American Military Bases In Israel, for NATO Peacekeepers?

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NOTICE THE AMERICAN FLAG.

These bases were originally built to house Israeli forces withdrawn from the West Bank, as defined in the Oslo Agreements, as a first step towards a UN world government.  Has the mission for these modern facilities been redefined, to accomodate the new vision of NATO peacekeepers policing the West Bank?

Obama advisors Gen. James Jones, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski have all endorsed the idea of using NATO troops to police the West Bank in Occupied Palestine, to take the place of Israeli troops, in a negotiated settlement. This settlement would ignore the issue of Gaza.

This brought to mind a couple of articles by Barry Chaimish on rense.com in 2005 about two gigantic American bases being built in Israel: Chamish – Exclusive Photos

Of Huge New US Base In Israel ; Chamish – Exclusive Photos

Of Huge New US Base In Israel (part 2)

Could these be the bases to be used by NATO peacekeepers? Mr. Chamish reports that at least one of these facilities has a huge holding area (for Palestinian resisters, or militant settlers/colonizers?).

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Helicopter pad

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This is what Barry’s resources told him in 2001:

“It is the intention of the U.S. administration, to ultimately turn over to the United Nations, the military base that is being considered for construction in the heart of Israel. It is the leaders of the NWO/Illuminati who will decide the appropriate time when all that will occur. The U.S. is to build the military base within Israel under the guise that it is for the use of the U.S. military. It is not. It is to be turned over to the United Nations at the appropriate time. The sole purpose of this base is for the United Nations use, not the U.S., and not Israel. This base will be a disaster to the best interests of Israel. It will be used against Israelis.”

Israel has not yet agreed to the troop withdrawal, but nonetheless, the base was allegedly turned over to the IDF in 2005.

Israel‘s explanation of the mysterious American bases, as reported in the Jerusalem Post is that these are “turn-key” operations, built for them by the US Army Corps of Engineers. According to researcher Barry Chamish, the Nachshonim base was built by an Arab contractor.

The base will probably hold the massive stores of pre-positioned US war materiel that the Congress recently ordered to be doubled. Israel is allowed to use these materiels in emergencies.

Taliban to back Pak army

[STRANGER STILL]

Taliban to back Pak army

Agencies
Islamabad, Dec 23: The Pakistan Army has got support from a quarter that it would never have expected. The Taliban on Tuesday declared that they would back the Pakistan Army by deploying hundreds of suicide bombers in case of any military action with India.
Taliban commanders claimed that “thousands of our well-armed militants are ready to fight alongside the army if any war is imposed on Pakistan,” chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud told a news organization on phone.
Hundreds of would-be bombers had been “given suicide jackets and explosive-laden vehicles for protection of the border in case of any aggression by the Indian troops,” he said.
“The time had come, to wage a real Jehad that the Taliban had been waiting for,” Mehsud, for whom the Pakistani and US forces are on the look out claimed.
“We know very well that the visible and invisible enemies of the country have been planning to weaken this lone Islamic nuclear power. But the Mujahideen will foil all such nefarious designs of our enemies,” he claimed.
Interestingly, this is for the first time Mehsud has admitted that Taliban has marshaled thousands of fighters close to the Afghan-Pak border and where Pakistani army has launched a major operation to flush them out.
Mehsud said people might question how the Taliban would fight alongside the Pakistan Army when the militants had been fighting the force for a long time.
“Therefore, I want to make it clear that the army was acting otherwise in the past. But now it would fight for the protection and survival of the country, which is why we will support them,” Mehsud said.
Mehsud, who was accused by former President Pervez Musharraf of masterminding the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in December last year, significantly said the Taliban would defend the country’s frontier with Afghanistan in the event of hostilities with India.

InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business

InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business

in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009
Source:
The Progressive, February 7, 2008
Title: “Exclusive! The FBI Deputizes Business”
Author: Matthew Rothschild

Student Researchers: Chris Armanino and Sarah Maddox

Faculty Evaluator: Josh Meisel, PhD

More than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect and provide information on fellow Americans. In return, members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public, and at times before elected officials. “There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate Total Information Awareness program (TIPS), turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” according to an ACLU report titled “The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.”

InfraGard, with members from 350 companies of the Fortune 500, started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats. “Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard . . . from our perspective, that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”

On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”

“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the DHS. “We provide speakers, as well as joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated, sometimes hundreds at a time, in national preparation drills.” According to more than one interviewed member, an additional benefit to InfraGard membership is permission to shoot to kill in the event of martial law, without fear of prosecution.

“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from the local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call. Either to give or to get [information]. We want everyone to have a little black book.”

Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program, warns that, “The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment. There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and DHS are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is to be carefully rehearsed.

UPDATE BY MATT ROTHSCHILD

The Progressive sent out a press release on the InfraGard story, and I was interviewed on Air America, Democracy Now! and lots of other alternative radio shows. But the mainstream media have ignored this story, with the exception of one small wire service report. The FBI hasn’t ignored it, though.

On February 15, the FBI issued a press release denouncing our article.

“The article’s claims are patently false,” said the FBI’s Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry. “InfraGard members have no extraordinary powers and have no greater right to ‘shoot to kill’ than other civilians.”

“No greater right”? That’s odd language, isn’t it? It reminded me of a quote in my article from Curt Haugen, CEO of S’Curo Group, and a proud InfraGard member. When I asked him about whether the FBI or Homeland Security agents had told InfraGard members they could use lethal force in an emergency, he said: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”

Note that the FBI did not deny that it ever told InfraGard members that they could “shoot to kill.” All that Henry said was that InfraGard members “have no greater right.” That doesn’t exactly blow a hole in my story.

The FBI seemed put out that I did not give enough information about the meeting the whistleblower attended. “Unfortunately, the author of the Progressive article refused even to identify when or where the claimed ‘small meeting’ occurred in which issues of martial law were discussed,” Henry said in the press release. “If we get that information, the FBI certainly will follow up and clarify any possible misunderstandings.”

The reason I didn’t identify where or when the meeting took place is obvious: I didn’t want to reveal anything that would expose my whistleblower.

Incidentally, the press release fails to mention that I received confirmation about discussions of “lethal force” from another member of InfraGard, whom I did name.

I stick by every single word of my story. And I call on Congress to investigate InfraGard and to inspect the plans that the FBI may have in store, not only for InfraGard, but for all of us in times of an emergency.

One final note: since the story appeared, I’ve received several new leads, including one confirming that a private company has been given “lethal powers.”

IT GETS STRANGER AND STRANGER.

THIS IS THE SAME PLACE WHICH SENT THE UNDERCOVER INDIAN KASHMIRI POLICE OFFICER TO MUMBAI, WHERE HE WAS ARRESTED FOR PROVIDING SIM CARDS FOR THE MUMBAI ATTACKERS’ CELL PHONES.  DID THEY GRAB A PAKISTANI UNDERCOVER OFFICER INVESTIGATING L E T FROM THE OTHER SIDE?

Pak Army denies arrest of its soldier by India

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army has rejected India’s claim that an infantry soldier of its 10 AK (Azad Kashmir) regiment has been arrested along with two suicide attackers.

Sepoy Ghulam Farid, who had been arrested by Indian authorities, had deserted from Okara on June 6, 2008, Dawn quoted an army official, as saying.

“He is certainly not an army employee. His unit is not deployed on the Line of Control,” he added.

An other Pakistan army official added that the Indians might have arrested Ghulam Farid some time in the past. On Tuesday, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir police Kuldeep Khoda said that preliminary interrogations have revealed that the three militants hailed from Pakistan and were members of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit.

He said that the three suspected militants were planning a suicide attack in the city. Khoda said that one of the arrested militants was a serving Pakistani Army personnel.

“The names of the three arrested terrorists are Ghulam Farid s/o Mohammad Shafi, resident of village Ruperi, post office Bastali, district Bhimber, PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir), age about 25 years. He is a sepoy, infantry battalion of Pakistan of 10 AK (Azad Kashmir) regiment,” added Khoda.

The other two were identified as Mohammad Abdullah belonging to Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and Mohammed Imran, who hails from Dera Nawab in Bahawalpur.

Khoda said that Abdullah, who joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in 2006, is well adept in handling weapons and communication devices.

Giving details about their illegal entry, the DGP said in August 2008 the three terrorists had got orders to report to a Karachi-based office to collect their passports and visa.

Khoda said that the suspects told their interrogators that after a two-days stay in Karachi, they left for Bangladesh by air adding that at the Dhaka airport, they were received by a Pakistani named Nadeem, who facilitated their stay in Khulna for three months.

On December 15, they started their journey from Khulna in Bangladesh and sneaked into Indian territory through the land border at night with the help of a guide. Khoda said that after spending a night in Kolkata they boarded a train for Jammu where they reached on December 20.

The arrests come amidst heightening tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks. New Delhi is mounting pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militant groups operating from its territory.

Antulay, do not mock at our legends death

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Antulay, do not mock at our legends death

The Antulay issue has showed how our politicians can descend into discord. His statement that ATS chief Hemanth Karkare’s death was suspicious, sparked off controversy. Antulay hinted that Karkare’s killing was the handiwork of Hindu extremist groups in collusion with their sympathisers in the force. This led BJP to ask for his resignation. In the high fold drama, Antulay also gave the resignation. The embarrassed Union govt did not accept his resignation for the sake of minority votes.

Later Antulay continued his flip flop, retracted his very own statement and denied doubting terrorists involvement in Karkare’s death. Manmohan Singh dubbed the issue as ‘to err is human’ . Antulay’s remarks is a malicious and insensitive slander of the Mumbai police and the ATS. Hemanth Karkare and other top cops have died for the nation fighting against the social evil terrorism.

Let the legends death not be made an issue. Minister for Minority A R Antulay should speak with conviction. But his statement has left many people ponder over the death of ATS chief and others. One of OneIndia News reader Raghavan commented ” Antulay has said it right. Modi is behind these attacks. He has betrayed our nation. When Hemant Karkare’s finger was about to turn to MODI, he has rented Pakistan terrorists to kill Karkare. People of India should not forgive Modi and BJP”

However I feel Antulay ows an apology to the Mumbai police, to all citizens of India, for his insensitive response. The post mortem report released by Mumbai Crime Branch said Hemanth Karkare was killed by bullets fired from terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Investigators also said that terrorists landed up at Cama Hospital by mistake. They entered the building and killed a guard and asked another one how to get inside. After getting information that the terrorists were hiding in Cama hospital vicinity, Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner Of Police Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaskar came in one vehicle towards Cama Hospital at a very low speed At that point of time Mohammed Kasav fired bullets at the ATS chief.

This revelations should put an end to row created by Antulay which also led to pandemonium in both the Houses of Parliament subsequently leading to adjournments.

Such comments would make us to lose faith in our politicians more and more. Such disturbing remarks will question the integrity of our nation. Let not our integrity be rocked by our own so called ‘ responsible politicians’

Chinese engineer wounded in Pakistan gun attack, CIA’s Same Old Song


Two Chinese engineers kidnapped in Pakistan by forces allied wit Abdullah Mehsud, the original “Pakistani Taliban” (TTP), Tehreek-e-Taliban, commanded today by public enemy number one, Baitullah Mehsud

Chinese engineer wounded in Pakistan gun

attack: police

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Gunmen in restive northwest Pakistan opened fire on a Chinese engineer in a crowded market on Wednesday, leaving him in serious condition, police said.

The incident took place in the town of Malakand northeast of Peshawar, on the frontline of the lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

“Gunmen overpowered the guards accompanying the man and fired shots at him in the Dargai market in Malakand, injuring him seriously,” local police official Mohammad Humayun told AFP.

He said that the Chinese national, who was working on a hydroelectric power project in the area, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was in hospital in serious condition.

Police have launched a probe into the attack, Humayun said, adding that no one had so far claimed responsibility.

Islamic militants and tribal insurgents have carried out a series of attacks against Chinese workers and installations in Pakistan over the past few years in an attempt to derail Beijing’s increasing investment in the country.

China is one of Pakistan’s closest allies as well as its largest arms supplier.

Pakistani Taliban militants kidnapped two Chinese telecoms engineers in August in the northwestern town of Dir, near the Afghan border.

One of the engineers later escaped from his kidnappers and found his way to an army post, while the other was severely injured in the escape attempt before being recaptured. There has been no news of his whereabouts since.

Spying in Afghanistan is world’s riskiest job

Spying in Afghanistan is world’s riskiest job

ISLAMABAD: Anwar Saeed’s life was at risk either way, whether fighting with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s restive tribal region or

spying on them for US forces in Afghanistan.

But he opted for the second option. The promise of $6,000 from US intelligence agents was enough for him to buy better health services for his ageing parents, and perhaps a chance to be self-employed in some big city – where he could vanish to with his family and be anonymous among millions of people.

The gamble did not pay off and Saeed, 21, was caught before he could guide a Hellfire missile fired from a US pilotless aircraft to the hideouts of two important Taliban commanders in Khaisor and Sholam areas of South Waziristan.

“He was one of us but some of his moves made him a suspect,” said a local Taliban fighter, who requested to be identified only by his alias Mohammed Zia. “We took him to our headquarters, seized his Kalashnikov, and showed him the knives we wanted to use to cut his throat, and he told us everything.”

According to Zia, the “traitor” had planted two microchips that identified the places for US drones in two different villages where two Taliban commanders were supposed to be on a night in October.

There is no mercy for US spies in South Waziristan, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, whose more than 20,000 fighters launch regular cross-border attacks on international troops in Afghanistan or facilitate such strikes by their Afghan colleagues.

After hours of torture, spies are beheaded with a sharp knife or shot dead. Their bodies are dumped at some public place with the severed head and a note saying: “All those spying for the US will meet the same fate.”

Such executions are becoming more common as the US has recently put in more efforts to recruit informants in South Waziristan and its neighbouring district of North Waziristan.

U.S. votes against “right to food” in UN General Assembly.

U.S. votes against “right to food” in UN General

Assembly.

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UN General Assembly press release: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/ga10801.doc.htm
Draft resolution XX on the right to food, approved on 24 November by a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, would have the Assembly reaffirm that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity, requiring the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international level, for its elimination.

**Vote on Right to Food

The draft resolution on the right to food (document A/63/430/Add.2) was adopted by a recorded vote of 184 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: United States.

Abstain: None.

Absent: Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Uganda.

“Why do they hate us?” we ask.

The real question we should be asking is: “Why do we hate them?”

Remember that the U.S. ruling class helped to cause the world food crisis. The U.S.’ policy of promoting “free trade” and neoliberal reform through the IMF/World Bank is quite literally promoting starvation. Just look at what we did to Haiti. This vote seems to be a new low, as far as I can tell. Calling the “right to food” a human right in a toothless diplomatic resultion costs nothing and requires no further action. I’m not sure if this vote was motivated by free market fundamentalism or pure sadism.

Army chief rushes to Siachen as forces step up readiness

Josy Joseph

Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s statement, that war was not the most preferred option, notwithstanding, the military has stepped up preparation for a possible confrontation with Pakistan.

Army chief General Deepak Kapoor rushed to Siachen on Tuesday, while the navy summoned the chief of its Mumbai-based western command to Delhi.

Army sources said Kapoor’s unscheduled visit was to review security. He was to be briefed by the Siachen brigade commander and chief of the Leh-based 14 Corps, which guards the Kargil heights and Siachen.

Meanwhile, the combat units of the army continue to be on high alert, and ready for mobilisation. The units have stepped up quick reaction team activities around their present locations and along the border.

The Border Security Force, too, has stepped up alert.

Sources said vice-admiral JS Bedi, chief of the Western Naval Command, was summoned to Delhi to review security preparedness.

The command guards the Arabian Sea. In case of war, it will lead the naval offensive against Pakistan. The navy is already in a state of high alert, with almost two dozen warships aggressively deployed off Mumbai.

There is no official word, but sources said all three forces are in a state of preparedness to carry out any decision the government takes. The forces have reduced leaves, put all units on the highest alert and are ready for both offensive and defensive actions.

The Pakistan military too is in a state of high alert. Sources said Pakistani forces are constantly monitoring Indian movements. On Monday, Pakistan air force fighter planes demonstrated their preparedness over Lahore and Rawalpindi.


Mullen Meets Kayani In Pakistan

Mullen Meets Kayani In Pakistan

–  With tensions rising in the Indian subcontinent, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Monday met with Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on his second visit to Islamabad in less than 20 days to discuss the situation arising out of last month’s Mumbai terror attacks, media reports said.

The visit came as Pakistani Air Force jets took to the skies and flew low sorties over the capital, Islamabad, as well as Rawalpindi, Lahore and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The air exercises came soon after India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the more than 120  envoys from posts around the world that India has so far acted with utmost restraint but it will take all measures necessary as deemed fit to deal with the situation.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Mullen’s visit came after Pakistan told the U.S. that any threats from India can jeopardize Islamabad’s ongoing crackdown against Al-Qaida and Taliban as the Pakistani Army engaged on western borders would then be shifted to the eastern borders.

Both military officials in their meeting exchanged views on the Pakistan-India situation, the war on terror, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border situation and overall security.

General Kayani is reported to have told Admiral Mullen that Pakistan was capable of meeting any aggression and will “give India a befitting reply if it was attacked.”

However, in a secret report the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has warned the nation’s civilian leadership that in case of an armed conflict with India, PAF could lose control of its skies within a week.

The report points out the bitter fact that PAF only has about three dozen truly world-class fighter planes–F-16 Fighting Falcons–and of them, only a handful are the latest block-52 fighters. The remaining are ageing aircraft acquired 20-25 years ago.

Pitting against these planes is a wide range of aircraft, including but not limited to, Su-30s, Mirage-2000s, MiG-29s, MiG-27s, MiG-23s and MiG-21s, which make the Indian Air Force a formidable nemesis.

Earlier, Admiral Mullen called on National Security Advisor Mehmood Ali Durrani. He will meet with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia and “Foggy Bottom”

Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia and “Foggy

Bottom”

Raymond J. Learsy

Last Thursday Bill Clinton disclosed his complete donor list of contributors to his foundation that funds his library and charitable work, in an effort to abate concerns of conflicts of interest should Senator Hillary Clinton be confirmed as President-elect Obama’s Secretary of State.

Does it, or does it just raise additional and potentially disturbing issues? According to Bloomberg, the Clinton foundation collected at least $41 million from foreign nations. Leading the list of open-handed generosity was a donation of between $10 and $25 million from Saudi Arabia. And that of course is singularly worrisome as it raises the question of whether our putative Secretary of State would be, in any way, beholden to Saudi Arabia.

We have come to realize that Saudi donations and contributions both direct and indirect, have achieved insidious influence on the American Government extending from the price and supply of oil to U.S. policies toward the Persian Gulf states, Iran and Iraq. The incestuous relationship between the American government and Saudi Arabia, seeded by President George H.W. Bush and his appointees, has reached its apogee under the presidency of George W. Bush. During these years the nation has endured the embarrassment of having Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, treat the Oval Office as an annex of the Saudi Embassy.

The relationship with Saudi Arabia has had debilitating cost to the United States in lives and fortune. 9/11 came and went, and under President George W. Bush Saudi Arabia has never been held to account for the fact that the majority of hijackers who carried out their murderous attack were Saudis. Nor has there been a serious American policy of bringing to an end the billions of Saudi money from Saudi citizens and charities that are flooding Wahhabi schools and cultural centers in Pakistan and around the world, forming today’s and tomorrow’s extremists, while teaching young minds hatred of Shiites, Hindus, Christians and Jews. Not to speak of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan where Saudi Jihadists are part and parcel of the irredentist fabric of murder and pillage.

And then of course there is the issue of oil where Saudi Arabia, in its leadership role within OPEC, has led OPEC to the promised land of $147 barrel oil. This, while our administration continued to stock up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve irrespective of price or market perception, nor effectively initiating meaningful programs for alternative energy nor significantly reducing our fossil fuel consumption. And of course never seriously confronting the Saudis on their manipulative production and pricing policies, much to the pleasure of the administration’s friends in the oil industry, and at enormous cost to the nation as a whole.

On December 17, 2008 the Financial Times would categorize Saudi Arabia’s pricing influence within OPEC, and I quote, “Saudi Arabia’s willingness to sacrifice market share should consolidate its power as the only country able to influence the price of oil and therefore the world’s economic health.”

A benign and cooperative American administration toward OPEC is key to the Saudis and their focused policies for ever higher oil prices. We are in effect the de facto protectors of their independence and we have extended that protection under an amenable Bush administration without any meaningful quid pro quo. Herein the State Department of the next administration will have to play a key role.

Senator Hillary Clinton is a personage of outstanding ability and extensive experience. If Bill Clinton’s brush with the Saudis makes her more pious than the pope in encouraging arms length monitoring of Saudi issues and limiting Saudi access, so much the better. It is long past time that our relationship with Saudi Arabia be based on clear cut national interests and not clouded by Saudi access, influence, and personal relationships at the highest levels — influence that is forever at the expense of this nation and its citizens and to the benefit of the Saudis and its royals. That has been the case these last eight years, and to some degree before. Can Hillary Clinton assure us that there will not be any Saudi preferential access to Foggy Bottom in spite of the myriad millions visited on the Clinton foundation? That there will be no preferential treatment given to that telephone call seeking to jump the line coming from Riyadh or the Saudi Embassy, even if its 3 A.M.?!

India’s media blasted for sensational Mumbai coverage

India’s media blasted for sensational Mumbai

coverage

With tensions running high between India and Pakistan, the press is being urged to quit fanning the flames.

By Daniel Pepper

Emerging from decades of government control and regulations, India’s media are quickly evolving into a boisterous, zealous fourth estate, most observers agree. But coverage of the 67-hour Mumbai (Bombay) terrorist attacks has caused unprecedented condemnation, especially toward 24-hour television news channels. Critics describe it as “TV terror” for showing gory scenes, being too aggressive, and often reporting incorrect information as fact.

“They don’t need to apologize as much as they need to introspect – figure out how to operate in a time of crisis,” says Dipankar Gupta, sociology professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

On the evening of Nov. 26, well-coordinated attacks against two five-star hotels, a hospital, a popular cafe, a railway station, and a Jewish center brought the financial capital of India to its knees, leaving at least 171 dead and more than 230 injured.

In the following days, critics say, many Indian journalists were overly dramatic, sensationalist, and quick to report live “exclusives” of unconfirmed rumors. Many say TV anchors, who are minor celebrities in India, were overwrought with emotion and were quick to blame Pakistan for the attacks.

“It’s high time we realize and accept that we are at fault,” said Shishir Joshi, editorial director of Mid-Day, a Mumbai newspaper. “We did well getting into the line of fire, but from an ethical point of view we screwed up big-time.”

Recognizing the missteps in coverage, the recently created National Broadcaster Association revealed a new set of rules for the industry last week. The guidelines ban broadcasting of footage that could reveal security operations and live contact with hostages or attackers.

The association, which represents many of the country’s top news channels, hammered out the new regulations after several meetings with government officials. At the same time, India’s Parliament is considering the creation of a broadcasting regulatory agency for private news channels.

Meanwhile, the story continues to develop, as tensions run high and add urgency to calls for media regulation. On Monday, India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherje insisted that Pakistan take aggressive action against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks. The Indian government is ready to “take all measures necessary as we deem fit to deal with the situation,” Mr. Mukherje told a group of diplomats in Delhi.

For several weeks, India has been asking Pakistan to hand over insurgents involved with militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is suspected of masterminding the attacks. Pakistan has yet to confirm that the surviving gunman of the Mumbai attacks is Pakistani, despite reports Monday that Ajmal Amir Kasab made a statement, sent to Pakistan officials, claiming to be from Pakistan.

Television coverage of the attacks showed dead bodies and hostages trapped in rooms, revealed commando operations and positions, and reported the location of hostages at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Senior news editors are accused of playing martial music between updates and providing airtime to Bollywood actors and other members of Mumbai’s chatterati. One station even aired a telephone conversation with one of the 10 gunmen.

“One of the ill effects of unrestrained coverage is that of provoking anger amongst the masses,” said K.G. Balakrishnan, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, during a recent conference on terrorism in New Delhi.

The relatively young medium of 24-hour television news received the lion’s share of criticism. “There are people on television channels who are not even familiar with the basics of coverage,” says Pankaj Vohra, political editor of the Hindustan Times in New Delhi. “I think it needs to evolve itself and it will become mature as time passes.”

The most maligned journalist has been Barkha Dutt, the young news talk-show host of New Delhi television. The Facebook group, “Barkha Dutt for worst journalist in the world,” has attracted nearly 1,500 members since its creation following the attacks. The site accuses her of being melodramatic, arrogant, and insensitive to relatives of victims.

Ms. Dutt and other television journalists have also been criticized for focusing on the sieges at the Taj and Oberoi hotels – domains of the country’s wealthy and ruling elite – while largely ignoring the train station that was littered with the bodies of migrant workers. Fifty-eight people were gunned down there.

Dutt says she finds much of the criticism to be “incorrect and mean-spirited,” but concedes that there is a lesson to be learned. “If there is even a shadow of doubt of security being compromised, the industry should be willing to delay-telecast so that we can once and for all end this argument,” she says.

Regulating the industry could be a joint effort between the media and government, according to critics who say the government should also share some of the fault for the sensational coverage: Journalists did not have access to secure sites and very little official information was offered.

“A media crackdown is not the answer – self-regulated media is at the core of Indian democracy,” says Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Times Now television channel. “This incident should highlight the need for government and media to work together.”

The media has criticized both local and federal government for failing to set up fixed police lines around hostage sites and for not providing regular press briefings.

“The [media] beast has got to be constantly fed. The information flow from government sources was terrible,” said Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of the CNN-IBN news channel.

Around Nariman House, the center for Jewish life located in a neighborhood of small, labyrinthine streets, a member of India’s elite antiterrorism squad brandishing a pistol chased a dozen reporters from the roof of a building opposite the siege, from where they had been perched for 36 hours. The journalists then ran across a narrow alley into an adjacent building to angle for a better position.

“In most places the police need to be trained at crowd management. Nobody expected this kind of attack, this magnitude of the attack,” says Mr. Vohra of the Hindustan Times newspaper.

India’s media played a prominent role in its independence movement, and for years journalism held a respected position in society.

“It’s fine to say that the media overreacted and that it has become jingoistic and nationalistic. The question is why has it become like that,” says Ajit Sahi, an editor at Tehelka magazine, India’s leading investigative weekly. He argues that the profit motive of the corporate media houses has forced journalists out of unions by offering them twice or three times what they previously earned, though their employment is now governed by contracts that can be terminated at any time. The problem, argues Mr. Sahi, is that the current model guarantees journalists no protection, even if they object to a story being manipulated or sensationalized.

That’s the accusation levied by one of India’s most famous film directors, Mahesh Bhatt, against CNN-IBN’s Mr. Sardesai, one of India’s most prominent TV anchors. Bhatt went a step further and charged that Sardesai and his channel encroached on Bhatt’s turf – fiction – after the channel played Bollywood theme songs from movies about wars between India and Pakistan during news updates.

“It’s what we do in the movies – whipping up passion – and what was at stake, but a nuclear holocaust?” argues Bhatt, referring to the nuclear weapons capabilities of both South Asian countries. “You use the same tools – you keep the audience on a continuous high.”

Let the Indians Strike Targets: US to Zardari

Let the Indians Strike Targets: US to Zardari

EXCLUSIVE | PakistanKaKhudaHafiz.com

General Rtd. Aslam Baig has said that US General Mullen is pressing our authorities to allow India to hit certain targets, keeping silent and indifferent to the situation as they have been doing in case of US attacks, which he believes, will cool down India and diffuse tensions between the two countries.

“I don’t think that conscientious Pakistani nation and brave armed forces of Pakistan will accept such a situation. This will be shameful and render Pakistan submission to India,” the retired General said.

He called upon the rulers to explain their position in this regard. He said that the US was after ridiculing the sovereignty of Pakistan only to please India and Mullen had come with a dangerous message.

PAKISTAN-POLITICS-MUSHARRAF-OATHPakistan’s newly appointed army chief General Ashfaq Kiyani salutes during the national anthem on the beginning of President Pervez Musharraf’s oath taking ceremony as a civilian president at the presidential palace in Islamabad, 29 November 2007.  Musharraf was sworn in as president for a second term 29 November, but this time as a civilian and without his army uniform to protect him from massive pressure to end emergency rule    (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Reports coming in from variuos sources suggest that COAS Kiyani yesterday made it clear that regardless of how the civilan government chooses to respond to the US request to allow Indian ’surgical strikes’, Pakistan Army will not accept any Indian intrusion. The scrambling of jets over Lahore and Islamabad yesterday was part of  this and the armed forces are alert and ready to defend against any Indian action.

Kiyani is also said to have told US General Michael Mullen that in event of any aggression from India, the US and NATO can ‘forget about’ using Pakistan territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan as all resources will be diverted to defending against India on the eastern border.

“The armed forces are fully prepared to meet any eventuality, as his men are ready to sacrifice for their country,” General Kayani told the Zardari yesterday in a meeting where he also stressed that any further buckling under mounting Indian pressure would prove counter-productive in the sense that it would further encourage New Delhi to further build up pressure on Islamabad. Pakistan would respond “within minutes” in the event of surgical strikes by India.

To Defeat India, Understand The Mindset

To Defeat India, Understand The

Mindset

India follows the ‘Chankaya’ Ideology.’ that all of India’s neighbors are its enemies. And all of the neighbors of India’s neighbors are India’s friends. This was the first time in Pakistan that the private Pakistani media countered the Indian media warfare. The Indians admit this. Sadly, as always, Pakistan has lost ground at the diplomatic front.

By Talha Mujaddidi

Tuesday, 23 December 2008.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

KARACHI, PakistanWe need to understand that the Indian foreign policy, military and intelligence doctrine work on ‘Chankya’s ideology.’

The synopsis of that ideology is that all of India’s neighbors are its enemies. And all of the neighbors of India’s neighbors are India’s friends. That’s why India has bad relations with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and even Bhutan. India has always had very good relations with Afghanistan, Iran, and Russia.

Chankya ideology also states clearly that India is the super power of the region (Bharat Mata), and all its neighboring countries are its proxies or satellites. This is from where the rhetoric of regional economic bloc, regional zone and South Asian economic zone originates from.

After the Mumbai attacks India has started exerting tremendous pressure on Pakistani government. Pakistani government on the other hand has shown amazing weakness in dealing with this critical situation. This was the first time in Pakistan that the private Pakistani media countered the Indian media warfare while the state-run media (PTV+APP) were weak. Times of India, The Hindu, and other Indian newspapers had to acknowledge that the Indian media onslaught was ripped apart by Pakistani media. Sadly, as always, Pakistan has lost ground at the diplomatic front. This has been Pakistan’s failure since Tashkent Agreement. This is because of our incompetent and corrupt governments. India has cornered us diplomatically, and is pressurizing us militarily. They enjoy the sympathies of U.S. and the rest of the world.

What are the main objectives of India, Israel, and U.S.?

With regards to Pakistan, these three countries form a nexus. They want to finish off our nuclear program, disband our eyes and ears i.e. the ISI; break Pakistan into three or four smaller parts since it is easier to govern a country with 180 million people if its broken down into smaller pieces, disband our army, make Pakistan a satellite state of India, just like Nepal or Bangladesh.

India is now a strategic ally of U.S. India is moving its troops into Afghanistan, so that it can corner Pakistan from both fronts. U.S. wants Indian troops to support its troops in Afghanistan against Taliban. The intelligence arm of any country is the nation’s first line of defense. It’s the eyes and ears without which any military force can’t function. All western and Indian propaganda against ISI is baseless and ridiculous. All officers of ISI are taken from the armed forces. There can be no political appointee. Whereas the Indian RAW has political appointees. The Hindu fundamentalist government of BJP back in the 1990s inducted political appointees into RAW en masse. If ISI is disbanded Pakistan will become an easy target for Indian military. The important thing to keep in mind for all the Pakistani peaceniks, pacifists, and candle light vigilantes and artists like Sameena Pirzada and others is that the peace process between India and Pakistan only started after Pakistan became a declared nuclear power. That is when India understood that war between two nuclear power countries is no longer an option. That’s when confidence building measures, trade links, cultural exchanges, sports, took place. As long as Pakistan was not a declared nuclear weapon state India maintained a threatening attitude towards Pakistan. Without nuclear weapons I can say confidently that India will leave no chance to annihilate us.

The problem with Western experts on South Asia is that they don’t understand the dynamics of Pakistan-India conflict. The root cause of conflict between Pakistan and India is Kashmir. Without the resolution of this conflict permanent peace between India and Pakistan cannot be achieved. There is peace in Europe today because they have resolved their problems and disputes and all countries treat each other with equal respect. Not to forget that two brutal world wars were fought in Europe that completely devastated Europe. After such devastation Europe got together and realized that mutual peace is must for coexistence. Peace between two countries can only be on equal terms. The U.S and Soviet Union were able to co-exist because both had nuclear weapons. If Pakistan is destabilized then it’s not possible that India will remain intact and enjoy exponential growth rates.

When experts come on TV and say that extremists on both sides don’t want peace, this is utter rubbish. Only extremists in India don’t want peace with Pakistan! Why? Because in order for Pakistan and India to have lasting peace, Kashmir dispute must be resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Does anyone in Pakistan not want resolution of Kashmir dispute? No. Is there anyone in India who doesn’t want resolution of Kashmir? Yes, their military establishment, their foreign policy establishment, BJP led extremist parties, and a majority of the Indian people. Why do they not want the resolution of Kashmir dispute? Firstly, they call it their internal issue and say it is our ‘Atut Ang’ [integral part]. Secondly, there are so many independence movements going on inside India that they can’t afford setting an example of Kashmiri independence. Recall that India functions on Bharat Mata ideology and they will never give up Kashmir. Everyone in Pakistan is ready to resolve the Kashmir dispute so it’s baseless to say that hawkish elements in Pakistan do not want good relations with India. RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and even members of BJP have openly said again and again that Pakistan must be destroyed. These are not just small groups; these parties have formed governments in India.

Writer is a Communications Engineer, and independent analyst based in Karachi, Pakistan. He can be reached at tamujadd AT gmail.com

U.S. Economy: Housing Prices Collapse at Near-Depression Pace

U.S. Economy: Housing Prices Collapse at Near-Depression

Pace

By Bob Willis and Shobhana Chandra

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) — Sales of single-family houses in the U.S. dropped in November by the most in two decades and resale prices collapsed at a pace reminiscent of the Great Depression, dashing speculation the market was close to a bottom.

Purchases of both new and existing houses dropped 7.6 percent, the biggest decline since January 1989, to an annual rate of 4.43 million, government and industry figures showed today. A 13 percent drop in the median resale price was the most since records began in 1968 and was likely the largest since the 1930s, the National Association of Realtors said.

“Housing is still in a freefall,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The figures were worse than economists had forecast and signal that the battered housing market that led the economy into a recession may be taking another lurch down. Sliding property values mean more Americans will be under water on their mortgages, destroying household wealth and undermining consumers’ purchasing power.

President-elect Barack Obama plans an unprecedented economic stimulus to restore growth, and pledged on Dec. 13 to limit foreclosures. One tenth of U.S. families who own a home are in financial distress, Obama said.

“We need desperately to get this economy moving,” Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, who is leading the incoming administration’s initiative to bolster the middle class, told reporters before a meeting with Obama’s economic advisers today. Transition officials are “getting very close” to an agreement with lawmakers on the size of the stimulus, Biden said.

Below Estimates

The Realtors’ figures showed home resales, including condos, fell 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.49 million, below all but one estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 63 economists. The median resale price dropped to $181,300.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that new- home sales fell 2.9 percent last month to a 17-year low of 407,000. The median sales price declined 11.5 percent from a year earlier to $220,400.

The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilding Index of stocks fell 2.2 percent to 204.97 as of 12:53 p.m. in New York, the fourth straight day of declines. The index is down a third so far this year. The S&P 500 Stock Index, which fell as much as 22 percent in November, was down 0.5 percent today.

Buyers Scared Off

Last month’s stock market collapse combined with rising unemployment to scare off home buyers, Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist, said at a press conference.

“The economy was really starting to feel the smack-in-the- face blow from the financial crisis” during November, said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York.

U.S. household wealth already fell in the third quarter by the most on record, Federal Reserve figures showed earlier this month. Net worth for households and non-profit groups decreased by $2.81 trillion, the most since the Fed’s data began in 1952.

The number of previously-owned unsold homes on the market at the end of November represented 11.2 months’ worth at the current sales pace, up from 10.3 months’ at the end of the prior month.

Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 45 percent of last month’s home purchases, Yun said.

Regional Breakdown

Purchases declined in all regions of the country, led by drops of 12 percent in the Northeast and 10.9 percent in the South. Prices also fell throughout the country, led by a decline of 25.5 percent in the West.

Resales account for about 90 percent of the housing market. Sales of existing homes are compiled from contract closings and may reflect contracts signed one or two months earlier. New-home sales, recorded when a contract is signed, are considered by economists to be a more timely barometer.

The housing report showed builders succeeded in trimming inventories even faster than new-home sales dropped. The number of new homes for sale fell a record 7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 374,000, the fewest since February 2004.

The supply of new homes at the current sales rate dropped to 11.5 months’ worth from 11.8 months the prior month.

Resler said today’s figures show the housing market has “not yet seen any of the impact from the drop in mortgage rates.”

The Fed on Dec. 16 cut its benchmark interest rate target to a range of zero to 0.25 percent and reiterated it stands ready to expand purchases of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Bank debt under a program aimed at reducing mortgage costs. That program has helped drive mortgage rates lower.

Mortgage Rate

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan fell to 5.18 percent in the week ended Dec. 12, the lowest in more than five years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Ara Hovnanian, chief executive officer of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., New Jersey’s biggest homebuilder, called on the government to provide an economic stimulus for the housing industry.

“If government wants to get to the root of the problem they need to fix housing first,” Hovnanian said in a conference call on Dec. 17. Hovnanian, whose company reported a fiscal fourth quarter loss, didn’t specify what type of government intervention he wants in the housing market.

NY man pleads guilty to broadcasting Hezbollah TV

logo

Does this enable them to eliminate Al Manar from the Internet, including stories on this site?  Al Manar is one of the few sites who honestly report on the Israeli/American/Saudi aggression against Lebanon and Hezbollah’s heroic resistance, a feat no combination of Arab governments has ever been able to equal.

NY man pleads guilty to broadcasting

Hezbollah TV

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization by broadcasting Hezbollah television channel Al Manar to U.S. customers, federal prosecutors said.

In a plea deal, Javed Iqbal, 45, a Pakistani who moved to the United States more than 25 years ago, admitted that between about September 2005 and August 2006 he provided satellite transmission services through his Brooklyn-based company HDTV Ltd to Al Manar, in exchange for thousands of dollars payment.

Hezbollah, an Iranian- and Syrian-backed Shi’ite Muslim group with a powerful guerrilla army, was designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization in 1997.

The U.S. Treasury branded Al Manar a terrorist organization in March 2006, saying it supported Hezbollah’s fund-raising and recruitment activities.

Iqbal was arrested and initially charged in August 2006.

Saleh Elahwal, who lives in New Jersey and who prosecutors say also operated HDTV, faces similar charges and his trial is set to start on January 5.

Iqbal faces up to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced on March 24.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Bill Trott)

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U.S. Designates Al-Manar as a Specially Designated Global
Terrorist Entity
Television Station is Arm of Hizballah Terrorist Network

In issuing Executive Order 13224, President Bush declared a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks in New York and Pennsylvania, and on the Pentagon committed on September 11, 2001

According to the press release announcing the designation of al-Manar a “global terrorist entity”, the action is based on Executive Order 13224; al-Manar has also been on the U.S. Department of State added al Manar to the Terrorism Exclusion List since December 2004.

On December 14, 2004, the global satellite television operation, Al-Manar, was designated under section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, placing it on the Terrorist Exclusion List. As a result of this designation, aliens are inadmissible to the United States if they engage in a range of statutorily specified activities involving Al-Manar. The Deputy Secretary of State made the decision to designate Al-Manar in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.