Every Drone Assassination Kills 28 Civilians

It takes 28 civilian lives to kill a single terrorist leader – UK human rights group

Russia-Today

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/borowitz-drones.jpg

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator, unmanned aerial vehicle (Reuters / U.S. Air Force)

 

Eliminating a specific terrorist leader is a ‘targeted killing’ according to the US. However, Britain’s Reprieve human-rights group calculated that it takes about 28 innocent lives to take out a single terrorist leader, often with multiple drone strikes.

The UK human-rights group gave The Guardian the latest statistics (November 24) compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, on collateral damage from American drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

The statistics are the most striking in 10 years: attempts to kill 41 terrorist leaders resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, the vast majority – civilians and families.

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Jennifer Gibson, who headed Reprieve’s study.

Over the decade of ever-intensifying drone strikes in countries Washington has never actually declared war on, thousands of civilians have been killed – something the US has consistently denied.

“The only people we fire a drone at are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level, after a great deal of vetting that takes a long period of time. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody and think they’re a terrorist,” The Guardian cited the US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying at a BBC forum in 2013.

Yet the statistics speak for themselves: it takes dozens, sometimes hundreds of lives to eliminate a single Al-Qaeda or Taliban warlord.

Over the last eight years there have been several attempts to eliminate an Al-Qaeda leader called Ayman Zawahiri. Drones have proved ineffective – the man is still alive. In two known attempts, in 2006, as many as 76 children and 29 adults were killed.

If Zawahiri’s name sounds familiar to some Americans, this definitely cannot be said about Qari Hussain, a former deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban.

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013 (Reuters / Athar Hussain)

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013 (Reuters / Athar Hussain)

In 2008-2010 there were four attempts to get this man before missiles from an American drone killed him. But there was collateral damage: the US drones accidentally killed 128 people, including 13 children.

Most of the terror suspects were targeted in Pakistan, where a drone hunt after 24 terrorist leaders resulted in the deaths of 874 people, 142 of them children. The mission registered only six successful strikes.

This makes the terrorist/civilian drone death ratio in Pakistan as high as 1:36.

In Yemen, 273 people were killed (including at least seven children) in drone airstrikes targeting 17 terror suspects (terrorist/civilian death ratio 1:16).

However, 41 terrorist deaths claimed can’t actually be confirmed. Some have apparently been proclaimed dead twice, some have disappeared from American intelligence radar, and also identities have been mistaken. Others were even found dead under circumstances different from drone strikes.

There were 33 confirmed drone kills of the named targets, yet 947 people died in the attacks.

The statistics presented by Reprieve don’t cover other types of American drone strikes. These are the so-called ‘signature strikes’ against groups of people whose activities appeared to be ‘suspicious.’

The usually conservative US Council on Foreign Relations think tank assesses that in Afghanistan and Iraq, alone, some 500 drone ‘signature airstrikes’ have killed 3,674 people.

All CIA or Joint Special Operations Command drone strike operations are conducted in strict secrecy. Any information that is leaked is done so anonymously. So the data compiled by Reprieve is far from being complete.

“President Obama needs to be straight with the American people about the human cost of this program,” Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson told The Guardian. “If even his government doesn’t know who is filling the body bags every time a strike goes wrong, his claims that this is a precise program look like nonsense, and the risk that it is in fact making us less safe looks all too real,” Gibson said.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Demands Google Search Dictatorship Be Broken-Up

[In case anyone hasn’t noticed, or hasn’t been paying attention, Google’s infamous “secret algorithm” has been squeezing most blogs out of search results.  Even blogs which are treasure troves of information on the Imperial war on humanity, such as No Sunglasses, can no longer be found by “stumbling-upon” them in concerted searches on specific topics, using Google searches.  Prior to Google’s previous reworking of its search algorithm, called “Panda” (SEE:  Getting Squeezed-Out of Google Searches With the Panda Logarithm), which devastated the Alexa Ratings Index for this website and others like it, “therearenosunglasses” nearly always came up in most web searches pertaining to the American dictatorship.  Now, after the new algorithm rework, we are faced with Google’s next generation search barricade, called “Hummingbird” (SEE: Hummingbird Unleashed), which has flat-lined most of us.  The proof of Hummingbird censorship has been summed-up in this article from aangirfan, “TRUTH BLOGS UNDER ATTACK.”  It is impossible at this stage of the game to determine whether this can all be written-off to more of the same govt/corporate censorship of truth-tellers (a.k.a., “conspiracy theorists”), or it can be partially explained by the move to hand-held computers and the tendency to turn everything into another “APP” (SEE: Lets talk about Hummingbird—Parts 1 and 2)]

google-chains

Europe to call for ‘break up’ of Google in bid to end search monopoly

the inquirer

Drastic measures could be taken to ‘restore competition online’

Europe to call for 'break up' of Google in bid to end search monopoly

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT is reportedly going to call for Google be broken up into separate companies in a vote next week, in a bid to combat the online firm’s dominance.

Google has long found itself tied up in European investigations. Currently, the firm is involved in an antitrust investigation into its Android operating system, along with the ongoing case regarding its dominance in the search engine market, which was originally set to close in the summer of this year.

Europe could take drastic measures in a bid to put an end to this ongoing case, with a leak suggesting that a motion to break up the company could be on the agenda.

A draft motion seen by The Financial Timeswhich reportedly has support from Europe’s two largest political partiessays that an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services” should be considered as a potential solution to Google’s dominance.

It also calls for an end to Google’s “illegal and discriminatory treatment” and calls “to restore competition in the online marketplace.”

However, the report notes that the European parliament has no authority to force the break up of a company like Google, but that it does have the ability to influence the European Commission, who decides on new legislation.

One of the motion’s supporters, a Spanish MEP, told the website that such it is necessary to consider such a move as a long-term solution because the commission could not “ask the secret of [Google’s] algorithm.”

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said she will listen to Google and its various critics before deciding how to go forward with an antitrust inquiry.

“The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players; they are multifaceted and complex. I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps,” she said at a hearing in Brussels.

Google declined to comment on the report, but The Financial Times has heard that executives at the company are “furious” at the motion.

A vote on the motion is expected to take place in European Parliament next Thursday. µ

Kaspersky Labs Outs US/British Malware Attack On EU

Regin malware is the work of Western intelligence agencies, claims Kaspersky

the inquirer

Doesn’t seem to have infected any of the ‘Five Eyes’ nations

 

Symantec uncovers 'most sophisticated espionage malware tool' ever

THE REGIN TROJAN, which has been described as one of the “most sophisticated pieces of malware ever created” is the work of Western intelligence agencies, further research by security Kaspersky has claimed.

First uncovered and named by Symantec, the malware, dubbed a “top-tier espionage tool”, doesn’t seem to have infected any of the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ nations.

Since, Kaspersky Lab has revealed that 14 nations have so far been identified as being infected by Regin, including Russia, Iran and Germany, but not the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand or Canada, as the map below shows.

Kaspersky also noted that it is odd that Fiji and Kiribati are victims of Regin.

“Fiji and Kiribati are unusual, because we rarely see such advanced malware in such remote, small countries. In particular, the victim in Kiribati is most unusual,” it said. “To put this into context, Kiribati is a small island in the Pacific with a population of around 100,000.”

The report by Kaspersky also reveals that the Regin tool has been used to access mobile networks, undoubtedly to siphon off data, which again suggests the work of US and UK spy agencies in light of other operations revealed by Edward Snowden.

When it announced its discovery, Symantec said Regin had been used in spying campaigns against a range of international targets since at least 2008.

“A backdoor-type Trojan, Regin is a complex piece of malware whose structure displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen,” said Symantec.

“Customisable with an extensive range of capabilities depending on the target, it provides its controllers with a powerful framework for mass surveillance and has been used in spying operations against government organisations, infrastructure operators, businesses, researchers and private individuals.”

Backdoor.Regin is a multi-staged threat, and each stage is hidden and encrypted with the exception of the first stage.

The first stage starts a domino chain of decryption and loading of each subsequent stage to a total of five.

Each stage provides little information on the complete package, and only by acquiring all five stages is it possible to analyse and understand the threat.

Symantec said that the development of Regin could have taken years, and the malware’s authors have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks.

“Its capabilities and the level of resources behind Regin indicate that it is one of the main cyber espionage tools used by a nation state,” the security firm added.

Regin infections have been observed in a variety of organisations between 2008 and 2011, after which it was abruptly withdrawn. A new version of the malware resurfaced in 2013.

Symantec believes that some targets may be tricked into visiting spoofed versions of well-known websites, and that the threat may be installed through a web browser or by compromising an application.

Log files on one computer showed that Regin originated from Yahoo Instant Messenger through an unconfirmed exploit.

“Regin’s developers put considerable effort into making it highly inconspicuous. Its low-key nature means it can potentially be used in espionage campaigns lasting several years,” the firm added.

Symantec said that it is very difficult to ascertain what the malware is doing, even when its presence is detected, and that analysis of the payloads was possible only after decrypting sample files.

Pedro Bustamante, director of special projects at Malwarebytes, told The INQUIRER that Regin is the cyber equivalent of a specialist covert reconnaissance team.

“The analysis shows it to be highly adaptable, changing its method of attack depending on the target,” he said.

“It also has some very advanced evasion techniques that make it suitable for spending long periods carrying out undercover surveillance.”

Sec. Def. Hagel Fired for Outlying the Liar-In-Chief About “ISIS Threat”?

Saudi King Forbids Dialogue Between March 14 Coalition (Future Movement) and March 8 (Pro-Resistance)

[SEE:  Ground being laid for talks between Future, Hezbollah ; Saudi Arabia asks UN to blacklist Hezbollah]

Riyadh nips Hezbollah-Future Movement dialogue in the bud

alakhbar

Riyadh has ‘red-lighted’ the planned dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement before it even began. The Saudi call for Hezbollah to be put on the list of terrorist organizations made at the United Nations threatens to renew tension between the two sides, following an undeclared truce in the media that did not last for more than a few days.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri visit the tomb of his father, the late Rafik Hariri. Al-Akhbar/Archive

 

Is there a fixed Saudi, and consequently Gulf policy, vis-à-vis Lebanon? Are these countries really keen on the stability of this country, as they claim, when they hardly spare any occasion to exacerbate its divisions? These questions and others are being asked after the new Saudi escalation against Hezbollah, which is likely to aggravate the already complex situation in Lebanon and the region.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Mouallimi called on the UN Security Council on Wednesday to place the Resistance Party on the list of terrorist organizations. In a special session on terrorism, Mouallimi called for punishing Hezbollah and other groups including the Abu al Fadl al Abbas Brigade, the League of the Righteous, and other “terrorist organizations fighting in Syria.”

Al-Akhbar learned that as a result of the new Saudi position, contacts will be made with Riyadh over the next few days to contain possible reactions. Well-placed sources warned against negative repercussions from the Saudi move over the ‘preliminary dialogue’ between Hezbollah and the Future Movement.

The sources expressed concern that this could put an end to the de-escalation that begun when Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaking during the Shia Muslim commemorations of Ashura, welcomed dialogue with the Future Movement. The sources told Al-Akhbar that the Saudi move, in addition to the sudden re-activation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) after a long period of inactivity, by summoning political witnesses, will create tensions in the country, and are indicative of a Saudi veto on dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah.

The sources asked, “How do the Saudis explain their position when barely two months have passed since their ambassador in Beirut Ali Awad Asiri celebrated his country’s National Day surrounded by deputies from Hezbollah? Why has Saudi Arabia made this call two days after the GCC summit, and as the UAE – which is influenced to a large extent by Riyadh’s position – placed a number of organizations on its terror list not including Hezbollah?”

The sources deduced that the Saudi policy is not yet ready to restore its balance in Lebanon and the region. The sources also had questions about Saudi-Israeli ‘intersection’ over trying to smear Hezbollah’s image as a resistance movement and link it to terrorism, something that Tel Aviv has sought for very long.

The sourced described Mouallimi’s speech at the UN as a ‘sound bubble’ that will have no results, recalling Nasrallah’s declaration that Hezbollah will be where it has to be in Syria. They said the Saudi UN envoy’s move “demonstrates real disappointment in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the failure of its project in Syria, with [Saudi]… making random accusations right and left.”

The sources pointed out that the Saudi envoy, in the course of justifying his call, cited the emergence of terror groups like ISIS and others, which he linked to the “practices of the Syrian regime” and the “sectarian policies of some countries,” rather than Saudi and Gulf support for these groups. The sources added, “Saudi Arabia is among the top supporters of terrorist Takfiri groups in Syria, which makes its talk about fighting terrorism lacking in any seriousness.”

The sources then linked the Saudi position to “growing concerns in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and real fear from the possibility of the parties reaching an agreement that would undermine the Saudi leadership’s hopes to step up the siege on Iran.”

The sources ruled out any practical effect of the Saudi position in light of the current balance of power in the international organization, and in light of the responses the Saudi envoy heard regarding his proposal.

Iran’s envoy at the United Nations Gholam Hossein Dehghani had responded to Mouallimi’s call by emphasizing the need to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and terrorism, and the need to support the resistance. He also criticized regional countries for failing to match their words with deeds, and said that few governments in the region have taken the threat seriously, while the rest did not control their borders, did not trop ISIS from recruiting, and did not stop the flow of financial support to these “criminal organizations.”

For his part, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorism in the region, denouncing the inconsistencies in its diagnosis of the roots of terrorism. He said that al-Qaeda and its ilk had all grown thanks to Saudi patronage in Afghanistan. Jaafari also said that the carnage in Syria is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, citing the call by 72 Saudi clerics for people to go for “jihad” in Syria, and wondered whether the Saudi government was serious about fighting terrorism.

(Al-Akhbar)

 

Obama Stops Lying About Afghanistan–We are there Forever, To Do Anything or Kill Anyone We Want

[Many observers have been stating the obvious for years, that America would NEVER LEAVE AFGHANISTAN(SEE: Manufacturing Justification for the NATO Takeover of Central Asia–Smashing Greater Central Asia – (Part One); (Part  Two) Risking the World; (Part III) Smashing Greater Central Asia; (Part IV) Smashing Greater Central Asia).]

Obama secretly extends US combat operation in Afghanistan

Russia-Today
U.S. President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Ethan Miller)

U.S. President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Ethan Miller)

President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order that expands the United States’ direct combat role in Afghanistan throughout 2015, the New York Times reported.

Signed over the last few weeks, the secret order permits American forces to continue to battle the Taliban and other militants that pose a threat to either the Afghan government or US personnel. According to the Times, US jets, bombers, and drones will be able to aid ground troops – be they Afghan or US forces – in whatever mission they undertake.

Under the order, ground troops could join Afghan troops on missions, and airstrikes could be carried out in their support.

If true, this marks a significant expansion of America’s role in Afghanistan in 2015. Previously, President Obama said US forces would not be involved in combat operations once the new year begins. He did say troops would continue training Afghan forces and track down remaining Al-Qaeda members.

Obama signed the secret order after tense debates within the administration. The military reportedly argued that it would allow the US to keep the pressure on the Taliban and other groups should details emerge that they are planning to attack American troops. Civilian aides, meanwhile, said the role of combat troops should be limited to counter-terror missions against Al-Qaeda.

The Times said an administration official painted the secret order’s authorization as a win for the military, but another said the US would not carry out “offensive missions” against the Taliban in 2015.

“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said. “To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”

The change in direction came as the administration faces pointed criticism from those who say the US withdrew from Iraq too quickly, allowing the so-called Islamic State to make rapid gains in a country whose military proved to be easily intimidated and defeated.

Meanwhile, new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has a much softer position on the US presence in his country compared to his predecessor Hamid Karzai. Ghani reportedly asked the US to keep battling the Taliban into 2015. He also removed restrictions against US airstrikes and joint raids that were implemented by Karzai.

It appears that the number of troops that will be operating in Afghanistan next year will remain unchanged from previous plans. There will be 9,800 soldiers left throughout next year, and that number will be cut in half by the end of the year.

By the end of 2016, the remaining troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan, ending the US military presence in the country.

Hamas–the CIA/Mossad Model for Islamist Radicalization

[SEE:  The Gaza Bombshell]

Hamas and IS and beyond

al-ahram

 

http://rosemheather.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/hamasflag_sm1.jpg?w=869

Some people dismiss claims that outside powers have manipulated the Arab political landscape, creating division and new movements, but the record suggests there may be merit to the allegations, writes Galal Nassar

As they marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, Palestinians were torn by discord, aggravated by Israeli measures aimed at voiding the Palestinian cause of its substance, such as expanding settlement construction, confiscating Palestinian property, Judaicising Jerusalem and, most recently, recurrent acts defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The spike in tensions accompanies an outburst of angry and sustained recriminations between Fatah and Hamas, the two major factions of the Palestinian resistance, in the aftermath of bomb attacks that targeted the homes of Fatah officials in Gaza.

The worsening polarisation hampers the measures intended to enable the Palestinian Authority to reassert its control over Gaza (which may well have been the purpose of the attacks) after years of Hamas control. This, in turn, jeopardises the creation of a national unity government, reconstruction of Gaza, implementation of the Cairo Agreement, and a return to the provisions of the Gaza Crossings Agreement, the lifting of the blockade and resumption of negotiations with the Israeli occupation.

Hamas, since it was founded, has always played a curious role in the Palestinian resistance. This is in view of its birth as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (it is a member of the International Muslim Brotherhood, as stipulated in Article 2 of its charter), its conflicting affiliations, its ideological and organisational frame of reference, and its ulterior motives and aims.

Yet, however we might judge that movement, this does not diminish the Palestinian resistance, the struggle and sacrifices that the Palestinian people have endured over the decades, or the place that their cause has in the hearts and minds of every Arab.

In November 1994 I had an exclusive interview with Richard Hrair Dekmejian, political science professor at the University of Southern California and author of Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab world. A Syrian of Armenian origin, he acquired US nationality at a young age.

The interview appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly and was translated into Arabic by the late Saadeddin Wahba and published in his weekly column in Al-Ahram daily. Dekmejian, who had served as a political advisor to President Ronald Reagan, discussed the part Washington played in supporting and funding the idea of creating the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Why would Washington work to create an Islamic, fundamentalist entity to fight its ally, Israel, I asked?

He said that Washington and Tel Aviv wanted to pull the rug out from beneath Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Most of the members of these two organisations hailed from the political left and sometimes used a lexicon that did not connect with the general Palestinian public.

The Reagan administration believed that by setting up or supporting the creation of an Islamist movement that used religious rhetoric and language that resonated with large segments of the Palestinian street, it could create a schism and erode the popularity of the PLO and Fatah. The division could be exploited in any negotiating process and manipulate Palestinian and Arab emotions towards the realisation of certain ends.

Washington acted on this advice. The CIA, setting into motion the customary devices it uses in its covert operations, channelled $3 million through an intermediary to Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his aides, although of course Yassin was unaware of the provenance of the funds. (Neither Yassin, who was alive when the Dekmejian interview appeared in Al-Ahram, or any other Hamas leader ever denied or commented on the claims.)

Since that time, Hamas and its decisions have been subject to the pressures and conditions of its sources of funding and political support. These have been manipulated in such a way as to keep the movement in a permanent state of political and ideological collision with Fatah and the PLO and, subsequently, the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah officials.

Israel and Washington have constantly used that clash to cause negotiations to breakdown, to weaken Palestinian ranks and to facilitate the processes of settlement expansion, land confiscation and the Judaicisation of the occupied territories.

In addition to the these links, Hamas is organisationally linked to the International Muslim Brotherhood, which is also one of the movement’s most important sources of funding. Hamas is thus bound to Muslim Brotherhood policies and agendas, which do not necessarily mesh with the aims and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s actions and decisions are informed by its particular calculations of power balances and what best promotes its own interests, rather than by what is best for the Palestinian cause. The conflicting pull of Hamas’s affiliations was manifested in Hamas’s attitudes toward recent events in Egypt and the effect of these on Egyptian-brokered inter-Palestinian reconciliation, for example.

That the behaviour of Hamas is controlled from abroad because its leaders are subject to pressures from their (US, Qatari, Turkish) sources of funding, support and protection has rendered people in Gaza — and Palestinians in general — pawns to interests that often have no relationship to the interests of the resistance against a brutal occupying power.

This has led to actions that have often been counterproductive to the needs of the Palestinian cause and the welfare of the people who suffer under occupation and are struggling to win their freedom.

Hamas is no different from the other paramilitary movements that use religion and claim a monopoly on the truth in the name of Islam, and that have come to dominate the stage in the Arab nation and, in the process, hijacked, destroyed and distorted the humanitarian and democratic calling of the Arab Spring.

The scheme to establish and support Hamas is echoed in the creation of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS), Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, some Salafist fronts, Hizbullah, the Houthis and other such groups and movements. The model for this may well have been the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, fostered by the British embassy in Cairo as an instrument to drive a wedge into the Egyptian nationalist movement and to beat back other political forces.

With regard to Washington’s role in the creation and promotion of militant Islamist movements and other Islamist movements that have been thirsting for political power, I would like to call the reader’s attention to the testimony of some retired US intelligence officials cited in The Atlantic Monthly following 11 September 2001.

According to that testimony, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies at the time failed to detect the threat because they had lost the initiative after many of their agents were withdrawn from the field.

The agencies had built up a structure for collecting intelligence, assessing positions and controlling events from afar using “moles” who had been planted many years before among those movements. They grew their beards, prayed and thoroughly blended into the environment of those groups.

The former intelligence officials added that the agencies at the time had stopped creating new organisations that they could control from afar in order to promote US interests in the Middle East. But after disaster struck at the World Trade Centre, officials recommended reviving these “pre-emptive” policies.

I have little doubt that attempts to undermine the spirit and goals of the Arab Spring, the drives to promote the empowerment of the so-called “political Islamic current” and its political, intellectual and journalistic advocates and pundits, and the emergence of new regional roles for Hamas, IS and their sisters are manifestations of the faithful implementation of those former intelligence officials’ recommendations.

I wonder to what extent the Arab political and intellectual elites are aware of that game and its players. The evidence is that in order to formulate counterstrategies and measures to rescue our region from its tragic plights, and perhaps worse to come, we need to summon at least a modicum of conspiracy theorising in our analyses, and to drop the sarcasm while doing so, as the situation does not permit it.