‘US seeks to Balkanize Mideast’–PressTV

‘US seeks to Balkanize Mideast’

Interview with political observers Stephen Lendman from Chicago and Webster Tarpley from Washington
US President Barack Obama has ruled out a need for the release of photos of Osama bin Laden’s body, while the news of the al-Qaeda leader’s killing has raised questions worldwide.

In an interview with Press TV, Stephen Lendman, a research associate of the Center for Research on Globalization in Chicago, and Webster Tarpley, an investigative journalist from Washington, expressed their comments on the death of bin Laden. The following is a rush transcript of the interview:

Press TV: Bin Laden was blamed for being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. According to the FBI, however, there is not even evidence showing such a connection. What are your comments on the connection between Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks — a connection which was made by the Bush-Chaney administration?

Lendman: There is no connection whatsoever. Think of it this way: we have two topics today, 9/11 and the Sunday raid allegedly killing Bin Laden. We are talking about the big lie of our time, 9/11, and the lie of the moment: killing Bin Laden last Sunday… He died of natural causes in mid-December 2001. Who said it? Well for one thing, a Taliban official who attended his funeral years ago made the statement; former president of Pakistan, Musharraf; Benazir Bhutto before she was killed; the former FBI head of counter-intelligence; [and] other people made the same statement.

In 2002 George Bush was interviewed about Bin Laden. He [said] he did not even care about him anymore. The CIA a few years later shut down its search agency supposedly looking for Bin Laden. Why look for a dead man? So we have the big lie about 9/11. Bin Laden of course had nothing whatsoever to do with it. He gave interviews to al Jazeera several times saying he had no knowledge and no involvement in 9/11. Yet, al Jazeera twisted his statement, claiming that he admitted responsibility for it. He did not; he had nothing to do with 9/11. Your President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is right. It was an inside job.

Press TV: There are doubts about the release of the photos and images of Bin Laden’s death. Obama has recently decided not to release them. Why do you think the United States decided not to release the video or photos?

Tarpley: I do not think it is profitable to try to enter too much into the details and the contradictions of this piece of theater that we have been presented with. This is an exercise in mass brainwashing. I think it is a very serious attempt to push the world in the direction of general war. The one think we can say about this pseudo-Bin Laden — if that is really who he was — [is] that he was not the biological Bin Laden as has been pointed out. The biological Bin Laden has not been with us for a long time. The original Bin Laden — while he was alive — was variously described as a dreamer, a fanatic, an ideologue, a psychotic, a bungler, a misfit…

I think the one thing we can say for sure is that this staged and manufactured incident is of course just like everything else in Bin Laden’s life – or the so-called Bin Laden’s life. Nothing is proven; there is no proof of any aspect of this entire story, but the one thing you can see from the intent is this is designed to create a strategic confrontation between the United States and Pakistan, and it is already gone very far in that direction. Looks like this was at least on some level not approved by the Pakistani government; we have former President Musharraf protesting against that. We have the human cry here in Washington against Pakistan. We have the Chinese government yesterday strongly stating that they are going to support Pakistan in this crisis.

We should remember that American policy in that part of the world has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called global war on terror, which is really a strategic pretext manufactured by the United States. The goal of this all is the dismemberment of Pakistan. Pakistan could serve as an energy corridor between Iran and China or between India and Europe.

Afghanistan is not enough [to act as that corridor.] The Pakistan energy corridor could be created and the goal of the US policy remains to take the Afghan civil war and to export that into Pakistan and to promote the division along the well-known lines of Punjabis, Baluchestan, [Abdolmalek] Rigi supported by NATO and so forth, and then of course Pashtunistan, which is the epicenter of all this.

So this is what we can see and I think the real question is: will this story now manufactured about Bin Laden be the equivalent of the Sarajevo assassination of June 22 1914? All we know in a six or eight or ten-week period [is] between an incident and some cataclysmic geostrategic event; a general war that might grow out of the United States overplaying this attack on Pakistan when you see that the Chinese are coming forward to offer support. I think the world situation is much more dangerous than most people are aware of.

Press TV: Ten years looking for the world’s most wanted man, and his body was deposed 24 hours later into the sea. Why do you think they were too quick to get rid of the body and what was the reasoning behind this?

Lendman: You understand Islamic law. The US public believes anything the president says. Look what happened right after the incident: within 24 hours Obama got a nice bump in popularity. I think there was also an issue that he was sagging a little bit; we have a very weak economy at home; so these events are always strategically timed, whatever they may be. So supposedly getting Bin Laden is a very big event, but Obama is getting a boost distracting people from their economic woes.

It is hard to believe he is doing this for the 2012 election, because that is a year and a half away and when that election rolls around, people will not be voting some guy halfway across the world, whoever he is. My feeling is the Americans may change tactics in Afghanistan, who can know? But I honestly do not see America leaving Afghanistan.

In fact I think Afghanistan is a perfect war for America; a war that never ends, because America has a permanent war agenda. The war profiteers, the defense contractors and the private military contractors need wars to run their businesses, so Afghanistan is perfect; keep that thing going! Weapons, munitions, PMCs on the ground; this thing goes on and on, and of course Iraq is still going, and now we have got Libya, there is a possibility America could get into Syria, maybe something is brewing against Lebanon again against Hamas, and I think maybe the ultimate Middle East prize is to isolate Iran from its allied countries; the ones I just mentioned. And that would be the grand prize, but I think America is trying to reshuffle the Middle East, North Africa, Eurasian deck…

I think America wants to balkanize the whole region; just split them up in much easier controllable divisions; control the whole region with no challenge whatsoever: the resources; exploit the people; privatize everything. It is a ruthless agenda and of course the American people are harmed by this too, because we have an austerity program at home. Vital benefits are cut, so we can wage these imperial wars.

Press TV: So far there have been at least half a dozen things about the killing of Osama bin Laden that have turned out to be false. What are your comments regarding US explanations on this?

Tarpley: In terms of why Bin Laden had to be liquidated and not captured, I would read here in my book “9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA” that on November 21, 2001, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced that the orders were Bin Laden has to be taken dead not alive, so dead or alive was never the case. From the point of view of US imperialism, you now have a strange situation; you do not have an enemy image; you do not have this classic find field as Samuel Huntington and others talked about. It used to be the Soviets; then it was Bin Laden; who is it going to be now? I look for this to be manufactured in the coming period.

We have already heard from various voices of the CIA here that there will be revenge attacks against the United States or Europe, and he said that it would not be coming so much from al-Qaeda which is decimated, but rather from the Pakistani inter-services intelligence. Whether that is going to work as an enemy image I do not know, but we are now in a period of acute danger of these false-flag terror attacks. How might they come?

We saw the Ray Davis case in Pakistan; a CIA contractor, claimed to be a diplomat [who] really was not. According to various Pakistani sources, this person was delving into the world of terrorism including the possibility of a radiological dirty bomb. Now the radiological dirty bomb would be the pretext for the United States to cease control of the Pakistani nuclear forces. I believe that has a good chance of leading towards a general war between the two countries, and in the middle of that we have to remember that the supply line for the invaders in Afghanistan goes from Karachi across Pakistani territory for the best part of a thousand miles… Imagine the strategic insanity of a US leadership that wants to attack Pakistan at the very moment when the Arab main supply line runs through Pakistan.

This shows what the problem is, and again the occasion for this has nothing to do with the war on terror. It has everything to do with the fact that prince of Saudi Arabia went to Pakistan and set up a strategic alliance between these two countries. If the US tries to overthrow Saudi Arabia with a color revolution launched from Bahrain or more likely from Yemen, the Saudis will get a division or more of Pakistani troops and it is possible that Saudi Arabia is already under the Pakistani nuclear umbrella. So this is the real cause. That is geopolitics, and the alignment of that combined with China and to some extent with Russia.

HSN/GHN

The ‘Death’ Of Tim Osman and CIA Ghosts

The ‘Death’ Of Tim Osman & CIA Ghosts

By Alex Massa

This week, all of America was caught up in a whirlwind of patriotic pride and jingoistic arrogance over the supposed assassination of CIA asset Osama bin Laden, a.k.a. Tim Osman (during his tenure at “The Company”) in a suburban Pakistani neighborhood. However, one pivotal question was left unanswered as Americans, in a rare display, took to the streets, some in front of the Executive Mansion, to celebrate. That essential query being ­ why do we train and equip such monsters in the first place? While it’s all good and well that UBL has left the building, so to speak, the entire ordeal would’ve been avoided had we not trained him in the first place, and, furthermore, had we adhered to a non-interventionist foreign policy like the Founding Fathers advocated we follow.

Yet, we continue to do so this very hour, invariably setting ourselves up for a similar situation twenty years or so in the future. At the School of the Americas (now deemed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation”), American forces train dictators and rogue narco-terrorists in the arts of military strategy and paramilitary operations. Is this really in our best interests? We might as well have an international lawn sale and sell our finest weapons and strategies to any banana republic that wants it.

While the government maintains that all attending receive mandatory training in human rights and the rules of the Geneva Convention, a 1996 investigation of the institute by the Intelligence Oversight Board yielded the following conclusion: “[The] School of the Americas [] used improper instruction materials in training Latin American officers from 1982 to 1991 [] certain passages appeared to condone practices such as execution of guerrillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion, and false imprisonment.” Can anyone say they are honestly surprised, given the track record of our own CIA ­ secret Eastern European gulags and all?

The implications of these CIA black projects and whatnot are devastating for America’s image abroad. The United States is widely seen today, by both domestic citizens and foreigners, as a hypocritical state, proclaiming the virtues of liberty and freedom while simultaneously subverting the rights of others across the globe and training hit squads to kill hundreds of thousands, whether it be in Nicaragua (contras), Iran (SAVAK), or in any number of nations. One can imagine how difficult it must be to coordinate the foreign affairs of the United States given this track record and international reputation.

It is high time the United States live up to the expectations of it’s founders and stop supporting terror and tyranny abroad. Something is seriously wrong when Russia, of all nations, a dictatorship in it’s own right, criticizes the U.S.’ lackluster human rights record. America simply invites more hatred upon itself when both it’s citizens and it’s leaders refuse to confront the terrible reality that perhaps America hasn’t always been the venerable guardian of freedom it is made out to be in naïve high school textbooks and cherry Fourth of July speeches. Whether we like it or not, America does not reserve the right to commit genocide, slaughter civilians, and wage total war anymore than any other nation. Trying to ameliorate that fact by concealing human rights abuses under the Stars and Stripes and fake talk of “freedom” lends no more legitimacy than the classic “just following orders” Nuremberg defense.

Pakistani Sell-outs Calling for UN Intervention Over Islamic Militant Problem

The world may help Pakistan through United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission on Pakistan (UNMOVICP)

Related article: A commodity called security

Aim:

The aim of this post is to initiate a debate about the need for a UN Special Commission to rid Pakistan and the entire world of the Pakistan Army Sponsored Jihad Enterprise and to restore the supremacy of democratically elected leaders over the military bureaucracy.

We propose such Commission to be mandated through the United National Security Council to verify Pakistan Army’s compliance with its obligation to be rid of its international proxy war (Jihad Enterprise) in Afghanistan, Kashmir and elsewhere, and to operate a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to ascertain that Pakistan Army does not violate the specific conditions prohibited to it by the Security Council.

In conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, the Commission’s staff will be selected on the basis of securing the highest standard of efficiency, competence and integrity, taking into consideration the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The Commission’s staff will include legal and constitutional experts, political and social scientists, guerilla/proxy war specialists, weapons specialists, analysts, scientists, engineers and operational planners.

The Commission will have its headquarters at the United Nations in New York, however, the operational headquarters will be located in Islamabad with sub-offices in Muzaffarabad, Kabul, Sri Nagar, Quetta and Peshawar.

Pakistan army needs to answer some tough questions

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has boldly stated that Osama bin Laden must have had a “support network” in Pakistan to live undetected for several years. He said the Pakistani authorities (in fact Pakistan army) would have to face “searching questions” over the al-Qa’ida leader’s comfortable existence in the fortified compound stormed by US troops. He said he did not want a “flaming great row” with a Pakistani [civilian] leadership which was committed to tackling terrorism. But Mr Cameron made clear he suspected [army] officials within the country of helping Bin Laden to hide from view. He said in a statement to MPs: “The fact that Bin Laden was living in a large house in a populated area suggests that he must have had a support network in Pakistan. We don’t currently know the extent of that network, so it is right that we ask searching questions about it – and we will.” (Source)

Prime Minister Cameron, President Obama, Madam Secretary Hilary Clinton and Senator John Kerry must be lauded for their nuanced understanding of a complex issue and the differentiation between the democratically elected Government, which wants to cooperate with the global community vs the ambivalent and troubling stance of the security establishment.

Some other details

Some details of the surgical operation by the US Navy Seals which resulted in the elimination of OBL have started to emerge. Based on published reports and certain classified information, it can be confirmed that:

1. The US had done complete homework including identifying and earmarking certain targets (more than the OBL’s compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad) in Pakistan before contacting Pakistan army that the Operation OBL was about to begin. By the time, Gen Kayani was informed, the US choppers had already crossed the Pakistan-Afghan border on their way to Abbottabad.

2. Pakistan army generals were forced to cooperate (or refrain from resisting) in the US operation. Generals Kayani and Pasha were (in a veiled manner) threatened with dire consequence, i.e., attacks on certain strategic targets within Pakistan in addition to bombing the OBL hideout.

3. Given that the Pakistan Army / ISI were caught red handed and the threat by the US was very substantial (much more than shallow words), there was no other choice but to silently allow and observe the Navy Seals attack the OBL compound in Abbottabad.

Don’t trust Pakistan Army

According to The Independent, it beggars belief that Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, has been living just 800 yards from Pakistan’s equivalent of Sandhurst, without the military, intelligence … authorities knowing he was there. There can be little doubt that Pakistan faces both ways on terrorism, as David Cameron once put it. Everyone knows that, not least the United States, which spends $2bn a year arming the Pakistan military and $1.5 bn on civilian aid there. For years the West has tolerated Pakistan’s double game because it needs its support, even half-heartedly, in Afghanistan. That is more true than ever if Washington is to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan this summer.

The generals and spymasters who are seeking to appease both sides are playing a dangerous game and could yet become the terrorists’ next victims. Yet civilian rule is a fragile flower in Pakistan. The ruling coalition is fragmenting, the economy is in crisis and the Taliban is conducting a homegrown campaign of suicide bombings. The danger is that post-Bin Laden pressures will lead Washington to bypass the government and deal direct with the army, which is presented by the security establishment and its media proxies as Pakistan’s only strong institution.

This would be a catastrophic mistake that the US has made before (Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf) and which the Kerry-Lugar Bill clearly demonstrates, that the US has learnt from its past mistakes. The delicate task is to support the elected civilian government while pressurising the security establishment  to do more to combat terrorism.

Most importantly, the security establishment has to stop  interfering in the affairs of the Legislatur and Executive, via the Judiciary.  The civilian government must be allowed to flourish so that, over the long term,  democratic roots are strengthened and a modern taxation system is built that includes both the urban and rural sectors of the economy.

Since the inception of Pakistan, the judiciary, barring a few exceptions, has played a very negative role in undermining democracy, secularism and the rule of Law.  The Legislature must be allowed, without interference from the political proxies of the security establishment, to enact progressive legislation that removes the Blasphemy Law, the Second amendment and all other clauses inserted by military dictators.

Britain has made the right moves in increasing aid to education in Pakistan, where more than 40 per cent of children under nine do not go to school. Improving education is the way to make youngsters less vulnerable to radicalisation. But that aid has been “backloaded” so that it will only continue if the first tranches show good results. We must not flinch from turning off that aid if necessary. The Pakistani state must know we are serious about our support, but also about the need to see progress. (Source)

As per prominent analyst, Dr. Siddiqa, unofficially nearly 70% of Pakistan’s budget is absorbed by the security establishment and in light of current events, can Pakistan afford and justify this!  As per the last budget, the military officially took 17% of the budget.  However, amongst many other things, this did not include the Rs. 100 Billion plus that was taken for fighting terrorism and did not include the ISI budget.  Currently all funds to the military cannot be audited by the civilian government.

Any attempts to rein in this powerful establishment, such as the elected governments support for the Kerry Lugar Bill, its peace overtures to India and its attempt to rein in the ISI under civilian control, result in  powerful destabilizing effects that are constructed by GHQ and implemented by the Judiciary, vast sections of a rabid right wing media and failed policians and Islamists.  Currently, this elected Government has been hijacked by the security establishment and cannot assert itself without international support.

While the world is urging the Pakistan army to undergo an operation in North Waziristan since the last 18 months, the most dangerous Taliban faction, the Haqqani network has already been shifted to the strategic Kurram Agency from where it can easily cross into Afghanistan for attacking NATO troops.  Contrary to the false narrative that has been spun by the ISI-dominated media (both English and Urdu), the Pashtuns of Pakistan have taken a brave stance AGAINST the Taliban which threatens Pushtun culture and has killed thousands of Pushtun leaders, poets, police officers and human rights activists for boldly confronting the Taliban.

Distinction between Pakistan’s civilian government and Pakistan army

The world needs to realize that Pakistan army is the most powerful institution in Pakistan, every other institution including political and religious parties and communities in Pakistan, remain hostage to Pakistan Army’s Jihad Enterprise. In fact, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party has lost its Chairperson Benazir Bhutto, Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti to violence committed by footsoldiers produced by the ISI’s Jihad Enterprise. The civilian government is in no way in a position to challenge or curtail the absolute powers enjoyed by Pakistan army or its Jihadi proxies.

How can international community help Pakistan?

In order to help Pakistan, the United Nations Security Council needs to formulate a high power commission with the following mandate:

1. The Commission will have the legal approval of the UNSC.

2. The Commission will comprise six core members representing six different countries including 3 Muslim majority countries and 3 non-Muslim majority nations (barring any countries with dictatorial regimes).

3. The Commission will include experts and have sub-committees focused on the following issues:

(a) Economic affairs: Complete audit of all funds available to Pakistan army;

(b) Political affairs: Ensuring that Pakistan army does not exceed its constitutional duties, does not dictate its agenda on the civilian government, does not rig elections, does not intervene in political affairs or alliances, does not dictate to  Pakistani media.

(c) Jihad / proxies affairs: Ensuring that Pakistan army severs all connections with Lashkar-e-Taiba, Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and other Islamofascists organizations involved in jihadi and sectarian activities within and outside Paksitan. Ensuring that all such organizations are banned, their leaders arrested and punished through due process of law.  All these groups have established links with the Al Qaeeda for over a decade and before 9/11.  The Lashkar Jhangvi officially considers itself an Al Qaeeda affiliate.  These and the other groups jointly undetake terrorist acts as part of an Islamist umbrella that has Al Qaeeda as its inspiration.

(d) Legal affairs: Ensuring that Pakistan’s judiciary does not remain hostage to Pakistan army’s Jihadi and political agendas, that due justice is meted out to terrorists and their supporters / apologists, and that politicians are not unduly harassed or victimized by the ISI backed courts

(e) Media affair: Ensuring that any right wing or seemingly liberal proxies of Pakistan army (security establishment) do not dominate in the media, and that artificial manufacturing of Xenophobia and pro-Jihad discourses is curtailed.

The United Nations Security Council may provide a 5 year mandate by authorizing a International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) probing Pakistan Army’s connection with Al Qaeda, Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The IIIC will be provided all resources and help by the Pakistan government and the international community to complete the investigations.

New missile shield in Romania tests Russian-U.S. relations

New missile shield in Romania tests Russian-U.S. relations

English.news.cn

by Xinhua writers Zhang Dailei, Zhou Liang

MOSCOW, May 5 (Xinhua) — A new test for relations between Russia and the United States has arisen as Romania struck a deal with Washington Tuesday to deploy U.S. missile interceptors there, prompting Moscow to ask for “safeguards” from Washington.

This future missile shield could set one more obstacle for the talks underway between the two countries on European missile defense system, local analysts said.

RUSSIA WORRIES

Though Washington said the missile shield was to counter attacks from Iran, Moscow worried the shield could be turned against Russia, targeting its strategic nuclear forces.

The Russian Foreign Ministry swiftly released a statement after the deal was announced Tuesday, saying Moscow wants to receive legal guarantees from the United States that its missile defense shield in Romania will not target Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

Also on Tuesday, Russia was holding a high-level negotiation with the U.S. and NATO on European missile defense system, analysts noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said this “practical step” by Washington to create a European segment of its global missile defense system was made regardless of Russian-U.S. dialogue on anti-missile issues.

Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, former Russian navy chief of staff, said the new U.S. anti-missile defense base in Romania would break the power balance in the Black Sea area once it starts operation.

Russia should strengthen the combat potential of its Black Sea Fleet, he said.

Igor Korotchenko, chief editor of Russian “National Defense” magazine, told Xinhua the missile shield might not pose immediate security threat to Russia, but in the long run, as it upgrades, things might become more risky.

Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said he believes the Romanian anti-missile base is targeted at Moscow, like other numerous U.S. military bases surrounding Russia.

However, Moscow did not panic over Washington’s new move, as it knew the United States would never stop deploying its global missile defense system, local media reported.

As Russia tried hard to reset its relations with the West in recent years, the United States abandoned antagonism and adopted a pragmatic strategy toward Moscow to maximize its political and economic benefits, analysts noted.

Russia is unlikely to change its general diplomatic policy even under the pressure of the new shield, analysts said, because the country continues to seek Western investment to boost its economy.

Knowing it cannot stop U.S. expansion of its global missile defense system, Moscow hopes to participate in the building of the system while reducing possible risks it could pose to Russia, experts said.

But Korotchenko said he believed that, taking the serious differences on anti-missile issues into account, it’s almost a mission impossible in the short term for Russia to reach agreement with the United States or to join the European missile defense system building in a real sense.

If their talks on this issue break down, bilateral relations could worsen, and Russia has prepared for the worst scenario, local experts said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly said that if the anti-missile talks with the United States and NATO fail, Russia would take measures, including the deployment of its strategic offensive arms.

Russia is reportedly developing a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile to cope with the future global missile defense system.

Editor: Yang Lina

Giddy Ghouls Gather In Rome To Plot the Division and Looting of Libya

Diplomats meet in Rome on solution to Libya crisis

English.news.cn

Attendants pose for a family photo before the Second Contact Group meeting on Libya in Rome, capital of Italy, May 5, 2011. Foreign ministers and representatives of international organizations met in Rome on Thursday to seek a political solution to the crisis in Libya. This is the second contact group meeting on Libya after the first meeting was held in Doha on April 13. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

Abbottabad residents: Operation of killing Bin Laden a hoax

Abbottabad residents: Operation of killing Bin Laden a hoax

English.news.cn

Special Report: Osama bin Laden Killed in U.S. Operation

BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhuanet) –US President Barack Obama’s dramatic announcement that the world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden was shot dead in a compound in Pakistan’s north western city of Abbotabad surprised the world.

At a distance of about a hundred and thirty kilometers from the federal capital, the garrison city of Abbotabad is a picturesque valley in the foothills of the Karakarom.

Abbottabad is an important military center being the headquarters of an Army brigade.

On May 1st US President Barack Obama’s announcement surprised the people of Pakistan but most of all the Government and the armed forces.

Obama calls it an intelligence driven operation.

An eyewitness of Pakistan said, “We are not fools, it’s America, and the dirty American policies. Whenever they want to take control of an area, they act this way. Osama was never here, America wants to destroy the image of the Pakistan army.”

Pakistan president Asif ali Zardari has denied that Pakistan knew about Osama’s presence in the country.

And those who live close to this compound say bin Laden was never in that house.

An eyewitness of Pakistan said, “I have lived here all my life, I have never seen Osama Bin Laden come or go from here. We are a close knit community. At least we would have seen him once, but we did not. And even if he was killed, the Pakistan army should have conducted the operation”

When I spoke with the members of the anti terrorist squad, surprisingly even they couldn’t confirm Bin Laden’s killing.

Then what are the facts?

Muhammad Imran is a Taliban expert.

Taliban expert Muhammad Imran said, “The people who are living in the adjacent areas and who are the neighbors of this compound, they have a focus on one point, there are certain issues that need to be addressed and I think with the passage of time the story will unfold about what actually happened. Apparently we believe that Bin Laden was here and was killed during the operation, conducted by the American marines.”

There are a number of contradictory theories and growing speculation following Osama Bin Laden’s death as to how and why the operation was carried out in the way it was.

Locals living in the neighborhood say that this operation was a hoax. And if such a high profile target WAS living here, then why didn’t the Pakistani army carry out this operation? Why wasn’t Pakistan kept in the picture. These are the questions that need to be answered by the United states.

(Source: CNTV.cn)

Internet Lovers! Know Your Enemy: Cass Sunstein

Internet Lovers! Know Your Enemy: Cass Sunstein

by C.J. Maloney
by CJ Maloney

Recently by CJ Maloney: On Boycotting Chinese Goods

Truth is the foundation on which the power of the press stands and falls, and our only demand of the press, also the foreign press, is that they report the truth about Germany.

~ Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, 1934

Democracy is under assault! To the bulwarks! Quick, load the catapult with our freedom of speech and shoot it over at the enemy; it’s our only hope! So says Harvard professor Cass Sunstein in his On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be DoneMore an 88-page gab session than a structured book, On Rumors makes me wonder if this is how Professor Sunstein sounds at the chalkboard…placid, scattershot and above all, repetitive. The villain of his piece is the Internet – a fertile breeding ground for “false” rumors – and his knight in shining armor the government censor.

The book starts off with, ends, and endlessly repeats a trumpet blast sure to grab the modern American ear – democracy is in peril. (Sunstein, 3, 10, 65, 85, etc.) The culprit? Free speech – a protective shield for the “false” rumors so hated by the author, all running amok and unfettered via the Internet highway, a regulatory void with no political infringements whatsoever. The Internet is, to the author, a dagger pointed at the very heart of democracy.

Sunstein puts forth two goals of his effort. First, to study how and why rumors spread, where he attempts to use social cascades and group polarization to paint the obvious with an intellectual varnish, a collegiate effort to erect something as earthy as “telegraph, telephone, tell a friend” into a three-month long lecture that costs $17,000 to hear at Harvard.

His second goal is the book’s main course – and the part of most interest to those in power itching for any excuse to regulate the Internet – where he grants some helpful suggestions as to “what we can do to protect ourselves against the harmful effects of false rumors.” (Sunstein, 4-5) His answer? Not censorship (heavens, no!) but the imposition of a “chilling effect” on such rumors; just the “false” ones, mind you.

Sunstein insists this is necessary as “False rumors…can threaten careers, policies, public officials, and sometimes even democracy itself.” (Sunstein, 3) Of course, no warning would be complete for post-9-11 America without pointing out how the Internet is “crucial in the process of radicalization.” (Sunstein, 41) He plays to the reader’s self-interest, as “rumors can harm the economy” (Sunstein, 3) and “fuel speculative bubbles, greatly inflating prices” (Sunstein, 8) as well as his self-conceit, since “all of us are potential victims of rumors, including false and vicious ones.” (Sunstein, 3)

A large concern of the author is the protection of the political elite, since with the spread of “false” rumors “people might lose faith…in their government itself.” (Sunstein, 10) Though he warns that “many rumors spread conspiracy theories” (Sunstein, 7) I’d advise him to read a copy ofThe Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by his fellow Harvard professor Bernard Bailyn, who helpfully points out that our Founders were rabid “conspiracy theorists” and, even more to the point, urge Sunstein to look at history and the innumerable times when “conspiracy” theories proved themselves to be absolutely true.

For all his learned sounding discourse, Sunstein freely admits he has no idea what exactly a rumor is, as “there is no settled definition of rumors, and I will not attempt to offer one here.” (Sunstein, 5) He has the mind of your standard American activist, her “progressives,” always on the look out for a social ill to cure via the application of political power. All he needs, in this case, is to assault the freedom of speech so he may stop something he can’t quite define but knows for certain is there.

The Censorship That Dares Not Speak Its Name

These points should not be taken as a plea for any kind of censorship…

~ Cass Sunstein, On Rumors, 2009

Most grating on the reader’s ear (and insulting to his intelligence) is Sunstein’s habit of softening every statement in an attempt to appear thoughtful and levelheaded about what he is proposing. This leads him to write in the same manner as an insecure teenage girl speaks, every sentence reads as if it should end with a question mark, as when “(the problem) seems to be increasing” (Sunstein, 10) and “rumors are nearly as old as human history.” (Sunstein, 3) Eventually his constant use of softeners make him appear not reasonable, but weak-kneed. This book lacks the courage of the author’s convictions.

Even his outright call for censorship arrives on stage with a timid limp – Sunstein is loath to come out and say what he means. He claims that “whileold style censorship is out of the question” (Sunstein, 12) and “a chilling effect can be exceedingly harmful…let’s be careful about undue emphasis on the underlying risk…we should be able to agree that on occasion, the chilling effect is a very good thing.” (Sunstein, 72) As always with Sunstein, it comes back to the Internet. “It is not obvious that the current regulatory system for free speech – the current setting of chill – is the one that we would or should choose for the Internet Era.” (Sunstein, 78)

From back to the land crazes to imperialist designs on foreign lands to the atomic bomb, much bloodshed, misery, and inhumanity have flowed from America’s university system. Still I submit there is neither reason nor right to censure our universities and their free flow of ideas because much greatness, too, has come out of them. To obtain the good, we must put up with the bad. And, I suggest to Professor Sunstein, the Internet deserves the same consideration.

In this book’s most pertinent passage (for its author) Sunstein writes “Over the course of our lives, it is nearly inevitable that all of us will make or have made statements…that will seem to some members of the public a kind of smoking gun – proof of poor judgment.” (Sunstein, 64) On Rumors is indeed that, 88 pages of irrefutable proof of Sunstein’s exceptionally shoddy logic, intellectual arrogance and child-like trust in power.

For but one example of that last, while he points out (correctly) that “we lack direct or personal knowledge about the facts that underlie most of our judgments” (Sunstein, 5) he exempts whatever political gatekeepers he’d empower to enforce his “chilling” of “false” rumors from this shortcoming. Sunstein assumes that those in power will not only know what is true or false, but will use their power to “chill” what they claim to be false in a completely honest, benevolent manner. He has a trust in power, a trust in the political class, which neither human nature nor recorded history allows to any rational man.

It is best we remember J.S. Mill’s take on freedom of speech when he warned “the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course, deny its truth; but they are not infallible.” (Mill, 16)

And neither is Cass Sunstein; and On Rumors, a poorly written, blatant assault on our freedom of speech, proves my point.

Sources Cited

Mill, J.S. On Liberty(Hackett Publishing Co., Inc., Indianapolis, IN, 1978)

Sunstein, Cass R. On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done(Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, New York, 2009)

March 2, 2011

CJ Maloney [send him mail] lives and works in New York City. All opinions expressed are his alone. He blogs for Liberty & Power on the History News Network website and the DailyKos. His first book Back to the Land (Arthurdale, FDR’s New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in March 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.