Canadian leader provokes anger by closing Parliament

Canadian leader provokes anger by closing Parliament


By Ian Austen

OTTAWA: Canada’s parliamentary opposition reacted with outrage after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down the Legislature until Jan. 26, seeking to forestall a no-confidence vote that he was sure to lose and that might have provoked a constitutional crisis.

Harper acted Thursday after getting the approval of Governor General Michaëlle Jean, who represents Queen Elizabeth as the nation’s head of state. If his request had been rejected, he would have had to choose between stepping down or facing the no-confidence vote on Monday.

The opposition fiercely criticized the decision to suspend Parliament, accusing Harper of undermining the nation’s democracy.

“We have to say to Canadians, is this the kind of government you want?” said Bob Rae, a member of the opposition Liberal Party. “Do we want a party in place that is so undemocratic that it will not meet the House of Commons?”

That sentiment was echoed by constitutional scholars, who lamented that the governor general might have created a mechanism that future prime ministers could use to bypass the legislature when it seemed convenient.

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“This really has been a blow to parliamentary democracy in Canada,” said Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “It has lowered the status of the elected Parliament and raised the status of the unelected prime minister.”

Thursday’s events had their origins in a hotly contested election that Harper’s Conservative Party won less than two months ago without achieving a majority, leaving it vulnerable to challenge. In light of that and the growing economic turmoil, Harper pledged to work closely with the opposition in Parliament.

But when he presented a proposed budget last week it had none of the stimulus programs that the opposition had sought to help Canada’s sagging economy. The final insult for the main opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Liberals, was a provision that would eliminate public financing for political parties. They considered it a deliberate slap because Harper’s Conservative Party is currently far better financed than they are.

With that, they began scrambling to put together a coalition with the backing of the separatist Bloc Québécois to displace Harper’s government.

Harper said he suspended Parliament to allow time to put together a budget that he will introduce in January, and once again spoke in conciliatory terms, inviting the opposition to participate in the drafting. “Today’s decision will give us an opportunity – and I’m talking about all the parties – to focus on the economy and work together.”

But Stéphane Dion, who leads the Liberals and who would become the coalition’s prime minister, dismissed the idea of working with Harper and said the Conservatives’ budget was unlikely to satisfy the opposition’s economic demands.

“We do not want any more of his words; we don’t believe them,” Dion told reporters before the closed doors of the House of Commons.

“We want to see changes, monumental changes.”

Opposition leaders said they would continue to try to form a new coalition, and strongly criticized Harper’s attempt to thwart them.

“He’s put a lock on the door on the House of Commons,” Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democrats, told reporters. “He refuses to face the people of Canada through their elected representatives.” The past several days have been filled with political turmoil, as the Liberals and New Democrats worked together on a plan to form a coalition, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, to replace Harper’s Conservative-led government. Such a turn would also be unprecedented in Canadian politics.

The news of the parliamentary suspension came after a two-and-a-half hour long meeting in Ottawa between Harper and Jean, the governor general. Harper, speaking to reporters during snow flurries outside of Rideau Hall, the governor general’s official residence, said: “The public is very frustrated by the current situation in Parliament and we are all responsible for it.”

In contrast to the relative indifference to the elections two months ago, the current situation has provoked a passionate debate in the country online, in public and through radio call-in shows.

The issue has also inflamed old regional tensions. In Western Canada, the main base of support for the Conservatives, political commentators are arguing that the coalition is an attempt by more populous Ontario and Quebec to deny political influence to the West.

At the same time, many Quebecers, particularly French speakers, have been offended by Conservative suggestions that they have no interest in remaining a part of Canada. In the House of Commons, where debate is not always temperate, the political rhetoric has been particularly heated.

Some Conservative members are suggesting that the coalition members are near-traitors. “That is as close to treason and sedition as I can imagine,” Bob Dechert, a Conservative member said on Wednesday, echoing a refrain widely heard from callers to radio programs in Harper’s home province of Alberta.

Canada Lost 70,600 Jobs, Most Since ‘82, on Factories

Canada Lost 70,600 Jobs, Most Since ‘82, on Factories

By Greg Quinn

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Canadian employment fell by the most since 1982 in November, led by manufacturing, a sign the world’s eighth-largest economy is falling victim to a global recession.

Employers shed a net 70,600 workers, almost three times as many as economists anticipated, after a gain of 9,500 in October. The unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent the month before.

The figures come a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Parliament to prevent being toppled by opposition parties who say he hasn’t done enough to help an economy that may have already slipped into recession. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney will probably cut interest rates by half a point to 1.75 percent on Dec. 9, the lowest in more than 50 years, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“It makes a stronger case for the Bank of Canada to move 50 basis points” next week, said Millan Mulraine, an economics strategist at TD Securities Inc. in Toronto. “A case could be made they might do a bit more. Our official call is for 50, but central bankers have shown a willingness to do more.”

Factory owners slashed payrolls by 38,300 workers in November, the most since January 2006, and another 26,000 jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing. Employment in public administration fell by 26,700, after hiring in that sector jumped by 39,800 in October as Canada geared up for national elections on Oct. 14.

Currency Fell

The Canadian dollar weakened 1.5 percent to C$1.2950 per U.S. dollar at 9:28 a.m. in Toronto from C$1.2757 late yesterday.

The economy is suffering from weak demand in the U.S. and slumping prices for commodities such as oil and wheat, which generate about half the country’s export revenue. Automakers and forestry companies have been among the hardest hit.

Ontario, Canada’s manufacturing hub, fared the worst among provinces in November with a 66,000 net job loss. Ontario’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.1 percent from 6.5 percent in October, matching neighboring Quebec for the first time in more than three decades, Statistics Canada said.

Magna International Inc., North America’s largest auto- parts supplier, said Nov. 26 it will close two plants employing 850 workers in Ontario because of “difficult economic conditions” that have sapped vehicle production and demand.

Ontario Woes

Ontario’s job losses continued today, with Canadian Press reporting that General Motors Corp. plans to temporarily eliminate a 700-worker shift at an Oshawa plant in February. General Motors, Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. are seeking government loans to stay afloat and their plants in Ontario are among Canada’s biggest private employers.

Carney and Deputy Governor Pierre Duguay said in speeches last month that policy makers will likely need to cut the bank’s benchmark interest rate because risks to the economy “appear to have shifted to the downside.”

Gross domestic product in Canada will contract 1 percent in the current quarter and 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009, meeting the technical definition of a recession, according to government forecasts. Consumer spending is slowing and exports will probably decline next year on commodity prices and as U.S. and global demand wane.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Nov. 13 said there will be recessions in the U.S., Japan and the 15-nation euro zone economy next year.

U.S. Jobs

U.S. employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the fastest pace in 34 years, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 6.7 percent, leaving it above Canada’s for a second month. That hasn’t happened for two straight months since 1981.

Harper yesterday “prorogued” or shut down the country’s legislature for more than seven weeks in a bid to stave off a challenge from opposition parties seeking to bring down his government. Harper, re-elected in October, said Governor General Michaelle Jean, who acts as the country’s head of state, agreed to his request to close Parliament until Jan. 26.

The government’s first order of business will be a budget scheduled for Jan. 27, Harper said, calling on the opposition to work with his administration on a “stimulus” package for the ailing economy.

The political crisis was sparked Nov. 27 when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented a fiscal update that included cuts to funding for political parties, limited civil servants’ right to strike and failed to offer a stimulus package to spur economic growth. Three opposition parties said they would oppose the plan and banded together.

Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Rise to Record

Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Rise to Record

By Kathleen M. Howley

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — One in 10 Americans fell behind on their mortgage payments or were in foreclosure during the third quarter as the world’s largest economy shed jobs and real estate prices tumbled.

The share of mortgages 30 days or more overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.99 percent while loans already in foreclosure rose to 2.97 percent, both all-time highs in a survey that goes back 29 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report today. The gain in delinquencies was driven by an increase of loans with payments 90 days or more overdue.

“Until we see a turnaround in the job situation, we’re not going to see these numbers improve,” said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the Washington-based bankers group, in an interview. “We’re seeing more loans build up in the 90-days bucket as lenders work to modify loans and states put in place programs that delay foreclosures.”

The U.S. economy has shed 1.91 million jobs this year, while falling home prices have made it difficult for people who can’t pay their mortgages to sell their property. Payrolls declined in each month of 2008 through November, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

New foreclosures fell to 1.07 percent from 1.08 percent in the second quarter as some states enacted laws to temporarily stop home repossessions and lenders increased efforts to modify the terms of loans, Brinkmann said.

Home Sales Sink

“Some servicers keep a loan in a delinquent state until they see customers carrying through on their agreements, and then they’ll switch it to performing,” Brinkmann said.

U.S. home sales and prices began to tumble in 2006 after a five-year boom, dragging the economy into a recession that began in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The median home price in the fourth quarter probably will be $190,300, down 19 percent from the record $226,800 in 2006’s second quarter, according to a Nov. 24 forecast by Fannie Mae, the world’s largest mortgage buyer.

Purchases of existing homes in October slid to an annual rate of 4.98 million, lower than forecast, the National Association of Realtors said in a Nov. 24 report. The median price fell 11.3 percent from a year earlier, the most since the group began collecting data in 1968.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday urged using more taxpayer funds for new efforts to prevent home foreclosures, saying the private sector is incapable of coping with the crisis on its own.

Bernanke’s Plans

The Fed chief outlined four possible options, including buying delinquent mortgages and providing bigger incentives for refinancing loans. He called for addressing the “apparent market failure” where lenders aren’t modifying mortgages even in cases where it’s in their own economic interest to do so.

Bernanke’s proposed changes would go beyond those announced last month by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston, who oversees the FHA. The agency will change the amount of the loan a lender must forgive and allow banks to extend the payback time of a mortgage.

The bankers’ report cites percentages without providing the number of mortgages. The U.S. had $11.3 trillion of outstanding home loans at the end of June, according to Federal Reserve data. Mortgage lending fell to $80.8 billion in the second quarter, down from $764 billion a year earlier, the Fed said.

The Mortgage Bankers report is based on a survey of 45.5 million loans by mortgage companies, commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions and other financial institutions.

U.S. jobs losses highest in 34 years

U.S. jobs losses highest in 34 years

New figures from the U.S. Department of Labor reveal that the nation’s employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, sending the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent.

That’s the biggest monthly spike in job losses in 34 years, and it was much higher than the 320,000 job cuts economists were expecting.

The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 6.5 percent in October. At 6.7 percent now, unemployment is at a 15-year high.

According to the Labor Department, the job losses were spread across industries, from factories to financial firms to retailers. Sectors that showed increases in employment during November were education, health and government.

In San Antonio, unemployment rose slightly, to 5.1 percent, at of the end of October. In September, unemployment stood at 5.0 percent.

Blackwater joins fight against sea piracy

blackwater Motor Vessel McArthur

Blackwater joins fight against sea piracy

(Contact)
Thursday,

Blackwater’s executive vice president. “We have been contacted by ship owners who say they need our help in making sure those goods get to their destination safely. The McArthur can help us accomplish that.”

The International Maritime Bureau estimated that more than 100 ships have been attacked off Somalia alone since January. A total of 14 ships and 250 crew members are still being held for ransom.

Among them, the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star and its cargo worth more than $100 million are still being held. The ship and its 25-member crew were seized on Nov. 14.

Just this week, pirates fired on a U.S. cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers as it steamed across the Gulf of Aden on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said more than 70 companies, including shipping and insurance firms, have contacted the security specialists for information on the McArthur, although she did not elaborate. She said meetings are taking place this week in London to explain to those interested what the company can provide.

“More than 70 different companies have reached out to find out our capabilities,” she said.

As a company with a 50,000-person database of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater says it is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere.

Formerly known as Blackwater USA and founded in 1997 by former U.S. Navy SEAL members Erik Prince and Al Clark, the company recently focused on expanding operations and services, and acquired the McArthur for use in combating terrorists and for special missions.

The refurbished ship has what the company has described as state-of-the-art navigation systems, full Global Maritime Distress and Safety System communications, SEATEL broadband satellite communications, dedicated command and control battlefield air support, helicopter decks, a hospital, multiple support vessel capabilities, and a crew of 45 highly trained personnel.

Formerly a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel, the McArthur was put in service in 1966 and decommissioned in 2003. Reconfigured and modified in 2006, the ship is now considered a Blackwater Worldwide maritime security support craft. Blackwater´s aviation affiliate can provide the helicopters, pilots and maintenance required to support escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.

Company spokesmen said the dramatic increase of pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden had led to parallel cost increases for the shipping industry, resulting in 10-fold insurance increases this year alone. They said that with the added danger pay offered to crews willing to make the journey, pirate ransom demands that reach into the millions, and lengthy negotiations for hijacked ships, if left unaddressed the cost of the piracy boom to the shipping industry — and consumers buying their goods — will only increase.

“Some shippers have taken the step of arming their crews, or hiring private security to ride on board cargo ships,” the company said. “Rather than having armed guards on a cargo vessel, the McArthur´s ability to accompany a ship and deploy helicopters to patrol the area provides a safer option for the shipping industry.

The McArthur is a multipurpose maritime vessel designed to support military and law enforcement training, peacekeeping, and stability operations worldwide.

Blackwater Worldwide is the largest of the State Department’s three private security contractors. Of the 987 contractors Blackwater provides, 744 are U.S. citizens. At least 90 percent of its revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts. The company is currently contracted by the U.S. government to provide security services in the Iraq war.

Twenty-seven Blackwater employees have been killed during various security missions in Iraq. In March 2004, four Blackwater employees were ambushed and killed in Fallujah, and their bodies were hanged on bridges.

In September 2007, Blackwater employees in Baghdad fatally shot 17 Iraqis, at least 14 of whom were killed “without cause” according to the FBI. Witnesses told investigators the attack was unprovoked, although Blackwater maintained that its guards were under attack and responded accordingly.

The Iraqi government initially said it expected to refer criminal charges to its courts in connection with the incident, but in October 2007 immunity from prosecution was granted by the State Department. While the Justice Department said any immunity deals offered to Blackwater employees were invalid, legal experts have said the U.S. government is unlikely to allow a trial in the Iraqi courts, because there is little confidence that trials would be fair.

Liar, Liar!! Barack Obama’s Secretary of War

gates

Liar, Liar!! Barack Obama’s Secretary of War

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

with less than 5% of the world’s population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military

Until 1947, the United States habitually told the truth about at least one thing. The job title of the Pentagon’s highest ranking civilian was the Secretary of War. But the recent slaughter of tens of millions in the Second World War had given the Pentagon’s real function a bad name. So Democrat Harry Truman rebranded the Department of War, naming it the Department of Defense.  From that day, the Secretary of War became the Secretary of Defense. War plants, war expenditures and bloodthirsty war industries became more benign-sounding defense plants, the defense expenditures and the patriotic defense industry.

Today, with less than 5% of the world’s population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military, including a network of more than 725 bases in a hundred foreign countries. The bucks that pay for US Marines in Somalia, for B-52s in the Indian Ocean, nuclear-armed fleets in the Persian Gulf and much more don’t come out of any imperial war budget. They’re part of the national defense budget.

In that spirit, the president-elect has named what the media are calling his “national defense team”. The new Secretary of War is the same as the old one. He’ll be Robert Gates, a Reaganite and Bush family operative who has headed the Department of War since 2006.

If this were a just society, rather than looking at another year or two in the president’s cabinet, Robert Gates would be well into serving a long stretch for war crimes and lying to Congress. It’s really that serious. When officials in the CIA and other intelligence agencies, or high ranking military and civilian suits at the Pentagon lie to us, it’s not in the same league as a big city mayorfibbing about text messages on his cell phone or how some contract was awarded. When War Department and intelligence officials in and out of uniform lie, it’s about who and how many are, have been, or will be killed. They lie about why they died or will die, and at whose hands. They aren’t above lying about contracts either.

Robert Gates has been lying about matters of life, death and empire for a long time. A National Security Administration staffer in the Carter administration, Gates appears to have been involved in the October Surprise, helping delay the release of US hostages by Iran in order to damage the re-election chances of Jimmy Carter in 1980. When Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey was tapped to head the CIA, Robert Gates was part of the new team. Casey promoted Gates to head of CIA’s analytical division and later to deputy CIA director because of his willingness to embellish and fabricate intelligence saying what policymakers wanted to hear. In a recent Baltimore Sun article worth reading in its entirety, Robert Parry quotes former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman as saying

Gates consistently told his analysts to make sure never to ‘stick your finger in the eye of the policymaker.

It didn’t take long for the winds of politicization to blow through the halls of CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.

Bill Casey and Bob Gates guided the first institutionalized ‘cooking of the books’ at the CIA in the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on tailoring intelligence dealing with the Soviet Union, Central America, and Southwest Asia,’ Goodman wrote.

Casey’s first NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] as CIA director, dealing with the Soviet Union and international terrorism, became an exercise in politicization. Casey and Gates pushed this line in order to justify more U.S. covert action in the Third World.

In 1985, they ordered an intelligence assessment of a supposed Soviet plot against the Pope, hoping to produce a document that would undermine Secretary of State [George] Shultz’s efforts to improve relations with Moscow. The CIA also produced an NIE in 1985 that was designed to produce an intelligence rationale for arms sales to Iran.”

When congressional Democrats in 1993 refused to pursue investigations of Iran-contra and other off-the-books intelligence operations Gates must have breathed a sigh of relief

It’s pretty certain that Robert Gates has lied each and every time he has been sworn in before Congress. His lies have cost the lives of many tens of thousands, and obscured the reasons for their deaths. When Ronald Reagan declared that Nicaragua, a country with the population of Philadelphia (minus the suburbs) and fewer than two functioning elevators constituted a military threat to the US, this was the work of Robert Gates. The US intervention in Central America cost at least 30,000 lives in Nicaragua alone. Gates was also at the center of US provision of arms and intelligence to both Iraq and Iran as they fought a seven year war that killed two million people. He orchestrated intelligence reports that deliberately exaggerated Soviet military expenditures and threat posture to justify Reagan’s rant about meeting the menace of the “Evil Empire” and his unheard of increase in US War Department spending. After serving as CIA director under the first president Bush in 1991 where he remained well into the Clinton administration.

When congressional Democrats in 1993 refused to pursue investigations of Iran-contra and other off-the-books intelligence operations Gates must have breathed a sigh of relief. He remained at CIA until well into Clinton’s first year, and eventually sought the help of the Bush family in getting named president of Texas A&M.

The second Bush administration asked Gates to serve on its Iraq Study Commission, which advocated permanent bases, the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the maintenance of tens of thousands of US troops in-country for the foreseeable future. From there, Gates was named deputy, and eventually successor to Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of War. As late as last year, when Alan Greenspan admitted what everybody has always known, that the Iraq war was about the oil, stupid, Gates ran to the press to say:

I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don’t believe it’s true.”

“I think that it’s really about stability in the Gulf. It’s about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. It’s about aggressive dictators,” Gates said.

“After all, Saddam Hussein launched wars against several of his neighbors,” Gates said. “He was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.”

Sure he’s lying. But it’s supposed to be OK. Robert Gates is, after all, a lifetime member of the nation’s bipartisan foreign policy elite. He could have been just following orders, and his orders at the time were to protect his boss George Bush. Although he took sides against his boss Jimmy Carter back in the day, maybe Gates has learned his lesson. Maybe now the Secretary of War will lie to us with his old Reagan-era enthusiasm on behalf of his new boss Barack Obama. Or maybe not. The question is, whether Robert Gates is lying for his current, his past or his future bosses, as long as his lips are moving in public, who’s the winner? Not peace, not democracy. Not change, and certainly not the legacy of Dr. King, whose mantle Barack Obama dons at every opportune moment.

Not a few Obama supporters are wringing their hands at the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, according to its own web site, has fewer than 5,000 employees. But the Department of War employs more than two million uniformed personnel, hundreds of thousands of civilians, an undisclosed six figure number of armed mercenaries, and thousands of contractors with millions more employees. The Pentagon disposes of tens or hundreds of billions in secret budgets which are accountable to nobody, not even Congress, and it fields at least half a dozen intelligence agencies, along with a far-flung network of secret prisons and torturers to staff them. It’s not hard to see where the real power is, and where it will remain despite the new administration’s promise of “change”. The only question remaining is how this vast, unaccountable and fundamentally anti-democratic machinery will be employed by the new administration. Here’s a clue.

Journalist I.F. Stone reminded us half a century ago that ‘all governments lie.’

Millions of Barack Obama’s voters are under the impression that he will speedily withdraw US troops from Iraq. For them, the appointment of Robert Gates is not a good sign, but it is consistent with the gap between what Obama’s most ardent supporters persuade themselves that they hear, and what the president-elect and his advisors have actually said all along. As the New York Times admitted last week.

…While Mr. Obama’s most heartfelt supporters in the antiwar movement may have heard “end the war” as a promise to end the American troop presence in Iraq in 16 months, the president-elect has spoken only of a timeline for withdrawing combat troops, not all American forces.

Fifteen American combat brigades are in Iraq, but the total number of American troops there amounts to the equivalent of more than 50 brigades, including forces there on missions to support, supply, transport, protect and care for the combat forces, and train and support the Iraqi security forces, which would be expected to continue at least through 2011…

Some Army planners predict that 30,000 to 50,000 — and as many as 70,000 — American troops will remain in support and training missions well into late 2011, and beyond, should the Iraqis invite them.

Pegging the US force in Iraq at 50 brigades leaves out a nearly equivalent number of mercenaries. If their number is only half that of US uniformed troops, we’re looking at the equivalent of 75 brigades. President-elect Obama pledges to withdraw 15 of these, and only if conditions permit, if the Iraqis “step up”, if commanders on the ground think it’s wise, and so on.

Clearly there will have to be a lot more lies told before this is over. Perhaps the president-elect believes he needs a brazen and proficient lying bureaucrat at the War Department. But is this what the American people need? Is this what they voted for?

Journalist I.F. Stone reminded us a half century ago that “all governments lie”. But chances are, he didn’t mean this the way some of the president-elect’s supporters will, as a reason to excuse rather than oppose whatever lies our First Black President and his appointees are inclined to tell us — for our own good, of course. If we still have principles, souls and backbones of our own, we must always question and we can never excuse lies told us for the sake of empire, no matter who tells them.

If any glimmer of an independent movement for peace and justice still exists, it’s time for us to engage in our own rebranding exercise. Activists who aim to carry on the work of Dr. King and the movement he led must take the lead in de-legitimizing the institutions that exist to lie and deceive us along with their functionaries. It’ll be easy. All we have to do is tell the truth, and demand the truth from our government. As a beginning, we should insist on calling Mr. Robert Gates exactly what he is in all our conversations, our articles, emails and blogs, our ordinary public and private discourse. He is the Secretary of War. And a career liar.

Atlanta-based Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.


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Indian Group – Al Qaeda Is CIA-Mossad Front

Indian Group – Al Qaeda Is CIA-Mossad Front

Al-Qaeda is a front organization of CIA and MOSSAD

says Mumbai based group of intellectuals and human rights activists

India Daily

12-4-8

The Mumbai based group alleged that Al-Qaeda is a front organization of CIA and MOSSAD. “There is enough evidence that the Al-Qaeda is a front organization of the CIA and MOSSAD. The Bush junta has used the bogey of terror and of Al Qaeda to justify his unending and ever expanding Global War on Terror, which is only a means of capturing the resources of the world and of establishing the sole hegemony of Israel in West Asia,” said the group of activists and intellectuals. The group is holding a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday to “expose the links between Al-Qaeda and the CIA-MOSSAD”.

Holding American-Israeli operation accomplices of the 9/11 attack on the WTC, the spokesman of the group said that this has been widely written about in USA and Europe itself and more than 50% of the American people and far more Europeans, now believe and are convinced about this fact. He said that sections of the Indian ruling political and military elite are importing the same Bush-Olmert formula into India. “The increasing terror attacks only serve the cause of the Indian elite and divide the masses along communal lines. It is only the ordinary Indians who are the victims of terror either in temples, mosques, buses or trains,” he said adding that practically no political leader suffers a similar fate, where the terrorists are apprehended and killed in “encounters”.

“Every terror attack is meant to push and drag the Indian masses further into the waiting arms of Uncle Sam and the Israeli Goliath. Every terror attack spreads further hatred for Muslims and Islam and weakens the Indian Muslim community,” he said.

http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/17121.asp

Season Of Giving Or Season Of Killing

Season Of Giving Or Season Of Killing


By Mohammed Daud Miraki, PhD

12-5-8

With the Christmas around the corner, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus (Peace Be upon Him) as a period of benevolence and giving. Indeed, as some Christians practice the season of giving and benevolence, others turned it into a season of killing. I called it a season of killing as thousands of Afghans face death and destruction from US-NATO bombing and forced to abandon their villages and become internally displaced only to face imminent death.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health 1.6 million children under the age of 5 and 625000 child bearing age women are at risk of dying from variety of reasons including lack of food and shelter for those internal displacement due to bombing by US-NATO forces. While people in the US and Europe celebrate the birthday of Jesus (PBUH) the people of Afghanistan mourn the death of their beautiful children and women. That is why, for the Afghans it is the season of killing when the rest of world enjoy the season of giving, Afghans are forced to receive death and destruction in part at the hands of those that supposedly believe in the season of giving.

While the American children receive the gifts they desire, Afghan children lose their limbs and lives and cry after a piece of bread. Many children wait for their fathers to take them shopping only to have their fathers return home dead soaked in blood. Last week, 5 children waited for their father, Nafay, to take them shopping for shoes. The children were excited since the EID holiday is approaching this coming Monday, their excitement turned into an unbearable pain of seeing their father shot many times by US forces. These children will remain without a father with no one there to care for them during winter or to sustain them. That was the gift they received during the season of giving-Christmas; for them, it is the season of killing.

While you the good people of the world celebrate your season of giving-Christmas, the parents of Afghanistan have to witness the death of their children due to extreme cold, hunger and contamination by uranium munitions caused by the relentless bombing carried out on daily basis by US-NATO forces. These internally displaced Afghans are forced to abandon their villages after their villages are bombed.

Since these camps are makeshift camps and lack even the most primitive tents, when it rains or snows, the few household items they were able to carry with them are soaked wet. These poor souls have to sleep in their beds. The elderly and children are stricken with pneumonia and other dreadful illnesses. The result is most obvious when one visits these camps, a painful sight of large number of graves signaling the painful departures of their young ones.

I hope that the good people here in the West turn the season of killing experienced by Afghans, living the most dreadful thing that no parent anywhere wants to experience seeing their children losing their last breath. If you like these poor people see another side of America and the West, help them by donating at http://www.afghanistanafterdemocracy.com or contact me at mdmiraki@ameritech.net I have appealed for these poor people in my previous piece “Internally Displaced Afghans and Imminent Death” at http://www.rense.com/general84/intt.htm

Care to keep it a season of giving?

Mohammed Daud Miraki, PhD

http://www.afghanistanafterdemocracy.com

mdmiraki@ameritech.net

5347 North Ravenswood Ave

Chicago, IL 60640

Defections hit Afghan forces

Defections hit Afghan forces

Afghan security forces are tasked with battling a resurgent Taliban  [EPA]

After fighting the Taliban for the past seven years, many working for the Afghan security forces are now switching sides.

Sulieman Ameri and his 16 men were until a month ago serving the Afghan government as police patrolling the border with Iran.

Now they answer to the Taliban and their goal is to drive all foreign troops out of Afghanistan.

Ameri, now a Taliban commander, told Al Jazeera that he joined the Taliban because of what he called anti-Muslim behaviour by international soldiers.

“I have seen everything with my own eyes, I have seen prostitution, I have seen them drinking alcohol. We are Muslim and therefore jihad is our obligation,” Ameri said in the mountains south of Herat.

“Our soil is occupied by Americans and I want them to leave this country. That is my only goal,” he added.

‘Respectful behaviour’

Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette, a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, said Isaf troops were “behaving in the most respectful way”.

“I have no specific information about any activity that would have happened in Herat but I know for sure that the Taliban and other insurgents are conducting a propaganda campaign against us. And I can confirm to you that our troops are behaving in the most respectful way,” he told Al Jazeera.

The UN has warned that the Taliban’s
influence is spreading [EPA]

“Anytime that I would hear that somebody is joining the insurgency I think it is bad news because we know the Taliban are offering nothing for the future of this country,” he said.

But Ameri and his men are not the only renegade government forces – some 70 police and soldiers have switched allegiances across the western region in the past two months.

Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan, reporting from Afghanistan, said “low wages for a dangerous jobs” did not seem to be the reason behind the desertions.

Instead, they deserted for ideological reasons, Nolan explained.

“When Russia came it was only one country, today we have 24 foreign infidel countries on our soil. All our men and women should come and join the jihad,” Fida Mohammad, a new Taliban recruit, told Al Jazeera.

‘Infidel’ training

But though they reject the “infidels”, they are not averse to receiving weapons or military training from them.

The recruits – so fresh that many have not yet grown their beards, while some are still smoking, a practice banned by the Taliban – carry weapons provided by the Afghan government and certificates for weapons training by the US.

Abdul Rahim, another new recruit, said he received training from American military contractor Blackwater for 45 days.

“I can use the training to save my life in these mountains and I can also use it to fight them,” he said.

The switch in allegiances comes as the UN special envoy to Afghanistan warned on Tuesday that the Taliban’s influence continues to spread beyond traditional strongholds to provinces around the capital, Kabul.

Kai Eide also told the UN Security Council that Taliban attacks – at a six-year high – would probably grow in the coming weeks instead of easing, as they have in previous winters.

“We should be prepared for a situation where the insurgency will not experience the same winter lull, the same reduction in hostilities we have experienced in past winters,” he said.

Eide added that attacks against humanitarian workers had also increased.

Abdul Hakim Ashir, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, denied that a high number of police officers had defected.

“I strongly refuse that 70 people [have defected to the Taliban] because this year we lost only 10 officers who maybe joined the Taliban,”

“We have increased the number of officers from 61,000 to 82,000 this year. The police recruitment process is going very well. Those from the young generation especially are joining the police forces.

“Over the last month, we have graduated 2,000 non-commissioned officers. That means there has been an increase and not a decrease in the police force.”

Neocon Advisor Ties Mumbai Terrorists to ISI

Terrorists linked to Pak intelligence: Obama aide

Friday, 05 December , 2008, 12:20
Last Updated: Friday, 05 December , 2008, 16:06

 

Obama aide

Washington: US President-elect Barack Obama’s adviser on South Asian affairs, Bruce Riedel, has alleged that the terrorists who carried out last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai were professionals and had links to Pakistani intelligence agencies.

“If there’s anything that is a 64 million dollar question today,” it is finding out the “extent of its (Lashkar-e-Toiba) current ties to the Pakistani intelligence service,” the Dawn quoted Riedel as saying during a discussion hosted by Brookings Institution on “Mumbai Terrorist Attacks: A Challenge for India and the World”.

‘Former Pak army officials trained Mumbai attackers’

In an interview to CNN earlier this week, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said the attacks were executed by “non-state actors” and rejected the suggestion that Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved.

But Riedel, a former CIA official and now a member of Obama’s policy working group on national security, said it’s difficult to believe the Pakistan Government’s assertions “given the size of its (LeT) activities in Pakistan”.

Riedel also backed claims by other American officials that global terrorist networks like Al Qaeda were also involved in the attacks.

India has sought only three suspects: Pak

“The evidence is already pretty clear that this attack had links to the global jihad and that those involved in it were going after the targets of the global jihad,” he said.

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said many times “‘the Islamic world is under threat from a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu alliance,” Riedel said.

“We saw it demonstrated in Mumbai, terrorists who were going after exactly those targets — Americans, Israelis and, of course, Indians,” he said.

No military standoff between India, Pak: Rice

“This was an extraordinarily sophisticated and complex plot,” Riedel said.

26/11 bags had 4 times more RDX than 7/11 blasts

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26/11 bags had 4 times more RDX than 7/11 blasts

By: Ketan Ranga

Mumbai: The 10 terrorists that landed in Mumbai last week had sinister plans that surpass all norms of humanity. Not only was each terrorist armed to the teeth with automatic guns and grenades, but each one was also carrying a bag loaded with an 8-kg RDX bomb. That is 80kg of RDX, the highest tally ever to be used in India.

In the 1993 blasts that shook the city’s foundations, killing 257 people, 27kg of RDX was used in the improvised explosive devices, while in the 7/11 blasts 20kg RDX was stuffed in 7 bags. The death toll was 188, and over 800 were injured in the train blasts.

According to police, it was LeT commando Zakhir-ul-Rehman, who had trained the terrorists to carry out the attack on Mumbai.

Of the 10 bombs that were planted on November 26, only four went off, while the other six were defused. The last two bombs in that series were recovered from the storage room at CST on Wednesday.

Two bombs went off in taxis, one at Vile Parle and another at Dockyard Road. One bomb blew up in the Taj Hotel and one at Nariman House. Later, two bombs were defused at the Taj, two at CST, one at the Oberoi-Trident Hotel and one near Leopold Cafe.

Luggage not cleared at Taj

Even a week after the terrorist attack, authorities have not been able to clear the belongings of guests staying in the tower wing of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. The hotel management has invited guests to fill-up a recovery form (available on the website) listing the personal belongings that were left behind in their respective rooms.

Meanwhile, the Oberoi-Trident Hotel has begun releasing the belongings of guests at the hotel. Guests can approach the hotel between 9 am to 6 pm or call the helpline (66324343).

Baby Moshe’s nanny recalls Nariman horrror

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Baby Moshe’s nanny recalls Nariman horrror

Jerusalem: The world knows her as the daring nanny who, clutching a two-year-old boy, pushed past the havoc in a terrorised Mumbai and risked her life to keep the toddler safe.

But Sandra Samuel sees no heroism in her actions amid last week’s terror attacks on India’s financial capital that killed nearly 180 people — including baby Moshe’s parents, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. She only wishes she could have done more.

“Even today, I am thinking I should have sent the baby and done something for the rabbi and his wife,” Samuel told CNN in an exclusive television interview in Israel, where she now lives.

Samuel and Moshe were among the few to make it out of the Chabad House alive after gunmen stormed the Jewish center, killing the Holtzbergs and four others.

Israel’s Chabad movement has set up a fund to provide for Moshe’s care. He is being looked after by members of the community, although who will serve as his guardian has not yet been established.

The nanny says she came face to face with a gunman late Wednesday, the first night of the siege. “I saw one man was shooting at me — he shot at me.”

She slammed a door and hid in a first-floor storage room and attempted to reach the rabbi and the others on the second floor.

Overnight, Samuel frantically tried to call for help as gunfire and grenade blasts shook the Chabad House.

Samuel says she emerged early the next afternoon, when she heard Moshe calling for her. She found the child crying as he stood between his parents, who she says appeared unconscious but still alive.

Based on the marks on Moshe’s back, she believes he was struck so hard by a gunman that he fell unconscious at some point as well.

“First thing is that a baby is very important for me and this baby is something very precious to me and that’s what made me just not think anything — just pick up the baby and run,” Samuel said.

“When I hear gunshot, it’s not one or 20. It’s like a hundred gunshots,” she added. “Even I’m a mother of two children so I just pick up the baby and run. Does anyone think of dying at the moment when there’s a small, precious baby?”

Outside, chaos flooded the streets as people tried to make sense of the massacre that killed at least 179 people and wounded 300 others. Ultimately, she and Moshe reached safety at the home of an Israeli consul before arriving in Israel, where she is considered a hero.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Moshe asked for his mother continuously, Samuel says, and he is learning to play again — though he likes the nanny close by. And while she still has nightmares of the horrific siege that took hold of Mumbai, Samuel, a non-Jew and native of India, said she will stay in Israel for as long as Moshe needs her.

“Yes, yes, they said it is important I am here,” she said. “Me, I just take care of the baby.”

LeT not a creation of ISI, says US military expert

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LeT not a creation of ISI, says US military expert

Shishir Prasad

H John Poole is Marine combat veteran of Vietnam, specialising in small unit and individual tactics. He rose to the rank of a Gunnery Sergeant (Gunny), a high rank among Marines.

He has written a series of books on tactics and strategies in commando warfare. Two of his books Tactics of the crescent moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods and Militant Tricks: Battlefield Ruses of the Islamic Insurgent became required reading for Special Forces soldiers in Iraq. Poole, in an email interview, placed the Mumbai attacks in a strategic affairs context and also talked about why Islamic militants aren’t the only source of worry for India.

Question: Should India act against Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks?

Answer: Pakistan’s current government is much more trustworthy than the last one. While the ISI may have formerly used LeT as a proxy in Kashmir, this may or may not still be going on. Even if it were, that does not mean the ISI is behind the Mumbai attack.

LeT is radical enough to do this on its own, or even to do it for the right price from a third party. The real threat to India appears to be the Chinese Communist inspired Naxalite rebellion on your east coast. Now that Nepal has officially joined the Chinese camp, there will be more subversion in both Bangladesh and Northeastern India to acquire full access to a warm water port.

Question: But why shouldn’t we react because the captured terrorist has admitted that they were all Lasher-e-Taiba recruits?

Answer: Okay to say LeT did it, just don’t automatically infer a rogue ISI connection or Pak government complicity. LeT has been improperly reported by US media to be a creation of the ISI. That’s not what my research shows.

The US State Dept.’s Patterns of Global Terrorism claims it to be the armed wing of MDI, a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989. For several years now, MDI has gone by the name of Jamaat-ul-Dawa and LeT by the name of Khairus Naas.

Question: Why were the US and British citizens the prime targets in the attack on Mumbai?

Answer: I suspect it was to further the mistaken belief within the US that militant Muslims are their only enemy. For anyone who has closely followed events in Africa and Latin America, it’s clear that the Chinese are profiting from the monopoly on natural resources that destabilization brings. In Africa, the best examples are in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Out of the 20 or so Latin American nations, only seven still have rightist regimes.

And those seven either have Communist insurrections or Venezuelan and drug funded political opposition with Cuban advisors. It should be equally obvious to you that China is ultimately behind your Naxalite rebellion.

The US is currently under attack from organized crime elements south of our border. A huge influx of Asian heroin (from Afghan opium) is imminent. The US is currently under a drug deluge from organized crime elements south of our border. Both Russia and China have been known to use organized crime factions as strategic instruments. The pipeline of Asian heroin into New York through Vancouver, Canada, has been well interdicted. That same heroin (possibly to include Afghan product) will now come through Mexico. As massive corruption normally accompanies a big influx of drugs, US authorities are extremely worried about the strategic implications.

Question: What do you think of India’s response to the entire episode?

Answer: These things are tough to stop, because there are so many variations possible. The Indian response was as good as any Western nation could have mounted. Your fine security establishment may now want to keep a little closer watch on the waterfront, but they did well under very difficult circumstances and now richly deserve the nation’s thanks.

White Collar War Crimes; Black African Fall Guys

White Collar War Crimes; Black African Fall Guys

Editor’s Note To Readers: If your confused by or tired of reading the
propaganda and misinformation in The New York Times and or listening
to it on the BBC about the wars, genocide, and looting of natural resources
in East and Central Africaby Western corporations –while being abetted
by corrupt African governments and “media” such as the Times and BBC
and Western governments– read brilliant investigative reporter Keith Harmon
Snow’s expose. Use this article as your reference and guide every time the
corrupt corporate media try to deceive and hoodwink you. After a series of
recent editorials on blackstarnews.com calling out the Times on their corrupt
coverage and cover-up of genocide, the newspaper finally threw a piece of dry
bone on the dining table on December 4 with an article about Rwanda’s not-
so-secret war of aggression against Congo. For the real deal, read what follows.
It’s long but everyword is an expose. After you’re done reading
please call President elect Obama’s transition office and ask what Secretary
of StateClinton will do to end U.S. involvement in the African genocide:

How “Media” Facilitates Mass Murder And Looting In Africa


War in Congo has again been splashed across world headlines and the same
old clichés about violence and suffering are repackaged and rebroadcast as
“news”. Meanwhile, early indications out of America are that President-
elect Barack Obama will assemble a foreign policy-team primed for business
as usual.


How will Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State compromise the Obama
Administration’s capacity to honestly redress the untold suffering, massive
theft of resources and millions of deaths in Africa? And Tom Daschle?
Behind the media smokescreens are people whose involvement has been
documented and exposed, but there is always some African fall guy—the
‘embraceable’ black subordinate or ‘rebel’ commander—charged with war
crimes and used to deflect attention from the leaders of organized white-collar
crime networks.

Blacked out are the corporate executives, government officials and expatriate
personnel of Western enterprises whose success amidst chaos implicates them
in the deracination and death of millions of black people. What’s behind the
recent escalation of violence and media posturing?

On a darkling plain in a far away place the skeletons of hundreds of unnamed
people lie strewn over the land amidst the red dirt and brown grasses scorched
by the equatorial sun. Bones poke into the air here and there, hidden by the tall
grass, tripping you up as you walk; others lay bleaching white in piles where the
bodies fell.  (full story here)

India sets sights on Pakistani camps

[POSSIBLE DISINFORMATION, CONSIDERING ITS SOURCE.]

India sets sights on Pakistani camps

By Siddharth Srivastava

NEW DELHI – Following the Mumbai attacks last week, it is emerging that India intends to take the “war on terror” to the next level – specifically, by taking out militant training camps that India believes dot Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

A senior official in India’s Home Ministry told Asia Times Online that a decision had been made at the highest levels that India will be directly involved in “annihilating” some of the terror infrastructure and personnel based in Pakistan.

Although fraught with risk, “hot pursuit” has been debated in India for some time. The Mumbai strikes, which claimed the lives of nearly 200 people, may have supplied the impetus needed for action.

According to the official, who declined to be named, these operations will essentially be covert to prevent an all-out war between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. Officially, India may continue to deny such actions, all the while taking the battle to the terrorists.

Elite armed naval, air and army forces, backed by intelligence agencies, will be involved. The operation could eventually cover border areas along Punjab such as Multan, where some of the Mumbai attackers are believed to have been recruited.

The coastal belt along Karachi to Gwadar will also be under active Indian surveillance.

Bangladesh, another fertile ground of al-Qaeda activities, will also be within the ambit of such actions, according to the official.

The latest moves by India were conveyed to United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she was in New Delhi this week.

Washington, it appears, does not have a problem with India’s intentions as long as it is ensured that there will be no full-fledged conflagration between India and Pakistan. The US also wants to make sure Pakistan’s army maintains its presence, even if limited, on the western frontier with Afghanistan.

It seems, at least for now, that India will keep the US informed about any armed operations. Still, it is not necessary that all military actions be conveyed to Washington.

New Delhi, too, is averse to any escalated war with Pakistan. Such a scenario would play into the hands of terrorists and would shatter the peace process which until now has been met with broad support in both countries.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that open war with Pakistan would set India’s emerging economy back by at least two decades.

According to official sources, Indian security agencies facing the flak after the Mumbai carnage have impressed on leaders that the only way to repulse repeated militant attacks is to strike at the roots of terror in Pakistan. The alternative, sources say, would be remaining a “sitting duck”.

Officials have said that a vast country such as India, with porous coastal and land borders, simply does not have the security apparatus, funds or personnel to guard against the meticulous jihadi terror machine.

Further, it is thought that anti-terror strikes will “bleed” militants, forcing them to protect their immediate interests rather than plotting more attacks. This could mean that Indian operations in Pakistan will be a long-drawn affair.

New Delhi has already set up a anti-terror federal agency with independent funding and personnel drawn from diverse security agencies.

India’s new Home Minister, P Chidambaram, is known for his tough approach. New Delhi also ensured that National Security Advisor M K Narayanan managed to retain his job amid calls for his sacking after the Mumbai attacks.

Narayanan, who enjoys the confidence of Manmohan and Chidambaram, is well versed with Indian security structures and is expected to provide bureaucratic leadership.

India will also seek out Israel to help implement secret sorties into Pakistan. It is hoped that Israel will also assist in setting up an elaborate intelligence network specifically aimed at neutralizing terror activities.

New Delhi considers Tel Aviv to be a partner in the fight against terrorism, and the latter has been more than willing to lend a helping hand, including past undercover security operations in Indian-administered Kashmir.

So far, most intelligence-gathering from Pakistan has been aimed at monitoring the activities of the armed forces.

Pakistani armed forces, at the instance of the US, are focused on the western tribal fronts and the Taliban. New Delhi is of the opinion that a well-organized terror network in Pakistan has trained its resources on India.

Over time, India has managed to collect information – including maps, topography and details about training camps and terrorist activities – in Pakistan.

New Delhi knows that despite his strident rhetoric, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s hands are tied and that he will not move much beyond harsh words.

Zardari’s flip-flop over the visit of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief to India is an indication that he does not enjoy full control, according to officials. The last thing Zardari wants is further extremist backlash against his family after the assassination of his wife, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.

New Delhi believes there are rogue and entrenched elements within the ISI and Pakistani army that are pursuing an agenda beyond the control of the current political leadership.

Meanwhile, Indian, US, British and Israeli security officials continue to interrogate Ajmal Amir Kasab, the fidayeen (suicide) Mumbai attacker caught alive.

Sources say that Ajmal exists at the bottom of a complex terror chain. As such, his usefulness will likely not extend past revealing logistics about the Mumbai attacks. So far, he has only confirmed what was already known about the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) terror group and its masterminds.

Indian investigators have said that Ajmal has undergone advanced LET training, including marine warfare.

Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.com)

Agencies may probe Tarique’s alleged link with Daud Ibrahim

Tarique Rahman is Senior Joint Secretary-General of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

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Agencies may probe Tarique’s alleged link with Daud Ibrahim

Staff Correspondent

Intelligence agencies may investigate alleged links between arrested Senior Joint Secretary General of BNP Tarique Rahman and Dubai-based Indian underworld don Daud Ibrahim.

Communications Adviser MA Matin made this comment to reporters yesterday when he was asked about a Kolkata-based newspaper report that quoted Indian intelligence agency officials as saying Tarique had close links with Ibrahim as well as the al-Qaeda.

“I saw this in newspapers but this is just a bit of information. Now it is the duty of the intelligence agencies to investigate the matter and find out the evidence,” he said. The government will have to check the veracity of the report’s claims, he added.

“Tarique will be charged and legal action will be taken against him if the allegation is proved true,” said Matin, also chairman of the National Coordination Committee to prevent grievous crimes.

A report titled “Khaleda’s son contacted Daud to buy arms” was published by the daily Anandabazar Patrika citing an intelligence report of the Indian external affairs ministry.

Tarique also established contacts with the al-Qaeda through his involvement in the international money laundering, the report claimed.

The newspaper said Tarique and the then National Security Intelligence director general Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury travelled to Dubai in March 2006 to secure a series of deals at a Dubai hotel to buy arms and ammunition in the lead up to the cancelled January 22 parliamentary elections.

The report said Tarique also purchased a palatial mansion worth $60 million in Dubai.

The two also came to an understanding that Tarique would buy large swaths of land which would be locally managed by Ibrahim, the report claimed.

Authorities: Mumbai attackers had help

Authorities: Mumbai attackers had help

From Brian Todd
CNN

The attackers who killed nearly 180 people last week in Mumbai, India, had help from a Bangladeshi national, Indian security sources told CNN sister network CNN-IBN.  [SEE FOLLOWING REPORT: Agencies may probe Tarique’s alleged link with Daud Ibrahim]

Mourners light candles Thursday during a memorial service for those killed in the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Mourners light candles Thursday during a memorial service for those killed in the terror attacks in Mumbai.

The Bangladeshi national bought cell phone SIM cards for the attackers at several locations inside India, the sources said Thursday.

SIM cards — subscriber identity modules — are portable memory-chips that make it easy to switch cell phones. Intelligence experts say they’re used by terrorists to throw their pursuers off the trail.

Indian authorities believe all the attackers were Pakistanis, specifically blaming Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan. LeT has denied any responsibility for the attacks, but the sole surviving gunmen told interrogators he was trained by LeT, Indian authorities have said.

Pakistani authorities denied the attackers were from their country, instead blaming what they call “non-state” actors.

But one analyst who studies India-Pakistan tensions believes this operation was planned and carried out by militants from Bangladesh, Pakistan — and India.

“They needed people on the ground who could guide them and provided the inside dope,” said Shuja Nawaz, author of “Crossed Swords,” which analyzes the role of Pakistan’s military in the country’s politics. “Otherwise, the Lashkar doesn’t have the capacity to have cased the joints, to have made all these plans and get these people into the target area so effectively.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who traveled to the region this week to meet with Indian and Pakistani officials, hit hard on the need for Pakistan to root out Islamic extremists inside its borders.

The Pakistani leadership must understand “the importance of doing that, particularly in rooting out terrorists and rounding up whoever perpetrated this attack from wherever it was perpetrated, whatever its sources, wherever the leads go,” Rice said.

Meanwhile, Indian police swiftly handled a “security scare” at New Delhi’s major airport early Friday amid heightened security at the nations airports.

Intelligence reports indicated terrorists may be planning an airborne attack.

“This is based on a little warning which has been received,” Indian Air Force chief Maj. Fali Homi said. “That’s all, nothing else. We are prepared as usual.”

Indian officials are also weighing how to tighten security along their coasts, where the Mumbai attackers entered the country

Violence flares up in Hebron after settler eviction

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Violence flares up in Hebron after settler eviction

HEBRON, West Bank : Israeli police using stun grenades evicted Jewish settlers from a disputed house in Hebron on Thursday, prompting mobs to go on a rampage and attack Palestinians in the volatile West Bank city.

Furious settlers fired shots, hurled rocks, set fire to Palestinian homes and fields, and clashed with security forces following the eviction carried out by about 100 officers.

Relatives said three Palestinians suffered gunshot wounds and were evacuated by helicopter, while police said five civilians and two policemen were injured during the eviction itself. Medics said there were further injuries during ensuing clashes.

A cloud of black smoke covered much of the neighbourhood as hardline supporters of the settlers set Palestinian olive fields alight and, according to Palestinian residents, torched two homes and a dozen cars.

In several areas of the city, youths clashed with security forces who responded with tear gas. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers beat up a Palestinian photographer who was involved in a fight with a settler. The photographer was taken to hospital.

Several people were arrested, according to police.

“It could have been worse,” Danny Poleg, a spokesman for Israeli police in the West Bank, said after officers found objects residents of the disputed house evidently intended to use as weapons, including potatoes studded with nails.

Police used blowtorches to seal the house shut after using stun grenades and tear gas to force the settlers out of the four-storey building.

The eviction followed a November 16 Israeli High Court order for the settlers to leave the house they claim they bought legally from a Palestinian who denies selling it.

“Israel is a country where the rule of law prevails. It is not a country of vigilantes,” said government spokesman Mark Regev.

Doaz Aetzni, a far right-wing leader expressed outrage at the police action.

“They are very aggressive with the Jews and very soft with the Arabs,” he told AFP. “This country has become crazy.”

The police action came just hours after Defence Minister Ehud Barak and settler representatives failed to reach agreement in last-ditch talks.

Elsewhere in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, attackers hurled rocks at Palestinian drivers and scrawled graffiti on a mosque insulting the Muslim faith, according to witnesses.

Outside Jerusalem hundreds of youths blocked a major highway to protest the eviction, causing massive traffic jams and hurling insults at police, calling them “Nazis.”

Israeli authorities declared the whole of the southern West Bank a closed military zone to prevent Israelis who don’t live there from entering the area.

The settlers and their right-wing supporters had already engaged several violent attacks in Hebron since the court issued the evacuation order.

Hardline settlers say they have adopted a “price tag” policy under which they respond to any eviction by attacking Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

The settlers insist they have a God-given right to all of the biblical land of Israel and that they were legally in the house, which a Jewish-American businessman claims he bought to allow more Jews to live in Hebron.

Settlers consider the house a strategic asset because it is about half-way between Kiryat Arba settlement, home to 6,500 Israelis, and Hebron city centre where about 600 hardline Jews live under heavy military protection.

The settler presence in the Palestinian city of 170,000 has long caused tensions. In 1994, a Jewish extremist massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to Jews and Muslims alike.

The international community considers Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be illegal, and the Palestinians say they are the biggest obstacle to Middle East peace talks.

– AFP /ls

THE NARIMAN HOUSE STORY – Must Read!

THE NARIMAN HOUSE STORY – Must Read!

The following extracts from the “mainstream” media should be enough to show the reality of the Nariman House and its involvement in the Nov 26 incidents in Mumbai.

BEFORE THE ATTACKS:

The drama started weeks before the terrorist attacks – at a Jewish residential complex In Mumbai run by the Chabad-Lubavitch ultra-orthodox movement.

NSG commandos reach the top of Nariman House through a helicopter in Mumbai

NSG commandos reach the top of Nariman House through a helicopter in Mumbai

“In a telephone interview with CBC News from outside the centre, freelance journalist Arun Asthhana said there are reports that some of the militants had stayed at a guest house there for up to 15 days before the attacks.

“They had a huge mass of ammunition, arms and food there,” Asthhana said.
That some stayed there before the attacks seem no longer in question. Later news reports state that the terrorists came to Nariman House posing as Malaysian students and were given lodging. Why Ultra-orthodox Jews would give lodging to these unknown Malaysian Muslim students is baffling; they could have been ‘terrorists’. After all they did not know them.

However, it is well known that those housing quarters are rented only to religious Jews passing through Mumbai, so much so that the Indian Police wanted to know why they were rented to non-Jews in this instance.

From Times of India
“Police are trying to find out how Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews. Police has taken all the records books of for verification”

Guardian of UK
“Locals said the owners of Nariman House was a Jewish Israeli family who rented out flats to other religious Jews.”

Food ordered in:

From Mid-Day News (MID-DAY is a 28 year old well respected media establishment in Mumbai):

“The role that Nariman House is coming to play in this entire attack drama is puzzling. Last night, residents ordered close to 100 kilograms of meat and other food, enough to feed an army or a bunch of people for twenty days. Shortly thereafter, the ten odd militants moved in, obviously, indicating that the food and meat was ordered, keeping their visit in mind, another cop added.”

DNA INDIA is another well-established, well-known Indian Media house.

They reported:

“The terrorists came to Colaba on Wednesday evening,” Mukund Shelke, who runs a grocery shop at Colaba Market, said. “Before barging into Nariman House, they had purchased adequate food to last them at least three days,” he said.
“They had purchased around two crates of chicken and liquor worth Rs25,000 from two shops in Colaba,” another resident Joseph D’Mello said.

Here the quote says that “they” had purchased the food, and from the text, which would be a translation of the eyewitness account, it would suggest that the terrorists did the shopping. But the policeman’s report and quote is more credible because any group of terrorists going to take over a place during a city-wide attack would not stop to do shopping first, selecting meat, and liquor and other items, unless of course they were right at home.

The Attacks Start:

According to a changing and shifting narrative all attackers came in by boats.
Why they did not stay in Mumbai after spending days scouting the place is unknown. That would have made much more sense. Maybe the commanders came in just in time for the operation.

It is now being reported that they landed and split into groups with two men going to the office of the ultra-orthodox Jewish group Chabad-Lubavitch which runs Nariman house. There they supposedly held an unknown number of persons hostage, while killing some.

However, eye-witnesses, and the earliest reports, state that all the men from the boat went straight to the Nariman House complex before dispersing to carry out attacks.

From Mid-Day News
“Mumbai: India’s financial capital, Mumbai seems to be going through its longest night for the last two days. Wednesday, 9.40 pm, the affluent south Mumbai was struck by terrorists, at 12 different locations, including the VT station, a hub for all railway trains, to two of the most luxurious hotels, Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident.

24 hours later, the attention has riveted to these hotels, and a tiny nondescript building, barely a few meters away from the Taj Mahal hotel. Housing a five-storied guest house for Israeli nationals, this building is turning out to be the ‘den’ for the militants.

“I saw 6 to 7 boats coming in on Wednesday evening and about ten people unloaded many bags from these boats and then gradually took them into the building, Nariman House’, Vitthal Tandel, a fisherman in the area said. “The building has many rooms and these are used as guest houses by travelers, largely Israeli residents. None of us know what their names are”, he said.

“Virendra Ghunawat, a television journalist who has been tracking the Nariman House shootout since the time it took place Wednesday night, said even the cops have been cagey about details”.

From the Guardian of UK
“They came by sea, on a small skiff, and made their way in the dark through the narrow streets of old Colaba to the six-storey apartment building called Nariman House. There they stayed – an unknown number of mystery gunmen who besieged the building from the inside.”

From The New York Times
“When the terrorists landed in front of Mr. Dhanur’s boat, they were just three blocks straight down a narrow lane from Nariman House, a five-storey building housing a Jewish center run by a young Rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife, Rivka, who had moved from New York.
But the attack does not appear to have started there. According to India’s Home Ministry, the first shots were fired at the train station, and soon after that at the Leopold Café.”

The account of eyewitnesses and the earliest reports are very clear. The ‘terrorists’ went into Nariman House. Later reports keep insisting that they ’stormed’ the house.

What did they look like?
At least some of the terrorists were fair-skinned foreigners.

From the Guardian of UK
“One police officer who encountered the gunmen as they entered the Jewish centre told the Guardian the attackers were “white””
“I went into the building late last night,” he said. “I got a shock because they were white. I was expecting them to look like us. They fired three shots. I fired 10 back.”
Now, Indians know fair skinned Indians and Pakistanis. They meet them every day, especially in Mumbai, where all the upper class Indians congregate. Indians know foreigners and they call Americans and Europeans “foreigners” or “white”. It is easy for an Indian to tell the difference between a fair skinned Indian or Pakistani and a “foreigner”
Other eyewitnesses at other locations also describe the terrorists as “foreign” or fair skinned.

From the BBC
Then, the “foreign looking, fair skinned” men, as Mr Mishra remembers them, simply carried on killing.
“They did not look Indian, they looked foreign. One of them, I thought, had blonde hair. The other had a punkish hairstyle. They were neatly dressed,” says Mr Amir.

While at the Nariman House:
Celebrations:
From DNA India

“Some residents claimed that the suspects were keeping track of the police’s movements through a television in Nariman House.
“When the news of top police officials getting killed flashed in the television, we heard loud noises from the flat. It seemed they were celebrating,” Anand Raorane, a resident in a building opposite Nariman House, said.”
Some in India claim that the terrorists were targeting some of India’s top anti-terrorist officers, and indeed a number of top officers including Hemant Karare, who were in the process of investigating an explosive case of terrorist activities by army officers and politicians, were killed. It is very strange that these exceptionally experienced men would so easily be killed. Some reports say they were ambushed. It was at the time that the news of these men’s demise was announced that sounds of celebration came from the Chabad office.

The Arrrest of Israeli Security Officer
While the standoff between the security forces and the terrorists in Nariman House was going on an Israeli ’security officer’ at the Israeli consulate close by was arrested while running to the scene.

From the Jerusalem Post
“The security officer at the Israeli consulate in Mumbai was arrested by Indian police as he raced toward the Chabad House last Wednesday after Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg telephoned to say it was under attack.”
Was this ‘attack’ referring to attack by the terrorists or by security forces? It is not clear as yet. The officer was released from jail a few hours later according to the Jerusalem Post.

Also India continuously refused Israeli offers to help with the crisis:

“Jerusalem, Nov 28: India has turned down an offer by Israel to send its Crack Commandos to Mumbai, where a Jewish centre has been taken over in the terrorist attack which have claimed so far over 160 lives, media reports said here.”

The Nanny and the rescue of the two-year old Moshe Holtzberg.
As the standoff progressed, the nanny of the two-year old child of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, Sandra Samuel, came running out with the little boy. Whether he was the subject of a daring rescue or was sent out by his parents is unclear. The dizzying array of reports, many contradicting the others, that describe this incident leaves the question unanswered. Only when police question the nanny would this be resolved.

The number of hostages and terrorists at Nariman:
According to recent police reports there were fifteen terrorists in all who came by boat.
From TIMES ONLINE
“At least five terrorist gunmen might have escaped the carnage in Mumbai and could strike again, it emerged yesterday as a video surfaced showing the capture of the gang’s sole known surviving member.”
“However, a hijacked Indian fishing boat used by the gunmen had equipment for 15 men on board when it was discovered adrift – suggesting that several gunmen could still be at large.”
“Fifteen winter jackets were found, fifteen toothbrushes,” a police source said. “That more terrorists are loose is possible.”
Again there are conflicting reports on the number of terrorists and possible hostages that were in Nariman House. At the end of the seige by security forces, there were six bodies of hostages found. Some reports insist five bodies were found plus two alleged terrorists. This will remain unclear until Indian security personnel who conducted the raid tell their stories.
It would seem from many eyewitness reports and local media that as the standoff continued, there were only two ‘hostages’, the Rabbi and his wife, and the rest were terrorists.

From DNA India
“The six terrorists who have made an Israeli family hostage at Nariman House building in Colaba can battle with the security agencies for at least three days without having to worry about food, local residents claimed on Thursday.”

From Yahoo News
“From the vantage point of three Black Cat snipers watching the building, I could see Nariman House’s shattered windows. The couple who own the building are Jewish, giving rise to rumors throughout the day that “Israelis” were somehow involved in the attacks. The other people in the building, including an infant wearing a pink bonnet and green blanket, were held as hostages but released early Thursday.
The last person to leave, a young woman, told authorities that the only remaining hostages were the couple, who had made no sound or movement since the night before. By 5 p.m. they were presumed to be dead, and the Black Cat commandos moved in half an hour later, unleashing a volley of gunshots into the building. By 9:30 p.m. local time, the firing was still going on, and it was not clear whether the four to five suspects inside had been killed or captured. “

India’s elite commando squad would surely have a very good idea about the number of people they were dealing with especially after speaking with the young woman and the nanny.
From Mid-Day News

http://www.mid-day.com/news/2008/nov/281108-Nariman-House-terror-hub.htm
” One of the militants called up a television news channel and voiced his demands today, but, interestingly, when he was asked where are they all holed him, he said at the Israeli owned Nariman House and they are six of them here”, one of the investigating cops said. Since morning, there has been exchange of gun fire has been going on and the militants seem well equipped to counter the cops fire. To top it, they have food and shelter. One wonders if they have the support of the residents, a local Ramrao Shanker said. “

Reports at the end of the siege
Fron the New York Times

“Jewish Center Is Stormed, and 6 Hostages Die”
“Israeli officials and Lubavitch elders confirmed later that six hostages were found dead inside. They were Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, of Brooklyn, and his Israeli wife, Rivka, 28, the Lubavitch emissaries in Mumbai who ran Nariman House; another rabbi from Brooklyn who was living in Israel, Leibish Teitelbaum; Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli with dual American citizenship; an unidentified Israeli woman; and another unidentified woman, according to Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, a Lubavitch spokesman in Brooklyn , and The Associated Press”.
Two unidentified “hostages” were women. But here is a strange co-incidence. A number of reports and eyewitnesses claim that at least one of the attackers was a woman.

FROM INDIA TIMES
Mystery woman had accompanied terrorists at Cama”

Quote – “”A man and a burqa clad woman entered from the gate opposite our quarters. The man started firing towards the hospital immediately after entering. Moments before, the woman, in a salwar kameez underneath her burqa, had even tried to enter the hospital by climbing a water pipe. As the man continued firing, the woman, who wasn’t armed, knocked on one of the houses”

also

“The shopkeeper’s friend said, “He told me that when he saw Azam’s picture in Mumbai Mirror on Thursday, he realised it was the same youth who had visited his shop with a woman, who was also young. He mentioned they had been like any other youths.”

“Hostages killed by ‘terrorists’ or by security forces in shoot-out?
The Indian security forces thought that the remaining people in the Chabad house with the possible exception of the Rabbi and his wife were terrorists, and they were in a shoot-out with all these people. Yet reports persist that the ‘terrorists’ killed the ‘hostages’, before they were themselves killed. Some say the hostages were killed the day before. Reports also insist that the security forces killed only two terrorists at Chabad House.
However more recent reports say that the Indian security forces may have killed some of the hostages:

From The Jerusalem Post
Haka Head: Indian forces may have killed some hostages:
“The Indian commando raid launched to save the lives of Jewish and Israeli hostages at Mumbai’s Chabad House may have inadvertently ended the lives of one or more of the hostages, the head of a six-man ZAKA team in the terror-stricken Indian city told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday”.

Any Terrorists Remaining?
Police insist that fifteen terrorists came ashore. Nine are dead and one is in custody. Where are the other five? Where is the woman terrorist?

From Times Online:
“At least five terrorist gunmen might have escaped the carnage in Mumbai and could strike again, it emerged yesterday as a video surfaced showing the capture of the gang’s sole known surviving member.”
Were the missing five the same persons who were killed at Chabad?

Conclusion – What really happened at Nariman House?

Time may eventually tell what really happen at the Chabad House, Mumbai. Indian security service officers may come forward with further information. More information may dispel rumors and speculation that the Israelis at Chabad house were part of the terrorist operation and that the non-white terrorists, all of whom were killed, with the exception of the poster-boy, Ajmal, were the usual patsies.

It will dispel rumors that the four or five ‘hostages’ killed in the center were actually part of the terrorist group and were killed by security forces in the shootout.

The only person who may be able to give an impartial report of what went on at Nariman House would be the Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. Indian Intelligence would be looking forward to interviewing her when all the confusion ends and when she recovers from the ordeal. Lets hope that the trauma does not lead her to commit suicide or anything like that. Indian journalists are urged to dig into this story with their very lives, because the life of our nation is at stake. India could be dragged into a game on the grand chessboard, and possibly into war with Pakistan and then China, and maybe Russia. In the end there will be only one winner, the superpower which is on the verge of economic collapse, and which can avert complete disaster only by destroying its main competitors, or getting them to destroy themselves.