American Resistance To Empire

Islamic militancy is a foreign policy tool of the US and Pakistani establishments


Islamic militancy is a foreign policy tool of the US

and Pakistani establishments

By Yousuf Nazar

Admiral Mike Mullen (first from left), the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Pervez Kayani (third from the left) and next to him, the ISI Chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha (then Major. Gen. and Director General Military Operations) aboard the US naval carrier Abraham Lincoln in Indian Ocean; in a secret meeting on August 26, 2008. Pasha was promoted to the rank  of  Lt. Gen. and appointed as the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence on Sept. 29, 2008.                                            –_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Who stands to gain the most from the Mumbai attacks?

The Pakistani media was quick to dismiss Indian allegations about the complicity of elements from Pakistan in Mumbai attacks. Some channels even carried stories that there was no Aslam Amir in Faridkot, only to contradict themselves later. We need to reflect upon the whole paradigm of ‘terrorism’. For this purpose, it is essential to to take a holistic view including examination of some important and critical events since 9/11, US’s strategic interests in the Middle East and Central Asia, the relationship between the US and Pakistan authorities, and the murky nature of CIA’s involvement with the so-called Islamic militants.

In Pakistan, there are two extreme viewpoints. One view sees things through a conspiracy paradigm where India-US-Israel nexus is out to destroy Pakistan and Pakistani establishment is an innocent bystander. The other view sees fundamentalism as purely a home grown issue that has gone out of control. There are elements of truth in both the views. But the reality, as always, is far more complex.

It has been made more complex due to the fact there is big money involved on both the sides. The Americans have poured money into so-called Pakistani think-tanks and media groups. Some of these think-tanks have clear and identifiable linkages to those run by neocons or are indirectly funded by the US. Their views are given platforms by large and respected groups such as DAWN and GEO TV without bothering to make disclosures about conflict of interest; a standard practice.

Some of the so-called funadamentalists enjoy cosy relationship with the Arab kingdoms and the Pakistani intelligence agencies. These agencies are very close to the CIA and the Pentagon.

Hence, the exponential increase in militancy and terrorist attacks in Pakistan since 2004 cannot be analysed in isolation from the role of the establishment, the US policies, and the biggest ever [ongoing] covert operations of the CIA since the end of the Afghan war in 1989.

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Tickled To Death!

CIA HAS BEEN TICKLING PEOPLE TO DEATH FOR YEARSBy: Peter ChamberlinMichael Hayden said the clandestine agency is using Predator missile attacks to tickle enemy groups, to provoke a reaction.We use military operations to excite the enemy, prompting him to respond.The agency director was jokingly referring to the policy of committing multiple mass-murders of innocent citizens of Pakistan, as a tactic for provoking retaliation by their relatives.http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress…Category: Science & Technology

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Mike Vickers Author of Anti-Soviet Strategy Now Plots the “Take-Over-the-World Plan”


Sorry, Charlie. This Is Michael Vickers’s War.


By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 28, 2007; A19

Defense officials once jokingly described Michael Vickers as being in charge of the “take-over-the-world plan.”

In the Pentagon’s newly expanded Special Operations office, a suite of sterile gray cubicles on the “C” ring of the third floor, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael G. Vickers is working to implement the U.S. military’s highest-priority plan: a global campaign against terrorism that reaches far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

The wide-ranging plan details the targeting of al-Qaeda-affiliated networks around the world and explores how the United States should retaliate in case of another major terrorist attack. The most critical aspect of the plan, Vickers said in a recent interview, involves U.S. Special Operations forces working through foreign partners to uproot and fight terrorist groups.Vickers’s job also spans the modernization of nuclear forces for deterrence and retaliation, and the retooling of conventional forces to combat terrorism — a portfolio so expansive that he and some Pentagon officials once jokingly referred to his efforts as the “take-over-the-world plan,” one official said.

Vickers, a former Green Beret and CIA operative, was the principal strategist for the biggest covert program in CIA history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” released last weekend, portrays Vickers in that role, in which he directed an insurgent force of 150,000 Afghan fighters and controlled an annual budget of more than $2 billion in current dollars.Today, as the top Pentagon adviser on counterterrorism strategy, Vickers exudes the same assurance about defeating terrorist groups as he did as a 31-year-old CIA paramilitary officer assigned to Afghanistan, where he convinced superiors that with the right strategy and weapons, the ragtag Afghan insurgents could win. “I am just as confident or more confident we can prevail in the war on terror,” Vickers, 54, said in a recent interview, looking cerebral behind thick glasses but with an energy and build reminiscent of the high school quarterback he once was. “Not a lot of people thought we could drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.”

Vickers joined the Pentagon in July to oversee the 54,000-strong Special Operations Command (Socom), based in Tampa, which is growing faster than any other part of the U.S. military. Socom’s budget has doubled in recent years, to $6 billion for 2008, and the command is to add 13,000 troops to its ranks by 2011.

Senior Pentagon and military officials regard Vickers as a rarity — a skilled strategist who is both creative and pragmatic. “He tends to think like a gangster,” said Jim Thomas, a former senior defense planner who worked with Vickers. “He can understand trends then change the rules of the game so they are advantageous for your side.”

Vickers’s outlook was shaped in the CIA and Special Forces, which he joined off the street through a “direct enlistment” program in 1973. In the 10th Special Forces Group, he trained year-round for a guerrilla war against the Soviet Union. One scenario he prepared for: to parachute into enemy territory with a small nuclear weapon strapped to his leg, and then position it to halt the Red Army.

Vickers recalled that the nuclear devices did not seem that small, “particularly when you are in an aircraft with one of them or it is attached to your body.” Was it a suicide mission? “I certainly hoped not,” Vickers said.

An expert in martial arts, parachuting and weapons, and second in his class at Officer Candidate School, Vickers was also fluent in Czech and Spanish, which made him overqualified when he joined the CIA’s paramilitary unit in 1983. Soon after, he received a citation for combat in Grenada.

But Vickers’s greatest influence was in the clinically precise way he reassessed the potential of Afghan guerrilla forces and prescribed the right mix of weaponry to attack Soviet weaknesses. This brash plan to create a force of “techno-guerrillas” able to fight year-round called for exponentially more money, which through sheer force of logic Vickers was able to obtain.

Today Vickers’s plan to build a global counterterrorist network is no less ambitious. The plan is focused on a list of 20 “high-priority” countries, with Pakistan posing a central preoccupation for Vickers, who said al-Qaeda sanctuaries in the country’s western tribal areas are a serious threat to the United States. The list also includes Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia and Iran, and Vickers hints that some European countries could be on it. Beyond that, the plan covers another 29 “priority” countries, as well as “other countries” that Vickers does not name.

“It’s not just the Middle East. It’s not just the developing world. It’s not just nondemocratic countries — it’s a global problem,” he said. “Threats can emanate from Denmark, the United Kingdom, you name it.”

The plan deploys a variety of elite troops around the world, including about 80 to 90 12-man teams of Army Special Forces soldiers who are skilled in foreign languages and at working with indigenous forces. Today, those forces are heavily concentrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, but as their numbers grow, they will increase their presence in other countries.

“The war on terror is fundamentally an indirect war. . . . It’s a war of partners . . . but it also is a bit of the war in the shadows, either because of political sensitivity or the problem of finding terrorists,” Vickers said. “That’s why the Central Intelligence Agency is so important . . . and our Special Operations forces play a large role.”

Vickers is pressing Congress to double “train and equip” funding from levels approved in recent years for the military. The funds, which total $325 million for fiscal 2007, allow the U.S. military and Special Operations forces to pay indigenous fighters and paramilitaries who work with them in gathering intelligence, hunting terrorists, fomenting guerrilla warfare or putting down an insurgency.

The funds are “very important . . . so we can move rather rapidly to train and equip foreign security forces” and more will be needed, Vickers told senators at his confirmation hearing in July. “If you don’t have close cooperation, you can’t fight the war,” he said later.

But while local forces can be far more effective in countering terrorism in their regions, creating the forces must be done carefully, said Thomas, the former defense planner. “The last thing we want to do is create a bunch of right-wing goon squads that go out and shoot jihadists with very little legitimacy.”

Vickers is also arguing for billions of dollars in new technology: specialized stealthy aircraft able to fly over countries undetected, unmanned aerial vehicles and other equipment for distant and close-up surveillance, and technology to “tag” and “track” individuals and cars for long distances over time.

Finally, Vickers seeks authority for more flexible and rapid “detailing” that would allow Special Operations forces, in larger numbers, to be seconded to the CIA and allowed to work under agency rules.

“It’s striking to see how quickly he moves through large amounts of information” and then gives guidance how to get things done, said Kalev Sepp, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations, who works under Vickers. “He knows the key players on Capitol Hill. . . . He understands what level of general officer has to be contacted to make decisions,” Sepp said.

But with just over one year left in the Bush administration, Vickers is impatient with bureaucratic infighting within the military and between the Pentagon and other agencies, current and former officials said. One official noted that it took Socom about three years to write the counterterrorism plan, and two years for the administration to approve a classified “execute order” against al-Qaeda.

Vickers, who has advised President Bush on Iraq strategy, is convinced that more U.S. troops are not enough to solve the conflict in Iraq and that working with local forces is the best long-term strategy for both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Its imperative that the Iraqis provide . . . security, so transitioning to an indirect approach is critical,” he said. “The surge has been phenomenally effective . . . but not sufficient,” he said, adding that he thinks that without political change the effects of the troop buildup “will dissipate.”

Working with proxy forces will also enable the United States to extend and sustain its influence, something it failed to do in Afghanistan, he said. “After this great victory and after a million Afghans died, we basically exited that region and Afghanistan just spun into chaos,” he said.

“It’s imperative that we not do that again,” he said.

Counterterrorism Mastermind Vickers Addresses Israeli-American Lobby On Terror War

Building the Global Counterterrorism Network

Featuring Michael Vickers
November 4, 2008

On October 24, 2008, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers addressed a Policy Forum luncheon at The Washington Institute as part of the Institute’s 2007-2008 counterterrorism lecture series. The U.S. Senate confirmed Mr. Vickers as assistant secretary of defense (special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities) on July 23, 2007. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of his remarks.

Although much work still remains on the counterterrorism front, the past seven years have seen notable achievements. The Philippines and the area of Southeast Asia referred to as the “terrorist transit triangle” have seen considerable success against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. In the Middle East, the tide turned against al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula in 2003, and al-Qaeda in Iraq is now only “a whisper of what it used to be.” Moreover, although there have been many plots, no attacks have occurred on the U.S. homeland since September 11, 2001.

The threat, however, remains significant. Al-Qaeda has demonstrated an ability to regenerate, and its ambitions remain high. The group aims to catalyze an Islamist insurgency, break up and prevent the formation of international coalitions arrayed against it, exhaust and expel the West from Muslim lands, overthrow “illegitimate states,” establish a caliphate, and transform the international balance of power in favor of this new Islamic polity.

In Iraq, the situation has improved, but General Petraeus and others have pointed out that the durability of the past year’s dramatic change is difficult to measure, though the signs are pointing in the right direction. In Afghanistan, the insurgency has intensified over the past two years, and the international community faces a growing challenge to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and a source of instability.

The tribal areas of western Pakistan remain the most significant strategic threat, and the problem has escalated over the past decade. In late 2001 al-Qaeda’s senior leaders fled Afghanistan after the successful U.S. operation there and managed to align themselves with local Pakistani groups in this unsettled region. These groups have become more militant as a result and now present an internal threat to Pakistan’s government; in the past year, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have declared open war on the country. Not only is this threat serious for Pakistan, it poses an immense challenge to international strategy and stability in the region and beyond.

Furthermore, the United States faces challenges in the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Yemen, the Levant, and the Maghreb — all areas that al-Qaeda targets strategically. The threat remains global, emanating not just from traditional Muslim lands but also from the United Kingdom and other parts of Western Europe. In fact, we have seen just as many or more threats emerging from Europe over the past decade as we have seen emanating from the greater Middle East.

The long-term strategic challenge of the war on terror is dealing with a threat that has spread across the globe to some sixty countries. We can take either a direct approach, applying power ourselves as primary actors, or an indirect approach, working through others whom we advise, train, and enable. A clandestine component is also imperative, as this is primarily an intelligence war, or a “war in the shadows.” Our intelligence disciplines are therefore essential — particularly covert action, which was the decisive instrument of the Cold War and remains critical to the war on terror today.

Above all, the critical operational instrument of this war is what we describe as a global counterterrorism network. This network’s purpose is to create a persistent, ubiquitous presence in many countries that prevents adversaries from gaining traction and gradually smothers them over time. Ultimately, it takes a network to defeat a network. It is not enough to have a strong partner in one or more countries; we must be stronger than our adversaries everywhere. The principal operational element of this network is the intelligence community, which gives us our global reach and allows us to move at the speed of war.

In particular, the national clandestine service of the Central Intelligence Agency, in conjunction with U.S. Special Forces and the security apparatuses of our partners around the world, is central in this battle. Special Operations Forces have grown tremendously in the Department of Defense in recent years. By the end of the decade, the forces will be twice as large (reaching upwards of 64,000 in terms of total manpower) than they were at its outset, with more than double the original budget. In addition, more senior leaders will have special-operations backgrounds.

The core of U.S. Special Forces consists of approximately 15,000 ground operators, ranging from Army Special Forces and Green Berets to Rangers, Seals, Marine Corps Special Operations, and other classified units. Each of these elements has increased its capacity by a third since 2001, constituting the largest growth in Special Operations history. These forces are present in sixty countries around the globe, with more than 80 percent concentrated in the greater Middle East, the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, we are expanding our force significantly to achieve broader global coverage.

These forces have invented a new way to fight the war on terror, waging it from an operational perspective and taking a proactive and sustained approach to counterterrorism. We now have intelligence-driven operations, with new tactics, techniques, and procedures — the cumulative effect of which will enable us to take down a network over time.

Gaps, however, still exist in the areas of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. We need to increase capacity in civil affairs and psychological operations, and we are also taking steps to acquire foreign-language expertise, in part by recruiting foreign-born operators. Additional organizational reform may also be in order, such as greater integration and consolidation, as exemplified by the Department of Homeland Security. We are looking at alternative command arrangements within the Department of Defense as well as mainstreaming Special Operations officers into senior leadership positions. We have the necessary institutions, but we must now focus on getting the right people and ensure that that they receive the necessary resources and authority.

Some of our current capabilities, capacities, and relationships predate the September 11 attacks, some have been significantly expanded since then, and others will reach the projected end state by the end of the next administration. There will likely be a need for more integration as we go forward, and we must operate simultaneously in countries with whom we are not at war. Thus, partner development and partner alignment remain critical issues, making diplomacy essential to achieving our goals. The pieces are gradually coming into place as we gain more experience and enhance our ability to build and develop a far more capable network. We are well on our way to building a global counterterrorism network — the critical instrument for keeping America safe through the next decade and beyond.

This rapporteur’s summary was prepared by Sana Mahmood.

American Secret Force based in Afghanistan includes Naval Units: Army Times USA

American Secret Force based in Afghanistan includes Naval Units: Army Times USA

From Army Times, USA

Critics: Afghanistan plan takes SF from usual training mission

By Sean D. Naylor – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Dec 23, 2008 13:30:19 EST

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement of a plan to deploy an additional three brigades of combat troops to Afghanistan by the summer has superseded a contentious debate that pitted the Bush administration’s “war czar” against the special operations hierarchy over the National Security Council’s proposed near-term “surge” of special operations forces to Afghanistan, a Pentagon military official said.

The NSC proposal, which grew out of its Afghan strategy review, recommended an increase of “about another battalion’s worth” of troops to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan, or CJSOTF-A, said a field-grade Special Forces officer, who added that this would enlarge the task force by about a third.

There are two major special operations task forces in Afghanistan: CJSOTF-A, which is the “white,” or unclassified, task force and is organized around a Special Forces group headquarters with two SF battalions and Marine special operations and Navy SEAL elements; and a “black” special operations task force with a headquarters element drawn from the secretive Joint Special Operations Command overseeing elements of Navy Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team 6, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

Several sources said that the “SOF surge” proposal originated with Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, whose official title is assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy and implementation, but who is often referred to as the “war czar.” The rationale behind deploying more special ops forces to Afghanistan was that any decision to deploy more conventional brigades to Afghanistan would take several months at a minimum to implement, whereas special ops units could be sent much more quickly, the field-grade Special Forces officer said.

The deployment of additional Special Forces A-teams, the 12-man units also known as operational detachments-alpha, or ODAs, “became the sine qua non” that the Bush administration was taking immediate action to reverse negative trends in the Afghan war, the Pentagon military official said.

“During this NSC review, my understanding was the most contentious issue was whether to arm the tribes,” a Defense Department civilian official said. “Lute had been pushing this idea of a lot more white SOF working specifically with the tribes.”

However, the proposal sparked a fierce high-level debate, with special operations officers charging that Lute and his colleagues were trying to micromanage the movement of individual Special Forces A-teams from inside the Beltway, and countercharges that Special Forces has strayed from its traditional mission of raising and training indigenous forces and become too focused on direct-action missions to kill or capture enemies.

“Four or five weeks ago, this was fairly contentious,” the Pentagon military official said. But the combination of Gates’ announcement of the plan to send an additional 20,000 troops to Afghanistan — which will include a significant special ops contingent — and the impending presidential transition has rendered the debate “stillborn,” the military official said.

Most major special operations commands were opposed to the proposal, special operations sources said. The sources identified U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low-Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities Michael Vickers as all resisting the initiative.

Lute declined to be interviewed through a representative, and spokesmen for SOCOM and Vickers’ office adopted a similar stance.

“It would be inappropriate for USSOCOM to comment on what may or may not be an ongoing policy discussion,” SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw said. “It’s pre-decisional, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about it until it’s officially released,” Defense Department spokesman Cmdr. Bob Mehal, who handles media queries for Vickers, said with regard to the NSC review.

Special operations sources said that those opposing the “SOF surge” were generally against the idea on two grounds: that the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, has not requested them, and that the CJSOTF-A does not have enough “enablers” — such as helicopters and intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance assets — to support the forces it has in country now, let alone another battalion’s worth.

“This is being driven out of Washington, D.C., not requested by General McKiernan or by [U.S. Central Command],” a senior special operations staff officer said. “People in Washington, General Lute and those guys … want to micromanage the employment of individual ODAs. Is that really the right thing to do? Who are the guys in Washington to order the deployment of more forces if the theater commander has not asked for them and has no strategy to employ them? The next thing, those same guys in D.C. are going to be picking [high-value targets] for these guys to go after.”

A spokesman for McKiernan did not return a call seeking comment. An administration official denied that Lute was trying to interfere with the theater commander’s prerogatives.

“The requirements for forces are generated from the field, not generated from Washington,” the administration official said, adding that the NSC considered “all sorts of options” in putting together its strategic review for Afghanistan.

But the field-grade Special Forces officer said that the requests for forces generated by commanders in Afghanistan do not seem to comport to any overall plan for the theater. “Commanders are asking for what they think they can get, rather than what they need,” he said.

However, the field-grade SF officer acknowledged that the NSC proposal had run up against stiff opposition among the special ops brass. “SOCOM, USASOC, [USASOC commander Lt. Gen. John] Mulholland, ASD SO/LIC [i.e., Vickers’ office] are saying, ‘We’re not going to put more [forces] in until you give us dedicated enablers,’” he said. In addition to more helicopters and ISR assets, such as Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, the enablers sought by the special operations headquarters include “more dedicated forward operating bases, more money for [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles], the whole package,” he added.

The short supply of helicopters in Afghanistan has been a constant problem for conventional forces and CJSOTF-A. Unlike the Joint Special Operations Command task force, which is directly supported by elements of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, “white” Special Forces groups do not have their own dedicated aviation units and have to compete for helicopter support with the rest of the U.S. and allied force in Afghanistan. But CJSOTF-A is commanded by a colonel, whereas the other organizations are all commanded by flag officers. “They’re left begging black SOF — the 160th — or begging conventional [forces] — the 101st Airborne — and who’s going to lose in that fight?” the field-grade Special Forces officer said.

However, a special ops surge would still benefit Afghanistan, said the field-grade SF officer, a proponent of the surge initiative. “The bottom line is even ODAs or [Marine Special Operations Command units] or Navy SEALs that are less enabled will make parts of Afghanistan better off if they’re doing full-spectrum counterinsurgency than those parts of Afghanistan that have nothing at all,” he said.

The Pentagon military official said that the planned deployment of an additional 20,000 U.S. troops, including three brigade combat teams, to Afghanistan would also include a lot of “enablers” that the special operations forces could use. “When you start building in BCTs … you get a lot of stuff that the SOF guys can fall in on,” the military official said. The Pentagon plan includes more helicopters being sent to Afghanistan, as well as the possibility of a one-star special operations flag officer to command “white” SOF forces in country, which would obviate the need to have “O-6s arm wrestling with O-7s and O-9s,” he said, referring to the paygrades for colonels, brigadier generals and lieutenant generals, respectively.

A field-grade officer in Washington who has been tracking the debate said that the “white” SOF leaders’ argument that their forces need more ISR assets and helicopters is a reflection of how Special Forces has veered away from its traditional mission of “foreign internal defense” — training host nation forces to conduct counterinsurgency — in favor of the more glamorous direct-action missions.

“Lute would say that’s a symptom of the problem,” the field-grade officer in Washington said regarding the insistence by some SF officers that the task force needs more ISR assets and helicopters before it can accommodate more troops. “You don’t need ISR and rotary-wing aviation if you’re training indigenous forces. You only need those things if you’re doing direct action.”

Lute thinks that special operations forces, particularly Special Forces, “are the right force” to send to Afghanistan because of their skills at teaching foreign internal defense, the field-grade officer in Washington said. “He seems to remember that once upon a time, SOF did something like that. Last we checked, their principal mission is raising and training indigenous forces.”

This might explain the special operations hierarchy’s opposition to Lute’s surge proposal, the field grade officer in Washington said. “This is an implict criticism of what SOF has done for the last five years,” he said. “They haven’t been training indigenous forces. That may be what SOCOM is objecting to, is it’s implicitly a critique of SOF’s over-fascination with direct action.”

He noted that Special Forces A-teams in Afghanistan are partnered with Afghan commando units, not regular Afghan National Army battalions. “The CJSOTF may think that ODAs are too good to work with conventional forces, [so] they only work with SOF-like forces,” he said.

The senior special operations staff officer acknowledged that SF A-teams in Afghanistan do not routinely partner with conventional Afghan units, but said some of the blame lies with the way the coalition mission in Afghanistan is structured. “The real question is, are all Special Forces in Afghanistan sufficiently postured with Afghan forces? And the answer is no,” he said. “The problem is that the advisory mission is separate from the SF mission. That’s the fundamental problem with Afghanistan.” As a result, he said, “Our ODAs are not being effectively employed.”

Under the Defense Department plan for Afghanistan, Army brigade combat teams and Marine regimental combat teams would be responsible for “mentoring” Afghan National Army units, but “white” special operations forces would also have a role, according to the Pentagon military official. “White SOF can come in and focus on the much harder nuts … the tougher missions,” he said, adding that he was not referring necessarily to “kinetic” operations, but to training missions at more remote locations.

“The framework is going to look a lot more like the framework did in Iraq over the last couple of years,” the Pentagon military official said.

Part of the debate over the feasibility of a special operations surge revolves around the perception by some surge proponents that special operations leaders are not making as many of their forces available as they might. “Lute, for a long time, has been talking about his deeply held belief from his time as the J-3 [director of operations on the Joint Staff] that the SOF are withholding a lot of their assets in order to preserve their op tempo and their retention numbers,” said the field-grade officer in Washington who has been following the debate.

Special Forces’ deployment ratio was 1 to 0.8, he said, meaning that for every day the average SF soldier spent deployed, he spent 0.8 of a day at home. “That’s not even 1 to 1,” the senior special operations staff officer said. “The guys are deployed more than they are home.”

This claim was flatly rejected by the senior special operations staff officer.

Of 288 A-teams in the five active-duty Special Forces groups — there are also two National Guard groups — about 36 are assigned to CJSOTF-A and 44 to CJSOTF-Arabian Peninsula, the “white” special operations task force in Iraq, for a total of 80 committed to the two wars at any one time. “However,” he said, “that number is really 160 ODAs committed to the CJSOTFs as they are on a seven months in, five months out rotation. In addition, he said, there is “an almost permanent presence” of two company headquarters (“B teams” in SF terminology) and about 10 A-teams in Colombia and Central America, about eight to 10 A-teams in the Philippines, “a handful” in the Horn of Africa and a similar number dedicated to the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership that includes countries across north and west Africa. When other A-teams conducting training in Pakistan and classified missions elsewhere are included, that makes for a total of about 32 A-teams committed outside of the two CJSOTFs, “which translates into a commitment of 64 ODAs with rotations,” the senior special operations staff officer said.

There is also a Special Forces presence at more than 40 U.S. embassies, while SF is supporting six “named” operations and more than 50 requests for forces around the world, he said. “There’s no ODAs sitting around doing nothing,” he added, noting that any deployment of additional Special Forces to Afghanistan “is going to be a question of priorities.”

The field-grade Special Forces officer acknowledged that pulling ODAs from other groups that do not habitually deploy to Afghanistan, such as 1st Group, which focuses mostly on east Asia, would incur a cost for regional combatant commanders in those parts of the world, who would have to curtail the number of joint/combined exchange training programs that Special Forces teams conduct with host nation forces. “There’s a huge list of JCETs and other missions that are going to go unfulfilled” in the event of a special operations surge into Afghanistan, he said.

However, it’s not clear that a SOF surge, whether the near-term one sought by the NSC or the longer-term one envisioned by the Pentagon plan, would be made of entirely or mostly of Special Forces units. CJSOTF-A already includes a Marine Special Operations Command element in western Afghanistan, which is likely to grow, the field grade Special Forces officer said. “The term that’s being bandied about is ‘ODA equivalents,’” he said.

The senior special operations staff officer scoffed at such talk. “There’s only SF,” he said. “There’s no SF equivalents. That’s idiocy. SEALs are not SF. MARSOC are not SF and SF are not SEALs. They’re not interchangeable. … Those people who are throwing that [term] around certainly don’t understand what they’re talking about.”

Organized Jewry Opposes Free Speech

Organized Jewry
Opposes Free Speech

By Prof Kevin MacDonald

It is something of an axiom of Jewish life that “Is it good for the Jews?” remains the litmus test of Jewish communal activity – in other words, interest over principles. A good example is free speech. There can be little doubt that the organized Jewish community sees free speech as a problem because it may be used to criticize the behavior of Jewish organizations and especially Israel.
In Canada the response of the organized Jewish community to recent demonstrations against Israel was to attempt to invoke Canada’s restrictions on free speech in order to silence their critics. The Canadian Jewish Congress complained that protests against Israel’s incursion into Gaza contained images that were “uncivil, un-Canadian, that demonize Jews and Israelis.” They are asking the police to investigate the matter, for referral to the Canadian Human Rights Commission which is in charge of enforcing laws that infringe on free speech. Although the organized Jewish community in Canada has strongly supported the thought crime legislation (see below), Bernie Farber, the head of the CJC, stated “we are firm supporters and believers in the need to be able to demonstrate passionately in free and democratic societies.”
Because of the First Amendment, we are still a ways from situation in Canada here in the US. Nevertheless, the ADL has been in the forefront of promoting hate-crime legislation in America, and there can be little doubt that they see the First Amendment as a barrier to their interests in suppressing thoughts and speech critical of Israel and other Jewish interests.
An example of the efforts of the organized Jewish community in the direction of thought control is the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. This law created an office of “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” within the State Department, headed by Gregg J. Rickman. The act not only requires the State Department to document acts of anti-Semitism, but also to “combat acts of anti-Semitism globally.”
The act does not say what the U.S. must do to combat anti-Semitism around the world. I assume combating anti-Semitism wouldn’t require any more in the way of lives and money than, say, the war in Iraq – another project spearheaded by Jewish activism on behalf of Israel. But that may be wishful thinking as the same activists are avidly promoting a war with Iran which would likely be even more disastrous.
In any case, the office issued its most recent Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism Report (GASR) in March of last year. The document is an excellent example of Jewish activism that would be unremarkable except that it is now officially ensconced at the highest reaches of the U.S. government. As we shall see, it goes beyond criticism anti-Jewish actions to anti-Jewish attitudes, such as statements about Jewish influence.
The report performs the by now familiar casuistry on Israel as a cause of anti-Semitism. The reader is led to believe that the allegations of Israeli atrocities are overblown propaganda – when the real question is just how Palestinians manage to survive at all in the occupied territories. The recent horrifying incursion into Gaza is only the most recent example. Not only did Israel carry out a starvation-inducing blockade during a ceasefire and an assault that finally provoked Palestinian retaliation, there seems little doubt that Israel committed war crimes – particularly the use of white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas.
The report complains that Israel’s bad behavior is singled out while nobody cares when other governments behave inhumanely. The problem here is that because Israel’s bad behavior is in important ingredient in enflaming the entire region, it should interest everyone. And because of the role of the Israel Lobby in shaping American policy, Israel’s bad behavior is even more properly the concern of all Americans. American taxpayers are not being asked to massively subsidize other badly behaved governments, nor are they asked to fight and die in wars designed to advance the interests of those governments.
The report graciously states that “responsible criticism” of Israel’s policies is acceptable. (Thanks!) But there’s a catch: “Those criticiz-ing Israel have a responsibility to consider the effect their actions may have in prompting hatred of Jews.”
This, of course, has the effect of proscribing criticism of Israel for fear of being called an anti-Semite. Presumably responsible criticism of Israel does not include books like John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt’s The Israel Lobby, despite its academic tone and masterful marshalling of evidence. Jewish activists have routinely accused the authors of resurrecting the Protocols and other vicious acts of anti-Semitism.
As the report notes, Israel is without doubt the source of most anti-Jewish words and deeds in the contemporary world. But the report also points to traditional Jewish stereotypes as a continuing concern: Jews as more loyal to Israel and Jewish interests than the interests of their country of residence; and Jews as having inordinate influence and control over media, the economy or government. For example, according to ADL surveys, substantial percentages of Europeans believe that Jews have too much power in business and in international financial markets. (The percentages range from around 20% in Germany to 60% in Hungary.)
Similarly, ADL surveys indicate that beliefs that Jews are disloyal are common among Europeans, ranging from 39% in France to 60% in Spain. The report notes that “those who believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country tend to believe that Jew-ish lobbying groups and individual Jews in influential positions in national governments seek to bend policy toward Israel’s interests.”
In other words, these anti-Semites are living under the illusion that organizations like AIPAC actually have some influence. And they may even believe that highly placed Jews like Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams and Richard Perle may have steered U.S. policy in a way that benefited Israel to the detriment of the United States.
As I noted in my review of Mearsheimer and Walt, Pro-Israel activists such as Perle typically phrase their policy recommendations as aimed at benefiting the United States. Perle does this despite evidence that he has a strong Jewish identity and despite the fact that he has typical Jewish concerns, such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and the welfare of Israel. Perle poses as an American patriot despite credible charges of spying for Israel, writing reports for Israeli think tanks and op-eds for the Jerusalem Post, and maintaining close personal relation-ships with Israeli leaders.
Needless to say, the GASR is not a good place to find nuanced or fair treatments of these issues.
The GASR also has a section deploring ethnic nationalist movements of non-Jews, mainly in Eastern Europe, complaining that these movements are commonly anti-Jewish. Typically the anti-Jewish sentiments of such movements stem from the perception that Jews are an elite with considerable power and that this elite opposes the ethno-nationalism of non-Jews-a view that certainly has some basis in reality. (Jewish opposition to ethno-nationalism is restricted to non-Jews in areas where Jews form a Diaspora; it does not, of course, apply to Israel.)
For example, the GASR singles out Roman Catholic institutions as “encouraging anti-Semitism and ethnic and religious chauvinism.” Chief among the offenders is a conservative Catholic radio station in Poland, Radio Maryja, cited for claiming that “Jews were pushing the Polish government to pay exorbitant private property restitution claims [for Holocaust reparations], and that Poland’s President was `in the pocket of the Jewish lobby.'”
This seems odd, since it would hardly be surprising if indeed Jews and Jewish organizations were pressuring the Polish government on this issue. Indeed, Norman Finkelstein points out:
In negotiations with Eastern Europe, Jewish organizations and Israel have demanded the full restitution of or monetary compensation for the pre-war communal and private assets of the Jewish community. Consider Poland. The pre-war Jewish population of Poland stood at 3.5 million; the current population is several thousand. Yet, the World Jewish Restitution Organization demands title over the 6,000 pre-war communal Jewish properties, including those currently being used as hospitals and schools. It is also laying claim to hundreds of thousands of parcels of Polish land valued in the many tens of billions of dollars. Once again the entire US political and legal establishment has been mobilized to achieve these ends. Indeed, New York City Council members unanimously supported a resolution calling on Poland ‘to pass comprehensive legislation providing for the complete restitution of Holocaust assets’, while 57 members of Congress (led by Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York) dispatched a letter to the Polish parliament demanding ‘comprehensive legislation that would return 100% of all property and assets seized during the Holocaust’.
No sign of Jewish involvement there. Clearly, Radio Marija is way out of line.
Incidentally, Finkelstein has paid dearly for offending the Israel Lobby: blacklisted from employment in the academic world, deported and barred from Israel, and living in a rent-stabilized apartment near his boyhood home in Brooklyn. The Lobby clearly believes in free speech so long as it’s in done in one’s closet and assuming the neighbors can’t hear it. (More on this below.)
Also related to Poland, the GASR notes that Maciej Giertych, European Parlia-ment Deputy and former head of the Political Party League of Polish Families, wrote a booklet “suggesting that Jews were unethical and a `tragic community’ because they did not accept Jesus as the Messiah.” The report also deplored the ADL’s finding that 39% of Polish respondents agreed that “Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.”
This is truly amazing. Here we have an official U.S. government report condemning a Polish politician and a large percentage of the Polish people for expressing religious ideas that date from the origins of the Church in antiquity. It’s very reminiscent of the situation in Canada where the Christian Heritage Party has been charged with promoting hatred because they published material opposing homosexuality for religious reasons stemming from their reading of the Bible.
Incidentally, the GASR complains that Giertych also claimed that “Jews `create their own ghettos’ because they like to separate themselves from others.” Residential segregation, of course, was standard Jewish behavior in the Diaspora beginning in the ancient world, and it certainly occurred in Poland well into modern times. Indeed, it continues in many areas of the Diaspora today. But, as with thought crimes generally, truth is no defense.
The GASR coyly states that “While the report describes many measures that foreign governments have adopted to combat anti-Sem-itism, it does not endorse any such measures that prohibit conduct that would be protected under the U.S. Constitution.”
Nevertheless, the act requires the compilation of material that would presumably be protected by the US Constitution, in particular “instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote racial hatred against Jewish people.” When one considers that a great many of the attitudes mentioned in the GASR are either substantially factual or reflect common religious beliefs, they would certainly seem to fall within the protections of the First Amendment.
And it’s pretty clear where its heart lies. Indeed, as Ezra Levant has recently described, Jewish organizations and activists have been a major source of support for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, intervening in dozens of cases in favor of plaintiffs.
Levant describes the Simon Weisenthal Center as “one of the most vicious interveners in Canadian Human Rights Commission censorship trials.” And Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress stated recently that “our anti-hate laws are probably the most underused.” Levant comments: “That sounds like Ian Fine, senior counsel for the CHRC, who declared that `there can’t be enough laws against hate.’ So while the rest of the country is realizing that our government censorship has gone too far, Farber says it goes nowhere far enough; it’s underused. He wants more censorship, more government intervention into thoughts and ideas – and the emotion called `hate’.”
Clearly, the office of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is nothing if not a Jewish activist organization. And it doubtless would love to institute the same kinds of thought control in the U.S. that have made Canada into a police state. Indeed, it would be entirely within the letter of the law that created this monster if the United States were to declare war on Poland as a means of combating anti-Semitism. At least it won’t be necessary to invade Canada.
Kevin MacDonald is a professor of psychology at California State University­Long Beach.

Mubarak Thinks Kissing Israel’s Ass More Important Than Food For Gaza

Cairo against Iran aid delivery to Gaza
Wed, 28 Jan 2009 15:33:40 GMT

Egypt has officially refused to give an Iranian aid ship permission to dock at Al-Areesh port.

Cairo has officially refused to give an Iranian relief ship permission to unload Gaza-bound humanitarian aid at an Egyptian seaport.

After weeks of stalling the Iranian aid ship Shahed some 25 km (15 miles) off the coast of Gaza, the Egyptian government expressed opposition to the emergency delivery through the Al-Areesh port, an informed source said Wednesday.

The move dealt a blow to efforts by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) aimed at channeling desperately-needed aid to Gazans, added the source who requested anonymity.

“The Immoral opposition of Egypt to aid transits is clearly a sign of cooperation with Israel and its policy of choking off humanitarian deliveries to Gazans,” he added.

Following the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, the Islamic Republic loaded a ship with 2,000 tons of medical and food supplies to help allay the humanitarian crisis brought about by the intense fighting.

The vessel, however, was intercepted by Israeli naval forces on January 14 and consequently opted to deliver the cargo through Egypt, the only state that shares a border with the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian authorities issued permits for the aid’s dispatch via the Al-Areesh port – some 50km (30 miles) off the coastal strip – but later backtracked on their promises.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Tuesday, the chief of operations of the Iranian Red Crescent, Morteza Shadbakht, said that the Iranian relief society was working hard to secure the delivery.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the head of the Egyptian interests section in Tehran, Amre al- Zayat, on Tuesday to expound on why the ship has not been permitted to dock.

The United Nations, concerned about the deepening humanitarian impact of the war, says there is an urgent need for emergency shipment as Tel Aviv’s repeated interception of Gaza-bound stockpiles of food, fuel and medicine has strangled humanitarian efforts for the besieged Palestinians.

Hamas officials have started paying compensation to the Gazan families who have lost their home in Israel’s three-week-long incursion into the Palestinian territory.

“We try to keep thing even between all people therefore we deliver to every family that lost their home 5000 dollars and every family that has a house which is not inhabitable 2500,” said Hamas welfare minister Ahmed al-Kurd.

An estimated 60,800 people are left homeless and more than 100,000 people remain displaced in the coastal sliver. Running water and electricity are reportedly available less than 12 hours a day. “Entire neighborhoods have disappeared,” the BBC reported.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has reported that more than 4,100 homes have been reduced to rubble and 17,000 others damaged.