Hezbollah Condemns Violation; Leb. Will Protest to UN

IDF Grabs 2, Let’s Dogs Loose On Them, Hoping For Hezbollah Reaction

Hezbollah Condemns Violation; Leb. Will Protest to UN

Hussein Assi Readers Number : 748

20/12/2008 A few hours following the Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty and kidnapping of two Lebanese citizens from within the Lebanese territories, Hezbollah issued a statement in which it declared that the incident was a flagrant violation of national sovereignty and a shameless assault on Lebanon’s security.

On Friday, an Israeli occupation force violated the sovereignty and kidnapped two Lebanese citizens from the southern town of Blida near the border with occupied Palestine. They released them on Saturday after interrogating them for hours.

“This incident constitutes an aggressive act with respect to all international and legal norms,” Hezbollah statement read. It called on everyone to assume their responsibilities. “What’s the position of the UN Security Council over this direct and obvious violation to the international resolution 1701 and over this attack against civilians within the territories of their sovereign country? What would the international organization do to respond to the attack and prevent its repetition?” the statement wondered.

Hezbollah emphasized that “silence, which became the recurrent reaction, was tantamount to encouraging the aggression and colluding with it.” The Resistance party called on the Lebanese cabinet to take the appropriate and firm measure to face the newest Israeli aggression against the country, stressing that preventing attacks against the country and defending Lebanese with all possible means was the right of all Lebanese.

In the same context, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on Saturday said he plans to protest to the United Nations after Israeli soldiers kidnapped two civilians near the border overnight. “Lebanon will send a protest letter to the United Nations as soon as the army reaches a final conclusion on the exact location where they were kidnapped,” Sleiman said according to a statement read out by Information Minister Tarek Mitri after a cabinet meeting. “Repeated violations of Lebanese sovereignty by Israel clearly show its attitude towards Lebanon,” he said.

For his part, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora also condemned the incident and called for a “halt to all Israeli violations whatever the pretext,” Mitri said. Saniora noted that “the Israelis do not cooperate with UNIFIL to define the blue line” established by the UN in 2000 to act as the frontier after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon.

Earlier, Al-Manar’s correspondent in the south said that the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) received Tarraf Tarraf and his brother Hassan Tarraf, both aged about 50, and handed them over to the Lebanese army. In turn, the Lebanese army transported the men to the hospital for treatment from Israeli dog bites they sustained during interrogation by the Israeli army.
Lebanese security forces said that the men were kidnapped on Lebanese territory.

For his part, Tarraf Tarraf said he and his brother had been working in their olive grove near the border village of Blida when “Israeli soldiers attacked us, setting their dogs on us, before taking us trussed up to Palestine.”

They were beaten during transport and then interrogated for three hours about why they were in the area and whether they had links with Hezbollah, he said.

On Friday night, an Israeli army occupation spokesman claimed the men were arrested on for having “crossed the border.”

The Lebanese official said the army regards the incident as a violation of Lebanese territory, adding that a joint commission from the army and UNIFIL is making on-the-spot enquiries.

UNIFIL said the men were released after it contacted the Israeli authorities. “The Israeli authorities handed over the two Lebanese after the intervention of UNIFIL command,” spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said. “We are in contact with the Lebanese army and the Israeli forces and we call on all parties to show restraint,” she said, adding: “The circumstances of this incident are still unclear.”

More War Crimes Arrests in Serbia, “Gnjilane Group”


Low Intensity Conflict

10 out of 100 UCK “Gnjilane Group” members arrested in Serbia, threats from NLA group member in FYROM

27. December 2008. | 09:28 10:19

City: Preševo, Skopje

Author: Nikos Arvanites

Photo: Agencies, Nikos Arvanites

The Gnjilane Group had some 100 members from southern areas of central Serbia, and from FYRMacedonia.
Members of the so-called Gnjilane Group of the Kosovo Liberation Army suspected of kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 between June-October 1999. Former NLA commader Xhesair Shaqiri,told  Alsat M TV on Tuesday that the former NLA could be reestablished in FYR Macedonia.

The Serbian police have searched 17 facilities yesterday morning in the area of the Presevo municipality in southern Serbia, and they have arrested 10 members of hte former self-proclaimed KLA, who are suspected of committing a war crime in the region of Gnjilane in 1999, i.e. kidnapping and murdering more than 50 Serb civilians and other non-Albanians.

Serbian Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic has told the press conference that the leaders of the so-called “Gnjilane group” Fazli Haidari, Rexhep Ajiri and Shaip Shaqiri have escaped the arrest because they live in Gnjilan, in Kosmet.

They will not have an international warrant issued after them, as they do not live in another state, but we will require help from UNMIK, explained Dacic. He added that the War Crimes Prosecution has other information as well, so the process will be wider in scope.

The Minister has stated that weapons and other evidence have been found in the possession of the arrested persons, indicating the war crimes against civilians.

The kidnapped and murdered Serbs were previously kept and tortured in three locations in Gnjilane, and all previously found bodies are showing the evidence of dying from torture, Dacic underlined.

“On the basis of a criminal complaint and on a warrant issued by  War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, MUP members have arrested a number of people, members of the so-called KLA Gniljan Group on suspicion of perpetrating crimes against the civilian population, Serbs and non-Albanians, in Gniljane in 1999,” said the minister.

Those arrested include Nazif Hasani, Ahmet Hasani, Faton Hajdari, Samet Hajdari, Ferat Hajdari, Kamber Sahiti, Agush Memishi, Burim Gazliju and Selimon Sadiki.

“Ten people have been taken into custody. I should point out that the leaders of the group are Fazlia Aydari, Rexhep Aliji and Shaqip Shaqiri, who are currently outside this region. They are currently out of the reach of our authorities and live in Gniljane,” added Dacic.

“We’re looking here at the arrest of a significant number of individuals, members of the so-called Gnjilane Group of the Kosovo Liberation Army suspected of kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 between June-October 1999. What stands out in these cases is that these crimes were perpetrated in a particularly cruel manner, in three locations in Gniljane,” he said.

The crime in Gnjilane against local Serbs and other non-Albanians took place after NATO troops, KFOR, arrived in Kosovo in the wake of the 1999 war.

The suspects arrested today were members of the so-called Gnjilane Group, tasked with cleansing the remaining Serbs from that area of the province.

Many of the victims were killed in a boarding school in the town. They were first taken there, stripped naked, tied up, severely beaten and stabbed with knives. Parts of their bodies were cut off before they were viciously murdered.

Several of the victims died after their killers checked “how many bodies a single bullet can go through”. The victims’ bodies were then dismembered and taken to different locations in order to hide the crime.

The Gnjilane Group had some 100 members from southern areas of central Serbia, and from FYRMacedonia.

The group operated as part of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA – an armed group of ethnic Albanians set up in the mid 1990s which Serbia designated a terrorist organization.

The arrest of 10 former members of the KLA suspected of war crimes against civilians in Kosmet in 1999 will will contribute to stability in the south of Serbia, the Coordination Body of the Serbian Government for Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja Municipalities announced.

It is pointed out in the announcement that bringing the suspects to justice represents a permanent goal of the Serbian state and a debt to war crime victims and their families, regardless of their nationality or religion.

The Coordination Body emphasizes that the action of the arrest was carried out in line with the law and represents a significant step aimed at removing potential threats to security in the region of southern Serbian municipalities.

It is also emphasized that the Serbian authorities fully respect all the agreements on the appeasement of the criss in the region of the three municipalities in southern Serbia and especially the provisions of the document on the amnesty of former members of the so-called Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja of May 2001.

Serbs in eastern Kosmet have greeted the arrest of members of the former KLA suspected of crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanians.

More than 100 Serb and other non-Albanian civilians have been kidnapped and killed in that region since 1999.

The head of the Serbian Ministry for Kosmet Office in Kosovsko Pomoravlje, Predrag Stojkovic, said that the victims included weak and old persons and that their families suffer immensely, particulary in the cases when the fate of the kidnapped is unknown.

According to the records of the Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovsko Pomoravlje, 114 persons have been kidnapped and killed in eastern Kosmet since 1999.

A key figure of the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency against Macedonian forces said the disbanded rebel group National Liberation Army could be revived to protect local Albanians from harrassment by the police.

Fomer NLA commader Xhesair Shaqiri, who is wanted by Macedonian police on racketeering charges, told  Alsat M TV on Tuesday that police raids and arrests over the murder of a former NLA member in late November were deliberately targeted against former fighters.

“We have our methods of defence, and I can say without a doubt that we possess enough capacity to re-establish the former NLA”, said Shaqiri, who goes by the nom de guerre ‘Commander Hoxha’.

The police raids were sparked by the murder of a 39-year old ethnic Albanian ex-NLA fighter who had joined the special anti-crime Alfa police unit after the rebels disbanded. He was killed in Skopje by unknown gunmen, who also injured two other policemen..

The local television station that secured the interview said that Shaqiri is hiding in the village of Tanusevsi by the border with Kosovo, where smugglers and criminals have carved out a police no-go area. Shaqiri denies any connection with criminal groups.

NATO and the European Union intervened heavily to end the six-month NLA insurgency, brokering the Ohrid peace deal guaranteeing greater cultural and political rights to Macedonia’s 25-percent ethnic Albanian minority.

Eyewitness: Chaos in Gaza

A Palestinian girl cries at the site of an Israeli air strike in Rafah

The BBC’s Rushdi Aboualouf in the Gaza Strip described the chaos as Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Hamas targets, killing at least 155 Palestinians.

Israeli planes are still flying over Gaza and they have just targeted another Hamas [security] compound in the middle of the Gaza Strip, in a place called Khan Younis.

We can see from our office here in Gaza, in the middle of Gaza City, ambulances are still evacuating the injured from buildings and school kids are trying to find secure places.

People who were going to their work were turned back and went home, and most of the residents in Gaza have been ordered by the Ministry of Health to stay indoors.

The mosques in Gaza are calling the people here to go to the hospitals and to donate blood. There is no room in the hospitals as far as we’ve heard from Hamas sources to treat the people.

No safe places

It’s a very bad situation… There were Israeli aeroplanes everywhere, hitting everywhere. You could see smoke from north to south, from west to east. The people are really in a panic. The main object for the people now is to find a secure place to secure their family.

It’s hard to find a secure place in Gaza. Gaza has no shelters, it has no safe places. The Hamas security compounds are in the middle of the city – it’s not the kind of place where you see compounds outside the cities.

I have witnessed one of the compounds – which is 20m away from my house – I was standing on the balcony and I have seen the Israeli airplanes hitting the place.

Some of my balcony was damaged and my kid was injured and it’s a very, very serious situation here in Gaza, the people can’t do anything except stay indoors.

Huge Protests Rally against Israeli Attacks on Gaza

Huge Protests Rally against Israeli Attacks on Gaza

Batoul Wehbe Readers Number : 84

27/12/2008 Huge demonstrations have been organized in many countries protesting the Israeli savage aggression on Gaza strip on Saturday. Lebanon, Iran, Jordan and Ramallah have been protesting to show support or the people of Gaza condemning Israel for this inhumane operation.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah called for a huge protest outside Sayed Al-Shuhada’a complex in the Southern Suburb (Dahyeh) of Beirut at 3:30 (Beirut timing). Demonstrations also have been held at Ain el-Helwe refugee camp in Saida.
Dozens of youths hit the streets to express solidarity with the Palestinians and set fire to tires.

Hundreds of protesters in the Jordanian capital of Amman demonstrated in front of the nearby U.N. headquarters, waving Hamas banners and condemning Israel’s strikes.

In Syria’s al-Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, dozens of Palestinians also protested the attack as well, vowing to continue fighting Israel. “It’s a Zionist holocaust, but it won’t dissuade us from going on with our struggle to achieve our goals,” said Ali Barakah, 42, one of the protesters.

Israel carried out a massive air strike across the Gaza Strip killing more than 155 Palestinians and injuring 200.

Int’l, Arab Collusion against Humanity in Gaza

Int’l, Arab Collusion against Humanity in Gaza

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 18

27/12/2008 Israeli occupation army is committing the worst massacres against the humanity in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday IAF attacked the Strip killing over 155 Palestinians and wounding over 200 others with the blessings of the International community and the Arab governments.

After it has closed its borders with the Strip for many months, participating in the Israeli tight blockade against the Palestinians, Egypt on Saturday condemned the Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip and said it would open its Rafah border crossing with the besieged territory.
President Hosni Mubarak said in a statement that he gave instructions for the Rafah terminal – the only one that bypasses the occupied territories and the only crossing that links Gaza with the outside World – to be opened so wounded Palestinians could be evacuated “so they can receive the necessary treatment in Egyptian hospitals,” it added.

Meanwhile, many Arab officials and religious figures called Al-Manar TV Channel to condemn the Israeli aggressions against the Palestinians, calling for instant protests by the Arab people all over the World.

Anwar Raja, the media official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said to Al-Manar that there is an international and Arab collusion against the Palestinians in the besieged Strip and against the Palestinian cause. Raja accused Egypt of participating in the Israeli siege adding that Egypt was opening Rafah crossing now in front of the funerals instead of opening it in front of Gaza children during the holidays.

Moreover, Hezbollah International Relations officer Nawwaf Moussawi said that the current situation in Gaza is very similar to Lebanon July war in 2006 where Israel launched an aggression against Lebanon under an international and Arab umbrella. Moussawi added that the main aim of this Israeli, international and Arab conspiracy is to eliminate the Palestinian cause.

Hamas Retaliates with Missiles: Israeli Killed, 6 Hurt

Hamas Retaliates with Missiles: Israeli Killed, 6 Hurt

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 106

27/12/2008 Hamas said it had fired rockets into the Israeli settlements on Saturday in retaliation for a wave of massive air strikes that killed at least 155 people in its Gaza Strip stronghold. Hamas had launched dozens of projectiles on the settlements. Four Grad rockets fired from Gaza landed in open areas in Ashkelon and its surroundings.

The Israeli occupation army said three rockets and two mortars had fallen within Israeli settlements. One Israeli settler was killed and six others were wounded when a rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in Netivot.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on Netivot.

“Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, speaking on a Gaza radio station.

Earlier, and after the Israeli massacres Hamas called on its fighters to hit back at the Zionist entity. “We call on all units to avenge with force against the enemy,” a Hamas spokesman said in a message broadcast on the Islamic movement’s radio.

“All fighters are ordered to respond to the Israeli slaughter,” said a statement by the Islamic Jihad group, echoing statements issued by Hamas and other armed resistance factions.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said that he was in “urgent contact” with numerous countries over the deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Over 155 Pal. Martyred, 200 Hurt in IAF Gaza Strikes

Over 155 Pal. Martyred, 200 Hurt in IAF Gaza Strikes

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 664

27/12/2008 Medical sources report at least 155 Palestinians have been killed and over 200 wounded in a series of Israeli occupation Air Force strikes on the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Gaza health official Moawiya Hassanain confirmed the report, saying 155 Palestinians have been killed in the airstrikes.

The massive Israeli bombardment of Gaza is “only just the beginning,” Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu told army radio on Saturday.

“This is only just the beginning of an operation launched after a security cabinet decision. It could take time. We have not fixed a timeline and we will act according to the situation on the ground,” he said.

A series of Israeli occupation strikes targeted Hamas compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, causing widespread panic, Hamas officials said on Saturday.

Al-Manar correspondent in Gaza said that what is going on is an unprecedented massacre against the Palestinians in the Strip.

“I’m afraid we have at least 40 dead,” police spokesman Islam Shahwan told Hamas radio earlier in the day on Saturday. He said a police compound in Gaza City was hosting a graduation ceremony for new personnel when it was attacked.

IAF strikes on Saturday on the police headquarters in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip killed police Chief Tawfiq Jabber, Hamas radio reported.

At least two people were killed and 30 wounded from an attack in Khan Younis, a refugee camp in the south of Gaza.

TV footage showed bodies of more than a dozen black-clad security men lying on the ground in one area. Palestinian witnesses say one of the missiles struck Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, with at least 50 people among the casualties in the attack.

Residents reported hearing at least 15 explosions. Many of Hamas’ security compounds are in residential areas, and the airstrikes took place as children were leaving school. Plumes of black smoke rose over Gaza City, sirens wailed through the streets and women frantically looked for their children.

The aggression followed a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet to widen reprisals for cross-border Palestinian rocket attacks on occupied territories.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’ Damascus-based political bureau, said his resistance organization would retaliate. “We will defend our women and children by any means necessary. All the options are open,” he said.

In response to the threats, Israeli sources announced that they were putting their staff on highest alert, and deploying over 200 ambulances throughout the country in the case of a Hamas counterattack. Further, the Home Front Command ordered Settlers in Sderot and the Gaza periphery to stack within reinforced saferooms as much as they can for the time being. Settlers of the western Negev communities have also received instructions from the authorities to remain in their homes and in bomb-proof rooms.

On Friday, Egyptian officials said that Egypt had begun boosting the security along its border with Gaza, in anticipation of the imminent occupation army operation within the territory, fearing an Israeli incursion would result in a breach of the border.

U.S. Draws India Into The Afghan “War”

U.S. Draws India Into The Afghan


The time has come to carefully assess the U.S. motivations in widening the gyre of the Afghan war, which commenced seven years ago.

M.K. Bhadrakumar

December 25, 2008 “The Hindu” — The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States armed forces, Admiral Mike Mullen, has lent his voice to the incipient idea of a “regional” approach to the Afghanistan problem. He said the over-arching strategy for success in Afghanistan must be regional in focus and include not just Afghanistan but also Pakistan and India. The three South Asian countries, he stressed, must figure a way to reduce tensions among them, which involves addressing &# 8220;long-standing problems that increase instability in the region.”

Adm. Mullen then referred to Kashmir as one such problem to underline that if India-Pakistan tensions decreased, it “allowed the Pakistani leadership to focus on the west [border with Afghanistan].” He regretted that the terror attack in Mumbai raised India-Pakistan tensions, and “in the near term, that might force the Pakistani leadership to lose interest in the west,” apart from the likelihood of a nuclear flashpoint. Interestingly, he gave credit to the Pakistani top brass for its recent cooperation in the tribal areas which, he said, has had a “positive impact” on the anti-Taliban operations.

The Pentagon’s number one soldier has legitimised an idea that was straining to be born — U.S. mediatory mission in South Asia. Adm. Mullen announced that the U.S. was doubling its force level in Afghanistan from the present strength of 32,000 troops. The Afghan war is about to intensify. All this comes in the wake of the recent hint by Senator John Kerry that the appointment of a U.S. special envoy for South Asia by the Obama administration is on the cards.

The time has indeed come to carefully assess the U.S. motivations in widening the gyre of the Afghan war, which commenced seven years ago as a vengeful hunt for Osama bin Laden and metamorphosed into a “war on terror.” What is in it for India? It is very obvious that the U.S. thought process on a “regional approach” to the Afghan problem and the appointment of a South Asia envoy go hand in hand. The U.S. design confronts India with a three-fold challenge: it insists that India is a protagonist in the U.S.-led war; India-Pakistan relationship is a crucial factor of regional security and stability which directly affects the U.S. interests and, therefore, necessitates an institutionalised American mediatory role; and, it asserts a U.S. obligation to be involved in “nation-building” in South Asia on a long-term footing.
Vulnerable to U.S. pressure

Islamabad will be chuckling with pleasure. The parameters of its foreign policy, which Indian diplomacy rubbished for decades, are finally gaining habitation and name. The heart of the matter is that India has made itself vulnerable to U.S. pressure. Of all Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries that are exposed to the danger of militancy, India is the only “non-combatant” threatened with a spill-over. The Central Asian countries bordering Amu Darya, though much weaker than India, have marvellously insulated themselves from the pernicious fallout from the Hindu Kush. So has China’s Xinjiang. So indeed has Iran despite robust efforts by the U.S.-British intelligence to inject the virus of terrorism into its eastern provinces. Certainly, Moscow managed to insulate Chechnya too.

Alas, India stands out as the solitary exception. If diplomacy is the first line of national defence, there have been shortfalls. The slide began, in retrospect, when the Indian foreign policy seriously erred in 2001 while assessing the implications of the U.S.’ march into Afghanistan. Except India, the regional powers that took part in the Bonn conference in December 2001 seem to have had a Plan B. Our diplomats blithely travelled in the U.S. bandwagon as one-dimensional men fixated over Pakistan, comfortable in their assumption that the underpinning of a strong “partnership” with the U.S. elevated India from the morass of its regional milieu, opening up in front of it a brave new world as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean region. They remained sure that Pakistan would be a passing aberration in the U.S. regional policy, whereas India would be a life-long blissful partner. And all that was needed was for us to keep an obscure back channel to Pakistan from time to time.

The cold blast of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai scatters these facile assumptions. After all, the accumulated debris of India-Pakistan tensions did not go away and the past four years have been a chronicle of wasted time, as the relationship is in ground zero. The Mumbai attacks underscore that the Afghan war has crossed the Khyber and is stealthily reaching the fertile Indo-Gangetic plains. Our opinion still underestimates the gravity of the unfolding crisis by visualising it as merely an India-Pakistan dogfight, which it certainly is but is far from everything. Adm. Mullen has done a signal service by starkly placing the crisis in its setting.

Fortunately, we stopped in the nick of time from plunging into the Afghan cauldron via a military intervention from which there would have been no turning back. This fortuitous happenstance leaves us some options to incrementally step back from becoming part of the lethal brew that the witches are concocting in the Hindu Kush.
Way ahead

What is to be done? First, we need to realise that the Afghan war is a classic Clausewitzean affair politics by other means. The U.S. has ensured a permanent presence in the strategic highlands of the Pamir mountains. Even the current highly simulated disruption of transit routes for NATO supplies via the Pakistani territory is providing a pretext for the establishment of fresh U.S. military presence in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and in the Caucasus for the first time ever. While the U.S.’ close partnership with the Pakistani military continues intact, the search for new supply routes becomes the perfect backdrop for ruthlessly expanding American influence in the Russian and Chinese (and Iranian) backyards in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

This signifies a great leap forward for NATO, which is poised to wade ashore from the Black Sea into the Caucasus and Central Asia. Also, the U.S. is effectively undercutting the raison d’etre of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In short, the “war on terror” is providing a convenient rubric under which the U.S. is incrementally securing for itself a permanent abode in the highlands of the Pamirs, the Central Asian steppes and the Caucasus that form the strategic hub overlooking Russia, China, India and Iran.

We must, therefore, be vigilant about the veiled U.S. threat of reopening the “Kashmir file,” which Admiral Mullen held out. It aims at keeping India off balance. Plainly put, the U.S. faces a real geopolitical challenge in the region only in the eventuality of a coalition of like-minded regional powers like Russia, China, Iran and India taking shape and these powers seriously beginning to exchange notes on what the Afghan war has so far been about and where it is heading and what the U.S. strategy aims at. So far, the U.S. has succeeded in stalling such a process by “sorting out” these regional powers individually. Indeed, Washington has been a net beneficiary of the contradictions in the mutual relations between these regional powers.

If Barack Obama genuinely wants to end the bloodshed and the suffering in Afghanistan, tackle terrorism effectively and enduringly, as well as stabilise Afghanistan and secure South Asia as a stable region, all he needs to do is to turn away from the great game, and instead seek an inclusive inter-Afghan settlement facilitated by a genuine regional peace process. The existential choice is whether he will break with the past U.S. policies out of principle. Surely, as Adm. Mullen’s statements underscore, Mr. Obama will run into the vested interests of the U.S. security establishment, the military-industrial complex, Big Oil and the influential corpus of cold warriors who are bent on pressing ahead. India must, therefore, take note that the war in the Hindu Kush enters a decisive phase for the New American Century project.
Independent policy

The need arises for India to revive close consultations with Russia and Iran with which we have profound shared concerns over the Afghan problem and regional security. We must steer an independent policy towards Iran as a factor of regional stability. It is not in the interests of Russia, Iran and India to abandon Afghanistan to the U.S.-U.K.-Pakistan-Saudi condominium. They must use their influence on Afghan groups to chisel a regional peace initiative. In a helpful departure, China also took a differentiated approach to the recent U.N. Security Council move regarding Pakistani militant outfits, which we must take note of and build on. Finally, of course, while there is a time for everything, India must eventually resume the arduous search to make Pakistan a stakeholder in good neighbourly relations. The U.S. factor complicates this search, which is best undertaken bilaterally.

The wheel has come full circle. Those who sold us the dream of a U.S.-India strategic partnership are nowhere to be seen.

(The writer is a former ambassador and Indian Foreign Service officer.)

Kawther Salam – The Rockets of Hunger and Israeli Propaganda

Kawther Salam – The Rockets of Hunger and Israeli


By Kawther Salam • Dec 26th, 2008 at 6:42 • Category: Analysis, Features, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance

I received a message from the photojournalist and peace activist Sameh Habeeb from Gaza while I was looking at the news in the Austrian TV, which pierced my ears with talk about the rockets which Hamas supposedly shoots at the “innocent Israeli occupation” which has jailed one and half million in Gaza since before Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out.


This rocket picture was published at the ORF website (Pic Credit: MOHAMED SABER/EPA/ORF)

The rockets shown on Austrian TV looked to me like the fancy Bengala Rockets which are shot here while celebrating new year, and the clips shown on TV raise many questions:

– The picture published at the ORF website is credited to “MOHAMED SABER/EPA”. Those are two first names and no family name. Who is this person? Why does he not present himself with a family name as any Arab would do? Does he exist at all or is he a fabrication?

– The rockets depicted in that picture (and on the video) look more like the fancy bengalas which can be bought in many shops all over the world before festivities than any known weapon.

– These so-called “rockets” appear to not have place for fuel or an engine, but they are supposed to fly 10-15Km ? How do they accomplish this miracle?

– How did ORF and other western media come into possession of this video which supposedly shows “Hamas fighters” shooting rockets from between fruit trees? Was it distributed by the Israeli embassy? Neither Austrian nor other western journalists are known to go to Gaza, so they can only have received them from the Israeli government, and that is what a link to exactly there from the ORF page suggests.

– If the firing of these rockets from Gaza can be doubted, from where else could they have been fired? From within Israeli territory perhaps? Could it be that the firing of these rockets is a propaganda campaign implemented by the IDF in order to “justify” a long-planned massacre against the people of Gaza?

– Could it be that the IDF is using the inhabitants of Sderot, Asqelon and other places around Gaza in order to construct a justification for genocide against a people who are already half hungered to death?

– Why did nobody ask these questions before showing the clip at several European TV stations? If western media are not sloppy in their research and their checking of sources but still publish material which is obvious propaganda, is it possible to say that this irresponsible and less than professional attitude, the wholesale regurgitation of Israeli propaganda, is tantamount to complicity in the genocide against the Palestinian people?

Even in the unlikely case that these rockets are “real”, they would be an understandable yet lamentable reaction to years of illegal siege and murderous mayhem perpetrated by the Israeli regime. In this case they would be “rockets of hunger”, wholly justified under international law, which allows an invaded people to defend itself with anything at their disposal.

The Israeli occupational regime is preparing to slaughter the besieged people of Gaza, and it is known that they are currently running a strong propaganda campaign around the world, controlling the international public opinion and turning their own crimes against humanity into “reactions” of the Gaza rockets.

Sameh Habeeb)

The hungry people of Gaza under the Israeli blockade. (Pic Credit: Sameh Habeeb)

The less than objective international media has adopted the Israeli propaganda wholesale, and continues repeating their falsified stories as a preparation for destroying Gaza over the heads of one and a half million mostly defenseless people, of whom about half are children.

Non of the European media has shown an objective picture about the real situation in Gaza, which is in fact and effect a concentration camp. Even during the previous truce between Israel and Gaza, the criminal state of Israel continued its blockade to hunger out and destroy to the Palestinians in Gaza.

I would ask the well-paid international dispensers of propaganda and the world governments some simple questions:

If somebody jails you in a ghetto for over six years, or even six days, denying you the most basic of human rights, continues blockading the ghetto, killing the sick people, occupying the sky, shelling, and killing people for no discernible reason, will you stay a peaceful people for even a second?
Is there any peace under the continued hunger and blockade?

This is the story of Gaza and of these useless rockets which you are using to justify the Israeli genocide, murdering, and jailing and starving people.

The message from the hungry people of Gaza, a voice lost under western propaganda and which more people should hear, follows. And here are more photos of the hungry Palestinians of Gaza.

Sameh Habeeb writes:

My Misery in Gaza pushed me to report on the Hunger of my people. I stopped by al shanty bakery mid of Gaza City. It is one of the biggest bakeries across Gaza which provides tens of thousands with bread. Hundreds of people crowded outside the bakery in a very long long row waiting for bag of bread. Children, women and men were awaiting the chance to have the bread which is totally running out in Gaza.

Abed Mas’od, 24, is a labour working in Al shanty bakery. I spoke to him whilst he was very busy preparing bread for thousands. I managed to get some information out of him.

Before the deadly crisis of bread which started 2 days ago; this bakery was preparing 30 bags of flour. But with today it makes around 100 each bag weights 60 Kilograms. Abed refers to this rise of bread-making quantity to the unrecorded request of population for bread which came after Israel ban flour into Gaza and closed borders.

“Our bakery is out of bread since days and what we have is only for another 24 hours. In fact, we have stopped our work yesterday as we ran out of flour. Now, we use grain (fodder) used for animals which will finish in hours.” Bakery labor said.

Amongst the crowd a woman’s voice arose above all people in the row. She started to scream and appealed for God requesting a salvation and easing for life conditions. I came closer to the woman, then introduced myself and then started to ask her some questions. The woman, Om Ali Shoman,45, with a pale bleak face draws the suffering of entire populations.

She said, “This is our destiny. It’s a conspiracy machinated against us. What’s the fault of my children at home to stay with no bread. Did they fire rockets? Did they kill Israelis? Are they holding guns?

The number of Gaza bakeries is 47 but now the working ones are 14 only.
Normally, Gaza needs 450 tons of flour; 100 goes for bakeries and 300 for house use. Part of the house share flour is being provided by UNRWA which halted its work lately. The remaining flour and wheat quantities would be covering the needs of people except for few days.

Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
E-mail: Sam_hab@hotmail.com

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Kawther Salam is a Palestinian journalist. She had a career of over 20 years working for various newspapers and TV stations in Palestine. She forced to live in the Exile in Vienna since 2002.
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6 Responses »

  1. Mary Rizzo on December 26th, 2008 at 13:11:That is an amazing article, Kawther. You are quite right! They look just like flare rockets that are on sale in some shops here during New Years! How come no one ever just looked at them and said it until now!?
  2. Ian McKenzie on December 26th, 2008 at 15:26:I agree, the mossad would happily oblige with any attacks required.
  3. LEXT of SWEDEN on December 27th, 2008 at 0:54:Good writing! And if what you describe indeed turns out to be a fraud, it’s of course neither the first nor the last time these bandits of zion are got caught with psychopathic lies. It appears to me that every sound which comes out through their svollen lips are only lies, lies, and bloody lies.

    Just a few words about the strong support for the Palestian side (in this conflict with the zionist creep) among swedish nationalists. It’s a tremendous shame that swedish so called politicians have resigned under their jewish masters and branded Hamas as terrorists. But sooner or later these swedish traitors will be hung as a fair punishment after their creeping for evil US/Israel. Muslims living in Sweden are welcomed to join us ethnically swedish nationalists in the coming civil war, with the goal that Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) will become totally free from jewish maffia mongering and alike. And to Hell with this degenerated multi-culti! Sweden for the swedes. Palestina for the palestinian arabs. And what about the zionist all over the planet? To the tribunal with them! And let the guilty hang real slow. The rest can for sure try to build som new island of their own in the middle of the Pacific ocean, or someting similar – a tiny bit of Antartica perhaps?

    Hopefully our new year of 2009 will let us experience a total collapse of this long and murderous zionist occupation of Palestine. After all their horrible crimes, zionist jews and zionist whites (most often the last mentioned are christians) deserves nothing but death, and then hopefully an immediate further delivery to a quite hot place with everlasting, intensive pains for them.

    Hope You readers a very lucky 2009. Keep up the good fighting spirit against the enemies of all human kind. <<>>

  4. Smokedragon on December 27th, 2008 at 9:14:It is hardly surprising that investigating journalists do not question these type of rockets or the true facts – without exception US and UK media (newspapers and TV) are either Jewish owned or managed. There is simply no interest in the truth or the plight of the Palestinians in the camps. It is an outrage! Where is the United Nations censure? Where are our politicians? Answer: funded by Jewish organisations and members of the Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel in the UK for instance.
  5. desmond on December 27th, 2008 at 10:13:Yes ;

    it’s another pathetic, false Flag Propaganda message.

    Typical of the of the lies churned out

    by the International Rothschild Zionist Banking
    One World Govternment Lot.

    Reminds me of the story I listened to in Primary School;

    “The Greek Shepherd Boy Who Cried Wolf!”

    An Awake Down Under Aussie.

  6. desmond on December 27th, 2008 at 10:32:Frankly , ……no apologies!

    I do not intend changing it Mate.

    I’m an Up Front True Aussie ;

    who believes in speaking his mind and telling the truth .

    The Gaza Strip Palestinians

    are being deliberately denied

    United Nations Food supplies

    that is readily available

    by the Zionist Israelis.

    This Is Genocide!

    An Aussie Down Under.

Israel attacks Gaza, more than 140 reported killed

Israel attacks Gaza, more than 140 reported


By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli war planes and combat helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 140 people and prompting rocket fire from Palestinian militants that killed an Israeli, medics said.

The dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground following the Israeli attacks, which destroyed several Hamas police compounds in the bloodiest day for Palestinians in more than 20 years. Distraught rescuers cried out as they tried to find those still alive and black smoke billowed over Gaza city.

The Israeli military said it had targeted “terrorist infrastructure” and pledged more strikes if necessary, possibly targeting leaders of the Hamas Islamist militant group.

Hamas threatened to unleash “hell” to avenge the dead, including possible suicide bombings, and militants fired rockets into southern Israel soon after the Israeli strikes. Medics said one Israeli was killed and two were moderately wounded.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned as “criminal” the Israeli air campaign and called for the international community to intervene.

Hospital officials in Gaza City said more

than 120 people had been killed there, including 40 at a police headquarters where Hamas was hosting a graduation ceremony for new recruits. Among those killed was police chief Tawfiq Jabber.

Another 23 Palestinians were killed in air strikes in Khan Younis and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, medical officials said. At one site, there was a huge crater in the ground.


Uniformed bodies lay in a pile and the wounded writhed in pain, Reuters television pictures showed. Rescuers carried those showing signs of life to cars and ambulances, while others tried to revive the unconscious.

An Israeli army spokesman said the air force had conducted “a massive operation” against “terrorist infrastructure” following the collapse of a six-month-old, Egyptian-brokered ceasefire just over a week ago.

Gaza militants have fired dozens of makeshift rockets at southern Israel in recent days. The rockets cause damage but few injuries.

Hamas armed wing spokesman Abu Ubaida threatened to unleash “hell” on Israel, saying the Islamist group would “teach the enemy a lesson they will never forget.” Hamas said it was considering a new suicide bombing campaign.

An aide to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was prepared to step up its assault “as required.”

Several of the rescuers beat their heads and shouted: “Allahu akbar (God is greatest).” One badly wounded prostrate man was quietly reciting verses from the Koran.

A five-day Israeli offensive in March killed more than 120 people, but Saturday’s death toll would be the highest for Palestinians since their 1980s uprising.

Witnesses said the attacks were carried out by warplanes and combat helicopters.

Witnesses also reported seeing Israeli planes bombing sites along Gaza’s border with Egypt. Palestinians use hundreds of tunnels under the border to bring in everything from goods to weapons, making them prime Israeli targets.

The air strikes followed a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Edud Olmert’s security cabinet to widen reprisals for cross-border Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. Olmert had warned Hamas, which seized control of the coastal enclave in June 2007, to stop firing rockets or pay a heavy price.

“I will not hesitate to use Israel’s might to strike Hamas and (Islamic) Jihad,” he told Al Arabiya television, an Arab broadcaster widely watched in Gaza.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Adam Entous; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

The Tailor of Mumbai

The Tailor of Mumbai

Posted by Jeff Huber

My December 10 article “Our Man in Bananastan” discussed how the hasty conclusion that Pakistani militants were behind the terror attack in India sounded like the bogus intelligence described in satiric espionage novels by Graham Greene and John le Carre. The New York Times, following the journalistic standard it established when it helped Dick Cheney sell the Iraq invasion, reported the “facts” of the Mumbai affair as deduced from double secret hearsay.

Recyclable Sources

The Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the Indian attack, according to an unnamed State Department official who was paraphrasing what unnamed American and Pakistani authorities had told him, but, unnamed American Embassy officials wouldn’t verify the story for the unnamed State official, nor would unnamed Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

NYT’s unnamed source at State also said that his/her/its unnamed sources said that unnamed Pakistani authorities, under pressure from unnamed sources in India, had arrested Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a member of Lashkar. (Don’t get the two confused now. “Lakhvi” is they guy; “Lashkar” is the thing.) NYT reported that Lakhvi (the guy) reportedly “masterminded the attacks,” but didn’t make clear which unnamed sources had leveled that allegation.

An anonymous senior Pakistani official apparently confirmed that Lakhvi had been arrested along with a bunch of other guys who belonged to Lashkar the thing, but the official “later backed away from the assertion.”

Another NYT article reported that unnamed American counterterrorism officials in Washington “wanted to see proof that Mr. Lakhvi was actually in custody,” but apparently zero officials, named or unnamed, American or Indian or Pakistani, gave a dog’s last lunch about seeing proof that Lakhvi the guy or Lashkar the thing actually had anything to do with the Mumbai attacks.

The Washington Post took the Mumbai tale to the next level of incredibility when it published a piece by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke that purported to be expert opinion but read like the beginning of Clarke’s next bad spy thriller. Clarke essentially tells us that in order to understand what’s really happening in Southern Asia right now, we have to imagine that the shake and bake scenario he’s about to present is true. By the end of the article, the Mumbai incident, like all terror acts, leads to al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden is giving orders to a couple of Taliban characters and a guy from Lashkar the thing and a Pakistani intelligence dude on how they need to get cocked and loaded to defile with the new American president’s head.

It took the BBC to report that all of the allegations against Lashkar stemmed from interrogations by the Mumbai police of the surviving member of the terror group, who might not have been a whole lot less dead than his nine former buddies when they shot truth serum in his behind.

Snow Thy Enemy

On December 11, Times Online reported that the UN Security Council, under pressure from the ubiquitous unnamed sources in India and the U.S., has placed Lakhvi and four other guys in Lashkar on a “terrorist blacklist.” I’m dying to find out what kind of list Dean Wormer put them on. Keep in mind that Lakhvi and the Lashkar are still only “suspects,” still based on the sole evidence of a guy nobody has seen except the Indian police he supposedly confessed to. The UN has also placed sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the charity arm of Lashkar. One wonders what the Security Council will do to the Iranian Red Crescent for trying to sneak food into the Gaza strip for Palestinians who have been reduced to eating grass and painkillers.

On December 17, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Pakistan has given the U.S. a “very solemn commitment” to disentangle the charitable Jamaat from the evildoing Lashkar. “I think the Pakistani government is being very sincere,” Wood said.


Wood also said, “Look, they’re (Pakistan) on the front lines of terrorism, as we’ve said many times before.” However many times State has said Pakistan is on the front line of terrorism, I missed all of them. The last time I paid attention to that sort of bull jargon, Iraq was the “central front” in the war on terrorism. I expected the next central front to be Afghanistan, until the last minute to withdraw troops from Iraq came along and the central front shifted back there. I guess with Pakistan in the mix we now have a three front circus. I don’t know how Iran fits into all this; maybe it’s the enemy at our back. (Oh, watch the Pentagon propaganda fairies steal that one. And those Muslim agitators in Somalia, we’ll call them “the enemy below!”)

Indian police are going to question two Indian Muslims the arrested in February over an attack on a police camp in northern India. One of the prisoners, Fahim Ansari, was said to be carrying maps highlighting Mumbai landmarks, several of which were hit in last month’s attack, at the time of his arrest. If he were really carrying such maps, you’d think that might have clued in the Indian authorities that some evildoing was headed down the pike for Mumbai, but maybe I’m being too critical. I mean, think how many U.S. authorities had to be snoozing at the switch for 9/11 to happen.

But one also has to wonder what Ansari was doing with a map of the next big terror job in his pocket while he and his buds were shagging the Indian police camp. Come to think of it, Indian authorities supposedly identified all those dead guys who pulled the Mumbai job from I.D.s they were carrying. If ten twenty-something guys were smart enough to sneak into the capital city of a nuclear power and hold its entire law enforcement and military establishment at bay for days, how could they be dumb enough to carry their wallets with them? Is that a Lashkar thing, a way make sure the authorities can trace their suicide commandos back to them? If so, why are the Lashkar guys denying they had anything to do with the Mumbai incident?

Since Pakistan’s government says it’s cooperating with “requests” by the U.S. and India to investigate the matter, that means it isn’t; and since it insists its Inter-Service Intelligence directorate isn’t linked up with Lashkar, that means it is; and since it says it will abide by UN sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that means it won’t.

The only thing we can say for sure regarding this unholy narrative is that both India and Pakistan are incompetent and crooked, and that we’ll never get to the bottom of the story.

But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have “upheaval” in the region that constitutes “clear and present” security concerns and demands that we pour more troops into the region and keep them there until things become less up-heaved, which they never will, at least not as long as we’re there heaving our weight around.

By the way, I still can’t figure out if they actually arrested Lakhvi or not, and I haven’t run across any reports that Indian authorities have arrested any Hindu militants.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff’s novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Scott Horton’s interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.

Our Man in Bananastan

Our Man in Bananastan

by Jeff Huber

Truth is truly stranger than fiction. Graham Greene’s 1958 spy novel Our Man in Havana told a tragicomic tale of false intelligence crafted to suit the needs of a political agenda. John le Carre’s 1996 The Tailor of Panama repeated the theme.

Ahmed Chalabi was Dick Cheney’s real life man of the hour when it came time to shake and bake the intelligence on Iraq, and the Dark Lord and his neocon chamberlains are still trying to fabricate a casus belli for Iran. The Persian Ploy may be running up against a term limit, but there’s all the time in the world left to slip on the Bananastan peel. Heck, western superpowers have been flinging themselves down that slope for centuries.

At this point in the American experiment, U.S. intelligence is to intelligence what Kenny G is to jazz. After nearly a decade of getting gang-buggered over the kitchen table by the minions of the Office of the Vice President, our spy agencies have no more credibility than our sacked and pillaged mainstream press. In fact, the lines between intelligence and news and popular entertainment have virtually vanished. As evidence of this, witness Exhibit A: “Plans of Attack,” by intelligence analyst, counterterrorism expert, news commentator and novelist Richard A. Clarke.


The bare bones reality of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, India was incredible to begin with: 10 kids in their twenties managed to hold the law enforcement and military establishment of a nuclear power at bay for days. The Indians have their own Hindu terrorist cells, but it would be embarrassing to admit they got their pants pulled down by a gang of homegrown yahooligans, so they immediately accused Pakistani yahooligans. If it turns out they blamed Muslim evildoers for doing evil that Hindu evildoers did, that’s okay. They did the same thing in September and got away with it.

America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, did everything it could to prop up India’s accusations. A December 8 story said that unnamed Pakistani authorities, under pressure from unspecified sources in India and the U.S., raided a camp run by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group suspected of carrying out the Mumbai attack, and arrested Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who “masterminded the attack.” This information came from an unnamed State Department official in Washington, who was repeating what unnamed American and Pakistani authorities had apparently told him. But, the unnamed State official said, unnamed American Embassy officials wouldn’t verify the story, nor would unnamed Pakistani officials in Islamabad, who were presumably different unnamed Pakistani officials from the unnamed Pakistani authorities who told the story to the unnamed State official in the first place.

On December 9, the NYT noted that “Mr. Lakhvi has been described as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks,” but didn’t say who has described him as the mastermind or why. NYT also said that unnamed American counterterrorism officials in Washington “wanted to see proof that Mr. Lakhvi was actually in custody,” but it made no mention of American officials wanting to see any proof that Mr. Lakhvi actually had anything to do with the Mumbai attacks.


I had to look to the BBC to discover the source of the accusations against Pakistan: “Indian authorities.” Mumbai police are the ones who say the attackers were Lashkar-e-Taiba, but “They did not say how this was known.”

One of the attackers survived and was questioned. “Some media reports have suggested that truth serum may be used as part of his interrogation,” the BBC said. It sounds like ventriloquism might have been part of the interrogation too; photographs of the dead bodies of the other nine guys were “too graphic to show.” The guy they took the rubber hose to must have been in lovely shape.

So, the “news” story we got from the NYT was a double secret anonymous hearsay rumor based on alleged testimony taken from a coerced deathbed confession that may or may not have been post dated. Don’t get mad at the NYT though. Their scum baggage was nothing compared to the stunt the Washington Post pulled.

The Hunt for Red Herring

WaPo had the good grace to put Clarke’s “analysis” of the Mumbai massacre in the opinion section, but it belonged in the book section plainly labeled as bad fiction. It was screed of incontinent narrative interrupted by tumescent dialogue that sounded like something out of a badly dubbed foreign film. I kept expecting one of the characters to strike a belligerent pose and bark, “Our kung fu is stronger than your tai chi!”

“The network” of terrorists groups, Clarke warns, “is approaching 2009 with a specific agenda. So, too, is the incoming leadership of the network’s chief enemy, the United States.” To understand how the two sides think, we must “imagine two hypothetical meetings in which each side plots its terrorism agenda for 2009.”

Jesus, Larry and Curly; to understand what’s really going on, we have to make stuff up?

“A half-dozen bearded and robed men are sitting on rugs in a circle,” Clarke writes. “As the titular leader of the movement, Osama bin Laden opens the meeting.”

Aha! I wondered how long it would take before al Qaeda became the culprit in the Mumbai incident.

“‘I recall well how you often met with me in Afghanistan during the war against the godless Soviets,’ bin Laden says. ‘I remember how you helped us set up our training camps there in the 1990s, and how you provided us with safe haven here in Pakistan when we left Afghanistan after our ‘planes operation’ brought down the towers in 2001.'”

Ahmed, your son, the doctor who became a terrorist after the infidels dropped bombs on his wedding, is at the door.

It goes on like that, and Muhammad Omar of the Taliban is at the meeting, and Hakimullah Mehsud of the other Taliban is there too, as is a representative from Pakistani intelligence, and bin Laden’s “short, squat” (as opposed to “tall, squat”) lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri, who says, “Soon, the Pakistani army will leave the Afghan border. Thanks be to God, and to Lashkar-e-Taiba.”

Great. Caesar’s. Ghost.

The scenario Clarke paints in the situation room of the West Wing is equally purple. High-level hobnobgoblins sit around and go hamana hamana until somebody from the National Counterterrorism Center says: “We could see al-Qaeda attacks in 2009 on the Arabian Peninsula, in Europe, even here at home. But of course, we have no actionable intelligence pointing to a specific plot.”

We could see flying pigs repair the Hubble telescope in 2009. We could see a lot of things, but the thing we won’t likely see is any coherent intelligence analysis on the terrorists. Sure, Clarke is the biggest flake in the cereal bowl, but keep in mind that he was one of the top guys in his field for decades. He’s retired now, but think how many of the folks still at the wheel are just like him.

There’s a chance that Clarke and the rumor mill press are right about the Mumbai incident and its probable fall out, but so what? Jeane Dixon predicted thousands of things every year; the odds were certain that one them would come true.

Soothsaying is fine as a checkout line amusement, but it’s a heck of a thing to shape foreign policy around.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff’s novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Scott Horton’s interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.

Zardari suppressing Benazir probe: PPP leaders

Zardari suppressing Benazir probe: PPP leaders

London (IANS): Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari may be suppressing the investigation into the assassination of his wife Benazir Bhutto, a British newspaper reported on Saturday quoting members of his own ruling party.

“It is intriguing why the government has not even ordered any investigation into Ms Bhutto’s killing,” Safdar Abbasi, a senator belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was quoted saying in the Times newspaper.

The paper said little progress has been made in finding those who had plotted Bhutto’s assassination a year ago Saturday, adding: “The Pakistan authorities’ investigation has ground to a halt and police have been ordered not to speak about the case.”

It said many leading PPP members accuse Zardari of suppressing the investigation that had been launched by the previous government led by President Pervez Musharraf.

Although Zardari blamed Musharraf and Pakistani intelligence services for Bhutto’s assassination, Musharraf said Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was to blame.

Scotland Yard police officers flew to Pakistan to help in the probe, but the paper said “the trail has gone cold since the new government halted the investigation”.

Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar confirmed that there was no investigation currently, telling the paper: “We do not want to appear witch-hunting.”

However, Pakistan has asked the United Nations to conduct an inquiry – and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday he hoped that an inquiry would be set up “in the near future”.

The Mumbai enigma

The Mumbai enigma

Saturday, December 20, 2008
By Masood Sharif Khan Khattak
On Nov 26, an enigma began unfolding in Mumbai. It emerged that 12 gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles ransacked Mumbai for three days killing 188 people (unverified), including a few Israelis and other westerners. Security forces suffered 14 casualties. One terrorist, Kasab, who appeared to have been focused by the cameras, was arrested while all others were killed.

Why did the terrorists not carry any shoulder-fired rockets/grenades and explosives to Mumbai? The attackers, if they had no love lost for India, ought to have planned for maximum destruction during the attack. Or was the attack not meant to cause extensive damage?

Three of the 14 personnel killed were those who had proved that a serving Indian Army colonel, in collusion with Hindu militant groups, had actually bombed and burned Pakistanis alive inside the Samjhauta Express in 2007. While the father of Karkare, the senior-most Anti-Terrorist Squad officer, refused to receive condolences on behalf of the State of India and his widow refused to receive any monetary award. Did they conclusively believe that Karkare and his companions were assassinated for absolving Pakistan of complicity in the Samjhauta Express massacre in which 68 Pakistanis lost their lives? If this was somehow true, as it can be because of a very plausible State motive existing, then what was actually happening in Mumbai on 26 November 2008? Was there the linkage between the terrorists and the State forces? Is this why rocket launchers and explosives were not carried by the attackers, in order to contain destruction? Questions like these seek credible answers. The suspicious killing of Karkare and his colleagues has caused a rumpus even in the Indian Parliament.

With every window on each floor of the Taj Hotel being an entry point that was accessible by the fire brigade equipment available in Mumbai, could three terrorists actually hold that 750-room hotel building for three days against the might of India? What we saw happening in Mumbai defies military logic. How could the other nine terrorists also hold out in groups of twos and threes in a number of very accessible and widely dispersed buildings, independent of each other, for three days?

The Islamabad Marriott was destroyed in moments. That was a horrific real-life terrorist attack. The terrorists in Mumbai somehow did not even carry enough explosive to blow up one single room anywhere? Billowing smoke came through the top of the Taj Hotel. Was the smoke there for the cameras of the world electronic media in order to have Mumbai on the television screens of the world for three days to cause an international outcry meant to facilitate the subsequent political moves in the region? Could that objective have been to bring in the entire world against Pakistan, especially the USA, by maligning Pakistan in such a manner that Pakistan’s political and military establishment is cornered and browbeaten into submission?

The road would then obviously lead to measured attempts aimed at denuclearisation of Pakistan’s military potential and also decimating its conventional military potential, including the crippling of the ISI. To people saying its preposterous to imagine that India orchestrated Mumbai it can be said that the price paid by India is nothing at all if the bigger objectives outlined above are even partially achieved. India may not be alone on this. Israeli interest in the denuclearisation of Pakistan is well known and the Israelis are likely to have played a role larger than what is obvious.

The Indian Navy’s Western Command based at Mumbai maintains a hawkish vigil on India’s maritime borders with Pakistan. Yet, it is said that a bunch of ragtag terrorists sailed into Mumbai for the attacks we all witnessed on TV. For a moment let us assume that the terrorists actually came from Pakistan’s maritime borders. Why, then, have the Indian chief of the Naval Staff and the Commander of the Indian Naval Western Command not been held accountable for such a colossal failure?

The Mumbai enigma needs to be conclusively resolved and the best way to do so is through a combined investigation committee of Pakistan and India, as Pakistan has offered.

Pakistan and India are burdened by unemployment, poverty and deprivation. Neither country can boast of internal stability. Both have their share of ethnic and sectarian disorders and are troubled by militancy. Some very strong Hindu militant organisations in India are far beyond State control. Nearly 200 districts in India have some sort of serious disorder or insurgency. Neither country can ever overpower the other militarily. The option of a Pakistan-India war is no longer an option because the cost would be the total destruction of South Asia. Therefore, the only way that Pakistan and India can survive and be viable States is through peaceful and good relations. India has to stop dreaming of ever being able to treat Pakistan as a satellite state.

India must guard against falling prey to any wishful desire to see Pakistan dismembered through an international conspiracy, because the domino effect of disaster will not stop at Pakistan’s borders with India. The many blood borders, within India itself, will all get activated, as in the case of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Let both countries now begin to move towards a European-Union-kind of a South Asia.

If the people of South Asia are to be more than mere pawns in world politics then the only way towards that is for Pakistan and India to bury the hatchet. Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka and the Maldives will become natural partners of Pakistan and India. Other countries like Iran and Afghanistan would then want to be on the South Asian bandwagon of peace, progress and prosperity. Central Asia, China and ASEAN too would be interested in a fruitful partnership. Pakistan and India truly hold the balance between the survival or destruction of South Asia and to a progressive or a retrogressive Asia.

The writer is a former director general of Intelligence Bureau and a former vice president of the PPP Parliamentarians. Email: masoodsharifkhattak @gmail.com

The Coming Capitalist Consensus

The Coming Capitalist Consensus

By Walden Bello

Not surprisingly, the swift unraveling of the global economy combined with the ascent to the U.S. presidency of an African-American liberal has left millions anticipating that the world is on the threshold of a new era. Some of President-elect Barack Obama’s new appointees – in particular ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to lead the National Economic Council, New York Federal Reserve Board chief Tim Geithner to head Treasury, and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to serve as trade representative – have certainly elicited some skepticism. But the sense that the old neoliberal formulas are thoroughly discredited have convinced many that the new Democratic leadership in the world’s biggest economy will break with the market fundamentalist policies that have reigned since the early 1980s.

One important question, of course, is how decisive and definitive the break with neoliberalism will be. Other questions, however, go to the heart of capitalism itself. Will government ownership, intervention, and control be exercised simply to stabilize capitalism, after which control will be given back to the corporate elites? Are we going to see a second round of Keynesian capitalism, where the state and corporate elites along with labor work out a partnership based on industrial policy, growth, and high wages – though with a green dimension this time around? Or will we witness the beginnings of fundamental shifts in the ownership and control of the economy in a more popular direction? There are limits to reform in the system of global capitalism, but at no other time in the last half century have those limits seemed more fluid.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has already staked out one position. Declaring that “laissez-faire capitalism is dead,” he has created a strategic investment fund of 20 billion euros to promote technological innovation, keep advanced industries in French hands, and save jobs. “The day we don’t build trains, airplanes, automobiles, and ships, what will be left of the French economy?” he recently asked rhetorically. “Memories. I will not make France a simple tourist reserve.” This kind of aggressive industrial policy aimed partly at winning over the country’s traditional white working class can go hand-in-hand with the exclusionary anti-immigrant policies with which the French president has been associated.

Global Social Democracy

A new national Keynesianism along Sarkozyan lines, however, is not the only alternative available to global elites. Given the need for global legitimacy to promote their interests in a world where the balance of power is shifting towards the South, western elites might find more attractive an offshoot of European Social Democracy and New Deal liberalism that one might call “Global Social Democracy” or GSD.

Even before the full unfolding of the financial crisis, partisans of GSD had already been positioning it as alternative to neoliberal globalization in response to the stresses and strains being provoked by the latter. One personality associated with it is British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who led the European response to the financial meltdown via the partial nationalization of the banks. Widely regarded as the godfather of the “Make Poverty History” campaign in the United Kingdom, Brown, while he was still the British chancellor, proposed what he called an “alliance capitalism” between market and state institutions that would reproduce at the global stage what he said Franklin Roosevelt did for the national economy: “securing the benefits of the market while taming its excesses.” This must be a system, continued Brown, that “captures the full benefits of global markets and capital flows, minimizes the risk of disruption, maximizes opportunity for all, and lifts up the most vulnerable – in short, the restoration in the international economy of public purpose and high ideals.”

Joining Brown in articulating the Global Social Democratic discourse has been a diverse group consisting of, among others, the economist Jeffrey Sachs, George Soros, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the sociologist David Held, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and even Bill Gates. There are, of course, differences of nuance in the positions of these people, but the thrust of their perspectives is the same: to bring about a reformed social order and a reinvigorated ideological consensus for global capitalism.

Among the key propositions advanced by partisans of GSD are the following:

*Globalization is essentially beneficial for the world; the neoliberals have simply botched the job of managing it and selling it to the public;

*It is urgent to save globalization from the neoliberals because globalization is reversible and may, in fact, already be in the process of being reversed;

*Growth and equity may come into conflict, in which case one must prioritize equity;

*Free trade may not, in fact, be beneficial in the long run and may leave the majority poor, so it is important for trade arrangements to be subject to social and environmental conditions;

*Unilateralism must be avoided while fundamental reform of the multilateral institutions and agreements must be undertaken – a process that might involve dumping or neutralizing some of them, like the WTO’s Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPs);

*Global social integration, or reducing inequalities both within and across countries, must accompany global market integration;

*The global debt of developing countries must be cancelled or radically reduced, so the resulting savings can be used to stimulate the local economy, thus contributing to global reflation;

*Poverty and environmental degradation are so severe that a massive aid program or “Marshall Plan” from the North to the South must be mounted within the framework of the “Millennium Development Goals”;

*A “Second Green Revolution” must be put into motion, especially in Africa, through the widespread adoption of genetically engineered seeds.

*Huge investments must be devoted to push the global economy along more environmentally sustainable paths, with government taking a leading role (“Green Keynesianism” or “Green Capitalism”);

*Military action to solve problems must be deemphasized in favor of diplomacy and “soft power,” although humanitarian military intervention in situations involving genocide must be undertaken.

The Limits of Global Social Democracy

Global Social Democracy has not received much critical attention, perhaps because many progressives are still fighting the last war, that is, against neoliberalism. A critique is urgent, and not only because GSD is neoliberalism’s most likely successor. More important, although GSD has some positive elements, it has, like the old Social Democratic Keynesian paradigm, a number of problematic features.

A critique might begin by highlighting problems with four central elements in the GSD perspective.

First, GSD shares neoliberalism’s bias for globalization, differentiating itself mainly by promising to promote globalization better than the neoliberals. This amounts to saying, however, that simply by adding the dimension of “global social integration,” an inherently socially and ecologically destructive and disruptive process can be made palatable and acceptable. GSD assumes that people really want to be part of a functionally integrated global economy where the barriers between the national and the international have disappeared. But would they not in fact prefer to be part of economies that are subject to local control and are buffered from the vagaries of the international economy? Indeed, today’s swift downward trajectory of interconnected economies underscores the validity of one of anti-globalization movement’s key criticisms of the globalization process..

Second, GSD shares neoliberalism’s preference for the market as the principal mechanism for production, distribution, and consumption, differentiating itself mainly by advocating state action to address market failures. The kind of globalization the world needs, according to Jeffrey Sachs in The End of Poverty, would entail “harnessing…the remarkable power of trade and investment while acknowledging and addressing limitations through compensatory collective action.” This is very different from saying that the citizenry and civil society must make the key economic decisions and the market, like the state bureaucracy, is only one mechanism of implementation of democratic decision-making.

Third, GSD is a technocratic project, with experts hatching and pushing reforms on society from above, instead of being a participatory project where initiatives percolate from the ground up.

Fourth, GSD, while critical of neoliberalism, accepts the framework of monopoly capitalism, which rests fundamentally on deriving profit from the exploitative extraction of surplus value from labor, is driven from crisis to crisis by inherent tendencies toward overproduction, and tends to push the environment to its limits in its search for profitability. Like traditional Keynesianism in the national arena, GSD seeks in the global arena a new class compromise that is accompanied by new methods to contain or minimize capitalism’s tendency toward crisis. Just as the old Social Democracy and the New Deal stabilized national capitalism, the historical function of Global Social Democracy is to iron out the contradictions of contemporary global capitalism and to relegitimize it after the crisis and chaos left by neoliberalism. GSD is, at root, about social management.

Obama has a talent for rhetorically bridging different political discourses. He is also a “blank slate” when it comes to economics. Like FDR, he is not bound to the formulas of the ancien regime. He is a pragmatist whose key criterion is success at social management. As such, he is uniquely positioned to lead this ambitious reformist enterprise.

Reveille for Progressives

While progressives were engaged in full-scale war against neoliberalism, reformist thinking was percolating in critical establishment circles. This thinking is now about to become policy, and progressives must work double time to engage it. It is not just a matter of moving from criticism to prescription. The challenge is to overcome the limits to the progressive political imagination imposed by the aggressiveness of the neoliberal challenge in the 1980s combined with the collapse of the bureaucratic socialist regimes in the early 1990s. Progressives should boldly aspire once again to paradigms of social organization that unabashedly aim for equality and participatory democratic control of both the national economy and the global economy as prerequisites for collective and individual liberation.

Like the old post-war Keynesian regime, Global Social Democracy is about social management. In contrast, the progressive perspective is about social liberation.

Walden Bello is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, a senior analyst at the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, and a professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines. This article is reproduced from ZNet

Counter-terrorism must not kill democracy

Counter-terrorism must not kill democracy

Praful Bidwai

In a season in which politicians have become everybody’s punching bag and targets of vicious media attacks, it would have been a miracle had Minister for Minority Affairs Abdul Rehman Antulay not attracted ridicule for demanding an inquiry into the killing of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare [Images] and his colleagues Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar. I am no admirer of Antulay. I was among the handful of journalists who exposed his brutal evacuation and expulsion of pavement-dwellers in Mumbai [Images] in 1983. Yet, the questions he posed about Karkare’s death won’t go away — despite his own ignominious climbdown.

Antulay didn’t allege that Karkare, who famously cracked the Hindutva terror network involving Pragya Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Shreekant Purohit, was shot by one of its members. His query was, who asked Karkare to go to Mumbai’s CST station and to Cama Hospital [Images], near which he was killed by Abu Ismail and Ajmal Amir Kasab [Images]?

We still don’t know what motivated Karkare’s team to go there without high-grade bullet-proof jackets and in violation of the norm that senior officers shouldn’t travel in the same vehicle in an emergency. Home Minister P Chidambaram’s [Images] statement to

Parliament doesn’t clarify the issue. According to one police account aired on television, the team went to Cama Hospital to rescue another officer, Sadanand Date, who was injured. According to a second account, the team was pursuing a red car carrying Ismail and Kasab.

It is hard to believe that senior officers like Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar all had to walk to CST/Cama because the police had erected barricades, and that they abandoned their separate vehicles to get into one car while chasing the fugitives. Even the circumstances of Karkare’s killing, allegedly in a narrow lane behind the hospital, remain obscure.

If the police wireless message about the red car was meant to lure the team into an ambush, it is vital to ask where and how the report originated. If the gunmen were firing from the left, as Constable Arun Jadhav — who was in Karkare’s car, but survived the attack — said, how was Karkare hit three times in the chest while Jadhav got two bullets in his right arm? Also, the ambush story doesn’t quite hang together. The only vegetation in the lane has wire netting around it, behind which it’d be hard to hide.

Clearly, even if one discounts all conspiracy theories, unanswered questions remain. Hindutva groups reviled Karkare for his bold, scrupulous investigation into the Thakur-Purohit terror network. L K Advani [Images], no less, wanted him removed from the ATS and levelled charges, disproved after medical examination, that Thakur was tortured in ATS custody This, and the gaps in the police account(s), make imperative a dispassionate, thorough, high-level investigation into his killing — in addition to an inquiry into the intelligence failures and state agencies’ inept response to the attacks.

The case for an inquiry in the Karkare case is all the stronger because many in the Muslim community — which has borne the brunt of excesses committed in the name of fighting terrorism — and other citizens too, have seriously questioned the official account.

Antulay or no Antulay, it’s the government’s duty to answer them. Supremely callous colonial rulers ignore public concerns. But democratic governments’ legitimacy depends on respecting them and sharing the truth with the public in the interests of social cohesion. A credible inquiry would help rebuild the public’s faith in the government, which has recently suffered erosion.

There are moments in the life of a nation when exemplary rectitude, transparency and adherence to law are called for, and an effort worthy of universal respect is necessary to reach out to those who feel excluded. Justice H R Khanna’s dissenting opinion in the Emergency case, Justice B N Srikrishna’s inquiry into the Mumbai violence of 1992-1993, and Karkare’s own brilliant investigation into the Hindutva terror network, are instances of these. In each case, State functionaries rose above pressures to harness their work to extraneous agendas. The entire nation gained from their work. We badly need another such effort today.

Regrettably, the United Progressive Alliance government seems to be caving in to Right-wing pressures from the Bharatiya Janata Party to adopt a macho, national-chauvinist, ‘to-hell-with-civil-liberties’ stance to show that it has the will to fight terrorism. That alone explains the deplorable haste with which it railroaded through Parliament two tough counter-terrorism laws without serious debate. These erode federalism and infringe civil liberties.

The National Investigation Agency Act establishes a new organisation to investigate acts of terrorism and offences related to atomic energy, aviation, maritime transport, sedition, weapons of mass destruction, and Left-wing extremism. Significantly, it excludes Hindutva-style right-wing extremism, which has taken a far higher toll in India than left-wing Naxalism. It’s far from clear how the NIA can secure the cooperation of other existing agencies, rather than face turf battles and sabotage.

Unlike the Central Bureau of Investigation, which needs the consent of a state before investigating crimes there, the NIA will supersede state agencies. This is a serious intrusion into the federal system. The NIA, and the special courts set up under the Act, will be vulnerable to political abuse by the Centre.

The second law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act brings back the discredited POTA, except for admitting confessions made to the police as evidence. It radically changes criminal procedures, extends periods of police custody and detention without charges, denies bail to foreigners, and reverses the burden of proof in many instances. The Act will turn India into a virtual police State.

The UPA abrogated POTA in 2004 in response to innumerable complaints of abuse against Muslims and application to offences not connected with terrorism. But the UPA retained all other tough laws, and also amended the Unlawful Activities Act. This increased punishment for terrorism and harbouring/financing terrorists, made communications intercepts admissible as evidence, and increased detention without charges to 90 days from 30 days.

However, despite numerous recent terrorist attacks, the UPA firmly rejected the BJP’s demand that POTA be re-enacted. But now, it has shamefully caved in to the demand — under the pressure of elite opinion and with an eye on the next general election.

The UAPA Act contains a range of draconian clauses, including a redefinition of terrorism, harsh punishment like life sentence or death, long periods of detention, and presumption of guilt in many cases. The redefinition includes acts done with the intent to threaten or ‘likely’ to threaten India’s unity, integrity or sovereignty. Under this hold-all provision, the police can arrest, search and seize the property of anyone whom it ‘has reason to believe from personal knowledge, or any information by any person… or any articles or any other thing…’ Even rumours and baseless suspicion fit this description. Also covered are attempts to kidnap Constitutional and other functionaries listed by the government. The list is endless.

Under the Act, an accused can be held in police custody for 30 days, and detained without charges for 180 days. This is a travesty of Constitutional rights. Even worse is the presumption of guilt in case there is a recovery of arms, explosives and ‘substances of a similar nature.’ The police routinely plants arms and explosives, and creates a false recovery record. The punishment range extends from three or five five years to life. This shows the government has not applied its mind.

Under the Act, there is a general obligation to disclose ‘all information’ that a police officer thinks might be relevant. Failure to disclose can lead to imprisonment for three years. Journalists, lawyers, doctors and friends are not exempt from this sweeping provision, which presumes guilt on mere suspicion. Besides making telecommunications and e-mail intercepts admissible as evidence, the Act also denies bail to all foreign nationals and to all others if a prima facie case exists on the basis of a First Information Report by the police.

POTA and its predecessor, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, were extensively abused. They targeted the religious minorities, specifically Muslims. Some 67,000 people were arrested under TADA, but only 8,000 put on trial, and just 725 convicted. Official TADA review committees found its application untenable in all but 5,000 cases. POTA’s abuse was even more appalling.

The two new laws will increase the alienation of Muslims from the Indian State given that they have been the principal victims of India’s recent anti-terrorism strategy. Many Muslims are also distressed at the alacrity with which the laws were passed — in contrast with the UPA’s failure to enact the promised law to punish communal violence and hate crimes.

This will make the social-political climate conducive to State terrorism, promote muscular nationalism, and create a barbed-wire mentality. These are the ingredients of a terrible national security State, much like Pakistan’s or Israel’s, and similar to the way the US is evolving. Nothing could be worse for our citizens’ safety and our democracy’s health.

Accused of spying for Israel to go to court

Accused of spying for Israel to go to court

[27 December 2008]

SANA’A, Dec. 27 (Saba) – The Specialized Penal Prosecution has completed investigations with three locals accused of spying for Israeli intelligence services, informed sources have noted.

The state-run 26sep.net quoted these sources as saying the accused confessed during investigations to working for Israel through communication with the office of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency via an unreal internet web “FFRN”.

They said they expressed readiness to transfer information about Yemen, an offer which was welcomed by the Israeli side.

However, the Israeli side told them they wanted them to conduct spy operations at the regional level.

The case would be referred to the Penal Court in prelude to their trial.

A security source said the three-member spying ring, arrested in October, was a jihadist network led by Emad Ali Saeed al-Runi, Abul Ghaith, and had threatened to attack foreign and Arab missions in the country including the embassies of Saudi Arabia, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

During the raid on the network’s hideout, security forces found items including a computer set, which revealed there was contact between the network and an Israeli intelligence service.

During the correspondence, the network asked for help to carry out terrorist activities inside Yemen, the security source said.

Witnessing the Decay of Western Hegemony and the Role of the Organic Intellectual

“As liberal democratic capitalism comes to an end, the only option for western society to liberate itself from the chains of its ruling elites is to confront them through organized non-violent actions. It must be the role of the organic intellectual, to promote this path and educate the oppressed about its benefits, while proposing effective methods of direct communal action.”

Witnessing the Decay of Western Hegemony and the Role of the Organic Intellectual

By Pablo OuzielAbstract: While the military might of the world’s leading nations continues to expand, it has become apparent that western colonialism is abruptly coming to an end, yet the consequences are still not clear to any of the pundits traditionally involved in the discourse which has helped to build it. For many decades in the west, we have thrived on imperial expansion led by the United States of America and its allies, and legitimized by international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and the United Nations. Today, this oligopoly of world domination is rapidly deteriorating and what only a few months ago seemed like the only option for humanity is today being severely put to the test. The organic intellectual must face these challenging times by offering viable alternatives to society so that a new world order can emerge out of the rubble left behind by liberal democratic capitalism.

Antonio Gramsci differentiated organic intellectuals from traditional intellectuals, by emphasizing the role of the former in cultivating roots within their communities to help develop a self-inspired organic consciousness. Accepting their position within the dominant ideology, according to Gramsci, organic intellectuals will ultimately support the working-class in developing an alternative hegemony within civil society.

For many decades, society has been indoctrinated with the belief that liberal democratic capitalism was the benevolent solution to all world problems. Through this model of society, hunger was going to be eradicated, wars would come to an end, the environment would be saved, and justice would be distributed equally amongst all members of the human species. Entering the new century, western society celebrated the new millennium with the euphoria of success, once and for all; we had entered the final face of existence, the one, which would bring upon the earth the mythical wonders of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, without having witnessed the passing of the first decade of the 21st century, this dogma has been broken and as many across the globe struggle for survival and society is marred by the continuous threat of revolving crisis, the time for the revolutionary transformation of the western ideal is upon us. Yet, the fundamental questions remain to be answered, how can we act? What can we do?

It is the role of the organic intellectual to answer these questions. If there are any left who have not yet awaken from their slumber, the time has come for them to abandon the petit bourgeois existence of the petty professor attending wine tasting events, the government bureaucrat justifying the wonders of his mind while working on the golf swing at the local country club, or the 1960s hippie, that after a stint in the Berkeley student movements went on to become a prosperous businessman. In today’s holistic global crisis, one which threatens every single aspect of our existence – from the food we eat, to the air we breath, and to the way we

interact between each other – those who in their youth considered themselves conscious individuals fighting towards change, can no longer hide behind the mask of the liberal democratic ideal of a capitalist society striving towards justice, peace and prosperity. All of these having remained ideals, while a reality of extreme misery for the majority, coexists today with the growing prosperity of a shrinking minority capitalizing on the growing pains of humanity.

In today’s crisis, we will all perish together or we will overcome it together, and as professor Chomsky often states, “so much depends on will and choice”. Yet, the choice at this point is between prolonged misery, constant crisis, environmental deterioration and continual war, or the possibility of working together in unison to overcome the hurdles, which we are facing. If we are to honestly look at what is happening in society, on any given day we can observe that the interests of the majority are not being respected and instead, the elites benefiting themselves, pitch to society the benefits of their choices by attributing everything to the trickledown effect – a warped inversion of reality which supports investing on those at the top in order to protect people at the bottom. I often wonder when I hear such discourse bombarded by government officials and experts through the traditional channels of propaganda, whether the rest of society is awake and paying attention, or simply asleep and indifferent. I can never be quite sure, because if indeed society is awake and paying attention, then we live in a world of fools, yet, if the indifference is attributable to being asleep, the task of waking up is a daunting one. One, which can only be carried out by the organic intellectual committed to revolutionary social transformation.

Decay of Western Hegemony
As western society struggles with rising tensions, both within and outside of its borders, as those being colonized begin to throw their shoes in despair, and those who thought they belonged to the empire begin to realize that their dream is no longer sustainable, the organic intellectual is able to grasp the severity of the global crisis. As bankers announce their losses, the banking cartel slowly collapses. First, the major investment banks and hedge funds, then their traditional counterparts, all showing loses which only a year ago had been presented as ground breaking profits, as slowly the deck of cards unfolds and everything crumbles. Soon the job cuts begin, across continents furious workers revel against their enslaving owners, demonstrations, walkouts, sit-ins, failed negotiations between trade unions and shareholders. The sky is falling and the capitalist always strives to win. For a while, dormant workers watch their colleagues being laid-off, at first it seems an unavoidable aspect of capitalism, the dirty side of a casino culture, which rewards some at the expense of others. But then, neighbourhoods begin to witness empty houses, people evicted, squatters moving in, the law can do little to prevent it, the numbers are too big to contain. The lobbyists in Washington are eagerly fighting for pieces of the bailout money prepared by a government, which faced with complete anarchy must regain a foothold in the corridors of power. Confidence must never be lost. Hence, a new face in the White House, a new man, a new dream, perpetuated by the chanting of hope. But things will never be the same in America, as young bankers spend their holidays in despair not knowing if their job awaits them in the coming year, the dark thoughts of unemployment begin to creep in. Obama proposes solutions, three million jobs to be created by rebuilding the fallen infrastructures of the great American empire. An empire, which in its boom forgot to cement its foundations and now collapsing, will offer its unemployed bankers the opportunity to go and fix roads.

As America crumbles, its allies must wait and hope. they too must hold tight to the idea of a rebirth, they too must put their expectations and dreams in the hands of Obama. For the allies, there is not much more that can be done. They accepted the American way of life, they indulged in the great American credit card culture and now, millions of people around the globe are tied to the demise of Wall Street, thus the saying, “when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold.” So, as frantic politicians of the axis of good scramble for some sense of stability for their countries, industries collapse, unemployment raises, and currencies begin to witness the prospects of inflation, deflation, stagflation, stagdeflation, and ultimately, what few dare to mention – depression and eventual collapse.

At this point, relations which in the good times presented themselves as strong and unbreakable begin to shake, governments of the allied countries, the client states, are trapped between their commitments to the emperor and the demands of their people – their people need to eat and the emperor demands that his people eat first. So, the economies of the allied countries begin to fall one by one. As they do, chaos breaks within their borders and internal factions begin to fight for power, possibilities of revolution or civil war are no longer too far fetched as American influence retreats and the ruling parties are left in a vacuum, like sitting ducks, waiting for factions to fight for the reigns. First, the riots break out in the weaker allied countries such as Greece, where corruption has been so blatant that the disillusioned youth go out to the streets. At first, it looks like a minor incident, but soon it is apparent that youth everywhere are inspired by such actions. As the months go by, riots spark up in numerous countries, those that no longer feel a part of the empire are now eager to burn it.

The majority of people no longer see the governments as representing their interests, rather they are understood to be puppets of the ruling elites, the capitalist class, and this makes them the enemy. It didn’t have to be this way, but politicians have become so complacent that they flaunt the wealth accumulated through legalized corruption, something, which although accepted by the courts, is no longer accepted by the angry mobs. So politicians begin to flee into exile – first, they fly to the ally countries, but soon they realise that they are not welcomed there. Their presence can destabilize already fragile situations, so they hop from country to country, finding eventual refuge in some far away land, in the same way that Nazi war criminals ended up in the jungles of Latin America.

In the meantime, the military might of America and its allies keeps getting stretched, and the wars that were begun can no longer be effectively fought. With the unpopularity at home and the increased resistance of those being attacked, it seems like a retreat is in sight, however, the military commanders and the corporations involved in the creation of weapons of mass destruction, refuse to let go of this opportunity to continue their expansion. So the war continues, with every shell fired helping to discredit an act, which was presented as a necessary evil to liberate humanity from tyranny. Now the war is seen for what it is, an unjust act of aggression designed to conquer whole populations and generate profit for the small ruling elites. The United Nations, once believed to be a fair moderator of conflict, is now showing its face as the mechanism for justification of the mega-powers – it is no longer sustainable, it is now viewed as an aggressor. The International Monetary Fund is running out of funds and must call on the rising empires to support its transactions. As for The World Bank, it just passes from corruption scandal to corruption scandal, until soon it too will become obsolete. So, as the international institutions crumble and the allied countries collapse, America is left in debt with an internal discomfort brewing and external wars being lost. What was once a colonial project based on the strategy of sticks and carrots, has run out of carrots and all that is left, is the stick to continue the expansion. It is at this point that the American empire must decide between an all out war against the rising empires, or the acknowledgment of defeat. All empires rise and fall, what America can do, is to choose between a graceful fall and the third world war. For those in power the choice is clear, it is now essential for the people to speak loud and promptly. Will there be war, or will there be revolution? It is the role of the organic intellectual to promote revolution rather than war, but how? And what kind of revolution?

The rise of the organic intellectual movement
Mahatma Gandhi knew that soldiers had weapons when he chose to promote the path of non-violence. He also knew that only through this method India had a chance of transitioning from colonialism to a self-ruling nation, without descending into civil war. He understood the sacrifice people would have to make when they stood in front of guns with only their faces of indignation to protect them from their oppressors. The sacrifice proved worthwhile. Similarly, as liberal democratic capitalism comes to an end, the only option for western society to liberate itself from the chains of its ruling elites is to confront them through organized non-violent actions. It must be the role of the organic intellectual, to promote this path and educate the oppressed about its benefits, while proposing effective methods of direct communal action.

As the situation deteriorates in the west, there is no doubt that violence is going to increase. As the population begins to react to what is happening, governments will increase their police forces and will redeploy their militaries to monitor civilian streets – events, which are already apparent in certain areas of the United States. Yet, violence breeds violence, and we can no longer afford to take this route. So, as governments take bold steps to increase the controls of the civilian population and the clampdown on dissent becomes apparent, those who are currently ruled, need to understand the tools they have at their disposal in order to invert the pyramid of power. However, this reversal of the power structure in society requires sacrifices, and the sooner we all understand this, the faster we will be able to obtain true democracy based on peace, equality in front of the justice system, and sustainable prosperity for all.

Helping people understand this reality is the role of the organic intellectual. Of course, this is not an easy task, and it requires many people working together, using the tools at their disposal to build effectively coordinated information networks designed to empower the population. Many networks already exist at present, actively educating and organizing communities through grassroots efforts aimed at direct action, yet, the kinds of coalitions, which can reshape society in a revolutionary way are currently lacking friction. In America, the last time anything like this was actually lived was in the 1960s. Since then, groups have been fighting for their rights isolated from each other, which has allowed liberal democratic capitalism to contain them and appease them, without jeopardising the continual and coordinated expansion of the colonial project.

It is therefore the need to organize and unite outside of the elite power structures, which must be prioritized if there is going to be any kind of revolutionary transformation of western society. Once this step is acknowledged by the organic intellectual, and dealt with in a coordinated manner, efforts can then be directed to the numerous direct action initiatives, which are urgently needed: Putting an end to home evictions and making sure that everyone has a home. Organizing global trade unions, which can counteract capital strikes by paralyzing the capitalist economy and lobbying the demands of the workforce. Initiating consistent global demonstrations, requesting the halt of military investments and the dismantling of the war industrial complex. The start up of cooperatives focused on the development of new forms of sustainable technologies and alternative methods of production. The creation of community based and owned banking institutions. Coordinating the development of collectively owned community farming initiatives. The structuring of worker managed goodwill delegations, travelling around the world encouraging substitute forms of collaboration between countries.

Of course, these are only a few options out of the many which can be proposed and acted upon by an organized population, so these can only serve as suggestions, as organic intellectuals strive to unite existing grassroots efforts in coalitions designed to radically transform society. Sympathizing with the reality of the majority of workers – whose workday is committed without much choice to staying afloat within the strenuous capitalist economy – it is understandable that a critical mass is only achieved after many have been forced into poverty. However, it is the role of the organic intellectual, to educate the population about the consequences of not acting boldly and committing to the revolutionary project while still in the workforce, rather than having to do so later, when exposed to the charitable mercy of the ruling elite after being laid-off.

As things continue to deteriorate in the western world, these words will make much more sense. I do hope however, that a majority grasps this view before it is too late to avoid the third world war. Although, judging by the reflexes of society in predicting the current financial crisis, it might take a declaration of war before people understand where we are heading. The truth is, that unless the population is empowered and revolutionary, this event seems unavoidable at this point in time, when the ruling elites are amassing more power, the working class is clasping to its wages, and the industrial military complex is expanding at the fastest pace in the history of mankind.

*************Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and freelance writer

Ameros, Revolution, Martial Law- Future Facts That Few People Can See

On this 8-1/2 minute video Hal Turner predicts the collapse of the US Dollar and its replacement by the North American Amero starting February 2009. He shows you a 20 Amero coin minted in Denver, one of the 800 billion Ameros recently shipped to China Development Bank in China to offset China’s huge US$ cash holdings www.start-trading.de/amero.htm . Turner says the Euro is equally unbacked and predicts that it will go down with the US Dollar.

Turner claims that he has been hassled off the air, because of this report.  He had a lot to say about pissed-off Americans seeking vengeance from bankers and corrupt government officials after the shit hit the fan in early 2009.  This echoes reports of Congress discussing  “safe houses” and other preparations in the recent secret session of Congress, where the catastrophic future events of early 2009 were discussed as if they had already happened.

As America Collapses US Government Secret Plans Revealed

Here is what was revealed:

  • The imminent collapse of the U.S. Economy to occur sometime in late 2008
  • The imminent collapse of the U.S. Government finances sometime in mid 2009
  • The possibility of Civil War inside the United States as a result of the collapse
  • The advance round-ups of “insurgent U.S. Citizens” likely to move against the government
  • The detention of those rounded up at The REX 84 Camps constructed throughout the United States
  • The possibility of public retaliation against members of Congress for the collapses
  • The location of safe facilities for members of Congress and their families to reside during massive civil unrest
  • The necessary and unavoidable merger of The U.S. with Canada and Mexico establishing The North American Union
  • The issuance of a new currency called the AMERO for all three nations as an economic solution.