The Plight of Being “Different” In a Bully’s World

The Right View: Georgie-Porgie, Pudding Pie

By Madeleine Fletcher

Wicked Local Cambridge

I had the following thoughts after watching the video of the moving speech by Fort Worth Texas councilman Joel Burnswho recounted the recent suicides of teen aged boys in this country resulting from the harassing behavior of their peers who had taunted them with accusations of homosexuality. Burns sent a message of hope to gay teens.

I am moved to speak out, not just to teens. I address this to the country as a whole, because this is not an exclusively gay issue

Harassment in high school for whatever motivation is just one example of the general abasement of our customs and should be stopped by teachers, parents and clergy before it reaches anywhere near that point. I would like to alert all those who have lost the sense of collective behavioral norms since the breakdown of the previous social contract according to which bullying was seen as contemptible and specifically cowardly and specifically un-manly.

In previous times these rules of conduct were carefully inculcated in children by their parents their teachers and their clergy.

“Georgie-Porgie, pudding pie, kissed the girls and made them cry, but when the boys came out to play; Georgie-Porgie ran away.”

This rhyme, chanted in my childhood in Northampton Massachusetts, shows how everyone used to regard a child who habitually tormented younger or weaker children.  Social conditioning meant that this tormenting was seen as contemptible. In like manner a large number of children ganging up against one child was specifically and invariably condemned as cowardly.

I gather from T.V. and print journalism that this sensibility has been lost from our collective consciousness in the U.S. today. We are the poorer for it. We seem to lack the moral courage to set out norms and force their acceptance through social pressure. In its place there is only whining and a focus on the victimization of the child who was sinned against. In focusing on the victim qua victim the media are victimizing him again.

Of course we are more sophisticated now, and we know that torturing animals or younger children is a sign of psychological trouble. Young people with these problems should be helped, but to ignore this behavior is to condone it. According to the reports in the video, these bullying activities were carried out over relatively long periods of time. It seems incredible that in spite of this fact, no one in a position of authority ever seems to have noticed the bullying or taken it upon himself to make it stop.

There is a sense of surprise that this violence should be occurring which I think is out of place. We should know from all evidence, including our own personal experience that violence occurs among adolescents, especially in the absence of other outlets for their energy.  From the inner city we commonly hear of completely innocent young people with no connection to gangs being gunned down by violent contemporaries. It is up to us to articulate a new solution.

In this context, I note that their ideas on youth violence were the first thing the four gubernatorial candidates were asked to contribute at the meeting of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) on October 17, 2010. The strong audience response to the question showed that youth violence represents a major crisis for all residents of the inner city where it has grown to epidemic proportions. It seems to me that this city violence is a more heavily armed version of the out-of-control bullying which is visible in suburban schools, and that this phenomenon in both city and suburbs is symptomatic of a cultural virus in need of a cure.

For a start, we might begin by returning to the previous view of harassment as a despicable act and focus on controlling it and dissuading from it. As for the victim, we must realize that the victim can really be almost anyone conveniently at hand. Any victim of bullying needs to focus his thoughts on the truly contemptible nature of his tormentors’ behavior patterns, and in this way lessen his mental (but of course not his physical) suffering. It would be nice if Cambridge with its plentiful human and intellectual resources could lead the way towards a reset and strengthening of our collective behavioral norms.

In response to the current Massachusetts anti-harassment law, the city of Cambridge in its FY2010-11 budget has “request[ed] funding to advance an anti-bullying initiative.”

This effort to comply with the law merits a word of caution. The acceptability of behavioral norms is determined not by expert specialists in Psychology but by the collective will. It is only when it is commonly acknowledged that the difference between normal horseplay and harassment is defined according to the above two principles of 1) stronger against weaker and 2) many against one, that we can look forward to having made a stop to the slide of civil society into chaos.

Madeleine Fletcher is a member of the Cambridge Republican City Committee.

Copyright 2010 Cambridge Chronicle. Some rights reserved

Wikileaks Was Not “An Attack,” But State Dept. Actions Revealed, Definitely Were

Clinton blasts State Department leaks as ‘an attack’

By Evan Vucci, AP

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks about the Wikileaks document release Monday at the State Department in Washington.

By Mimi Hall and Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration scrambled Monday to control the diplomatic damage from a quarter-million leaked State Department documents reverberating across the nation’s capital and around the globe.

The White House ordered a government-wide review of procedures to safeguard classified data and vowed to prosecute anyone who broke U.S. law by leaking the latest trove of documents to the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks.

"This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

Attorney General Eric Holder said the government was conducting a criminal investigation and would hold responsible "anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law."

The e-mails and other documents released by WikiLeaks provide a rare glimpse into government negotiations and unfolding world events.

Governments in Europe condemned the leaks. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini dubbed them "the Sept. 11 of world diplomacy."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was "not pleased," calling that reaction "an understatement."

At the center of the controversy were The New York Times and other news organizations that began publishing stories about the documents on Sunday. The Times defended publication of the documents as serving "an important public interest."

Few current or former U.S. officials agreed. Rep. Pete Hoekstraof Michigan, senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called the leak a "catastrophic" breach of trust.

The documents, which WikiLeaks said would be released over a period of months, show:

•U.S. diplomats were instructed to collect personal data onUnited Nations officials, including flight schedules, credit card numbers, Internet passwords and even some biometric information.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Boltonquestioned the authenticity of that cable. "I have never seen one like that," he said. Diplomats "are not competent to engage in espionage."

Clinton defended the diplomats’ work. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "Our diplomats don’t break the law."

•Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, are far more concerned about Iran’s nuclear program than they have said publicly. "It should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern, not only in the United States," Clinton said.

•The U.S. bartered with other countries to try to get them to take some of the terrorism suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Contributing: Kevin Johnson and the Associated Press

Wikileaks Portray Hillary As Passive/Agressive “Margaret Thatcher”

[SEE: Former State Department intelligence chief says spy orders unprecedented]

Chavez: Clinton Should Resign over WikiLeaks

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez Monday called on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign after the leak of embarrassingly candid U.S. diplomatic correspondence by WikiLeaks.

“The empire stands naked… Mrs. Clinton should resign,” Chavez said in a speech, using his favorite description of the United States. “It’s the least you can do: resign, along with those other delinquents working in the State Department.”

Chavez zeroed in on a diplomatic cable with a request to the U.S. embassy in Argentina for information on President Cristina Kirchner’s “mental health.” The message asked if she was taking medication for “nerves and stress.”

“Somebody should study Mrs. Clinton’s mental stability,” said Chavez.

“I believe somebody should resign. I don’t mean it should be (U.S.) President (Barack) Obama, but the whole structure over there should fall apart, if only through embarrassment,” he added.

The United States “attacks… disrespects” other governments, including its allies and keeps tabs on other presidents, Chavez said.

“Whatever was left of its mask has finally dropped away,” he said, praising WikiLeaks for “its courage.”(AFP)

Learning Covert Hypnosis

What is Conversational Hypnosis?

Welcome to the International Conversational Hypnosis Society formerly the International Covert Hypnosis Society).

Our mission is to spread the knowledge of Conversational Hypnosis and Covert Hypnosis, as laid down by the world famous psychiatrist, Milton H. Erickson.

Milton Erickson

Conversational Hypnosis is the capacity to hypnotize another person and communicate with their subconscious mind without him or her noticing. Usually this is performed during an ostensibly innocent conversation (thus – ConversationalHypnosis). As the hypnotized person is not aware of being hypnotized, Conversational Hypnosis is also called CovertHypnosis. As it often uses non-conventional hypnosis techniques it is sometimes referred to as Underground Hypnosis or Black Ops Hypnosis.

Conversational Hypnosis is often used to alter and control the subject’s behavior. Careful use of words and body language can infiltrate a subject’s unconsciousness and significantly alter their behavior. Unaware of the hypnosis, however, the subjects feel it is they who made the decision.

Conversational Hypnosis effectively diminishes the subject’s use of analytical mind. This can be performed quickly and easily, as often seen with used car salesman: an experienced salesman may get you to purchase a car you wouldn’t have normally purchased, using seemingly innocent talk and body language alone. A i>good salesman will get you to buy the car, and a few days of hours later you’ll be surprised at yourself that you did so. An excellent salesman will get you to buy the car – with no second thoughts whatsoever.

Conversational Hypnosis is a very similar phenomenon to Erickson’s indirect hypnosis, but it is significantly characterized by the subject being completely unaware that they are being hypnotized during the seemingly innocent conversation.

Conversational Hypnosis blends traditional hypnosis methods along with NLP and social behavior. The Conversational Hypnosis mind control techniques effectively enable to control people’s behavior without them ever noticing they are being hypnotized, and if needed also never remembering any part of the hypnosis induced actions. Our members area shows a few extreme cases of abusing these powers.

Conversational Hypnosis Courses

If you want to learn Conversational Hypnosis, click here to go to page 2.

If you’re  looking for reviews of the leading Conversational Hypnosis / Covert Hypnosis Courses, the only reviews we endorse are those atwww.Reviewsnest.com/learnhypnosis .

Former State Dept. Official Claims Hillary’s Intrusive Spy Tactics, Unprecedented

Former State Department intelligence chief says spy orders unprecedented

By Jeff Stein

Carl W. Ford, a former head of State Department intelligence, says tasking U.S. diplomats to collect foreign officials’ credit card numbers and other personal data is unprecedented, despite the department’s assurances to the contrary.

“I can’t recall anything like this,” Ford told SpyTalk by e-mail on Monday, adding that in the past, American diplomats focused on the personalities and political views of foreign officials, leaving the collection of cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, credit card accounts and other personal data to the CIA, FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

Such information was considered “operational materials not diplomatic reporting,” said Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) from 2001 to 2003. Before that he was a senior Defense Department and National Intelligence Council official.

“I suspect much of that information was being passed by telephone and e-mail,” Ford said, “but even INR didn’t have access to it, the bureaus telling us that it was operational materials not diplomatic reporting.”

One of the documents surfaced by WikiLeaks Sunday is a July 31, 2009 State Department cable to U.S. diplomatic missions, entitled, “Reporting and collection needs: The United Nations.” that included a long list of targeted items.

It asked U.S. foreign services officers to collect foreign officials’ “numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories … e-mail listings; internet and intranet ‘handles,’ internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.”

Robert E. White, a U.S. ambassador to Paraguay and El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations, said diplomats were not tasked with such snooping in his time.

“No. If I, as a delegate to the [U.N. General Assembly] had an invitation from a government with which we did not have diplomatic relations, I would show it to the State Department security team,” White said. “If I decided to attend I would naturally write a report on anything non-routine. I would send the report to the Department and they would take care of the routing.”

White said espionage or counterintelligence work was best left to the professionals.

“For example, diplomats in NYC tend to frequent a small number of restaurants. It would be a simple matter for the FBI to gain the cooperation of the management for credit card numbers, etc.,” he said by e-mail.

“Someone apparently has persuaded the secretary that the war against terrorism justifies the use of diplomats as spies. This is just another example of throwing away an important principle for an illusory gain.”

But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley maintained Sunday that tasking of diplomats for such information was nothing new.

“Our diplomats are just that, diplomats,” Crowley said in an interview with Foreign Policy columnist Josh Rogin.

“They represent our country around the world and engage openly and transparently with representatives of foreign governments and civil society. Through this process, they collect information that shapes our policies and actions. This is what diplomats, from our country and other countries, have done for hundreds of years.”

Traditional diplomatic reporting, however, emphasizes the personalities and views of important foreign officials, not their frequent flyer account numbers. A classic of the type surfaced Sunday in the WikiLeaks release of a diplomatic cable by the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene A. Cretz, reporting on Muammar al-Qadhafi.

“Qadhafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a ’voluptuous blonde,’” Cretz reported on Sept. 29, 2009, part of a lengthy assessment of the Libyan leader.

“He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing. His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York.”

2020 – The Outlook for An Alternative World Order

2020 – The region

  • Andrew MacIntyre

Our strategic future is bound up with continued growth and stability in the Asia-Pacific

A DECADE from now we will have moved a little further into an era in which the old powers of Europe and North America increasingly share the stage with the rising countries of the developing world. In this environment Australia’s welfare and security will be even more strongly influenced by developments in Asia and the Pacific.

Many of the factors that will determine Australia’s strategic environment in 2020 are already at work. Three stand out: the economic growth trajectories of key countries and the region as a whole, the stability of relations among the biggest powers and the potential for domestically destabilising political change in pivotal states.

Of these, economic performance is the most fundamental. Economic growth not only underpins the policy options open to a government and internal political dynamics, it also influences international perceptions of national capabilities.

There is a widely held expectation that Asia will grow strongly. However, the picture fragments when we shift our focus from the region as a whole to particular countries, particularly the biggest. Few analysts are optimistic about a sustained upsurge in the Japanese economy, but most expect China to continue growing strongly. For all its technological ingenuity, Japan remains bogged down domestically. By contrast, pro-growth politics seem entrenched in China. We know China is destined to face the challenge of an ageing population, but this will not begin to bite sharply by 2020. During the next decade, it will continue to enjoy the economic benefits of an expanding labour market. Not so Japan, where long-standing low fertility rates and restrictive immigration policies drive demographic decline.

Anticipating the economic trajectory of the US to 2020 is more difficult. For now, a pall of economic gloom lingers, in part due to a sense thatthe US political system is failing to deliver needed policy reforms. But though usually slow-moving, the political architecture in the US has and can again permit decisive action. As Joseph Nye reminds doubters, Washington refocused effectively once confronted with challenges from the Soviet Union in the 1950s and Japan in the 80s. And, uniquely among Western countries, the US economy can continue to count on a positive demographic trajectory.

Against this, the scale of US debt following the global financial crisis is staggering. A recent International Monetary Fund study projects total federal debt may equal gross domestic product by 2015, and this does not include public debt below the level of the federal government. Economic historian Niall Ferguson has declared: "This is how empires decline. It begins with a debt explosion." Washington insiders Roger Altman and Richard Haas have written about the adverse implications of fiscal profligacy for US power.

Economic growth trajectories are fundamental, but the variable with the greatest potential to destabilise our strategic environment is an outbreak of direct conflict among the big regional powers. The key is the three-way relationship among China, Japan and the US, given their military capabilities and economic centrality. (India and Russia are not yet in this category.)

The central issue here is the shifting power balance, driven by China’s economic trajectory relative to that of the US. The US National Intelligence Council projects that by 2025, "the US will remain the pre-eminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished". The rapid expansion of China’s military capabilities and the increasing importance of international interests to China’s welfare mean that Deng Xiaoping’s old injunction about maintaining a low international profile and focusing on domestic development no longer resonates to the same extent.

There can be no doubting the reality of a shifting power balance in Asia. It has been going on for some time, with all countries in the region tacitly making adjustments for Chinese preferences. As against this, the underlying deterrent value of US military might will remain formidable through the next decade. US defence spending exceeds the combined total of China, Japan, Russia, India and the rest of NATO, and its strategic attention is increasingly concentrated on Asia. This, together with the reasonable prospect of caution in Beijing, underscore Richard Woolcott’s recent judgment that there is not yet any necessary reason to assume that China’s rise cannot remain peaceful.

The third driver of our strategic environment in 2020 is the potential for domestic political disruption in pivotal states. A decade ago Thailand was a stable success story and Indonesia was the next Yugoslavia. Here, too, much attention is given to China and anticipated political pressures stemming from its economic transformation. But, of all authoritarian regimes, Leninist systems are among the most durable.

Look instead to North Korea, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Despite its Leninist roots, the Pyongyang regime has become so personalised as to be inherently brittle. Any breakdown there would be fraught with danger for northeast Asia and the wider region. Indonesia has been the outstanding Southeast Asian success story of this past decade, but uninterrupted progress cannot be taken for granted. Pressures on democratic governance are likely to be greater a decade from now. Political disruption there would have serious implications for Australia. And, even closer to home, the vitality of democratic governance in PNG is under an ongoing, if quiet, challenge of corrosion. Serious political disruption is not probable, but neither can it be ruled out. Again, for Australia, the consequences would be serious .

Some elements of our present strategic environment will still apply in 2020: in all probability the US will still be the dominant power and China will be a stable economic powerhouse and the balance of power between them will still be shifting in China’s favour. But other key features may have changed. While the details are uncertain, the net effect will be to place ever more importance on Australia’s ability to project its interests co-operatively but effectively into the region. The challenge may become more familiar, but it won’t be easier.

Russia ready for innovative partnership with India, China”

Russia ready for innovative partnership with India, China”

Moscow, Nov 30 (PTI) Ahead of his visit to India, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today expressed Moscow”s readiness for innovative partnership with New Delhi and Beijing for "modernisation" of the Russian economy.
"We see the possibility of innovative partnership with nations like China, India in the five priority areas of Russia”s modernisation," Medvedev said during his annual state of the nation address before the Federal Assembly.
Space, energy, including civil nuclear, IT, pharmaceuticals are among the five priorities of Russia”s modernisation, he said.
Medvedev said the innovative partnership could be developed with India and China by creating Joint Ventures on the Russian soil for the production of "quality and affordable" products.
The bilateral innovative cooperation in hi-tech areas would also be high on the agenda of Medvedev”s India visit on December 21-22.
He said that high level bilateral interaction with the nations of Asia-Pacific Region is acquiring a "strategic character" for Russia.
"The high level bilateral interaction with China is transforming in the joint coordinated efforts on the international arena and leads to the rise in the authority of regional structures like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRIC," the president said.
He said Russia also sees serious reserves in cooperation with the countries of Latin America and Africa.
PTI VS

Bomb Disrupts Trial of Kyrgyz Special Forces

Blast wounds two outside court in Kyrgyz capital

  • By Olga Dzyubenko

BISHKEK | Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:15am EST

(Reuters) – An explosion in Kyrgyzstan’s capital on Tuesday wounded at least two people outside a sports palace where several people are standing trial accused of mass killings during an April uprising in the Central Asian republic.

Investigators in Bishkek were trying to determine the nature of the explosive device, Alik Karimbayev, deputy head of Kyrgyzstan’s Security Council, said.

The windows of the sports palace were blown out, although the building itself was not damaged.

The explosion underscores tensions in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic that hosts U.S. and Russian military air bases, where authorities are trying to form a new government less than six months after hundreds were killed in ethnic violence.

On Monday, Kyrgyz authorities said four Islamist militants were killed during a raid in the southern city of Osh, the focal point for the ethnic bloodshed in June. One died when he detonated a grenade, the Security Council said.

The Health Ministry said two soldiers were wounded in Tuesday’s blast in Bishkek and had been taken to hospital. A Reuters witness at the scene said the sports palace had been cordoned off and police were conducting a security sweep of the building with dogs.

The sports palace is hosting the trial of 22 people accused of killing dozens of people in Bishkek during a popular uprising in April that ousted the president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Officials say 87 people were killed on April 7, when forces loyal to Bakiyev shot into crowds in a square in central Bishkek. Bakiyev is now exiled in Belarus.

The first day of the trial on November 17 descended into chaos when relatives of the deceased broke through police lines and threatened the accused, demanding their execution. Three of the defendants subsequently fled their homes to avoid standing trial.

Baktybek Rysaliyev, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said hearings scheduled for Tuesday had been postponed as a result of the explosion.

After elections last month, Kyrgyzstan is attempting to form the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia, a region otherwise governed by authoritarian presidents. Critics of the new parliament say it lacks authority.

China and Russia abandon the dollar in new bilateral trade agreement

China and Russia abandon the dollar in new bilateral trade agreement

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

China and Russia are renouncing the U.S. dollar for trade, their premiers have announced.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said they will now use their own currencies for bilateral trade.

Chinese experts told the China Daily that the move reflects closer relations between the two countries and is aimed at protecting their own domestic economies rather than challenging the dollar.

‘So far we have been paying each other in foreign currencies, first of all in dollars. Now, and this is only the first step, trade in the rouble has started in China. In December the yuan will be traded in Moscow,’ Putin said.

Moving forward: Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and China's Premier Wen Jiabao exchange documents during their meeting in St Petersburg on Tuesday

Moving forward: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and China’s Premier Wen Jiabao exchange documents during their meeting in St Petersburg on Tuesday

China accounts for 8.3 per cent of Russia’s total trade.

It is on track to overtake Germany as Russia’s biggest trade partner after discounting the Netherlands, formally the biggest partner because its liberal corporate legislation encourages many Russian firms to register there.

Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree the price of Russian gas supplies to China before mid-2011, Russia’s top energy official said, but the two countries’ prime ministers noted on Tuesday bilateral trade was booming.

Russia, the world’s biggest energy producer, is eager to increase sales of gas to the fastest growing major economy but price proved a sticking point in the talks.

‘I think by next summer we will be able to discuss concrete parameters for a commercial contract (on gas supplies),’ Igor Sechin, who holds sway over Russia’s energy sector, told reporters after meeting Chinese officials.

Russia says China should pay prices similar to those Gazprom  charges European customers, but Beijing wants a discount.

The sides were about $100 per 1,000 cubic metres apart, according to Chinese officials last week.

Under a deal signed between Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) on Sept. 27, Gazprom will sell 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year to China from 2015.

Putin said the gas talks were ‘successfully moving forward’.

‘China is an extremely important market for us, which we must imperatively work in,’ Sechin said, adding that China has the capacity to meet only seven per cent of its gas needs internally.

Under the deal the two countries will have to build the Altai gas pipeline – stretching from Siberia to China’s Western border with Russia.

After the meeting, which took place in Russia’s northern city of St.Petersburg, Putin and Wen said bilateral trade rose by 57 per cent to $41billion this year and praised the agreement to boost the use of the yuan and rouble.

Idiot Nation–Understanding Psychological Stupidity

Understanding Psychological Stupidity


Native intelligence easily becomes overwhelmed by delusional thinking plus denial resulting from psychological blocks to objective facts and truths, producing psychological stupidity.

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
(libertarian)
Monday, November 29, 2010

I have always searched for the simplest yet best ways to explain what I see as a multi-decade decline of every aspect of the United States, especially its political system and government. I keep coming back to the inescapable logic that a large fraction of Americans, regardless of their education, economic status and political alignment, must suffer from delusion. This delusion produces denial about hugely important subjects and issues.

Like a law of physics, this combination makes people seem incredibly stupid to others disagreeing with their positions. Stupid, because they are unable to accept facts and truths that conflict with their views.

This special kind of stupidity is independent of inherent intelligence. In this case brain power is overpowered by psychological deficiency, namely self-delusion.

This delusion is not genetically produced, but is a result of external influences, notably political, government, media and corporate propaganda intentionally designed to produce delusional beliefs and thinking. Who does this? All sorts of commercial and political interests. The result is a series of biases and blocks, such as cognitive dissonance, to objective facts and information that creates denial about very important conditions affecting the planet, the nation and individuals. People afflicted with this deadly combination appear stupid to those outside their mental ghetto that they gladly inhabit, along with similarly afflicted people.

National unity breaks down with countless mental ghettos that span economic, political and geographic boundaries.

Conservatives see liberals as stupid and vice versa. Democrats see Tea Party adherents (who only support Republican candidates) as stupid and vice versa. Those seeing climate change and global warming as serious phenomena posing real threats see deniers as stupid. People who give a high priority to tax cuts that mainly benefit the rich and superrich seem stupid to those who recognize that the wealthiest Americans have hijacked the US economy, as shown by endless statistics that reveal their preferential financial benefits. Those who reject religions think the religious stupid. People who shun social networking sites see those addicted to them as stupid. Growing numbers of obese people seem stupid to those eating healthy and exercising regularly to maintain healthy weights.

You surely can think of classes of people who seem stupid, because of a particular belief or viewpoint rather than across-the-board limited intelligence. With conversations that have nothing to do with their position (or maybe several), you would likely think of them as reasonably intelligent and smart, not stupid. In other words, stupidity is often topic or issue specific.

Here are two examples of what I call psychological stupidity with their powerful implications for understanding why the nation is seen on the wrong track by so many Americans who cannot unite behind solutions.

There is no mystery why the top 20 percent of the population in terms of wealth votes for Republicans, but they are not enough to win elections. What makes far less sense is why many more middle class Americans vote for Republicans. They seem stupid in voting against their own economic interests because Republicans pursue policies that preferentially reward the richest Americans. This behavior can only be explained by the success of Republican propaganda (mainly trickle down prosperity), lies and deceptions that instill a set of biases and beliefs that enable Republicans to win elections. A prime example is obtaining broad support for keeping taxes on really rich people low.

On the other side, are millions of people who vote for Democrats because they have been sold rhetoric about reforming the government system, as if Democrats are not also in the pockets of a number of special interests that will not accept truly needed deep reforms. Why have we not seen President Obama pursue punishment of many people and companies in the banking, mortgage and financial sectors that caused the economic meltdown? He had received huge campaign contributions from them and then surrounded himself with cabinet officials and advisors from them. Otherwise intelligent people vote for Democrats because of their psychological stupidity based on false promises of change and reform that they have succumbed to.

Psychological stupidity has become a kind of cultural epidemic that no one is addressing, so it just gets worse. It invites manipulation and the continuing corrosion and corruption of government. The rich and powerful know how to take advantage of this stupidity, obtaining government policies and programs they want, selling products and services that consumers do not really benefit from, and grabbing more of the nation’s wealth.

Those afflicted with psychological stupidity are also likely to exhibit moral superiority, making it even more difficult to have intelligent and productive conversations with them. Such arrogance strengthens their defenses against facts and information that conflicts with their cherished views. The answer: Associate with others having exactly the same views and only get information from like-minded media sources, creating mental ghettos (such as the Tea Party and Fox News) that others can take political or commercial advantage of (Republicans and companies selling gold).

Self-deception is the widespread legal narcotic lubricating the slide of American society into the toilet that other once great nations ended up in. Maybe this old Arab proverb warrants respect: People who lie to others have merely hidden away the truth, but people who lie to themselves have forgotten where they put it.

Which mental ghettos do you belong to?

Former Pres. Uribe Subpoenaed In US Paramilitary Lawsuit

[SEE: Suit: Ala. coal firm funded Colombian terror]

Clearing the Air About Uribe’s Subpoena

While on Georgetown’s main campus earlier this month, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez was served with a subpoena in the case of Claudia Balcero Giraldo v. Drummond. There has been a lot of misinformation floating around our community with respect to what the subpoena is, where it came from and how it was served. As a member of the Adios Uribe Coalition, I hope that the following account will help to clear the air.

First, the serving of a subpoena is a common and integral part of our judicial system. Subpoenas protect all parties’ right to a fair trial and help to ensure that a court will advance justice with all the relevant facts at hand. The subpoena served to President Uribe was authorized by a federal judge and requires Uribe’s attendance at a formal deposition where he will be asked to speak under oath about issues relevant to the Drummond case.

Nearly 500 family members of Colombian citizens murdered by paramilitary forces during the prolonged Colombian civil conflict brought the suit against Drummond Company, Inc., for its alleged role in supporting war crimes and funding the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary organization. A federal court ruled that the claims against Drummond are viable and the case is now searching for more evidence, in a discovery phase.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Terry Collingsworth of Conrad & Scherer, LLP, believes that President Uribe has explicit knowledge of Drummond’s alleged relationship with the paramilitary organization as well as other information pertinent to the case. President Uribe’s testimony will likely be of great help in bringing to justice those involved in the murders and terrorist activities against Colombian citizens.

Much of the confusion in our community surrounds the way in which President Uribe was served. Charity Ryerson, a Georgetown law student and former intern at Conrad & Scherer, served the subpoena to President Uribe as he walked to his car after teaching a class. Ryerson notified President Uribe that she was serving him with a subpoena in the Drummond case and President Uribe refused to accept the documents.

When serving a subpoena upon a non cooperating party, a standard method of service is to present the person with the subpoena and to drop it at the person’s feet when that person refuses to take it. After President Uribe’s refusal, Ryerson dropped the subpoena at his feet. At no point did Ryerson make physical contact with President Uribe or the security guards who were present.
 There have been two misconstrued rumors circulating around campus. The first rumor is that serving a subpoena on Georgetown campus is a violation of campus rules or somehow an act of aggression. This is not true. University spokeswoman Julie Bataille confirms that “the university does not have a policy forbidding the service of process on its property, but does not, as a general matter, work with process servers to facilitate service.”

Hours before serving the subpoena, Ryerson was told by Georgetown administrators that she could not serve the subpoena on campus. This was simply a matter of miscommunication and in the future, process servers will not be forbidden from fulfilling their lawful duties.

The second misinformed rumor is that some sort of physical abuse occurred when Ryerson served the subpoena. By law, a recipient of a subpoena can claim that the subpoena is invalid if an abuse took place during the service of it; the recipient does not have to provide testimony unless service is repeated.

Drummond has publicly claimed that Ryerson improperly served the subpoena to President Uribe. I witnessed the interaction and can assure the whole Georgetown community that Ryerson did not make physical contact with President Uribe and that allegations to the contrary are simply false. 

In order to ensure that our shared principles of transparency, freedom of speech, social justice and the rule of law are to continue to flourish, everyone weighing in on President Uribe’s presence on campus must do so publicly. This helps our entire community to avoid the spread of false information and rumors. Given the political context that surrounds President Uribe, I recognize that any subpoena served upon him will inevitably attract attention.

However, I hope that our community will rest assured knowing that the sole purpose of a subpoena is to advance the cause of justice in claims of interest to the federal judicial system. To these ends, Georgetown’s Adios Uribe Coalition is more than happy to talk further with any member of the Georgetown community, and will continue to advance Georgetown’s commitment to social justice, freedom of speech and the rule of law. 
Chris Byrnes is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service class of 1998 and Georgetown Law class of 2002. He is an active member of the Adios Uribe Coalition.

Suit: Ala. coal firm funded Colombian terror

[SEE: Drummund Lawsuit.pdf ;Former Pres. Uribe Subpoenaed In US Paramilitary Lawsuit]

Suit: Ala. coal firm funded Colombian terror

Relatives of those killed accuse company of paying paramilitary group

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Relatives of dozens of slain Colombians sued an Alabama-based coal company in federal court Thursday, accusing it of making millions of dollars in payments to a paramilitary group that sowed terrorism in the South American country.

The suit filed in Birmingham said 67 victims of the The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, also known as AUC, included unionists, farmworkers and others. It claimed the rightwing group received payments from operatives for Drummond allegedly to assassinate top union leaders and protect the company’s large coal mine and railroad in Colombia.

The lawsuit is much broader than one filed in March by the children of three slain Colombian union leaders against Drummond Co. Inc.

A similar lawsuit ended in 2007 with a verdict for Drummond, which has repeatedly denied any connection with the Colombian violence. The verdict was upheld by a federal appeals court in December.

Lawsuit includes hundreds of people
The plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit include hundreds of parents, children and siblings of people allegedly killed by AUC, mostly in Colombia’s Cesar and Magdalena provinces.

A spokesman for Drummond, Bruce Windham, was out of its Birmingham headquarters Thursday and not immediately available to return a call for comment.

Attorney Terry Collingsworth, who represents the plaintiffs, said the latest lawsuit was filed because of new information alleging that Drummond made payments to the paramilitary group, which he said “terrorized people up and down Drummond’s railroad corridor.”

The suit lists the victims and their relatives with pseudonyms such as “Jane Doe” or “Peter Doe,” followed by a sequence of numbers. A motion is pending seeking to allow the suit to go forward while keeping the plaintiffs anonymous.

“Many of the AUC leaders are now speaking freely about their relationship with the elites of the Colombian business community, and their direct collaboration with the Colombian military,” the suit said.

The suit, like the earlier ones, was filed under the more than 200-year-old Alien Torts Claims Act, which allows foreigners to file suit in U.S. courts for alleged wrongdoing overseas.

The initial suit was the first filed against a U.S. corporation under the law to ever make it to trial.

Unspecified damages sought
The latest suit seeks unspecified financial damages and other relief. It says the political situation in Colombia prevents the plaintiffs from addressing their complaints in their home country.

“Any efforts by plaintiffs to seek redress would be futile because those seeking to challenge official or paramilitary violence, including prosecutors and human rights activists, are at great risk of retaliation,” the lawsuit says.

The suit names as defendants Augusto Jimenez, the CEO of Drummond’s Colombian subsidiary; Alfredo Araujo, Drummond’s community relations manager in Colombia; and James Atkins, director of security for Drummond in the South American country.

The suit alleges that Araujo is a close friend of a Colombian paramilitary leader, Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, also known as “Jorge 40.”

The suit claims that from 1999 to 2006, Drummond paid millions of dollars to “Jorge 40″ and a wing of the AUC called the Juan Andres Alvarez Front. It alleges that the payments were negotiated by Drummond through Araujo and Atkins and approved by Jimenez.

According to the suit, the victims were killed in such places as a kiosk, on a sports field, in a shop — and some are said to have “disappeared,” apparently killed and their bodies never found.

The suit alleges Drummond knew that “because of the lawless environment created by the civil conflict in Colombia, the paramilitaries acting as their agents, could murder trade unionists employed at their mines — including Locarno, Orcasta and Soler — with impunity.”

The Explosive Dangers of the Post-Paramilitary Dilemma

[How does any nation disband an illegal civilian army and reintegrate its soldiers without first prosecuting the war crimes that some of them have committed, or causing outright civil war?  AfPak negotiators should pay close attention to the case of Columbia, to gain insight into how Pakistan can demobilize the Pakistan/American-backed Taliban militias and later warlord armies without causing civil war.  SEE:  Columbia Attempts to Demobilize 18,000 Paramilitaries Without Igniting Civil War]

Colombian court strikes down law protecting ex-paramilitaries

EFE

Bogota –  Colombia’s Constitutional Court overturned a law that called for halting criminal prosecution of some 17,000 low-level rightist paramilitaries who demobilized between 2003 and 2006.

In a 5-4 decision, the court found that the measure violated the principles of justice and reparation for militia victims and was effectively an amnesty.

Implementation of the law, which was approved last year by Congress, remained on hold pending the ruling from the Constitutional Court.

The decision implies that roughly 17,000 of the more than 31,000 members of the AUC militia federation who laid down their arms under a peace process with the 2002-2010 government of President Alvaro Uribe are subject to criminal prosecution, where applicable.

The administration of current head of state Juan Manuel Santos expressed concern Wednesday that the court’s ruling could undermine efforts to reintegrate the former gunmen.

Noting that some demobilized paramilitaries have already joined criminal outfits, Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras said that without the offer of pardon or amnesty, the government would find it difficult to persuade those men to take part in reintegration programs.

The law was meant to apply to militia members who did not have command responsibility, were not linked to drug trafficking and did not face any criminal charges aside from the offense of belonging to an illegal armed group.

But it also would have allowed prosecutors to drop or suspend cases involving erstwhile paramilitaries with drug ties who agreed to testify against more significant offenders.

The AUC was behind more than 22,000 killings over the course of 20 years, according to an ongoing investigation by Colombian prosecutors.

Uribe extradited more than a dozen of the top warlords to the United States to face drug charges, angering militia victims who wanted to see those men tried in Colombia for crimes against humanity.

 

17,000 paramilitary fighters may rearm: ex AUC commander

SATURDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2010 08:07 ADRIAAN ALSEMA

Colombia news - Iguano

Former paramilitary leader Jorge Ivan Laverde, alias "El Iguano," says fellow former paramilitary leaders are suspending all collaboration with Colombian justice after the Constitutional Court ruled that 17,000 fighters can not be excluded from prosecution.

In an interview with Caracol Radio, Iguano said the peace process that led to the disarmament of the AUC in 2005 and 2006, "the way it is going, is going really bad. The concern of these 17,000 men that are demobilized is that they are one step away of being arrested and don’t know what to do."

According to Iguano, the thousands of paramilitary fighters may rearm "because the government did not provide a real reintegration."

The former paramilitary commander added that "these men of who they now took the principle of opportunity were guards of the AUC, they did not take part in crimes against humanity like we did."

Colombia’s Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras said the government is working on a series of initiatives that allow a reintegration of paramilitary fighters into society and solve the judicial limbo they now are in.

Without being specific, the minister said a group of lawmakers will be working throughout the weekend to propose solutions in Congress on Monday.

The government is forced to come up with additional legislation for the Justice and Peace law, the law that allowed the demobilization of the AUC, in that time considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. Part of the deal was that 17,000 members of the organization who were not suspected of crimes against humanity would be reintegrated into society without being prosecuted for being part of a terrorist organization. According to the court, only the judicial branch can make such deals with suspected criminals.

 

Rashid: Karzai going all anti-American

Rashid: Karzai going all anti-American

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks

Ahmed Rashid, who knows Afghanistan like Peter Gammons knows the Red Sox, is always interesting on Hamid Karzai, but his new piece about the Afghan president is particularly striking. The must-reading meat of it:

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai told me that the United States has been unable to bring peace to Afghanistan or to secure cooperation from Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to the Taliban… By the end of our talk, it was quite clear to me that his views on global events, on the future course of NATO’s military surge in southern Afghanistan, and on nation building efforts throughout his country have undergone a sea change. His single overriding aim now is making peace with the Taliban and ending the war — and he is convinced it will help resolve all the other problems he faces, such as corruption, bad governance, and the lack of an administration.

Karzai’s new outlook is the most dramatic political shift he has undergone in the twenty-six years that I have known him.

This reminds me of something David Kilcullen was saying a couple of years ago, that maybe the only way to get out of these wars will be to get kicked out by the government you helped create.

“Islamists” Killed In Osh Raid

‘Islamist militants killed’ in Kyrgyzstan raid

map

Reports from Kyrgyzstan say four Islamist militants have been killed in a raid on a hide-out in the southern city of Osh.

Police shot dead three members of a banned Islamist group and a fourth died after detonating a grenade, said the head of Kyrgyzstan’s Security Council.

Two officers were injured in a gun battle during the raid, he said.

Osh was the scene of inter-ethnic violence in June during which nearly 400 mostly minority Uzbeks were killed.

The riots followed weeks of political turmoil after the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in a mass uprising in April.

The new authorities, led by President Roza Otunbayeva, are attempting to create the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia, after elections last month.

However, critics of the new leadership say it lacks authority in the volatile south.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to visit Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

Al-Qaeda links

"The operation has been concluded and a sweep of the area is under way," Marat Imankulov told reporters in the capital, Bishkek.

Mr Imankulov said initial reports suggested the militants may have belonged to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The IMU is an al-Qaeda-affiliated Central Asian group that now fights alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A local police spokesman told Reuters that the raid could have targeted members of another banned Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to establish an Islamic state across the Middle East and Central Asia.

However the group says it does not advocate violence.

Pakistan drone victim demands damages from CIA

[TIT-FOR-TAT?   26/11: U.S. court summons ISI chief, Saeed]

Pakistan drone victim demands damages from CIA

By CHRIS BRUMMITT
Associated Press

Kareem Khan, Pakistani tribesman from North Wazirstan, talks to the media in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010.  Khan, says he lost his son and brother in an American missile attack in the country

Anjum Naveed

Kareem Khan, Pakistani tribesman from North Wazirstan, talks to the media in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. Khan, says he lost his son and brother in an American missile attack in the country’s northwest and is demanding damages from the CIA, and according to his lawyer, Mirza Shahzad Akbar obscured right, he will file a lawsuit against the director of the CIA and the U.S. defense secretary unless he receives dollars 500 million US (320 million British pounds / 378 million euro) in compensation.

A Pakistani man who says he lost his son and brother in an American missile attack in the northwest threatened Monday to sue the CIA unless he receives compensation, a move that will draw attention to civilian casualties in such strikes.

Kareem Khan and his lawyers said they were seeking $500 million in two weeks or they would sue CIA director Leon Panetta, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a man they said was the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad for "wrongful death" in a Pakistani court.

The United States does not publicly admit to firing missiles into northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border, much less say who they are targeting or whether civilians are also being killed. Privately, officials say they are taking out al-Qaida and Taliban militants and dispute accounts that innocents often die.

Pakistani officials, who face criticism from their own people for allowing the attacks, rarely discuss them.

Khan said his 18-year-old son, Zaenullah Khan and his brother Asif Iqbal were killed on Dec. 31 last year in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. The third victim was a mason who was staying at the house, he said. Khan said his son and Iqbal were teachers.

"The people who were martyred were innocent," Khan told a media conference in Islamabad alongside his lawyer, Mirza Shahzad Akbar. "They did not have links with any terrorist group, nor they were wanted."

The Associated Press and other media organizations reported that three people were killed on Dec. 31 in a missile attack in Mir Ali. Pakistani intelligence officials said then that the men were militants, but offered no proof.

Khan, who was working as a journalist, was in Islamabad at the time of the attack.

Any legal action stands no chance of success unless U.S. officials cooperate with the court, something highly unlikely given the secretive nature of the missile strike program. The most Khan and Akbar can hope for is to bring attention to the issue.

There have been more than 100 such attacks this year, more than twice than in 2009. The attacks began in 2005, but picked up pace in 2007 and have increased ever since. The border region is out of bounds for non-locals and much of it is under the control of militants, meaning independent reporting on who is being killed is nearly impossible.

Most of the missiles are believed to be fired from unmanned planes launched from Afghanistan or from secret bases in Pakistan.

Human rights groups have called on the United States to provide greater transparency about who is being targeted and publicly investigate allegations of civilian deaths. Without knowing, they say it is impossible to judge whether such attacks are legal.

Across the border in Afghanistan, the American military compensates the families of innocents killed once it carries out an investigation.

Kayani Dictates Talking Points To Pakistan’s “Free Press”

[SEE:  The Perfect Division of Pakistani Society]

Kayani dictates talking points to “free media”

This is a fascinating report in Dawn about a briefing given by a “top military official” to “editors, anchors, and columnists” on Sunday. The top military official gave these comments on the condition of strict anonymity. This briefing to the main opinion makers in the Pakistani media was given on Sunday on the day of the first set of leaks from Wikileaks.

The interesting thing about this meeting is that just by reading it, a few things are apparent :-

This “anonymous military official” can be no other than General Kayani. No other military official would speak so authoritatively on every aspect of Pakistani security policy.

The contents of this media briefing consist of an entire set of media talking points for the next few months’ news cycle. Note how an entire national narrative of grievance is supplied to the media personalities in order for them to project this to their viewership:

Detailing frank exchanges between the uppermost echelons of the Pakistan military and the Obama administration, the senior military official listed a catalogue of complaints the ‘people of Pakistan’ have against the US.

These include: the US still has a ‘transactional’ relationship with Pakistan; the US is interested in perpetuating a state of ‘controlled chaos’ in Pakistan; and, perhaps most explosively given the WikiLeaks’ revelations, the “real aim of US strategy is to de-nuclearise Pakistan”.

The most interesting thing to me is that this narrative is not presented as a military perspective but instead framed as “a catalogue of complaints that the people of Pakistan have against the US. See how easily General Kayani fuses the military’s interests with those of the people of Pakistan.

General Kayani then goes on to outline the entire array of talking points for the near future – he discusses US withdrawal from Afghanistan, what a satisfactory end-state in Afghanistan would look like for the Pakistani army, what Afghanistan’s relationship with India should be allowed to be, and that the Pakistani military will continue to be “India-centric”.

At first, upon reading this, one must wonder why Dawn is acting like a stenographer for General Kayani and faithfully transcribing his comments in this one. But upon later reflection, it is useful for the reader for Dawn to have described this briefing. For one thing, it’s quite obvious who is talking here, so we know that General Kayani has taken it upon himself to brief the major media players prior to the latest diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US. By describing everything that General Kayani said to these media persons, we, as future consumers of the media generated by these individuals gain a better understanding of some of the factors influencing these individuals. Indeed, as a daily reader/viewer of Pakistani news, these talking points should be incredibly familiar to you. For example, here is General Kayani’s talking point:

The official also repeatedly stressed that the ‘frames of reference’ of the US and Pakistan with regard to regional security matters “can never be the same and this must be acknowledged”. Furthermore, the official claimed, the dichotomy between short-term US interests and long-term Pakistani security interests needs to be kept in mind at all times.

Now here is an opinion journalist Mosharraf Zaidi, repeating the same talking point:

It boils down to this: Pakistan’s interests in Pakistan and in the region are simply not the same as those that the US and other Nato powers have. Unlike alliances that go back a long way and seem to endure all shades of politics, like the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States, Pakistan’s relationship with the United States is decidedly inorganic. To stimulate each other the right way, the United States pays the Pakistani military, and gingerly, its civilian government, to put the squeeze on the safe havens for bad guys in Pakistan that are targeting US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Or consider the following set of talking points issued by General Kayani on the issue of a North Waziristan operation:

Nevertheless, citing three factors, the official downplayed the possibility of an imminent operation in NWA. First, the official said, South Waziristan needs to be resettled. Second, the country had to prepare for the ‘serious blowback’ of an operation in NWA, which would include terrorist attacks in the cities and a fresh wave of Internally Displaced Persons.

Third, the official stressed the need for the “creation of a political consensus”. Referring to a similar consensus developed in the run-up to Operation Rah-i-Rast in Swat, the official suggested politicians, the media and the Pakistani public would have to demonstrate their support for a military operation in NWA before the army would undertake one.

When told of Prime Minister Gilani’s comment that there is no need for a fresh consensus because the support for the operation in South Waziristan also extends to North Waziristan, the official responded sharply: “I will not do it unless there is a political consensus on North Waziristan.”

Now read this article by Sherry Rehman who also happens to be a member of the National Security Committee in Pakistan’s Parliament. Here is what Sherry Rehman has to say about a North Waziristan operation.

The politics of a military operation are never easy. No military relishes fighting inside its own borders, and no civilian, elected government embraces the use of force as a first, or even second option. The government has thrown its full weight behind the operations, despite the costs that accrue from such initiatives. As a result, Pakistan now has its own generation of lost people, human tragedies, economic crises, internal strife and political instability.

While the military presses on with an offensive in Orakzai agency, there will be little room to divert forces for anything more than strategic strikes on NWA areas where the terrorists cluster. Pakistan must dismantle al-Qaida as well as India-centric jihadist outfits as a priority. It also must allow Kabul to form its own stable government and hope for a friendly partner. But it will need Pakhtuns to maintain stability in Afghan border provinces after the expected US troop withdrawal in 2011. Seeking more than surgical raids in NWA is asking for too much. Pakistan must act decisively against terrorists, but using its own gameplan.

How many times have we heard a journalist/analyst/anchor repeat the point that Pakistan’s interests and the US’s interests in Afghanistan are simply not the same or that Pakistan must conduct the North Waziristan operation “on its own time” and “in keeping with its own long-term strategic interests” rather than following the dictates of short-term US pressure. Perhaps General Kayani is simply a very sensible and insightful geopolitical analyst and his analysis is just so correct that it reflects reality. Or perhaps, just perhaps, sessions like the one reported by Dawn are conducted precisely in order to shape the national narrative which is then uncritically propagated by patriotic journalists across various fora. After all, it is not at all difficult to present a counter narrative to the one being presented by General Kayani (and Sherry Rehman) on North Waziristan. Readers of this blog will be aware of the many unanswered questions regarding the securing of Pakistanis “strategic assets” in North Waziristan – namely the Haqqani group. Readers will also be aware of the opinion put forward by analysts like Dr. Muhammad Taqi, Farhat Taj and Ali K Chishti that the conflict in Kurram is related to the military establishment’s frantic moves to secure these precious assets and conceal them in the event that they are forced by the US or by the discovery of another Faisal Shehzad plot to launch an operation in North Wazirstan. An intelligent person should, after reading Dr. Taqi’s article on Kurram, be able to deconstruct some of General Kayani’s talking points and perhaps even question them as being simply a cover for a deeper game being played by the Pakistani establishment. And surely, as readers, we deserve to have these questions raised in the mainstream media, on our talk shows and in our op-eds in order to question the cosy narrative that we are being forced to swallow by General Kayani.

The point is not that Sherry Rehman or General Kayani’s argument regarding the delaying of the North Waziristan operation is necessarily invalid, but that it’s not the only valid perspective given the facts that we know about the situation in Kurram and North Waziristan. And yet it has become the mainstream perspective, thanks to the line propagated by General Kayani and the ISPR being regurgitated uncritically by the mainstream media. Similarly, it is possible that Pakistani and US interests are indeed not aligned in Afghanistan. However, it is also possible (and indeed, LIKELY) that “Pakistani interests” in Afghanistan as formulated by the GHQ are suicidal and not really “Pakistani interests” but the interests of an intellectually paralyzed security state that simply cannot change its disastrous 30 year policy of slow-motion suicide at the hands of extremists.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa has written extensively on the deep tentacles that the GHQ has within the Pakistani media. Reading the report by Dawn on the briefing given to media personalities by General Kayani, one realizes the extent of this cancer. Who, in the media, will be bold enough to step out of this self-imposed mental cage or will we have to wait forever?

FBI Building More Fake Bombs To Panic the Populace

[The govt. loves to parade these fake "homegrown terrorists" around the village square to appease the frightened locals, looking for some witches to burn.  How many times have we heard these stories, where the FBI man actually builds a working bomb, only to disable it before planting it, in order to prove to the public that it is doing its job?  The risky nature of this type of undercover ploy is readily seen in cases like the first Trade Center bombing, where the agent didn't disable the device.  The undercover man who built that bomb in 1993 should have been the one put behind bars, since he built and helped plant a working bomb in the Trade Center garage, successfully killing six people and wounding over 1,000.

This is the essence of the US terror war–finding people who don’t like the government and tempting them into participating in criminal acts that they otherwise would not have had the means or intentions to carry-out otherwise.

Residents condemn bomb plot, criticize FBI

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40423173/ns/us_news-security

Somali-American man has pleaded not guilty to an alleged plot to blow up a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon

By TIM FOUGHT

PORTLAND, Oregon — Some residents of this famously liberal city are unnerved, not only by a plot to bomb an annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony last week but also by the police tactics in the case.

They questioned whether federal agents crossed the line by training 19-year-old Somali-American Mohamed O. Mohamud to blow up a bomb, giving him $3,000 cash to rent an apartment and providing him with a fake bomb.

The FBI affidavit “was a picture painted to make the suspect sound like a dangerous terrorist,” said Portland photographer Rich Burroughs. “I don’t think it’s clear at all that this person would have ever had access to even a fake bomb if not for the FBI.”

Mohamud’s defense lawyer said in court on Monday that agents groomed his client and timed his arrest for publicity’s sake.

Public defender Stephen Sady focused on the FBI’s failed attempt to record a first conversation between Mohamud and an FBI undercover operative. “In the cases involving potential entrapment, it’s the initial meeting that matters,” Sady said.

Attorney General Eric Holder defended the agents on Monday, rejecting entrapment accusations.

Once the undercover operation began, Mohamud, who officials said had no formal ties to foreign terror groups, “chose at every step to continue” with the bombing plot, Holder said.

To be sure, many Portlanders were unsettled that a terror plot could unfold in their backyard — in Pioneer Courthouse Square, as thousands cheered the tree lighting — and not in much higher-profile cities such as New York or Los Angeles.

At a time when people are focused on body scans and intrusive pat-downs to prevent terrorist attacks, some Portlanders wondered if the FBI had gone too far and unnecessarily scared residents.

“What is distressing about the incident is not so much that the FBI arrested or otherwise intervened,” said resident Joe Clement, 24, “but that the FBI used him to create a scenario that scared a lot of people.”   (read HERE)