The ‘good effects’ of bombing a village market in Afghanistan

The ‘good effects’ of bombing a village market in Afghanistan

by Marc W. Herold
Departments of Economics
Whittemore School of Business & Economics
University of New Hampshire

POSTED AUGUST 16, 2007 —

The “August 2: Airpower Summary” posted on the official website of the United States Air Force (USAF) announced, “An Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s on enemies hiding in a tree line near Baghran. The bomb drop was reported to have good effects.”1 But, on the ground, reality was rather different: Gul Wali, 18, was among the wounded. “Bombs were falling everywhere from the sky into the trees, and I saw pieces of flesh and bone. These were villagers. They were innocent people. They had just come to the mela [outdoor traditional weekly market] to buy food for their families. Instead, they ended up looking for their loved ones among piles of bodies.” In the absence of normal shops, most communities mount a weekly trade fair, bringing handicrafts, livestock, farm produce and clothing along to barter or sell. The mela was located close to the holy shrine of Ibrahim Shah Baba. Wali’s reference to a line of trees corresponds perfectly with the account given in the US Air Force’s Airpower Summary. The luckier ones ended up in a hospital, as this young 10-year old boy with abdominal shrapnel wounds and whose leg needed to be amputated:


Photo from Emergency Hospital in Lashkar Gah, found here.

For its part, the U.S. military in Bagram released an official statement proclaiming,

During a sizable meeting of senior Taliban commanders, coalition forces employed precision-guided munitions on their location after ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area.2

This type of statement is intended to “grab the news headlines” before any contrary account gets publicly offered, a deliberate ploy of the US/NATO militaries.3 The corporate mainstream media from the New York Times to Britain’s Telegraph and Xinhuanet dutifully reproduced the pronouncement. Faced with contradicting information from the bombed region, the militaries respond with a sequence of tactics: stonewall and cordon-off the bomb site; admit civilians might have been killed, adding contrived tales (Taliban were hiding amongst civilians or bombed must have really been Taliban because no female casualties), and then simply wait for the story to go away.4

If there were no civilians, then how to explain wounded such as in these photos? Reporters haven’t been permitted to talk to the injured and they are under heavy guard as part of news management in order to prevent them making known the truth of this slaughter. Moreover, the truth is prevented by a geographic isolation: the U.S. bombing often takes place in rugged, isolated regions, largely inaccessible or only at great risk. Hence, the U.S. and NATO feel much freer to bomb indiscriminately and answer questions later.5

Fifty percent of the GBU-31 (Mark 84) bombs dropped upon Bughni are estimated to fall within a 13 meter radius of the target; and the lethal blast or fragmentation range radius out from the point of impact is 400 yards (or 366 meters). Dropping such munitions upon a village area is guaranteed to cause death and injury. Listen to an official description,

Dropped from a plane and hurtling toward its target at 300 mph, the 14-foot steel bomb uses small gears in its fins to pinpoint its path based on satellite data received by a small antenna and fed into a computer. Just before impact, a fusing device triggers a chemical reaction causing the 14-inch-wide weapon to swell to twice its size. The steel casing shatters, shooting forth 1,000 pounds of white-hot fragments traveling at speeds of 6,000 feet per second. The explosion creates a shock wave exerting thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). By comparison, a shock wave of 12 psi will knock a person down; and the injury threshold is 15 pounds psi. The pressure from the explosion of a device such as the Mark-84 JDAM can rupture lungs, burst sinus cavities and tear off limbs hundreds of feet from the blast site, according to trauma physicians. When it hits, the JDAM generates an 8,500-degree fireball, gouges a 20-foot crater as it displaces 10,000 pounds of dirt and rock and generates enough wind to knock down walls blocks away and hurl metal fragments a mile or more. “There is a very great concussive effect. Damage to any human beings in the vicinity would be pretty nasty,” said Rob Hewson of Jane’s. “A 2,000-pound bomb has an effective damage radius of at least 800 meters (about 2,600 feet).” 6

The 1,000kg Mark 84 Joint Direct Attack Munition (J-DAM) generates a massive fireball and shockwave which also unleashes nearly 500kg of superheated steel fragments, killing anyone within 120 meters and causing injuries out to 1,000 meters. When the US/NATO drops such a bomb upon a populated area, the killing is intentional, that is, it is murder, putting the lie to the oft-repeated assertion that while Taliban kill “intentionally”, the occupiers kill civilians “unintentionally.” Moreover, haven’t the Taliban warned people to stay away from occupation army bases, patrols, and employment?

On that fateful afternoon of August 2nd, hundreds of people had gathered for the traditional weekly market (or ‘mela’) in Bughni (or Bagh-e-Nahi) where local people trade everything from carpets, foods, clothes, to cows. Market day there falls on Thursday, the start of Afghanistan’s weekend. Then, suddenly, the U.S. Boeing-made GBU-31, GPS-guided 2,000 pound bombs fell from the blue sky.

Panic erupted. Many villagers said they lost fathers, brothers, and children in the inferno. Others ferried their wounded to hospitals in the province, providing concrete evidence that simple civilians had been injured and massacred. Some injured were transferred to a clinic in Musa Qala, 100 kms away from Bughni; others were taken to Kandahar, 150 kms away; and yet others were brought to Lashkar Gah, 200 kms away.

Eyewitnesses told gruesome tales of headless bodies piled high in Bughni waiting for identification. A resident, Hafizullah, said, “It was a day of blackness. Almost everyone had lost someone. People did not know where their family members were. I saw people just sitting on the ground, staring at nothing. There was mourning everywhere.” Another resident added, “We grew tired of collecting the dead.”

At least 20 civilians (including an 8-yr-old boy) with shrapnel wounds were brought to the main Bost hospital in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. Three of the injured men died there. Helmand’s police chief, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said. “I can confirm there were heavy bombardments,” Andiwal told Reuters by phone. “We have heard of heavy casualties too and have sent a team to investigate this.” A provincial lawmaker in Kabul, Mohammad Anwar, also received reports of high civilian casualties. In the Lashkar Gah hospital, Shokhi Khan, a relative of one of the wounded, said several hundred civilians were killed or wounded in the strikes. He said people had gathered for picnics and to go to a shrine in Baghran district north of Lashkar Gah on Thursday when the raids started. Twelve wounded men were brought to a hospital in the main southern city of Kandahar, said Sharifullah Khan, a doctor there. Nasibullah, one of the wounded men in Kandahar hospital, said the bombs hit a market. He claimed there were no Taliban there at the time of the attack. An Afghan Defense Ministry said some 40 men had also been brought to hospital in the main southern city of Kandahar. Other injured persons were brought to hospitals in Sangin and Musa Qala districts.

Abdul Karim, a resident of Baghran, recounted, “Many died on the way. One of my sons is in Bost Hospital. I don’t think he will survive. Two other sons are in Musa Qala. Two of my cousins were killed and two more were injured.”

When the claim that no civilians had been bombed could no longer be sustained, a back-up lie was floated by the military, playing upon general public ignorance. Charlie Mayo was the carrier. “It is interesting there were no females,” said British Lieutenant-Colonel Charlie Mayo in Helmand Province, suggesting the wounded adult males may have been Taliban fighters. “We are very confident we hit a large meeting of Taliban and they are very sore about it.”

But the village of Bughni has long been a Taliban-controlled area where no doubt Sharia prevails and women simply do not attend public gatherings or go out shopping (hence no female victims). Who are you fooling, Lt-Col. Charlie Mayo?

The local (Afghan) attempt at obfuscation was a little less subtle. General Zahir Azimy of the Afghan Defense Ministry put forth the U.S-pleasing lie – no evidence whatsoever offered – that a large gathering of Taliban attending a public execution had been bombed, killing over 100 Taliban and three senior commanders including Commander Mansoor Dadullah. Azimy added, “According to our sources, there were 150 people killed, maybe less, but not more,” he told a news conference. “If there were civilian casualties, they were very limited and should not exceed 10.”7 Since the attack, Mansoor Dadullah has given several media interviews. The evidence of very high civilian casualties is incontrovertible now. How many more accounts from residents are needed? How many more gruesome photos of injured young boys and old men? The general needs to go back to the drawing boards (or U.S. tutorials).

Are these persons Taliban?

Several family members who accompanied the bombing victims seeking treatment gave accounts describing their personal situation. Haji Hakim Jan, 27, said the U.S. bombs killed four of his brothers. Jan added, “I had another brother of mine and an eight-year-old sister wounded in the bombing.” He said that such deaths alienate civilians from Western troops and make people join the Taliban resistance.8

The attention by the mainstream corporate media to twenty-one captured South Korean evangelists as compared to the Afghan civilians slaughtered in Helmand is revealing. The villagers of Bagh-e-Nahi are indeed very sore in ways more than one about what happened between 3-4 P.M. on August 2nd. But then, of course, Afghan civilians killed by the US/NATO are bad bodies, unlike dead South Korean civilians who are good bodies. The U.S. Pentagon, the U.S. corporate press, and Human Rights Watch only “see” and count good bodies.

— 30 —

Footnotes

1. Here.

2. Emphasis added by the author.

3. Something I have explored in my essay, “”Grab News Headlines, Isolate Bombed Area and Stonewall: U.S. Military’s Virtual Reality about Afghan Civilian Casualties. A Case Study of the U.S. Assault upon Hajiyan” (May 28, 2006), found here.

4. I examined earlier U.S. operations in Baghran in “Et Plus Ca Change…Patterns of Death and Deceit in Afghanistan,” Cursor.org (March 10, 2003), found here.

5. U.S. and NATO bombs rained down before upon civilians in Baghran in February 2003 (see my “A Rain of Bombs,” in Frontline found here) and in June 2006 (see here).

6. Mark Sauer, “Precision JDAMs Can Pack Big Punch: On-Board Systems Guide Air-to-Surface Weapons,” San Diego Tribune (March 21, 2003) found here.

7. Hamid Shalizi, “Few Civilian Deaths from Afghan Bombing – Officials,” Reuters (August 4, 2007) found here.

8. Abdul Qodus, “Afghans Check Reports of Civilian Bombing Deaths,” Reuters (2:23 PM EDT August 3, 2007).

The Monster In The Mirror

The Monster In The Mirror

By Arundhati Roy

15 December, 2008
Outlook India

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11.” And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, U.S. Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “bad guys,” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.

But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan, and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.

It’s odd how, in the last week of November, thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara — one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.

The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur, and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects in these previous attacks, both Hindu and Muslim, all Indian nationals, it obviously indicates that something’s going very badly wrong in this country.

If you were watching television you might not have heard that ordinary people, too, died in Mumbai. They were mowed down in a busy railway station and a public hospital. The terrorists did not distinguish between poor and rich. They killed both with equal cold-bloodedness.

The Indian media, however, was transfixed by the rising tide of horror that breached the glittering barricades of “India shining” and spread its stench in the marbled lobbies and crystal ballrooms of two incredibly luxurious hotels and a small Jewish center.

We’re told that one of these hotels is an icon of the city of Mumbai. That’s absolutely true. It’s an icon of the easy, obscene injustice that ordinary Indians endure every day. On a day when the newspapers were full of moving obituaries by beautiful people about the hotel rooms they had stayed in, the gourmet restaurants they loved (ironically one was called Kandahar), and the staff who served them, a small box on the top left-hand corner in the inner pages of a national newspaper (sponsored by a pizza company, I think) said, “Hungry, kya?” (“Hungry eh?”). It, then, with the best of intentions I’m sure, informed its readers that, on the international hunger index, India ranked below Sudan and Somalia.

But of course this isn’t that war. That one’s still being fought in the Dalit bastis (settlements) of our villages; on the banks of the Narmada and the Koel Karo rivers; in the rubber estate in Chengara; in the villages of Nandigram, Singur, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Lalgarh in West Bengal; and the slums and shantytowns of our gigantic cities.

That war isn’t on TV. Yet.

So maybe, like everyone else, we should deal with the one that is.

Terrorism and the Need for Context

There is a fierce, unforgiving fault line that runs through the contemporary discourse on terrorism. On one side (let’s call it Side A) are those who see terrorism, especially “Islamist” terrorism, as a hateful, insane scourge that spins on its own axis, in its own orbit, and has nothing to do with the world around it, nothing to do with history, geography, or economics. Therefore, Side A says, to try to place it in a political context, or even to try to understand it, amounts to justifying it and is a crime in itself.

Side B believes that, though nothing can ever excuse or justify it, terrorism exists in a particular time, place, and political context, and to refuse to see that will only aggravate the problem and put more and more people in harm’s way. Which is a crime in itself.

The sayings of Hafiz Saeed who founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) in 1990 and who belongs to the hard-line Salafi tradition of Islam, certainly bolsters the case of Side A. Hafiz Saeed approves of suicide bombing, hates Jews, Shias, and Democracy, and believes that jihad should be waged until Islam, his Islam, rules the world.

Among the things he said are:

“There cannot be any peace while India remains intact. Cut them, cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy.”

And: “India has shown us this path. We would like to give India a tit-for-tat response and reciprocate in the same way by killing the Hindus, just like it is killing the Muslims in Kashmir.”

But where would Side A accommodate the sayings of Babu Bajrangi of Ahmedabad, India, who sees himself as a democrat, not a terrorist? He was one of the major lynchpins of the 2002 Gujarat genocide and has said (on camera):


“We didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire… we hacked, burned, set on fire… we believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it… I have just one last wish… let me be sentenced to death… I don’t care if I’m hanged… just give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura where seven or eight lakhs [seven or eight hundred thousand] of these people stay… I will finish them off… let a few more of them die… at least twenty-five thousand to fifty thousand should die.”

And where in Side A’s scheme of things would we place the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh bible, We, or, Our Nationhood Defined by M. S. Golwalkar , who became head of the RSS in 1944. (The RSS is the ideological heart, the holding company of the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, and its militias. The RSS was founded in 1925. By the 1930s, its founder, Dr. K. B. Hedgewar, a fan of Benito Mussolini’s, had begun to model it overtly along the lines of Italian fascism.)

It says:


“Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”

Or:


“To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here… a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

Of course Muslims are not the only people in the gun sights of the Hindu Right. Dalits have been consistently targeted. Recently, in Kandhamal in Orissa, Christians were the target of two and a half months of violence that left more than 40 dead. Forty thousand people have been driven from their homes, half of whom now live in refugee camps.

All these years Hafiz Saeed has lived the life of a respectable man in Lahore as the head of the Jamaat-ud Daawa, which many believe is a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He continues to recruit young boys for his own bigoted jihad with his twisted, fiery sermons. On December 11, the United Nations imposed sanctions on the Jamaat-ud-Daawa. The Pakistani government succumbed to international pressure and put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest.

Babu Bajrangi, however, is out on bail and lives the life of a respectable man in Gujarat. A couple of years after the genocide, he left the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, a militia of the RSS) to join the Shiv Sena (another rightwing nationalist party). Narendra Modi, Bajrangi’s former mentor, is still the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

So the man who presided over the Gujarat genocide was reelected twice, and is deeply respected by India’s biggest corporate houses, Reliance and Tata. Suhel Seth, a TV impresario and corporate spokesperson, recently said, “Modi is God.” The policemen who supervised and sometimes even assisted the rampaging Hindu mobs in Gujarat have been rewarded and promoted.

The RSS has 45,000 branches and seven million volunteers preaching its doctrine of hate across India. They include Narendra Modi, but also former Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee, current leader of the opposition L. K. Advani, and a host of other senior politicians, bureaucrats, and police and intelligence officers.

And if that’s not enough to complicate our picture of secular democracy, we should place on record that there are plenty of Muslim organizations within India preaching their own narrow bigotry.

So, on balance, if I had to choose between Side A and Side B, I’d pick Side B. We need context. Always.

A Close Embrace of Hatred, Terrifying Familiarity, and Love

On this nuclear subcontinent, that context is Partition. The Radcliffe Line, which separated India and Pakistan and tore through states, districts, villages, fields, communities, water systems, homes, and families, was drawn virtually overnight. It was Britain’s final, parting kick to us.

Partition triggered the massacre of more than a million people and the largest migration of a human population in contemporary history. Eight million people, Hindus fleeing the new Pakistan, Muslims fleeing the new kind of India, left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Each of those people carries, and passes down, a story of unimaginable pain, hate, horror, but yearning too. That wound, those torn but still unsevered muscles, that blood and those splintered bones still lock us together in a close embrace of hatred, terrifying familiarity, but also love. It has left Kashmir trapped in a nightmare from which it can’t seem to emerge, a nightmare that has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Pakistan, the Land of the Pure, became an Islamic Republic, and then very quickly a corrupt, violent military state, openly intolerant of other faiths.

India on the other hand declared herself an inclusive, secular democracy. It was a magnificent undertaking, but Babu Bajrangi’s predecessors had been hard at work since the 1920s, dripping poison into India’s bloodstream, undermining that idea of India even before it was born.

By 1990, they were ready to make a bid for power. In 1992 Hindu mobs exhorted by L. K. Advani stormed the Babri Masjid and demolished it.

By 1998, the BJP was in power at the center. The U.S. War on Terror put the wind in their sails. It allowed them to do exactly as they pleased, even to commit genocide and then present their fascism as a legitimate form of chaotic democracy.

This happened at a time when India had opened its huge market to international finance and it was in the interests of international corporations and the media houses they owned to project it as a country that could do no wrong. That gave Hindu nationalists all the impetus and the impunity they needed.

This, then, is the larger historical context of terrorism on the subcontinent — and of the Mumbai attacks. It shouldn’t surprise us that Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba is from Shimla (India) and L. K. Advani of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is from Sindh (Pakistan).

In much the same way as it did after the 2001 Parliament attack, the 2002 burning of the Sabarmati Express, and the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express, the government of India announced that it has “incontrovertible” evidence that the Lashkar-e-Taiba, backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was behind the Mumbai strikes.

The Lashkar has denied involvement, but remains the prime accused. According to the police and intelligence agencies, the Lashkar operates in India through an organization called the “Indian Mujahideen.” Two Indian nationals, Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmed, a Special Police Officer working for the Jammu and Kashmir Police, and Tausif Rehman, a resident of Kolkata in West Bengal, have been arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks.

So already the neat accusation against Pakistan is getting a little messy.

Almost always, when these stories unspool, they reveal a complicated global network of foot soldiers, trainers, recruiters, middlemen, and undercover intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives working not just on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, but in several countries simultaneously.

In today’s world, trying to pin down the provenance of a terrorist strike and isolate it within the borders of a single nation state, is very much like trying to pin down the provenance of corporate money. It’s almost impossible.

In circumstances like these, air strikes to “take out” terrorist camps may take out the camps, but certainly will not “take out” the terrorists. And neither will war.

Also, in our bid for the moral high ground, let’s try not to forget that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the LTTE of neighboring Sri Lanka, one of the world’s most deadly terrorist groups, were trained by the Indian Army.

Releasing Frankensteins

Thanks largely to the part it was forced to play as America’s ally, first in its war in support of the Afghan Islamists and then in its war against them, Pakistan, whose territory is reeling under these contradictions, is careening toward civil war.

As recruiting agents for America’s jihad against the Soviet Union, it was the job of the Pakistani Army and the ISI to nurture and channel funds to Islamic fundamentalist organizations. Having wired up these Frankensteins and released them into the world, the U.S. expected it could rein them in like pet mastiffs whenever it wanted to. Certainly it did not expect them to come calling in the heart of the homeland on September 11. So once again, Afghanistan had to be violently remade.

Now the debris of a re-ravaged Afghanistan has washed up on Pakistan’s borders.

Nobody, least of all the Pakistani government, denies that it is presiding over a country that is threatening to implode. The terrorist training camps, the fire-breathing mullahs, and the maniacs who believe that Islam will, or should, rule the world are mostly the detritus of two Afghan wars. Their ire rains down on the Pakistani government and Pakistani civilians as much, if not more, than it does on India.

If, at this point, India decides to go to war, perhaps the descent of the whole region into chaos will be complete. The debris of a bankrupt, destroyed Pakistan will wash up on India’s shores, endangering us as never before.

If Pakistan collapses, we can look forward to having millions of “non-state actors” with an arsenal of nuclear weapons at their disposal as neighbors.

It’s hard to understand why those who steer India’s ship are so keen to replicate Pakistan’s mistakes and call damnation upon this country by inviting the United States to further meddle clumsily and dangerously in our extremely complicated affairs. A superpower never has allies. It only has agents.

On the plus side, the advantage of going to war is that it’s the best way for India to avoid facing up to the serious trouble building on our home front.

The Mumbai attacks were broadcast live (and exclusive!) on all or most of our 67 24-hour news channels and god knows how many international ones. TV anchors in their studios and journalists at “ground zero” kept up an endless stream of excited commentary.

Over three days and three nights we watched in disbelief as a small group of very young men, armed with guns and gadgets, exposed the powerlessness of the police, the elite National Security Guard, and the marine commandos of this supposedly mighty, nuclear-powered nation.

While they did this, they indiscriminately massacred unarmed people, in railway stations, hospitals, and luxury hotels, unmindful of their class, caste, religion, or nationality.

(Part of the helplessness of the security forces had to do with having to worry about hostages. In other situations, in Kashmir for example, their tactics are not so sensitive. Whole buildings are blown up. Human shields are used. The U.S. and Israeli armies don’t hesitate to send cruise missiles into buildings and drop daisy cutters on wedding parties in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.)

But this was different. And it was on TV.

The boy-terrorists’ nonchalant willingness to kill — and be killed — mesmerized their international audience. They delivered something different from the usual diet of suicide bombings and missile attacks that people have grown inured to on the news.

Here was something new. Die Hard 25. The gruesome performance went on and on. TV ratings soared. Ask any television magnate or corporate advertiser who measures broadcast time in seconds, not minutes, what that’s worth.

Eventually the killers died and died hard, all but one. (Perhaps, in the chaos, some escaped. We may never know.)

Throughout the standoff the terrorists made no demands and expressed no desire to negotiate. Their purpose was to kill people, and inflict as much damage as they could, before they were killed themselves. They left us completely bewildered.

Collateral Damage

When we say, “Nothing can justify terrorism,” what most of us mean is that nothing can justify the taking of human life. We say this because we respect life, because we think it’s precious.

So what are we to make of those who care nothing for life, not even their own? The truth is that we have no idea what to make of them, because we can sense that even before they’ve died, they’ve journeyed to another world where we cannot reach them.

One TV channel (India TV) broadcast a phone conversation with one of the attackers, who called himself “Imran Babar.” I cannot vouch for the veracity of the conversation, but the things he talked about were the things contained in the “terror emails” that were sent out before several other bomb attacks in India. Things we don’t want to talk about any more: the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the genocidal slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, the brutal repression in Kashmir.

“You’re surrounded,” the anchor told him. “You are definitely going to die. Why don’t you surrender?”

“We die every day,” he replied in a strange, mechanical way. “It’s better to live one day as a lion and then die this way.” He didn’t seem to want to change the world. He just seemed to want to take it down with him.

If the men were indeed members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, why didn’t it matter to them that a large number of their victims were Muslim, or that their action was likely to result in a severe backlash against the Muslim community in India whose rights they claim to be fighting for?

Terrorism is a heartless ideology, and like most ideologies that have their eye on the Big Picture, individuals don’t figure in their calculations except as collateral damage.

It has always been a part of, and often even the aim of, terrorist strategy to exacerbate a bad situation in order to expose hidden fault lines. The blood of “martyrs” irrigates terrorism. Hindu terrorists need dead Hindus, Communist terrorists need dead proletarians, Islamist terrorists need dead Muslims. The dead become the demonstration, the proof of victimhood, which is central to the project.

A single act of terrorism is not in itself meant to achieve military victory; at best it is meant to be a catalyst that triggers something else, something much larger than itself, a tectonic shift, a realignment. The act itself is theater, spectacle, and symbolism, and today the stage on which it pirouettes and performs its acts of bestiality is Live TV. Even as the Mumbai attacks were being condemned by TV anchors, the effectiveness of the terror strikes was being magnified a thousand-fold by the TV broadcasts.

Through the endless hours of analysis and the endless op-ed essays, in India at least, there has been very little mention of the elephants in the room: Kashmir, Gujarat, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Instead, we had retired diplomats and strategic experts debate the pros and cons of a war against Pakistan. We had the rich threatening not to pay their taxes unless their security was guaranteed. (Is it alright for the poor to remain unprotected?) We had people suggest that the government step down and each state in India be handed over to a separate corporation.

We had the death of former Prime Minster V. P. Singh, the hero of Dalits and lower castes, and the villain of upper caste Hindus pass without a mention.

We had Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City and co-writer of the Bollywood film Mission Kashmir give us his version of George Bush’s famous “Why They Hate Us” speech. His analysis of why religious bigots, both Hindu and Muslim, hate Mumbai: “Perhaps because Mumbai stands for lucre, profane dreams and an indiscriminate openness.”

His prescription: “The best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever.”

Didn’t George Bush ask Americans to go out and shop after 9/11? Ah yes. 9/11, the day we can’t seem to get away from.

A Shadowy History of Suspicious Terror Attacks

Though one chapter of horror in Mumbai has ended, another might have just begun. Day after day, a powerful, vociferous section of the Indian elite, goaded by marauding TV anchors who make Fox News look almost radical and left-wing, have taken to mindlessly attacking politicians, all politicians, glorifying the police and the army, and virtually asking for a police state.

It isn’t surprising that those who have grown plump on the pickings of democracy (such as it is) should now be calling for a police state. The era of “pickings” is long gone. We’re now in the era of Grabbing by Force, and democracy has a terrible habit of getting in the way.

Dangerous, stupid oversimplifications like the Police are Good/Politicians are Bad, Chief Executives are Good/Chief Ministers are Bad, Army is Good/Government is Bad, India is Good/Pakistan is Bad are being bandied about by TV channels that have already whipped their viewers into a state of almost uncontrollable hysteria.

Tragically this regression into intellectual infancy comes at a time when people in India were beginning to see that, in the business of terrorism, victims and perpetrators sometimes exchange roles.

It’s an understanding that the people of Kashmir, given their dreadful experiences of the last 20 years, have honed to an exquisite art. On the mainland we’re still learning. (If Kashmir won’t willingly integrate into India, it’s beginning to look as though India will integrate/disintegrate into Kashmir.)

It was after the 2001 Parliament attack that the first serious questions began to be raised. A campaign by a group of lawyers and activists exposed how innocent people had been framed by the police and the press, how evidence was fabricated, how witnesses lied, how due process had been criminally violated at every stage of the investigation.

Eventually, the courts acquitted two out of the four accused, including S. A. R. Geelani, the man whom the police claimed was the mastermind of the operation. A third, Showkat Guru, was acquitted of all the charges brought against him, but was then convicted for a fresh, comparatively minor offense.

The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of another of the accused, Mohammad Afzal. In its judgment the court acknowledged that there was no proof that Mohammed Afzal belonged to any terrorist group, but went on to say, quite shockingly, “The collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.”

Even today we don’t really know who the terrorists that attacked the Indian Parliament were and who they worked for.

More recently, on September 19th of this year, we had the controversial “encounter” at Batla House in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, where the Special Cell of the Delhi police gunned down two Muslim students in their rented flat under seriously questionable circumstances, claiming that they were responsible for serial bombings in Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad in 2008. An assistant commissioner of police, Mohan Chand Sharma, who played a key role in the Parliament attack investigation, lost his life as well. He was one of India’s many “encounter specialists,” known and rewarded for having summarily executed several “terrorists.”

There was an outcry against the Special Cell from a spectrum of people, ranging from eyewitnesses in the local community to senior Congress Party leaders, students, journalists, lawyers, academics, and activists, all of whom demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.

In response, the BJP and L. K. Advani lauded Mohan Chand Sharma as a “Braveheart” and launched a concerted campaign in which they targeted those who had dared to question the integrity of the police, saying to do so was “suicidal” and calling them “anti-national.” Of course, there has been no enquiry.

Only days after the Batla House event, another story about “terrorists” surfaced in the news. In a report submitted to a Sessions Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that a team from Delhi’s Special Cell (the same team that led the Batla House encounter, including Mohan Chand Sharma) had abducted two innocent men, Irshad Ali and Moarif Qamar, in December 2005, planted two kilograms of RDX (explosives) and two pistols on them, and then arrested them as “terrorists” who belonged to Al Badr (which operates out of Kashmir).

Ali and Qamar, who have spent years in jail, are only two examples out of hundreds of Muslims who have been similarly jailed, tortured, and even killed on false charges.

This pattern changed in October 2008 when Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which was investigating the September 2008 Malegaon blasts, arrested a Hindu preacher Sadhvi Pragya, a self-styled God man, Swami Dayanand Pande, and Lt. Col. Purohit, a serving officer of the Indian Army. All the arrested belong to Hindu nationalist organizations, including a Hindu supremacist group called Abhinav Bharat.

The Shiv Sena, the BJP, and the RSS condemned the Maharashtra ATS, and vilified its chief, Hemant Karkare, claiming he was part of a political conspiracy and declaring that “Hindus could not be terrorists.” L. K. Advani changed his mind about his policy on the police and made rabble rousing speeches to huge gatherings in which he denounced the ATS for daring to cast aspersions on holy men and women.

On November 25th, newspapers reported that the ATS was investigating the high profile VHP chief Pravin Togadia’s possible role in the blasts in Malegaon (a predominantly Muslim town). The next day, in an extraordinary twist of fate, Hemant Karkare was killed in the Mumbai attacks. The chances are that the new chief, whoever he is, will find it hard to withstand the political pressure that is bound to be brought on him over the Malegaon investigation.

While the Sangh Parivar does not seem to have come to a final decision over whether or not it is anti-national and suicidal to question the police, Arnab Goswami, anchorperson of Times Now television, has stepped up to the plate. He has taken to naming, demonizing, and openly heckling people who have dared to question the integrity of the police and armed forces.

My name and the name of the well-known lawyer Prashant Bhushan have come up several times. At one point, while interviewing a former police officer, Arnab Goswami turned to the camera: “Arundhati Roy and Prashant Bhushan,” he said. “I hope you are watching this. We think you are disgusting.”

For a TV anchor to do this in an atmosphere as charged and as frenzied as the one that prevails today amounts to incitement, as well as threat, and would probably in different circumstances have cost a journalist his or her job.

So, according to a man aspiring to be the next prime minister of India, and another who is the public face of a mainstream TV channel, citizens have no right to raise questions about the police.

This in a country with a shadowy history of suspicious terror attacks, murky investigations, and fake “encounters.” This in a country that boasts of the highest number of custodial deaths in the world, and yet refuses to ratify the international covenant on torture. A country where the ones who make it to torture chambers are the lucky ones because at least they’ve escaped being “encountered” by our Encounter Specialists. A country where the line between the underworld and the Encounter Specialists virtually does not exist.

The Monster in the Mirror

How should those of us whose hearts have been sickened by the knowledge of all of this view the Mumbai attacks, and what are we to do about them?

There are those who point out that U.S. strategy has been successful inasmuch as the United States has not suffered a major attack on its home ground since 9/11. However, some would say that what America is suffering now is far worse.

If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colors, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The U.S. military is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unraveling of the American economy and who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire.

(Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?)

Hundreds of thousands of people, including thousands of American soldiers, have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequency of terrorist strikes on U.S. allies/agents (including India) and U.S. interests in the rest of the world has increased dramatically since 9/11.

George W. Bush, the man who led the U.S. response to 9/11, is a despised figure not just internationally, but also by his own people.

Who can possibly claim that the United States is winning the War on Terror?

Homeland Security has cost the U.S. government billions of dollars. Few countries, certainly not India, can afford that sort of price tag. But even if we could, the fact is that this vast homeland of ours cannot be secured or policed in the way the United States has been. It’s not that kind of homeland.

We have a hostile nuclear-weapons state that is slowly spinning out of control as a neighbor; we have a military occupation in Kashmir and a shamefully persecuted, impoverished minority of more than 150 million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and pushed to the wall, whose young see no justice on the horizon, and who, were they to totally lose hope and radicalize, will end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world.

If 10 men can hold off the NSG commandos and the police for three days, and if it takes half a million soldiers to hold down the Kashmir valley, do the math. What kind of Homeland Security can secure India?

Nor for that matter will any other quick fix.

Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they’re for people that governments don’t like. That’s why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They’re just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go.

Terrorists like those who attacked Mumbai are hardly likely to be deterred by the prospect of being refused bail or being sentenced to death. It’s what they want.

What we’re experiencing now is blowback, the cumulative result of decades of quick fixes and dirty deeds. The carpet’s squelching under our feet.

The only way to contain — it would be naïve to say end — terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We’re standing at a fork in the road. One sign says “Justice,” the other “Civil War.” There’s no third sign and there’s no going back. Choose.

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives, and has worked as a film designer, actor, and screenplay writer in India. A tenth anniversary edition of her novel, The God of Small Things (Random House), for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize, will be officially published within days. She is also the author of numerous nonfiction titles, including An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire. This piece was published by Outlook India


Copyright 2008 Arundhati Roy

Moscow’s “Big Surprise” to Lebanon under Consideration

The United States, however, refuses to arm the LAF with adequate arms for “it jeopardizes the military supremacy of Israel in the region!”

Moscow’s “Big Surprise” to Lebanon under Consideration

Hussein Assi Readers Number : 110

17/12/2008 The “major surprise” announced by Defense Minister Elias al-Murr on Tuesday from the Russian capital regarding a Russian will to provide the Lebanese Army with 10 MiG-29 fighter jets continued to stimulate welcoming stands within Lebanon, amid a “suspicious” Israeli calm and serious doubts that the government would engage into such a deal.

On Tuesday, Murr declared that Russia intends to provide Lebanon with 10 MiG-29 fighters. Interestingly enough, though, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, did not confirm the Lebanese announcement, merely indicating that “Russia has received a list of the Lebanese Armed Forces’ needs.”

Furthermore, Russian ambassador to Lebanon told Lebanese daily As-Safir that he did not have any official information about the mentioned deal. Yet, he reiterated the Russian commitment to establish developed and sophisticated relations with Lebanon at all possible levels and domains.

Meanwhile, the announcement raised several questions pertaining to its timing on the domestic and foreign levels, the relevant “costs” and the period subsequent to the receipt of the 10 fighters. Sources close to the United States told Lebanese daily Ad-Diyar that the US was taken by surprise by the arms deal with Russia.

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar quoted well-informed sources in the Lebanese military institution as saying that the Russian side has declared its readiness to provide Lebanon with the modern weapons it needs, adding that the Russian weapons market was open to Lebanon. The sources also said that the army was ready to send its officers for training on the weapons, including the aircrafts. But the sources stressed that the whole issue was dependent on the Lebanese cabinet’s decision, explaining that such level of arming would have political and financial dimensions.

Historically, the United States is main provider of arms to the Lebanese army. The provided equipment, however, consist of light weapons, spare parts and vehicles. The Lebanese army has become in dire need for sophisticated defensive systems to face Israeli threats and violation of Lebanese sovereignty. The United States, however, refuses to arm the LAF with adequate arms for “it jeopardizes the military supremacy of Israel in the region!”

Moreover, a ministerial source told the same daily that the actual political and financial status of the national-unity government would make the engagement into the mentioned deal difficult. The source expressed fears that the Zionist entity, which hasn’t yet commented on the news, would not deal smoothly with the issue. “The Zionist entity would launch a diplomatic campaign against the deal,” the source predicted, warning that it might follow it with a military action “since it considers providing the army with weapons a real danger on its security.”

In the same context, diplomatic sources didn’t rule out the possibility that the Zionist entity would fiercely attack the deal even though it perceives that the number of the would-be provided jets cannot be compared to its air force. Yet, the sources told Lebanese daily An-Nahar that Tel Aviv would express fear that the MiGs would be used to obstruct its daily violation of the Lebanese airspace.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has previously called on all friendly countries to well equip the army, and urged the Lebanese government to buy arms from the black market to render the Lebanese army strong as it should be in the face of Israel.

The United States: A Country Without Mercy

The United States: A Country Without Mercy

By Paul Craig Roberts

December 16, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse — The Christmas season is a time to remember the unfortunate, among whom are those who have been wrongly convicted.

In the United States, the country with the largest prison population in the world, the number of wrongly convicted is very large. Hardly any felony charges are resolved with trials. The vast majority of defendants, both innocent and guilty, are coerced into plea bargains. Not only are the innocent framed, but the guilty as well. It is quicker and less expensive to frame the guilty than to convict them on the evidence.

Many Americans are wrongfully convicted, because they trust the justice system. They naively believe that police and prosecutors are moved by evidence and have a sense of justice. The trust they have in authorities makes them easy victims of a system that has no moral conscience and is untroubled by the injustice it perpetrates.

Lt. William Strong, son of a military family, tired of his wife’s unfaithfulness and filed for divorce. The unfaithful wife retaliated by accusing Strong of rape. There was no evidence of rape, but Strong was deceived into a plea bargain. Once Strong entered a plea, he was double-crossed and given 60 years.

Christophe Gaynor took an adolescent skate board team to New York City for a competition. One of the kids attempted to buy illicit drugs. Gaynor threatened to tell the boy’s parents, and the boy preempted Gaynor by accusing him of sexual molestation.

Gaynor was openly framed in the Arlington, Virginia, court system.

Americans, or perhaps more accurately some Americans, were horrified by the photographs showing the torture of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib by the US military. The Senate Armed Services Committee has issued a report which concludes that the torture policy originated at the highest level of the Bush administration. Those Americans with a moral conscience have reeled under further revelations–the torture of Guantanamo detainees, the transport of people seized by US authorities to third world countries to be tortured.

We have to ask ourselves why American service men and women and CIA operatives delight in torturing people about whom they know nothing? It has been well known since the Stalin era that torture never produces accurate information. Yet, US soldiers and CIA personnel jumped at the green light given to torture by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and the US Department of Justice. Why weren’t our soldiers shocked instead at the immorality of their leaders?

One answer is that the US military no longer operates according to a code of honor. Military discipline in the traditional sense does not exist. The ethos of the US military has degenerated into kick-ass macho. Major General Taguba, who, instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib scandal, attempted in his report to hold the US military to its traditional principles, was forced to resign from the US Army.

Another answer is that the work of torture, like police work and prosecutorial work, attracts brutal people who enjoy inflicting harm on others. The two Republican female US Attorneys in Alabama who framed Democratic Governor Seligman enjoyed ruining Seligman and bringing grief to his family.

Deborah Davies of the BBC’s Channel 4 undertook a four-month investigation of the torture of American prisoners inside American prisons. Videos taken by sadistic prison guards and videos recovered from surveillance cameras reveal horrible acts of torture and even of murder of prisoners by prison guards.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8451.htm

An American prison reformer told Deborah Davies, “We’ve become immune to the abuse. The brutality has become customary.”

Few Americans seem to be disturbed as these inhumane and illegal practices continue unabated. Americans continue to see themselves as the salt of the earth, the “indispensable people.”

“Law and order conservatives” have a great responsibility for this evil. Just as “law and order conservatives” created hysteria among the people about crime, they created hysteria about terrorists. Hysterical people condone great evils and arm government with power in the mistaken belief that it will protect them.

What kind of people have we become when we exercise no oversight over a criminal justice (sic) system that destroys the lives of innocent people and locks them away in prisons to be tortured by sadistic guards?

Are we suicidal?

Are we suicidal?

December 16, 2008.
I am searching for what one might do, efficaciously, to avert the looming attack by India on Pakistan. The following report in PressTV has greatly depressed me this morning even before I could have my cup of tea (usually I try to wait until my first cup of chai before reading the news): ‘India gearing up for Pakistan attack.’

I am greatly distressed at the jingoistic tone being set by many Pakistanis, on many Pakistani websites – are we collectively suicidal?

A people who can’t feed ourselves want to take on a war with India? Fly Pakistani flag on India? By what chutzpah? What insanity? What right?

Many of our brethren appear to be cheering this guy Zaid Hamid – a self-anointed defense-analyst who jingoistically took on the Indian Intelligence operative Bharat Verma in a conversation on a Pakistani television news talk show, the latter also presenting himself as a defense analyst and spewing disinformation – in the typical “bharhki marna” Punjabi style (see ‘Kal Tak with Javed Choudhry’ which aired on December 12th, 2008 ).

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To me, Mr. Verma is a desi replica of Bernard Lewis. His analysis are likely seeded in the same imperial foundations and think-tanks along the Potomac. His position paper in the Indian Defense Review seems right out of a neo-con planning guide “Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest” http://www.indiandefencereview.com/?p=354

To respond to a ‘Bernard Lewis’ in that way is to fall entirely in his trap. These are maestros of human and social psyche, psyops and disinformation, ‘tickling the enemy’ to respond the way they want to is their forte, as disclosed in “Press Release WHAT’S TO BE DONE – Massive Bomb Blast in Islamabad Marriott September 20, 2008.” http://tinyurl.com/6l6g59

Not not only have they understood the Muslim psyche penetratingly well, but also the Hindu psyche. They are orchestrating a fight between India and Pakistan so that the long-planned dismemberment agenda for Pakistan can be continued further. The endgame was disclosed in “Wakeup to the grotesque reality of the ‘Grand Chessboard’” http://tinyurl.com/3mf3ab

Is this Zaid Hamid a patsy or a mercenary, deliberately fanning the flames of already impending war that requires little assistance from any Pakistani, right according to the script outlined in the ‘Bernard Lewis plan’ for the dismemberment of Pakistan?

And it is incredibly distressing to me that such display of jingoism is going down rather well on both sides of the border in a positive feedback loop of self-sustaining jingoism. Are we suicidal as a people?
Furthermore, is the dismemberment of Pakistan already fait accompli? Or is there some way to avert it – assuming mercenaries will always remain in charge (just as they always have been)?

Is the ordinary man entirely out of the loop, everywhere? A simple commonsense perspective shows that ought not to be the case (ala La Boetie, see “Happy Happy in Hope and Voluntary Servitude”
http://tinyurl.com/59ncew ), and yet, that is indeed very much the case, everywhere.

Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
http://humanbeingsfirst.org
California, United States of America

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

[THE FOLLOWING IS AN ASTONISHING ADMISSION OF INDIA’S REAL INTENT IN ITS MILITARY EXPANSION INTO AFGHANISTAN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN, THE ELIMINATION OF PAKISTAN AS A STATE AND A FLANKING MANEUVER TO CUT CHINA OFF FROM CENTRAL ASIAN PIPELINE ROUTES AND ACCESS TO THE INDIAN OCEAN AT THE PORT OF GWADAR, GOALS THAT ARE IDENTICAL TO AMERICAN IMPERIAL DESIGNS FOR THE REGION.  STARTING WORLD WAR III IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO SACRIFICE A FEW HUNDRED MUMBAI CITIZENS TO IGNITE IT.]

Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest

By Bharat Verma
Issue: Vol. 23.3

Indians pose the biggest threat to the union of India. The reason is simple. An average Indian does not constitute a nation but is merely an individual. His personal well-being overrides all other considerations including the national interests.

Therefore, many have begun to propagate parting of Kashmir in their write-ups, since it does not belong individually to them. However, imagine the hue and cry if their personal property and family is held hostage by the terrorists. They will sing a different tune!

The blame lies with New Delhi. For the past sixty years, instead of consolidating the Union, leaders encouraged divisiveness on the basis of religion and caste for sheer vote bank politics. Instead of unifying its citizenry with good governance and increasing their stakes through prosperity, so that they may serve the cause of the nation with honor, it has treated its citizens with unprecedented shabbiness. The result is groups of citizens have risen against the state, mostly for lack of economic progress and denial of justice. Such disgruntled groups are being taken advantage of by the external forces inimical to India.

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There can never be unity in diversity. Unity requires a fair amount of uniformity in laws throughout the Union.

That New Delhi is its own enemy became obvious, when it permitted the creation of a pure Islamic State on its borders. This nation-state contradicts every democratic and multi-cultural values dear to India.

Therefore, if New Delhi has not slept a wink since the creation of Pakistan, it has no one except itself to blame!

Islamabad, besides the wars it imposed on New Delhi, extended its so-called Islamic purity to the Kashmir Valley by instigating the locals to carry out ethnic cleansing of the minority communities.

Hence, first we created a state with inbuilt characteristic of fundamentalism, and extreme philosophy contrary to our professed beliefs; then the monster in it started ethnic cleansing in the Valley; and engineered demographic changes through Bangladesh in West Bengal, Assam and the Northeast. Saudi Arabia and other Islamic oil-rich countries pitched in with the petro-dollars in support. All in the cause of the illusion called Ummah and establishing the Caliphate!

The Indian leadership for its personal vote-bank gains helped these inimical forces by bringing the IMDT in Assam. Later, it was slammed as illegal by the Supreme Court. Too late – the damage was done, as the Union’s overburdened security forces, grapple with 15 million illegal Bangladesh infiltrators creating mayhem in the society.

Islamabad, Dhaka, and now Kathmandu, spurred on by  Beijing, have united with the singular agenda to unhook the Valley and the Northeast from the Union. In addition, they are instigating the Maoists who control almost forty percent of the Union’s territory, to set up a parallel government, and ultimately, like the Maoists in Nepal, win the elections in pockets of their influence, and impose a regressive authoritarian governments in tune with their own regime. Simple. Brilliant. And yet, New Delhi, instead of consolidating and unifying the Union, continues to divide its citizenry in religious or caste denominations.

In the past sixty years, New Delhi’s muddle-headed policies encouraged separatism.

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Instead of ensuring diffusion of secular pan-Indian culture, and integration of the society by encouraging Indians from all over to buy and develop land and industry in the Valley and the Northeast, it imposed restrictions on such settlements. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Bangladesh exported their fundamentalist populations to change the demographic hues in their interest. The ugly separatist face of the agitation in the Valley today is the consequence of the dereliction of the fundamental duty by the Union.

The trend needs to be reversed forcibly by integrating the Valley firmly into the Indian mainstream by creating a secular mix of population through industrialisation.

Many conveniently propose the myth that a stable Pakistan is in India’s interest. This is a false proposition.

The truth is that Pakistan is bad news for the Indian Union since 1947-stable or otherwise.

It is factually correct that Islamabad has enjoyed brief periods of stability in the span of sixty years of its existence. However, during these phases of stability, it continued to export terrorism, fake currency, narcotics, and indulged in attempts to change demographics on our borders, cultivated sleeper cells and armed groups inside our territory to create an uprising at an appropriate time. Also, it aligned with Beijing and other powers, in a mutually beneficial scheme, to tie-down and ultimately cause a territorial split of the Union.

With Pakistan on the brink of collapse due to massive internal as well as international contradictions, it is matter of time before it ceases to exist.

Multiple benefits will accrue to the Union of India on such demise.

If ever the national interests are defined with clarity and prioritised, the foremost threat to the Union (and for centuries before) materialised on the western periphery, continuously. To defend this key threat to the Union, New Delhi should extend its influence through export of both, soft and hard power towards Central Asia from where invasions have been mounted over centuries.  Cessation of Pakistan as a state facilitates furtherance of this pivotal national objective.

The self-destructive path that Islamabad chose will either splinter the state into many parts or it will wither away-a case of natural progression to its logical conclusion. In either case Baluchistan will achieve independence. For New Delhi this opens a window of opportunity to ensure that the Gwadar port does not fall into the hands of the Chinese. In this, there is synergy between the political objectives of the Americans and the Indians. Our existing goodwill in Baluchistan requires intelligent leveraging.

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Sindh and most of the non-Punjabi areas of Pakistan will be our new friends.

Pakistan’s breakup will be a major setback to the Jihad Factory, as the core of this is located in Pakistan, and functions with the help of its army and the ISI. This in turn will ease pressures on India and the international community.

With China’s one arm, i.e. Pakistan disabled, its expansionist plans will receive a severe jolt. Beijing continues to pose primary threat to New Delhi. Even as we continue to engage with it as constructively as possible, we must strive to remove the proxy. At the same time, it is prudent to extend moral support to the people of Tibet to sink Chinese expansionism in the morass of insurgency.

For a change, let us do to them what they do to us!

The chances of Central Asia getting infected with the Jihadi fervour will recede. Afghanistan will gain fair amount of stability. India’s access to Central Asian energy routes will open up. With disintegration of ISI’s inimical activities of infiltration and pushing of fake currency into India, from Nepal and Bangladesh will cease. Within the Union social harmony will improve enormously. Export of Islamic fundamentalism, with its 360-degree sweep from Islamabad, will vanish. Even a country like Thailand will heave a sigh of relief!

Above all, the gathering storm of threat from a united group of authoritarian regimes along our 14,000 km borders, orchestrated and synchronised by Pakistan will dissolve.

At the height of the recent disturbances in the Valley, when a general asked me for a suggestion to resolve the issue, I said: “Remove Pakistan. The threat will disappear permanently.”  Today the collapse of Pakistan as a state is almost certain. All the King’s men cannot save it from itself.

Looking ahead, New Delhi should formulate an appropriate strategy for ‘post-Pakistan scenario’ to secure India’s interests in Central Asia.

It is intriguing, therefore, to hear New Delhi mouthing the falsehood that stable Pakistan is in India’s interest. Perpetuation of such illogic for vote-bank politics is harming consolidation and integration of the Union. Short-sighted politicians as usual are overlooking the national interest for the short-term personal gains of few votes!

Bharat Verma, Editor Indian Defence Review

THERE IS NO SPOON

Joke of the century about Al-Qaeda

The latest headline reads: Major Saudi operation foiled Al Qaeda plot against haj.’ The report wants us to believe that al-Qaeda “planned to launch a bloody assault on Muslim pilgrims taking part in the haj.” The report does not provide any information about any arrest, detention or encounter with al-Qaeda despite giving all the other statistics that ”20,000 personnel were deployed as part of operation that began 3 months ago. The CIA worked hand in glove”. The report quoted US officials as saying intelligence co-operation between the US and Saudi Arabia had grown by leaps and bounds. “Co-ordination couldn’t be better,” a former senior CIA official was quoted as saying.

But where is Al-Qaeda in this huge drama other than the statement that al-Qaeda planned to kill innocent Hajis. What kind of al-Qaeda is this? Even non-Muslims with extreme hatred for islam would not entertain such thoughts – let alone those who expect heavens and virgins for Allah.

Is Al-Qaeda trying to please Allah with planning murder those who flocked to Hajj for Allah? In worldly terms, what will al-Qaeda actually achieve with massacre of fellow Muslims at Hajj? Goodwill of other Muslims? Win heart and minds of Muslims with butchery on innocent Hujjaj? Does it make any sense to a sane person? What kind of fundamentalist, religious fanatic, radicals are al-Qaeda that it has yet to plan or commit any act that is prescribed by the Qur’an and Sunnah?

What of Islam does al-Qaeda believe? Do al-Qaeda operatives go to the extremes in pleasing Allah? If so, why would they engage in acts which have no place in the commands of Allah, and all teachings of Islam? Who amongst Muslims will be so out of his mind that he will go against all injunctions of Islam and commands of Allah to please Allah? This is beyond comprehension.

The more you question, the more you come to realize that there is no al-Qaeda the way the US, the CIA and other of their nihilist allies are promoting and describing it. Al-Qaeda is nothing but a bogey-monster. Without promoting al-Qaeda in this particular way, it is impossible to fulfill plans of the nihilist totalitarians.

The hundreds upon hundreds, who have been rounded up in Saudi Arabia earlier are all dissenters to the repressive regime like anywhere else. They have nothing to do with fundamentalism in Islam or a radicalized Muslim mindset. They are reacting to a repressive regime, which is presented to us in the name of al-Qaeda to give credence to the theories that Islam is pitted against the West and Muslim fundamentalists are trying to conquer the world and establish an Islamic empire – all lies and deceptions of unprecedented proportion in human history.

What is actually happening is that the CIA is trying to keep the Saudi puppets in place from the people’s wrath. The CIA is helping to keep a lid on the peoples voice and aspirations. The work hand in glove with the regime to repress its people. In return, the Kings have granted the CIA is permission to present any resistance and opposition to the repressive tyranny as al-Qaeda. So much for democracy, freedom and liberation.

The report in question is as preposterous as telling us “Al-Qaeda planned to blow up Kaaba in Mecca” or “Al-Qaeda’s plan to destroy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) mosque and tomb in Madina foiled.”

When will we have a break from such outright lies and deceptions.

The lies about the captured Mumbai ‘gunman’ Ajmal Amir.

The lies about the captured Mumbai ‘gunman’ Ajmal Amir.

Who is this?

The Indian authorities claim that they have in custody one of the Mumbai gunmen responsible for the November 2008 attacks.

This 21 year old ‘gunman’ is Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, also known as Kasav, Qasab, Kamal, Kasab, Qasab, Qasam, Kasab, Kasar, and Kamaal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajmal_Amir)

Ajmal Amir seems to be being used to disguise the false-flag nature of the Mumbai Attacks.

The reports about Ajmal Amir are contradictory and confusing.

1. One moment we are told he stayed for several days at the Taj Hotel; the next moment we are told he got straight off a boat and started a killing spree.

(NDTV.com: Terrorists stayed in room 630, had many visitors)

2. There are reports that he had bullet wounds and reports that he did not have bullet wounds.
(No bullet hit Kasab, no active treatment on, says hospital’s dean)

3. There are reports that one of his fellow gunmen was arrested at Cana Hospital and reports suggesting that nobody was arrested there.

(According to the BBC: “2120-2200: Gunmen raid the Cama and Albless Hospital … One attacker is captured here.” – (BBC NEWS South Asia Timeline: Mumbai under attack)

4. There are reports that Ajmal Amir speaks fluent English and reports that he is a rather illiterate and poorly educated criminal.

5. We are told that 8 gunmen were arrested and then we are told that only Ajmal Amir was arrested.

(“The Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told Associated Press that two British-born Pakistanis were among the eight gunmen arrested by Indian authorities.” – Four Mumbai terrorists ‘had links with Britain’)

6. We are told that the gunmen at the railway station and elsewhere were white men and yet Ajmal Amir is reportedly from Pakistan.

(BBC NEWS Mumbai attackers create ‘killing zone’ / Mumbai Attackers were ‘Hindus’ and ‘White Men’ )

7. We are told that the gunmen who shot Karkare spoke Marathi and then we are told that it was Ajmal Amir and his Pakistani friend who shot Karkare.

(The Marathi daily ‘Maharashtra Times’ said the terrorists who targeted Anti Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare were speaking Marathi fluently. (i.e. they were not from Pakistan) Reportedly, traditional Jews from Mumbai, who have migrated to Israel, speak fluent Marathi and are known to have been recruited by Mossad.)

There is doubt, therefore, that Ajmal Amir did the shooting that he is supposed to have done.

At what point may Ajmal Amir have been recruited by people from some group, such as Lashkar-e Taiba, who work for the CIA or Mossad or RAW or ISI or MI6?

Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) took part in the Bosnian War against Serbia. (http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/lashkar_e_toiba.htm)

LeT is the Moslem group, operating in Jammu and Kashmir, that has been blamed for the Mumbai Attacks.

LeT reportedly has links to the Pakistan and UK intelligence services. (US and UK links to the terrorists in India and Pakistan)

Reportedly:

Ajmal Amir is from a poor family in a poor village called Faridkot in Pakistan.

He went to school until age 13.

He left home after a fight with his father in 2005.

He then became involved in petty crime with his friend Muzaffar Lal Khan, soon moving on to armed robbery.

Reportedly, the security services like to employ criminals to do their dirty work.

In 2007, in Rawalpindi, Ajmal Amir and his friend decided to sign up for training with Lashkar-e-Taiba, ending up at their base camp, Markaz Taiba.

Initial reports suggested Ajmal Amir was fluent in English, and from a middle class background. (Father of gunman, Amir, ‘paid by terrorists to hand him over’)

Some sources said his father asked him to join Lashkar-e-Taiba so that he could use the money they gave him to run the family (Kasab says his father sent him to LeT )

Ajmal Amir is alleged to be among a group of 24 men who received training in marine warfare at a remote camp in mountainous Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir. Part of the training is reported to have taken place on the Mangla Dam reservoir. (Rumours abound as inquiry begins its search for truth“)

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a senior commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, reportedly offered to pay his family Rs.150,000 for his participation in the attacks. (Pakistan now holds the key to probe: investigators)

Another report said the 21-year old man was recruited from his Punjab, Pakistan home in part based on a pledge by recruiters to pay USD $1,250 US (Rs. 62,412.50) to his family when he became a martyr. Other sources put the reward to USD $4,000. (Bombs found in Mumbai train station a week later, National Public Radio, Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to ‘Kill and Die’ and Become Famous )

According to a media report citing an unnamed former Defence Department Official of the US, the intelligence agencies of the US had determined that the former officers from Pakistan’s Army and its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency assisted actively and continuously in training.

Reportedly Ajmal Amir said to his Indian captors: “We were told that our big brother India is so rich and we are dying of poverty and hunger. My father sells dahi wada on a stall in Lahore and we did not even get enough food to eat from his earnings. I was promised that once they knew that I was successful in my operation, they would give Rs 150,000 [almost USD 4,000] to my family),” said Qasab. (Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to Kill and Die and Become Famous, ABC News, 03-Dec-2008)

Reportedly Ajmal continued: “If you give me regular meals and money I will do the same for you that I did for them.”

“When we asked whether he knew any verses from the Quran that described jihad, Ajmal Amir said he did not,” police said. “In fact he did not know much about Islam or its tenets,” according to a police source. (Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to Kill and Die and Become Famous, ABC News, 03-Dec-2008 )

“Please do not tell anyone that I am caught alive otherwise they will kill me. They had told us that they would shoot us if we ever returned to Pakistan”, he said, according to the Asian Age, as quoted by ABC (USA). (Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to Kill and Die and Become Famous, ABC News, 03-Dec-2008 )

Reportedly, Ajmal Amir was captured on CCTV during his attacks at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus along with another terrorist, Ismail Khan.

Ajmal Amir reportedly told the police that they wanted to replicate the attack on Islamabad’s Marriott hotel attack, and reduce the Taj Hotel to rubble, replicating the 9/11 attacks in India. (PLANNED 9/11 AT TAJ: CAUGHT TERRORIST)

Reportedly:

Ajmal Amir and his accomplice Abu Dera Ismail Khan, age 25, attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) railway station.

They then moved on to attack a police vehicle at Cama Hospital, in which Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant Karkare, was traveling.

Azam and Ismail Khan then drove towards Metro cinema and then towards Vidhan Bhavan.

Their vehicle had a tire puncture, so they stole a silver Škoda Laura and drove towards Girgaum Chowpatty. They met a police barricade on Marine Drive. Abu Ismail was killed and Ajmal Amir was captured.

Some reports said that Ajmal Amir was shot and had bullet wounds in his hand or both hands. (Sole Captured Suspect Offers Grim Insights Into Massacre )

There are other reports by doctors who treated him that he had no bullet wounds. (No bullet hit Kasab, no active treatment on, says hospital’s dean)

Reportedly:

Ajmal Amir disclosed the location of a fishing trawler, MV Kuber, that the gunmen reportedly used to enter Mumbai’s coastal waters. He also told investigators where they would find the ship captain’s body, a satellite phone and a global-positioning device. (Sole captured suspect offers grim insights into massacre, 2008)

It is reported that Ajmal Amir told the police that he and his associate, Ismail Khan, were the ones who shot Anti-Terror Squad chief Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte.

Reportedly, Ajmal Amir told the police he entered the Taj Hotel posing as a student from Mauritius and stored explosives in a room. (Arrested terrorist reveals all to police)

Ajmal Amir reportedly revealed that he and his associate stayed in Room 630 in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and had many visitors. They had booked the room for four days using fake Mauritian identities. (NDTV.com: Terrorists stayed in room 630, had many visitors)

On November 29, Ajmal Amir named his colleagues as Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Abu Ismail Dera Ismail Khan, Abdul Rahman (Bara), and Abdul Rahman.

Reportedly Ajmal Amir has told his interrogators that their plan was to get off the dinghy near the fishing village at Badhwar Park, Cuffe Parade, at dusk and strike all targets except Nariman House between 19:00 and 20:00. However, the landing was delayed and they arrived at 20.45. (We wanted to hit CST at peak hour, says arrested terrorist)

Israel denied entry to Richard Falk, UN Human Rights special rapporteur and deported him from Ben Gurion

“the fact that he believes in conspiracy theories” is enough to discredit him…“the fact that he believes that the CIA is directly responsible [for 911] is enough”.

Israel denied entry to Richard Falk, UN Human Rights special rapporteur and deported him from Ben Gurion

UPDATE: Princeton Professor Emeritus of International Law Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory,HAS NOW BEEN DEPORTED FROM ISRAEL ON MONDAY after being barred from entry on Sunday, according to an Israeli human rights organization, ADALAH.

The first alert came on Sunday from WAFA, the Palestinian News Agency reporting from Geneva that Falk was denied entry into Israel on Sunday upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, and that Falk was detained overnight pending deportation.

WAFA, the Palestinian News Agency, said Sunday night that the “Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations in Geneva said in a press release issued few hours ago, that the Israeli Occupation Authorities have denied the UN Special Rapporteur into the Palestinian Territory and Israel. The press release explained that Falk was coming to detect Israel ’s violations of the International and the International Humanitarian Laws in the OPT. At his arrival, Israeli Authorities denied his access into Israel and held him in the immigration section in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Israeli Occupation Authorities are to deport him to Geneva Monday morning. This is Falk’s first official visit to the OPT and Israel , after he was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). He is currently working on a report about the human rights conditions in the OPT to raise it to the UNHRC tenth session in March 2009″.

This WAFA report was picked up and published here [which is not the website of the global satellite television channel] — and this link was circulated by Palestinian-American businessman and activist in Ramallah, Sam Bahour.

This development comes just after Falk stated on Tuesday of last week in Geneva, according to the website of Al-Jazeera television, that “it would seem ‘mandatory’ that the UN’s International Criminal Court investigate Israel’s policies in regard to the Palestinians. ‘[The court could] determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law’, he said. The Israeli government has faced a level of criticism by ‘normally cautious UN officials’ not seen since the ‘the heyday of South African apartheid’, Falk said. ‘And still Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease’ … [T]he UN must “implement the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a crime against humanity’.” This report can be read in full here.

Falk took over as the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the oPt in mid-2008 from South African law professor and anti-apartheid activist John Dugard, who was one of the few UN human rights rapporteurs, if not the only one, who was willing to travel to Israel on his national passport, after having been refused (or after not having received an answer approving) an Israeli entry visa on his UN laissez-passer.

The spokesperson of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon in Jerusalem that Falk “was not allowed to enter, and (if Falk has not been deported already, as I’m not following the case on an hour-to-hour basis) the authorities are waiting for the earliest possible returning flight” to take him back to Geneva — because international rule require that a person whose entry into the country is barred must be returned to his port of departure.

It appears that Falk did not appeal the deportation order — if so, he would probably have had to remain in detention several days, until the deportation hearing.

The U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Tel Aviv has been unavailable to explain what efforts were made to assist Falk, who is American and who presented his U.S. passport at the Ben Gurion Airport border control, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Asked why Falk’s entry was barred, Palmor stated that “He came as rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Council, and we find the mandate of the rapporteur is completely distorted … and it has been instrumentalized for Israel-bashing”.

Palmor stressed several times that the problem was the mandate, repeatedly stating that it was “distorted and flawed … and directed as a propaganda instrument against Israel”.

However, as noted above, Falk’s predecessor as the UN HRC’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in the oPt, John Dugard, had no trouble entering Israel on several occasions — using his national passport (South African) — despite Israel’s clearly-stated disagreement with the Special Rapporteur’s Mandate, which has not changed for some 15 years.

Palmor said that the fact that both Falk and his predecessor Dugard have asked the Human Rights Council to change and broaden the mandate to include Palestinian violations of human rights was “meaningless — they could do something about it, not just say so”, Palmor said. “They bear responsibility”.

Palmor also said that both Special Rapporteurs had made extreme comments about Israel, which. he said, went well beyond professional and fact-based criticism. Dugard had made some extremely shocking statements which were inexcusable, Palmor said, but because his computer was down, he was at the moment unable to cite examples. As for Falk, Palmor said, “the fact that he believes in conspiracy theories” is enough to discredit him. Palmor was referring to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and on the Pentagon building outside Washington D.C. — and Palmor acknowledged that Falk has not been accused of backing all the conspiracy theories that have been developed around this attack (particularly the more anti-Semitic versions). But, Palmor said, “the fact that he believes that the CIA is directly responsible is enough”.

[In an interview published in the American periodical, The Nation, in June 2008, Falk said this: “I think that there is a great deal of suspicion directed at anyone who is skeptical about the official explanation for 9/11. I have not, in fact, been very much involved with the so-called 9/11 truth movement. By coincidence, I happen to be a longtime friend of a man named David Ray Griffin, a much-respected philosopher of religion, who has become convinced that the official explanation is false. I have a lot of respect for him, and I wrote the foreword to his original book, The New Pearl Harbor. But that’s really the extent of my involvement. I don’t have an independent view on how best to understand the 9/11 attacks. I haven’t looked at the evidence sufficiently to say more than that the 9/11 Commission didn’t do a good job of dispelling the several plausible grounds for suspicions that exist. There are unanswered questions that deserve to be answered, and the public should have the benefit of that kind of clarification. The left particularly is nervous about being seen as supportive of conspiracy theory. And to the extent that there is an incentive to discredit my role–partly because of the Israel/Palestine context– there’s also a tendency to exaggerate my involvement with this set of issues. But if you look carefully at what I’ve been writing and what I’ve been doing, you’ll see that I’ve really had very minimal contact, and I’ve not been involved in the 9/11 movement at all. Some people have tried to get me involved, and I’ve resisted, not because I don’t think it’s important to raise these issues but because they’re not my own priorities … As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I wrote some articles after the 9/11 attacks that supported the belief that the Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan posed a continuing threat. In my opinion, this provided the United States with a reasonably convincing rationale under international law for attacking Afghanistan, particularly given the very limited legitimacy that the Taliban government possessed. It was only recognized by three governments in the world, and two of them withdrew their recognition after the 9/11 attacks. The one country that maintained a diplomatic connection, and that only for the sake of convenience, was Pakistan. Other Islamic states had no diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, including Iran. That said, I think the way the war was prosecuted was very disturbing–legally, morally and politically. And I now think that the quick embrace of a war paradigm by the US government in response to 9/11 was a very fundamental mistake in responding to the threats posed by the attacks. In a broader sense, Afghanistan launched the neoconservative post-9/11 grand strategy. It’s important to appreciate that this strategy was not focused on counterterrorist objectives but seemed to focus on establishing American control over the Middle East for reasons of oil, nonproliferation policies, long-term protection of Israel and containment of political Islam. These goals depended on victory in Iraq, which now seems unlikely. Future policy should promote a regional security framework that includes Israel and Iran, and should be based on a prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction, including those currently possessed by Israel. The policy should move toward a far more balanced approach to peace between Israel and Palestine, an approach that either envisages a single democratic state for both peoples or two equally sovereign states that could come into being only after the Israeli settlements were substantially dismantled and the Israeli security wall totally removed from Palestinian territory.” This interview can be read in full here].

THE FAILED LOGIC OF SUPPORTING THE TROOPS

THE FAILED LOGIC OF SUPPORTING THE TROOPS

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

The Failed Logic of Supporting the Troops

Remi Kanazi


In the United States, a growing number of leftists are voicing their opposition to the Israeli occupation. They condemn the demolition of homes, the jailing of Palestinians without charge, and the confiscation of Palestinian land for settlements. They don’t support the Israeli troops or their mission, nor do they give a free pass to those who are just “doing what they are told.”


Nonetheless, many of these same individuals support the US troops in Iraq. Dangerously, most Americans put forth the notion that the troops’ intrinsic heroism provides them with the impunity to destroy any bogeymen who stand in their way, cultivating a code of silence that strongly discourages dissent. It is under this premise that we support our “brave” and “noble” soldiers: we know their stories well, they miss their families, they are “just like us,” and we should respect their service.

While one may comprehend the mindset of the troops, this understanding does not validate support for them. If the invasion of Iraq, the mission, and the occupation as stated policy are all wrong, then support for the armed forces carrying out the mission must also be wrong.

US soldiers are not a monolith and nearly everyone would argue that the majority of the troops are “good people.” Yet, our emotional inclinations and the societal norm that tells us troops are good like bumper sticker slogans shouldn’t serve as justification for supporting them and, by extension, the mission they are carrying out. We are led to believe that a soldier can either serve out the rest of his tour or be branded a disgrace and imprisoned for becoming a conscientious objector. In reality the choice is much starker: a soldier can refuse to serve or contribute to the death of a million Iraqis.


When people invoke the hardships our troops face, I think of the dead Iraqi mother, the splattered torsos painting the pavement, and the .50 caliber bullets that have hollowed out the bodies of Iraqi children. Each American has a distinct face and a tale that chokes us up, but our government and media have systematically dehumanized another people, whittling their presence in the world down to a nuisance that drains our budget, as though Iraq is a welfare state that strips our society of health care, education, and gas for cross country vacations.

Iraq is not Lehman Brothers pillaging our economy. Yet, even many self-described progressives deride the Iraqi people for their $79 billion surplus but make no mention of the fact that they lack proper access to electricity; Baghdad is still one of the most dangerous city in the world, and stability is nowhere in sight. Furthermore, a growing number among the mainstream left discuss Iraq in terms of “our” interests, criticizing the so-called ineptness of Iraqis and their unwillingness to embrace democracy (democracy that was never truly offered), all while five million have been made refugees, Baghdad has been cleansed of Sunnis, and each child, father, and mother live with horror stories we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemies. This is the result and reality of US occupation.

The assertion that troops are “just following orders” and that it is impossible to refuse once enlisted rings hollow. The US has not implemented a draft; on the contrary, each soldier chooses to fight in Iraq on behalf of the American government. This should not be applauded, nor should it be respected. Real courage would be abandoning this war—against orders, against the US administration—as a number of US soldiers have done (a phenomenon ignored by the mainstream media).

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia is a well known conscientious objector who served nine months in prison for refusing to return to Iraq. In a 2005 article on AlterNet, Mejia wrote:


I say without any pride that I did my job as a soldier. I commanded an infantry squad in combat and we never failed to accomplish our mission. But those who called me a coward, without knowing it, are also right. I was a coward not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty, a moral duty that called me to take a principled action. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier.

Perhaps most importantly, many people fail to make the connection that supporting the troops enables the war and presents people who are against the occupation with a false reality: the ability to support the troops while rejecting the mission. Standing in solidarity with the troops facilitates funding for the occupation; it redresses the “intrinsic nobility” of the soldier, which further weakens congressmen who rhetorically reject the war, but support it through their votes. Occupation is dirty, and so too are the people who employ it. Following orders should not replace humanitarian law, and the excuse shouldn’t serve to satisfy our consciences.

We are asked to support US troops when logic is absent. We look at the troops as victims who are forced to do things they would not otherwise do; we give them immunity and their crimes become unseen collateral damage. Yet, Iraqis are not monsters; they are the victims that face the gun’s barrel. We should only support the troops as much as we support this war. Anything less supports the victimizer and not the victim.

  • Further articles on the illogic of blindly supporting troops, read: American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, & Part 5 by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabriand “DON’T Support Our Troops (Inform Them)” by Mickey Z.
  • Remi Kanazi is a Palestinian-American poet and writer based in New York City. He is the co-founder of PoeticInjustice.net and the editor of the forthcoming anthology of poetry, Poets for Palestine. He can be contacted at Remroum@gmail.com. Read other articles by Remi, or visit Remi’s website.

  • Via Uruknet
  • Why We Must Prosecute Bush And His Administration For War Crimes

    war-crimes 1389.8 Holocaust G

    Why We Must Prosecute Bush And His Administration For War Crimes

    By Mike Ferner

    December 16, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse— – During the rush to get the Nuremberg Tribunals underway, the Soviet delegation wanted the tribunal’s historic decisions to have legitimacy only for the Nazis.  U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson, serving as the chief prosecutor for the Allies, strong-armed the Soviets until the very beginning of the tribunal before changing their mind.

    In his opening statement Jackson very purposely stipulated, “…Let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.”

    Can there be a better reason for prosecuting George Bush and his administration for war crimes than those words from the chief prosecutor of the Nazis, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, with the full support of the U.S. government?  Robert Jackson’s words and the values this nation claims to stand for provide sufficient moral basis for putting Bush and Cheney, their underlings who implemented their policies and the perverted legal minds who justified them all in the dock.  If those are not sufficient reasons, there is a long list of binding law and treaties – written in black and white in surprisingly plain English.

    Bush imagined, and his attorneys advised, that he could simply wave aside these laws with “they don’t apply.”  Imagine how a judge would treat even a simple traffic court defendant who brazenly stated the law was only a quaint notion, just “words on paper?”

    Masses of people and an embarrassingly small number of their elected representatives in this country read the law for themselves and demanded otherwise, only to be silenced by the Guardians of Reality in the corporate news media.

    But it’s all there, where it has been for 220 years, the Constitution’s “supremacy clause,” Article II, section 4, and in the War Crimes Act of 1996 (18USC §2441).  They provide the authority to make additional treaties legally binding – no matter how much former White House lawyers David Addington and John Yoo may object.

    Those additional treaties include among others, the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg rulings, the Laws and Customs of War on Land and UN General Assembly Resolution 3314.  To give just a snapshot of how serious these laws are, consider this portion of 18 USC 2441 which defines a war crime as “…a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party…”  The guilty can be “…fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.”

    Here, Justice Jackson answers another question about war crimes – who bears the greater responsibility: those who committed barbaric acts in the field or those who created the conditions for barbarism?

    The case as presented by the United States will be concerned with the brains and authority back of all the crimes.  These defendants were men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood.  They were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools.  We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil architecture the world would not have been for so long scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war.

    And yet it is not just because Bush violated the Constitution and federal law that he and his lieutenants must be prosecuted.

    At Nuremberg, the foremost crime identified was starting a “war of aggression,” later codified by U.N. Resolution 3314, Art. 5, as “a crime against international peace.”  Launching a war of aggression, as Hitler did against Poland, is considered so monstrous that the nation responsible can then be charged with “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” spelled out in detail in the Geneva Conventions.  As Tom Paine said long before the U.N. formalized the definition of aggression, “He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of Hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

    A small sampling of the contagion of Hell let loose by Bush includes illegally invading a sovereign state, using banned weapons such as white phosphorous and napalm, bombing hospitals and civilian infrastructure, withholding aid and medical supplies, terrorizing and knowingly killing civilians, torturing prisoners, killing a million people and displacing four million more in Iraq alone.

    Following World War II, humanity resolved that wars do more than spark a series of loathsome, individual crimes.  Leaders responsible for a war actually commit crimes against the entirety of humanity.  They inflict harm on every human being, something that must be put right before humanity can be restored.

    There is a final reason why we must prosecute Bush and Co.  It is not what some argue, although they point to a serious danger: that Bush trashed the law and usurped powers, encouraging future presidents to expand where he left off.  Such reasons are about George Bush and those who hold the office after him, but in the final analysis this is about us.

    We are complicit in the horrors of this administration.  We can claim neither ignorance nor innocence.  We are complicit by the very fact that we are citizens of the United States, more so because we paid for the war, and even more so for this reason.  Listen to a village sheik I met in Iraq describe it better than I ever could.

    I met this man in a small farming village one afternoon in early 2004.  He described how he and a dozen others were swept up in a raid by the U.S. Army and detained on a bare patch of ground surrounded by concertina wire.  They had no shelter and but six blankets.  They dug a hole with their hands for a toilet.  They had to beg for water until one time it rained for three days straight and they remained on that open ground.  He somehow found the graciousness to say he understood there was a difference between the American people and our government.  Then through his tears he added, “But you say you live in a democracy.  How can this be happening to us?”

    Do we?  Whether or not we bring our own government officials to justice for their crimes will determine the answer.

    Ferner is a writer from Ohio and author of “Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq.”

    UN empowers land operations against Somali pirates

    [SEE: Piracy in the Red Sea: Saudi points towards Israel]

    UN empowers land operations against Somali

    pirates

    by Gerard Aziakou Gerard Aziakou

    UN empowers land operations against Somali pirates AFP/Indian Navy/File – In this photograph released by the Indian Navy, Indian Marine Commandos board a suspected pirate ship …

    UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time authorizing international land operations against audacious, armed pirates sheltering in Somalia.

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the adoption Tuesday of the US resolution saying it sent a “strong signal to combat the scourge of piracy” and stressed the need “to end the impunity of Somali pirates.”

    The text, co-sponsored by Belgium, France, Greece, Liberia and South Korea, gives those nations already involved in battling pirates off Somalia a one-year mandate to act against the brigands inside the country.

    Resolution 1851 authorizes the states to “take all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia” to suppress “acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.”

    However, to overcome objections from countries such as Indonesia an earlier reference in the text to “ashore” or “including in its (Somalia) airspace” was dropped.

    Pirates on Wednesday hijacked a Turkish cargo ship and a Malaysian tug boat and attacked three other vessels in the Gulf of Aden in the past week, a global maritime watchdog said.

    The latest incidents came as a European Union naval task force took over from a NATO operation patrolling the pirate-infested seas near the Horn of Africa with six warships and three surveillance planes.

    In the first hijacking, pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons boarded a Malaysian tug on Tuesday, Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur told AFP.

    The tug with 11 crew on board was heading to Malaysia from the Middle East.

    Choong said a Turkish cargo ship was hijacked, also in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, by a gang of pirates who fired automatic weapons from two speed boats.

    Somali pirates also captured a yacht, said Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan chapter of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme.

    He said two people were on board the yacht.

    Increasingly emboldened, pirates have carried out more than 100 attacks in the key shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean since the start of this year.

    Last month, they captured the world’s attention when they hijacked the Saudi-owned super-tanker Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of crude oil, and demanded a 25-million dollar ransom for the boat and its crew.

    It is one of about 17 ships, including an arms-laden Ukrainian cargo vessel, currently in pirate hands.

    Rice told the high-profile UN ministerial session that the US intended to work with partners to set up a contact group on Somali piracy, adding the insecurity and lawlessness in the Horn of Africa nation had to be urgently addressed.

    China may send warships to fight rampant piracy off Somalia, state media said Wednesday, announcing what would be an unprecedented display of naval power far from its shores.

    “China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future,” Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei was quoted as saying in New York by the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.

    This would the first time in modern history that the nation’s navy carried out a mission outside Chinese waters, according to Shen Shishun, an expert with the Chinese Institute of International Studies, a government think tank.

    Tuesday’s resolution was the fourth approved by the council since June to combat the rampant piracy off Somalia’s coast. And unlike previous resolutions, the current text empowers states combating piracy to conduct operations on land in Somalia.

    But the Pentagon warned there were “practical challenges” to taking such action inside Somalia.

    “We welcome the passing of the resolution. We will continue to work with our allies and partners to address this troublesome problem,” said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

    He pointed out that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates had raised “some of the practical challenges associated with combating this illegal activity.”

    Rice also told the UN session attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Chinese deputy foreign minister He Yafei and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, that it was time “to authorize a UN peacekeeping operation” in Somalia.

    Ethiopian troops, who intervened in Somalia in 2006 to prop up the weak transitional government, will be withdrawn early next month, leaving the ill-equipped and under-strength 3,400-strong African Union force on its own to face a resurgent Islamic rebellion.

    UN chief Ban welcomed the council’s actions to combat Somali piracy and said he would submit recommendations “on ways to ensure the long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia.”

    But he stressed the need to address the country’s broader security challenge, saying the most appropriate response was “a multinational force (MNF), rather than a typical peacekeeping operation.”

    Ban said he had approached 50 countries and three international organizations for contributions to such a force.

    Indonesia’s UN Ambassador Marty Natalegawa meanwhile made clear that “the fight against piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia needs to be undertaken in full compliance with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

    Ban added the council could explore the possibility of setting up a maritime task force or adding to the current anti-piracy operations “a quick reaction component.”

    NATO has also dispatched naval forces to the region, joining other national navies in place, but increasingly bold and well-equipped pirates have continued their attacks.

    UN Special Rapporteeur Held at Ben Gurion Airport by Israel Authorities

    UN Special Rapporteeur Held at Ben Gurion

    Airport by Israel Authorities

    by Justin Theriault

    On Sunday, December 14, Israeli Authorities held the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Professor Richard Falk, on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and is willing to deport Professor Falk to Geneva this morning, Wafa news agency reported last night.

    richard_falk.jpg

    Professor Falk, permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva for human rights in the OPT, said in a press release, issued last night, that the Israeli authorities have denied entry to the UN Special Rapporteur into Palestine and Israel.

    The press release described that Falk had come to detect Israel’s violations of international and international humanitarian laws in the OPT.  Upon his arrival, Israeli Authorities denied him access into Israel and held him in immigration at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.  Israeli authorities are to deport him to Geneva this morning.

    This is Falk’s first official visit to the OPT and Israel after he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to specifically oversee human rights violations in the OPT.  He is currently working on a report about the human rights conditions in the OPT in order to deliver the analysis to the UNHRC’s tenth session in March of 2009.

    In April of this year, controversy was afoot as Professor Falk compared Israel’s actions of mass collective punishment in the Gaza Strip, referred to by Falk as an ‘atrocity’, to the actions of the Nazi’s leading up to and during the Second World War. “If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison,” he said.

    Human Rights: Nails in the Coffin of Israel

    Human Rights: Nails in the Coffin of Israel

    The Jewish State of Israel considers itself above the laws and has imposed a blockade on any criticism against its violations of the International laws, of its barbaric Apartheid regime and of its many crimes against humanity, by the UN human rights organizations and members of the International community.

    Miguel D'Escoto

    The representatives of this so-called “state” lose control each time any criticism against them, as small and innocuous as it may be, arises here or there. Each time they are criticized according to international laws and agreements to which Israel has acceded, and which in part were even redacted with help of representatives of Israel, these saints of the “unique and aloof” morality of their state give themselves the right to punish, to lambast the international organizations and their representatives, instead of accepting punishment or even mild criticism from these organizations which constitute the forum for the representatives of a great part of humanity.

    The representatives of the Israeli occupation regime reacted arrogantly after the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva unanimously released a list including 99 recommendations at the end of a two-day review of Israel’s record on human rights last Tuesday 9 December 2008. The council urged Israel to take 99 step to end its violations of human rights, including to lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, freeing Arab detainees, and to allowing international observers to enter Palestine.

    The president of the UN General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto, a Catholic priest and former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, received death threats last Monday 15 December 2008. The spokesman of Mr. d’Escoto confirmed that “very serious threats” against the life of the UN General Assembly president were published on the Internet and that “competent authorities took the case for investigation”.

    The media of Israel “reported” that Miguel d’Escoto had supposedly prevented Israels ambassador to the United Nations to speak during a plenary session of the Assembly. Mr. d’Escoto described the Israeli allegation as “offensive and slanderous”, and his spokesman said that the accusation hurled by the representatives of Israel at the United Nations were “an aggressive and unconvincing lie which can also be described as an irresponsible fabrication”.

    Richard FalkEarlier, the State of Israel, perpetrator of innumerable war crimes and crimes against humanity, took revenge against the Special Rapporteur of the UN for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk. Mr. Falk was denied entry to the occupied Palestinian territories through Israel, and when he came nonetheless, he was arrested on past Sunday 14 December 2008 at Ben Gurion Airport, and deported to Geneva on Monday 15 December 2008. The result of the arrest and deportation of Mr. Falk came as a result of his criticism of Israel, its flagrant crimes against humanity and the many violations of the international law in Gaza and the West Bank.

    Last week, on 9 December 2008, professor Richard Falk condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza and described it as a clear violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. He said that the Israeli policies against the Palestinians were tantamount to a “crime against humanity”, and the Israeli blockade of Gaza against 1.5 million Palestinians is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

    Professor Falk called the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate the situation in Gaza, and to determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza blockade should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law. Mr. Falk broke the omertá of the international community which until now covers all Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, and because of this he was unjustly arrested, humiliated and deported by Israel. His intervention is all the more remarkable and courageous because Mr. Falk is himself a Jew.

    What Israeli leaders have failed to understand is that each murder, each mistreatment of any Palestinians, each humiliation at a checkpoint, each incursion of their death squads, each of the 13.000 Palestinians in their gulag, each time one of their ministers calls for even more destitution and crimes against Palestinians, each new illegal settler in my homeland … is at the same time a nail in the coffin of the project Israel.

    Israel is now like a big ship with a broken engine, advancing only with whatever impulse it has left. What will happen when the ship stops? And, will it stop first, or will it crash into something ugly ahead? Whatever lays ahead, the power to decide its fate is not in the hands of Israel anymore, despite all its military might an all its bought and paid for “friends”.

    Source: Kawther Salam

    Comments

    Peter Chamberlin – special rights |Author |2008-12-17 13:51:39
    avatar Zionists squeal like the little piggies they are whenever anyone holds them to
    the same standards as the rest of the human race. Like the alleged “right
    of return” they claim for themselves and deny to the Palestinian people,
    Israel claims the divine right to act like Nazis, but no Goyim has the right to
    point it out.

    Army ‘Strategic Shock’ Report Says Troops May Be Needed To Quell U.S. Civil Unrest

    Army ‘Strategic Shock’ Report

    Says Troops May Be Needed To

    Quell U.S. Civil Unrest

    troops

    “Purposeful domestic resistance” would require military to “rapidly determine the parameters defining the legitimate use of military force inside the United States.

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (PrisonPlanet) – A recent report produced by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute warns that the United States may experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises which it has termed “strategic shock.”

    The report, titled Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development, also suggests that the military may have to be used to quell domestic disorder.

    “Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” the report, authored by [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, reads.

    “Deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction or other catastrophic capabilities, unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters are all paths to disruptive domestic shock.” it continues.

    “An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home…”

    “Already predisposed to defer to the primacy of civilian authorities in instances of domestic security and divest all but the most extreme demands in areas like civil support and consequence management, DoD might be forced by circumstances to put its broad resources at the disposal of civil authorities to contain and reverse violent threats to domestic tranquility. Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States.” Lt. Col. Freir concludes.

    See Pages 31-32 (PDF) for quoted sections.

    Freir is a Senior Fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He joined the think tank in April 2008 after retiring from the U.S. Army after 20 years as a lieutenant colonel. In his role at CSIS he rubs shoulders with a whole host of globalist luminaries including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Richard Armitage.

    Echoing recent comments made by Pentagon advisors, along with other notable figures such as Colin Powell and Joe Biden, Freir also warns that the incoming Obama administration should prepare for a “first term crisis” that could act as a catalyst for such unrest.

    “The current administration confronted a game-changing ‘strategic shock’ inside its first eight months in office,” the report reads. “The next administration would be well-advised to expect the same during the course of its first term. Indeed, the odds are very high against any of the challenges routinely at the top of the traditional defense agenda triggering the next watershed inside DoD [Department of Defense].”

    We have recently highlighted plans to station thousands more U.S. troops inside America for purposes of “domestic security” from September 2011, an expansion of Northcom’s militarization of the country in preparation for potential civil unrest following a total economic collapse or a mass terror attack.

    “The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials,” reported the Washington Post last month.

    In a September 8 Army Times article, Northcom announced that the first wave of the troop deployment, which was put in place on October 1st at Fort Stewart and at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, would be aimed at tackling “civil unrest and crowd control”.

    After a controversy arose surrounding the admissions made in the Army Times article, Northcom retracted the claim but conceded that both lethal and non-lethal weaponry traditionally used in crowd control and riot situations would still be used in the field.

    The increasing militarization of America is part of a long term agenda to abolish Constitutional rule and establish a “military form of government,” following a large scale terror attack or similar disaster, as Tommy Franks, the former commander of the military’s Central Command, alluded to in a November 2003 Cigar Aficionado piece.

    Franks outlined the scenario by which martial law would be put in place, saying, “It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

    In the short term, the domestic deployment of troops is likely aimed at combating likely civil unrest that will ensue after a complete economic collapse followed by a devastating period of hyperinflation.

    This warning was again echoed a few days ago in a leaked internal memo from Citibank.

    “The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done. When the dust settles this will either work, and the money they have pushed into the system will feed through into an inflation shock,” wrote Tom Fitzpatrick, Citibank’s chief technical strategist.

    The memo predicts “depression, civil disorder and possibly wars” as a fallout from an economic collapse that many say is on the horizon.

    Naturally, the claim that such troop deployments are merely to aid in disaster relief efforts is a thin veil aimed at distracting from the real goal. Should a real tragedy occur, volunteers and already existing civil aid organizations are fully capable of dealing with such events, as we witnessed on 9/11.

    The military are primarily trained to kill people and break things, and their role during the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts was mainly focused on detaining people in sports stadiums, shooting alleged looters and seizing guns from wealthy home owners in the high and dry areas, while real recovery measures were left to volunteers and local state authorities.

    The open admission that U.S. troops will be involved in law enforcement operations as well as potentially using non-lethal weapons against American citizens is a complete violation of the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act, which substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement unless under precise and extreme circumstances.

    Section 1385 of the Posse Comitatus Act states, “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

    Under the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Bush on October 17, 2006, the law was changed to state, “The President may employ the armed forces to restore public order in any State of the United States the President determines hinders the execution of laws or deprives people of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”

    However, these changes were repealed in their entirety by HR 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, reverting back to the original state of the Insurrection Act of 1807. Despite this repeal, President Bush attached a signing statement saying that he did not feel bound by the repeal. It remains to be seen whether President elect Obama will reverse Bush’s signing statement.

    The original text of the Insurrection Act severely limits the power of the President to deploy troops within the United States.

    For troops to be deployed, a condition has to exist that, “(1) So hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or (2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws. In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.”

    Is the incoming Obama administration and Northcom waiting for such a scenario to unfold, an event that completely overwhelms state authorities, before unleashing the might of the U.S. Army against the American people?

    [Ret.] Lt. Col. Freir’s Known Unknowns report addresses this specifically, stating:

    “A whole host of long-standing defense conventions would be severely tested. Under these conditions and at their most violent extreme, civilian authorities, on advice of the defense establishment, would need to rapidly determine the parameters defining the legitimate use of military force inside the United States. Further still, the whole concept of conflict termination and/or transition to the primacy of civilian security institutions would be uncharted ground. DoD is already challenged by stabilization abroad. Imagine the challenges associated with doing so on a massive scale at home.”

    The deployment of National Guard troops to aid law enforcement or for disaster relief purposes is legal under the authority of the governor of a state, but using active duty U.S. Army in law enforcement operations inside America absent the conditions described in the Insurrection Act is completely illegal.

    The political left and right need to join forces and denounce this plan for what it is – another unconstitutional step towards the incremental implementation of martial law and the militarization of America.