RSS chief says India should be ready for nuclear war

RSS chief says India should be ready for nuclear

war

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By Jawed Naqvi
NEW DELHI, Dec 12: The head of India’s rightwing Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS, National Volunteers Corps) has warned that a nuclear war with Pakistan could become inevitable if peaceful means fail to rein in terrorism and voiced the chilling prospect of a Third World War breaking out, which he feels may cleanse the world of evil.

Mr K.S. Sudarshan, the powerful supreme leader of the RSS who may wield even greater clout in the next government, said in an interview widely distributed on the email on Thursday, and verified as authentic by senior RSS officials on Friday, that the Mumbai terror attacks were only part of a bigger plan to destroy India. “They want India to be broken into pieces but Indian people have always won.

“We are tolerant, but a very brave society. We were defeated and enslaved only when we were disunited.”

However, in remarks that could leave global diplomacy grappling with chilling possibilities, Mr Sudarshan added that while he wanted India to probe all other means to resolve the terror issue with Pakistan it should be prepared for war, which could easily turn into a nuclear war.

Freelance journalist Chetan Upadhyaya asked Mr Sudarshan if India should go for a full-fledged war with Pakistan. He replied: “If there is no other way left. Whenever the demons (Aasuri powers) start dominating this planet, there is no way other than the war. Tell me if there is any other way out. But war should be the last resort. Before that Bharat should consider other options.”

He was asked if such a war would not escalate into a nuclear conflict. “Yes, I know it will not stop there. It will be nuclear war and a large number of people will perish.

“In fact, not me alone but many people around the world have expressed their apprehension that this terrorism may ultimately result in a Third World War. And this will be a nuclear war in which many of us are going to be finished. But according to me, as of now, it is very necessary to defeat the demons and there is no other way.

“And let me say with confidence that after this destruction, a new world will emerge, which will be very good, free from evil and terrorism.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has said it was opposed to war as a solution to deal with the current standoff with Pakistan. Mr Sudarshan said: “The government should do what the public says.

“The people are highly agitated. The people came in open protest against the attacks and this was a never-before phenomenon. And in this moment of crisis, whatever the people and the government decide, we are with them.”

He clarified, however, that there was no question of opposing the government over its handling of terrorism. India had asked Pakistan to hand over 20 most wanted criminals and “they are making excuses and refusing to hand over the culprits… this way, they are jeopardising the whole path of reconciliation.”

Mr Sudarshan criticised the BJP, the political arm of the RSS, for infighting among its leaders. “Like any other party, BJP is also the victim of this to a certain extent. But it is the result of the political system that we have adopted. Some people think that system is not to blame; it is the men who are running the system who are at fault. But this is only a partial truth.”

There was news, during the last Lok Sabha elections, that in view of the bad performance by BJP, the RSS was open to the idea of supporting some new party. Was the idea still alive?

“I would not like to comment on it. We are a social and cultural organisation and BJP is a political organisation. Swayamsevaks (volunteers), who are eligible for voting, would vote according to their own conscience. RSS does not direct them.”

Delhi rally assails war-mongering

Delhi rally assails war-mongering

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: “Some sections of the media and politicians are trying to peddle dictatorship, army rule, war with Pakistan and partnership with the US as solutions for India’s security. Pakistan’s own experience is proof that this is a recipe for disaster. India’s ruling class — both Congress and BJP — is hell-bent on shackling India to the globally hated US imperialist policies, and thus importing the US economic crisis as well as terrorism onto Indian soil. To fight terror India must first of all de-link her foreign policy from the American strategic stranglehold, and must engage Pakistan in a shared struggle against terror.” This is what Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (ML) told a rally of some 15,000 peasants, workers, students and intellectuals from across India during a march to the Indian Parliament in Delhi on Friday. This was the largest demonstration for peace and against terrorism, communalism and regional chauvinism held in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. Most of the protesters — belonging to groups like the All India Students Association (Aisa) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) — had come from impoverished regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The rally was almost completely ignored by Indian TV channels. A massive peace rally was also held in Mumbai by individuals and NGOs.—JN

Hyperinflation and then The Second Great Depression

Hyperinflation and then The Second Great Depression

Bob Chapman

A future out of control, bankrupt financial institutions trying to hold on, limitation on credit severely limits ability of the economy to start up again, debt totally embraces our lives, handouts a state secret, soon cash infusions wont work for banks anymore, banks hold too much toxic garbage to even know if they are solvent We are now 17 months into a credit crisis that continues to expose the corruption and incompetence of government, banking, Wall Street and transnational corporations. The situation has not stabilized and it won’t anytime soon. All we see are sweetheart deals for elitist corporations for which American taxpayers will pay for years to come. The future of our nation is totally out of control. For the last eight years our economy has been running on something for nothing, lies and deceit. The result will be hyperinflation and then the Second Great Depression.

Atrocity Unlimited: US Seeks to Turn Somalia into Global Free-Fire Zone

Atrocity Unlimited: US Seeks to Turn Somalia into Global Free-Fire Zone

Not content with destroying the only vestige of stability that Somalia had known for almost two decades by arming, backing and participating in a brutal “regime change” invasion by Ethiopia, the Bush Administration now wants to turn the ravaged land into an international “free fire zone,” a giant Fallujah where any powerful nation on earth can launch armed incursions on Somali soil, wreaking the usual “collateral damage” in the search for pirates — or for those arbitrarily designated as pirates.

The Bush Regime is drafting a UN Security Council resolution that will give “the international community” carte blanche to “hunt down” alleged pirates on land in Somalia, the Guardian reports:

A draft resolution that would permit states fighting piracy to “take all necessary measures ashore in Somalia, including in its airspace” has been circulated to members of the UN Security Council. Prior consent for raids would be required from Somalia’s weak and fractured government…

As we noted here recently, the “Somali government” is a rapidly collapsing coalition of CIA-paid warlords and Ethiopian collaborators which “controls” only a few city blocks of territory in the entire country. It is unfathomable that this near-fictitious entity would or could oppose a “request” by a world power to send armed forces into Somalia in a noble quest to clamp down on pirates. And what happens when these invading forces inevitably clash with the various other armed groups now waging a multi-sided, hydra-headed war in the country? Why, the invaders will have to take stern “force protection” measures, of course.

The story goes on to note that the locations of the “pirate lairs are well-known”:

Along Somalia’s north-eastern coast, villages and towns such as Eyl, Haradheere and Hobyo provide sanctuary and logistical support for pirate gangs holding at least 14 ships.

And it is certainly not surprising that the Western backers of the Somali “government” know just where the pirates are: they provided mighty assistance in their rise, as we noted here a few weeks ago:

For one thing, [the Times] notes something that is almost never mentioned in any story about Somalia, neither in the very rare stories about the conflict itself or the rather more numerous stories about piracy and its effects on commercial shipping (an issue far more important that the lives of 10,000 innocent human beings, of course): the fact that the main backers and bankrollers of the pirate gangs “are linked to the Western-backed government.”

The conservative UK paper then goes on to give an accurate account of how these pirate-backing factions came to power — facts that are almost universally ignored by the “liberal” American media . (Not to mention the “progressive blogosphere;” indeed, you can actually find more references to the Somalia war in the corporate press than among our internet “dissidents.”) :

Years of violence, neglect and misguided policies have left Somalia one of the most dangerous countries and a breeding ground for the pirates attacking one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Today the northeast area of the country, including Puntland, has been carved up by warlords who finance themselves by drug and gun running. This is also the heartland of the pirates, whose main backers are linked to the Western-backed government. Radical Islamists control much of the south, including the key port of Kismayo and the porous border area with Kenya, a staunch Western ally.

This has realised a Western nightmare, which was supposed to have been destroyed by Ethiopia’s American-backed invasion of Somalia two years ago in support of a puppet government created by the international community. That alliance spanned the spectrum from extreme radicals to moderate, devout Muslims. The latter were in charge.

Everyone – except Pentagon planners, it seems – knew that Somalia had never proved fertile territory for Saudi-style radical Islam. However, indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas by Ethiopia, Somalia’s historic enemy, with huge casualties, put an end to that. The Islamists were driven out, the moderates went into exile and the hardliners took control of the south with a popular powerbase beyond their wildest dreams.

A puppet government, installed by foreign invasion, riddled with crime and corruption, alienating and radicalizing the population: here we see the quintessential template of the “War on Terror,” replicated faithfully in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia — and soon, perhaps, in Pakistan.

And now the Bush Regime — going out in a Götterdämmerung of blood and fury aimed at the world (and at the American people) — wants to intensify the chaos in Somalia, laying it bare to more invasions, “precision strikes,” death squad operations, renditions and other atrocities, this time coming from not just from Washington and its Terror War proxies but from all directions. This is the answer of the American militarist state to any problem, such as piracy or terrorism: the blunderbuss assault of massive military force by land, sea and air; vast destruction, social collapse — and immeasurable, unbounded human suffering.

This is the reality of much-praised “continuity” in “national security affairs” that Barack Obama’s appointments have promised. This is what will be “continued.”

“If oil falls below $20, there will be a revolution

41_2Ria-novosti / AP

Medvedev visiting a police station in St. Petersburg on Nov. 7. He told police to stamp out unrest linked to the crisis.

Signs of a Kremlin Fearful Of Unrest

12 December 2008By Nikolaus von Twickel / Staff WriterThis is the 12th in a series of reports about the effect of the global financial crisis on Russia.

Sociologist Yevgeny Gontmakher has painted a disturbing picture of what might emerge from the financial crisis.

As Gontmakher sees it, a provincial industrial town will see huge protests after massive layoffs at its main factory next year. The authorities scramble haphazardly to contain the unrest. Violence will spread, ultimately reaching Moscow.

The scenario, published under the headline “Novocherkassk 2009” in Vedomosti last month, is purely fictitious. But it triggered a very real reaction from the authorities. The government’s media watchdog fired off a warning to Vedomosti that it was inciting extremism. Vedomosti is part of Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, the parent company of The Moscow Times.

Novocherkassk is a town in the southern Rostov region where Soviet police brutally quashed rioting workers in 1962.

Gontmakher, a deputy social protection minister and Kremlin official in the 1990s, said he had not expected such a response from the government, but the threat is real and growing daily as the crisis takes it toll. “Of course they are worried, and they should be,” he said of the government.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, has said Russia should be able to get through the crisis with minimal problems. He has repeatedly denied that his government bears any responsibility for the crisis, saying the economic downturn spread from the United States and has infected “all the economies of the world.”

But Gontmakher is by no means alone in arguing that Russia’s political stability, seen as a major achievement of Putin’s eight-year presidency, is deceptive. The crisis has already led to a wave of layoffs across the country, despite the fact that Russian companies traditionally reduce wages before shedding staff.

Putin himself acknowledged in his televised question-and-answer session last week that the number of unemployed workers was expected to increase next year to “a little over 2 million” from the current 1.7 million.

In another sign that the government is nervous about disorder, President Dmitry Medvedev last month ordered law enforcement agencies to stamp out any social unrest linked to the crisis. “If someone tries to exploit the consequences of the financial crisis … they should intervene, bring criminal charges. Otherwise, there won’t be order,” he told senior police officials at a public briefing in St. Petersburg.

Incidentally, Putin and Medvedev visited Novocherkassk this February and laid flowers at a stone in memory of those killed in 1962.

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a former independent State Duma deputy and liberal opposition activist, said much of the crisis has been brought on by the government and its refusal to deregulate the economy, be held accountable by the parliament and allow political competition.

“This crisis did not arise because of events in America. It arose because of [the government’s] mistakes,” he said.

Ryzhkov said Russian companies would not have secured so much foreign debt during the last three years — decisions that now have led the economy to the brink of bankruptcy — if the parliament had been given oversight over the government’s actions. He singled out Medvedev and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin as being particularly responsible for the current financial straits, noting that Medvedev, who was chairman of Gazprom before acceding to the presidency this spring, and Sechin, Rosneft’s chairman, had overseen heavy foreign borrowing by the two state corporations over the past three years.

Yet opinion polls indicate that the government faces little public discontent. Trust in Putin stood firmly at 59 percent in late November while trust in Medvedev dipped slightly from 45 percent to 44 percent, according to a survey by state-run VTsIOM. The poll had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

The government’s popularity will depend largely on its ability to stave off the crisis, said Nikita Belykh, the former leader of the Union of Right Forces, who this week was nominated by Medvedev to become the governor of Kirov.

“The Kremlin has enough money to keep the situation under control for a few months. But in the medium term, political changes are inevitable, and there will be clashes between powerful political groups,” Belykh said.

Two factors in the government’s favor, he said, are its ability to control information through state media and Russians’ tendency to be apolitical. However, popular anger against the authorities could increase considerably because the public is feeling increasingly alienated from the country’s leadership, he said.

Ryzhkov said the crucial question was whether the government could balance the budget over the first half of 2009. “The turning point will come when they cannot pay off state corporations’ gigantic debts anymore,” he said.

The government’s financial capabilities are largely linked to oil prices, which have fallen to less than $50 a barrel from a high of $147 in July.

“If oil falls below $20, there will be a revolution,” said Vladimir Pribylovsky, a political analyst with the Panorama think tank.

He said Putin’s popularity rested on the fact that ordinary people had gotten a share of the riches, in stark contrast to the 1990s when a tiny minority got very rich while the majority sank into poverty.

“Crises will break out left and right if the Kremlin oligarchy can no longer share the wealth with the people,” Pribylovsky said.

While the economic boom of recent years has increased the real incomes of most people, inequality levels have not come down. Moscow’s Gini index, a scientific standard for measuring income distribution, is estimated at 0.6, making the capital one of the world’s most unequal cities.

Putin’s popularity is almost entirely built on the economic boom, so it could crumble if the economy goes bust, said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist who tracks Kremlin politics. “Everyone was happy as long they got government money,” she said.

That puts the government in the difficult position of how to trim spending. Cuts to the public sector would upset bureaucrats, while cuts to defense would anger the powerful siloviki.

The government has shown reluctance to speak out openly about the crisis after many people saw their savings vanish in two previous crises — the Soviet collapse in 1991 and the 1998 default. The authorities “only have two choices — to lie or to create a panic. In 1998, they chose the truth and panic, and the result was very bad,” Kryshtanovskaya said.

In late November, the Economic Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly warned that a global recession would threaten “to undermine the very foundations of democracy” in many countries.

Interestingly, the government appears to have stepped up its efforts to rein in opposition groups. Last month, remnants of the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, were folded into a new pro-business party called Right Cause, a move that is widely seen as a Kremlin attempt to round out the political spectrum with obedient parties.

Belykh, who resigned from SPS saying cooperation with the Kremlin was unacceptable, raised eyebrows in liberal circles this week with his decision to accept Medvedev’s invitation to become governor.

Ryzhkov said that even though Russia’s opposition was weak and divided, there were people in the regions who were willing and able to challenge the government. “I will not name anyone, but I can tell you that there are terrific specialists on economic and political reform who could make up a Russian dream team that would fix the flagrant mistakes made by Putin’s people,” he said.

In the meantime, people are wondering how bad matters will get. Harald Leibrecht, a German lawmaker with the liberal Free Democrats and deputy chairman of the German-Russian parliamentary group, said the Vedomosti incident showed that the situation was not as rosy as depicted by Putin and Medvedev.

“It is very strange but telling” that the newspaper received the warning, Leibrecht said in e-mailed comments.

The warning is probably linked to government fears that the country might slide into the chaos of the 1990s, he said.

The media watchdog, the Federal Service for Oversight over Communications and Mass Media, has the power to ask a court to revoke a newspaper’s license after issuing two warnings. But Vedomosti lawyers have decided that last month’s warning did not qualify has an official warning but as a reminder.

In any case, the head of the watchdog, Boris Boyarskov, was dismissed last week by Medvedev after four years in the post, Interfax reported Wednesday. The circumstances behind the decision were unclear.

Previous reports in this series can be found at www.themoscowtimes.com.

Barack Obama: “America’s First Jewish President”

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Barack Obama: “America’s First Jewish President”

Obama asks Shimon Peres: “What can I do for Israel?”

Haaretz, November 17, 2008

The UN Special Rappateur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories (Richard Falk) has said Israel’s policies there amount to a crime against humanity…He said the UN must act to protect the Palestinian population suffering what he called ‘collective punishment’…He said the International Criminal Court should also investigate whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.

BBC News, December 10, 2008

We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them than their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in…We may have to tighten up those sanctions…and give them a clear choice…whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way.

President-Elect Obama on NBC Meet the Press, December 7, 2008

December 12th, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse” — — According to a nationally prominent Zionist spokesperson, former Congressman, Federal Judge, White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and early backer of Obama, Abner Mikvner, “Barack Obama is the first Jewish President”. Mikvner’s affirmation reflects both Obama’s one-sided and longstanding commitment to the State of Israel and loyalty to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the United States, as well as the long-term and successful effort of a network of financially and politically powerful Jewish Zionists to ‘embed’ Obama to their ‘Israel First’ political apparatus. What is striking about the latter is the demeaning and arrogant claims made by some leading Jewish Zionist about their ‘central roles’ in the making of Obama’s professional and political careers – in effect denying the President-Elect any credit for his own academic or professional success. (Historically this has been mirrored in the continuous claims of some American Jews to have fought and won the battle of Civil Rights in the 60’s on behalf of African Americans – essentially denying black Americans any independent political role in their own struggle.) Even their personal flattery about his ‘wisdom’, ‘brilliance’ and ‘intellectual acuity’ is always linked with his unconditional support of the State of Israel. One can envision how quickly his Zionist colleagues would replace their plaudits with crude insults regarding his intelligence if he suggested Israel end its starvation blockade of Gaza… Needless to say the Zionists know their man, as they confidently proclaim, he is a cautious and prudent politician, who measures power before he speaks, especially as he has filled the White House, economic councils and security apparatus with Zionist zealots.

The Making and Re-Making of Obama

The Chicago Jewish News, a nationally prominent Israel-First propaganda organ, published a lengthy article on ‘Obama and the Jews’ by Pauline Dubkin (October 24, 2008), which quotes approvingly a ‘long-time Jewish observer of the political scene’, who declared that, “Jews made him (Obama). Wherever you look there is a Jewish presence.”

This is not merely the usual arrogant self-aggrandizing boasts of a Zionist power broker, with which we are constantly bombarded on so many political topics, this reflects an important part of what Obama has become, especially in advancing his latter day political ambitions. The Zionist self-promoters (ZSP), ever ready to take credit for any success (no matter how notorious and immoral) – Wall Street speculators, Ivy League professors, Pentagon militarists, cultural gurus and even the key patrons of art forms like jazz and constantly rewrite history (or biography in the case of Obama) to maximize their self-importance in all aspects of American life. The ZSP conveniently fail to mention in their articles that Obama’s white Gentile grandmother gave him the intellectual nurturing and encouragement and diligently petitioned for scholarships for him to attend elite private schools, which formed the basis for his intellectual skills to write, speak and reason as an educated man. The ZSP exclude from their ‘revisionist and Judaized’ biography of Obama, the central importance of Reverend Jeremiah Wright who transformed Obama from an elite Ivy university graduate into an effective social activist. Obama was able to participate and get involved in community organizing in Chicago’s African-American neighborhoods because of Wright’s endorsement and broad credibility. If it were not for Rev. Wright, Obama would never have had a social base or organizational experience to engage in Chicago politics. It is only after Obama had gained these skills and popular appeal that the Zionist politicos noticed him and went to work on his ego and ambitions, recruiting him to their pro-Israel agenda and financing his political career.

The Zionist re-write of his biography has gone curiously unchallenged by Obama. To suit his new mentors, the Israel-First ideologues and financial backers, he has willfully discarded and insulted his former mentors, as well as any current policy advisers and political colleagues who doesn’t adhere to the Zionist line of unconditional support for Israel. Two cases come immediately to mind. When leading Zionist ideologues objected to the presence of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley, among Obama’s foreign policy advisors, the Zionists in Obama’s inner circle immediately marginalized them with his approval. When the notorious torture-promoting Zionofascist Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz raised a howl about former US President Jimmy Carter (a principled critic of Israel’s apartheid policies) speaking at the Democratic Party Convention (following a century-long political tradition of honoring former presidents) the Zionist operatives blatantly humiliated the elderly Carter by denying him even a five-minute speech – with Obama’s approval. ‘Professor’ Dershowitz publicly crowed about his success and power over the Democratic nominee Obama in censoring the former President.

The conversion and promotion of Obama as an Israel-Firster is an excellent case study of the methods the ZPC has used to build a near invincible power base in the US political system. The construction of the ZPC is not the result of a cabal with a preplanned centrally controlled operation. Obama’s conversion began through an ideologically diverse, individual, family and community-based effort. As Obama rose from local to national political office, Zionist promotion evolved from local into a nationally organized and concerted effort including campaign funding, business career appointments and paid propaganda and indoctrination junkets to Israel.

The ZPC offers positive inducements for the ‘recruitable’ and threats of retaliation and intimidation via media slanders and systematic public pillory through most Jewish communal organizations for the public political critics of Israel who remain recalcitrant and refuse to toe the Israel-First line.

Turning Obama into an Israel-Firster, according to the Chicago Jewish News article, began during his studies at Harvard Law School where he was ‘spotted’ by a Zionist professor, Martha Minow, as “smart, promising, and politically ambitious” and a likely recruit. The professor proudly recounts how she contacted family members, including her father, a major Democratic powerbroker, and fellow Zionists who ran a law firm in Chicago and recommended they hire the Obama. In brief, the first step in Zionist recruitment was using a prestigious academic post for initial contact, followed by a promise of career advancement through a professional network.

The next step was to introduce Obama to an association of ‘friends and neighbors in the Jewish Community including prominent Zionist financial supporters. Obama’s early promoters played a key role in convincing him that his political future depended on Zionist allies and that support depended on his total commitment to an Israel-First agenda. As Obama’s ties with his Zionist-liberal backers in the Democratic Party thickened, his links to black community organizing and his pastor and former mentor, the progressive African-American minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright weakened. By the end of the 1990’s, Obama was firmly embedded in the liberal Zionist Democratic Party network and through it he teamed up with two key Zionist figures who were crucial to his presidential campaign: David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist since 2002 and the chief architect and tactician of his presidential campaign in 2008 and Bettylu Salzman, daughter of Phillip Klutznick, a billionaire real estate developer, slumlord and zealous Israel-Firster. Salzman/Klutznick admits she never would have bankrolled and promoted Obama simply because of ‘his smarts’ or liberal politics if he hadn’t pledged his commitment to Israel’s interests. She states, “Obviously I’m not going to support someone who is opposed to Israel and what it stands for. He’s right on all the issues when it comes to Israel. He is in exactly the same place (Hillary) Clinton is, maybe stronger. He’s a clearer thinker.” (Chicago Jewish News, October 24, 2008) While Obama served in the Illinois Senate, he shared an office with an Orthodox Jew and fanatical Israel-Firster, Ira Silverstein, who boasts of his role in ‘educating’ Obama about Jewish Orthodoxy and more important “shared pro-Israel feelings” to the point that … “When Silverstein sponsored numerous resolutions condemning PLO bombings Obama eagerly signed on as a co-sponsor.” (ibid)

Fully embedded in the Zionist Power Configuration of Chicago, Obama was advised by the Axelrods, Klutznicks and other key strategists to make the obligatory ritual pilgrimage to Israel and pay obeisance to its leaders in the course of his Senate campaign. During his trip to Israel, two years later in 2006, Obama was accompanied and guided by the executive vice-president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Under Zionist guidance, Obama ‘connected’ with the Israeli state, totally ignoring the plight of the Palestinians who were being savagely repressed by the Israel Army and assaulted on a daily basis by Zion-Fascist settlers. Obama returned a thoroughly committed Zionist African-American politician.

With the Israeli-ZPC certificate of approval, Obama’s financial base of support widened to include some of the wealthiest pro-Israel Jewish Americans in the Midwest including Lester Crown, whose son, James Crown headed Obama’s financial campaign in Illinois. According to Crown (pater), “From the time I met him, the times we talked about Israel and we talked about it several times, he has been an ardent backer of Israel’s defense position (sic), Israel’s security position.” (Ibid)

To those Zionfascists who demand that Israel annex all of Palestine and expel ‘the Arabs’ and were disturbed by Obama’s passing reference to a two-state solution, Crown assured them that Obama’s proposal was couched in such outrageously impossible demands for concessions from the Palestinians that it was a dead letter.

Not all Jews accept this view of a Zionist-embedded Obama: Some racists reject him as an untrustworthy and unqualified ‘Schvartze’ because of his ‘very close intimate relationship’ with Reverent Jeremiah Wright. The Zionist-influenced mass media took their cue from the far-right and orchestrated a hate campaign against Reverend Wright and his links to Obama. The ‘liberal Zionists’, who strategized and ran Obama’s presidential campaign, easily convinced Obama to publicly dissociate himself from his former minister and mentor of the 1980’s. Obama complied. However, the alliance of the Republican Right and Zionfascists demanded Obama make a public denunciation of the Minister. The liberal Zionists prepared the script, which Obama recited, issuing a vicious condemnation of Rev. Wright and specifically listed Wright’s defense of the sovereignty and self-determination of the Palestinians as one of his ‘crimes’.

Obama had crossed the River Jordan. His capitulation to the Zionofascists was the inevitable consequence of his intimate and longstanding ties to his liberal-Zionist backers. The public purging and scourging of a renowned African-American Christian theologian of the oppressed was only the beginning of the Zionist makeover of Obama as the first Jewish (or better Zionist) President of the United States. It was followed by further purges of any ‘centrist’ or ‘realist’ establishment adviser, who might at any time in the past have issued the mildest criticism of Israel’s policies or even praised or associated with any other critic of Israel or the Jewish Lobby in the US. It was ‘guilt by association’.

The Zionofascists soon pressed their campaign to force Obama’s liberal-Zionists to purge Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Cold Warrior National Security Adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, Samantha Power, author and lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Robert Malley, a former Clinton adviser for their perceived crimes against Zionism. Brzezinski was accused of advocating what he called “an even-handed Middle East policy”, something clearly ‘anti-Semitic’ in the eyes of the unconditional supporters of Israel who dominate the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO). Worse still he praised the Walt-Mearsheimer book critical of the Israel Lobby, a capital offense in the eyes of most of the Jewish political spectrum. Power and Malley also transgressed the Israel-First line. Although Brzezinski later recanted his praise of Professors Walt and Mearsheimers’ study, he and the other members of the ‘objectionable three’ foreign policy specialists were marginalized and excluded from having any input on policy issues related to Middle East.

Control of Obama’s Middle East policy was taken over by Dennis Ross, a virulent Zionist advocate of Israel’s ultra-militaristic policies, including an armed preemptive attack on Iranian nuclear and military installations. Ross is an unconditional supporter of the Israeli starvation siege of the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip and fully backed Israel’s savage air attacks against civilian targets in Lebanon. Obama’s appointment of Ross is the clearest guarantee to all Zionists, liberal, orthodox or fascist, that US policy in the Middle East will continue to be subordinated to the interests of the Israeli State and its military.

Obama’s purge of any and all moderate voices on Middle East policy, his placement of fanatical Israel-Firsters in most key positions in his campaign and new Administration reflects his long-term, deep immersion into the Zionist Power Configuration. The result is a “Jewish President” – in the sense that most key White House, economic and security appointments reflect pre-election Zionist power in the making, indoctrination and scripting of the Obama candidacy.

The Configuration of the ‘Jewish President’

One of Obama’s longest supporters, Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, provides a clue to Obama’s affinity for Zionist appointments. According to Rabbi Wolf, “Obama is embedded in the Jewish world.” While the Rabbi is presumptuous to assume that all Jews subscribe to his own Israel-First views, he is absolutely correct if he is referring to the Jewish-Zionist world.

Nothing better explains Obama’s selection of demonstrably failed economists and security officials than his long-term, large-scale links to the ZPC.

Obama started with the appointments of dual US-Israeli citizen, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emmanuel and Zionist David Axelrod to top White House posts, as well as Lawrence Summers (long-time Harvard ally of the Judeo-fascist, torture advocate Alan Dershowitz) as chief White House economic adviser. Summers is a life-time Israel-Firster, who used his presidency at Harvard University as a bully pulpit to attack a student-faculty group critical of Israeli policies in the Occupied Terrtories. As the former Treasury Secretary under the Clinton regime he was a key architect of the speculator-dominated financial system, which is currently in total collapse. In line with the ‘Jewish Presidency’, Obama named one of the foremost, unconditional Israel-Firsters to be his key Middle East policymaker – Dennis Ross, a leading Zionist ideologue and co-author of a presidential position paper advocating pre-emptive war with Iran. Ross is the pivotal Zionist figure in Obama’s entourage and his appointment is the guarantee for the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO) that the Obama regime will follow and support with American guns and American tax-payer money every Israeli war crime, assault or invasion on its Arab and Parsi-speaking regional neighbors. Ross, Axelrod, Summers, Emmanuel and their craven followers in Congress together with the AIPAC and the entire Zionist community-based network will ensure that Obama is inextricably ‘embedded’ in their agenda. They will not allow the publication or support of any intelligence investigation, judicial inquiry or United Nations report, which challenges Israel’s occupation of Palestine and promotion of pre-emptive war with Iran based on the fabrication of data about its so-called nuclear threat. Each and every recently appointed Zionists has condemned the United Nations and International Atomic Agency reports refuting Israel’s phony claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. They will make sure that newly appointed National Security Adviser, General James Jones will never bring up or make public his highly critical internal report based his on-site investigation of Israel’s crimes against the civilian Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates are so deeply ‘embedded’ in the Zionist network and so deeply infused with the Israel-First ideology that ZPC ‘pressure’ will not be necessary. The three are, in effect, Zionized Zombies, eager to fawn and truckle, even to grotesque excesses, at every wink and gesture, signaling military handouts, UN vetoes and repeated provocative acts of war against Iran. They have even exceeded President Bush in their eagerness to please their Zionist mentors by recognizing Jerusalem as the ‘undivided’ capital of the Jews – effectively denying the rights of the Palestinian residents.

Nothing speaks to the dominance of the ZPC over US political life – domestic and foreign – than the election of their meticulously groomed first ‘Jewish President’ – and the subsequent takeover of strategic economic and security posts in his administration.

Conclusion

The ascent of a minority of ambitious power-driven political operatives acting first and foremost for a militarist colonial power in a strategic region of the world economy represents the biggest threat to world peace and to US democratic values in recent history.

Think about it: Not only do the Zionists and their embedded clones rule the White House, they also have the political apparatus (left, liberal, center and right) to silence, insult, witch hunt and isolate any critic of their agenda, their organizations and of the State of Israel. When confronted by a critic the entire apparatus brays in unison about ‘anti-Semitism’ and follows up with severe civil sanctions. As Obama’s career under his Zionist handlers illustrates, they are capable of hurling repulsive denunciations against his former African-American mentor and spiritual councilor, Reverend Wright; capable of publicly humiliating and pushing aside a former President and Obama supporter, Jimmy Carter; capable of isolating and ‘sanitizing’ former top foreign policymakers from earlier Democratic Administration like Brzezinski, simply for pointing out Israeli crimes against humanity (although such observations are made daily in the European press and political circles).

The apparatus combines the carrot (embedding and promoting Obama) and the stick (stigmatizing Carter): It all depends on whether an individual, politician, academic, writer or journalist is ‘useful’ (i.e., an unconditional supporter) or ‘harmful’ (i.e., critical) to the State of Israel.

The Obama experience illustrates how a small, close knit, well-organized and well financed minority operating through prestigious professional posts and powerful economic enterprises can penetrate major political institutions, capture upwardly mobile politicians and ‘turn’ them into willing accomplices in promoting wars on behalf of a foreign colonial militarist power. If in the past we have experienced Zionist thuggery mugging our freedom of speech in civil society, think of what we can expect when these thugs have complete control of the White House. The ‘First Jewish President’ of the United States indeed! Where does that leave the American people, their rights, their interests and their country’s independent foreign policy?

Epilogue

In early December 2008, Israel’s right wing party, Likud, under the leadership of ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu, met and nominated its slate of candidates for the upcoming national elections (February 12, 2009). The majority of candidates nominated represent what most Israeli journalists call the ‘hard right’ or what might be accurately described as Zionfascism. The Likud Party majority favors the expulsion of all Palestinians (i.e. non-Jews) from Greater Israel, the military seizure of Gaza, the end of any pretense of peace negotiations and the immediate bombing of Iran.

Currently Likud and its fascists have the support of a plurality of Israeli Jews. If they win, it is a virtual certainty they will receive the automatic support of all the principle respectable pro-Israel Jewish organizations in the US, who follow the line that: “It is not ours to question whom the Israelis vote for office. It is our duty to back the State of Israel.”

The election of an Israeli-fascist regime will up the ante in Washington. Does Obama’s embedding in the Zionist apparatus include support for Jewish fascism , the total ethnic cleansing of Palestine and their unilateral decision to ‘nuke’ Iran? Three weeks into his presidency Obama will face his biggest Middle East challenge, which will define the nature of US policy in the region.

Obama has recently suggested that Washington would nuke Iran to protect Israel – which has never yet signed a treaty with the US – to which the Bush Administration replied contemptuously that it would be very hard to convince American parents in Kansas that their sons should risk nuclear incineration for the sake of a small country in the Middle East. Clearly Obama is a greater war monger on issues involving Israel then even Bush: It comes with being a “Jewish President”

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras’ forthcoming book, Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008. He can be reached at: jpetras@binghamton.edu. Visit his website.

Gates warns US adversaries not to test Obama

Gates warns US adversaries not to test Obama

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An Iranian schoolgirl walks past an anti-US mural painted on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran

MANAMA : US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned on Saturday that US adversaries would be “sorely mistaken” to test Barack Obama in the Gulf and called for regional pressure to change Iran’s behaviour.

“Anyone who thought that the upcoming months might present opportunities to ‘test’ the new administration would be sorely mistaken,” he said at an international security conference.

“The president-elect and his team, myself included, will be ready to defend the interests of the United States, and our friends and allies, the moment he takes office on January 20,” he said.

Gates said a change of behaviour, rather than a regime change, was sought from Tehran.

“Nobody is after a regime change in Iran,” he said.

“What we are after is a change in policies and a change in behaviour so that Iran becomes a good neighbour of people in the region (rather) than a source of instability and violence.”

He said it “remains to be seen” whether the incoming Obama administration will broaden the conditions for direct diplomacy with Iran.

“But one thing I think I can say with some confidence is that the president-elect Obama is under no illusions about Iran’s behaviour and what Iran has been doing in the region and is doing in terms of its own weapons programmes,” he said.

“I think we all need to work together to see if we can bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bring about a change in Iran’s behaviour,” he said during a question and answer session.

“If we say that we want to try to change Iranian behaviour and want to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons and we want to avoid conflict, then the way to get them to change there behaviour is to use every tool at our disposal to bring economic and political pressure on them,” he added.

Gates said the oil-rich region will remain a central US concern, and that as Obama’s pick to stay on at the Pentagon he has worked hard to assure that the transition of power goes smoothly.

“I bring from president-elect Obama a message of continuity and commitment to our friends and partners in the region,” he said in a speech to the Manama Dialogue.

Gates’s speech comes as the United States is shifting its priorities from Iraq to Afghanistan.

During a brief visit to Afghanistan on Thursday, he promised commanders more troops and resources as the United States draws down its 146,000-strong force from Iraq by the end of 2011.

But he signalled in Manama that he remains concern about Iraq’s long-term stability and Iran’s attempts to influence the government in Baghdad.

Gates said a new agreement governing the US military presence in Iraq through the end of 2011 marks “the dawn of a new era in Iraq — where a sovereign, independent and representative government has finally taken root.”

Whether Iraq plays a constructive role in the region depends in part on whether Arab states act to support its government, treating it as an equal and inviting it to take part in regional economic and political forums, Gates said.

“There is no doubt that Iran has been heavily engaged in trying to influence the development and direction of the Iraqi government — and has not been a good neighbour,” he said.

He renewed charges that Iran has been training and supplying armed militant groups intent on undermining the government.

He said Iran tested long-range missiles this year that can hit any country in the Middle East, and has “almost assuredly” geared its nuclear programme to develop nuclear weapons.

Arab states should back financial sanctions called for by the United Nations and “could be even more influential … by welcoming the new Iraq into the Arab fold,” he said.

“For other Arabs to withhold support and friendship because of the composition of Iraq’s government, or because of past aggressions by a defunct government, would be to increase the risk of the very outcome many in the region fear,” he said.

“Iraq wants to be your partner. And given the challenges in the Gulf, the reality of Iran, you should wish to be theirs.”

Gates praised the Gulf states for making “significant progress in air and missile defence throughout the Middle East.”

He said all six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have expressed interest in or are in the process of acquiring active missile defenses and shared early warning on air or missile attacks.

– AFP/vm

More NATO vehicles destroyed in Pakistan

NOW HAPPENING AS OFTEN AS PREDATOR STRIKES

More NATO vehicles destroyed in

Pakistan

News Brief – December 13, 2008


A NATO supply depot in northwest Pakistan has again been attacked following attacks earlier this week in which nearly two hundred military vehicles were destroyed.

more_nato_vehicles_destroyed
A Pakistani firefighter sprays smouldering NATO vehicles

The attack was the latest on transport compounds used to ferry armoured fighting to Western forces in Afghanistan as militants increasingly target supply lines.

Pakistan police said 11 trucks and 13 containers containing supplies were destroyed in the attack.

The raid was the fourth on NATO and US military terminals outside the city of Peshawar in the past week, highlighting the vulnerability of the NATO supply route through Pakistan.

It came despite an increase in security following the earlier attacks.

A Pakistani officer, Mohammad, said it was difficult to protect the whole of north-western Pakistan, where 13 terminals used by the NATO and US-led forces are located.

“This time they came secretly, taking advantage of the darkness, without firing rockets or gunshots,” he said.

Police say the attackers slip into Peshawar from the lawless tribal region of Khyber, which borders Afghanistan.

A third raid on Thursday night destroyed another dozen vehicles intended for US-led troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Although NATO and US-led forces in Afghanistan have downplayed the attacks, saying they have had no impact and insisting supply lines are secure, both are heavily dependent on supply routes through Pakistan.

An estimated 80% of US and NATO forces supplies pass through Pakistan.

GM to temporarily close 20 plants to slash output

GM to temporarily close 20 plants to slash

output

NEW YORK—- General Motors Corp. said Friday it will temporarily close 20 factories across North America and make sweeping cuts to its vehicle production as it tries to adjust to dramatically weaker automobile demand.

GM said it will cut 250,000 vehicles from its production schedule for the first quarter of 2009, which includes a cut of 60,000 vehicles announced last week. Normal production would be around 750,000 cars and trucks for the quarter, spokesman Tony Sapienza said.

Many plants will be shut down for the whole month of January, he said, and all told, the factories will be closed for 30 percent of the quarter.

ÒWe’re adjusting pretty dramatically,Ó spokesman Chris Lee said.

The move affects most of GM’s plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During the shutdowns, employees will be temporarily laid off and receive a portion of their normal pay from the company. They can also apply for state unemployment benefits, Lee said.

GM and nearly all automakers who sell in the U.S. are mired in the worst sales slump in 26 years. GM reported its sales in the U.S. plunged 41 percent in November and are down 22 percent for the first 11 months of the year compared with the same period last year.

Cash-strapped GM is seeking government loans to stay in operation beyond the end of the year. The White House said Friday it may tap into its $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund to help GM and Chrysler stay in business after the Senate blocked a measure to provide $14 billion in immediate loans.

The measure failed in dramatic fashion late Thursday after Senate Republicans balked at passing the bill without more wage and benefit concessions from autoworkers.

Lee said Friday’s production cuts are unrelated to the rescue’s failure and had already been planned.

The entire auto industry has been making massive production cuts recently as it adjusts to the reality of lower automobile demand. Earlier Friday, Honda Motor Co. said it was cutting production in North America by 119,000 vehicles for its fiscal year ending March 31.

That brings Honda’s expected production for its fiscal year to 1.3 million units, a spokesman said.

Auto demand in the U.S., and increasingly around the world, has been hobbled due to the declining economy and the credit squeeze, which has made it more difficult and more costly for some buyers to obtain financing. Industrywide vehicle sales crumbled 37 percent in November, with every major automaker posting giant sales declines.

Lee said GM’s production cuts will be achieved by adding Òdown weeksÓ to the schedules at the affected plants. During down weeks, which can be staggered during a given period of time or can come several at once, the plant will not produce anything and employees will be temporary laid off.

ÒWe look at it on a plant-by-plant basis and make decisions regarding their production schedule in terms of market demand, so it’s not a blanket … we look at it plant by plant and make those decisions,Ó Lee said.

GM shares fell 18 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $3.94 in late trading Friday.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press.

Security Council could take action if sanctions not implemented

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Security Council could take action if sanctions not implemented

United Nations, (IANS) : A top UN official, responsible for monitoring sanctions imposed by the Security Council on individuals and organizations branded as terrorist, has said the 15-member powerful body could take actions against countries if they fail to implement the sanctions.

Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the Security Council established Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan after the committee slapped sanctions on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a frontal organization of Laskhar-e-Taiba, and four top leaders of LeT as terrorists.

I am quite sure that Pakistan would take the necessary action; I do not think there is going to be a problem with that, Barrett told in an interview.

News reports coming from Islamabad say that soon after the Security Council imposed sanctions on JuD and LeT leaders for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai terrorists attacks, Pakistan arrested several of its leaders, put them under house arrest and sealed their offices.

However, Barrett said there are provisions with United Nations that the Security Council can take action against nations if they are seen to be not taking the desired actions against individuals and organizations branded as terrorists by the Security Council.

After sanctions are imposed, Security Council expects countries to freeze the assets of individuals and organizations branded as terrorists, prevent their international travel and forbid them from any arms trade and military training, he said.

If a country does not take the necessary step then the Security Council would think what to do about them. It would look into the circumstances, look at the reasons why the steps have not been taken and then decide would appropriate action is required, Barrett said.

Barrett said: The first step is to check if there is a case (against the country for not implementing sanctions) or not. So the first question is of contacting the State, or looking into it further, or if the location is quite clear, takes action against the State.

The UN official said the latest sanctions imposed by the Security Council committee shows that LeT and its other frontal organizations are associated or linked somewhere with Al Qaeda.

It also shows that the international community as a whole, and it also includes Pakistan, is quite serious about preventing this short of activities where it might occur, he said.

As head of the Security Council Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, Barrett said his work is to see the sanctions are implemented by member nations as desired by the Council.

We work very closely with all our colleagues, and of course with countries like Pakistan, which of course is a strong supporter of the monitoring team, he said.

Barrett, who has been to Pakistan including the troubled tribal areas of the country several times in the past, is planning to go to Pakistan soon as a follow up to the latest sanctions slapped by the UN body.

I look forward to the further good relations and discussions with them (Pakistani officials) about the particular threat posed by Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Taliban and Al Qaeda affiliates, he said.

When asked about media reports about a US proposal to slap similar sanctions on Hamid Gul, the former head of ISI of Pakistan, Barrett said he has not seen any such proposal till now.

I have not seen any proposal of that name being added to the list, he said.

That Was No Small War in Georgia — It Was the Beginning of the End of the American Empire

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That Was No Small War in Georgia — It Was the Beginning of

the End of the American Empire

By Mark Ames, Radar

The imperial masterminds who fixated on Georgia as an outsourcing project must have figured we’d score a two-fer by simultaneously winning strategic control of the untapped oil in the region and also managing to stick a giant bug up the raw southern rim of our decrepit old rival Russia.

To enact this plan, America deftly organized and orchestrated the so-called Rose Revolution, which I witnessed in Tblisi in 2003. Saakkashvili’s predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, was judged unreliable, so in a multilayered soft putsch that used every lever of influence at our disposal, the U.S. replaced him with Saakashvili, a Columbia-educated hothead who speaks perfect neocon. In the Western media, the Rose Revolution was portrayed as 1776 redux (starring Saakashvili as George Washington with a permanent five o’clock shadow). A more perfect vassal for George W. Bush’s foreign policy could not have been found than “Misha,” as he is fondly known. He stacked his cabinet with young right-wing fanatics, and made sure he had a coterie of mountain-biking American advisers with him at all times. This crew included John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, whom Misha paid more than $1 million in lobbying fees.

This project in Georgia was just a high-profile example of a broader Bush strategy. All around Russia’s southern border, America laid claim to former Soviet domains. After 9/11, Putin infuriated many of his army commanders and security chiefs by agreeing to let the U.S. set up bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for the Afghan invasion. Once the Taliban was removed from power, America decided that it felt like staying. After all, who was going stop us? Given the sorry state of their affairs, the Russians certainly weren’t. So by 2002, Putin was stuck with American pie dripping down his cadaverous bloodless face. But after years in which Russia rebuilt itself on the back of soaring commodity prices (today it’s the world’s largest producer of oil), our advantages in global power politics have started to tilt Putin’s way. Slowly and quietly he got American forces thrown out of Uzbekistan and all but sidelined in Kyrgyzstan. And then, here in Georgia, he seized the opportunity to really hammer home his point.

During my visit to Georgia in 2003, if someone had told me that in five years American military advisers would be hightailing it from their main base in Vasiani to avoid getting slaughtered by advancing Russian forces, I would have slapped him with a rubber chicken for insulting my intelligence. Yet there they were: gasping for air in the lobby of the Tblisi Sheraton, insisting off the record that the conflict was all the Georgians’ fault, not theirs.  (read here)

Hunting “Judas Goats”

judasgoat1

“JUDAS GOAT”:  a goat that is used to find feral goats that are targeted for eradication. The Judas goat is outfitted with a transmitter, painted in red and then released. The goat then finds the remaining herds of feral goats, allowing hunters to exterminate them.[3]

Police: Pakistan militants kill 2 alleged US spies

MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan (AP) — Police say Taliban militants killed two Afghan men they accused of spying on behalf of U.S. forces behind missile strikes in northwest Pakistan.

Official Sakhi-ur-Rehman says authorities found the men’s bodies Saturday in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region, after being alerted by residents.

One had his throat slit. The other had multiple bullet wounds.

A letter found nearby alleges the men gave information to the U.S. that aided missile strikes in the militant-plagued region. Rehman says the letter claims a CD containing the pair’s alleged confession is forthcoming.

The U.S. is suspected in more than 30 missile strikes against militant targets in northwest Pakistan since August.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to ask the United Nations to authorize “all necessary measures” against piracy from Somalia

APTOPIX SOMALIA PIRACY

Navy commander questions land attacks on

pirates

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to ask the United Nations to authorize “all necessary measures” against piracy from Somalia, a leader of the U.S. military, which would help carry out that policy, said in effect: Not so fast.

The commander of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet expressed doubt Friday about the wisdom of launching attacks against Somali pirates on land, as the draft U.N. resolution proposes. A Pentagon spokesman warned against the urge to grasp for a quick and easy military solution to a complex international problem.

U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters that striking pirate camps in lawless Somalia could open a can of worms. It is difficult to identify pirates, and the potential for killing innocent civilians “cannot be overestimated,” Gortney said.

There is a huge risk to any U.S. forces involved, whether small commando units or larger operations. And U.S. commanders still have sour memories of the humiliating “Blackhawk Down” outcome of U.S. military intervention in Somalia more than a decade ago.

Concern about possible mistaken identity extends to operations at sea, too, since pirate ships are often indistinguishable from ragtag fishing vessels. The military is also worried about what would be done with captured pirates, who would try or imprison them.

“There are many that are seeking a simple military solution, or solely a military solution to address the piracy issue,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. “I think that we need to take a more comprehensive look a this, and while there may be a military component, this is an issue that has to be addressed more broadly.”

In a wide-ranging interview at his 5th Fleet headquarters, Gortney said the better solutions are to improve the security, stability and government in Somalia, and to resolve legal questions so militaries that capture pirates can detain them and bring them to trial.

Pentagon officials also say shipping companies might solve much of their own problem by hiring even lightly armed guards to ward off what are often crude takeovers by relatively small bands of pirates.

Currently, most foreign navies patrolling the Somali coast have been reluctant to detain suspects because of uncertainties over where they would face trial, since Somalia has no effective central government or legal system.

The draft U.N. Security Council resolution proposes that all nations and regional groups cooperating with Somalia’s U.N.-backed government in the fight against piracy and armed robbery “may take all necessary measures ashore in Somalia.”

Rice is presenting the draft at the U.N. early next week.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked about the U.N. resolution Saturday at an international forum. He was also asked whether the U.S. policy is to back the proposal to authorize land-based attacks or if he has similar concerns that Gortney expressed.

Gates said that allies need to develop the kind of intelligence and information that would make it possible to attack the pirates’ home bases. If the militaries eventually get good intelligence, he said, “that would make it possible to go after them.”

But first, he said, shipping companies must take initial “minimally intelligent” safety measures including to speed up when they see pirates approach, and to pull up their ladders.

“This isn’t rocket science,” Gates said.

Bush administration officials in Washington say that while the proposal would give the U.S. military more options in confronting the pirates, it does not mean the U.S. is planning a ground assault.

The resolution would set maximum parameters only, something that military officials say they endorse. The problem comes in deciding when and how to fully use any military force.

Whitman was asked repeatedly to say whether the U.S. military supports the full range of options the resolution appears to allow, and would be willing to carry them through. He declined to directly answer the question, saying he would not speculate on future military operations.

A senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the U.N. hasn’t yet debated the proposal, stressed that any suggestion of military action is only part of the proposal, but questioned why, if the military had solid intelligence and the risk of collateral damage were low, there would be reluctance to act on it.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.N. proposal is just one approach to multiple problems in impoverished, chaotic Somalia. The broad parameters of possible military action are justified, McCormack said, because “the pirates come from land, and that land happens to be in Somalia.”

At the U.N., the proposal is encountering resistance from some Security Council members like South Africa and Indonesia that have often voiced sovereignty concerns about a major initiative, particularly by the council’s Western powers.

Indonesian Ambassador Marty Natalegawa told reporters Friday the U.S. plan could conflict with the U.N.’s “Law of the Sea” treaty, which sets rules and settles disputes over navigation, fishing and economic development of the open seas and establishes environmental standards.

“I still have a problem with this onshore business,” he said. “We have a regime that governs the law of the seas … and we cannot simply willy-nilly and as we please set that aside as a situation dictates.”

Somalia’s tenuous government has no handle on security. Piracy is booming. An estimated 1,500 pirates are based in the semiautonomous Puntland region, raking in millions of dollars.

Somalia’s government has welcomed the U.S. initiative.

If the U.S. military gets involved on the ground in Somalia, it would be the first time since 1992-1993 when U.S. intervention culminated in a deadly clash in Mogadishu followed by a humiliating withdrawal of American forces.

A few U.S. Navy ships already are patrolling the waters off Somalia.

Revisiting Islam vs Islamism

Revisiting Islam vs Islamism

Hussein Solomon

Forget the `Clash of Civilizations’ thesis; the battle lines within Islam have been drawn. Two years ago I published a paper entitled “Between Tolerance and Totalitarianism, Between Islam and Islamism”* The basic thrust of my argument then was that Islamic principles of tolerance and compassion are increasingly being displaced by Islamism. Islamism is a twentieth century totalitarian ideology that seeks to mould Islamic religious tradition to serve narrow political ends of domination. Not only is Islamism totalitarian in character, it is also violent in its methods and, in the process, betrays the very Islamic ideals it supposedly champions.

At the time of writing that paper two years ago I recall feeling pessimistic, feeling that Islamism was on the ascendancy. However, recent events have tempered my despondency and filled me with renewed hope that Muslims are recapturing the true ideals of their faith — those of tolerance and compassion — whilst rejecting the Islamist extremisms and distortions of their faith. A key catalyst for this is that Muslims are increasingly being turned off by the barbaric methods employed by Islamists.

In Iraq, unprecedented revulsion was displayed by Iraqi Muslims at the fact that young children were being recruited as suicide bombers by Al Qaeda. Two cases earlier this year illustrate the point well. In one incident, a young girl aged 13 exploded her suicide belt in Diyala, and in September, a 10-year old boy blew himself up next to Sheikh Imad Jassem, the leader of the Sons of Iraq in Tarmiya. Not only was Muslim public opinion affronted by the age of the suicide bombers, but also at the fact that they were recruited by coercive means and, in one case, did not even know that they were being strapped with an explosive device. The use of child suicide bombers by Al Qaeda may make tactical sense since less attention is paid to children at security checkpoints, but in the process they are alienating Muslim public opinion, which they do need in order to sustain their campaign. Increasingly, Iraqis are now co-operating with authorities in sharing information, which is contributing to more preventive action in Iraq. As such, the death toll is dropping and the security situation is improving whilst Al Qaeda and others of its ilk are increasingly on the defensive.

This was recently repeated in India following a string of indiscriminate bombings that largely targeted innocent civilians and which were perpetrated by the Indian Mujahideen. In early November, 6,000 ulema and Muftis from different parts of India ratified the fatwa against terrorism issued by the powerful Darul Uloom Deoband, the renowned seminary and Islamic academic centre. In the process, these Muslim clerics were sending a powerful message to the Islamist extremists: You do not speak in our name!

Following the terrorist attack on Mumbai, Muslim clerics in India once again went on the offensive. Mumbai’s Muslim Council refused burial space to the terrorists killed in the Mumbai attacks, making it very clear that they do not regard these as Muslims. Muslim imams in Mumbai also called on the community to wear a black ribbon on Eid as an expression of solidarity with those killed. Meanwhile, the India Organisation of Imams of Mosques called on all mosques, muftis and madrassas to reiterate in this week’s Friday prayers that “Islam forbids the killing of innocent people and is against any form of terrorism. We are deeply aggrieved by the loss of human lives and especially by the brutal killing of Jews.”

As a Muslim, I have to admit that I was really proud of these imams. Muslims were coming to terms with the enemy within — those who seek to subvert the noble ideals of a great religion into one which would justify the brutal massacre of the innocent. Just as the Mumbai terrorists demonstrated that the targets of terror have no religion — Hindu, Jew, Christian and over 40 Muslims were killed in Mumbai – so too were these imams loudly proclaiming that terrorists have no religion — whether Timothy McVeigh, Yigal Amir or Osama bin Laden. This gives me hope that in the battle between Islam and Islamism, Islam will triumph in the end.