Israel Launches Global PR Campaign Ahead of Gaza Invasion

Israel Launches Global PR Campaign Ahead of Gaza Invasion

Israeli Envoys Instructed to Shore Up International Support for Attack

Posted December 21, 2008

Tonight it is being reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has instructed diplomats across the globe to launch what is being described as a “PR blitz” to shore up international support for an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. To that end Livni, the Kadima Party’s pick for Prime Minister in the upcoming election, will reportedly make phone calls to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and the foreign ministers of several major nations.

A six-month ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip formally ended on Thursday, though in reality the two sides had been exchanging intermittent fire (and diplomatic accusations) since an early November Israeli raid on a house in central Gaza. Both sides have traded air strikes over the weekend, causing damage but no apparent deaths.

And while Israeli diplomats will be struggling to shore up international support for a prospective invasion, reports suggest that the decision has already been made. Citing a secret meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel’s Ynet says the policy on Gaza is set, and actions will “depend only on the tactical conditions and the operational possibilities.” It also claims that it was at this meeting that the two agreed on the need to create an “international umbrella” of support for the attacks.

Olmert/Barak: It’s On!

Top official: Decision on Gaza op made

Secret meeting between Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Barak results in decision to have IDF stage scaled response to any terror attack from Strip. Tactical conditions, operational possibilities will dictate actions, says state official
Roni Sofer

The decision has been made: Right now Israel has to work towards getting international legitimization for an operation in Gaza, a senior source in Jerusalem told Ynet on Sunday.

“(Israel’s) actions depend only on the tactical conditions and the operational possibilities,” added the source. “Israel will react with all due force to any provocation by Hamas.”

Following various security assessments by the defense establishment, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met secretly last Thursday and decided that Israel would no longer practice a policy of restraint in view of terror attacks emanating from the Strip, opting instead for a scaled reaction.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was briefed on the decision shortly after it was made.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi was reportedly instructed to order the Israel Defense Forces to begin targeting quality Islamic Jihad marks. The Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility for the recent rocket salvos in the western Negev.

Ashkenazi, who recommended the course of a scaled military response, ordered the Israel Air Force to prepare to strike Gaza target immediately. Several hours later, the IAF struck a Qassam warehouse and a rocket manufacturing facility deep in the Strip.

Another decision Olmert and Barak came to was the need to create an “international umbrella,” meant to secure the international community support for a scaled military response to terror attacks. Barak then spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while officials in the Defense Ministry briefed Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman.

Olmert and Livni have agreed to brief other members of the international community of Israel’s decision. PR and information efforts are said to focus on the US, the European Union and the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

At this time, however, any military operation in Gaza would require the personal authorization of Olmert, Barak and Livni, with Barak having the final say. The National Security Cabinet is expected to convene on the matter within a few days.

Strangling Gaza to near death while pretending to be the victim

Strangling Gaza to near death while pretending to be the victim

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

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December 21, 2008

No one is enthusiastic about the latest escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, except perhaps the warmongers in Tel Aviv and the American-backed Arab and Palestinian traitors who would do anything and go to any extent to please their masters in Washington, D.C.

In Israel, the Gaza Strip is becoming the central election issue in a country deeply menaced by political and religious extremism.

Israeli political leaders from right and left are already promising the Jewish public that they will destroy Gaza and murder untold thousands of poor Gazans if only they are elected in the 10 February polls.

Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima party, was quoted as saying on Sunday, 21 December, that if she becomes Israel’s next Prime Minister, she will destroy Hamas’s government in Gaza, using military, economic and diplomatic means.

Similar remarks have been voiced by other Israeli leaders, which really underscores the cannibalistic instincts and jingoistic trends permeating through the bulk of the Israeli Jewish society.

After all, experience shows that the more racist, more criminal and more vitriolic an Israeli politician is perceived, the greater the likelihood he will be elected.

In contrast, an Israeli politician who advocates a humane approach toward the Palestinians, like, for example, calling for lifting the Nazi-like siege imposed on the 1.5 million innocent Gaza inhabitants, will be committing a political suicide. Such a politician would instantly be called “Self-hating Jew,” “Hamas lover,” or even “a Nazi.”

This background is essential for understanding the present situation in Gaza as the huge Israeli propaganda machine would have us believe that Israel is the victim of aggression and that the Palestinians are the aggressors.

Israel claims ad nauseam that its Nazi-like blockade of Gaza, which is a brazen violation of international law, is a response to the firing by Gaza guerillas of generally ineffective home-made projectiles known as Qassams.

This is simply a big lie. The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip began immediately after Hamas won the legislative election in January 2006, and the main driving goal was to punish, as much as internationally acceptable, the people of Gaza and Palestinians in general for electing a government that Israel didn’t like.

Indeed, some Israeli leaders admitted then that Israel wanted to put the Palestinian on a diet, a euphemistic expression connoting the subsequent and continuing Israeli policy of starving and killing and savaging the people of Gaza very much like the Nazis did to Jews at Ghetto Warsaw in 1942-43.

Determined to survive, in spite of a malicious cruel world that preaches human rights while crushing human lives, Gazans appealed to everyone and anyone willing to listen all over the globe, but to no avail.

It was only after it became clear that Israel was hell bent on destroying Gaza and its inhabitants through a slow process of extermination that Gazans began firing these largely psychological weapons which inflict little damage and rarely cause human casualties among Israelis.

In June, Hamas agreed to stop all “belligerent acts and hostilities” against Israel in return for Israeli reciprocity and the lifting of the hermetic siege on the Strip which obliterated Gaza economy and caused the death of hundreds of innocent people.

However, instead of dealing in good will with the Egyptian-mediated understanding, Israel never lifted the siege nor allowed the reopening of the border crossings.

Using the words of a Gaza journalist, Israel resorted to the policy of “strangling Gaza to near death,” by preventing the delivery to Gaza of most consumer goods and products from vital medical material to food products.

More to the point, Israel did violate the ceasefire understanding several times, killing as many as 49 Palestinians from June-19 when the truce began to December-19 when it ended.

During that period, not a single Israeli civilian was killed by Palestinian factions in the Gaza strip.

Hence, one is always prompted to ask what the Palestinian Authorities in Gaza are supposed to do when Israel is effectively telling them that they have only two choices awaiting them, to die a slow agonizing death as a result of this criminal siege, or be killed and decimated by the Israeli occupation army.

A few months ago, this writer challenged a rabbi from the West Bank to ask his government to end the siege in Gaza and allow normal economic activities between Gaza and the outside world.

I assured him that if Israel were to carry out such a step, there would be a total stoppage of all attacks and hostile activities against Israeli settlements bordering the coastal territory.

Predictably, the Israeli government dismissed the proposal, telling the rabbi rather tersely that they respected his efforts.

Unfortunately, Israel is allowed to keep up starving and killing Gazans thanks to a hypocritical world whose leaders keep telling Israel that “it has the right to defend itself,” while utterly ignoring the fact that the Palestinians, too, have at least an equal right to life and human dignity.

How many western leaders have had the moral courage to visit the Gaza Strip and see the slow-motion holocaust on the ground?

How many western leaders have dared utter the politically innocuous but balanced view that Israel should lift the siege on Gaza and Palestinians ought to stop their nearly innocuous attacks on Israel?

Why is Tony Blair telling Israel that it has the right to bomb Gaza? Is he completely oblivious of the existence of 1.5 million human beings who have been forced into a situation that doesn’t really differ much form that faced by much of the European Jewry several decades ago?

How about Sarkozy, who claims to represent western enlightenment? How about the leaders of EU states? Do they all enjoy watching the people of Gaza getting savaged and killed by the crime against humanity, otherwise known as Israel.

Have all they succumbed to moral callousness and moral blindness in the face of an evil state that claims to be a light upon the nations while thinking, behaving and acting very much like the Third Reich?

Well, shame on you all. History won’t be kind to you.

http://www.xpis.ps/

Plot to kill Musharraf unearthed

Plot to kill Musharraf unearthed

984_saeed_sheikh_custody_2050081722-8801 Sheikh Omar


By Amir MirLAHORE: In a sensational development, authorities have claimed busting a clandestine terror network set up by jailed killer of Daniel Pearl inside the Hyderabad Jail and the Sindh government has suspended senior police and jail officials after a large number of cell phones, SIMs and other equipment were recovered.

Highly-placed Interior Ministry sources confided to The News on Wednesday the jailed terrorist had also threatened Gen Pervez Musharraf on his personal cell phone in the second week of November and planned to get him eliminated by a suicide bomber.

The caller reportedly told the former president: “I am after you, get ready to die.” Subsequent investigations by the authorities revealed the threatening phone call was made by someone from the Hyderabad Central Jail. Being a suspect, Sheikh Omar was placed under observation before it transpired that he was the one who had threatened the former strongman.

The authorities came to know that a plot had been hatched by Sheikh Omar to eliminate the then-president with the connivance of some Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants, with whom he had long been in touch over the phone.

As Omar’s death cell was thoroughly searched, three mobile phones, six batteries, 18 SIMS of almost every cellular company and chargers were seized from his possession. Further scanning of the alleged terror mastermind’s telephone records revealed he had been making calls all over Pakistan to former Jihadi associates as well as relatives in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Interestingly, however, his mobile phone records revealed besides having revived his contacts with the outer world, Omar had also been in touch with Attaur Rehman, alias Naeem Bukhari, a key Lashkar-e-Jhangvi operative arrested by the Karachi police on June 5, 2007 in connection with the January 2002 Daniel Pearl murder case.

When the barracks of Naeem Bukhari, being held in the Sukkur Central Jail, were searched, the authorities recovered one mobile phone and three SIMs he had been using to stay in touch with Omar and some other LeJ accomplices in Karachi and Rawalpindi.

During the ensuing interrogations, Naeem Bukhari was learnt to have revealed that the LeJ operatives had already been directed by Sheikh Omar to target Musharraf either in Rawalpindi or in Karachi, preferably by using a suicide car bomber.

The LeJ militants had thus been monitoring Musharraf’s movements to target him while travelling between his Army House residence in Rawalpindi and his Chak Shehzad farmhouse on the 1-A Park Road on the quiet suburbs of Islamabad or to blow up the bridge on Shara-e-Faisal during his next visit to Karachi at the precise moment when his convoy would reach there from the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

It was after the unearthing of the assassination plot that Musharraf decided to leave for London on Nov 22, 2008 for a short trip — for the first time since his resignation as president in August 2008. Although, he has already returned home, Musharraf is still occupying the Army House due to grave security concerns.

Following the recovery of mobile phones and SIMs from Sheikh Omar, the Sindh Home Department took serious action and suspended (on Dec 1, 2008) Hyderabad Central Jail Superintendent Abdul Majid Siddiqui, his deputy Gul Mohammad Sheikh and four other jail officials on charges of showing criminal negldigence.

According to the Sindh inspector general prisons, both had been suspended by the Home Department on complaints of corruption and maladministration. The IG prisons said there were complaints of serious nature against them, such as providing cell phones and other banned facilities to prisoners, corruption and maladministration. An inquiry officer has already been appointed to probe the charges.

The most astonishing aspect of the episode is that the scrutiny of Omar Sheikh’s mobile phone records proved he had been even calling Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alavi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. He was shot dead in Islamabad on Nov 19, 2008 by unidentified gunmen.

Although, the Interior Ministry officials are not ready to speak on the issue, a recent story filed by Carey Schofield of Sunday Times had quoted Maj-Gen Amir Faisal Alavi as having told her during an Islamabad meeting four days before his murder that he knew he would be killed by his own comrades, as he had threatened to expose the Pakistani generals who had been cutting deals with Taliban insurgents.

Sheikh Omar Saeed has not divulged any information so far as to why he had been calling Alavi. But Musharraf has stated in his book “In the Line of Fire” that Omar was originally recruited by the British intelligence agency MI-6 while studying at the London School of Economics.

Omar was sent to the Balkans by MI-6 to engage in Jihadi operations, according to Musharraf, who went on to opine: “At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent. Sheikh Omar happens to be a British citizen of Pakistani descent, who had first served five years in prison in Delhi in the 90s in connection with the 1994 abduction of three British travellers. But he was released in the first week of 2000 along with Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and eventually provided a safe passage to Pakistan by the Taliban regime, after India was forced to accept demands of the hijackers of Indian Airliner IC-814.

“Two years later, on Feb 12, 2002, Omar surrendered to Brigadier (retd) Ejaz Hussain Shah, his former handler in the ISI, after being accused of abducting Daniel Pearl. At an initial court appearance in April 2002, Omar had almost confessed to his crime by stating: “I don’t want to defend myself. I did this… Rightly or wrongly, I had my reasons. I think our country shouldn’t be catering to American needs.”

As a matter of fact, it is five-and-a-half years since an anti-terrorism court in Karachi sentenced him to death. Omar, a graduate from the London School of Economics, became a Jihadi for the high-profile Pearl murder.

It was on July 15, 2003 that Omar and his three accomplices were awarded life imprisonment by Justice Ali Ashraf Shah in a heavily fortified makeshift court, set up in a bunker underneath a prison inside the Hyderabad Jail. No journalist was allowed to attend the court proceedings and the venue had to be changed three times because of bombing threats and security concerns.

The trial judge was also changed thrice. Forensic scientists initially refused to attend the exhumation of the court for fear they would be killed. Police personnel who were known to confront all kinds of savage criminals behaved like lambs in front of the terrorist and police officers were intimidated by him in the court of law in front of the judge.

As soon as the July 15, 2003 verdict was announced, Omar, who had already been declared a dangerous prisoner and confined to an isolation death cell, reacted defiantly, saying that he would retaliate against the authorities for arranging the sentence. In a message read out by his lawyer outside the court room, Sheikh Omar said: “We shall see who will die first. Either I or the authorities who have arranged the death sentence for me.” Almost six months later, in December 2003, Gen Musharraf survived two separate assassinations attempts in Rawalpindi. The authorities suspect that Sheikh Omar had links with the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up to assassinate Musharraf and the attempts owed to the death penalty awarded to Omar.

As things stand, the anti-terrorist court’s verdict has not been implemented so far and Sheikh Omar continues to avoid being sent to the gallows due to repeated adjournments of his appeal against conviction, pending in the Sindh High Court for years now. Reports emanating from the Hyderabad Central Jail say the guards stationed outside Omar’s death cell are rotated almost daily because he has the ability to influence anyone he meets.

As a matter of fact, Omar had actually managed to prevail upon the first four police constables deployed outside his cell, with all of them growing beards within days after they were assigned to guard his ward. The jail authorities say if the guards outside his cell are not rotated every day, Omar is fully capable of bringing the entire jail staff round to his view. He is presently reading books on history, particularly on World War-I and II, the Cold War and the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Pakistan general killed in drive-by

[SEE:

UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

Letter from Maj. Gen. Amir Alavi to General Kayani, to request restoration of his benefits and his honor.]

Pakistan general killed in drive-by

Bruce Loudon

A FORMER head of Pakistan’s top anti-terrorist fighting force was killed last night in a drive-by shooting on the outskirts of Islamabad.

Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was driving from Rawalpindi to his home in the capital when gunmen on a motorbike and in an SUV sprayed his sedan with automatic gunfire.

The attackers are suspected of being linked to al-Qa’ida and Taliban militants, who are based in the tribal regions where General Alvi ran the covert operations of the Special Services Group until his retirement two years ago.

The assassination came as a senior al-Qa’ida operative was among six militants killed in the first US missile strike in Pakistan outside the tribal regions.

Sources said Abdullah Azam al-Saudi had been identified by US intelligence officials as the main link between al-Qa’ida’s senior command and Taliban networks in the border region.

He was killed when a suspected US drone hit a house in northwestern Bannu district, on the border of the tribal territory.

Saudi is the second high-profile al-Qa’ida operative killed in recent US missile strikes near the Afghan border.

Egyptian Abu Jihad al-Masri, described by the US as al-Qa’ida’s propaganda chief, was killed in a November 1 missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Because of General Alvi’s background as commander of Pakistan’s most effective anti-terrorist strike force, he was a target in the growing violence in the nuclear-armed nation.

The SSG, in addition to being in the vanguard of attacks against al-Qa’ida and the Taliban, also provides security for Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders.

Militants have targeted other top military officers, but the way in which General Alvi was killed has sent shockwaves through Pakistan’s present and past power elite, many of whom live around Islamabad.

“This is dreadful news and shows just how rapidly things are deteriorating here,” a senior former general told The Australian last night.

“Even retired people who held posts in which they were involved in defending the country against terrorism are no longer safe.”

Because of his role in commanding the SSG, General Ali was one of the most high-profile of Pakistan’s former military leaders.

Security has deteriorated alarmingly in Pakistan in recent months, with regular suicide bombings and other attacks in Islamabad and elsewhere across the Islamic nation.

Zionist “Blackwater” Type Corporation Gains Legal Foothold In India

f0fee922-2f06-43b6-b987-1f6df6decead100_100_secvpf(Left )Anil Puri, Executive Director of the APS Group with Asaf Nadel, CEO, Ares Group at the announcement of the joint venture for providing security services in the country on Monday

Indian firm inks deal with Israeli security company

Special Correspondent

(Left )Anil Puri, Executive Director of the APS Group with Asaf Nadel, CEO, Ares Group at the announcement of the joint venture for providing security services in the country on Monday

MUMBAI: Israel-based global security firm ARES Group and AP Securitas Group of India on Monday inked a deal to provide high-tech security solutions – a step that assumes significance in the wake of 26/11 terror attacks – in which Jewish people were also targets of Pakistani terrorists.

The new company ‘ARES-APS Security Services Pvt Ltd’ will bring together a professional and talented team of experts and would synergise the strengths, experience, intelligence and networks of the two companies. “The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have clearly established that the security scenario in India has changed radically and for all the times to come. It requires a paradigm shift in the manner in which security services have to be provided in these changed circumstances,” said Anil Puri, Executive Director of APS Group.

Commenting on the development, Asaf Nadel, CEO of ARES Group said that his company is expanding its group in the region with the tie-up. “Currently we are present in over half a dozen countries like US, Russia, Turkey, Nigeria, Namibia and with the new tie-up we will be able to bring to India and the region, world-class technology, expertise and capabilities in the new security paradigm,” he said.

The ARES-APS is aiming to provide specialized security services and manpower to hotels, hospitality industry, aviation, mega events, VIP protection, financial institutions, retail and services sector. It would also provide specialized training, psychological profiling, polygraphy testing and realibility analysis of personnel. It would also help in loss prevention and fraud control.

UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

[SEE: Letter from Maj. Gen. Amir Alavi to General Kayani, to request restoration of his benefits and his honor.]

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UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

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The brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate, was murdered last month after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.

Major-General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s special forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.

Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed. Soon afterwards he told me that he had received no reply.

“It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.”

Four days later, he was driving through Islamabad when his car was halted by another vehicle. At least two gunmen opened fire from either side, shooting him eight times. His driver was also killed.

This weekend, as demands grew for a full investigation into Alavi’s murder on November 18, Lady Naipaul described her brother as “a soldier to his toes”. She said: “He was an honourable man and the world was a better place when he was in it.”

It was in Talkingfish, his favourite Islamabad restaurant, that the general handed me his letter two months ago. “Read this,” he said.

Alavi had been his usual flamboyant self until that moment, smoking half a dozen cigarettes as he rattled off jokes and gossip and fielded calls on two mobile phones.

Three years earlier this feted general, who was highly regarded by the SAS, had been mysteriously sacked as head of its Pakistani equivalent, the Special Services Group, for “conduct unbecoming”. The letter, addressed to General Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, was a final attempt to have his honour restored.

Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Alavi, who had dual British and Pakistani nationality, named the generals he accused. He told Kayani that the men had cooked up a “mischievous and deceitful plot” to have him sacked because they knew he would expose them.

“The entire purpose of this plot by these general officers was to hide their own involvement in a matter they knew I was privy to,” he wrote. He wanted an inquiry, at which “I will furnish all relevant proof/ information, which is readily available with me”.

I folded up the letter and handed it back to him. “Don’t send it,” I said. He replied that he had known I would talk him out of it so he had sent it already. “But”, he added, “I want you to keep this and publish it if anything happens to me.”

I told him he was a fool to have sent the letter: it would force his enemies into a corner. He said he had to act and could not leave it any longer: “I want justice. And I want my honour restored. And you know what? I [don’t] give a damn what they do to me now. They did their worst three years ago.”

We agreed soon afterwards that it would be prudent for him to avoid mountain roads and driving late at night. He knew the letter might prove to be his death warrant.

Four days after I last saw him, I was in South Waziristan, a region bordering Afghanistan, to see a unit from the Punjab Regiment. It was early evening when I returned to divisional headquarters and switched on the television. It took me a moment to absorb the horror of the breaking news running across the screen: “Retired Major General Faisal Alavi and driver shot dead on way to work.”

The reports blamed militants, although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack.

The scene at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi a few days after that was grim. Soldiers had come from all over the country to bury the general with military honours. Their grief was palpable. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Kayani and most of the country’s military leadership.

Friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up.

I first met Alavi in April 2005 at the Pakistan special forces’ mountain home at Cherat, in the North West Frontier Province, while working on a book about the Pakistani army.

He told me he had been born British in Kenya, and that his older brother had fought against the Mau Mau. His affection for Britain was touching and his patriotism striking.

In August 2005 he was visiting Hereford, the home of the SAS, keen to revive the SSG’s relationship with British special forces and deeply unhappy about the way some elements of Pakistan’s army were behaving.

He told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama Bin Laden.

Mehsud, the main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto late last year, is also believed to have been behind a plot to bomb transport networks in several European countries including Britain, which came to light earlier this year when 14 alleged conspirators were arrested in Barcelona.

Yet, according to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mehsud “whereby – in return for a large sum of money – Mehsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”.

The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter to Kayani were in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistani army, he said. At Hereford, Alavi was brutally frank about the situation, said the commanding officer of the SAS at that time.

“Alavi was a straight-talking soldier and some pretty robust conversations took place in the mess,” he said. “He wanted kit, skills and training from the UK. But he was asked, pretty bluntly, why the Pakistani army should be given all this help if nothing came of it in terms of getting the Al-Qaeda leadership.”

Alavi’s response was typically candid, the SAS commander said: “He knew that Pakistan was not pulling its weight in the war on terror.”

It seemed to Alavi that, with the SAS on his side, he might win the battle, but he was about to lose everything. His enemies were weaving a Byzantine plot, using an affair with a divorced Pakistani woman to discredit him.

Challenged on the issue, Alavi made a remark considered disrespectful to General Pervez Musharraf, then the president. His enemies playeda recording of it to Musharraf and Alavi was instantly sacked.

His efforts to clear his name began with a request that he be awarded the Crescent of Excellence, a medal he would have been given had he not been dismissed. Only after this was denied did he write the letter that appears to many to have sealed his fate.

It was an action that the SAS chief understands: “Every soldier, in the moment before death, craves to be recognised. It seems reasonable to me that he staked everything on his honour. The idea that it is better to be dead than dishonoured does run deep in soldiers.”

Alavi’s loyalty to Musharraf never faltered. Until his dying day he wanted his old boss to understand that. He also trusted Kayani implicitly, believing him to be a straight and honourable officer.

If investigations eventually prove that Alavi was murdered at the behest of those he feared within the military, it may prove a fatal blow to the integrity of the army he loved.

Britain and the United States need to know where Pakistan stands. Will its army and intelligence agencies ever be dependable partners in the war against men such as Mehsud?

James Arbuthnot, chairman of the defence select committee, and Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, were among those who expressed support this weekend for British help to be offered in the murder investigation.

Inside the Pakistan Army by Carey Schofield will be published next year by Soap Box Books.

8 killed in missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt

m_id_52998_south_wazaristan Suspected twin missile strikes by US drones killed at least eight persons in Pak’s restive North West tribal areas

8 killed in missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt

Islamabad : Suspected twin missile strikes by US drones killed at least eight persons most of them reported to be Taliban Commanders in Pakistan’s restive North West tribal areas, which is believed to be a sanctuary of al-Qaeda militants.The missiles targeted and destroyed two gun-mounted vehicles which were being used by the militants to fire on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, local residents said.

Four people were killed as one of the missiles blasted away one of the armed vehicles and a fort-like house adjacent to it in Karikot village in South Waziristan.

Minutes later, the other missile hit a house in the adjacent Azam Warsak village and the missile hits caused huge fires which forced panicked residents onto the streets.

The residents said that seconds before being hit, militants on one of the gun mounted vehicles had opened fire from an anti-aircraft gun after spotting the drones.

It was not immediately known if any senior Taliban or al-Qaeda leaders were killed.

But local tribesmen said the people killed were members of Pakistani Taliban group Hundreds of local Taliban militiamen cordoned off the area and were seen taking out the bodies from the rubble and later made public announcement that the funeral of the slain people would be held in Wana, the capital town of Waziristan.US drones have stepped up missile strikes against targets in North and South Waziristan in the past few months, marking a sharp increase in such operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants sheltering in the area.

The drones have carried out around 40 attacks since August. Monday’s strikes were conducted in an area controlled by Pakistani Taliban commander Haji Nazeer.

While the missile attacks have killed large number of militants including some top al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives, Pakistan has criticised it saying they amounted to violation of its sovereignty and undermining its own war on terror.

Meanwhile Pakistani security forces continued their offensive against the Taliban in the Swat valley of North West Frontier Province, pounding militant positions in the town of Ningolai, witnesses said. There were no reports of casualties.

Curfew was imposed in the area this morning and people were asked to stay indoors before helicopter gunships started shelling rebel positions.

Report to SEP meeting: “Auto workers must resist government-corporate demand for poverty wages”

Report to SEP meeting: “Auto workers must resist government-corporate demand for poverty wages”

By Jerry White
22 December 2008

The following is an edited version of remarks given by World Socialist Web Site reporter Jerry White to a December 20 meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party and the WSWS in Detroit. The meeting was held to initiate a public discussion on the crisis in the auto industry. (See “SEP holds public meeting on crisis in the auto industry”)

On Friday the Bush administration announced its approval of a $17.4 billion bridge loan to General Motors and Chrysler to stave off bankruptcy at the two companies, at least for the next few months. Under the terms of the agreement, the task of restructuring the industry and returning it to profitability will be handed over to the Obama administration, which will oversee severe downsizing and a drastic reduction in the wages and benefits of autoworkers.

JerryWhiteJerry White

The so-called car czar appointed by Obama will have until March 31 to determine whether automakers are meeting cost-cutting benchmarks, including concessions from the UAW. If he deems the companies are not moving fast enough, the car czar is mandated to revoke the loans and drive the companies into the bankruptcy courts, where a judge can tear up existing union contracts or the companies could simply liquidate.

It is no exaggeration to say that the concessions being demanded from autoworkers would reduce them from being among the highest paid industrial workers in the world to conditions of poverty and exploitation not seen since the days before the mass industrial unions were built in the 1930s.

According to the “targets” in the bailout package, by December 31, 2009 the wages and work rules of workers at the Big Three must be competitive with nonunion workers at the so-called transplants operated by Asian and European carmakers in the US.

What does this mean?

The workers employed by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and other international companies in Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Indiana earn as little as $14 an hour. Becoming “competitive” means GM, Ford and Chrysler workers—who currently earn $28 an hour—would have their wages slashed by half by the end of next year.

Taking into account inflation, this means an autoworker would earn roughly half of what a Ford worker made in 1968. It is more closely on par with the 95 cents an hour autoworkers made in 1938, a year after the sit-down strikes forced GM to recognize the UAW.

BusinessWeek magazine recently noted that such a wage meant “for the first time since World War I we will have people building automobiles in America who won’t be able to afford the vehicles they build”—not to mention college for their children, a decent retirement, health care, etc.

What else is being demanded?

A large number of the workers in the transplants are temporary workers who can simply be dismissed if they are injured or sales decline. Once they are gone the companies can hire someone else at entry-level wages and benefits. Establishing competitive work rules means accepting conditions of speed-up and a perpetual state of economic insecurity, which would make a union contract thoroughly meaningless. The only difference between this and a nonunion sweatshop is that the brutally exploited workers will still have to pay dues to the UAW.

The government is also demanding a liquidation of large amounts of company debt, including billions in pension obligations, which will result in an enormous attack on the hundreds of thousands of retired workers. At the same time, billions owed to the retiree health care trust fund will be converted to virtually worthless company shares, meaning sharp reductions in medical coverage for retirees and their dependents.

Once these concessions are imposed on Detroit workers, the workers in the transplants will be forced to accept takeaways, unleashing a never-ending bidding war to the bottom, in which workers will be reduced to a modified form of slavery.

Finally, “saving” the auto industry has nothing to do with preserving the jobs and communities of workers. On the contrary, the government is demanding massive job cuts on top of the hundreds of thousands of jobs eliminated over the last few years. Chrysler will be liquidated or forced to merge with GM, which has already announced the closing of dozens of plants and the elimination of 31,500 jobs over the next few years.

It is not clear how many of the plants that have been shut down for an extended holiday will even reopen. The UAW has already agreed to the elimination of the jobs bank, meaning there will be no income security for the tens of thousands of newly laid-off workers.

All of this makes clear that the government intervention has nothing to do with preserving the interests of the public. Instead the federal government, which will basically take partial ownership of the auto industry through control of stock warrants and the authority to approve all expenditures over $100 million, is moving to strip autoworkers of their hard-fought gains in order to make the industry a lucrative investment for the wealthy elite.

One further indication of this is a change in the terms of the bailout. As the New York Times noted, “While many elements of the loan requirements are drawn from legislation that failed in Congress, there is one crucial difference between Mr. Bush’s plan and the one the House approved: it strips away a requirement that Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns 80 percent of Chrysler, be held liable for any losses experienced by the taxpayers.”

The crisis of the auto industry is a disaster for workers. For America’s ruling elite, however, it is seen as a great opportunity to remove all obstacles to the exploitation of the working class, including dispensing with wage levels won by workers over decades of struggle and eliminating legal obligations to pay pension and health care benefits to retirees.

The most powerful sections of corporate America have seized on the crisis to fundamentally transform class relations. Just as the Chrysler bailout of 1979 and the smashing of the PATCO strike in 1981 marked an escalation in the offensive of big business against the working class, the current attack on autoworkers will be used to set a precedent for a wave of wage-cutting and other attacks.

Once again, the ruling class is relying on the cowardice and collaboration of the UAW and other unions. The UAW has made it clear it intends to do nothing to defend autoworkers. In his response to the deal, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger praised President Bush for helping “America’s auto companies weather the current financial crisis.” He complained, however, about “unfair conditions singling out workers” and added that he looked forward to working with the incoming Obama administration to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

We warn workers to have no illusions in Obama. The president-elect has been intricately involved in shaping the attack on autoworkers. Obama immediately released a statement on Friday praising the loan conditions, saying, “With the short-term assistance provided by this package, the auto companies must bring all their stakeholders together—including labor, dealers, creditors and suppliers—to make the hard choices necessary to achieve long-term viability.”

Obama’s main role will be to provide a cover for the UAW, while the labor bureaucracy imposes the demands of the government and corporations on the backs of workers. The UAW has already agreed in principle to all of the Bush administration’s demands. Its only difference is the timeline in which wage cuts are to be implemented. Fearing that an immediate wage cut could produce a rebellion by workers, the UAW bureaucracy is seeking a delay until 2011 in order to work with management to remove higher-paid veteran workers through buyouts and early retirement packages before it helps transform newer employees into a cheap labor workforce.

The policies of the UAW—concessions, labor-management collaboration, “Buy American” campaigns and economic nationalism—have proven a complete failure. The concessions started by the UAW with the 1979 Chrysler bailout did not save a single job. On the contrary, more the 600,000 Big Three workers have lost their jobs since 1979 and the givebacks, which were supposed to be temporary, have never ended.

In the name of “labor-management partnership” the union suppressed all resistance to plant closures and demands for lower wages and speed-ups. To oppose concessions, the UAW argued, was to undermine the “competitiveness” of the American auto companies and give the advantage to foreign companies.

While autoworkers have suffered declining living standards, the union bureaucracy has profited from union-management slush funds and joint investment schemes. Although the union has lost two-thirds of its membership, the UAW officialdom has managed to increase its income. With more of the union-controlled health care retirement fund paid in stock, the UAW, which is also reportedly seeking a position on the board of directors of GM, will have a direct financial incentive to increase the exploitation of its own members in order to drive up the value of its shares.

In our call for this meeting, the Socialist Equality Party proposed a public discussion on a new strategy that involved a fundamental change in the practice, politics, and philosophy of the workers’ movement.

The SEP calls on autoworkers to reject the entire reactionary framework of the bailout and initiate a campaign of resistance to wage and job-cutting. This means the revival of direct struggle based upon the independent interests of the working class.

Workers should organize demonstrations, strikes and factory occupations—the militant traditions of an earlier period that have been suppressed by the trade union bureaucracy. The occupation of Republic Windows and Doors by workers in Chicago has given a lead to workers everywhere, raising the need to revive these methods of struggle, and recalling the great sit-down strikes in the auto industry of the 1930s.

The SEP calls on workers to form independent rank-and-file factory, workplace and neighborhood committees to organize opposition to the plans of the banks and corporations. Such a strategy requires a break with the UAW and the entire trade union bureaucracy and the creation of new, genuinely democratic forms of working class organization.

We call for a break with the Democratic Party and the politics of class collaboration. Industrial action must be linked to a new political strategy. For decades, the unions have promoted the myth that the interests of workers can be advanced through the Democratic Party. The Democrats, no less than the Republicans, represent the corporations and banks. Workers should place no reliance on the incoming Obama administration, which fully supports the assault on the autoworkers. Workers need a new political party based upon their independent interests.

It is now clear that the economic downturn is not just a short-term recession but a global breakdown of the capitalist system on a scale not seen at any time since the end of World War II. The financial crisis in the US is the culmination of decades in which the manufacturing base of the country was systematically dismantled in order to free up capital for the most parasitic forms of speculation.

All the nostrums peddled about the free market and capitalism have proven to be a fraud. The so-called innovators and risk-takers have been engaged in the systematic looting of society, as the Madoff case demonstrates. Far from being held accountable, the government has provided trillions to shore up the fortunes and interests of the financial aristocracy. At the same time they demand perpetual sacrifices from workers who are not responsible for this crisis.

A fundamental change in the philosophy of the workers’ movement is needed, one based on a rejection of the capitalist market and the revival of an international socialist movement of the working class. Workers within the United States and throughout the world are facing the consequences of an economic system whose central principle is the pursuit of private profit—regardless of its consequences for society as a whole. In response to the unfolding crisis of world capitalism, the SEP fights for the socialist reorganization of the economy.

The SEP calls for the nationalization of the auto industry and the banks under the public and democratic control of working people. The economic decisions that affect the lives of millions of people must be made democratically based on the principle of production for human need, not personal profit.

A revived political movement of the working class must have as its aim the fight for a workers’ government—a government of, by and for the working class.

In the generation that led the sit-down strikes, class-consciousness was identified with socialism. Workers were guided by an understanding that the independent interests of the working class could only be advanced in the struggle to overthrow capitalism and establish a society based on the principle of social solidarity, equality, and genuine democracy.

These are the principles of the SEP that we wish to open up for discussion at this critical meeting.

Kick the US-NATO Out of Afghanistan: 10 Petitions

Kick the US-NATO Out of Afghanistan: 10 Petitions

The petitioners have requested all anti-war humans to read, sign, e-
mail and support the following 10 petitions:

(1) America Violating International Law in Pakistan

http://www.petitiononline.com/286/petition.html

(2) Condemn USA Attacks on Pakistan

http://www.petitiononline.com/Attacks/petition.html

(3) Canada Out of Afghanistan! Bring the Troops Home Now!

http://www.petitiononline.com/outnow/petition.html

(4) End the Canadian Soldiers’ Mission in Afghanistan

http://www.petitiononline.com/homeca/petition.html

(5) Canada Out of Afghanistan

http://www.petitiononline.com/pe070215/petition.html

(6) Canada must cease combat roles in Afghanistan until it
independently investigates and confirms Osama Bin Laden’s complicity
in the attacks of September 11, 2001

http://www.petitiononline.com/cntroops/petition.html

(7) Withdraw Canada’s Support for the “War on Terror”

http://www.petitiononline.com/pc2lv/petition.html

(8) Stop the Reinstation of the “Taliban” Vice and Virtue

http://www.petitiononline.com/96359183/petition.html

(9) In Recognition of the Resistance in Afghanistan

http://www.petitiononline.com/5673d/petition.html

(10) Mass Movement to End the War Now

http://www.petitiononline.com/NYCLAW2/petition.html

Pakistan, India recall envoys for ‘consultations’

Pakistan, India recall envoys for ‘consultations’

* Foreign Office denies development is unusual, calls it a routine activity

By Muhammad Bilal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have summoned their high commissioners for consultations amid rising tensions following last month’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Shahid Malik and Satyabarata Pal will brief Islamabad and New Delhi respectively on their interaction with the authorities after the Mumbai attacks.

Talking to Daily Times, Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq denied that it was an unusual development, and called it ‘routine activity’. “There is nothing unusual about it. It is a routine activity for the two countries to call back their high commissioners,” he said, adding that Malik had returned on Saturday.

Regarding Malik’s engagements, the spokesman said he would meet officials in the Foreign Office and would leave for India in “two to three days” as per schedule.

Asked why the Indian high commissioner had been called back at the same time, amid soaring tensions, Sadiq said Pal had gone to India to attend an envoys’ conference.

“His visit to India is also not unusual. There are reports already published in the media that an envoys’ conference is planned in India. He has gone to attend the conference,” he added. Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner in India Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi and the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan Mun Preet Vohra will act as high commissioners until the two envoys return, Online reported.

Ties between the two countries worsened after terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month that India blames on elements based in Pakistan.

‘Musharraf will be arrested by Pak Govt’

‘Musharraf will be arrested by Pak Govt’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s interior adviser Rehman Malik has promised that the government will arrest former president Pervez Musharraf for killing Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief Talal Bugti after meeting president Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday that the government would frame a case against Musharraf for killing both Akbar Bugti and Benazir Bhutto.

The former president is also responsible for the killings during the Lal Masjid operation and the May 12 riots in Karachi, he added.

Talal, who is Akbar Bugti’s son, said his party had lodged an FIR with the police against Musharraf for killing his father, but added that a case had not been registered so far.

“I will talk to Rehman Malik again after two days,” The Daily Times quoted him, as saying.

The JWP chief said that his party was not satisfied with the government’s measures for peace in Balochistan. He said the government had not stopped the military operation in the province, and had intensified it in the last three days.

A parliamentary committee formed to address the grievances of the people of Balochistan was ‘a joke’, he said.

Talal said his party would not accept settlers as locals. “Only the people of Balochistan have the right over the province’s resources. We will never accept settlers as locals,” he said.

The JWP gave out a charter of the demands it had made from the president, which included stopping the military operation in Balochistan and setting up an independent commission to probe the killing of Akbar Bugti and his 66 companions.

The party also called for closing down offices of intelligence agencies in Sui and Dera Bugti and converting the two towns into ‘B’ areas.

Antulay issue rocks Parliament

[SEE: Mumbai Carnage: The Police Story stands shattered]

Antulay issue rocks Parliament

New Delhi The Antulay issue once again caused uproar in Parliament on Monday as agitated BJP and Shiv Sena members stormed the well in both the Houses demanding sacking of the Union Minister, forcing their brief adjournments.

While Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice, Lok Sabha adjourned once as the Opposition members demanded Antulay’s sacking for his controversial remarks on the circumstances of the death of former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare.

Soon after the Upper House assembled for the day, BJP members were on their feet demanding a discussion on Antulay’s comments and trooped into the well. Chairman Hamid Ansari first adjourned the House at 1111 hours for 10 minutes, which was followed by another adjournment till 12 noon as unruly scenes persisted.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP and Shiv Sena members stormed the well as the House took up introduction of the Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill, which was opposed by CPI(M)’s Basudeb Acharia.

The BJP members continued slogan-shouting in the well even as Acharia opposed the introduction of the LIC bill, saying the legislation was “nothing but privatisation” of the insurance sector and aimed to increase foreign investment in it from 26 to 49 per cent.

Dubbing the measure as “unconstitutional”, the CPI(M) leader demanded a division.

After Acharia’s demand, Speaker ordered that lobbies be cleared, but within a matter of a minute, adjourned the House till 1300 hours as the din continued.

Incidentally, last week government had scraped through when the Left had sought division on certain amendments in the bill concerning workers in the unorganised sector.

CPI , CPM TAKE DIFFERENT STAND OVER ANTULAY’S COMMENTS

CPI and CPI(M) on Monday differed in their approach towards Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay’s remarks on circumstances surrounding Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s killing.

Terming it “unnecessary”, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat said that Antulay should not have made the statements. “As a minister in cabinet, it was unnecessary for him to make these statements… He should not have made the statements,” Karat told reporters outside the parliament.

CPI leader D Raja, however, said “If a senior minister raises any issue, the government cannot brush away it. The government must come out clear on these issues.”

“He (Antulay) has raised some issues. He is a senior minister and handling a very sensitive portfolio. It is for the government to explain…Why Congress is speaking in different voices?” Raja asked.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, on being repeatedly asked to explain his stand on the issue, said: “When investigation is already on into the issue, why should any one say something on it. I do not think anybody should speak in between.”

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan meanwhile sought to caution against raking up the issue further.

10,000 urge Pakistan to cut US-NATO supply line

Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islami chant anti-American slogans at a rally in Peshawar, Pakistan on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008. More than 10,000 Pakistanis protested Thursday against allowing U.S. forces to ship supplies through Pakistan into Afghanistan in a sign of growing pressure on Islamabad to harden its foreign policy.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

10,000 urge Pakistan to cut US-NATO supply line

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of anti-government protesters demanded Thursday that Pakistan shut the route along which supplies are ferried to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, adding to the growing pressure on Islamabad’s beleaguered leadership.

The demonstration by more than 10,000 people in the northwestern city of Peshawar also focused on a recent series of U.S. missile strikes against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border and Pakistani military offensives against Islamic insurgents in the area.

Leaders of the demonstration drew links between the missile attacks and the supply line, saying the equipment was being used for attacks on Pakistani soil and vowing to shut down the convoys.

“We will no longer let arms and ammunition pass through … and reach the hands of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan,” Sirajul Haq, the provincial head of hardline Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, told the crowd. “They are using the same against our innocent brothers, sisters and children.”

The supply line — along which gear passes from the Pakistani port city of Karachi and through the Khyber Pass — has increasingly come under assault, leading U.S. and NATO forces to scout possible alternative routes.

Hundreds of vehicles, including Humvees allocated for the Afghan army, have been torched in recent weeks in arson attacks on terminals, leaving several security guards dead. The convoys also are targets in Afghanistan, despite armed escorts.

But U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said Thursday that convoys continue to flow along the route at the rate of about 150 trucks a day and reiterated that the attacks “have not affected our ability to operate (in Afghanistan) at this point.”

“It continues to be a viable supply route. That said, we are looking at ways not only to improve the security along that route but other alternatives to it,” he said.

Thursday’s rally appeared to be the largest against Western use of the route since Pakistan’s civilian government took office in March and one of the largest anti-government protests so far.

Banner-toting demonstrators chanted “Down with America” and “Jihad is the only solution of America” as they marched along a key road in Peshawar, led by party leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed.

“If America continues atrocities against Muslims, it will also not be able to live in peace,” Express television showed Ahmad saying.

The protest ratchets up pressure on the new government at a time when it is also dealing with a tanking economy and the fallout over the Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 160 people.

Pakistan’s main stock market index plunged to its lowest level in more than three years Thursday, as tensions with New Delhi appeared to be rising. India ordered cricket officials to cancel next month’s scheduled tour of Pakistan — a blow to the sport, which had been used to help with rapprochement between the two countries.

Pakistan also summoned an Indian envoy for an official protest over last weekend’s reported incursions into Pakistani airspace by Indian aircraft after Islamabad initialized downplayed the incidents.

India says the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group was behind November’s attacks in the Indian financial capital. Pakistan has arrested some suspects and clamped down on a charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, allegedly linked to the outlawed group, but it insists it needs evidence from India. The crackdown on the charity also has stirred anti-government sentiment, with a series of recent demonstrations on behalf of Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD’S NEW CRISIS ZONE

WELCOME TO THE WORLD’S NEW CRISIS ZONE

Eric Margolis

The attack on Mumbai last week is being called `India’s 9/11,’ and rightly so. Like the bumbling Bush administration, India’s government ignored warnings of impending attack and reacted with confusion and ineptitude.

Equally important, the attacks that left some 173 dead and over 300 wounded, were clearly designed, like 9/11, to strike at India’s economy.  Mumbai is the center of India’s business and a symbol of its spectacular 9% growth rate in recent years.  Foreign investors are going to think twice about investing in India after last weeks horrors.

I have stayed at the hotels that were attacked: Mumbai’s Oberoi and the venerable Taj Mahal. The Islamabad Marriot, where I have stayed for 25 years, was destroyed in September by a truck bomb.
The Mumbai massacre is the  most recent sign that the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir, and terrorist attacks in western India, are beginning to merge into something bigger and even more dangerous.
The seaborne raid, which India claims was launched from Pakistan, appeared to have twin goals.  First, to punish and humiliate India over the Kashmir conflict. Kashmir is India’s only Muslim majority state. India has 500,000 troops and paramilitary units fighting Muslim Kashmiri independence-seekers.  The brutal, 19-year old struggle there has left at least 40,000 dead, mostly Muslims.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars over divided Kashmir since 1947.  Clashes between Pakistani and Indian forces along the Kashmir cease-fire line are frequent. I have been under fire on the border – known as the `Line of Control’ – numerous times.
The Mumbai attacker’s hunt for Britons and Americans also  suggested  revenge for intensifying US bombing of villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal zone that was recently denounced even by Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s US-installed leader.
Last June, 41 people died when India’s Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was blown up.  India immediately blamed Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, and accused its agents of recent bombings  in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmadabad, and Bangalore.  Islamabad denies these charges and accuses India’s spy agency, RAW,  of bombings in Pakistan’s frontier tribal zone and Karachi.
On the surface, Indian-Pakistani relations have been improving under US pressure.  But that was an illusion.
While Indian and Pakistani leaders were making nice to one another, India was rapidly expanding its influence into Afghanistan.  Large numbers of Indian intelligence agents are now operating in Afghanistan. In addition, India is arming and financing the anti-Pakistan North Alliance and the old Afghan Communist Party, and has just opened an air base in neighboring Tajikistan.
Washington does not want Pakistan distracted by its old feud with India over Kashmir or India’s machinations in Afghanistan, which Pakistan considers its back yard.  The US has rented 130,000 Pakistani Army troops to fight Pashtun tribesmen along the Northwest Frontier who are supporting their Taliban cousins in Afghanistan.  Indian threats of retaliation for the Mumbai attacks could force Pakistan to redeploy these troops to its eastern border with India, exposing already vulnerable US supply lines to more attacks.
India insists Kashmiri and Pakistani extremists groups – it names 36 – are backed by ISI in an effort to destabilize India.
Recently, Hindu extremists linked to the neo-fascist RSS and  Shiv Sena movements have begun attacking Indian Muslims and Christians.   Add to this witch’s brew vicious Hindu and Muslim gangsters known as `goondas’ who terrorize and extort India’s violence-plagued big cities.
Regional secessionist plague India’s south and  east, and some Sikh’s still struggle for independence.  Some of these groups are discreetly supported by Pakistan. Naxalites, a Marxist  revolutionary movement of landless peasants, remains one of India’s major  internal security threats.
India and Pakistan’s large arsenals  of nuclear-armed missiles and strike aircraft are on a hair-trigger alert.  The ongoing Indo-Pak confrontation, which I warned about a decade ago in my book,  `War at the Top of the World,’ is the world’s most dangerous nuclear threat.  President-elect Barack Obama has laudably vowed to seek a settlement of the six-decade Kashmir conflict.
India’s 155 million Muslims have been largely passive and  avoided violence.  But there a growing belief among some young Indian Muslims that they are second class citizens, oppressed, and denied any part of India’s economic boom. Many were radicalized by the horrible pogrom in 2002 in the state of  Gujarat in which up to 3,000 Muslims were massacred, many burned alive by Hindu mobs egged on by  right wing Hindu politicians.
Small numbers of young Indian Muslims, infected by bin Laden’s jihadist philosophy, are turning to violence in spite of Delhi’s modest efforts to be responsive to Muslim demands and concerns.
The relentless expansion of the US-led Afghan conflict is dangerously destabilizing already turbulent Pakistan.  As India and Pakistan intensify their proxy struggle to dominate Afghanistan, bankrupt Pakistan is being bribed by Washington to wage war on its own Pashtun tribal people who oppose the western occupation of neighboring Afghanistan.
Violence in Kashmir is again on the rise.  Indian crackdowns on both violent and non-violent Kashmiri Muslim independence-seekers have recently intensified.
India’s patience is wearing thin.  But after a decade of terrorist attacks, it still lacks a well defined target for revenge or a way of preventing them.  Delhi is now claiming that the Kashmiri independence movement, Lashkar Toiba, was behind the attack.  This is, in fact, quite possible, though in the past Lashkar has been quick to take responsibility for its attacks.  Lashkar gunmen staged deadly suicide  attacks on India’s parliament in 2001.  But Lashkar denies involvement in the Mumbai massacre
Delhi has also long claimed that Lashkar and two similar militant Kashmiri independence groups, Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar Jangvi, are armed, trained and financed by Pakistan’s ISI intelligence.  They certainly were, as I saw while inspecting Lashkar training camps in Pakistani Kashmir. But Pakistan’s former dictator, Pervez Musharraf, cut off officially support in 2002 under US pressure.  However, it is very likely that secret links still exist between the Pakistani Army and ISI  with the Kashmiri militant groups.
However, it defies credulity that Pakistan’s current feeble, bankrupt government, which is wholly dependent on US handouts, would stage a monster provocation against India.  But there are  many groups in Pakistan who want to see their nation cease aiding the US war in Afghanistan and return to the struggle to free Kashmir of Indian rule.
If Delhi concludes that elements from Pakistan were behind the Mumbai massacre, it will either have to keep the finding secret or else take action.  Indians are understandably demanding revenge and the Congress Party-led coalition is facing elections against the resurgent, Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party, which is beating the war drums against Pakistan.
India could launch air strikes against militant training camps in Kashmir, or even send its increasingly powerful navy to blockade Pakistan’s main port, Karachi.  Pakistan has only six days worth of oil reserves.  After that, it will run dry.
Whatever India does, it must use extreme caution.  Both nation’s nuclear forces are going on high alert.  In the current supercharged atmosphere, a confrontation could easily get out of hand,  leading to major military clashes that lead to a nuclear exchange.

Tehran to take delivery of S-300 missiles

s-300-surface-to-air-missile

Tehran to take delivery of S-300 missiles


Deputy Head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in Iran’s Majlis Ismail Kowsari said Sunday that Tehran has reached an agreement with Moscow on the delivery of the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system after years of negotiations.

“”The missile system would be used to enhance Iran’s defense capabilities and to protect the country’s sovereignty,”” Kowsari told IRNA.

The confirmation came after Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Israel would send the head of political military policy in the Israeli Defense Ministry, Major General Amos Gilad, to press the Kremlin not to supply Iran with S-300 missile defense systems.

The Iranian official responded, however, that Israeli reactions to Tehran-Moscow military cooperation would not affect the deal.

Later on Wednesday, Russia announced that it is fulfilling the controversial deal and would deliver the anti-aircraft system to Iran.

“”Moscow has earlier met its obligations on supplying Tor-M1 systems to Iran and is currently implementing a contract to deliver S-300 systems,”” RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed Russian source as saying.

Western countries have criticized Russian sales of defensive military equipment to Iran, saying that such deals have sabotaged efforts to retard Iranian nuclear progress.

The advance version of the S-300 system, the S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), can intercept 100 ballistic missiles and aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers.

According to intelligence officials familiar with the defense capabilities of the S-300, the missile system would effectively rule out an Israeli war against Iran.

The S-300 missile defense system — capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers. “”If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran,”” says long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure.

The US and Israel accuse Iran of making efforts to build a nuclear weapon and have threatened to launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

In preparation for military action against Iran, Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier in June.

According to a report by the New York Times, more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece.

Later reports claimed that Greece, which is equipped with the same version of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, assisted the Israeli Air Force in studying the system. (Source: Press TV)

Glimpses of Things to Come

Anti-Capitalist Uprising Imminent?

Could the uprising in Greece spread to your neighborhood?

A riot policeman is immersed in fire from a thrown molotov cocktail after a demonstration in central Athens on December 12, 2008. (Kostas Tsironis/AFP/Getty Images)

The pictures are astonishing: thousands of protesters in Greece have taken to the streets, rioting for days in response to the murder off 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos who was killed by a Greek police officer.

But beyond the startling images of molotov cocktails exploding, cars burning and occupations of live television broadcasts there is another story, even more surprising: the rioters are acting with the implicit support of the majority of Greek society. According to the AFP, a poll conducted in Greece found that a majority of people believe the rioters are part of a “popular uprising” and not simply group of “minority activists”. That, it appears, is the truth the corporate media would like to hide.

What is going on in Greece could very well be the first hints of a coming global popular uprising. All it took in Greece was a spark to ignite the generalized dissatisfaction of the larger society. And now, the uncontrollable flames are spreading. What we are seeing is not disorganized chaos, but the intentional response of youthful spirits rebelling against the empty promises of a staid society based upon one goal: consuming more than your neighbor.

Could the same thing happen on your street? What would it take to ignite all those dissatisfied by the unfulfilled, and unfulfillable, promises of capitalism and hyper-consumerism?

Some of the most powerful imagery to come out of Greece is available at the Boston Globe website. Take a look at these pictures, and let us know your thoughts.

Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. Micah is currently writing a book of philosophical meanderings into the future of activism. He lives in Binghamton, NY with his wife and two cats. www.micahmwhite.com

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:59.
American society is poised for the perfect storm of violent mayhem:
When the “Me” generation soon runs out of gas, beer and Twinkies, our hyper militarized police respond with disproportionate measures.
Fasten your safety belts.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:57.
This is no “popular uprising”.
This has the stench of Soros and his multi-billionaire fellow travellers. Strange how these anti-capitalist groups are ALWAYS funded by….super-rich CAPITALISTS.
The left is.. and has always been the tool of the elites.
They are not fighting the system: THEY ARE THE SYSTEM.
Until these dupes realise this they will never achieve any real change beyond that intended by their NGO instigators.
My best guess is that the purpose of these riots is to bring about extreme state powers to control the population before the REAL popular uprising takes place.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:06.
The various pension schemes have been used as personal piggy banks by the elite for decades and the knowledge of the scale of the theft is going to bring a revolution. But then, who knows who is really behind the current anarchy?

Submitted by FatNSassie on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:04.
Unfortunately, I doubt it could happen on my street! While Europe takes action, here in the U.S. we babble about Oprah’s gain. The Chicago Trib posted a story about how the failed bank exec still got bonuses. Only 8 outraged comments! The Oprah story, hundreds of comments! My Scotch-Irish ancestors who helped spark the American Revolution are turning over in their graves. The fighting spirit is dead here. Whatever mind control the power-elite has used on the masses, it seems to have worked!Weight obsession is a social disease. If we cared more about CO2 than BMI there would still be time!” www.myspace.com/vortexresister113

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 12/20/2008 – 23:14.
Ridiculous how this is portrayed as the greek youth uprising against capitalism. To quote the site of the Boston Globe ( whose pictures are actually pretty good ) which you apparently reference:
“Alexander’s death appears to have been a catalyst, unleashing widespread Greek anger towards many issues – police mistreatment of protesters, unwelcome education reforms, economic stagnation, government corruption and more”
As we know the alternative to capitalism leads to exactly those things that the Greek youth is protesting. Maybe you should stop reading news through an ideology based lense.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:36.
””“Alexander’s death appears to have been a catalyst, unleashing widespread Greek anger towards many issues – police mistreatment of protesters, unwelcome education reforms, economic stagnation, government corruption and more”
As we know the alternative to capitalism leads to exactly those things that the Greek youth is protesting. Maybe you should stop reading news through an ideology based lense”“Wow you are totally off base. Capitalism leads to greed and death for money’s sake. Capital being the driving force of the society. Socialism and Communism are based on the Society of people or the Community first.

Just because it was horribly implimented (just like Criminal Capitalism) does not make it a wrong choice.

Getting away and beheading the rich and taking their stuff seems a logical and reasonable thing to do when you are their slaves.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:22.
The big push in the riots is the Anarchist who, obviously, are intensely anti-capitalist. They are the ones who operate the squats. Police brutality is the catalyst, but the Greek youth have been discontented since the introduction of the Euro made the price of basic commodities shoot up.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 12/20/2008 – 15:03.
One last push, comrades. Rioting isn’t essential, but now is the time to get lost navigating the oblivion of actions. Let’s rupture the spell of the ideology of the commodified consumer society so that our repressed desires of a more authentic nature can come forward.
To demonstrate the contrast between what life presently is and what it could be. There will be an intensity never before known in everyday life to exchange love and hate, life and death, terror and redemption, repulsions and attractions.

Submitted by I am so wise on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 08:19.
If only we could rupture the spell of antique jargon. Christ, there isn’t an original thought in that spiel. The least you could have done was told us how to measure authentic and which unit of measure to use. Does authenticity come in gallons, inches, drams, or euros?

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/21/2008 – 10:18.
Of course it wasn’t original it was taken directly from the movie Waking Life. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress demands it. Staying close to an author’s phrasing, plagiarism exploits his expressions, erases false ideas, replaces them with correct ideas. (That would be me plagiarizing Debord, who in turn was plagiarizing Comte de Lautreamont)

Submitted by Dirty-Sneakers on Sat, 12/20/2008 – 05:56.
Although I understand and appreciate how frustration with the system could push one towards a violent eruption, I am concerned if we are able to or even want to try to beat THEM at their own game. Chaos does sound like a lot more fun than where we are now, but is that really where we want to go?

Submitted by georges salameh on Sat, 12/20/2008 – 02:43.
other artists’ blog about greek riots:
in english:
http://www.theerasers.blogspot.com/
http://www.nologo.gr/quetempo/category/blog/
and in greek:
http://stinathina.wordpress.com/
palermo december 2008

Submitted by georges salameh on Sat, 12/20/2008 – 02:26.
check this link maybe adbuster magazine would be intrested in publishing any of these posters:
http://www.neolaia.gr/wordpress/index.php/2008/12/18/riots-in-greece-des…
most of the blogs by artist in athens are in greek but here one link with articles in english about the riots:
http://foldedin.blogspot.com/palermo december 2008

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 12/19/2008 – 23:12.
Cheers to Greece. The Future is NOW. Let them inspire us all.Viva la revolution!

Submitted by JT on Fri, 12/19/2008 – 16:43.
Let it all burn!

Submitted by Stephen on Fri, 12/19/2008 – 16:31.
Don’t be ridiculous. If youth decided to protest capitalism in America I guarantee you they’d be doing it with their i pods in their ears, texting their buddies, on their new blackberries, to come hang out around burning cars.You have to be able to detach yourself from capitalism far enough to see what it is before you can protest against it.

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 12/19/2008 – 13:47.
Good for the Greece, good to know at least some of the worlds citizens have the balls to stand up for what they believe in.

Submitted by cooperq on Fri, 12/19/2008 – 13:14.
I love the pictures! Here is hoping Americans learn how to throw a good riot*ahem*revolution!

Wall Street Coup D’état

Ceri Shepherd

The Bailouts now stand at $8.5 trillion Dollars and the vast majority of this money has been stolen by the Wall Street insiders, as I will now demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Bailout money will be financed in three ways

  1. More taxation.
  2. Sale of new debt, to be added to the existing $10.6 trillion Dollars of debt.
  3. The money will simply be printed therefore devaluing the purchasing power of all your existing Dollars.

So you will be taxed more, and you will have to suffer poorer government services. As far more of the government’s income via taxation is used to pay the interest on all the existing and new debt, and finally your Dollars will buy a lot less.

That is the future, and it is the future because the vast majority of the $8.5 trillion Dollars of bailout money has simply been stolen.

We were originally told that the whole problem was a sub prime mortgage problem. Unfortunately this is a LIE. The amount of all sub prime mortgages in America is $1.3 trillion Dollars. But the bailouts are already $8.5 trillion Dollars and growing daily. Why do you need $8.5 trillion to fix a $1.3 trillion problem? And that’s assuming that everybody with a sub prime mortgage goes into foreclosure and that the foreclosure sale proceeds are precisely zero, not exactly a likely outcome.

So lets look at it another way the total value of all residential mortgages in the USA prime, ALT A , and Subprime as of August 2008 according to the Federal Reserve is $10.6 trillion Dollars THAT IS EVERY MORTGAGE IN AMERICA. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association at this same time 9.2% of all mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure. So let’s assume that 100% of all these mortgages eventually go into foreclosure and that at auction the total proceeds for the foreclosure sales are zero. I am sure you will agree this is once again a highly unlikely outcome!

$10.6 trillion X 9.2% = $975 Billion Dollars

So a total of $975 Billlion Dollars would be required as an absolute maximum to bail out every single foreclosed mortgage in America. So why do we have an $8.5 trillion Dollar solution to solve a $975 Billion Dollar problem?

If you buy a futures contract you can either buy it LONG or SHORT. If you are LONG you believe that the price of the underlying asset will rise, if you are SHORT you feel that it will fall. It is a zero sum game somebody wins and somebody loses. If the winner wins $1000 then he takes this $1000 from the loser. The amount of contracts outstanding or open interest is always in balance. All transactions and trades take place within a regulated and transparent exchange.

OTC derivative contracts are basically the same as regulated futures contracts. They are also zero sum, BUT they do not take place within an exchange. So they are not regulated and they are not transparent. What has happened is that a band of insiders have taken such huge OTC derivative bets that they have been able to push the markets, so that many of these OTC derivative contracts have triggered. Because the amount of leverage used or the notional value of these contracts is so high it takes very little movement for the outsiders to become insolvent, it is leverage gone mad. The Insiders knew that this would happen, but they also knew that the Government would not allow this corrupt system to fail.

Hence the $8.5 trillion Dollars of bailouts, this money is simply being transferred or funnelled from the taxpayers to a select band of Wall Street insiders. Remember it is a zero sum game the outsiders Bear Stearns, Wachovia, Citigroup LOST but somebody gained an equivalent amount. As Gordon Gecko stated in the film Wall Street.

“Money is not lost that’s the illusion, it is simply transferred”

The Politicians and media go on, and on, about how this is necessary to save the system, too big to fail, etc, etc. It is all rubbish they are nothing more than paid salesman for the bankers, it is a Government of the few and only for the few. The banks had huge unregulated bets amongst themselves and all kept in secret, the outsiders inevitably lost, and your money is now being funnelled directly to the bet winners. It is theft pure and simple. If you take a bet with somebody and you win BUT the loser cannot pay then that bet is worthless, and it dies. Why should American taxpayers pay for these failed bets? Surely the insiders had completed their “due diligence” on the counterparty risk? The reality was that they had not because they knew they would win, and they also knew that the government would pay the winnings via the taxpayer.

What people cannot accept is that America is in no way, shape, or form a democracy, and neither is any other western country. The politicians are bought and paid for, as are the media. With the Mcain Vs Obama election you had a simple choice you were voting for the bankers man or the bankers other man, the outcome will be the same it always will be in a bank oligarchy. .

You think I maybe wrong? Then I leave you with a very sobering thought.

$8.5 Trillion Dollars would buy exactly 80% of all the mortgages outstanding in America. So imagine for the same money that your government or is it the bankers government? have already given to the bankers they could have instead sent you a cheque for 80% of your outstanding mortgage, that would be some Christmas present. Instead they decided to send all of this money, YOUR MONEY to a select band of Wall Street insiders.

If your mortgage was now 80% paid off, would it not provide quite a “stimulus” for the real economy? And it would not cost $1 more than what they have already committed to the bankers.

It is an $8.5 Trillion Dollar and growing daily, solution to a $975 Billion Dollar problem. The surplus has simply been “transferred”. It begs the question, why are the Government paying off the gambling bets of Wall Street? These bets had no purpose, they added no value, and provided no jobs they were simply symptomatic of the unregulated and opaque casino that wall street has unfortunately become. This again is a matter of deliberate policy otherwise the thieves will be identified. Let them fail, if 80% of all the outstanding mortgages were paid, we would not need much of a credit or finance industry. New start banks and foreign banks could easily provide this facility.

So I leave you with one thought this Christmas. The bailouts if redirected could pay 80% of every mortgage in America INCLUDING YOURS.

Ironic that a few bankers have engineered the biggest robbery in history.


Ceri Shepherd
www.trendinvestor.info