the creation of Al-Qaeda, of which the al-Kifah Center was a recruiting front. Foot soldiers for Al-Qaeda were “admitted to the United States for training under a special visa program.” The FBI had been surveilling the training of terrorists, however, “it terminated this surveillance in the fall of 1989.” In 1990, the CIA granted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman a visa to come run the al-Kifah Center, who was considered an “untouchable” as he was “being protected by no fewer than three agencies,” including the State Department, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.[79]

Robin Cook, a former British MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote that Al-Qaeda, “literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.”[80] Thus, “Al-Qaeda” was born as an instrument of western intelligence agencies. This account of al-Qaeda was further corroborated by a former French military intelligence agent, who stated that, “In the mid-1980s, Al Qaida was a database,” and that it remained as such into the 1990s. He contended that, “Al Qaida was neither a terrorist group nor Osama bin Laden’s personal property,” and further:

The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the ‘TV watcher’ to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money.[81]

The creation of Al-Qaeda was thus facilitated by the CIA and allied intelligence networks, the purpose of which was to maintain this “database” of Mujahideen to be used as intelligence assets to achieve US foreign policy objectives, throughout both the Cold War, and into the post-Cold War era of the ‘new world order’.

Part 2 of “The Imperial Anatomy of al-Qaeda” takes the reader through an examination of the new imperial strategy laid out by American geopolitical strategists at the end of the Cold War, designed for America to maintain control over the world’s resources and prevent the rise of competitive powers. Covertly, the “database” (al-Qaeda) became central to this process, being used to advance imperial aims in various regions, such as in the dismantling of Yugoslavia. Part 2 further examines the exact nature of ‘al-Qaeda’, its origins, terms, training, arming, financing, and expansion. In particular, the roles of western intelligence agencies in the evolution and expansion of al-Qaeda is a central focus. Finally, an analysis of the preparations for the war in Afghanistan is undertaken to shed light on the geopolitical ambitions behind the conflict that has now been waging for nearly nine years.

* [Note on the research: For a comprehensive analysis of the history, origins and nature of al-Qaeda, see: Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America, which provided much of the research in the above article.]

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).  He is co-editor, with Michel Chossudovsky, of the recent book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century,” available to order at


[1]        Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 62

[2]        Ibid, page 63.

[3]        Ibid, page 62.

[4]        Ibid, pages 66-67.

[5]        HP-Time, The Crescent of Crisis. Time Magazine: January 15, 1979:,9171,919995-1,00.html

[6]        Peter Dale Scott, op. cit., page 67.

[7]        F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 171

[8]        Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 41

[9]        Ibid, page 39.

[10]      Ibid, page 41.

[11]      Ibid.

[12]      F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 172

[13]      Ibid, page 171.

[14]      George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 796

[15]      Ibid, page 797.

[16]      Ibid, page 798.

[17]      IPS, Q&A:  Iran’s Islamic Revolution Had Western Blessing. Inter-Press Service: July 26, 2008:

[18]      Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:

[19]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 89.

[20]      George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 810

[21]      F. William Engdahl, op cit., page 172.

[22]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 81.

[23]      Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:

[24]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 83.

[25]      Ibid, page 84.

[26]      Ibid, page 81.

[27]      Ibid, pages 85-86.

[28]      Ibid.

[29]      Ibid, page 87.

[30]      Ibid, pages 88-89.

[31]      Ibid.

[32]      Ibid, pages 87-88.

[33]      Ibid, page 85.

[34]      Ibid, page 86.

[35]      Ibid, page 88.

[36]      F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 173

[37]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009:

[38]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 89

[39]      PBS, Secrets of His Life and Leadership: An Interview with Said K. Aburish. PBS Frontline:

[40]      Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:

[41]      Oleg Kalugin, How We Invaded Afghanistan. Foreign Policy: December 11, 2009:

[42]      ‘’Le Nouvel Observateur’ (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76:

[43]      Ibid.

[44]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[45]      Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:

[46]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 78.

[47]      Ibid, page 116.

[48]      Ibid, page 122.

[49]      Ibid, page 123.

[50]      Ibid,.

[51]      Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. (Lawrence Hill Books: Chicago, 2003), page 80

[52]      Ibid, page 162.

[53]      Ibid.

[54]      Ibid, pages 283-386.

[55]      Ibid, page 466.

[56]      Ibid, page 474.

[57]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[58]      Alfred W. McCoy, op cit., page 475.

[59]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 74.

[60]      Ibid, pages 75-76.

[61]      Ibid, page 124.

[62]      Ibid, pages 75-76.

[63]      Ibid, page 124.

[64]      Carol Off, Back to school in Afghanistan. CBC: May 6, 2002:

[65]      Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway, From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad. The Washington Post: March 23, 2002:

[66]      Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Books, New York, 2004: Page 328

[67]      Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001. (London: Penguin, 2005), page 285

[68]      Steve Coll, “Steve Coll” Interview with PBS Frontline. PBS Frontline: October 3, 2006:

[69]      Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), page 326

[70]      ToI, “CIA worked in tandem with Pak to create Taliban”. The Times of India: March 7, 2001:

[71]      Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), pages 279-280

[72]      Simon Reeve, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and the Future of Terrorism. (London: André Deutsch Ltd, 1999), page 168

[73]      Michael Moran, Bin Laden comes home to roost. MSNBC: August 24, 1998:

[74]      Veronique Maurus and Marc Rock, The Most Dreaded Man of the United States, Controlled a Long Time by the CIA. Le Monde Diplomatique: September 14, 2001:

[75]      Gerald Posner, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11. (New York: Random House, 2003), page 29

[76]      Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens. (New York: Penguin, 2008), pages 7-9

[77]      AP, Al Qaeda Financing Documents Turn Up in Bosnia Raid. Fox News: February 19, 2003:,2933,78937,00.html

[78]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: pages 140-141

[79]      Ibid, page 141.

[80]      Robin Cook, The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means. The Guardian: July 8, 2005:

[81]      Pierre-Henri Bunel, Al Qaeda — the Database. Global Research: November 20, 2005:



According to Andrew Gavin Marshall, at Global Research, 5 September 2010, (The “Arc of Crisis”):

When Jimmy Carter became President, his government decided to support the Ayatollahs in Iran.

In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski referred to “an arc of crisis” and according to Time magazine, in January 1979, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer.”

According to Peter Dale Scott, in The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union.”

In 1978, Carter named George Ball to head a special White House Iran task force.

“Ball recommended that Washington drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the fundamentalist Islamic opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini.” (F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. )

Manouchehr Ganji was a minister in the Shah’s government and he has Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance.

According to Ganji, in 1978, the Shah believed that “the Carter administration was plotting to topple his regime.”

In 1978, the Shah’s wife, told Ganji that, “I wanted to tell you that the Americans are maneuvering to bring down the Shah… they even want to topple the regime.”

Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney General, and a professor Richard Falk, visited Khomeini in Paris.

According to Manouchehr Ganji, James Bill, a Carter adviser, felt that, “a religious movement brought about with the United States’ assistance would be a natural friend of the United States.”

The BBC broadcast pro-Khomeini programs daily in Iran. (F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order)

At the 1979 Bilderberg meeting, Bernard Lewis, a British historian, presented a British-American plan which supported “the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines.”

While Khomeini was in Paris, a representative of the French President organized a meeting between Khomeini and “current world powers.” (

In February 1979, Khomeini was flown out of Paris on an Air France flight, to return to Iran, “with the blessing of Jimmy Carter.”

(Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:

Covertly, the United States immediately stirred up war in the region.

Iraq invaded Iran, in April 1980.

Two months before the war, Brzezinski met with Saddam Hussein in Jordan, where he gave support for the destabilization of Iran.




The democratic forces movement is emerging in Tajikistan

The democratic forces movement is emerging in Tajikistan

07.09.2010 10:05 msk


The people’s democratic forces movement is being established in Tajikistan, Rakhmatullo Zoyirov, the leader of Social-democratic party of Tajikistan, informed Ferghana.Ru.

According to him, yesterday there was a meeting of initiative group in Dushanbe, attended by 15 people from various regions of the republic, including the representatives of three political parties.

“The meeting attendants elected the initiative group of 7 people for preparation of constitutive council. We are planning to have constitutive meeting in the next three weeks. The movement leadership will consist of 4-5 people, representing all regions of Tajikistan”, said Mr. Zoyirov.

Speaking of the goals of democratic forces movement, Rakhmatullo Zoyirov noted that the civil society is currently depressed and has no impact on regular life. Mainly cooperating with ruling party, the political parties are also inactive in Tajikistan.

“Our movement is planning to inform the citizens of Tajikistan about the necessity to revive civil society and attract for the solution of problems in the republic. Considering crisis situation in Tajikistan, the organizers believe that only the civil society is able to promote reforms in political, economic and social life”, Mr. Zoyirov stated.

He did not mention the names of the initiative group members, being afraid that the authorities may put pressure on them before the constitutive meeting.

It has to be mentioned that Vatandor opposition movement, headed by disgraced journalist Dodojon Atovullaev, is based in Moscow. The movement is not registered in Tajikistan. The experts believe that democratic forces movement in Tajikistan may face official registration problems in Tajikistan, especially considering that Rakhmatullo Zoyirov is known in Tajikistan as uncompromising opponent of the President Emomali Rakhmon. Several times he underlined “anti-constitutional” nature of Rakhmon’s presidency and criticized his methods, based on “family and clan” relations.

Exxon Mobil to Open Turkmenistan Office in Race for Central Asian Reserves

Exxon Mobil to Open Turkmenistan Office in Race for Central Asian Reserves

By Stephen Bierman

Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to open an office in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, this year as it vies for access to oil and gas in the resource rich Central Asian nation.

“Exxon Mobil is interested in pursuing upstream opportunities in Turkmenistan,” Patrick McGinn, a spokesman for the Irving, Texas-based company, said in an e-mail.

Turkmenistan has opened up talks with international investors after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov came to power in 2007, following the death of the isolationist Saparmurat Niyazov.

The central Asian nation may hold the world’s fourth- largest natural gas reserves, according toBP Plc data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow

Putin: “Nabucco” has little chances of success

 Putin: “Nabucco” has little chances of success

Putin: “Nabucco” has little chances of success

Russian PM Vladimir Putin said Nabucco had little chance of success. “The main problem with Nabucco is the absence of guaranteed volumes of necessary product in this pipe as there is no source for filling the system,” he said at a meeting with Valdai Club members on Monday, September 6.

“Russia will not make any supplies there. The fields in Iran have not been developed yet. Azerbaijan has small volumes. Besides, Azerbaijan has signed a contract for gas supplies to Russia. There is Turkmenistan, but its volumes are not clear yet because gas pipeline has been built from Turkmenistan to China for 30 billion cubic metres of gas,” he said.
There are also other problems. “There is a territorial dispute between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the Caspian Sea, and I think it would be hard to build the system in this situation, to put it mildly, not to say impossible,” Putin said.
“But theoretically I do not rule out that it could be possible if there is an interested company that is ready to invest billions without signing long-term supply contracts,” he added.


Putin accuses jailed oil tycoon of organising murders

Putin accuses jailed oil tycoon of organising murders

SOCHI, Russia, Sep 07, 2010

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday accused jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky of resorting to murder to protect his business interests.

“His hands are stained with blood,” Putin told a meeting of the Valdai club of leading international experts on Russia. “He killed people to protect the economic interests of his company.”

Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company and once Russia’s richest man, will go on trial a second time on charges of embezzling millions of tonnes of oil and money laundering.

The former oil tycoon and his ex-partner Platon Lebedev are already serving lengthy jail sentences for fraud.

Speaking in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin noted that Khodorkovsky himself had not faced justice for the murder of a woman who had refused to pay protection money.

“He was not jailed for this, the head of his security service was convicted,” he said.

After making the allegations, Putin pledged that he would not interfere in the case. “How will his destiny unfold in the future? There are various procedures. I do not meddle and I am not going to interfere.”

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were jailed for eight years in 2005 on charges of fraud and tax evasion that their supporters argue were trumped up to punish the tycoon for daring to finance opposition parties.

At the time of his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky was seen as a political rival to Putin.

Story from AFP

Blair cancels London book signing–Brits Showing American Left the Right Way to Treat War Criminals

Blair cancels London book signing… as anti-war protesters threaten to gatecrash Tate Modern visit


  • London book signing cancelled after protest threats
  • Blair hit by abuse from 300 protesters at first signing
  • Former PM hints he will take greater role in politics
Frank: The former prime minister has said it is 'sad' people want to disrupt his promotional tourFrank: The former prime minister has said it is ‘sad’ people want to disrupt his promotional tour

Tony Blair was accused of ‘running scared’ last night after he scrapped a book signing event in London tomorrow because of threatened protests.

The former Prime Minister abandoned the planned session after eggs and shoes were thrown at him during a similar event to promote his autobiography, A Journey, in Dublin at the weekend.

Protest groups had promised a major demonstration outside the flagship Waterstone’s store in Piccadilly if the event went ahead tomorrow.

Mr Blair said he was worried that the British National Party could also stage a protest.

However other anti-war protests are still planned, with the Stop the War Coalition  threatening a mass demonstration during his visit to the capital’s Tate Modern.

Eggs and shoes were thrown by demonstrators at a previous signing in Dublin.

The former prime minister said it was ‘sad’ that people wanted to disrupt such events but indicated he may call it off amid evidence that other hostile groups were set to join in.

Speaking on ITV1’s new Daybreak programme about his book he said: ‘To be frank about it, I am concerned. I do not want to put everyone through a lot of cost and hassle on this Wednesday’s signing so I am thinking about that.’

He said the Metropolitan Police were ‘fabulous and they will do whatever we ask them to do’ but should not be asked to commit resources unnecessarily.

The cost of policing his appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry this year was £270,000.

The former prime minister added: ‘The book is selling fantastically. There are people – particularly now the BNP apparently say they want to get in on the action – you end up just causing a lot of hassle for people and cost when there are better things for the police to do and it’s not as if we need to do it.

‘It is sad at the same time, frankly. If people want to have a book signed, people should protest but not try and physically prevent you doing it.’

Mr Blair chose the launch edition of the new breakfast show for his first live TV interview in the UK since the publication of the book.

He arrived at the studio in a black BMW at 7.50am under heavy security but waved to the crowd of waiting photographers as he got out of the vehicle and went inside the building without stopping to speak.

Back in the spotlight: Mr Blair chose to appear on Daybreak with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley as his first live TV interview in the UK since the publication of his controversial memoirsBack in the spotlight: Mr Blair chose to appear on Daybreak with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley as his first live TV interview in the UK since the publication of his controversial memoirs

Anti-war protest: Signs were put up in windows near the ITV Studios in central London

Anti-war protest: Signs were put up in windows near the ITV Studios in central London before Mr Blair arrived this morning

A sign in a window opposite the studio entrance read ‘Bliar War Crimes’.

One protester offered the chance to box the ‘arrogance’ out of the former Prime Minister using a Tony Blair punchbag.

Gunshot survivor and former boxer Davidstar Royal King, formerly David Fergus, brought the punchbag to stage his one-man protest against Mr Blair.

During the interview Mr Blair conceded it would be ‘very difficult’ for him to return to political life but said he would ‘love to’ be involved in some way.

Asked about apparent hints of a comeback, he said: ‘What did I have in mind when I said that? I don’t know actually because I am sure it would be very difficult for me to play a part here.

‘But what I really wanted to say was that I remain deeply committed to the country. I love this country and I want to see it do well.’

His ‘new life’ outside domestic politics had shown him that Britain had ‘a lot that we need to do to prepare for the future’, he said.

‘Frankly, I doubt there is a way I can play a part but if I can I would love to.’

Mr Blair’s fears of a large demonstration come after he received a barrage of abuse from up to 300 protesters at his first book signing.

Shoes and eggs were thrown at the former prime minister and he was heckled and jeered as he emerged from his car to enter a Dublin book store.

Campaigners chanted ‘arrest the butcher Blair’, ‘hey hey Tony hey, how many kids have you killed today?’ and ‘Tony Blair war criminal’.

A small number of arrests were made as activists carrying signs and banners clashed with gardai as they tried to push down a security barrier outside the Eason store on Dublin’s main thoroughfare O’Connell Street.

Some of the hundreds that queued in the rain to meet Mr Blair, who is promoting his controversial memoir around the country, were abused by protesters as they left the store.

Undercover detectives earlier mingled with the crowds taking names from known activists before Mr Blair arrived, as four riot vans waited nearby.

Not welcome: Protesters clashed with police as Tony Blair attended his first book signing at an Eason bookstore in DublinNot welcome: Protesters clashed with police as Tony Blair attended his first book signing at an Eason bookstore in Dublin

Put-off: Mr Blair arrived at the book signing in Dublin flanked by security but says he does not want to waste police time and money so may not go ahead with his signing on WednesdayPut-off: Mr Blair arrived at the book signing in Dublin flanked by security, above, but is considering calling off his signing in London because evidence suggests hostile groups could join in with a planned protest

When the situation became tense shops in the area closed down, with Penny’s department store pulling down its shutters as scuffles broke out.

Gardai also blocked off half of O’Connell Street and nearby Abbey Street, shutting down the city’s tram service.

After just over two hours Mr Blair left the store and hundreds of protesters booed

As his car sped away with a garda escort, line of officers were forced to stand across the glass front of the bookshop to stop angry demonstrators getting in to the building – which is only doors from Dublin’s historic GPO, a symbol of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Richard Boyd-Barrett, of the Anti-War Movement, accused Mr Blair of making blood money from the memoirs.

‘It really is shameful that somebody can be responsible for the death and destruction that he was responsible for in Iraq and Afghanistan and walk away without any accounting for that and become a very wealthy man off the back of it,’ he said.

Pensioner Maureen Hedderman who lives in London, but comes from the border county of Monaghan, was among the many supporters in the city.

‘I appreciate what he did for Irish politics, particularly along the border, that’s why I’ve come,’ she added.

Kate O’Sullivan, who attempted to make a citizen’s arrest on Mr Blair, said: ‘Immediately five security people grabbed me, started dragging me off.

‘I cried out “there was half a million people dead in Iraq, how can you live with yourself, you’ve committed war crimes”.’

Mr Blair’s promotional tour has included an appearance on Irish television alongside reality TV duo Jedward.

He was a guest on the Late, Late Show with Ryan Tubridy, and later posed for photos with the X Factor duo.

Bad publicity: Mr Blair has been criticised for writing his memoir and an appearance alongside Jedward may not have done his reputation any favoursBad publicity: Mr Blair has been criticised for writing his memoir and an appearance alongside Jedward may not have done his reputation any favours

The former prime minister has also used a newspaper interview to launch an attack today on the liberal prison policies being pursued by the coalition Government.

Pugh egg

Mr Blair – who famously promised to be ‘tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’ – said he ‘profoundly disagrees’ with the approach of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, who has rejected the ‘prison works’ mantra of previous administrations.

The former PM’s comments, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, amount to his first direct policy assault on the coalition since David Cameron won power from Labour in May.

Mr Clarke has challenged the trend towards larger prison populations and questioned the need for short sentences, suggesting the Government could save money by locking up fewer offenders and focusing more on rehabilitation.

But Mr Blair told the Telegraph: ‘You’ve got to put in prison those who deserve to be there.’

He said ‘dysfunctional families who produce 14-year-old kids stabbing one another to death’ are ‘making people’s lives hell’ and suggested Britain could learn from developing countries which ‘just don’t accept’ criminality.

When ‘Scholars’ Become Pawns of The Propagandists

When ‘Scholars’ Become Pawns of The Propagandists

Selig Harrison loses no opportunity to show that Pakistan’s disintegration is only around the corner and prove that Sino-Pakistan relations threaten US interests.

by Shahid R. Siddiqi

September 7, 2010

Among those who lay claim to scholarship, yet instead of being objective in their analysis openly promote bias, readily lend their pen to support vested interests, and put their ‘scholarly stamp of approval’ on false propaganda to lend credibility, Mr. Selig Harrison immediately comes to mind.

At times in league with the Indian propagandists, and finding a willing partner in the New York Times, where his articles generally find space, he engages in a smear campaign against Pakistan. In this, his ability of crystal ball gazing comes in handy too.

In 2006, Mr. Harrison, who styles himself as a specialist on Balochistan, saw in his crystal ball the success of Baloch insurgency movements that he reported in his articles in the New York Times and the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique. He predicted that the world would soon see a Free Balochistan, an entity that would also include the Iranian Balochistan & Sistan province. Promoting a Pentagon dream authored by a retired Col. Ralph Peter in his treatise ‘Blood Borders’, Mr. Harrison also predicted that Sindhis will join hands with the Balochis.

While he awaits the realization of that dream, Mr. Harrison chose this time toadopt the script of the Indian propagandists about Pakistan’s Northern Areas, now called Gilgit Baltistan. If in the process he made some gross misstatements, it is another matter. In his piece in the New York Times of August 26, headlined ‘China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands’, Mr. Harrison claimed that: “A quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de factocontrol of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China”. He went on to state that the Chinese had deployed 7,000-11,000 troops in the area.

During his crystal ball gazing, Mr. Harrison rightly saw some Chinese faces in the Gilgit Baltistan region. But he made two errors: he counted their numbers wrong and he mistook the coveralls of the Chinese workers for military uniforms. They were neither 7,000 to 11,000 in number nor were they troops of the People’s Liberation Army. In fact, they were either humanitarian team members sent by the Chinese Government at Pakistan’s request to help in rescue and relief work for 25,000 people stranded after recent heavy floods and landslides, or they were construction workers engaged in the repair of Karakoram Highway and undertaking communication infrastructure projects along with Pakistani counterparts, under government to government arrangement.

Unfortunately, Mr. Harrison did not stop at that. He went on to declare that:“The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency.”

Mr. Harrison was partially right. The area of Hunza Valley has indeed been closed, but for a different reason. Early January this year the Karakorum Highway to China had to be closed (except for travel by small boat) due to a massive landslide 15 km upstream from Hunza’s capital of Karimabad that created the unstable Attabad Lake which reached 22 km in length and over 100 meters in depth by the first week of June. The lake displaced thousands and inundated over 20 km of the Pak-China highway, including a 310 meter long road bridge. The lake finally flowed over the landslide dam, but not before washing away several segments of the highway, small bridges and culverts and this is expected to take about two years to repair. The Chinese and Pakistanis are now engaged in repairs

Only if Mr. Harrison had done some fact checking before dashing his story off to the Times, he would have been saved of the embarrassment.

Pakistan’s foreign office was more direct in dismissing Mr. Harrison’s story as a “figment of imagination”. Its spokesman said, “Given Selig Harrison’s well-known anti-Pakistan mindset, his gross misrepresentation of facts is hardly surprising. Nor is it unexpected of India to create unnecessary hype using Mr. Harrison’s tendentious article…. China, at our request, is helping us in repairing the Karakoram highway, which has been severely damaged by the recent floods and landslides. Anything beyond this is one’s figment of imagination.”

China’s Foreign Ministry also called the story “groundless”, saying it was being put out with “ulterior motives” to hurt Beijing’s ties with New Delhi and Islamabad.

After Mr. Harrison’s assertions have been doubly dismissed as ‘figment of imagination’ by the Pakistanis and ‘ulterior motives’ by the Chinese, there is no need to dwell further on his accusation that Pakistan denies access to its side of Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir to outsiders and to the media. But since Mr. Harrison has raised the issue, it would be appropriate to set the record straight by pointing out that Pakistan does not forbid foreigners or members of the international media from traveling to Gilgit Baltistan or Pakistani side of Kashmir. Instead of passing judgments from his perch in the US, let Mr. Harrison come down to see things for himself. I would be happy to accompany him to these areas, should he undertake the journey.

But the same cannot be claimed by the administration of the Indian occupied Kashmir, which has gross human rights violations to hide. And let Mr. Harrison be under no illusion that the insurgency that rocks Indian Kashmir is truly indigenous and not Pakistan backed. This is recognized by the state government of Occupied Kashmir, the international media, the international community and human rights organizations. Ordinary men, women and children die not at Pakistan’s behest. They die for their love of freedom.

In his article, Mr. Harrison makes yet another interesting revelation. Citing “reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers”, not one of whom he chooses to disclose, he talks of “a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule” in Gilgit Baltistan. He is clearly advancing the Indian theme that he has been fed on – probably about the one-man led separatist movement called “Bilawaristan” that not even the people of the region know about. He intelligently chooses to call it a ‘simmering rebellion’ because it cannot be seen on the surface, intriguingly not even by the people among whom it is supposed to simmer, and is only visible to the Indians or Mr. Harrison. Several people from Gilgit and Baltistan whom I spoke on this issue were left nonplussed.

Kashmiris on Pakistan’s side do not have a complaint about their self rule in their autonomous state, as Mr. Harrison suggests. Not only have they have been demanding that their brethren on the Indian side be allowed to unite with them, the Indo-Pakistan dialogue has more or less centered on freedom for Kashmiris on the Indian side where a bloody freedom struggle is underway. In case ofreservations about their own destiny, Kashmiris on the Pakistan side would have been clamoring to join the Kashmiris under Indian control instead.

Perhaps it is time for Mr. Harrison to brush up his knowledge about the region a little bit. Located in the north of Pakistan, Northern Areas (or Gilgit Baltistan as it is now called) borders Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the west, Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor to the north, the Xinjiang region of China to the northeast, Pakistan-held Azad Kashmir to the south, and Indian Occupied Kashmir to the southeast. With an estimated population of over a million, the Northern Areas are nestled in some of the world’s highest mountain ranges namely, the Karakoram, the western Himalayas, the Pamirs and the Hindu Kush.

Altaf Ready To Lead “French Revolution” In Pakistan

Altaf ready to return to ‘lead revolution’

MQM chief says Supreme Court should take notice of the diversion of floodwaters.

KARACHIMQM chief Altaf Husssain said in a telephonic address on Sunday that he is ready to come back if the country is ready for a revolution.

“The end of feudalism and the corrupt system is inevitable and the time for a mass revolution has come close,” he said.

In a charged address at the Khidmat-e-Khaq Foundation in Karachi, the MQM chief advised the people to wait for his announcement of a revolution, adding that he himself will walk with the people to ensure its success. He added that those who were worried with his statements about a revolution will be more worried when they hear of his return.

Hussain said that to bring about a change in the country, steps like the French revolution will have to be taken against feudal lords, looters of national wealth as well as intellectuals and writers who advocate for them.

The MQM leader said that injustice has been done with the people of Balochistan, patriotism of people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been misused with false promises and certain people in Punjab have been used in the name of Pakistan and labelled as traitors and anti-Pakistan.

“If everyone in the country, including Hazarewals, Kashmiris, Seraikis and the youth in Gilgit-Baltistan are ready for a people’s revolution, I will ask the [MQM] Coordinating Committee to withdraw the restriction [on returning to Pakistan] that they have imposed on me, so that I can participate in the revolution.”

Honest generals and army men sympathetic to Pakistan will have to take part in this revolution physically so that the monopoly of a few families, corruption and injustice can be eradicated from the country and a “real people’s government” can be established, he said.

He said the armed forces, the ISI and other intelligence agencies should use their resources against the people who have looted national wealth. “The army should open fire on dacoits and not on poor men,” he added.  “All those who have had their loans waived should be hanged in public,” he said. Action should also be taken against influential land lords, who have broken dykes and diverted floodwaters, worsening the situation in Sindh, especially for the poor.

He said all courts including the Supreme Court should take action against the breaches made.

Hussain appreciated the efforts of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation and said that the foundation had sent relief items worth Rs250 million to flood-hit areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2010.

Pakistan’s Land-Locked Naval Base Construction Begins Inside Balochistan

[How can you explain Pakistan opening a navy base fifty miles inland?  Perhaps the navy without blue water plays some part in the non-existent military operation in western Balochistan?]

Violation of the Land Acquisition Act

The landowners in Turbat have moved an application to the provincial government saying that they were not even informed before their lands were acquired. – (File Photo)

Pakistan Navy has acquired close to 13,500 acres of land in Turbat and Dasht areas of Kech district in Balochistan’s Makran division to the distress of local landowners and the ire of Baloch political activists, the Herald reports.

The landowners in Turbat have moved an application to the provincial government saying that they were not even informed before their lands were acquired and that the naval authorities paid them nothing in lieu of their lands, says a special report in the magazine’s latest issue that hit the newsstands today (Sunday). “We only became aware [of the acquisition] when the navy started construction and we were stopped from visiting our lands,” says Shabbir Ahmed Dashti, a local landowner. For the last many months the landowners have been running from pillar to post to get their land back or at least get paid for it if there was no way to retrieve it from the navy, says the report.

The Herald investigations reveal that the land was acquired in a clear violation of the Land Acquisition Act. The law “states that any government department that wants to acquire private land for public purposes shall issue a public notification mentioning the land it wants to acquire and ensuring that the notification is posted throughout the area in which that land is situated. The law also provides that anyone including private landowners have the right to object to land acquisition within 30 days of the notification,” the report reads. None of these procedures were adopted in Turbat.

As a result of such land acquisitions, dissatisfaction and even anger towards the state are on the rise in the Makran division, the Herald says. “Graffiti directed against security forces has appeared on the walls of public and private properties in Gwadar, Pasni and Turbat and this year’s Independence Day was observed as a day of protest in some areas of the division. Eyewitness accounts suggest that some angry protesters burned down the national flag as well as emblems of the security forces on August 14 in Gwadar, Punjgur and Kech districts, and instead reportedly hoisted what they call the flag of independent Balochistan on electricity and phone towers,” the report says.

“This is uncharacteristic of people living in Makran region,” it quotes Imam Bukhsh, a Baloch poet living in Gwadar, as saying. “The political leadership of the area has always sought a solution to Balochistan’s issues through parliamentary and constitutional means,” he is reported to have said.

Petraeus: Burning Quran Endangers Troops

[SEE: Afghans Protest Christian-Zionist Koran Burning In Florida]

Petraeus: Burning Quran Endangers Troops

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned Tuesday that an American church’s threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book the Quran could endanger U.S. troops in the country and Americans worldwide.

“Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” Gen. David Petraeus said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

His comments followed a protest Monday by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center — an evangelical Christian church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy — to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that provoked the Afghan war.

In 2005, 15 people died and scores were wounded in riots in Afghanistan sparked by a story in Newsweek magazine alleging that interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay placed copies of the Quran in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek later retracted the story.

At Monday’s protest, several hundred Afghans rallied outside a Kabul mosque, burning American flags and an effigy of Dove World’s pastor and chanting “death to America.” Members of the crowd briefly pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with stones, but were ordered to stop by rally organizers.

Two days earlier, thousands of Indonesian Muslims had rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and in five other cities to protest the church’s plans.

Petraeus warned images of burning Qurans could be used to incite anti-American sentiments similar to the pictures of prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Graib prison.

“I am very concerned by the potential repercussions of the possible (Quran) burning. Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday,” Petraeus said in his message. “Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul also issued a statement condemning the church’s plans, saying Washington was “deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.”

Dove World Outreach Center, which made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil,” has been denied a permit to set a bonfire but has vowed to proceed with the burning.(AP)

Sabra and Shatila massacre–(Sept. 16-18, 1982)

Sabra and Shatila massacre

From a Palestinian grandmother to her family
The Lamentation of Hadja Hassan Mohammed, October 1982.

”  Our doves are still here.  Our carnations give fragrance.The sparrows sing their usual songs. Yet Abu Zuhair is nowhere to be found.

Beirut you took all I had. You took my last spark in life and my heart dies dead on your streets.
Abu Zuhair, the tall young tree was cruelly snapped off his roots on your soil
May the blood of whoever murdered you mingle with yours. May his mother suffer the same agony.
Who dug your grave, Abu Zuhair? Who brought this disaster onto us? What can I say in your memory?
My heart is full of reproach towards this unfeeling world. Not even a hundred ships, or two hundred stallions, would be enough to carry the load of pain in my heart
What can I say? “Mother”  you tell me, “go visit our graves and pray for those they engulf”
I go to the graves and tenderly embrace its stones. I tell it ” Please let your stones warmly embrace the bodies of my loved ones within, take care of them, I  have entrusted them to you.
I mourn your youth and mourn for all the young girls who never knew a moment of happiness or contentment.. They went  to meet life so hopeful and eager, only to be trampled and torn by its ferocity.
Oh God I cannot go on. He was the handsomest of men and the strongest of youths. He used to pave the way for others, to facilitate their path.
Your young body mingled with the sand too soon, your eyes filled with the sand.

What else can I give to my country? My heart is full of agony and reproach to life.
How I envy those of you who were there when my loved ones died. Did they die thirsty ? Or were you merciful enough to give them a drink?
I implore every passing bird to carry my anxiety and love to you, then to come back with news of my loved ones.
My child, your body is strewn with bullets. Who sent you to me, crow of ill omen? Why do you inflict disasters on me all at once? Spare them a bit Oh God.. God – wait at least a year, then thy will be done.
I implore you, bearers of coffins, move slowly. Do not hurry. Let me see my loved ones once more.
I go to the graves, and roam listlessly around. I call Abu Zuhair, then I call Um Walid (his sister). My call remains unanswered. They are not there. They followed Um Zuhair (Abu Zuhair’s wife)  and the young ones. They all left one night by the moonlight – all my loved ones.
My child you are near me no more. Mountains of distance are between us…..
Nabil ( Abu Zuhair’s nephew) calls his mother. ” Mother”, he says, “to whom have you left me?”
Zahra answers” I have left you to your uncles. They should tell you of me and take you to my grave so my eyes can look at you and my heart reach out to you”  But Abu Zuhair is gone and he cannot carry out Zahra’s will.
Zuhair ( Abu Zuhair’s son) asks his father ” To whom have you entrusted me?”
“your grandfather will come for you. You are the continuation of his life”
But life, what life is left to us? Our hearts have died. Our tears have dried for all the young men and women who died.
Where can I turn to? Where are my children?
My child, may God show you the holy path, and may my love and care be a lantern to accompany you along the way.
Almighty God, give me patience. Young men, please stay away: you renew my wounds, and I am so weary. What can I say”
The Lamentation of Hadja Hassan Mohammed, October 1982. (Pagse 84.85,86 of From Beirut to Jerusalem.)
Please circulate this – from a Palestinian grandmother to her family, murdered in the Sabra and Shatilla massacre- I have kept her words and read them to all who care to hear for 28 years.

White House In Full-Blown Panic Mode, Revives Reaganomics

[Tearing one page from Reagan's playbook, copying another from Clinton's "more Republican than Neut Gingrich" strategy, Obama wants to shine like the greatest Republican, come November.  Does anyone believe that any of these investments in new equipment will be made in the U.S.?  This windfall, like all the previous ones, will simply disappear in already bloated secret Cayman Island accounts.]

Obama to introduce another business tax cut

By Ed Henry, CNN Senior White House Correspondent

(CNN) — In another move aimed at stabilizing the still-shaky economy, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will introduce a new $200 billion tax cut giving businesses across the country an incentive to buy new equipment in the short term, according to a senior administration official.

The tax cut would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of new investments in plants and equipment made between now and the end of 2011, according to the senior administration official.

The new tax cut will be in addition to a $100 billion permanent extension of the business tax credit for research and development, as well as $50 billion in new infrastructure spending included in a package that the president will officially unveil Wednesday during an economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

The $100 billion tax credit proposal was reported by CNN on Sunday while Obama himself disclosed the infrastructure spending Monday in a fiery speech at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in which he tried to draw a sharp contrast with Republican economic plans.

“I don’t want to give them the keys back,” Obama said. “They don’t know how to drive … They’re going to pop it into reverse and have special interesting riding shotgun and we’d be right back in the ditch.”

The leaks of a flurry of Obama proposals in just the last 36 hours show just how anxious White House officials are to show the president is on top of trying to rescue the still-faltering economy at a time when Democrats strategists are privately starting to panic that their majorities in both the House and Senate may now be up for grabs.

Altogether, the three new Obama proposals add up to $350 billion, which is starting to creep up to nearly half the size of the $787 billion stimulus plan the president pushed through Congress in the first 100 days of his administration.

A package of that size could call into question the insistence of top White House aides that they are not putting together a “second stimulus” package. The packaging of the proposals carries great political weight because if the new plan is seen as a new stimulus program it could give Republicans new ammunition that the first plan did not work as well as advertised.

Nevertheless, all three proposals face an uncertain fate in a Congress that is still out of session for its August recess and when it comes back to work next week will only be in session for a few weeks before the election.

In addition to the compressed calendar, the president has to contend with Republicans who are itching to deny him a last-minute victory, and Democrats who are racing to get home again to campaign full-time.

Afghans Protest Christian-Zionist Koran Burning In Florida

[Things like the American fundamentalist book-burning that this demonstration is protesting, reflect the intellectual level of the leaders of the so-called Christian-Zionist movement.   These underhanded preachers preach the religion of  the mob, disguised as Christianity, in order to fuel a religion-oriented crusade, without concern for the potential harm it could do to this country and its war effort.

This is no different from traditional "race-baiting" tactics employed in America's recent past, remembered most clearly in the violent "white religion" of the KKK.  This is way beyond any kind of political statement, entering into the realm of homegrown terrorism.

This is a step beyond the Mohammed cartoons, an act committed to provoke angry Muslims into violently reacting.  If these wackos are allowed to go ahead with their plans it will not only dishonor the 911 martyrs, it will bring further shame upon Americans and expose Christian fundamentalism as a morally bankrupt cult.  This should not be seen as a freedom of speech issue; it must be seen as political terrorism.   According to the State Dept., terrorism is defined as: "Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant* targets...usually intended to influence an audience." The violence planned against the Koran is clearly terrorism.

The fact that this is taking place in the racist South reinforces the perception that we are still a nation of primitive, prejudiced, blood-thirsty, greedy thugs, willing to step on anyone, even any religion, that gets in our way.]

Afghans protest U.S. church’s plans to torch Koran

Main Image

Main Image

KABUL | Mon Sep 6, 2010 2:34pm EDT

(Reuters) – Several hundred Afghans chanting “Death to America” rallied outside a mosque in the Afghan capital on Monday to protest against an American church’s plan to burn a copy of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The protesters, mostly students from religious schools, gathered outside Kabul’s Milad ul-Nabi mosque to condemn plans by the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center to burn copies of the Koran to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks against the United States.

“We call on America to stop desecrating our Holy Koran,” student Wahidullah Nori told Reuters. He said the street protests condemning the church would continue “every day.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has made efforts to reach out to the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims since taking office last year, most recently hosting Muslim leaders at the White House at the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in August.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said the “United States government in no way condones such acts of disrespect against the religion of Islam, and is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.”

“Americans from all religious and ethnic backgrounds reject this offensive initiative by this small group in Florida, a great number of American voices are protesting the hurtful statements made by this organization,” it said in a statement.

A proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from the site of the worst of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York has stirred heated debate in the United States.

Opponents of the plan say it is insensitive to families of the victims of the September 11 attacks by al Qaeda.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan soon after those attacks for harboring al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

Demonstrations and riots triggered by reported desecration of the Koran are not infrequent in Afghanistan. The most violent protests came after cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

In January this year, Afghan troops shot dead eight demonstrators and wounded 13 in southern Helmand province in a riot triggered by reports that foreign troops had desecrated the Koran during a raid. A spokesman for NATO forces denied the report.

(Writing by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Paul Tait)