|Beirut — This observer has no idea if the American Ambassador here in Beirut, Maura Connelly or Secretary of State John Kerry has ever listened to Marlene Dietrich’s classic October 1965 performance of Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” still stunning, deeply moving and available on the Internet.But on this 30th anniversary of the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut I found myself near the old embassy site on the sea front for personal reasons, and stepped down the block below the American University of Beirut to meet a friend at Starbucks. When I entered, maybe the 5th time in my life
I have been to a Starbucks since I don’t drink coffee and for political reasons tend to avoid the chain, I noticed someone was playing Dietrich’s classic.
Having just read reports in the Lebanese media concerning the American Ambassador and Secretary of State’s political comments on the embassy events, three decades on, Marlene’s enchanting, deep voiced, “When will they ever learn,?” numbed me.
Kerry slammed Hezbollah in the Lebanese media, saying “On this 30th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, the United States celebrates 30 years of close cooperation with the people of Lebanon that proves the enemies of democracy failed,” he said from
For her part, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly said the bombing opened a new chapter in America’s history in the Middle East. Connelly said the explosion taught Americans that “peaceful intentions were not enough to protect us from those who would use terror to achieve their aims in the Middle East.”
What both officials avoid mentioning is the subject of who was committing the terrorism in Lebanon when these events, including the US Marine Barracks and the Embassy again in 1984, occurred.
Regarding Hezbollah, which would not be a formed organization ready to announce itself publicly until 1985, CIA operative Robert Baer and his team assigned to investigate the Embassy bombing concluded there was not enough reliable evidence to support the theory that the Party of God was
The American officials also failed to take into consideration the fact, never denied by Washington, that at that time the US Embassy had the largest contingent of CIA agents working out of the Embassy and performing command and control functions for the US Marine base in South Beirut, more in fact than in any other capital city except Moscow. When the US Embassy became a command post, by the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations it lost its protected status.
The US Marines as a hostile military force in Lebanon never had adequate protection, and by targeting civilians, its base near the airport became a legitimate target. Contrary to the political spin put on the event, there was no terrorism involved in the operation.
The reason is because, despite Reagan administration claims, and this week’s assertion by Ambassador Connelly, the US forces were not “a neutral peacekeeping unit” as hyped. Rather, they were enemy combatants fighting and killing on one side of a civil war conflict. When the battleship New Jersey’s shells killed hundreds of people, mostly Shiites and Druze, that fact was clear. It’s not surprising that in his memoir, General Colin Powell, at the time an assistant to Caspar Weinberger noted that “When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides.”
Some examples. On 14 December, 1983 the New Jersey fired 11 projectiles from three of her 16 inch (406 mm) guns at the rate of three per minute each at positions inland of Beirut. These were the first 16 inch shells fired for effect anywhere in the world since New Jersey ended her time on the gunline in Vietnam in 1969.
According to news accounts by reporters in Beirut at the time, the New Jersey bombardment sometimes began at 1:25 P.M. and ended at 11 P.M. followed by American fighter-bombers which could be heard flying over Beirut in search of targets.
On September 19, 1983, the New Jersey and other US warships began shelling Druze, Syrian and Palestinian positions in the Chouf Mountains outside Beirut. The battleship New Jersey with its 2,700 pound shells (“flying Volkswagens”) led the action. And on 8 February 1984, the New Jersey fired
The inaccuracy of New Jersey’s guns was a scandal in US government circles and was consistently called into question. An investigation, led by Marine colonel Don Price, into New Jersey’s gunfire effectiveness in Lebanon found that many of the ship’s shells had missed their targets by as much as 10,000 yards (9,144 meters) and therefore may have inadvertently killed civilians. Records and oral hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the matter could not be clearer, and Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Connelly know this. Tim McNulty, a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune based in Lebanon at the time wrote: “Everybody loved the New Jersey until she fired her guns. Once she fired, it was obvious she couldn’t hit anything,” Well, as the citizens of Lebanon know, it did indeed hit things mainly innocent civilians, their property and Lebanon’s infrastructure.
As Secretary of State Kerrey knows well from his nearly three decades in the US Senate and his four years (2009-2013) as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee the actions of the USS New Jersey itself was arguably terrorism and some experts in the International Law Bureau of the Pentagon have said as much.
This observer lived for more than a year in the Chouf village of Choueifat, a beautiful place set high above the remains of the US marine barracks, the Beirut airport and the Mediterranean Sea where the USS Jersey and other US Sixth fleet warships are normally positioned when they come calling on
One wonders if as part of the “special enduring friendship between the United States and Lebanon on a people to people level” that the president might order the Pentagon to defuse and remove these huge unexploded bombs. If so he would distinguish his administration from that of the occupiers of Palestine who for more than three decades have targeted various parts of Lebanon with American supplied and US taxpayer-paid weapons, including literally millions of US-made cluster bombs during the 33 day Israeli aggression in 2006.
It is certainly appropriate to honor the victims of the 1983
US Embassy bombing but it is no less appropriate to honor the other tragedies in Lebanon during this period under review that precipitated it. In her closing remarks this week, Ambassador Connelly noted that in her opinion, “the bombing of the US Embassy taught us the stakes of involvement in this region.”
When will we ever learn?
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and Syria and can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
President believes battle in which 10 children and a US agent died was fought by illegal militia working for spy agency
Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul
President Hamid Karzai is determined to curb CIA operations in Afghanistan after the death of a US agent and 10 Afghan children in a battle he believes was fought by an illegal militia working for the US spy agency.
The campaign sets the Afghan leader up for another heated showdown with the US government, and will reignite questions about the CIA’s extensive but highly secretive operations in the country.
Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said the CIA controlled large commando-like units, some of whom operated under the nominal stamp of the Afghan government’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), but were not actually under its control.
“Some of them are said to be working with the NDS, but they are not armed by the NDS, not paid by the NDS, and not sent to operations by the NDS. Sometimes they only inform the NDS minutes before the operation,” Faizi said. “They are conducting operations without informing local authorities and when something goes wrong it is called a joint operation.”
One of these groups was involved in a battle with insurgents in a remote corner of eastern Kunar province in early April that left several Afghan children dead, Faizi said. Karzai has fired the provincial head of intelligence in connection with the incident.
The US citizen who died during the battle was advising the Afghan intelligence service, and the airstrike that killed the children is believed to have been called in after he was fatally injured.
The US embassy declined to comment on CIA issues, but sources with knowledge of the battle said he was an agent, and his name has not been released, usually an indication of intelligence work.
Bob Woodward in his 2010 book Obama’s Wars described a 3,000-strong Afghan militia working for the CIA, and Faizi said the Afghan government had little information about the teams. “There is a lack of clarity about their numbers and movement,” he said when asked how many men the CIA had on their payroll, or where these large teams might be based.
Woodward said the unofficial commando units were known as counter-terrorism pursuit teams, and described them as “a paid, trained and functioning tool of the CIA”, authorised by President George W Bush.
They were sent on operations to kill or capture insurgent leaders, but also went into lawless areas to try to pacify them and win support for the Afghan government and its foreign backers. Woodward said the units even conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.
In the wake of the Kunar battle, Karzai has also ordered his security officials to step up implementation of a presidential decree issued in late February abolishing “parallel structures”. Faizi said this order was aimed primarily at dismantling CIA-controlled teams.
“The use of these parallel structures run by the CIA and US special forces is an issue of concern for the Afghan people and the Afghan government,” he said.
For Karzai the move is another step towards reasserting Afghan sovereignty, part of a long campaign waged against US forces and their allies. He has already won control of the main US-run prison in the country, and ended unilateral night raids on insurgent hideouts that coalition commanders once described as critical to the war.
But Karzai’s move comes at a critical time for an already volatile relationship, when Washington and Kabul are trying to negotiate what, if any, military presence the US will have in Afghanistan beyond 2014, and curbing the CIA’s reach could strike at the heart of US strategic interests there.
Barack Obama has been clear that the US does not plan to fight the Taliban after next year. Instead some foreign troops will train Afghan soldiers to fight the insurgency while US special forces pursue groups such as al-Qaida hiding along the lawless border with Pakistan.
While the US is expected to keep a few thousand soldiers in Afghanistan, bolstered by troops from Nato allies, Obama has also made clear there is “zero option” of a complete US withdrawal, as happened in Iraq.
[This is a typical Army "snafu," it hires a New Age hypnotist/healer to allegedly "help" soldiers with PTSD deal with their stress-related problems, which she tries to do, using her so-called "Wiccan" methods. Once this method starts to produce results, the Army decides that they are the wrong results. The woman was trying to help soldiers to embrace their trauma as a first-step to getting past it; the Army preferred that they simply be taught the getting past the stress, without any "touchy-feely" hugs or "unmanly" tears (SEE: US Army Stressed-Out Veterans, Butch Up! ; Report details flaws in Army’s handling of PTSD ).
This is the basic problem--the Army is confused about how to deal with the issue of PTSD, formerly known as "battle fatigue," or "shell shock." They consider it a disipline problem, men unwilling to grow-up on command. Real men do not cry, or suffer emotional problems over the manly act of killing the "enemies of America." The cure to most PTSD is for the Army to stop sending-in young men to murder innocent foreigners, in order to steal their resources. The entire system is corrupt. Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State. Turning boys into killing machines is not a natural act. If it is being done for any other reason than the defense of homeland, it is an abomination of nature and every one of these boys going through the brutality of "basic training" understands the situation that he is in. Those brought-up with a high level of morality cannot accept this and crack under the stress of being forced to violate their most basic beliefs.]
An investigation concluded that leaders of the national program, based at Madigan Army Medical Center in Western Washington, sometimes used “bullying tactics” and created “a wolf pack mentality” when training its staff.
By Hal Bernton
A high-profile Army Medical Command task force charged with improving the health-care atmosphere among patients and staff was shut down late last year after an investigation found that it created a “toxic and intimidating working environment” in its own ranks.
The investigation concluded that leaders of the national program, based at Madigan Army Medical Center in Western Washington, sometimes used “bullying tactics” and created “a wolf pack mentality” when training its staff.
The investigative report also noted the use of questionable “Wiccan practices” in training, such as using stones and crystal bowls for “energy readiness.”
The Army Medical Command said Thursday the task force, which spent more than $3 million, was shut down because “it failed to execute its assigned mission and was promoting an internal hostile work environment.”
The 721-page report of the investigation, first obtained by KUOW Public Radio under the federal Freedom of Information Act, criticized the leadership of Claudette Elliott, director of the task force, who was identified by title but with her name redacted in the document.
Elliott, who describes herself as an “organizational development consultant,” led a 26-person task force that was charged with conducting training sessions at medical centers across the county. The training was intended to help build trust with patients, family members and staff.
Task-force staff at Madigan complained to the Army, which led to the investigation.
In one such session, according to the documents, a task-force employee being trained was made to relive combat-related trauma, “an experience that resulted in a PTSD diagnosis, where one had never been diagnosed.”
Elliott, 56, of Auburn, previously had Washington licenses as a registered counselor and as a hypnotherapist in the early to mid-2000s, when she was president of The Healing Tree, an “alternative wellness center.”
Elliott, who used the titles “Dr.” and “Ph.D.,” has a 2006 doctorate of philosophy and psychology from Warren National University, formerly Kennedy-Western University, an unaccredited school that the U.S. Government Accountability Office included in a 2004 report entitled “Diploma Mills.”
The Army investigator’s memo, which was heavily redacted, noted Elliott’s unaccredited degree and recommended that Elliott “immediately cease” using “Ph.D.” in all Defense Department actions.
Elliott, reached Thursday, said she had not yet seen the report. But she said the report’s findings, as summarized by a reporter, contained inaccuracies and represented just one side of the story.
Elliott said she had received lots of positive feedback from officers who had been helped by the training and also from trainers in the task force. She said that a doctorate was not necessary for her position and that her superiors knew where her diploma came from and encouraged her to use the title of doctor. She declined further comment until she could talk with her attorney.
The “Culture of Trust” task force was launched in September 2010 by then-Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoonmaker.
During Schoonmaker’s tenure, the Army Medical Command was trying to rebuild trust after a series of searing investigative reports in The Washington Post in 2007 that detailed shoddy outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Madigan also had problems. In the spring of 2010, Oregon National Guard members complained to their congressional delegation that they were treated as second-class soldiers as they returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and sought care at Madigan. One embarrassing Power Point presentation, developed by a Madigan employee, depicted National Guard soldiers as “weekend warriors.”
Schoonmaker said he was “appalled by the insensitivity” of the Madigan officer who developed the controversial Power Point presentation.
The “Culture of Trust” task force was intended to create an environment where medical professionals would thrive and patients would receive the best care, according to an Army public-affairs article.
“Every year, millions of dollars are lost from employee disengagement, which impacts mission accomplishment,” Elliott was quoted in the article. “We are creating an ambience of excellence within Army medicine.”
Another public-affairs article described a task-force training exercise conducted for 1,400 employees at Irwin Army Community Hospital in Kansas.
“It was very inspiring and the training broke through a lot of barriers with employees,” said Laura Dukes, a medical technician.
Yet within the task force, the Army’s investigator wrote in the 2012 report, employees endured a “strongest survive environment” and only “negative feedback was encouraged during team-building exercises.”
“It felt a lot like a gang of animals who would gang up on the most vulnerable individual,” said a task-force member who was interviewed by the investigator.
The Army investigation also criticized task-force spending, noting that members accumulated many hours of overtime, and “potentially excessive” temporary duty expenses.
Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or email@example.com. KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy contributed to this report.
Excellent source of Boston Bombing photos:
[If the ISI did this to Pakistan, by tricking the CIA into this strike upon Hakeemullah Mehsud, then Pakistan's military intelligence agency has sabotaged the will of Rawalpindi We may have just witnessed the Pak government cutting its own throat. (SEE: Drone Attack Upon Pak Showpiece In Sararogha).]
The US killed five “militants” in a drone strike today in an area of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. The strike is the second reported by the US in Pakistan in the past four days.
The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers fired a pair of missiles at what was described by AFP as “a base of the TTP,” or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Five “militants” were killed in the strike and two more were wounded, Pakistani intelligence officials said. The Taliban “base,” which was located in the village of Sararogha, was leveled in the airstrike.
No senior al Qaeda or Taliban commanders or operatives are reported to have been killed in the attack.
The village of Sararogha has been a stronghold of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. In the past, Waliur Rehman, the head of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, is said to have directed operations from the village. Although the Pakistani military claimed it liberated Sararogha during an offensive that began in the fall of 2009, the fact that the US launched a drone strike in the village today indicates it is far from being under the control of the security forces.
An infamous peace agreement between the Pakistani military and Baitullah Mehsud, the founder of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, is named after Sararogha, as the agreement was signed in the village. The Sararogha Accord, which was reached in 2005, called for the military and the Taliban to end attacks on each other. The Taliban were not required to reject al Qaeda or stop sheltering its leaders and operatives, nor did the pact require the Taliban to lay down their arms. The truce remained in place until the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan announced its formation in 2007 and declared war against the state.
The strike in South Waziristan is the first in the tribal agency since Feb. 8, when the drones killed two Arabs who were identified as Sheikh Abu Waqas, a Yemeni explosives expert, and Abu Majid al Iraqi; four Uzbeks, who were likely from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; and a Taliban member.
In early January, the US launched three strikes in South Waziristan and killed two top Taliban leaders. On Jan. 6, the US killed Wali Mohammed, a commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Three days prior, the US killed Mullah Nazir, a self-professed al Qaeda commander who led another Taliban group in the western part of South Waziristan that is not affiliated with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and several of his staff. And on Jan. 2, US drones killed five “militants” in an area under Nazir’s control.
Today’s strike is the second in Pakistan this month. The last strike, which occurred in the neighboring tribal agency of North Waziristan, took place on April 14. In that airstrike, five “militants” were said to have been killed.
The US has launched 13 drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. The number of strikes in Pakistan has decreased since the peak in 2010, when 117 such attacks were recorded. In 2011, 64 strikes were launched in Pakistan, and in 2012 there were 46 strikes.
The US has targeted al Qaeda’s top leaders and its external operations network, as well as the assortment of Taliban and Pakistani jihadist groups operating in the region. The strikes have been confined mostly to North and South Waziristan. Of the 338 strikes recorded since 2004, 321, or 95%, have taken place in the two tribal agencies.
[For those who believe in, or understand the concept of "anti-examples" (negative stereotypes used in dialectical "reverse reasoning"), this rediculous bit of Saudi news is a perfect corollary to the fundamentalist Wahhabi garbage ("scholarly reasoing") that has been regurgitated by the self-appointed Saudi religious authorities (Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) for the past three-hundred years. Their "fatwas" have been forcing all Saudi women to fry in their black shrouds in the murderous oven of the Arabian sun, because of a fact of nature--Every woman is attractive to some man, or to men in general. Now, after all this time, the religious quackery is targetting men who are just too "good looking," the Wahhabi wheel has ground a deep rut into the desert sand, finally coming full-circle. When will the honest men of Saudi Arabia rise-up against this imposter religion and the self-appointed royalty, who have ruled them with a rod of iron, enforcing this psycho-babble--ALL in the name of their version of "Islam," which is nothing more than a reversed mirror image of "True Islam."
These are the people to whom we have entrusted the making of American foreign policy to in the Greater Middle East project. This is why "al-CIA-da" is suddenly, apparently revived, even though the Pentagon claims to have slain the beast in its Af/Pak terrorist incubator.
THE SAUDI MONARCHY MUST FALL before the Beast is truly laid in the ground. Maybe if Riyadh suffered an invasion of handsome men the regime would fall from its own dead weight and the contradictions built into the foundations of the harsh desert kingdom?]
- By MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN
Three men were booted out of Saudi Arabia because they were deemed “too handsome” by religious authorities who worried that women would become attracted to them.
Sitting in the stands as delegates from the United Arab Emirates at the Jenadrivah Heritage & Cultural Festival in Riyad on Sunday, nothing seemed to be wrong with the men in question but that didn’t stop the mutaween, Saudi Arabia’s religious police, from charging in and hauling the men away, according to Arabic language newspaper Elaph.
“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission members feared female visitors could fall for them,” the newspaper reported.
[The following snapshot (copy-block placed on article) details the latest CIA drone aggression in Sararogha, South Waziristan, the centerpiece of Gen. Kayani's highly-touted "Peace Through Development" puzzle. The attack upon an alleged camp of Hakeemullah Mehsud in Sararogha took place in an area that has allegedly been free of TTP terrorists since operation "Rahe-Nijat" (SEE: The Effort To Disarm and Develop South Waziristan ). If it was actually a Mehsud terrorist camp in the Sararogha "Quick Development Project" locality then there should have been an immediate reaction from the Pak Army, denouncing the attack, or the American attempt to sabotage Pakistan's peace program in the former FATA. Lacking any noticeable Army reaction to the CIA penetration of the pacified area (an area described as a series of "ghost towns," because the displaced Mehsud tribes refuse to return to a war zone), it will be reasonable to put the blame for this S. Waziristan attack squarely upon the shoulders of Kayani and the ISI. If the target was truthfully a "TTP camp," then the CIA drone attack would have been either in response to a Pak Army request to target Hakeemullah's terrorist forces, or another ISI deception like the one which killed Baitullah Mehsud. The killing of Nazir was the first step in turning the area around Wana into an American "free-fire" zone; this was the second step.
By Atul BHARDWAJ (India)
American democracy appears to be in jeopardy. Irrespective of the political dispensation at the White House, the policy of promoting proxy wars and covert military operations across the globe continues to mutate.
Any nation that decides to exercise its sovereign right to protect its citizens from armed insurgents incurs Washington’s wrath. America wants to permanently amend the rules of the game by stating that a nation’s right to protect is subordinate to the international community’s responsibility to Protect (R2P). Syria is the latest in the long list of nations that is suffering to sustain American imperialism.
R2P is the new name for humanitarian intervention, a norm adopted by the UNO in 2005. According to Gareth Evans, R2P equips everyone in the international community to prevent the “catastrophic human rights violations taking place behind sovereign state walls,” with “coercive military action as a last resort, not a first.”
The problem with analysts like Gareth is that their vision permits them to peep through the walls of sovereignty but not through the iron curtain of the empire that adheres to the doctrine of Instigate to Intervene (I2I). It is through use of such dubious norms and instigations that America attacked Libya and is now in the process of destabilizing Syria. Russia, China and Iran are the three countries preventing the Western military juggernaut to roll over Syria completely.
In an open defiance of well established international practices, Washington is blatantly using Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE to lead an armed insurgency inside Syria. As a result the three-year-old dissent in Damascus is now an international problem. The Western media, with an agenda to flare up the situation in Syria began beaming in the misdemeanors of Bashar Al-Assad and his dynastic rule; projecting the opposition as victims of political atrocity.
Political struggle is a part and parcel of any state. The problem begins when political fissures are exploited by external actors. This is exactly what has happened in Syria where the government’s legitimate actions against the opposition-armed militancy are being dubbed as human rights violations.
The branding of Assad as a tyrant is a ruse to plunge the nation into a war of attrition. Since the beginning of January 2012, the C-130 transport aircraft loaded with weapons have been regularly taking off at the American military base in Qatar to land at Turkish airports. From the airports, the arms consignments travel by road to rebel-military camps on the Syria-Turkey border.
The NATO’s encouragement to Syrian rebels is not limited to moral and material support; the NATO countries are also in the forefront to mobilize manpower to augment the foot soldiers of the Free Syria Army (composed of Syrian military officers who have defected from their parent outfit, a bunch of mercenaries and Al-Qaeda terrorists). According to a study by King’s college London, “Hundreds of Europeans have travelled to Syria since the start of the civil war to fight against the country’s President, Bashar al-Assad…600 individuals from 14 countries including the UK, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Germany had taken part in the conflict since it began in 2011. European fighters made up to between 7% and 11% of the foreign contingent in Syria, which ranged between 2,000 and 5,500 people.”
America has anointed the main opposition party, Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to occupy the official Syrian seat at the Arab League. It is perhaps for this reason that Moaz al-Khatib the former leader of SNC, admitted, “We thank all the governments who supported us, but the role to be played by the United States is much bigger.” To democratize the instigation to intervene, and retain American control, the US has appointed Ghassan Hitto, an IT professional from Dallas, US, as the head of the planned interim government.
The imperial American obduracy flows from the ideological belief that the nation-states’ ‘monopoly over organized violence’ is not a right that can be exercised without the approval of the empire. Thereby meaning that the states are authorized to use violence within their own territory, only to protect those people certified as victims by the empire. Any violence against the American certified victims is branded as human rights violations and genocide.
The Western fetish for R2P and their so-called ‘good intentions’ have already caused mayhem in the lives of ordinary Iraqi or Libyan. The Russian President Putin says,
“The state is falling apart, Inter-ethnic, inter-clan and inter-tribal conflicts continue.”
However, the Americans will not abandon R2P because it is a tool to re-order the states in accordance with what Stephen Gill has identified as “new constitutionalism – imposition of new constitutional and quasi-constitutional political and legal frameworks – with respect to the state and the operation of strategic, macroeconomic, microeconomic and social policy.”
Atul Bhardwaj is a researcher at School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m amazed California taxpayers want to accept cutbacks in the courts ($1 billion in judicial budget cuts the past five fiscal years and a $3.7 million deficit this year), higher college tuitions, furloughed workers and other public service cuts rather than address the real underlying problem: our sentencing laws, especially for drug offenses.
Fifty percent of all federal inmates are incarcerated for drugs. One in every 30 people is under some form of corrections supervision nationwide. Sixty-seven percent of Kern County’s general fund goes to criminal justice. California spends $184 million a year (and rising) trying to execute a handful of inmates on death row.
When do we admit we are a police state? Until government and society address the underlying problem of prison overcrowding — as Portugal’s reformed drug laws did — and accept the fact long sentences don’t deter crime, we’ll only get more reduced public services.
Government likes to shift things around (prison realignment) and doesn’t try to solve the underlying problem. District Attorney Lisa Green’s recent recommendation: “Someone needs to take a hard look” at whether another prison or two can be built. The last one, in Delano, cost $850 million.
From Mr Marc McDonald.
Sir, In “Right about Britain, Europe and nearly everything” (Comment, April 9), Niall Ferguson writes that Margaret Thatcher was “right about most things”. If this is true, why is Thatcher not fondly remembered today by most British people?
Thatcher’s central economic policy was to deregulate virtually everything, slash social services to the bone and embrace hardcore, dog-eat-dog capitalism. But today who advocates this sort of thing, outside of perhaps a dwindling number of Tea Party extremists in the US?
Prof Ferguson attacks “left-leaning Brits” for being supposedly wrong about Thatcher. But as I recall, Thatcher’s foes predicted that her policies would decimate the middle class. They have been vindicated.
A great deal of the economic prosperity of the Thatcher years was really more because of the North Sea oil bonanza, rather than the Iron Lady’s policies.
Outside of the US, few nations have ever embraced Thatcher’s slash-and-burn methods. In continental Europe today, for example, few people want anything to do with “Anglo-American” capitalism. The same is true of much of today’s Latin America.
As far as Thatcher’s crushing of the unions and deregulating the economy, I would challenge Prof Ferguson as to whether even this was necessarily a good thing.
Germany, for example, still has some of the most powerful unions in the world, as well as a heavily regulated economy. And yet Germany today still has a strong middle class and a world-beating high-technology manufacturing base. Germany is one of the world’s leading capital surplus nations, while Britain runs massive current account deficits. And yet Germany accomplished its enviable economic success by rejecting the Thatcher/Reagan economic model.
Marc McDonald, Fort Worth, TX, US
A broad range of militants were deemed to dangerous to be left alive in recent operations
Under fire over its defense over potential drone killings of Americans deemed as “terrorists” on U.S. soil, the Obama administration’s growing use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is being intensively scrutinized by both politicians and the media.
I. Deadly, But Not Very Precise
New documents obtained by McClatchy’s reveal that of the 95 drone strikes in the Pakistan region between Oct. 2010 and Sept. 2011, many did not target al-Qaeda and those that did were not as accurate as thought.
The drone campaign managed to kill 482 people, but only 6 were high-ranking members of al-Qaeda. Analyst Jonathan Landay reports, “At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were ‘assessed’ as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists.”
[Image Source: McClatchy's]
In the past the Obama administration has claimed that the death strikes by armed Predator and Reaper drones, employed primarily by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, were used only on “specific senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces.”
Micah Zenko, an expert with the bipartisan foreign-relations think-tank Council on Foreign Relations, says that the administration is misleading Americans, commenting, “[The Obama administration is] misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.”
Reaper drones have been used in numerous Pakistan and Yemen death strikes.
[Image Source: The Real Revo]
But White House national security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says that the administration does not need to specify explicitly who it is targeting and to make no assumptions. She remarks, “You should not assume [CIA Chief John Brennan] is only talking about al-Qaeda just because he doesn’t say ’al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces’ at every reference.”
So who was the administration targeting in the 43 out of 95 drone strikes that did not target al-Qaeda? According to McClatchy’s, the documents indicate that the strikes in question targeted “Haqqani network, several Pakistani Taliban factions and the unidentified individuals described only as ‘foreign fighters’ and ‘other militants.’”
The documents also reveal that U.S. efforts to kill terrorist leaders often accidentally instead killed friends or family members. Drone strikes were even used to target somber occasions, such as individuals leaving funerals.
II. Is the U.S. Killing Civilians, Allies Accidentally?
One major complaint of the administration’s critics is lack of transparency in the deadly offensive. The administration has refused to release a list of “terrorist” organizations that it considers “associated forces” of al-Qaeda. So far only Afghanistan’s Taliban has been officially acknowledged as an al-Qaeda ally. Also not revealed was whether the administration conducted so-called “signature killings” — killings of locals who met with al-Qaeda or exhibited other behavior deemed suspicious.
Survivors pick through the rubble looking for relatives after an Oct. 2012 drone strike in Yemen.
[Image Source: Reuters]
New CIA chief John Brennan in February acknowledged that the drone strikes sometimes miss the mark and kill innocent civilians, but he defended the program saying the U.S. paid the families of people it accidentally killed. He commented, “Where possible, we also work with local governments to gather facts, and, if appropriate, provide condolence payments to families of those killed.”
[Image Source: BIJ (top); The Long War Journal (bottom left)
Four American citizens with ties to terrorism — Kamal Derwish, Anwar al-Awlaki, 16-year-old Abdulahman al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan — have been killed to date in drone strikes in Yemen. Family members of the dead American citizens have sued the Obama administration with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union.
In August 2012, a drone strike in Yemen killed a 40-year-old moderate cleric Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber just two days after he delivered a speech denouncing al-Qaeda. The irony is that the al-Qaeda officers who were targeted in the strike, reportedly came into town to threaten Mr. Jaber for his support of the U.S. and pacifistic leanings.
Some feel the President shouldn’t have the power to order the warrantless killings of Americans on U.S. soil. [Image Source: Drone Wars UK]
It’s clear more questions need to be asked about the program. But don’t expect the answers to come easy from an administration who explicitly ordered its Press Secretary to dodge questions about drone strikes.
At his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Breedlove said he supports the idea of arming the militants in their fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Breedlove, who is serving as the Commander of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa, also said that it was important for Washington to ensure that the arms do not fall into the wrong hands in Syria.
“If we could assure that the weapons were going to the right people and that we would not have to face them in the future, that would be helpful to removing the regime [in Syria],” Breedlove said.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization approved the nomination of Philip Breedlove to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe in March.
Washington has publicly claimed that it only offers “nonlethal” aid to the militants trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
However, media reports have indicated that the US trains the foreign-sponsored militants in the crisis-hit country, in addition to coordinating arms shipments to them.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting in the country are foreign nationals.
[Murder by drone is simply the next generation of American "Death Squads," with the "Squad" referring to the UAV controller unit, somewhere in the American Southwest, or sitting in an air-conditioned office on the 7th floor at Langley. The concept of roving bands of semi-autonomous assassins has been replaced by roving "eyes in the sky." The next logical step are programmable, self-guided terminator drones. Science Fiction has become reality. "Future shock" has been replaced by "shock and awe." America is a Fascist state, seeking to ride to total global domination on the strength of its military technology and the power of its leaders' lies.]
By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.
The administration has said that strikes by the CIA’s missile-firing Predator and Reaper drones are authorized only against “specific senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces” involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks who are plotting “imminent” violent attacks on Americans.
“It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative,” President Barack Obama said in a Sept. 6, 2012, interview with CNN. “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”
Copies of the top-secret U.S. intelligence reports reviewed by McClatchy, however, show that drone strikes in Pakistan over a four-year period didn’t adhere to those standards.
The intelligence reports list killings of alleged Afghan insurgents whose organization wasn’t on the U.S. list of terrorist groups at the time of the 9/11 strikes; of suspected members of a Pakistani extremist group that didn’t exist at the time of 9/11; and of unidentified individuals described as “other militants” and “foreign fighters.”
In a response to questions from McClatchy, the White House defended its targeting policies, pointing to previous public statements by senior administration officials that the missile strikes are aimed at al Qaida and associated forces.
Micah Zenko, an expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, a bipartisan foreign policy think tank, who closely follows the target killing program, said McClatchy’s findings indicate that the administration is “misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.”
The documents also show that drone operators weren’t always certain who they were killing despite the administration’s guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA’s targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been “exceedingly rare.”
McClatchy’s review is the first independent evaluation of internal U.S. intelligence accounting of drone attacks since the Bush administration launched America’s secret aerial warfare on Oct. 7, 2001, the day a missile-carrying Predator took off for Afghanistan from an airfield in Pakistan on the first operational flight of an armed U.S. drone.
The analysis takes on additional significance because of the domestic and international debate over the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan amid reports that the administration is planning to broaden its use of targeted killings in Afghanistan and North Africa.
The U.S. intelligence reports reviewed by McClatchy covered most – although not all – of the drone strikes in 2006-2008 and 2010-2011. In that later period, Obama oversaw a surge in drone operations against suspected Islamist sanctuaries on Pakistan’s side of the border that coincided with his buildup of 33,000 additional U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan. Several documents listed casualty estimates as well as the identities of targeted groups.
McClatchy’s review found that:
– At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists. Drones killed only six top al Qaida leaders in those months, according to news media accounts.
Forty-three of 95 drone strikes reviewed for that period hit groups other than al Qaida, including the Haqqani network, several Pakistani Taliban factions and the unidentified individuals described only as “foreign fighters” and “other militants.”
During the same period, the reports estimated there was a single civilian casualty, an individual killed in an April 22, 2011, strike in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
– At other times, the CIA killed people who only were suspected, associated with, or who probably belonged to militant groups.
To date, the Obama administration has not disclosed the secret legal opinions and the detailed procedures buttressing drone killings, and it has never acknowledged the use of so-called “signature strikes,” in which unidentified individuals are killed after surveillance shows behavior the U.S. government associates with terrorists, such as visiting compounds linked to al Qaida leaders or carrying weapons. Nor has it disclosed an explicit list of al Qaida’s “associated forces” beyond the Afghan Taliban.
The little that is known about the opinions comes from a leaked Justice Department white paper, a half-dozen or so speeches, some public comments by Obama and several top lieutenants, and limited open testimony before Congress.
“The United States has gone far beyond what the U.S. public – and perhaps even Congress – understands the government has been doing and claiming they have a legal right to do,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a Notre Dame Law School professor who contends that CIA drone operations in Pakistan violate international law.
The documents McClatchy has reviewed do not reflect the entirety of the killings associated with U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, which independent reports estimate at between 1,990 and 3,581.
But the classified reports provide a view into how drone strikes were carried out during the most intense periods of drone warfare in Pakistan’s remote tribal area bordering Afghanistan. Specifically, the documents reveal estimates of deaths and injuries; locations of militant bases and compounds; the identities of some of those targeted or killed; the movements of targets from village to village or compound to compound; and, to a limited degree, the rationale for unleashing missiles.
The documents also reveal a breadth of targeting that is complicated by the culture in the restive region of Pakistan where militants and ordinary tribesmen dress the same, and carrying a weapon is part of the centuries-old tradition of the Pashtun ethnic group.
The Haqqani network, for example, cooperates closely with al Qaida for philosophical and tactical reasons, and it is blamed for some of the bloodiest attacks against civilians and U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. But the Haqqani network wasn’t on the U.S. list of international terrorist groups at the time of the strikes covered by the U.S. intelligence reports, and it isn’t known to ever have been directly implicated in a plot against the U.S. homeland.
Other groups the documents said were targeted have parochial objectives: the Pakistani Taliban seeks to topple the Islamabad government; Lashkar i Jhangvi, or Army of Jhangvi, are outlawed Sunni Muslim terrorists who’ve slaughtered scores of Pakistan’s minority Shiites and were blamed for a series of attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including a 2006 bombing against the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed a U.S. diplomat. Both groups are close to al Qaida, but neither is known to have initiated attacks on the U.S. homeland.
“I have never seen nor am I aware of any rules of engagement that have been made public that govern the conduct of drone operations in Pakistan, or the identification of individuals and groups other than al Qaida and the Afghan Taliban,” said Christopher Swift, a national security law expert who teaches national security affairs at Georgetown University and closely follows the targeted killing issue. “We are doing this on a case-by-case, ad hoc basis, rather than a systematic or strategic basis.”
The administration has declined to reveal other details of the program, such as the intelligence used to select targets and how much evidence is required for an individual to be placed on a CIA “kill list.” The administration also hasn’t even acknowledged the existence of so-called signature strikes, let alone discussed the legal and procedural foundations of the attacks.
Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees say they maintain robust oversight over the program. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., disclosed in a Feb. 13 statement that the panel is notified “with key details . . . shortly after” every drone strike. It also reviews videos of strikes and considers “their effectiveness as a counterterrorism tool, verifying the care taken to avoid deaths to non-combatants and understanding the intelligence collection and analysis that underpins these operations.”
But until last month, Obama had rebuffed lawmakers’ repeated requests to see all of the classified Justice Department legal opinions on the program, giving them access to only two dealing with the president’s powers to order targeted killings. It then allowed the Senate committee access to all opinions pertaining to the killing of U.S. citizens to clear the way for the panel’s March 7 confirmation of John Brennan, the former White House counterterrorism chief and the key architect of the targeted killings program, as the new CIA director. But it continues to deny access to other opinions on the grounds that they are privileged legal advice to the president.
Moreover, most of the debate in the United States has focused on the deaths of four Americans – all killed in drone strikes in Yemen, but only one intentionally targeted – and not the thousands of others who’ve been killed, the majority of whom have been hit in Pakistan.
Obama and his top aides say the United States is in an “armed conflict” with al Qaida and the Afghan Taliban, and the targeted killing program complies with U.S. and international laws, including an “inherent” right to self-defense and the international laws of war. Obama also derives his authority to order targeted killings from the Constitution and a Sept. 14, 2001, congressional resolution empowering the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those who perpetrated 9/11 and those who aided them, they say.
Time and again, the administration has defined the drone targets as operational leaders of al Qaida, the Afghan Taliban and associated groups plotting imminent attacks on the American homeland. Occasionally, however, officials have made oblique references to undefined associated forces and threats against unidentified Americans and U.S. facilities.
On April 30, 2012, Brennan gave the most detailed explanation of Obama’s drone program. He referred to al Qaida 73 times, the Afghan Taliban three times and mentioned no other group by name.
“We only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing,” Brennan said.
To be sure, America’s drone program has killed militants without risk to the nation’s armed forces.
The administration argues that drones – in Brennan’s words – are a “wise choice” for fighting terrorists. Over the years, the aircraft have battered al Qaida’s Pakistan-based core leadership and crippled its ability to stage complex attacks. And officials note it has been done without sending U.S. troops into hostile territory or causing civilian casualties “except in the rarest of circumstances.”
“Any actions we take fully comport to our law and meet the standards that I think . . . the American people expect of us as far as taking actions we need to protect the American people, but at the same time ensuring that we do everything possible before we need to resort to lethal force,” Brennan said at his Feb. 7 Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing.
Caitlin Hayden, national security spokeswoman for the White House, said late Tuesday that the Brennan speech is broad enough to cover strikes against others who are not al Qaida or the Afghan Taliban. While she did not cite any authority for broader targeting, Hayden said: “You should not assume he is only talking about al Qaida just because he doesn’t say ’al Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces’ at every reference.”
Some legal scholars and human rights organizations, however, dispute the program’s legality.
Obama, they think, is misinterpreting international law, including the laws of war, which they say apply only to the uniformed military, not the civilian CIA, and to traditional battlefields like those in Afghanistan, not to Pakistan’s tribal area, even though it may be a sanctuary for al Qaida and other violent groups. They argue that Obama also is strengthening his executive powers with an excessively broad application of the September 2001 use-of-force resolution.
The administration’s definition of “imminent threat” also is in dispute. The Justice Department’s leaked white paper argues the United States should be able “to act in self-defense in circumstances where there is evidence of further imminent attacks by terrorist groups even if there is no specific evidence of where such an attack will take place or of the precise nature of the attack.” Legal scholars counter that the administration is using an exaggerated definition of imminence that doesn’t exist in international law.
“I’m thankful that my doctors don’t use their (the administration’s) definition of imminence when looking at imminent death. A head cold could be enough to pull the plug on you,” said Morris Davis, a Howard University Law School professor and former Air Force lawyer who served as chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo Bay terrorism trials.
Since 2004, drone program critics say, the strikes have killed hundreds of civilians, fueling anti-U.S. outrage, boosting extremist recruiting, and helping to destabilize Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government. And some experts warn that the United States may be setting a new standard of international conduct that other countries will grasp to justify their own targeted killings and to evade accountability.
Other governments “won’t just emulate U.S. practice but (will adopt) America’s justification for targeted killings,” said Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations. “When there is such a disconnect between who the administration says it kills and who it (actually) kills, that hypocrisy itself is a very dangerous precedent that other countries will emulate.”
A special U.N. human rights panel began a nine-month investigation in January into whether drone strikes, including the CIA operations in Pakistan, violate international law by causing disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties. The panel’s head, British lawyer Ben Emmerson, declared after a March 11-13 visit to Pakistan that the U.S. drone campaign “involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.”
The administration asserts that drones are used to hit specific individuals only after their names are added to a “list of active terrorists,” following a process of “extraordinary care and thoughtfulness” that confirms their identities as members of al Qaida or “associated forces” and weighs the strategic value of killing each one.
Yet the U.S. intelligence reports show that 43 out of the 95 strikes recorded in reports for the year ending in September 2011 were launched against groups other than al Qaida. Prominent among them were the Haqqani network and the Taliban Movement of Pakistan.
The Haqqani network is an Afghan Taliban-allied organization that operates in eastern Afghanistan and whose leaders are based in Pakistan’s adjacent North Waziristan tribal agency. The United States accuses the group of staging some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Kabul, including on the Indian and U.S. embassies, killing civilians, and attacking U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. But the Obama administration didn’t officially designate the network as a terrorist group until September 2012.
Its titular head is Jalaluddin Haqqani, an aging former anti-Soviet guerrilla who served as a minor minister and top military commander in the Taliban regime that sheltered al Qaida until both were driven into Pakistan by the 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. U.S. officials allege that the group, whose operational chief is Haqqani’s son, Sirajuddin, closely works with al Qaida and is backed by elements of the Pakistani army-led Inter-Services Intelligence spy service, a charge denied by Islamabad.
At least 15 drone strikes were launched against the Haqqani network or locations where its fighters were present during the one-year period ending in September 2011, according to the U.S. intelligence reports. They estimated that up to 96 people – or about 20 percent of the total for that period – were killed.
One report also makes clear that during the Bush administration, the agency killed Haqqani family women and children.
According to the report, an undisclosed number of Haqqani subcommanders, unnamed Arabs and unnamed “members of the extended Haqqani family” died in a Sept. 8, 2008, strike. News reports on the attack in the North Waziristan village of Dandey Darapakhel said that among as many as 25 dead were an Arab who was chief of al Qaida’s operations in Pakistan, and eight of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s grandchildren, one of his wives, two nieces and a sister.
The U.S. intelligence reports estimated that as many as 31 people were killed in at least nine strikes on the Pakistani Taliban or on locations that the group shared with others between January 2010 and September 2011. While U.S. officials say the Taliban Movement of Pakistan works closely with al Qaida, its goal is to topple the Pakistani government through suicide bombings, assaults and assassinations, not attacking the United States. The group wasn’t founded until 2007, and some of the strikes in the U.S. intelligence reports occurred before the administration designated it a terrorist organization in September 2010.
The U.S. intelligence reports estimated that the CIA killed scores of other individuals in 2010 and 2011 in strikes on other non-al Qaida groups categorized as suspected extremists and unidentified “foreign fighters,” or “other militants.” Some died in what appeared to be signature strikes, their vehicles blown to pieces sometimes only a few days after being monitored visiting the sites of earlier drone attacks, or driving between compounds linked to al Qaida or other groups.
“The first challenge in any war is knowing who you’re fighting, and distinguishing those that pose a credible threat to your interests and security,” said Swift.
The U.S. intelligence documents also describe a lack of precision when it comes to identifying targets.
Consider one attack on Feb. 18, 2010.
Information, according to one U.S. intelligence account, indicated that Badruddin Haqqani, the then-No. 2 leader of the Haqqani network, would be at a relative’s funeral that day in North Waziristan. Watching the video feed from a drone high above the mourners, CIA operators in the United States identified a man they believed could be Badruddin Haqqani from the deference and numerous greetings he received. The man also supervised a private family viewing of the body.
Yet despite a targeting process that the administration says meets “the highest possible standards,” it wasn’t Badruddin Haqqani who died when one of the drone’s missiles ripped apart the target’s car after he’d left the funeral.
It was his younger brother, Mohammad.
Friends later told reporters that Mohammad Haqqani was a religious student in his 20s uninvolved in terrorism; the U.S. intelligence report called him an active member – but not a leader – of the Haqqani network. At least one other unidentified occupant of his vehicle perished, according to the report.
It took the CIA another 18 months to find and kill Badruddin Haqqani.
With a welcome return of their last military dictator, the politicians of Pakistan are playing the roles assigned them, helping the CIA reform its corrupt image and the Pakistani people to forget all of their own Establishment’s previous lies. The “Islamist” politicians, along with all of the co-opted religious and secular wannabes, are all singing the same CIA-written song, dancing to the latest tunes being piped by the American pipers, agreeing to whatever it takes to throw open the doors of the country to an American re-invasion, in order to receive another thirty years of American and Arab largesse. The Pak politicians are tasked with a dual dilemma–not only are they faced with winning their chosen electoral contests, but they must do so in ways which help the American overlords to overcome the immediate hurdles which have been mistakenly erected, in order to resume total CIA control of Pakistani politics.
In the American view, the next Pak leaders will have to fill Zardari’s shoes, ready to effectively become Washington’s next puppets, fully prepared to parrot all of the latest lies, taking America’s side against any unanticipated Army roadblocks. (Most, if not all, of those roadblocks have been erected because of inter-Army miscalculations, or because of the bloodthirsty zeal of the CIA in eliminating its old terrorist-trainees.) Like Zardari, the new incumbants too, must be willing and able to help the Pentagon psywar masters (by helping the ISI), as they submit to becoming the next generation of fake adversaries to the Pakistani generals, who are the fake adversaries to America’s generals. Like Zardari, they must be ready to publicly take the American side and symbolically oppose the Army in future pretend confrontations between the two armies, across the Durand Line. The only differences between the Pakistani and the American generals are pseudo-differences that have been manufactured for the benefit of the American and Pakistani publics, pure psychological warfare, intended to manipulate popular opinion to accept the latest lies.
The latest installment of these serial lies comes from the CIA’s principle “mouthpiece,” the NY Times. The bastards at Langley want everybody to get past popular outrage over the illegal, extremely unethical, drone assassination program, before it ends-up in the courts, or the UN Security Council. Their desire is that everyone simply continues to passively accept these acts of American and Pakistani state terrorism, helping both peoples, as well as the court of world opinion, to get past the rapidly-building popular outrage over collateral deaths and the apparent abrogation by UAV of Pakistani sovereignty. The CIA/Times is hoping to ease that transition in popular opinion, with their so-called “investigative report,” which effectively rewrites the history of the first murder by drone, the assassination of Nek Muhammad, while he slept soundly in his own bed in Wana. Most drone murders have taken place at night, a pattern of merciless brutality, set by US Special Forces and their murderous night raids.
The CIA/Times is seeking to buttress the lie that the drones have always operated in Pakistan by mutual consent, a precedent-setting Army to Army compromise, which has cleared the way for heavily armed UAV drones to kill militant adversaries of the CIA all over the world. when, In reality, Musharraf surrendered control over Pakistan’s sovereignty when he asked Bush to kill Nek Muhammad for him. Since then, there have been no other known cases of the Pentagon or the CIA willingly using their drones to eliminate any of the malicious “miscreants” of Pakistan. (Baitullah Mehsud was mistakenly killed as a result of ISI cunning in their manipulation of CIA spies on the ground in S. Waziristan, accomplished by tricking one of them into planting an American tracking chip on Baitullah. The CIA did not consciously kill the Mehsud warlord.)
Even though Musharraf consciously surrendered every Pakistani citizens’ right to be safe from foreign airborne assault in exchange for that one militant kill and Bush obtained those coveted basing and overflight rights for America’s drones, there was no agreement made for Pakistani compliance with American demands for military operations in FATA. The Pakistani dictator decided to follow the pacification through development plan put forth by the Army negotiator of the Shakai agreement, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain (the man who praised Baitullah Mehsud in 2005). His plan hinged upon militant cooperation with the government campaign to get all foreign fighters registered, in a reconciliation/amnesty program.
The registration of foreigners was also the “fly in the ointment” of the Shakai Agreement, the element which neither side would compromise on (SEE: No deal on foreigners’ registration: Nek Muhammad). Pakistan’s security operations have hence proceeded to fulfill their promises of Waziristan development, while they sought-out a militant element amenable to their plans. America’s plans have all been focused upon overcoming Pakistan’s plans for militant “reconciliation, primarily by killing all the identifiable militant leaders who are considered to be cooperative with the Pak Army.
Nek Muhammad was a teenager in Wana, during the epoch anti-Soviet jihad, when the town was swarming with CIA and ISI agents. In the early 1980s, during Nek’s formative years, Wana served as the staging area for mujahedeen attacks into Afghanistan. Nek ran a store owner in Wana, where he operated within this world of covert operations, accommodating all sides of the burgeoning resistance. After the Soviets were forced-out, he was enlisted in the Taliban war against the Northern Alliance, where he earned enormous Pashtun respect as a fierce, fearless fighter. After the Taliban victory, he returned to Wana, where he built a very large militant following, based upon his exploits in Afghanistan, taking advantage of his historical ties to both intelligence agencies.
When the Taliban began to regroup in Waziristan in 2003, Nek Muhammad rejoined the Afghan mujahedeen, taking his forces to war against the American occupiers of Afghanistan. When “Busharraf” sent his forces into Wana, in an attempt to block Nek from his anti-American “jihad,” Nek fought the Pak Army to a standstill, finally ending the contest with the “Shakhai Agreement.” That was the moment that Wana’s real troubles began, and the moment when Nek Muhammad’s death warrant was signed. Musharraf’s choice to stray from the American-written script for Pakistan, by pursuing peace treaties with militants, instead of total war within the Tribal Regions, inspired the CIA to begin a campaign of leader assassinations. The American intent was to kill every Pakistani militant leader who makes peace with the Pak Army, in effect, forging a determined plan to sabotage all of Pakistan’s ill-advised peace efforts.
Where the Pentagon/CIA was determined to eliminate all “Taliban” and “al-Qaeda” within Pakistan, Musharraf managed to shift the debate with Washington by calling the Uzbeks around Wana, “al-Qaeda. Using this approach, Mush was able to enlist the support of the local tribes in a manhunt to find and eliminate the trouble-making “foreign militants,” reporting all of those foreign militants who were killed or captured as “al-Qaeda.” This enabled Musharraf to buy enough time and assistance from Washington attempt to recapture the tribal agreement signed at Shakhai, by fulfilling the promised economic development program as the basis for a agency-wide reconciliation agreement. The problem with this approach is that the Americans keep killing the militant leaders like Mullah Nazir who work with Pakistan on this futile plan for peace (SEE: India/Pakistani Detente’ Went Into the Ground with Mullah Nazir).
In the end, one side will triumph completely–Either Obama will turn America away from his present murderous path, or the new Pakistani government will turn Pakistan back into the totally, submissive American slave that Washington is used to ordering around.
Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.
“On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan’s army in the country’s western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.
Less than 24 hours later, a missile tore through the compound, severing Mr. Muhammad’s left leg and killing him and several others, including two boys, ages 10 and 16. A Pakistani military spokesman was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, saying that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound.
That was a lie.
Mr. Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.
That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate. The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.’s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization.
The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike. While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, it became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war.
Neither American nor Pakistani officials have ever publicly acknowledged what really happened to Mr. Muhammad — details of the strike that killed him, along with those of other secret strikes, are still hidden in classified government databases. But in recent months, calls for transparency from members of Congress and critics on both the right and left have put pressure on Mr. Obama and his new C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to offer a fuller explanation of the goals and operation of the drone program, and of the agency’s role.”
|Copyright © Bharat Rakshak 2004|
|Lebanese President Michel Sleiman urged the international community on Thursday to pressure the Zionist entity into ending its threats against Lebanon and slammed the Jewish authorities for violating U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.
In a statement issued by Baabda palace, Sleiman said: “The international community should pressure Israel to stop adopting the policy of threats and aggression against Lebanon and to cooperate with international and Arab peace initiatives in the Middle East.”
“Israel’s continued threats to launch a military operation against Lebanon in addition to daily violations of (Lebanese) airspace are flagrant violations of resolution 1701,” which enforced a ceasefire that ended the Zionist army’s inconclusive 2006 war against Lebanon, he said.
The Jewish entity regularly sends warplanes on surveillance flights over Lebanon.
Last week, the Zionist so-called Defense Forces Home Front Command Chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg warned that the next war with Lebanon will be ten times fiercer than in 2006.
He noted that prior to 2006, Hezbollah was capable of launching 500 rockets at Gush Dan in the occupied territories.
He said should a war erupt today, Gush Dan would be the target of some 5,000 Hezbollah rockets.
[Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the news men and women of Borderland Beat for the daring reporting from the actual Mexican battlefield that they bring to us each day. The following timely report brings American clarity of the constant spreading Northward of the Cartel War which we have begun. Connections between the Zetas and MS-13 are troubling in themselves, but the cross-pollenization reflected in the sharing of military skills is the part that will trip some very serious alarms.
Again and again, the people of the world have to suffer from the short-sighted policies of the American Special Forces, who dispense their skills and training like soft drinks throughout allied and "Third World" nations. They take great pride in the years spent in their own training, to acquire their killing skills, yet they willingly teach abridged versions of their Pentagon training, often to people who are functionally illiterate. The Los Zetas are an indirect Pentagon creation (forming from Mexican and Guatemalan Spec. Forces deserters) and they are proving to be a great danger to us all, on both sides of the border. They are Western reflections of the "Islamist" monsters that we have created in the Far East..
Part of the Zeta focus has been upon taking-over Mexican prisons, as well as the absorption of lesser street and prison gangs. Now that they have adapted the same drug-trafficking strategy here which has proved to be so successful in Mexico, they are co-opting American gangs, street gangs, prison gangs and biker gangs. Recent attacks upon American law enforcement personnel in Colorado and Texas, perhaps even in West Virginia, may reflect the Los Zeta influence, the militarization of drug-running here. Depending upon the severity of similar attacks in the future, American law enforcement may be forced into a similar militarization. Stay tuned to Borderland for an honest heads-up.]
“Tijuano” for Borderland Beat
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) grew in fire power, setting aside their reliance on small caliber weapons, acquiring instead AK-47 rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and antitank projectiles, which most of the time are sold to Los Zetas or interchanged for small quantities of cocaine which they later sell in the local market.
Finally the report states that the relationship between these groups is evolving to cooperation levels never before seen. It says that some associated cells of MS-13 like the “Fulton Locos Salvatruchas” and the “Hollywood Loco Salvatrucho”, which are the most vicious groups, have received training from Los Zetas.
|Frankly, it never was much of a “League” of Arab states.
And arguably it never really achieved a whole lot but two dozen lavish ‘summits’ offering inflated rhetoric, often calculated to assuage the Arab people about their central cause, Palestine.
This, despite high hopes across Arabia when its founders promulgated a Charter on March 22, 1945 and took a solemn oath to prevent the theft of Palestine by European colonists. Yet, notions of fundamental fairness require that we all acknowledge, that to its credit, the Arab League has tried to achieve a modicum of pan-Arab cooperation on issues involving economic and financial affairs, commercial relations, customs, currency and questions of agriculture and industry, communications including, railroads, roads, aviation, navigation, postal services, cultural affairs, nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments and extradition of criminals and even a bit regarding social affairs and health issues.
Despite years of pledges to eliminate visas requirements, along the lines of the European Ginga visa it should be noted that only one Arab country has waived visas for their Arab sisters and brothers internationally.
That would be the Syrian Arab Republic.
It is Syria, along with Palestine, out of all the 22 Arab League members, who most consistently and steadfastly have represented Arab Nationalism, Arab resistance to occupation, and the stated goals enunciated 66 years ago when the Arab League was established.
Many are asking why the ‘sanctions of its members-happy’ Arab League consistently fails to act on what is happening in Palestine and why it never has kept its pledge to suspend the AL membership of countries that host Israeli embassies against their people’s will.
There was once upon a time, now appearing far, far, away, that the Arab League countries were trying to achieve the liberation of Palestine. Or so they claimed. Then suddenly, the association morphed into twenty countries claiming to being committed to solving the issues of Palestine and Lebanon. Low and behold it was not so long after that the Arab League became nineteen countries trying to solve the questions of Palestine, Lebanon and Somalia.
How we all change with time. This week, during the 24th “Arab Summit” eleven countries, being pressured by outside interests with hegemonic geopolitical visions for the region, claimed they wanted to solve life’s problems on behalf of the other members.
If there is an Arab summit ten years from now, what will its agenda like?
This week the global community saw that the Charter and by-laws of the Arab league has not been respected with respect to the Syrian crisis from the beginning despite its mission to bring together Arabs. Rather it has been actively working to prevent coming together especially with respect to Syria.
The organization was created at the time when a racist Zionist state was considered extremely unlikely by most countries but, to make sure, an association of Arab states was organized to prevent, at all costs, the rumored Zionist project from becoming a reality. The first decision of the newly established League of Arab States was to boycott any Jewish organization that would assistant in the theft of Palestine by the European financed Zionist movement.
Today unfortunately, and perhaps fatally for the AL, the complete obverse has obtained. In countless ways the Arab League is supporting the occupation of Palestine, while allowing itself to be preempted and shaped into an instrument of Western foreign policy as it plots against and among its own members their minders behalf. Far removed from its raison d’etre which according to its Charter is to focus on and ensue a coming together of its members, it does everything that would promote the desires of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine while dividing the Arabs and preventing any kind of real union among them.
Much as the USA and its allies have corralled and preempted the UN Security Council, its agents have hijacked the League of Arab states and five other regional organizations. Now in their sites according to congressional source who follows this issue. One international organization that has entered the sights of these western controlled hegemonic forces is the revitalized the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Some Arab League analysts claim that here won’t be much left of the Arab League by 2020. One joke currently making the rounds on Capitol Hill is “Which will implode first, the Arab League or its master, the Zionist occupiers of Palestine?” Answer: “Too close to call.”
Last week in Doha, Qatar, the proceedings amounted to a deep self-inflicted, perhaps fatal, wound for the AL. Its legitimacy unraveled when it essentially declared war on one of its founding members and replaced it with its anointed, funded, staffed, armed, recognized, group with not the faintest pretense of abiding by its Charter including Article VIII, a main pillar of the concept of a League of Arab States:
“Each member-state shall respect the systems of government established in the other member-states and regard them as exclusive concerns of those states. Each shall pledge to abstain from any action calculated to change established systems of government.”
In summary, there is nothing in the Arab League Charter permitting that body to expel or even sanction Syria. In fact, doing so violates the Charter. As seen many times, but recently in Libya, foreign intervention is never humanitarian rather it is always geo-political. Syrians, not by outsiders can best solve its internal problems.
Is it now left to the BRICS states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to stand up to the AL and to help halt the conflict in Syria? There is growing sentiment in Syria that this group of five emerging powers may become a major hope for the Syrian people that suffer from blatant foreign interference in their affairs and suffering from the Arab League acting against their interests. The AL members who voted to expel or sanction Syria are merely channeling the geo-political interests of the United States and Israel, which are increasingly viewed among the Arab pubic as “unofficial members” of the Arab League.
There is no escaping the fact that the result of the decisions made in Doha is that the Arab League has refused a peaceful settlement for Syria and that the AL recognition of the national coalition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people contradicts the Geneva Communique and makes irrelevant, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out this week, the mission of UN and Arab League mediator for Syria, Brahimi. Given that one of the founders of the mandate, the Arab League, proclaims that the national opposition is the only legitimate Government of Syria, advocates and joins in the arming of the forces anointed to oust the regime how can there be negotiations? This decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition not only violates international law, but again in the words of Lavrov, “is a blatant encouragement of confrontation of the irreconcilable forces on both sides to make them fight this war to the bitter end.”
Franklin Lamb is doing research in the Middle East and can be reached c/o email@example.com
[If left unchecked, then the penetration of the American heartland by the heavily armed (WE have heavily armed them) Mexican drug cartels will justify whatever level of militarization deemed necessary by the powers that be. This means that reasonably, and with no stretch of the imagination, Americans can assume that the American Heartland will experience a very real drug war of our own in the immediate future, similar to the ongoing civil war in Mexico. It will be a war entirely of our own making. With our creation of the "Los Zetas" cartel (training given by American Special Forces to Mexican Special Forces units, which included Zetas founding members), by our surreptitious provision of military grade arms through "Fast and Furious," and because of misguided policies of taking the Sinaloa Cartel side in Mexico's drug war, cartel outposts have been created in America's major cities such as Chicago, Denver and Dallas. One needs only to look to the border cities of Texas, to understand the level of violence which is now barely being held back. The recent cold-blooded murders of district attornies in Texas and a prison warden in Colorado documents how far the seepage of Mexican cartel violence has already gone beyond our border fences. Both of these examples also illustrate a new, even more troubling development in the spread of the Cartels' tentacles, the embedding of the Zetas organization within the American penal system, where it is merging with the major white supremacist groups, like the Aryan Brotherhood and their Colorado branch, called the "211 Crew."
American justice officials have little choice, but to eradicate the American foothold of the Zetas and the Sinaloas, before it is too late. The big problem with this statement is that it seems to speak in support of a military escalation on American soil, which has been the Pentagon/CIA plan all along. Our only hope, i.e., the hope of Americans who love our Constitution, is that the Cartel onslaught will be handled through a concerted, nationwide police offensive, before it can further escalate into a military problem. This means that the subversive hand of the CIA must be removed from the equation. It is the CIA which has been "queering" everybody's fight against the Cartels within Mexico, in order to bring-about their own plans for the total destabilization of the American Homeland. In this, as in all American policy problems, it is the CIA that is poisoning the well.
The only thing that can save the United States of America is the fulfillment of JFK's promise to "shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces," as well as the immediate scrapping of every single project that they had in the works. Compared to that, taming the Cartels should be a piece of cake.]
CHICAGO – Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.
Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly not new. Starting in the 1990s, the ruthless syndicates became the nation’s No. 1 supplier of illegal drugs, using unaffiliated middlemen to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and heroin beyond the border or even to grow pot here.
But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.
“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.
The cartel threat looms so large that one of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins — a man who has never set foot in Chicago — was recently named the city’s Public Enemy No. 1, the same notorious label once assigned to Al Capone.
The Chicago Crime Commission, a non-government agency that tracks crime trends in the region, said it considers Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman even more menacing than Capone because Guzman leads the deadly Sinaloa cartel, which supplies most of the narcotics sold in Chicago and in many cities across the U.S.
Years ago, Mexico faced the same problem — of then-nascent cartels expanding their power — “and didn’t nip the problem in the bud,” said Jack Killorin, head of an anti-trafficking program in Atlanta for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “And see where they are now.”
Riley sounds a similar alarm: “People think, ‘The border’s 1,700 miles away. This isn’t our problem.’ Well, it is. These days, we operate as if Chicago is on the border.”
Border states from Texas to California have long grappled with a cartel presence. But cases involving cartel members have now emerged in the suburbs of Chicago and Atlanta, as well as Columbus, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and rural North Carolina. Suspects have also surfaced in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Mexican drug cartels “are taking over our neighbourhoods,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane warned a legislative committee in February. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan disputed her claim, saying cartels are primarily drug suppliers, not the ones trafficking drugs on the ground.
For years, cartels were more inclined to make deals in Mexico with American traffickers, who would then handle transportation to and distribution within major cities, said Art Bilek, a former organized crime investigator who is now executive vice-president of the crime commission.
As their organizations grew more sophisticated, the cartels began scheming to keep more profits for themselves. So leaders sought to cut out middlemen and assume more direct control, pushing aside American traffickers, he said.
Beginning two or three years ago, authorities noticed that cartels were putting “deputies on the ground here,” Bilek said. “Chicago became such a massive market … it was critical that they had firm control.”
To help fight the syndicates, Chicago recently opened a first-of-its-kind facility at a secret location where 70 federal agents work side-by-side with police and prosecutors. Their primary focus is the point of contact between suburban-based cartel operatives and city street gangs who act as retail salesmen. That is when both sides are most vulnerable to detection, when they are most likely to meet in the open or use cellphones that can be wiretapped.
Others are skeptical about claims cartels are expanding their presence, saying law-enforcement agencies are prone to exaggerating threats to justify bigger budgets.
David Shirk, of the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute, said there is a dearth of reliable intelligence that cartels are dispatching operatives from Mexico on a large scale.
“We know astonishingly little about the structure and dynamics of cartels north of the border,” Shirk said. “We need to be very cautious about the assumptions we make.”
In Mexico, the cartels are known for a staggering number of killings — more than 50,000, according to one tally. Beheadings are sometimes a signature.
So far, cartels don’t appear to be directly responsible for large numbers of slayings in the United States, though the Texas Department of Public Safety reported 22 killings and five kidnappings in Texas at the hands of Mexican cartels from 2010 through mid- 2011.
Still, police worry that increased cartel activity could fuel heightened violence.
In Chicago, the police commander who oversees narcotics investigations, James O’Grady, said street-gang disputes over turf account for most of the city’s uptick in murders last year, when slayings topped 500 for the first time since 2008. Although the cartels aren’t dictating the territorial wars, they are the source of drugs.
Riley’s assessment is stark: He argues that the cartels should be seen as an underlying cause of Chicago’s disturbingly high murder rate.
“They are the puppeteers,” he said. “Maybe the shooter didn’t know and maybe the victim didn’t know that. But if you follow it down the line, the cartels are ultimately responsible.”
Delusional Lazy Pedesterian Mediocre Peacocks…blurting out meaningless blurry platitudes and sound bites, which have no clear objectives for massa Joe Fink.
In the most corrupt nation on earth according to Transparency International 2013, due to deliberate American policy, so called democratic elections have no meaning . There fore the 2014 presidential elections will not be the key to a meaningful and constructive future for Afghanistan.
In the Grand Scheme of things Afghanistan will remain a glorified military base, after 2014 for American destabilization and drone wars in Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia and eventually China as part of the East Asian pivot. Afghanistan itself will be neglected and abused, as it has been since the Soviets left in 1989, by the USA.
Afghanistan is a lemon that has to be squeezed, with all its juices and pips, and discarded, for the Americans.
The racist American military/CIA brought in kill teams into Afghanistan, special ops people, and house to house searches at night, attacks on wedding parties, attacks on funerals, attacks on Friday prayer gatherings, and even village elder meetings………..village farmers innocently fingered as terrorist, then executed with AK-47 dropped next to them to get the body count quota; women raped, children’s testicles crushed in front of their parents…and the strafing of children by helicopter gunships whilst collecting wood for cooking, or simply playing out in the open.
No general faggot peacock neanderthal, in nearly 12 years of “war’ the JEWSA has not won, because there was never a VICTORY to win in the first place………as if he didn’t know; Afghanistan is another manufactured war……with all the pomp and circumstance of searching for 100 or so alleged ‘al-CIA-duh” operatives, and the Taliban which was created by the CIA in 1994 as “Controlled Opposition” with the help of the ISI, WHICH, provided the rational for the later invasion in 2001 and 9/11.
BUT some Americans have won, and are winning…mostly Jews in Wall Street.
Afghanistan has been turned into a giant Opium plantation by the Pentagon/CIA.
The peacock faggot general should know this fundamental urban legend fact. If he does not know he should he fired. If he does then he is merely a faggot peacock neanderthal LAIR…….SMOOTH TALKING HIS SOUND BITES WRITTEN by the Pentagon.
I am of the opinion that if you mistreat the native population, and turn their country, Ariana into a giant opium plantation, and continue with an aggressive occupation….house to house searches…kill teams quotas as with Vietnam..AND is the county as a base to abuse other countries…and don’t undertake any serious development….but instead divert funds to CRIMINALS with the Pentagon/CIA and their bank accounts in the Gulf….promote the worst type of Afghans into positions of power within a narco state……THEN there can be NO VICTORY IN SUCH A SORRY STATE….ONLY UTTER FAILURE…and Vietnam.
The Christian Fundamentalist Pentagon/CIA could try the Japan post WWII model in Afghanistan WITH SINCERITY, and honest effort…this will require character, and great effort in the League of General MacArthur. It means getting rid of the criminals in the Afghan government who coordinate and acquiesce their work with criminals in the Pentagon and CIA.
The noble Aryan people of Afghanistan are tired of 33 years of war imposed on them unjustly.
The Soviet Invasion 1980–1989, where 1.5 million died, and 5 million became refugees in Iran and Pakistan.
The Civil War of 1991–1996, where criminal warlords came to the fore.
The Bizarre Medieval Taliban rule, coordinated and backed by the CIA/ISI. 1994-2001.
The invasion of Afghanistan by the JEWSA and its dogs in 2001, after Israel carried out 9/11. This has not been an happy experience for the last 12 years so stated by ordinary Afghans and good Americans, where many crimes have been committed, as stated above.
As tired and war weary as the noble Afghans might be, I am quite sure eventually they will eject ALL foreigners from their country. It is a matter of time. Sheer slippery bad faith from the JEWSA guarantees it.
As US Army veteran Eric Harroun awaits trial in Virginia for allegedly fighting alongside al-Qaeda supporters, the man’s father claims he was working for the CIA and was reporting back to the agency from Syria.
Harroun, a 30-year-old American from Phoenix, Arizona, has been charged by the US government for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely a rocket propelled grenade launcher) to conduct an attack against the Syrian government. The US Army veteran dubbed by media ‘Phoenix jihadist’ appeared in numerous videos alongside members of the al-Nusra Front, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization in December, but which has also been fighting alongside the Syrian opposition to take down the Assad regime. To date, 29 US-backed Syrian opposition groups have linked with al-Nusra, and have signed a petition calling for the support of the Islamist group that the White House believes is a branch of al-Qaeda.
According to FBI documents, Harroun traveled to Turkey last November and joined the fight led by the Free Syrian Army shortly thereafter. His father, Darryl Harroun, on Thursday told reporters that he doesn’t understand why the US government arrested his son, who he says was working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
He referred to his son as a ‘patriotic’ American who would never get involved with al-Qaeda, and claims he was gathering information for the US government.
“I know he was doing some work for the CIA over there,” the man’s father said. “I know for a fact that he was passing information onto the CIA.”
After seeing the documents regarding his son’s charges, Harroun told a CBS News reporter that it is all inaccurate and misleading and that the truth will eventually come out, since his son was simply gathering intelligence.
“About 99 percent of that stuff that you read on there is a bunch of bull,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any truth in any of this – he’s very patriotic”
The CIA is known to have contributed to the opposition fighters’ initiatives in Syria. Last week, the New York Times published an article describing how the agency has allegedly been helping foreign governments contribute to the Free Syrian Army. Unnamed US officials told the paper that the CIA has been secretly airlifting arms and other military equipment to Arab governments and Turkey, who provided them to the country’s opposition fighters.
With the agency’s alleged involvement in the conflict, some believe it is very possible for the CIA to also have sent their own agents into Syria. Paul Joseph Watson suggests on InfoWars that Harroun’s arrest may have something to do with the lack of communication and rivalry between the FBI and the CIA.
The FBI affidavit makes no mention of Harroun having any sort of connection to the CIA, but includes transcripts of interviews in which the man describes being treated like a prisoner in the al-Nusra camp and eventually being accepted by the members. Soon thereafter, he was helping them conduct several attacks on the Syrian regime. He also recalled being questioned about why the US government designated the group as a terrorist organization.
But the FBI is worried that while he may have gone into Syria with good intentions, he may also have become radicalized. A main component of the affidavit focuses on a Facebook status Harroun allegedly posted, in which he states that “the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.”
But the man did not seem to try to hide any of his acitivities in Syria. He frequently uploaded pictures of himself in the conflict zone and made opinionated statements regarding the Assad regime. He allowed journalists to interview him over Skype and labeled himself as a “freedom fighter”, working on behalf of the opposition movement that the US supports.
His alleged CIA involvement has so far only been mentioned by the man’s father, but could play a major part in the case as Harroun awaits trial. He faces a maximum of life imprisonment.
The world’s most powerful mayor welcomes ‘visibility’ — just not in city hall
Taking a break from his crusade against sugary soft drinks, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some time during his weekly radio broadcast last week to downplay an issue that’s been at the forefront of privacy concerns in a growing number of US states: the use of unmanned aerial drones for ubiquitous police surveillance. “What’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?” asked an incredulous Bloomberg, now in the final months of his heavily-lobbied third term in office. “I mean, intellectually I have trouble making that distinction.”
The comparison seems especially tone-deaf as lawmakers and citizens in other cities across the US continue efforts to block the use of drones by law enforcement for general surveillance. In Seattle, the public outcry has already derailed plans to introduce police drones, and in Florida, a bill currently sailing through the State Senate would require law enforcement to have probable cause warrants before using drones. 22 other states are in various stages of passing similar legislation; Virginia legislators have even gone as far as approving a bill that will put a two year moratorium on drones altogether.
The furor helps underscore that, yes, there is a huge differences between cameras in the streets and drones in the skies. “Many privacy invasions are abstract and invisible [...] Drones, on the other hand, are concrete and real, and the threat requires no explanation,” wrote the ACLU’s Catherine Crump and Jay Stanley. “But they are just the most visible example of a host of new surveillance technologies that have the potential to fundamentally alter the balance of power between individuals and the state.”
The NYPD’s “Domain Awareness System” has around 3,000 cameras
In New York City, that balance has already been disrupted. Currently, the NYPD’s surveillance network is comprised of around 3,000 street-level cameras in Manhattan, connected to its loudly-trumpeted and Orwellian-sounding “Domain Awareness System.” The system combines real-time CCTV feeds with data from various other sources, including 911 calls and CompStat crime prevention software, which uses statistics to algorithmically identify areas where crimes are likely to occur and dispatches police accordingly. NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly announced last week that a citywide license plate reading program will soon be integrated into the $30 million system as well, allowing police to track practically all vehicle movements with unprecedented speed and efficiency. All video footage collected in this way is retained up to 30 days, and all other data can be kept for up to 5 years.
Before 9/11, the prelude to this massive surveillance expansion was VIPER, a collaboration in the late 90s between the NYPD and New York City Housing Authority which installed hundreds of police surveillance cameras inside low-income public housing. In the following years, police triumphantly cited a 36 percent reduction in crime in the housing projects they monitored. The stats were largely accepted, but a wider look revealed that crime had actually fallen overall in New York City during that decade, and so this drop might be the result of macro factors, not the new cameras. Further investigation by the Government Accountability Office was also unable to establish a direct link between surveillance cameras and reduced crime.
Even in the heavily-monitored UK, the country whose 2012 Olympic mascot was a cartoon surveillance camera, evidence has been spotty. In 2008, Scotland Yard solved only one crime for every 1,000 CCTV cameras within London’s infamous “Ring of Steel,” which was created to combat a series of IRA bombings in the early 90s. The most commonly-cited independent study counts one CCTV camera for every 14 people in England (with the British Home Office estimating much lower). However, numerous factors have complicated any attempt at proving whether they are an effective deterrent. Some research has suggested that surveillance cameras often displace crime into the space outside of their influence rather than help solve or prevent it. David Davies, a Conservative Member of the British Parliament, has lamented that London’s massive camera population “creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security.”
Whether or not these systems are truly effective, their potential effects on privacy vastly differ from those of a surveillance drone hovering above a city. For one, the NYPD’s system does not include the vast majority of the city’s cameras, the privately owned units commonly affixed to the outsides of buildings. And even then, it’s difficult to make the argument that a network of stationary street-level cameras compares to “wide-area persistent surveillance” technologies like ARGUS-IS, the DARPA-developed drone surveillance system made from hacked-together cellphone camera sensors which can identify and track a person as they move across an entire city (the NYPD is already employing a lesser form of Argus camera in their CCTV network).
“I just don’t see how you can stop them.”
Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men who rules over one of the most intensely policed cities on earth, should know this more than anyone. But with a strategically placed “fuggedaboutit,” he disregards civil problems regarding privacy that his police force has probably long seen as administrative solutions.
“We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy [...] you can’t keep the tide from coming in,” he said ominously, resigned to a supposedly inevitable scenario where drones constantly patrol the skies. “It’s not a matter of whether I think it’s good or bad. I just don’t see how you can stop them.”
The sudden doom-and-gloom is ironic, considering how just last September, the NYPD spared no expense in tracking down and arresting Essam Attia, the street artist who posted fake NYPD “drone” billboards across the city, hoping to start a conversation about this very issue. The case was pursued vigorously by NYPD forensics and counter-terrorism teams, eventually serving Attia with 56 felony counts for the short-lived, politically-motivated vandalism. It’s as if somewhere in the past few months, we’ve gone from please remove your tin-foil hats to Bloomberg’s constant droning is inevitable — get used to it.
Is the situation really so hopeless? Perhaps. But it’s certainly easier to think so when you preside over a paramilitary police force that frequently receives healthy doses of grant money from the US Department of Homeland Security to implement such surveillance programs. For years the NYPD has been using those resources to do things like infiltrate Muslim communities, employing alarmingly aggressive tactics in an attempt to ensnare average citizens as “terrorist suspects.” More recently, the department has come under fire for its infamous “Stop and Frisk” program, which establishes quotas for officers to search random passersby, and overwhelmingly antagonizes black and hispanic men in low-income neighborhoods.
When Bloomberg predicts “more visibility,” he means visibility of the citizenry, not the police
But for all these various strains of snooping, Bloomberg’s NYPD has never been receptive to criticism, or demands for its own transparency. Just last week, the Mayor promised to veto a bill which would create new independent oversight of the department to investigate police misconduct. Why? According to Bloomberg, the increased oversight would “put the lives of New Yorkers and our police officers at risk,” a claim which he made no attempt to prove. So it’s again ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that when Bloomberg predicts “more visibility,” he only means more visibility of the citizenry, not the police. By its nature, police surveillance is never “transparency” — it’s a black box.
Bloomberg of all people should know that attitude won’t fly. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, usually a staunch ally of Bloomberg’s, recently declared that she has the votes to override the veto on the NYPD oversight bill. And if the legislation running through various states right now is any indication, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Bloomberg, embracing a drone-infested surveillance state for what remains of his term, will find himself in the minority. Transparency, at very minimum, needs to be a two-way street — not an ever-present, top-down panopticon.
[Karzai seems to be doing his best to disengage Western forces from his country and to cut through all of the bullshit surrounding the shady American plans to use Pakistan to "negotiate reconciliation" with secondary and retired Taliban leaders. Pakistan is serving as Obama's little puppet to ensure Western dominance of the region. All of their "good faith gestures" of turning loose lower-level Taliban is meaningless, since they have only one one truly valuable Taliban leader, operational commander of all of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a.k.a., "Mullah Brother." Pakistan originally grabbed him and his underlings to stop the ongoing tribal negotiations between Baradar and Hamid Karzai, both of whom belong to the the Popolzai tribe. According to this report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide (SEE: Mullah Baradar: friend or foe?), they had been covertly meeting in Kabul and possibly even in Dubai. Baradar was reported to have intervened with the Taliban in 2001 to save Karzai's life during early negotiations. This "Brother" to Karzai is the Number Two Taliban. Until Pakistan either frees him or facilitates talks between them, the government of Musharraf will be waiting in the wings to restore the pre-2001 status quo to Afghanistan and to the region. Pakistan's so-called leaders cannot possibly lie their way to peace once again.]
Afghan President Hamid Karzai—AFP Photo
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, seen as critical to efforts to stabilise Afghanistan, is finding it difficult to work with President Hamid Karzai due to mistrust and is reaching out to others to advance the peace process, senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry officials say.
Pakistan is uniquely positioned to promote reconciliation in neighboring Afghanistan because of its long history of ties to militant groups fighting to topple Karzai.
But Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of backing the Taliban to further its aims, fearful it will try to install a pro-Islamabad government in Kabul, a charge Pakistan denies.
“Right now, Karzai is the biggest impediment to the peace process,” a top Pakistani Foreign Ministry official told Reuters. “In trying to look like a savior, he is taking Afghanistan straight to hell.”
Karzai has said he wants peace on his own terms and could also be worried that the United States might cut a quick and risky deal with the Taliban, eager to get the bulk of its forces out of the country by the end of next year.
Either way, Pakistani officials say they are discouraged by what they call Karzai’s erratic statements and provocations, apparently designed to make him appear more decisive at home in dealing with the unpopular war, now in its 12th year.
Failure to reach an agreement between the Afghan government and insurgents would increase the chances of prolonged instability and even a push by the Taliban to seize power. The last time they did it, in 1996, it was with Pakistani help.
The stakes are also high for Pakistan, a strategic US ally seen as vital to Washington’s global war on militancy. It fears turmoil in Afghanistan could spill over the border and energize homegrown militants seeking to topple the government.
“I have absolutely no doubt that there will be complete chaos in Afghanistan if a settlement is not reached by 2014,” said the Foreign Ministry official. “Afghanistan will erupt. And when that happens, Pakistan will have to pay.”
Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been suspicious of each other. A recent period of warmer relations raised hopes they could work together to lure the Taliban to negotiations.
Aziz Khan, a former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan, said it was not right to pin all the blame on Karzai.
“Everyone is hedging their bets at this point: the Pakistanis, the US, the Afghan government and the Taliban,” he said. “No one has been clear about what they want in Afghanistan.”
Although Pakistan will maintain contacts with Karzai, it is stepping up engagements with opposition figures, the Taliban, Washington and other parties to promote reconciliation, Foreign Ministry officials said.
“There is no other option but reconciliation – with or without Karzai,” said the top Foreign Ministry official. “If he continues to be this stubborn, him and his High Peace Council will naturally be sidelined.”
Afghan Say Karzai Committed to Peace
A second senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry official cited several examples of how Karzai has blocked peace efforts. At a conference in January, for example, Karzai insisted there would be no more “back door” peace contacts.
The official also accused Karzai of delaying the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar that could be used in the reconciliation efforts. He did not say why.
Afghan officials say Karzai is fully committed to the peace process, but wants to ensure it is Afghan-driven.
Responding to the accusation that Karzai is an obstacle to peace, an Afghan government official said: “We totally reject this. It is a baseless allegation.”
Analysts say Pakistan has a long-standing fear of an Afghan government close to its old foe, India. Karzai has said “no foreign elements or entities should attempt to own Afghan peace efforts”. He also warned: “I am not going to allow other attempts to succeed.”
So far, Karzai has failed to secure direct talks with the Taliban. He has repeatedly asked for Pakistan’s support. Pakistan has helped Taliban representatives to travel to Qatar to make contacts with US officials.
At the same time, Pakistan has been building bridges with the Northern Alliance, a constellation of anti-Taliban figures who have traditionally been implacable critics of Islamabad, and close to India.
But Kabul wants Pakistan to hand over top Afghan Taliban leaders which could prove useful in the peace process.
“All Taliban leadership are sitting in Pakistan. We need full cooperation of Pakistan in order for them to be allowed to travel and be allowed to talk,” Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul told a news conference in Sydney.
Karzai’s remarks during interviews and in meetings with Pakistani officials have led Islamabad to conclude he has become too inflexible. They cite Karzai’s recent accusation that the United States was colluding with the Taliban.
“What does Karzai have to show for his effort to bring insurgents to the table? We’ve released prisoners. We’ve facilitated talks,” said another senior Foreign Ministry official.
Late last year, Pakistan released more than two dozen Taliban prisoners who could help promote peace. It was the clearest signal ever that Pakistan had put its weight behind the Afghan reconciliation process.
Pakistan’s army chief has also made reconciling warring Afghan factions a priority, military sources say.
After the prisoner releases, Afghan officials said Pakistan shared Kabul’s goal of transforming the insurgency into a political movement. Such remarks signaled unprecedented optimism from Kabul.
“Joker In The Pack”
But despite that, old suspicions that Pakistan uses Afghan insurgents as proxies to counter the influence of India have not been laid to rest.
Some Afghan officials believe Pakistan may still be hedging its bets and that even the prisoner releases were just a way to retain influence over the Taliban.
“The key fact here is that Pakistan has been investing in this dirty game of trying to control Afghanistan for the last thirty years through terrorist proxies,” said a senior Afghan government official.
“It is now trying to reap the harvest of its investments by waiting for what they see as the inevitable complete departure of the international community from Afghanistan and keeping their proxy assets, primarily the Taliban, for the post-2014 period.”
During talks last month at British Prime Minister David Cameron’s official country residence, Chequers, Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari agreed to consult on future Afghan Taliban prisoner releases.
But Pakistani officials now complain that Karzai does not appreciate the goodwill gestures.
Another Pakistani Foreign Ministry official said the government was incensed by an interview Karzai gave to the British press after the Chequers meeting in which he said the peace process was being impeded by “external forces acting in the name of the Taliban”, a veiled reference to Islamabad.
So exasperated was Pakistan with Karzai that at a meeting this month between Zardari, the army chief and senior officials, one top leader described Karzai as “the joker in the pack”, according to an official who attended.
“He is trying to act as if he has many cards in his hands,” said the first Foreign Ministry official. “But he should realize he is only hurting his country.”
[Notice the red Saudi-colored headscarves.--SOURCE]
Agency Feeds Intelligence to Rebel Fighters, in Move That Deepens U.S. Involvement in Conflict
The Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its role in the campaign against the Syrian regime by feeding intelligence to select rebel fighters to use against government forces, current and former U.S. officials said.
The move is part of a U.S. effort to stem the rise of Islamist extremists in Syria by aiding secular forces, U.S. officials said, amid fears that the fall of President Bashar al-Assad would enable al Qaeda to flourish in Syria.
The expanded CIA role bolsters an effort by Western intelligence agencies to support the Syrian opposition with training in areas including weapons use, urban combat and countering spying by the regime.
The move comes as the al Nusra Front, the main al Qaeda-linked group operating in Syria, is deepening its ties to the terrorist organization’s central leadership in Pakistan, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials.
The provision of actionable intelligence to small rebel units which have been vetted by the CIA represents an increase in U.S. involvement in the two-year-old conflict, the officials said. The CIA would neither confirm nor deny any role in providing training or intelligence to the Syrian rebels.
The new aid to rebels doesn’t change the U.S. decision to not take direct military action. President Barack Obama last year rejected a CIA-backed proposal to provide arms to secular units fighting Mr. Assad, and on Friday he reiterated his argument that doing so could worsen the bloodshed.
He also warned that Mr. Assad’s fall could empower extremists. “I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism because extremists thrive in chaos, they thrive in failed states, they thrive in power vacuums,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Amman, Jordan.
The new CIA effort reflects a change in the administration’s approach that aims to strengthen secular rebel fighters in hope of influencing which groups dominate in post-Assad Syria, U.S., European and Arab officials said.
The CIA has sent officers to Turkey to help vet rebels that receive arms shipments from Gulf allies, but administration officials say the results have been mixed, citing concerns about weapons going to Islamists. In Iraq, the CIA has been directed by the White House to work with elite counterterrorism units to help the Iraqis counter the flow of al Qaeda-linked fighters across the border with Syria.
The West favors fighters aligned with the Free Syrian Army, which supports the Syrian Opposition Coalition political group.
Syrian opposition commanders said the CIA has been working with British, French and Jordanian intelligence services to train rebels on the use of various kinds of weapons. A senior Western official said the intelligence agencies are providing the rebels with urban combat training as well as teaching them how to properly use antitank weapons against Syrian bunkers.
The agencies are also teaching counterintelligence tactics to help prevent pro-Assad agents from infiltrating the opposition, the official said.
Among other U.S. activities on the margins of the conflict, the Pentagon is helping train Jordanian forces to counter the threat posed by Syria’s chemical weapons, but isn’t working directly with rebels, defense officials say.
The extent of the CIA effort to provide intelligence to Syrian rebels remains cloaked in secrecy. The U.S. has an array of intelligence capabilities in the region, mainly on the periphery of the conflict.
The U.S. uses satellites and other surveillance systems to collect intelligence on Syrian troop and aircraft movements as well as weapons depots. Officials say powerful radar arrays in Turkey are likewise used to track Syrian ballistic missiles and can pinpoint launch sites.
The U.S. also relies on Israeli and Jordanian spy agencies, which have extensive spy networks inside Syria, U.S. and European officials said.
The current level of intelligence sharing is limited in scope because the CIA doesn’t know whether it can fully trust fighters with the most sensitive types of information, several U.S. and European officials said. The CIA, for example, isn’t sharing information on where U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies believe the Syrian government keeps its chemical weapons, officials said.
Rebel leaders and some U.S. lawmakers say more robust U.S. support is needed to turn the tide in the civil war. These officials say the CIA’s current role comes as too little, too late to make a decisive difference in the war.
In a letter to Mr. Obama this week, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, joined Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in calling for the president to take “more active steps to stop the killing in Syria and force Bashar al-Assad to give up power.”
Sens. Levin and McCain urged the White House to consider using precision airstrikes to take out Mr. Assad’s air force and Scud missile batteries, among other military options.
The CIA got a green light from the White House last year to look for ways to provide limited support to the rebels, current and former officials said. But officials say the ramp-up has been slow, in part because of the difficulty of identifying reliable partners among the Syrian opposition to work with the U.S.
A senior U.S. official said the decision to provide actionable intelligence to vetted rebel units “shows that we’re working on the humanitarian level and the diplomatic level and on the intelligence level.”
“This would be a more direct level of engagement on the intelligence front,” the official added.
Officials said one of the advantages of providing actionable intelligence to rebel units is that such information is generally of operational use for a limited period because would-be targets move around the battlefield.
Arms, in contrast, can be used for years and passed between groups, reducing U.S. control over where they end up.
The shift in part reflects growing Israeli concerns about the limited ability of the U.S. to shape the outcome in Syria. In recent months, Israeli officials have privately pressed their European and American counterparts to strengthen secular forces in Syria because of concerns that the al Nusra Front will become more entrenched the longer the civil war drags on, according to Israeli and European officials.
Israeli officials are concerned that the U.S. reluctance to more directly intervene will limit Washington’s leverage in a post-Assad Syria. “Israel would welcome America’s influence in shaping the post-Assad Syria” said a senior Israeli official involved in deliberations on the neighboring Arab country.
U.S. and European officials said they fear that the al Nusra Front, which has seized control of swaths of northern Syria, could dominate the country once Mr. Assad falls.
U.S. counterterrorism officials said they have seen a growth in communications among operatives from al Nusra Front, al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan. Officials also report growing numbers of al Qaeda fighters traveling from Pakistan to Syria to join the fight with al Nusra.
The ties to al Qaeda’s central operations have become so significant that U.S. counterterrorism officials are debating whether al Nusra should now be considered its own al Qaeda affiliate instead of an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, as it has generally been viewed within the U.S. government, according to a person familiar with the debate.
Al Nusra is “an organization that resembles an army more than a quaint little terrorist group,” said Seth Jones, an al Qaeda specialist at the Rand Corp. think tank in Washington. “As this war drags on against Assad and as long as they are able to build up their capabilities, it’s going to make it all the more harder to target them once the regime falls.”
[Pakistan will never be free from the scourge of "Islamist" terrorism, as long as the Army is unwilling to round up all of the Lashkar Jhangvi, Sipah Sahaba, TTP sectarian terrorists which it has trained and let loose upon the unsuspecting Pakistani people. This commentary is total hogwash, in that the author claims that the solution to terrorism is adequate protection from the police. Nobody cares now if Shia are murdered by the dozens; why would that change? The mass-murderers of Pakistan target every congregation of poor people. Will there ever be enough police to protect all such meeting places? No. (I think that he is trying to inflate the importance of his former employers in this respect.) The Army still rules Pakistan, using the terrorist outfits to punish the people until they become amenable to military solutions. Do Pakistanis not yet realize the part that coddling terrorists played in the Sufi Mohhamad affair? The Army let him have his way in FATA, so that the people would understand what life under his false Wahhabi/Deobandi "Shariah" really meant. The romance of "jihad" quickly faded from their minds. Until the military has a free hand throughout Pakistan, political terrorism will continue. Look for a return of the real Dictator after his fellow officers pave the way for his return.]
THE military commanders have spoken. The message is loud and clear. The war against terrorism will go on.
“It was reiterated in unequivocal terms that a comprehensive strategy will be followed by the armed forces to combat the terrorist threat being faced by the country,” the principal military advisory body proclaimed after the recent Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee’s quarterly meeting. This military policy statement comes in the wake of two important developments. One, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) withdrew its peace talks offer on account of what it called the “non-serious attitude of security forces and the government”.
Second, while the federal and provincial chief executives were involved in a political tug-of-war over the establishment of caretaker governments, the military chose to fill this political void by raising a forceful voice against the threat of internal terrorism, in the process indirectly conceding that there was a serious civilian-military disconnect in pursuing a concerted policy and strategy on internal security issues during the last few years.
There is a clear message for the new caretaker governments that the armed forces want to pursue a “comprehensive strategy”, and that “all elements of national power would be utilised to combat and root out terrorism from the country”.
Another announcement by the military commanders pertains to their commitment to support and assist the Election Commission of Pakistan in the forthcoming elections.
It is an important promise that needs to be kept, especially in the wake of the TTP’s warning to the public to stay away from electoral activities as it regards elections as “un-Islamic”. It has also indicated that it will target “secular” politicians in the coming days.
Against this tense and grim scenario, the recent military declaration to combat and root out terrorism from our midst will come up against many road blocks and unexpected turbulence. This will happen especially if all the elements of national power are not engaged in this decisive phase against the terrorists and non-state actors who want to unravel the state of Pakistan.
Therefore, in the absence of political expediencies and compromises during the tenure of the interim caretaker governments, all state stakeholders dealing with national security need to forge a comprehensive policy framework. They must translate their resolve through determined and sustained counterterrorism operations so that the coming elections are not marred by violence and bloodshed.
All security agencies must realise that the great effectiveness multiplier in the use of state power against violence is the allegiance and support of the public.
It is hugely symbolic that 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai has returned to school in Birmingham for the first time after she was shot in the head by militants last October.
She represents the resilience of a young spirit and a beacon of hope for our society that is willing to incur sacrifices in the battle for the true spirit of faith.
Security experts firmly believe that capturing, killing, or imprisoning criminals who commit violent acts is possible only if the identification of perpetrators or targets is guided by precise intelligence.
The recent arrest of Qari Abdul Hayee, allegedly involved in the 2002 murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl, in Karachi is a case in point. The security and intelligence agencies finally succeeded in nabbing him through precise technical and human intelligence. The slain journalist’s family has hailed this arrest in a message from Los Angeles.
Similarly, intelligence-driven operations have led the Karachi police to apparently account for one of the killers of the respected social activist Parween Rahman and also trace and identify the culprits responsible for the sectarian carnage in Abbas Town.
Counterterrorism is primarily the responsibility of the police. Civil armed forces like the Rangers and Frontier Corps, intelligence agencies like Inter-Services Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau, and the military play a basically supporting role.
The police can prevent and control terrorism in three ways: one, by protecting vulnerable people and places on the basis of assessments of the likelihood of attack i.e. target hardening; two, by investigating, arresting and prosecuting terrorist suspects, thus providing deterrence against future attacks; and three, by taking pre-emptive action designed to stop attacks before they occur on the basis of intelligence.
The protection of people and places should be ensured by specially trained armed police. Their protective ability will be increased substantially if the public itself takes protective measures, such as being alert to suspicious activity, monitoring access to premises and installing surveillance equipment.
Neighbourhood watch schemes and additional deployment of private security companies can be helpful. Police need to be able to work cooperatively with the private sector, coordinating activities and sharing information.
The key to the successful prosecution of terrorist suspects is reliable testimony from perpetrators, accomplices and witnesses. Recent legislation should make the police less dependent on public assistance as now they are allowed to submit evidence collected by covert means. However, supervisory officers need to make sure that no human rights violations take place while collecting such vital evidence.
Specialised counterterrorism segments of both the federal and provincial police departments should now play a greater role in achieving success against the terrorists.
The National Counter Terrorism Authority should achieve better coordination among all the state agencies dealing with terrorism. The ISI should have a legal framework to monitor and foil the designs of terrorists using our soil for refuge or to launch nefarious activities.
Joint interrogation teams should be notified by the interior ministry and home departments to assist the provincial crime investigation departments in finalising investigations against those accused of being involved in acts of terrorism.
All the law enforcement agencies, especially the police, can gain public trust and support on account of their professionalism, integrity, courage and total impartiality if the war against terrorism is to be won. Failure is not an option if we are to survive as a nation.
The writer is a retired police officer.
[Gen. Kelly warns about possible Iranian terrorism merging with drug cartels in Central and South America. At the nexus of terrorism and drug traficking you will always find the CIA.]
CIA Torture Jet crashed with 4 Tons of COCAINE, September 24, 2007
A Gulfstream II jet that crash landed in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in late September bearing a load of nearly four tons of cocaine. This particular Gulfstream II (tail number N987SA), was used between 2003 and 2005 by the CIA for at least three trips between the U.S. east coast and Guantanamo Bay — home to the infamous “terrorist” prison camp — according to a number of press reports.
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 – A potential connection between crime syndicates and terrorists in Latin America would constitute a clear danger to the region, U.S. Southern Command’s senior leader told reporters at the Pentagon today.
Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly said the increase in Iranian influence in Latin America is worrisome, and an example of the peril that the combination of criminal networks and states that sponsor terrorism, like Iran, could pose.
Kelly, who took over U.S. Southern Command in November, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that in the past six years Iran has tried to increase its influence in Central and South America. The Iranian government, he said, has built embassies and cultural centers in the region.
“The concern is that … they’re looking … for influence — say for votes in the U.N. on sanctions,” he said. “But also, and I’ve … made mention to some of our friends in the region that these guys are very, very good at what they do, and very, very skilled at what they do, and that people should just be careful as to who they’re dealing with.”
The general stressed he is not accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism in Latin America, but he noted that Iran is involved in terrorism in other areas of the world.
“We do know that some terrorist organizations are able to skim off fairly substantial sums of money from the drug profits,” Kelly said. “And so there has to be kind of a network for that to happen.”
The criminal networks in Latin America are very sophisticated and very well financed, he said.
Drugs are the basis for this wealth and the drug-related money coming out of the United States “is astronomical,” Kelly said.
“I mean palettes of money,” he said. “For a buck, anything can get on the [drug transport] network.”
That network, Kelly said, transports tons of drugs into the United States and Europe and moves bales of money back out.
“The point of it all is the network is a very dangerous thing to have working as effectively as it does, because anything can get on it,” he said.
Kelly said his command is working to build military-to-military contacts throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The good news about Latin America and my part of the world is that there are no wars,” he said.
And most Latin American countries, including Brazil — the world’s fifth-largest economy — want the United States as a partner, Kelly said.
The countries of the region don’t ask for much, the general said.
“When I go down and visit, they’re not asking for an awful [lot] — they’re not asking for money,” Kelly said. “They’re willing to pay their own way.”
What the Latin American countries need is expertise, the general said. For example, Peru is asking for help in getting its separate military services to work together better. Colombia needs help in countering improvised explosive devices that the terror group FARC and criminal syndicates use to protect coca fields and factories. Other nations need medical expertise.
Turning to another topic, Kelly noted that sequestration will hit his command hard. He said there will be fewer vessels to interdict cocaine shipments, and fewer troops to operate with partner militaries.
[The Pentagon and CIA have both been running parellel drone assassination programs concurrently in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For some unknown reason, all drone attacks have been attributed to the CIA, even though no one outside of those two agencies really knows which drones carried-out the day's murders, or whether the war crimes were committed by piloted aircraft, or even whose air force that day's air assassins belonged to. It seems that the CIA is often blamed for PAF attacks within FATA. All terminator drone programs have been run out of US and Pakistani military bases. For Obama to think that he can hide the more repulsive, better publicized CIA murder program beneath or within the Pentagon's drone program, now that the political backlash against all drones is rapidly building, is ludicrous, although keeping within the parameters defined by the complete hypocrisy inherent in all of Obama's "innovative" approaches to continuing the evil wars of George Bush. All missile assassinations must end, as well as all illegal, criminal 'paramilitary" (terrorist) operations.]
At a time when controversy over the Obama administration’s drone program seems to be cresting, the CIA is close to taking a major step toward getting out of the targeted killing business. Three senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast that the White House is poised to sign off on a plan to shift the CIA’s lethal targeting program to the Defense Department.
In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
The move could potentially toughen the criteria for drone strikes, strengthen the program’s accountability, and increase transparency. Currently, the government maintains parallel drone programs, one housed in the CIA and the other run by DOD. The proposed plan would unify the command and control structure of targeted killings, and create a uniform set of rules and procedures. The CIA would maintain a role, but the military would have operational control over targeting. Lethal missions would take place under Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which governs military operations, rather than Title 50, which sets out the legal authorities for intelligence activities and covert operations. “This is a big deal,” says one senior administration official who has been briefed on the plan. “It would be a pretty strong statement.”
Officials anticipate a phased-in transition in which the CIA’s drone operations would be gradually shifted over to the military, a process that could take as little as a year. Others say it might take longer but would occur during President Obama’s second term. “You can’t just flip a switch, but it’s on a reasonably fast track,” says one U.S. official. During that time, CIA and DOD operators would begin to work more closely together to ensure a smooth hand-off. The CIA would remain involved in lethal targeting, at least on the intelligence side, but would not actually control the unmanned aerial vehicles. Officials told The Daily Beast that a potential downside of the Agency relinquishing control of the program was the loss of a decade of expertise that the CIA has developed since it has been prosecuting its war in Pakistan and beyond. At least for a period of transition, CIA operators would likely work alongside their military counterparts to target suspected terrorists.
The policy shift is part of a larger White House initiative known internally as “institutionalization,” an effort to set clear standards and procedures for lethal operations. More than a year in the works, the interagency process has been driven and led by John Brennan, who until he became CIA director earlier this month was Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. Brennan, who has presided over the administration’s drone program from almost day one of Obama’s presidency, has grown uncomfortable with the ad hoc and sometimes shifting rules that have governed it. Moreover, Brennan has publicly stated that he would like to see the CIA move away from the kinds of paramilitary operations it began after the September 11 attacks, and return to its more traditional role of gathering and analyzing intelligence.
Lately, Obama has signaled his own desire to place the drone program on a firmer legal footing, as well as to make it more transparent. He obliquely alluded to the classified program during his State of the Union address in January. “In the months ahead,” he declared, “I will continue to work with Congress to ensure that not only our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and systems of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”
Shortly after taking office, Obama dramatically ramped up the drone program, in part because the government’s targeting intelligence on the ground had vastly improved and because the precision technology was very much in line with the new commander-in-chief’s “light footprint” approach to dealing with terrorism. As the al Qaeda threat has metastasized, U.S. drone operations have spread to more remote, unconventional battlefields in places like Yemen and Somalia. With more strikes, there have been more alleged civilian casualties. Adding to the mounting pressure for the administration to provide a legal and ethical rationale for its targeting polices was the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior commander of al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, who also happened to be a U.S. citizen. (Two weeks later, his 16-year old son was killed in a drone strike, which U.S. officials have called an accident.) The recent nomination of Brennan to head the CIA became a kind of proxy battle over targeted killings and the administration’s reluctance to be more forthcoming about the covert program. At issue were a series of secret Justice Department legal opinions on targeted killing that the administration had refused to make public or turn over to Congress.
It looks like the White House may now be preparing to launch a campaign to counter the growing perception—with elites if not the majority of the public—that Obama is running a secretive and legally dubious killing machine. For weeks, though the White House has not confirmed it, administration officials have been whispering about the possibility that Obama would make a major speech about counterterrorism policy, including efforts to institutionalize—but also reform—the kinds of lethal operations that have been a hallmark of his war on terrorism. With an eye on posterity, Obama may feel the time has come to demonstrate publicly that his policies, for all of the criticism, have stayed within the law and American values. “Barack Obama has got to be concerned about his legacy,” says one former adviser. “He doesn’t want drones to become his Guantanamo.”
But for the president to step out publicly on the highly sensitive subject of targeted killings, he’s going to have to do more than simply give an eloquent speech. An initiative like shifting the CIA program to the military, as well as other aspects of the institutionalization plan, may be just what he needs.
How does the CIA’s targeted killing program differ from the military’s—and what are the implications of shifting one program into the other? Perhaps most important is that the CIA’s program is “covert”—which is to say it is not only highly classified, it’s deniable under the law. That means the CIA, in theory, can lie about the existence of the program or about particular operations. The military’s targeted killing program, however, is “clandestine”—which means it is secret but not deniable.
Losing its drone program will, at some level, be a blow to the CIA’s identity.
There are other important differences between how the two programs are run, especially the process by which killing decisions are made. Since the inception of the drone program, targeting decisions have been made inside the CIA with little or no input from other agencies, though the White House sometimes weighs in. In deciding who should be placed on its kill list, the military, on the other hand, subjects itself to robust interagency vetting, where officials and lawyers from across the national security bureaucracy weigh in on individual targeting “nominations.” While the CIA’s process is said to be extremely rigorous—in some ways even more rigorous than the military’s—the opportunity for, say, the State Department legal adviser to be heard on lethal activities adds an extra layer of accountability. With the CIA’s program moving to the Pentagon, DOD’s vetting procedures will prevail.
Another difference is the role of Obama himself. Upon taking office, Obama had decreed that he would sign off on individual kill or capture operations conducted by the military away from traditional battlefields; he does not, by contrast, sign off on all CIA strikes. (Obama’s sign-off authority on military drone strikes was a subject of contention during the recent Brennan-led internal reform process, according to a current and a former administration official. At one point, the military pushed hard to take the commander-in-chief out of the process. But the State Department and other agencies argued that letting the president call the shots was the ultimate form of accountability—and Obama ultimately retained his authority.)
There are other ways in which the military’s program is more constrained than the CIA’s. Typically, though not always, the military’s lethal activities occur under a congressional grant of authority in the context of an armed conflict. The CIA can resort to lethal force simply when the president issues a covert finding—one that the American people may never know about. Another key legal difference: the military considers itself bound by international law and specifically the laws of war. The CIA, on the other hand, has signaled that while it follows “all applicable law,” international law does not necessarily apply to all of its activities.
To be sure, even with these distinctions, it is not clear that the bureaucratic shift will usher in a new era of openness and accountability. For one thing, targeted killing operations will likely be run by the highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for shadow warriors like the Navy SEALs and DELTA Force. And while they run clandestine, rather than covert operations, JSOC is not known for its eagerness to advertise its operations with the press or Congress.
In fact, there’s at least a chance that the change could mean less congressional oversight rather than more. There’s nothing in the law that says the military has to brief congressional committees about its lethal activities. The CIA, on the other hand, is compelled under Title 50 to notify Congress of its intelligence activities. Says Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and former Justice Department official during the Bush administration: “Moving lethal drone operations exclusively to DOD might bring benefits. But DOD’s lethal operations are no less secretive than the CIA’s, and congressional oversight of DOD ops is significantly weaker” compared to congressional oversight of the CIA. (Still, as a matter of policy, the Obama administration has taken it upon itself to “back brief” Congress after any of its targeted killings away from conventional battlefields.)
Losing its drone program will, at some level, be a blow to the CIA’s identity. The program has given the Agency a prominent and—ironically—highly visible role in the terror wars. And the spies can take credit for severely degrading, if not decimating, al Qaeda’s core organization in Pakistan. At the same time, according to multiple officials, there has been relatively little pushback from the CIA’s top leadership. One reason might be a sense of relief that the CIA would no longer own such a controversial program. The more likely reason? The man who engineered the idea—John Brennan—is now in charge.
Klaidman, a former NEWSWEEK managing editor, is writing a book on President Obama and terrorism to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012.
For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at firstname.lastname@example.org.