Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida

“The United States and its allies in the war on terrorism must defuse the widespread image of Al Qaeda as a ubiquitous, super-organized terror network and call it as it is: a loose collection of groups and individuals that doesn’t even refer to itself as “Al Qaeda.” Most of the affiliated groups have distinct goals within their own countries or regions, and pose little direct threat to the United States. Washington must also be careful not to imply that any attack anywhere is by definition, or likely, the work of Al Qaeda.

This phenomenon of “exaggerated enemy” is not new.” —Debunk the myth of Al Qaeda,

Its size and reach have been blown out of proportion

Global Research, January 13, 2008

The myth of “al Qaida” is built on an expansive foundation of many half-truths and hidden facts.  It is a CIA creation.  It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute “enemy” for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan.  Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of a mythical worldwide network of Islamic terrorists from the exploits of the Afghan Mujahedeen. The CIA already had their own network of Islamic militant “freedom fighters,” all that was needed were a few scattered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the “great leader.”

The really tricky part of creating a mythical terrorist monster out of an incomplete truth is laying-out the facts behind your mythical story without revealing the whole truth about your part in its creation.  In order to explain away the billions of dollars worth of weapons and training that went into the operation, they chose a rich jihadi, a Saudi millionaire named Osama bin Laden, who had been a faithful recruiter and business agent of the Mujahedeen.  He was painted as the sole financier of the entire enormous operation that was centered in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Bin Laden may not even have known that he was playing a part in a deceitful CIA global drama until after the fact.  It is more likely that his history was chosen many years later to serve as the legacy of “al Qaida,” than it is that he was a brainwashed tool of the spy agency all along.

The story of bin Laden is the story of the secret CIA/ISI insurgent camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Osama was 22 years old in 1979, when he was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.

“Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities was used to finance the recruitment of Mujahedeen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.”  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7746

Researcher Kurt Nimmo writes:

“The database of Islamic fighters that was collected by the program was labeled n Arabic, ‘Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’, which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the Arabs commonly used the short word ‘Al Qaida” which is the Arabic word for ‘base.'”  http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=3569

In 1989, the US, under George Bush Sr. moved to abandon Afghanistan, making preparations to attack Saddam Hussein long before he had ever moved against Kuwait in 1991.  As far as Bush knew, the spy agency had obeyed his orders to abandon the Afghan tribal bloodbath and civil war, but the CIA knew better than the Commander-In-Chief.  This fit in well with a deceitful Secretary of Defense, who had also believed that he knew better than his boss, (as evidenced by Cheney ordering his underling Paul Wolfowitz to draw-up an alternative foreign policy, known as the “Defense Planning Guidance”).  The covert foreign policy of Reagan and Carter had became even more secret, as control of the camp network was submerged even deeper into the bowels of the secret world of the CIA.

The CIA  did not pull out of the jihadi program after the Soviet withdrawal, leaving it solely in the ISI’s hands.  There is a massive trail of evidence which proves that all the Islamist extremists who were trained under this program, to undermine Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt, the US and England, were not all Pakistan’s doing.  This has always been a CIA program.  The attempt to pretend that we were washing our hands of it, was to give “plausible deniability” to the President of the United States, that he had ordered an end to the effort.  CIA appeared to comply, as they covertly ignored the position of their old boss and set their own foreign policy.  The ensuing Kashmiri conflict, started in 1989 by American and Pakistani trained forces, was an act of war against India. Which part of the Executive Branch was responsible for the new plan?  Who this a presidential decision, or was it a rogue agency that decided on its own to turn the Islamists against us, manipulating the Islamists into openly kill 3000 Americans on 9/11?  Whose plan were the Islamists and the covert planters of explosives executing on that new day of infamy?

Pakistanis seethed with anger at the US for abandoning them in the mess we had made; they were only doing what America had demanded of them.

“Many in the ISI loathe the United States. They view America as an unreliable and duplicitous ally, being especially resentful of the 1990 sanctions, which came one year after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the ISI is dominated by Pashtuns, the same tribe that is the Taliban‘s base of support across the border in Afghanistan. Partly because of its family, clan, and business ties to the Taliban, the ISI, even more than Pakistani society in general, has become increasingly enamored of radical Islam in recent years.” [Slate, 10/9/2001]…

On October 12, 1999 the ISI installed the government of Pervez Musharref, in a coup d’etat, removing Nawaz Sharif out of fear that he might give-in to American pressure and stop supporting the Taliban.

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/context.jsp?item=a101299pakistancoup

After the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, the camps kept churning out highly-skilled terrorists, to foment other armed insurgencies in places like Kashmir (lasting until the war with India in 1999).  The CIA/ISI camps were terrorist factories, as they kept turning out successive armies of paramilitary units and skilled terrorists.  They trained many of the Bosnian fighters in 1992 and 1995, Chechens in 1994 and 1996, Taliban in 1995 and 1996, and the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998-99.  Former honor students of the camps went on to attempt to kill Benazir Bhutto in 1993 (Yousef and KSM), bomb the World Trade Center the first time (Yousef). Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was an agent of chaos, who immediately set about destabilizing the victorious Mujahedeen in Afghanistan by firing rockets at Kabul, igniting the Afghan civil war.  Mullah Omar received satellite intel from the CIA, revealing to him the location of a hidden convey of Soviet trucks loaded with weaponry, giving him the upper hand in the civil war.

According to India’s Embassy, Pakistan’s terrorism network consisted of :

“38 terrorist training centres from where recruits were regularly sent on “jehad” missions to Kashmir and other parts of the world…Facts and figures about Pakistan’s role in fostering terrorism in India compiled by Indian security forces are as follows: Number of terrorist camps in Pakistan 37; number of terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 49; number of Pakistan-run terrorist camps in Afghanistan: 22; total number of hardcore terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 2300; total number of foreign mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 900; number of Pakistan terrorists killed by Indian security forces: 291; number of Indian civilians killed by Pakistan terrorists: over 29,000…Harkat-ul-Ansar, Al-Badr, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, all associated with terrorist financier Osama bin Laden.” 

http://www.indianembassy.org/press/New_Delhi_Press/September_1999/Pak_Terrorism_Network_Sept_15_1999.htm

In the early years, the camps produced two terrorist superstars, Ramsey Yousef and Ali Mohamed.  While Yousef did spread his talents and skills liberally throughout the Muslim world, it was Ali who made the terrorists more skilled and successfully instigated many large terrorist attacks.  As an officer in the Egyptian military, he had served in the same unit as the assassins who killed Anwar Sadat.  He later moved about freely in the world of Islamist radicals at the al-Farouq mosque and al Qaida recruitment center in Brooklyn, which had produced El-Sayeed Nosair, the killer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, brought the “blind sheikh” together with bin Laden and his Islamic “charities,” as well as Osama’s spiritual mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

As an American Special Forces trainer, Ali acquired specialized skills and combat training programs, which he taught in the camps.  Under the name “Abu Mohamed al-Amriki,” he offered Zawahiri a CIA bribe of $50 million to attempt to overthrow the Egyptian government in 1998.  He did the groundwork for the plot to blow-up two American embassies in Africa and at least one attempt to assassinate Qaddafi.  Ali Mohamed is the linchpin in the plot to fabricate the al Qaida super-enemy.  It will be the task of future historians to determine whether he was manipulating al Qaida for the CIA or playing the CIA for al Qaida – perhaps both answers are correct.

The CIA/ISI camps, organized by Ali, the trainer, were a source of instruction for nearly every terrorist attack upon the West.  Graduate Ramsey Yousef and “the blind Sheikh”  were instrumental to the first World Trade Center bombing, while Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the brains behind the successful second bombing.  Their associate, CIA pawn Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was instrumental in turning the successful Afghan revolution into a civil war and keeping it going.  He was also a key player in the Taliban resurgence against the US.   The Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization trained 300 men at these camps.  The London 7/7 terrorists and the “shoe bomber” all visited these camps before their attacks. Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols allegedly came into contact with some of this group (possibly in the same area as Ramsey Yousef, at a time when both were there) on his visits to the Philippines before the OKC  attack.  It is rumored on the Internet that Saudi intelligence told the FBI that Saddam Hussein had commissioned Pakistanis to bring down the Murrah Building.  The infamous dark-skinned “John Doe No. 2” might have been a Pakistani.  He was described as a Middle Eastern type.

After Clinton took over from Bush, he rediscovered the Islamist Network.  Parts of the hidden program begin to resurface.  According to author Yossef Bodansky (director Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare), in 1993,

“Clinton began a covert operation with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, to send money and arms to Bosnia-Herzegovina…complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo…involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline  elements of Al Qaida in Albania.”

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Bosnia/bodansky2.html

“Some of these actions were under direct command of Al Qaida “number two” Ayman al-Zawahiri, who oversaw the program to smuggle weapons and mujahedeen though Croatia into Bosnia.  This secret program was later duplicated with the Kosovo Liberation Army, and again in nearby Macedonia, as well as in Chechnya.”

http://www.amazon.com/Bin-Laden-Man-Declared-America/dp/0761535810

Clinton also is alleged to have used these Al Qaida offshoots against Egypt, after President Mubarak opposed Clinton’s use of force against Iraq in February 1998.  Some of these Islamists, again led by Zawahiri, had tried to assassinate Mubarak in 1995.

The Islamist foreign policy of the United States did not end with Bill Clinton, or even with the 9/11 attacks.  Bush is playing the same card throughout the Muslim world, as we see him apply the “El Salvador option” (adapted from the Islamist program) to every situation claimed to be caused by “elements associated with al Qaida.”  We are hiring and training gangs of Sunni mercenaries to start wars throughout the Muslim world.  Either we hire them openly, like the “Awakening” group in Iraq, semi-secretly, like the PAJEK Kurds hired to hit Iran and the Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon, or back them super-secretively, like elements of the Pakistani Taliban, whom we mislabel as “al Qaida.”

Our own spy agency is behind the killing of thousands of American soldiers and civilians all over the world.  They are also responsible for continued Afghan opium production, as it has always served as the primary funding source for CIA paramilitary operations there.  The poppies funded the original Pakistani camps and their current resurgence.  Much of the poppy fields and most of the camps lie within a sixty-mile radius of Peshawar.  This is the zone of instability that overlaps the northernmost regions of Pakistan bordering Kashmir, the epicenter of the massive October 2005 earthquake that further devastated the people.

Within this sixty-mile radius lies the infamous Tora Bora “fortress,” bin Laden’s redoubt, where his forces made their last stand in Afghanistan.  It was built on the Kabul River, near the Swat Valley, the site of the original camps and the current Pakistani/Taliban battles, set-off by Musharref’s  meeting of US demands.  Tora Bora is part of the Darunta Camp complex [34°28’00″N 70°22’00″E], the former location of Al-Badr I military base near Jalalabad.  According to Internet sources, bin Laden allegedly took possession of this facility directly from the CIA, upon his return from Sudan in 1996.  At the time of the US invasion of Afghanistan, American media sources were hyping Tora Bora as a super fortress, equipped as an underground city, even having its own hydroelectric plant.  This underground facility would have had to have cost at least a billion dollars to construct.  They released this artist’s rendition to the public as US bombers were dropping everything they had on it.   disputed the fortress story

http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/2002image/netherpopup.gif

The satellite photos below are supposed to be from the Darunta site, matching closely the level of complexity attributed to the facility during the battle, which the media quickly denied as hype, after our troops failing to get bin Laden there, preferring to show instead, a bunch of primitive caves.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/
afghanistan/images/ik_darunta_tunnel_overview_an_s.jpg

The following map pinpoints the large helipad used to supply Darunta–

http://maps.google.com/maps?
f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Darunta+afghanistan&sll=34.116797,70.
217421&sspn=0.004299,0.009334&ie=UTF8&ll=34.490499,70.372066&spn=0.01712,0.037336&t=k&z=15&iwloc=E&om=0

The ongoing offensive in the Swat zone of instability began when Pakistan agreed to US demands to assault the “Red Mosque” Islamic compound in Islamabad.  The storming of the compound ignited an uprising in the Northwest Provinces by followers of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz.  The Islamists had become more and more successful at their attempts to spark the building democratic-revolution, emboldening Pakistani lawyers to mount large protests, threatening to sweep Musharref and his US allies away.  Musharref has escalated the confrontation with the Islamists by supporting the ISI attempt to blame one of them, Baitullah Mehsud, for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

One-hundred seventy-five miles south of the Swat Valley war zone, around the town of Wana, Mehsud has stood with al Qaida and the foreign Taliban against local Islamists, headed by Maulvi Nazir, who has been waging war to evict al Qaida foreigners (mostly Uzbeks) and Afghan Taliban from his territory.  The al Qaida flocked to the area in 2001 after being driven from the Kandahar area in Afghanistan, which adjoins northwest Baluchistan.  Nazir has followed the same pattern that we have seen the people adopt in Iraq, where Sunnis turn against al Qaida because of their brutal attacks to force harsh Sharia law upon them.  After Nazir could stand no more, he gathered together 900 of his friends from the “local Taliban,” to drive the mostly Uzbeki al Qaida from South Waziristan.  The government provided aid to Nazir’s fight, but when government forces tried to actively fight alongside the defending Waziri, it felt the combined retaliation of both sides.

Recently, nine of Nazir’s representatives to upcoming peace talks with the government were killed in rocket attacks, blamed on Uzbekis who were connected to Mehsud.  The attack was probably another part of the ISI disinformation campaign to turn local Islamists against Mehsud’s Taliban, designed to trigger more of the anti-Uzbeki attacks.  After the attack, Nazir issued a deadline for all of the Mehsud to leave the area.  The Waziri are expected to attempt to drive the Mehsud tribesmen northward of Wana, into the Kurram Agency, which has a large Shiite population.  This area will have to become the focus of CIA/ISI secret plans to foment religious war against the Shia, supporters of Iran, by driving the Sunnis and Shiites together.  Kurram adjoins the area of Tora Bora, on the edge of the large circular zone of instability. Baitullah Mehsud has also been linked to attacks upon Shiites in the Kohat area.  Other reports from the area claim that Mehsud is marked for assassination by a government death squad.

http://www.topnews.in/pak-agencies-devise-strategy-kill-baitullah-mehsud-210441

Wana sits squarely on the trail used by Islamic fighters traveling from the Swat region to the heated battlefield in Southeastern Afghanistan, on the northern edge of the Baluch region.  This is the border area between the multinational Pashtun and Baluch tribes.  The Taliban are primarily a Pashtun movement.  It appears that the goal of the US is to use these inter-tribal hostilities to erase the borders of the two countries.  In 2005, al-Qaeda and the Taliban took over this area, “transforming Baluchistan from a logistics center to an operational base.”
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369909

The sparsely populated Baluch area is also home to Pakistan’s huge reserves of natural gas, the chosen route for the India-Iran gas lines, and several nuclear research and delivery sites.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/facility/pakistan-fac3.gif

Recent attacks by Jundallah terrorists into Iran came from this region.

The recent attempt to blame Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a textbook example of the Pakistani ISI duplicity in the region.  Even while government spokesmen finger Mehsud for the hit, other ISI operatives and journalists (Pakistani neocons) are spreading rumors, alleging his involvement with the anti-America/Musharref resistance.

“To neutralise that strategic blunder, the ISI operatives are trying to present Pakistan and Pakistan army as a target of the US aggression. Of course they are the primary targets of the US.  But Musharraf definitely is not.  To indirectly generate sympathies for Musharraf, the ISI analysis try to explain how Pakistan military is being strategically sabotaged, forgetting the fact that this has nothing to do with the US plans against Musharraf because Musharraf is the key facilitators of all anti-Pakistan plans by the neocons and warlords in Washington.  The ISI attempt to parade Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and the Maulana of Swat as ISI agents just doesn’t hold water…If Al-Qaeda is in fact fighting for the US against Pakistan, what is all this fuss about the ‘war on terrorism’ on the part of Mush and his cronies in Islamabad?”

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/48555

The author of that commentary may have been more of a prophet than he realized, when he asked if al Qaida was fighting for the United States.  Hasn’t it been said, that the best place to hide something is to put it in plain sight?  Rumors created by ISI liars may be more factual than that which they proffer as truth.  By starting a whispering campaign to tell the truth about their intentions they know that it won’t be believed, because of its source.  Known liars like Bush and Musharref, speaking honestly about their intentions, cover the truth with their  dishonest reputations.

In the northern quadrant of this zone is the critical Swat Valley region, the focal point of the ongoing military offensive.  In this jihadi stronghold, we find al Qaida Uzbeks again fomenting rebellion.  “Radio Mullah,” otherwise known as Maulana Fazlullah of Swat, works diligently to broadcast his fundamentalist Wahabbi/Taliban values, backed up by 500 well-armed followers, including Uzbek fighters.   He is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, founder of the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws).  Here hardcore Taliban, al Qaida, TNSM and other organizations await the promised arrival of the American Special Forces, planning to repel them just as they have successfully done with the Pakistani Army. Also within this same circle lies a large percentage of Pakistan’s nuclear development and delivery systems.

The escalating drama that is planned for this region, dreamed-up by the sick mind of Dick Cheney and his pals from the dark side over at CIA, is now set to play out in the planned Frontier Corps.  The insane notion of training still more paramilitary units to fight the old ones is a continuation of the same tragedy that has played-out in this cursed region for thirty years or more.  The plan is to use Special Forces to train new Islamists and to stage attacks that will hopefully ignite an intra-Taliban war, or, even better, an Iraqi-type religious civil war.  Either scenario will open a path to American bombers heading through the back door into Iran.

Global Research Articles by Peter Chamberlin

High alert sounded at Attari after Lahore siege

Dharmendra Rataul

Attari: We could hear powerful blasts throughout the day. We thought there were some exercises going on in Pakistan,” said a Border Security Force jawan posted at the Indo-Pak joint border check post here. He was reacting to the daring terrorist attack on Pakistan’s police academy near Lahore, which is merely 8 km from here. Situated on the Lahore-Wagah GT Road, the academy was under siege on Monday and the gunbattle was clearly audible at Attari.

Though it was business as usual at the joint check post, there has been an unprecedented step-up in security. “We saw Pakistani Rangers swing into action immediately as they were called away from the border post to fight the terrorists,” said BSF officials requesting anonymity.

“We have put the forces at high alert. This is for the first time that terrorists have struck so close to the international border,” said BSF Inspector General Himmat Singh, adding, “I would not be able to comment more, but we have

taken all precautionary measures required and security and patrolling on the border has been stepped up.”

Goods trucks, Lahore-Delhi and Delhi-Lahore buses crossed over to Pakistan as usual, but an uneasy calm prevailed due to the security forces becoming more vigilant. “When I took the truck to Pakistan, the security forces there did not allow me to alight from the truck. I kept sitting inside as the goods were unloaded,” said Balbir Singh, a truck driver.

Though IG Himmat Singh did not confirm, BSF sources said the BSF had taken up the matter of foolproof security to visitors during the Retreat ceremony on Monday. More than 20,000 visitors gathered for the Retreat ceremony at sunset today. “The number of passengers on Pakistan’s side was lesser,” said Resham Singh, a porter at the border.

On the other hand, the Lahore-Delhi bus carrying 40 passengers and Delhi-Lahore bus with 22 passengers on board crossed into India and Pakistan, respectively, amid tight security. “The route of the bus was diverted in Pakistan and security has been increased,” said Ashaliya Masih, a traveller. The number of passengers on Samjhauta Express that arrived from Pakistan at Attari was drastically low on Monday. While the number is usually 500 to 600, the train had just 238 persons on board, confirmed Railways authorities at Attari international railway station.

BSF on high alert along Wagah border

IT’S GETTING PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT MEHSUD AND HIS GOONS ARE TRYING TO EMBROIL THE PAKISTANI ARMY IN ANOTHER WAR ON ITS EASTERN BORDER AGAINST INDIA, TO TAKE THE HEAT OFF THEMSELVES ON THE WESTERN BORDER.  C’MON, GEN. KAYANI, IF IT IS TIME FOR WAR, THEN DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF WHO STARTED IT. IT MAY BE TIME TO RECTIFY THIRTY-ODD YEARS OF MISTAKES BY BOTH OF OUR GOVERNMENTS.

BSF on high alert along Wagah border

3/30/2009 4:25:31 PM

BSF has sounded a high alert along the Wagah border after heavily armed gunmen today (March 30) stormed a police academy in Lahore, 12 km from the Indian border, killing at least 22 policemen, including 11 officers.

“An alert has been issued along the Indo-Pakistan border especially along Wagah. The troops have been asked to keep a strict vigil and remain on high alert for any possible attempts of intrusion and other suspect activities,” a senior BSF officer here said.

The alert has been issued under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) followed by BSF whenever there is an activity on the other side of the border, the officer said. The BSF has also asked officers at the Western frontier to report any suspected incident to the headquarters in the national capital immediately, the officer said.

However, the historical and ceremonial flag lowering and change of guard at Wagah will not be affected and will take place as usual in the evening, the officer added. At least five blasts were heard at the training centre at Manawan in Lahore, located a few kilometre from the Wagah border around 0700 hours today.

Challenging the excuse of anti-Semitism- I want to breathe in a clean air

Challenging the excuse of anti-Semitism

I want to breathe in a clean air

AUTHOR:  Kourosh ZIABARI ˜æÑæÔ ÖیÇÈÑی

Nobody, even the hawks and tyrants themselves, would deny the fact that the majority of world’s decision are made by a group of certain leaders who lead the certain countries of some certain regions! Our world’s population approaches 7 billion as of 2008, living in 203 sovereign states and countries, and there just something around 30 people who decide the destiny and prospect of these 7 billion “flock”, and this is exactly what we expect of the 21st century’s democracy; a revolutionized form of a then-sublime concept that the conscious human would enthusiastically long for.

Perhaps the extraordinary and outlandish ethnic cleansing and systematic massacre of civilians, committed habitually by the state of Israel, is something instinctive to the very existence of the 60-year old “country”, and as said by Gilad Atzmon in an interview which I had once conducted with him, you can not expect benevolent, human and lawful treatment of downtrodden people by the Jewish state.

However, what makes me astonishingly baffled and bemused is the approach of European and North American states to the long-standing punishment of Palestinian people by Israel. Once you dare appear and criticize Israel for its illegal actions, a bunch of mainstreams set off to mobilize and accuse you of the famous ‘anti-Semitism’, ‘anti-Judaism’ and such libels.

Interestingly, those who expound these accusations are either really uneducated and unaware about the historical facts or pretend to be so ignorant and uninformed. Etymologically, Semitism refers to the adherence of Semitic languages or ancient Semitic religions. In the former case, Semitic languages are a group of intertwined languages which comprise Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya and Hebrew. Arabic is the most widely spoken one among the Semitic languages. So anti-Semitism, in its etymological foundation, should more than likely signify the notion of being opposed to Arabic and Amharic languages, and this is basically unwarranted and meaningless.

If one considers the latter case, Semitic religions are Christianity, Islam and Judaism; Christianity and Islam rank first in the world by number of adherents namely 2.1 billion and 1.5 billion respectively. The total number of world Jews, however, does not surpass 14 million, which is comparatively insignificant in compare with the two other nations. So anti-Semitism, again do not represent the school of being opposed to Judaism, as a monotheistic religion.

Those who consciously employ this term to demoralize the critics of Israel know well that they can potentially embroil Arabs, Muslims (as all of the Arabs are not necessarily Muslims), African speakers of Semitic languages, Christians and Jews in an erosive conflict with together.

They want to portray Israel as the symbol of Judaism and intimidate the dissidents of Israel thereby, so that they retract and pull back criticizing the genocidal policies of Tel Aviv and its allies.

Issues are really complicated in this field; because you can not argue with and convince the ordinary people to believe that a “country” can not be the representative of a religion, as Saudi Arabia can not be the representative of Islam. Religion is the intuitive incorporation of moral, ethical, human and decent values in the hearts and minds of people, and no governmental system can claim that it symbolizes the absolute, supreme incarnation of the official religion which it clings to. Maybe, for example, Iran’s name is officially mingled with the name of Islam, and the governmental system is theocratic, even so, that would be irrational to judge on Islam and its reality based on the situation of Iran. Perhaps Iran might be impoverished someday due to the financial meltdown, so would it be then practicable to conclude that Islam is the religion of poverty and shortage?

In the same way, you can not evaluate religion by considering the majority. The Majority of American people (around 75% of the population as of 2002) are Christians, while the governmental system is secular; nonetheless, you can not assess the authenticity and veracity of Christianity on the ground of American people’s lifestyle, behavior, contemplation and manner. Even the practicing Christians of the U.S. are much far away from the fundamental pillars of their religion.

Similarly, Israel is not the manifestation of Judaism. Judaism denounces terrorism, killing of the innocent, occupation and trespassing. Israel introduces itself as a Jewish State, while it’s not really what it maintains; it does not practice what it preaches, and unfortunately is wrongly blending the expansionist, interventionist and reactionary notion of Zionism with Judaism as a religion.

However, these lexical, etymological and methodological differences aside, what is worth the most is that resistance against bully and oppressor is a cultural heritage that Palestinians have used to nurture during times. I believe that the bastion of resistance against aggression which the Palestinian people have long formed, examines the moral and ethical genuineness of our personalities, thinkers, rhetoricians and theoreticians.

I don’t want to give an ultimate declaration; yet I believe that the unconditional support of Israel which is extensively prevalent among the hawkish conservatives and warmonger hardliners with the pretext of defending “Israel’s right to exist” or recognizing its right to “self-defense” merely indicates an advertent blind eye to one of the most striking realities of our era.

Thousands of people are ousted from their lands, being slaughtered usually as an entertaining activity for its perpetrators and live under the harshest threats one can undergo.

We don’t request anything. Just we want the ‘international community’, if that’s not a linguistic equivalent for the U.S. and its European friends, to act, and fulfill the content of 22 UNSC resolutions which have been issued so far, to condemn the unusual actions of Israel. Israel is called the “occupying power” by the UNSC, and we want somebody to end this occupation.

I want, as a citizen of the world, to breathe in a clean, pure and unsullied air. I want to wake up one morning, and hear from the radio that occupation of Palestinians’ lands, massacre of Palestinian people and violation of Palestinians’ rights is eventually ended. May I experience that day?



Source: Tlaxcala

Original article published on 31 March, 2009

About the author

Iranian journalist Kourosh Ziabari is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered and both the source and author are cited.

URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=7323&lg=en

World Depression: Regional Wars and the Decline of the US Empire

World Depression: Regional Wars and the Decline of the US Empire

James Petras

All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigm and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch: Experts everywhere witness the collapse of the US and world financial system, the absence of credit for trade and the lack of financing for investment. A world depression, in which upward of a quarter of the world’s labor force will be unemployed, is looming. The biggest decline in trade in recent world history – down 40% year to year – defines the future. The immanent bankruptcies of the biggest manufacturing companies in the capitalist world haunt Western political leaders.

The ‘market’ as a mechanism for allocating resources and the government of the US as the ‘leader’ of the global economy have been discredited. (Financial Times, March 9, 2009) All the assumptions about ‘self-stabilizing markets’ are demonstrably false and outmoded. The rejection of public intervention in the market and the advocacy of supply-side economics have been discredited even in the eyes of their practitioners. Even official circles recognize that ‘inequality of income’ contributed to the onset of the economic crash and should be corrected. Planning, public ownership, nationalization are on the agenda while socialist alternatives have become almost respectable.

With the onset of the depression, all the shibboleths of the past decade are discarded: As export-oriented growth strategies fail, import substitution policies emerge. As the world economy ‘de-globalizes’ and capital is ‘repatriated’ to save near bankrupt head offices – national ownership is proposed. As trillions of dollars/Euros/yen in assets are destroyed and devalued, massive layoffs extend unemployment everywhere. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty stalk the offices of state, financial directorships, the office suites the factories, and the streets…

We enter a time of upheaval, when the foundations of the world political and economic order are deeply fractured, to the point that no one can imagine any restoration of the political-economic order of the recent past. The future promises economic chaos, political upheavals and mass impoverishment. Once again, the specter of socialism hovers over the ruins of the former giants of finance. As free market capital collapses, its ideological advocates jump ship, abandon their line and verse of the virtues of the market and sing a new chorus: the State as Savior of the System – a dubious proposition, whose only outcome will be to prolong the pillage of the public treasury and postpone the death agony of capitalism as we have known it.
Theory of Capital Crisis: The Demise of the Economic Expert

The failed economic policies of political and economic leaders are rooted in the operation of markets – capitalism. To avoid a critique of the capitalist system, writers are blaming the leaders and financial experts for their incompetence, ‘greed’ and individual defects.

Psychobabble has replaced reasoned analysis of structures, material forces and objective reality, which drive, motivate and provide incentives to investors, policy makers and bankers. When capitalist economies collapse, the gods drive the politicians and editorial columnists crazy, depriving them of any capacity to reason about objective processes and sending them into the wilderness of subjective speculation.

Instead of examining the opportunity structures created by enormous surplus capital and the real existing profit margins, which in drive capitalists into financial activity, we are told it was ‘the failure of leadership’. Instead of examining the power and influence of the capitalist class over the state, in particular the selection of economic policy-makers and regulators who would maximize their profits, we are told there was a ‘lack of understanding’ or ‘willful ignorance of what markets need’. Instead of looking at the real social classes and class relations – specifically the historically existing capitalist classes operating in real existing markets – the psycho-babblers posit an abstract ‘market’ populated by imaginary (‘rational’) capitalists. Instead of examining how rising profits, expanding markets, cheap credit, docile labor, and control over state policies and budgets, create ‘investor confidence’, and, in their absence, destroy ‘confidence’, the psychobabblers claim that the ‘loss of confidence’ is a cause for the economic debacle. The objective problem of loss of specific conditions, which produce profits, as leading to the crisis, is turned into a ‘perception’ of this loss.

Confidence, faith, hope, trust in capitalist economies derive from economic relations and structures which produce profits. These psychological states are derivative from successful outcomes: Economic transactions, investments and market shares that raise value, multiply present and future gains. When investments go sour, firms lose money, enterprises go bankrupt, and those prejudiced ‘lose confidence’ in the owners and brokers. When entire economic sectors severely prejudice the entire class of investors, depositors and borrowers, there is a loss of ‘systemic confidence.’

Psychobabble is the last resort of capitalist ideologues, academics, experts and financial page editorialists. Unwilling to face the breakdown of real existing capitalist markets, they write and resort to vague utopias such as ‘proper markets’ distorted by ‘certain mindsets’. In other words, to save their failed ideology based on capitalist markets, they invent a moral ideal the ‘proper capitalist mind and market’, divorced from real behavior, economic imperatives and contradictions embedded in class warfare.

The inadequate and shoddy economic arguments, which pervade the writing of capitalist ideologues parallels the bankruptcy of the social system in which they are embedded. The intellectual and moral failures of the capitalist class and their political followers are not personal defects; they reflect the economic failure of the capitalist market.

The crash of the US financial system is symptomatic of a deeper and more profound collapse of the capitalist system that has its roots in the dynamic development of capitalism in the previous three decades. In its broadest terms, the current world depression results from the classic formulation outlined by Karl Marx over 150 years ago: the contradiction between the development of the forces and relations of production.
Contrary to the theorists who argue that ‘finance’ and ‘post-industrial’ capitalism have ‘destroyed’ or de-industrialized the world economy and put in its place a kind of “casino” or speculative capital, in fact, we have witnessed the most spectacular long-term growth of industrial capital employing more industrial and salaried workers than ever in history. Driven by rising rates of profit, large scale and long-term investments have been the motor force for the penetration by industrial and related capital of the most remote underdeveloped regions of the world. New and old capitalist countries spawned enormous economic empires, breaking down political and cultural barriers to incorporating and exploiting billions of new and old workers in a relentless process. As competition from the newly industrialized countries intensified, and as the rising mass of profits exceeded the capacity to reinvest them most profitably in the older capitalist centers, masses of capital migrated to Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and to a lesser degree, into the Middle East, Southern Africa.

Huge surplus profits spilled over into services, including finance, real estate, insurance, large-scale real estate and urban lands.

The dynamic growth of capitalism’s technological innovations found expression in greater social and political power – dwarfing the organization of labor, limiting its bargaining power and multiplying its profits. With the growth of world markets, workers were seen merely as ‘costs of production’ not as final consumers. Wages stagnated; social benefits were limited, curtailed or shifted onto workers. Under conditions of dynamic capitalist growth, the state and state policy became their absolute instrument: restrictions, controls, regulation were weakened. What was dubbed “neo-liberalism” opened new areas for investment of surplus profits: public enterprises, land, resources and banks were privatized.

As competition intensified, as new industrial powers emerged in Asia, US capital increasingly invested in financial activity. Within the financial circuits it elaborated a whole series of financial instruments, which drew on the growing wealth and profits from the productive sectors.

US capital did not ‘de-industrialize’ – it relocated to China, Korea and other centers of growth, not because of “falling profits” but because of surplus profits and greater profits overseas.

Capital’s opening in China provided hundreds of millions of workers with jobs subject to the most brutal exploitation at subsistence wages, no social benefits, little or no organized social power. A new class of Asian capitalist collaborators, nurtured and facilitated by Asian state capitalism, increased the enormous volume of profits. Rates of investments reached dizzying proportions, given the vast inequalities between income/property owning class and wageworkers. Huge surpluses accrued but internal demand was sharply constrained. Exports, export growth and overseas consumers became the driving force of the Asian economies. US and European manufacturers invested in Asia to export back to their home markets – shifting the structure of internal capital toward commerce and finance. Diminished wages paid to the workers led to a vast expansion in credit. Financial activity grew in proportion to the entrance of commodities from the dynamic, newly industrialized countries. Industrial profits were re-invested in financial services. Profits and liquidity grew in proportion to the relative decline in real value generated by the shift from industrial to financial/commercial capital.

Super profits from world production, trade, finances and the recycling of overseas earnings back to the US through both state and private financial circuits created enormous liquidity. It was far beyond the historical capacity of the US and European economies to absorb such profits in productive sectors.

The dynamic and voracious exploitation of the huge surplus labor forces in China, India, and elsewhere and the absolute pillage and transfer of hundreds of billions from ex-communist Russia and ‘neo-liberalized’ Latin America filled the coffers of new and old financial institutions.

Over-exploitation of labor in Asia, and the over-accumulation of financial liquidity in the US led to the magnification of the paper economy and what liberal economist later called “global disequilibrium” between savers/industrial investors/ exporters (in Asia) and consumers/financiers/importers(in the US). Huge trade surpluses in the East were papered over by the purchase of US T-notes. The US economy was precariously backed by an increasingly inflated paper economy.

The expansion of the financial sector resulted from the high rates of return, taking advantage of the ‘liberalized’ economy imposed by the power of diversified investment capital in previous decades. The internationalization of capital, its dynamic growth and the enormous growth of trade outran the stagnant wages, declining social payments, the huge surplus labor force. Temporarily, capital sought to bolster its profits via inflated real estate based on expanded credit, highly leveraged debt and outright massive fraudulent ‘financial instruments’ (invisible assets without value). The collapse of the paper economy exposed the overdeveloped financial system and forced its demise. The loss of finance, credit and markets, reverberated to all the export-oriented industrial manufacturing powers. The lack of social consumption, the weakness of the internal market and the huge inequalities denied the industrial countries any compensatory markets to stabilize or limit their fall into recession and depression. The dynamic growth of the productive forces based on the over-exploitation of labor, led to the overdevelopment of the financial circuits, which set in motion the process of ‘feeding off’ industry and subordinating and undermining the accumulation process to highly speculative capital.

Cheap labor, the source of profits, investment, trade and export growth on a world scale, could no longer sustain both the pillage by finance capital and provide a market for the dynamic industrial sector. What was erroneously dubbed a financial crisis or even more narrowly a “mortgage” or housing crisis, was merely the “trigger” for the collapse of the overdeveloped financial sector. The financial sector, which grew out of the dynamic expansion of ‘productive’ capitalism, later ‘rebounded’ against it. The historic links and global ties between industry and financial capital led inevitably to a systemic capitalist crisis, embedded in the contradiction between impoverished labor and concentrated capital. The current world depression is a product of the ‘over-accumulation’ process of the capitalist system in which the crash of the financial system was the ‘detonator’ but not the structural determinant. This is demonstrated by the fact that industrial Japan and Germany experienced a bigger fall in exports, investments and growth than ‘financial’ US and England.

The capitalist system in crisis destroys capital in order to ‘purge itself’ of the least efficient, least competitive and most indebted enterprises and sectors, in order to re-concentrate capital and reconstruct the powers of accumulation – political conditions permitting. The re-composition of capital grows out of the pillage of state resources – so-called bailouts and other massive transfers from the public treasury (read ‘taxpayers’), which results from the savage reduction of social transfers (read ‘public services’) and the cheapening of labor through firings, massive unemployment, wage, pension and health reductions and the general reduction of living standards in order to increase the rate of profit.

The World Depression: Class Analysis
The aggregate economic indicators of the rise and fall of the world capitalist system are of limited value in understanding the causes, trajectory and impact of the world depression. At best, they describe the economic carnage; at worst, they obfuscate the leading (ruling) social classes, with their complex networks and transformations, which directed the expansion and economic collapse and the wage and salaried (working) classes, which produced the wealth to fuel the expansive phase and now pay the cost of the economic collapse.

It is a well-known truism that those who caused the crisis are also the greatest beneficiaries of government largesse. The crude and simple everyday observations that the ruling class ‘made’ the crisis and the working class ‘pays’ the cost, at a minimum, is a recognition of the utility of class analyses in deciphering the social reality behind the aggregate economic data. Following the recession of the early 1970s, the Western industrial capitalist class secured financing to launch a period of extensive and deep growth covering the entire globe. German, Japanese and Southeast Asian capitalists flourished, competed and collaborated with their US counterpart. Throughout this period the social power, organization and political influence of the working class witnessed a relative and absolute decline in their share of material income. Technological innovations, including the re-organization of work, compensated for wage increases by reducing the ‘mass of workers’ and in, particular, their capacity to pressure the prerogatives of management. The capitalist strategic position in production was strengthened: they were able to exercise near absolute control over the location and movements of capital.

The established capitalist powers – especially in England and the US — with large accumulations of capital and facing increasing competition from the fully recovered German and Japanese capitalists, sought to expand their rates of return by moving capital investments into finance and services. At first, this move was linked and directed towards promoting the sale of their manufactured products by providing credit and financing toward the purchases of automobiles or ‘white goods’. Less dynamic industrial capitalists relocated their assembly plants to low-wage regions and countries. The results were that industrial capitalists took on more the appearance of ‘financiers’ in the US even as they retained their industrial character in the operation of their overseas manufacturing subsidiaries and satellite suppliers. Both overseas manufacturing and local financial returns swelled the aggregate profits of the capitalist class. While capital accumulation expanded in the ‘home country’, domestic wages and social costs were under pressure as capitalists imposed the costs of competition on the backs of wage earners via the collaboration of the trade unions in the US and social democratic political parties in Europe. Wage constraints, tying wages to productivity in an asymmetrical way and labor-capital pacts increased profits. US workers were ‘compensated’ by the cheap consumer imports produced by the low-wage labor force in the newly industrializing countries and access to easy credit at home.

The Western pillage of the former-USSR, with the collaboration of gangster-oligarchs, led to the massive flow of looted capital into Western banks throughout the 1990s. The Chinese transition to capitalism in the 1980s, which accelerated in the 1990s, expanded the accumulation of industrial profits via the intensive exploitation of tens of millions of wageworkers employed at subsistence levels. While the trillion-dollar pillage of Russia and the entire former Soviet Union bloated the West European and US financial sector, the massive growth of billions of dollars in illegal transfers and money laundering toward US and UK banks added to the overdevelopment of the financial sector. The rise in oil prices and ‘rents’ among ‘rentier’ capitalists added a vast new source of financial profits and liquidity. Pillage, rents, and contraband capital provided a vast accumulation of financial wealth disconnected from industrial production. On the other hand, the rapid industrialization of China and other Asian countries provided a vast market for German and Japanese high-end manufacturers: they supplied the high quality machines and technology to the Chinese and Vietnamese factories.

US capitalists did not ‘de-industrialize’ – the country did. By relocating production overseas and importing finished products and focusing on credit and financing, the US capitalist class and its members became diversified and multi-sectoral. They multiplied their profits and intensified the accumulation of capital.

On the other hand, workers were subject to multiple forms of exploitation: wages stagnated, creditors squeezed interest, and the conversion from high wage/high skill manufacturing jobs to lower-paid service jobs steadily reduced living standards.
The basic process leading up to the breakdown was clearly present: the dynamic growth of western capitalist wealth was based, in part, on the brutal pillage of the USSR and Latin America, which profoundly lowered living standards throughout the 1990s. The intensified and savage exploitation of hundreds of millions of low-paid Chinese, Mexican, Indonesian and Indochinese workers, and the forced exodus of former peasants as migrant laborers to manufacturing centers led to high rates of accumulation. The relative decline of wages in the US and Western Europe also added to the accumulation of capital. The German, Chinese, Japanese, Latin American and Eastern European emphasis on export-driven growth added to the mounting ‘imbalance’ or contradiction between concentrated capitalist wealth and ownership and the growing mass of low-paid workers. Inequalities on a world scale grew geometrically. The dynamic accumulation process exceeded the capacity of the highly polarized capitalist system to absorb capital in productive activity at existing high rates of profit. This led to the large scale and multiform growth of speculator capital inflating prices and investing in real estate, commodities, hedge funds, securities, debt-financing, mergers and acquisitions — all divorced from real value-producing activity. The industrial boom and the class constraints imposed on workers wages undermined domestic demand and intensified competition in world markets. Speculator-financial activity with massive liquidity offered a ‘short-term solution’: profits based on debt financing. Competition among lenders fueled the availability of cheap credit. Real estate speculation was extended into the working class, as wage and salaried workers, without personal savings or assets, took advantage of their access to easy loans to join the speculator-induced frenzy – based on an ideology of irreversible rising home values. The inevitable collapse reverberated throughout the system – detonated at the bottom of the speculative chain. From the latest entrants to the real estate sub-prime mortgage holders, the crisis moved up the ladder affecting the biggest banks and corporations, who engaged in leveraged buyouts and acquisitions. All ‘sectors’, which had ‘diversified’ from manufacturing to finance, trade and commodities speculation, were downgraded. The entire panoply of capitalists faced bankruptcy. German, Japanese and Chinese industrial exporters who exploited labor witnessed the collapse of their export markets.

The ‘bursting’ financial bubble was the product of the ‘over-accumulation’ of industrial capital and the pillage of wealth on a world scale. Over-accumulation is rooted in the most fundamental capitalist relation: the contradictions between private ownership and social production, the simultaneous concentration of capital and sharp decline of living standards.
Obama and the Capitalist Crisis: A Class Analysis
Indicators of the deepening depression in 2009 are found everywhere:

-Bankruptcies rose by 14% in 2008 and are set to rise another 20% in 2009 (Financial Times, Feb. 25, 2009; p27).
The write-down of the Western big banks is running at 1 Trillion dollars and growing (according to the Institute for International Financing, the banking groups Washington lobby). (Financial Times , March 10, 2009 p.9).

And according to the Financial Times (ibid) the losses arising from banks having to mark their investments down to market prices stand at 3 Trillion dollars – equivalent to a year’s worth of British economic production. In the same report, the Asian Development Bank is quoted as having estimated that financial assets worldwide have fallen by more than $50 trillion – a figure of the same order as annual global output. For 2009, the US will run a budget deficit of 12.3% of gross domestic product…giant fiscal deficits…that will ultimately ruin public finances.

The world markets have been in a vertical fall:

-The TOPIX has fallen from 1800 in mid-2007 to 700 in early 2009;

-Standard and Poor from 1380 in early 2008 to below 700 in 2009;

-FTSE 100 from 6600 to 3600 in early 2009;

-Hang Seng from 32,000 in early 2008 to 13,000 at the start of 2009 (Financial Times, Feb 25, 2009; p27).

-In the fourth quarter of 2008, GDP shrank at annualized rate of 20.8% in South Korea, 12.7% in Japan, 8.2% in Germany, 2.9% in the UK and 3.8% in the US (FT, Feb.25, 2009; p9).

-The Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined from 14,164 in October 2007 to 6500 in March 2009.

-Year on year declines in industrial output were 21% in Japan, 19% in South Korea, 12% in Germany, 10% in the US, and 9% in the UK (Financial Times, Feb.25, 2009; p.9.)

-Net private capital flows to less developed capitalist countries from the imperial countries were predicted to shrink by 82% and credit flows by $30 billion USD (Financial Times, Feb. 25, 2009; p9).

-The US economy declined by 6.2% in the last three months of 2008 and fell further in the first quarter of 2009 as a result of a sharp decline in exports (23.6%) and consumer spending (4.3%) in the final quarter of 2008 (British Broadcasting Corporation, Feb. 27, 2009).

With over 600,000 workers losing their jobs monthly in the first three months of 2009, and many more on short hours and scheduled for axing throughout 2009, real and disguised unemployment may reach 25% by the end of the year. All of the signs point to a deep and prolonged depression:

-Automobile sales of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford were down nearly 50% year to year (2007-2008). The first quarter of 2009 saw a further decline of 50%.

– Foreign markets are drying up as the depression spreads overseas.

-In the US domestic market, durable goods sales are declining by 22% (BBC, Feb. 27, 2009).

-Residential investments fell by 23.6% and business investment was down 19.1%, led by a 27.8% drop in equipment and software.

The rising tide of depression is driven by private business led disinvestment. Rising business inventories, declining investment, bankruptcies, foreclosures, insolvent banks, massive accumulative losses, restricted access to credit, falling asset values and a 20% reduction in household wealth (over 3 trillion dollars) are cause and consequence of the depression. As a result of collapse of the industrial, mining, real estate and trade sectors, there are at least $2.2 trillion USD of “toxic” (defaulting) bank debt worldwide, far beyond the bailout funds allocated by the White House in October 2008 and February and March 2009.

The depression is diminishing the worldwide economic presence of imperial countries and undermining the foreign capital-financed export strategies of Latin American, Eastern European, Asian and African regions.

Among almost all conventional economists, pundits, investment advisors and various and sundry experts and economic historians, there is a common faith that “in the long-run”, the stock market will recover, the recession will end and the government will withdraw from the economy. Fixed on notions of past cyclical patterns, historical ‘trends’, these analysts lose sight of the present realities which have no precedent: the world nature of the economic depression, the unprecedented speed of the fall, and the levels of debt incurred by governments to sustain insolvent banks and industries and the unprecedented public deficits, which will drain resources for many generations to come.

The academic prophets of ‘long-term developments” arbitrarily select trend markers from the past, which were established on the basis of a political-economic context radically different from today. The idle chatter of ‘post crisis’ economists overlooks the open-ended and constantly shifting parameters therefore missing the true ‘trend markers’ of the current depression. As one analyst noted, “any starting conditions we select in the historical data cannot replicate the starting conditions at any other moment because the preceding events in the two cases are never identical” (Financial Times, Feb. 26, 2009; p24). The current US depression takes place in the context of a de-industrialized economy, an insolvent financial system, record fiscal deficits, record trade deficits, unprecedented public debt, multi-trillion dollar foreign debt and well over $800 billion dollars committed in military expenditures for several ongoing wars and occupations. All of these variables defy the contexts in which previous depressions occurred. Nothing in previous contexts leading up to a crisis of capitalism resembles the present situation. The present configuration of economic, political and social structures of capitalism include astronomical levels of state pillage of the public treasury in order to prop up insolvent banks and factories, involving unprecedented transfers of income from wage and salaried taxpayers to non-productive ‘rent earners’ and to failed industrial capitalists, dividend collectors and creditors. The rate and levels of appropriation and reduction of savings, pensions and health plans, all without any compensation, has led to the most rapid and widespread reduction of living standards and mass impoverishment in recent US history.

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Israel’s Covert War on Iran Faces Disapproving White House

Israel’s Covert War on Iran Faces Disapproving White House

The CIA lost its entire agent network in Iran in 2004 after a communications officer, intending to contact an agent via his Immarsat transmitter, accidentally hit the wrong button sending instructions to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, U.S. sources say. The photo shows an unrelated operator in an unknown location preparing to transmit imagery using Immarsat global satellite technology during the U.S. intervention in Somalia, code-named Operation Restore Hope. (Pubmilpics via Newscom)
Facing mounting U.S. opposition behind the scenes, Israel still plans to continue a covert operation to delay Iran’s nuclear program by assassinating key Iranian scientists, U.S. officials said.The Israeli program which has been in place for almost a decade, involves not only targeted killings of key Iranian assets but also disrupting and sabotaging Iran’s nuclear technology purchasing network abroad, these sources said.

Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst for Stratfor, a U.S. private intelligence company, commented publicly that key Iranian nuclear scientists were the targets of the strategy.

“With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key [Iranian] assets involved in the nuclear program and the sabotaging of the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” he said.

But U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as U.S. President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at thawing 30 years of tension between the two countries.

Part of this is due to the U.S.’s desire to use Iran’s road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there.

But Israel’s interests in the region are not the same as those of the United States, several U.S. officials said.

Pat Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said of the Israeli killings: “That’s what the Israelis would do, what we would expect them to do. They would kill Iranian scientists.”

Asked about the mounting administration disapproval, Clawson said of the killings, “It would be implausible to call off all covert ops.” He added: “If the U.S. pressures Israel, then the Israelis will simply stop talking to us about it.”

Israel’s targeted killing program has taken on new urgency since Washington made clear last year that an Israeli air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities was out of the question.

“The goal now is to delay for as long as possible, Iran getting to the point of having a nuclear weapon,” a former U.S. intelligence official said.

Asked to comment, Middle East expert Tony Cordesman, said of the killings: “There’s not that much of it going on,” and its success was dubious in any case.

Israel’s targeting killing program was done in concert with the [George W.] Bush administration, former U.S. sources said.

A former senior CIA official described several joint U.S.-Mossad operations to derail Iran’s nuclear program as “something out of slapstick.” All had failed miserably, he said.

A new wave of assassination and sabotage programs were launched in spite of the fact that in 2005, the United States had little to no intelligence about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

According to U.S. sources, in 2004, the CIA had lost its entire agent network in Iran when a CIA headquarters communications officer was about to send instructions to an agent via its Immarsat transmitter/receivers. The CIA officer attempted to download data intended for a single operative, but accidentally hit a button that sent it to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, these sources said.

The information was received by a double agent who forwarded it to Iranian counterintelligence, which quickly wrapped up the entire network, leaving Washington completely blind.

Perhaps the earliest attempt to derail Iran’s efforts was launched in 2000, under the Bill Clinton administration when, under the code-name “Operation Merlin,” it gave a Russian defector and nuclear engineer plans for an atomic bomb and he delivered it to a high-ranking Iranian official in Vienna. The operation was personally approved by Clinton.

The plans were scary – they were for a Russian-made TBA 480 “firing switch’ that could create an implosion that would trigger a chain reaction in a small spherical core of uranium.

The kicker was that the plans were full of flaws that would send the Iranian program into a technological dead end.

The Iranians were not supposed to spot the inserted design flaws that would render any device based on the plans null and void.

But according to U.S. officials, the Iranians easily spotted the flaws, and the United States may have inadvertently placed a very dangerous document among one of the world’s most dangerous nations.

Operation Merlin was still alive and kicking during the Bush administration, whose officials said they planned to try it on other countries.

In addition to targeting Iranian scientists, Israel is hard at work trying to sabotage Iran’s supply chain for the program using European front companies, U.S. officials said.

Mossad recruits workers for these companies who can obtain technical data on equipment or photographs of it, former CIA officials said. These are then forwarded to Israeli scientists for analysis and study, they said.

A few years ago, the United States and Israel came up with a joint plan to wreck the electrical grid Iran was using to power its nuclear program, a former senior official said. Again, this was a joint U.S.-Israeli program that would use an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) device to send a disabling power surge through power lines causing them to short out, U.S. officials said.

The equipment was tested in the Nevada desert, but in Iran the EMP bombs would have had to be smuggled into the country by Israelis, then placed in open areas near the nuclear installation where they could be easily spotted. The plan was abandoned, U.S. officials said.

Regarding Israel’s policy of targeted killing, it began seriously after the murder of Israeli athletes by members of Black September, a radical Palestinian group, which was “basically the PLO,” according to former CIA agent Bob Baer.

Since then it has been used to eliminate Palestinian or Islamic militants in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel’s prime minister personally approves each killing, and the work is done by “hit teams” that are made up of squadrons of Kidon, a sub-unit of Mossad’s highly secret Masada department which stages the operations, former U.S. officials said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning, “bayonet.”

A U.S. official said that Israel has staged targeted killings “in friendly countries,” but that the diplomatic world has greatly changed since former President Bush. For one thing, the United States and Iran are engaged in talks on major issues. For another, Iran is a long-standing and unforgiving enemy of the Taliban.

According to U.S. officials, in October 2001 when U.S. forces began bombing the Taliban force following the 9/11 attacks, Iran provided excellent targeting information on the Taliban.

Furthermore, the political climate has changed. The new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel has not assumed any definite shape and seems in disarray.

“The only thing Netanyahu does well is fear monger,” said the U.S. official. He said he did not think Netanyahu would remain in power for very long.

In any case, Netanyahu faces a different Washington. Even though under Clinton, Netanyahu faced a hostile president, the Israelis at least had a Republican Congress at his back for use as a counterweight. Netanyahu’s praise of deregulation and tax cuts went over well back then, but today the U.S. Republican Party is a wreck with little credibility.

There is also energy gathering in the White House for a fresh push for a Middle East peace, sources there said. For Netanyahu “the twilight is falling,” said one former U.S. official.

The Latest B.S. about the Criminal Sudan Convoy Attack

EVIDENTLY, I HAVE BEEN BLOCKED-OUT FROM READING THIS ARTICLE IN HAARETZ, SINCE I COULD ONLY ACCESS IT THROUGH THE HIDDEN PATH ACCESS POINT.  PERHAPS IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH MY PREVIOUS ARTICLE SLAMMING THE LAST VERSION OF THIS STORY, ABOUT IT BEING CARRIED-OUT WITH PUNY HERMES DRONES.  THIS IS BEGINNING TO UNFOLD LIKE ALL ISRAELI AIR FORCE STRIKES (ALLEGED SYRIAN REACTOR), WITH THE SUBSERVIENT BRITISH LEADING THE WAY WITH BULLSHIT STORIES.

NOTICE THAT NO MEDIA SOURCE ANYWHERE EVER MENTIONS THE 18 HUGE CRATERS LEFT BEHIND BY THE ATTACK, SINCE THE ORIGINAL REPORT  IN THE EGYPTIAN PRESS.

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Dozens of Israeli jets and drones attacked in Sudan’



By Haaretz Service
Tags: IAF, Sudan air strike
TIME Magazine on Tuesday cites high-ranking Israeli security officials as saying that dozens of Israeli jets and unmanned drones took part in the January strike on a Gaza-bound weapons convoy in Sudan.According to sources cited in the TIME article, the attacks were carried out by F-16 fighters, which carried out two attack runs on the convoy. F-15 fighter planes were also positioned nearby, a precaution against the possibility of hostile fighters rushing to the area.

Once the first bombing run was completed, unmanned drones laden with cameras passed over convoy site to ensure its destruction. After the footage indicated that the party was only partially hit, a second pass was ordered.

Since, according to the source, Israel had but a few days to prepare for the strike, from the time the initial Mossad tip-off was received, naval and aerial rescue teams were speedily directed to the Red Sea, ahead of a potential rescue mission, the TIME report said.

The sources told TIME that while the Americans were notified of the attack U.S. planes were not directly involved. The article added that contrary to some reports, neither a ship nor a second convoy were attacked. “There was only one raid, and it was a major operation … [involving] dozens of aircraft,” he told TIME.

Although similar shipments headed for Gaza were smuggled through Sudan before, the convoy which was attacked was unprecedented in volume, according to TIME.

The attack was aimed at warning Iran and another hostile states that Israel possesses the intelligence capability and the willingness to carry out military operations far from her borders.

Reviving Silk Route in J&K

Reviving Silk Route in J&K


Reopening of roads in J&K will revive old Silk Road and it will definitely change State’s political and economic landscape but current effort ignored Ladakh

Willayat Ali

Silk Route has served as a confluence of civilizations and the reopening of the old route will make Jammu and Kashmir a favorite spot of tourism. The major roads which connect Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the world are Jammu-Sialkot, Poonch-Rawalkot, Uri-Muzafarabad, Kargil-Skardu, Leh- Mansarovar and Leh- Yarkand. A casual look at history also reveals that these routes contributed greatly to economy, cultural and political development of Jammu and Kashmir as it known for their historical and cultural contacts with outside region-Central Asia, Xinjiang and Tibet. The fact that the section of “Silk Route”, ran through this region, highlights the historical, economic and cultural significance of the various routes. All that need to be done is to learn from history and re-establish the cultural and economic contacts along these roads and will revive the Silk Route. Opening of these roads will totally change the nature of present interactions between the various communities of these regions that include Jammu, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan and Leh Kargil.

Subsequently, this process will provide positive inputs to the Indo-Pakistan peace process, Sino- Indian relation and also further contact with Central Asia through land route. Muzaffarabad-uri Road which opened in 2005 was the biggest confidence building measures between India and Pakistan relating to Jammu and Kashmir. The opening of this route for trade recently would benefits to apple industry, shawl and wooden furniture industry, since 80% people are engaged in these sectors. As it will be seen subsequently, the Kashmir valley has adequate goods, which could be exported successfully across the LoC. Poonch- Rawalakot Road was also opened in 2006 for divided families. A beginning has been made but this need to be consolidated and expand further. Beside trade, tourism is another important sector in the Kashmir valley and this region could also become an important hub for educational activities. Politically, it would also allow both sets of Kashmiris to appreciate the levels of political freedom, governance and security issues on the other-side.
Another route Jammu-Sialkot is yet to be open. In terms of trade transaction, economy, divided families or history, the linkages of Jammu with its neighboring regions – Punjab, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad can’t be ignored. The Jammu-Sialkot links both road and rail in particular has great significance. Before independence, this road was the primary link for the people for this region with the outside world and the railway line from Lahore to Jammu ended in the heart of Jammu city. If there are train services like – Thar Express between Munabao and Kokhrapar and Samjhauta Express between Wagah and Atari why not have Chenab Express between Jammu and Sialkot.

Government of India is also considering the opening of Kargil-Skardu road. However, the government seems to be reluctant to take any decision over the opening of this road; though the leaders make promises during the elections to maintain their vote banks but they forget the given words once they come to power. The LoC not only divided the Paharis in Rajouri and Poonch and the Kashmiris in the valley, but has also divided the Baltis in Kargil and Skardu regions who would love to visit the other side and see their relatives. Skardu is 130 km away from Kargil. If the road is open, it would take just five to six hours to reach Skardu. Today it takes five to six days to reach Skardu from Kargil via Delhi. People of this region from Leh to Gilgit, believe that they are distinct, historically and politically. Geographi- cally, Ladakh and Northern Areas comprise two third (78%) of the entire Jammu and Kashmir territory and historically from times immemorial, these region from Leh to Gilgit were interconnected economically, politically and culturally. Until 1947, trade and movement of people took place continuously from Tibet to Central Asia through Leh, Kargil, Skardu and Gilgit. Traders, caravans, people and religions moved along the “Silk Route”. Today this region cut off from rest of the world during winter session as the Zojila pass closed for six months in year and the road is also one of the most dangerous in the entire region. since two year army has started courier service from Kargil to Srinagar once in week during winter which is too much depend on the mood of the pilot as they often make excuse of bad weather and do not come as per schedule which always creates unnecessary headache to the passengers. Being an important region of the state it needs to be connected by air and land routes.

If the government can provide free air service to the Kashmiris during the blockage of Jammu- Srinagar highway for few days due to snow fall; why the government is so ignorant to provide an air service to Kargil once in a week as the region remains totally cut off from the rest of world for six month during winter session. Thus, the opening of this road is important. Apart from providing opportunities to the divided families and co-linguist people to meet, it might provide opening to the Central Asia. Skardu is already linked with Gilgit, at a later stage will give this region access to the strategic Karakoram Highway from Kargil and Leh regions. This will further link this region with China and Central Asia. Another important route lies across Line of Actual Control (LAC) is Leh- Manasarovar road and leh yarkand route between India and China, again ignored by New Delhi. This route is another option to India to reach Central Asia. Until 1947, the main roads of Ladakh were part of “Silk Route” spreading its fingers into Tibet via Demchok, into Yarkhand through the mighty Karakoram pass. From salt to oil, everything comes through Leh-once a connecting valley between Yarkhand and Central Asia. Today Nubra Valleys only links to the outside world lies through the Khardungla, the highest motorable pass in the world. The local in the Nubra valley are anxious to see the reopening of the old “Silk Route”. Economically, the local population will greatly benefit out of this routes, mainly tourism. Kailash Mansurovar, one of the most revered Hindu pilgrim destinations, is only about 300 km from Demehok. India should make effort to develop the sub- region from Leh to Demchok and Karakoram areas in Nubra valley in terms of developing roads and reconsidering the permit system in the inner line. But unfortunately India did not see roads as of strategic importance, especially in its border regions. Now, the process has started, let it not be limited to only one region. A beginning has been made across the LoC, let it be strengthen further by opening all the routes. Thus, the opening of all above routes will revive the old “Silk Route” and Jammu and Kashmir once again could become the gateway to Central Asia.

Moreover, after opening of these routes, they could be used for linking Gas pipeline. The construction of road links would definitely benefits not only India and Pakistan in CBM, but also to the people of both sides of Jammu and Kashmir economically and politically. India energy needs can be accomplish by constructing pipeline from Central Asia via Afghanistan and Pakistan. As India – Iran – Pakistan Gas Pipeline proposal and Turkmen – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India Gas Pipeline proposal could be accomplish only by building good relationship with Pakistan over Kashmir issue. This age is one of looking for means of cooperation and integration despite whatever political difficulties may be involved. Given Indian growing energy needs, it has become imperative for it to tap into the huge energy reserves of Central Asia, whether in competition or in cooperation with the other major powers involved in the region.

However, given that energy pipelines will cross several national boundaries before they get to India, including those of Pakistan and China. India must necessarily adopt a cooperative approach. Either way, improving transport and other infrastructure in India’s western border states and, in particular Jammu and Kashmir, is an absolute necessity not just in terms of energy concerns but also within a purely development framework. One positive point for India is that both China and Pakistan increasing keenly their concern in the development of bilateral trade keeping other disputes on backside. In Kashmir, both countries (India and Pakistan) showed their interest to open LoC for trade purposes by keeping the Kashmir issue on back. Hopefully, the planned road construction along the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control is a sign of a change in attitudes in New Delhi as well as of an increasingly confident Indian foreign policy in its neighborhoods.

*(The author is a Research Scholar DSRS, Jammu University).
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sunni official predicts upsurge in resistance attacks

The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMSI), created in 2003, is a politically influential group of Iraqi scholars aiming to represent the country’s Sunnis. AMSI opposes the “U.S occupation,” supports resistance against it (while condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians) and calls the current political process illegitimate.

Niqash met AMSI spokesman, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faydhi, to discuss AMSI’s position on current developments. Al-Faydhi reiterated that there could be no real national reconciliation so long as the U.S occupation continues and suggested that armed resistance is on the rise.

Niqash: Is it true that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked you to participate in the political process and promised to let you join the government?

Al-Faydhi: Yes, al-Maliki extended an invitation to Dr. Harith al-Dari, Secretary-General of the AMSI, when al-Maliki was at odds with the [Sunni] Accordance Front following their boycott of the government.

The offer came through a mediator who quoted Maliki saying that “Dr. Dari, and not the Accordance Front, is the best representative of Sunnis.” He also quoted al-Maliki saying that “if al-Dari accepts to join the political process, he would deal with him.” As expected, al-Dari refused the offer and sent a message to al-Maliki, through the same mediator, saying: “It is wrong to interpret our conflicts with the Accordance Front as a matter of government positions. We disagree with them because they joined the political process designed by the occupier and based on an ugly sectarian and ethnic basis. Thus you should spare yourself the effort. If you want real national reconciliation, then you should abide by the agreements of the first and second Cairo meetings. In these meetings, we reached a number of agreements as published in the two statements issued after each meeting. If you respect these agreements and implement them, then we are very close to reconciliation.”

[The Cairo statements call for a timetable for U.S withdrawal; an acknowledgement of the legitimate resistance; ending arrests and raids; and the release of detainees held without a warrant ].

Niqash: You are talking about reconciliation but you support military operations carried out by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq. Is there joint coordination between AMSI and these organizations?

Al-Faydhi: Every researcher specialized in Iraqi issues, who follows accurate research standards and who is not subject to what others dictate him knows that AMSI does not have any relations with al-Qaeda. It has condemned many acts claimed by the organization, which we considered acts of terror, unjust and criminal. We dealt with events in Iraq by monitoring and evaluating acts, regardless of who committed them. AMSI adopted this approach because the enemy was clever in shuffling cards and attempting to distort the resistance’s image. That is why AMSI always evaluated actions before judging them; acts of resistance were praised and criminal and terrorists acts were condemned regardless of who stood behind them.

It seems that neither the Americans nor the successive governments under occupation appreciated our approach and thus they accused us of having links with these organizations. If any of them has one substantial piece of evidence against us they would have made much ado about it.

Niqash: There has been a recent upsurge in armed attacks in Baghdad, Diyala and Mosul. Do you believe that these attacks are a response by armed groups to al-Maliki’s call for reconciliation?

Al-Faydhi: Neither al-Maliki nor any other person have the right to call for reconciliation. The occupation is ongoing and all international conventions give people under occupation the right to resist their occupiers. Additionally, resistance is a teaching of God.

Regarding the escalation of armed attacks against U.S occupation forces, I don’t believe that al-Maliki’s statements have anything to do with it. I think that resistance is growing again after being undermined by many factors such as the Awakening projects. When these attempts failed, and when al-Qaeda became weak, the Iraqi resistance started to recover and to grow. We have all witnessed the rise in the number of attacks during the last month and I expect the resistance to reach its peak during the coming few months.

Niqash: How do you interpret the ongoing conflict between Sunni parties on a new Sunni parliamentary speaker?

Al-Faydhi: The political process is not of any concern to AMSI because we believe it is not a legitimate process under occupation regardless of who champion this process, the Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds. But the whole situation confirms results already predicted by AMSI when we said that the sectarian quota system will become a source of new crises and problems, not only between the different components of Iraqi society but also within each component. Regarding conflicts between Sunni parties, they should answer this question themselves.

Niqash: Aren’t you convinced that national reconciliation will bring political stability and security to the country?

Al-Faydhi: There will be no national reconciliation under an occupation which supports one party at the expense of the other. The party which receives U.S support will feel strong and will not be compelled to make any concessions. This is human nature and this is what the government is doing now. The other party, now weak, will continue to have its doubts and will interpret each act as evil and driven by occupation. Reconciliation will only become serious when occupation ends and when all Iraqis sit together around the table feeling that they are equals. Then, if no reconciliation is reached, everyone will pay the price equally.

Niqash: The political process is moving ahead and Sunni parties are supporting it.

Al-Faydhi: When a person suffers from a chronic disease no one says that he enjoys good health. He is always vulnerable to relapse at any moment as he is likely to die. The same applies to Iraq. The support of Sunni parties of the political process is of no value because parties who participated in it under occupation lost all popular support. The recent provincial elections, despite the manipulation of its results by occupation, have clearly revealed this fact. Participation in elections did not reach a maximum of 30% in the best cases. Voters did not vote for the sectarian parties who dominate the country’s political process.

Niqash: What is your view on religious fatwas that call Shiites infidels and do you think that Iraqi Shiites serve as an extension of Iranian influence?

Al-Faydhi: Since the first days of AMSI’s creation, we said that Shiites are our brothers in religion, our partners in the country and people of the Qibla [Muslims]. The rule is that we do not accuse the people of the Qibla of infidelity. This is why we visited Shiite religious authorities, such as Sheikh al-Khalisi, and worked with him and others to serve the interests of the country.

Regarding the second part of your question we have never considered Iraqi Shiites as such and we never said so. We only perceive Shiite politicians that are now participating in the current political process taking place under occupation – all of them – as extensions of Iranian influence; this is our view which we still believe in.

Niqash: What will resistance fighters do when U.S troops leave Iraq? Leaders of the Salafi-Jihadi movement say that they will take the battle to neighbouring countries.

Al-Faydhi: We are not adherents to the Salafi-Jihadi movement. AMSI is an independent and new school of thought. It has a distinctive vision and philosophy and we have had a successful experience in crisis management under the occupation of Iraq.

When Iraqis liberate their country, they will rebuild it again and fix all the damage made by war and they will establish good relations with neighbouring countries and with the international community.

Niqash: The government has arrested women described as ‘al-Qaeda members’ being used to commit suicide attacks. Islamic sharia clearly states that women should be spared in Jihad. What is your religious verdict on this matter?

Al-Faydhi: Firstly, I think that there is an exaggeration in such issues motivated and driven by the occupation and its agents. The purpose is to distort the image of jihad in Iraq. In any case, jihad is the responsibility of men; if women volunteer and their guardians allow them to do so, then they can participate in the jihad. If a woman dies in confrontation with the occupier, she will be considered a martyr. If she kills innocent people and die, she will be in an unenviable position because she committed suicide and Islam promises severe punishment to those who do so – may God spare us such punishment.

Niqash: Why did four groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Hamas-Iraq, the Mujahedeen Army and the Murabitoun Army, break with al-Qaeda after having previously been loyal to the group?

Al-Faydhi: The organizations you mentioned, according to our own sources, have no links with al-Qaeda and they never said that they were loyal to it. Thus, it is not true to say that they broke from al-Qaeda because they were not linked or loyal to it. When al-Qaeda was only targeting the U.S occupation, its operations were considered as resistance. Others considered it as part of the Iraqi resistance movement. When it started to target innocent people, conflicts started to arise and there were even armed confrontations between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and al-Qaeda in Abu Ghraib; confrontations that lasted for months and led to the deaths of many resistance and al-Qaeda members.

Remembering “Land Day,” Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army

See:  KOENIG REPORT/MEMORANDUM

Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army

By Jonathan Cook in Arrabeh

30 March 2009

Jonathan Cook looks at the events that culminated in the murder of Arab citizens of Israel who were protesting against the theft of their land in 1976 – events that are marked by Land Day.

Palestinians across the Middle East were due to commemorate Land Day today, marking the anniversary of clashes in 1976 in which six unarmed Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army as it tried to break up a general strike.

Although Land Day is one of the most important anniversaries in the Palestinian calendar, sometimes referred to as the Palestinians’ national day, the historical event it marks is little spoken of and rarely studied.

“Maybe its significance is surprising given the magnitude of other events in Palestinian history,” said Hatim Kanaaneh, 71, a doctor, who witnessed the military invasion of his village.

“But what makes Land Day resonate with Palestinians everywhere is that it was the first time Palestinians inside Israel stood together and successfully resisted Israel’s goal of confiscating their land.”

The confrontation took place between the army and a group usually referred to as “Israeli Arabs”, the small minority of Palestinians who managed to remain in their homes during the 1948 war that led to the founding of Israel. Today they number 1.2 million, or nearly one-fifth of Israel’s population.

“We were given citizenship by Israel, but have always been treated as an enemy, perceived of as a threat to the state’s Jewishness,” said Dr Kanaaneh, who last year published his memoir, A Doctor in Galilee, which offers a rare account in English of Palestinian life inside Israel during the Land Day period.

In 1976, Dr Kanaaneh, having completed his medical studies at Harvard University in the United States, was the only physician in Arrabeh.

Israel crushed organized political activity among Israel’s Palestinian citizens between 1948 and 1966, Dr Kanaaneh said. Nonetheless, popular frustration had mounted as the state expropriated privately owned Palestinian land to build new communities for Jewish citizens, many of them recent immigrants.

During military rule, historians have noted, vast swathes of land were taken from Palestinians, both from refugees in exile and from Israel’s own Arab citizens. Jews had bought only 6 per cent of Palestine by the time of the 1948 war, but today the state has nationalized 93 per cent of Israel’s territory.

“Government policy was explicitly to make the land Jewish – or Judaize it, as it was called,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The announcement in the mid-1970s of the confiscation of a further 2,000 hectares led to the creation of a new body, the National Committee for the Defence of Arab Lands, which provided a more assertive political leadership.

The minority’s decision to strike, Dr Kanaaneh said, shocked the Israeli authorities, which were not used to challenges to official policy. “Both sides understood the significance of the strike. For the first time we were acting as a national minority, and Israel was very sensitive to anything that suggested we had a national identity or a unified agenda, especially over a key resource like land.”

Although the strike was strictly observed by Palestinians throughout Israel, the focus of the protest were three villages in the central Galilee that faced the loss of a large area of prime agricultural land: Arrabeh, Sakhnin and Deir Hanna.

The prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and his defence minster, Shimon Peres, acted on the eve of the strike.

“What was surprising was that they didn’t send in the police, as you’d expect when dealing with citizens of a country, but the army,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The government’s original plan, he said, was to break the strike and force employees to go to work, but when villagers began throwing stones, the army imposed a curfew.

“When a neighbour called me to attend to his wife who had gone into labour, I walked out of my house towards an armoured vehicle waving my stethoscope,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “A soldier aimed his rifle straight at me and I hurried back inside.”

Ahmed Khalaila, who was 18 and living in Sakhnin, remembered being woken early by loudspeakers. “Soldiers were calling out that we must not leave the house … We couldn’t even look out of the windows,” he said.

When a neighbour stepped outside her house, she was shot and injured, Mr Khalaila said. He and his older brother, Khader, tried to help the woman. When they were about 50 metres from her, Khader was shot in the head.

“He was still breathing and we hoped he could be saved, but there were checkpoints at all the entrances to the village. We knew no ambulance would be coming for him.”

Eventually the family managed to get him into a car and drove towards the nearest hospital. Held at a checkpoint, Mr Khalaila said, the family watched as Khader bled to death as he lay across his younger brother’s legs on the back seat. Khader was 24 and recently married.

No one ever came to investigate what had happened, or offered the family compensation. “It was as if a bird had died,” he said. “No one was interested; no questions were asked in the parliament. Nothing.”

As well as the six deaths, hundreds more Palestinians were injured and sweeping arrests were made of political activists.

Dr Kanaaneh said the stiff resistance mounted by the villagers eventually forced the government to revoke the expropriation order.

Victory, however, was far from clear cut. The next year, Ariel Sharon, as agriculture minister, announced a programme of new Jewish settlements called “lookouts” in the Galilee “to prevent control of state lands by foreigners”, meaning Israel’s own Palestinian citizens. The three villages were surrounded by the lookout communities, which came to be known collectively as Misgav regional council.

“They were intended to be agricultural communities, but Land Day stopped that,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “Instead they became small bedroom communities, and much of the land we defended was passed to Misgav’s jurisdiction.

“Today the owners of the land pay taxes to the regional council rather than their own municipalities, and Misgav can decide, if it wants, to try to confiscate the land again. We may have got our land back, but it is not really in our hands.”


Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

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Youtube has become the defacto standard for online video and is one of
the top websites on the internet for traffic. Even though there are tons
of great Muslim and Islamic Videos on there, there is also a lot of
other videos that are not Islam related.
Alhamdullilah, there are Muslim Video alternatives to Youtube. If you
want to browse specifically for Islamic Video content and not worry
about other content, I will present to you 5 websites that will help.

Here they are:

tv.muxlim.com

Muxlim.com is a really big Muslim Social Media website. Think about it
as Facebook for Muslims. The video section of their website,
tv.muxlim.com has a lot of great and different content about Islam.

http://www.IslamicTube. net

MashAllah, IslamicTube. net is another good Muslim Video sharing website.
They have a nice, clean design and logo too.
Their videos are pulled from popular video sharing sites like YouTube
and Vimeo and also have videos hosted on their website.

http://www.guidedways. com/islamicvideo s

Guidedways.com, the group that brought you iQuran and iPray for iPhone,
also has a video sharing website. It doesn’t have much videos as the
previous two and is not updated as often, but it is still worthwhile to
check out.

http://www.halaltube. com

This website is unique among the rest in the list. It focuses solely on
English Muslim scholars and provides videos and audio for them.

Since everyone has different styles and prefer to learn with certain
scholars, this website covers the whole gamut. Everyone’s favorite
speaker should be available here.

http://www.muslimvideo. com/tv

What is unique about this Muslim Video website is that it also has a lot
of Islamic Videos in Arabic along with many English videos. So if you
know Arabic, this is a good website for you to look into.

Instead of adding a sixth item, I’m going to stick one last website
in here. http://www.MuslimVideos. com has almost the same website address but it
is another general Muslim Video sharing website. I notice it has more
general videos and less lecture videos.
If I missed any Muslim Video website, please feel free to share them in
the comments!

The Ultimate World Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

The Ultimate World

Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

By
Robert H. Williams

williams-theultimateworldorderaspicturedinthejewishutopia19571

Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible

Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible

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This article responds to a March 15 Los Angeles Times Judea Pearl one headlined: “Is anti-Zionism hate?” Pearl teaches computer science at UCLA, is the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. It was “formed….to continue Danny’s mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy in the spirit” of the man it represents, including “uncompromised objectivity and integrity….and respect for people of all cultures….”

Some of its honorary board member belie this purpose:

— former president Bill Clinton, an unindicted war criminal and backer of neoliberal plunder;

— Elie Wiesel, a shameless self-promoter, “Holocaust” exploiter, and apologist for the most outrageous Israeli crimes;

— Jordan’s Queen Noor, wife of King Abdullah II, who, like his father Hussein, rules with dictatorial police state powers; and

— Christiane Amanpour and Ted Koppel, two notables in the corporate media who never let facts conflict with their views and support for the powerful.

Pearl calls anti-Zionism “hate more dangerous than anti-Semitism, threatening lives and peace in the Middle East.” Zionism is precisely the opposite as numerous Jewish writers, including this one, have addressed.

In his book “Overcoming Zionism,” Joel Kovel explained how it fosters “imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy;” that it turned Israel “into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses” led by terrorists posing as democrats. Kovel’s book and his work got him fired from the Bard College faculty effective July 1 when his current contract expires – for daring to criticize Israel, its Zionist ideology, state-sponsored terror, and decades of lawlessness and egregious behavior.

Kovel expressed outrage that institutions like Bard aren’t bothered; that they grant Israel impunity, suppress dissent, then marginalize, punish, and remove the “heretics,” ones like Kovel who honorably and courageously write truths.

Pearl railed about a UCLA Center for Near East Studies symposium invitation to “four longtime Israel bashers” so they could attack Zionism’s legitimacy and “its vision of a two-state solution….” – a scheme to consign Palestinians to isolated cantons and steal their most valuable land.

He equates legitimate Israeli criticism and anti-Zionism with “criminaliz(ing) Israel’s existence, distort(ing) its motives and malign(ing) its character, its birth, even its conception.” He cites “Jewish leaders (condemning) this hate-fest as a dangerous invitation to anti-Semitic hysteria” even though one has nothing to do with the other and conflating them masks the real issue – Zionism’s corrosive effects and the myths on which it’s based.

Ones Pearl ignores in stating “Anti-Zionism rejects the very notion that Jews are a nation – a collective bonded by a common history – and, accordingly denies Jews the right to self-determination in their historical birthplace. It seeks the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state: Israel, (what it) ‘grants’ to other historically bonded collectives (e.g. French, Spanish, Palestinians), the right to nationhood….”

Pearl can’t accept the hard facts that Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Zand documented in his important 2008 book: “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” It exposes biblical nonsense comprising core Zionist beliefs about Jews:

— that ancient Romans expelled them;

— their exodus from Egypt, then left to wander the earth rootless;

— enslaved, oppressed, and tormented for centuries; and

— the myth that God bestowed a “Greater Israel” for Jews alone – “A land without people for a people without land.”

According to Israeli journalist Tom Segev and others:

— there never was a Jewish people, just a Jewish religion;

— there was no exile, therefore no return, and much of the Jewish Diaspora was voluntary; and

— the story was a Zionist invention, a conspiracy to justify a future Jewish state, and now vilify Palestinian self-determination as a plot to destroy it.

With regard to other “bonded collectives,” France, Spain, America and other states are nationalities, not religions. Israel is a Jewish state with rights for Jews alone. They matter. Others don’t, and therein lies the difference. Palestinians, in contrast, are occupied, impoverished, oppressed, driven from their land, vilified for being Muslims, and victimized by slow-motion genocide to destroy them and any hope for self-determination.

“Are Jews a nation,” asks Pearl? “Some philosophers would argue Jews are a nation first and religion second.” He cites the usual mythology:

— the Exodus and return to the “promised land before they received the Torah at Mt. Sinai;”

— “the unshaken conviction in their eventual repatriation to (their) birthplace (since) the Roman expulsion;” and

— their “shared history, not religion (as) the primary uniting force behind the secular, multiethnic society of Israel” – favoring Jews alone in a quasi secular/religious state where practicing another one is dangerous.

The “Jewish identity today feed(s) on Jewish history (more precisely folklore and myths) and its natural derivatives –

— the state of Israel” despite its illegitimate birth and mythological roots;

— “its struggle for survival” in spite of being the world’s fourth most powerful military, nuclear-armed; with no enemies except the ones it makes; and having a history of aggressive wars; violence over conciliation; confrontation, not diplomacy; and claiming self-defense as justification when there is none;

— “its cultural and scientific achievements,” much of the latter involving militarism and hard line security; and

— “its relentless drive for peace.”

Pearl like most others can’t accept the fact that Israel disdains peace, thrives on violence, and needs it as justification. The very notion of peace and conflict resolution terrifies it. What prime minister Yitzhak Shamir once admitted about Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war – that there was “terrible danger….not so much a military one as a political one” so a pretext was invented to attack when no threat or justification existed.

It took 18,000 lives and left South Lebanon occupied until Israel Defense Forces withdrew in May 2000, except for the 25 square km Shebaa Farms area illegally retained to this day.

Yet Pearl insists that “anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel’s sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist ‘plan’ to do away with Israel condemns 5.5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.”

He adds that “anti-Zionist rhetoric (shows) academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles. (It’s also) a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp (and) gives credence (to) the hidden agenda of every Palestinian (for) the eventual elimination of Israel.”

Now some facts misrepresented, distorted, or unstated by Pearl and other like-minded apologists:

— There never was nor is there now an “Israeli peace camp,” as explained above.

— Israel’s sovereignty isn’t the issue. It exists, is accepted, and anti-Zionists don’t dispute it. Further, since at least the late 1980s, Palestinian leaders (including Arafat and Hamas) have been willing to extend recognition. But Israel rejects all peace and reconciliation overtures, yet the dominant media and Zionists won’t mention it.

— Palestinians and other Arabs don’t target Israel and haven’t since the 1973 war. However, they justifiably defend themselves when attacked as international law allows.

— Anti-Zionists, like this writer, have no plan or desire to destroy Israel, harm its people, or render them defenseless. Demanded, however, is that Israel behave, act civilized, practice the democracy it preaches, observe international and its own laws, and be held fully accountable when it doesn’t, including its leaders for their crimes of war and against humanity to deter future ones from committing similar violations.

— Israel alone menaces Palestinians and other regional states, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Those nations, nor any others, threaten Israel, yet again media and Zionist propaganda say otherwise.

— Zionist ideology is extremist, undemocratic, and hateful. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness, and uniqueness – God’s “chosen people.” It harms Jews and non-Jews alike. Former Israeli scholar, critic, and life-long human rights activist, Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), explained the dangers of Jewish chauvinism, religious fanaticism, and its influence on America’s polity.

He called the notion of self-hating Jews “nonsensical” and explained the definition of a Jew:

….”if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (or) great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person (converted) to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion.” According to the Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law, “conversion (must be) performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner.” For females, it entails an outlandish ritual – “their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a ‘bath of purification’ ” to confirm it.

Shahak wrote extensively on how Israel discriminates in favor of Jews in most every aspect of life, including the three he called most important – “residency rights, the right to work (and to have) equality before the law.”

Zionist ideology demeans non-Jews and denies them equal rights in Israel. A body of law enforces it – to legally discriminate against non-Jewish Israeli citizens (for their religion) and Palestinians in the Territories, something unimaginable in all developed states and most others on every continent.

Shahak stated: “The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel (to affirm its existence as a) ‘Jewish’ state” quite hostile to and demeaning of other religious faiths.

This is the Zionist message and why growing numbers of Jews and many others oppose it. Supporting Zionism is repugnant, indefensible, and equivalent to defending cancer, a malignancy relentlessly destroying its host. It must be exposed, denounced, and once and for all expunged from the body politic. A CIA study suggested the alternative – that beyond 20 years, Israel won’t survive in its present form.

The Agency predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 (Palestinian) refugees. The latter (is) the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”

According to international lawyer Franklin Lamb, “the handwriting….is on the wall….history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later.”

The report also predicts the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the exodus of two million Israeli Jews to America in the next 15 years. They’re fed up and want to leave. Omitted from the report, or at least unrevealed, is that short of an equitable resolution to the long-standing Palestinian conflict, Israel eventually will destroy itself. Nations that live by the sword, die by it, and Israel is no exception.

The alternative is peace and reconciliation, something Israel flatly rejects. Unless that changes, its very existence is at stake, what history teaches but Israel has yet to learn.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to ZioPedia.org. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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Source: ZioPedia.org

Mehsud Admits to Attack on Islamabad Police Station SIC Unit Investigating Mumbai

HERE IS AN OPENING FOR EASING TENSIONS OVER THE MUMBAI INVESTIGATION.  IF THIS KILLER ADMITS TO ATTACKING THE PEOPLE INVESTIGATING THE FIRST AND THE WORST OF THESE ASSAULT TEAM ATTACKS AND THE LATEST ASSAULT AT LAHORE, THEN WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

THE GOVERNMENT IS LEFT WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO ELIMINATE THIS MENACE THAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO MATURE IN THEIR MIDST, AND FOR THAT IT WILL NEED THE FIREPOWER OF A POWERFUL FRIEND TO HELP IN THE TASK.  THE PROBLEM IS THAT THIS “FRIEND” MAY HAVE BEEN THE MAD SCIENTIST WHO CREATED THIS FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER.

Lahore ‘was Pakistan Taleban op’

Pakistan Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud

Mr Mehsud does not like to be photographed

The chief of the Pakistani Taleban, Baitullah Mehsud, has told the BBC his group was behind Monday’s deadly attack on a police academy in Lahore.

He said the attack was “in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people”.

He also claimed responsibility for two other recent deadly attacks.

Baitullah Mehsud said the attacks would continue “until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans”.

Security officials are interrogating at least four suspects captured after the attack, police say.

We will continue our attacks until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans
Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud

Eighteen people, including two civilians, eight policemen and eight militants, were killed and 95 people were injured during the eight-hour battle to wrest back control of the academy, the interior ministry said.

Pakistan’s interior minister earlier identified the Taleban as well as other extremist groups as possible perpetrators and suggested a foreign state could also be involved.

‘Retaliation’

Baitullah Mehsud is the supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan group (Movement of Taleban in Pakistan).

He operates out of a stronghold in the Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan and the US state department recently issued a $5m (£3.5m) reward for his capture.

Speaking to the BBC by phone, he also claimed responsibility for two other attacks:

  • A suicide attack on a security convoy, also on Monday, near the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province, which killed seven security personnel
  • An attack on the offices of a police station in Islamabad on 25 March

But he denied responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in north-west Pakistan on 27 March, in which at least 50 people died.

US DRONE STRIKES
Approx. 300 people killed in at least 30 drone strikes since Aug 2008
Drone strikes target tribal regions, mostly Waziristan
Hellfire missiles fired from unmanned Predator drones is main method

Baitullah Mehsud warned the attacks would continue in Pakistan and threatened future attacks on American soil, while he shrugged off the risk of “martyrdom”.

Local attacks are expected to increase in line with the newly announced US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the BBC’s Barbara Plett in Lahore.

Different Taleban factions in the border region, including Baitullah Mehsud’s, have joined forces in readiness to confront the planned American troop increase in Afghanistan, she says.

Meanwhile, as the Pakistan government attempts to build a national consensus to fight the Taleban, it is faced with trying to overcome deep opposition among its people to an American role in that struggle.

Pakistan’s ‘choice’

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan’s interior minister urged the country to unite against insurgents after the attack on the police academy in Lahore.

Police officers who were held hostage are freed by their colleagues inside the compound of a police training school on the outskirts of Lahore in Pakistan on Monday

The brazen nature of the siege exposed the challenge facing Pakistan

Rehman Malik said the country had a choice between letting the Taleban take over and uniting to fight them – adding that Pakistan’s integrity was “in danger”.

He told reporters that the militants were believed to be fighters loyal to Mehsud and included an Afghan national.

The minister also suggested that a foreign country was interfering in Pakistan’s domestic affairs.

“Some rival country, or some hostile [intelligence] agency is definitely out to destabilise our democratic forces,” he said, in a possible reference to Pakistan’s long-time foe, India.

Indian officials have condemned the attack on Lahore.

Carnage

Gunmen seized the Manawan police training school on the outskirts of the city during a morning drill on Monday.

MAJOR PAKISTAN ATTACKS
27 March 09: Suicide bomber demolishes crowded mosque near the north-western town of Jamrud, killing dozens
3 March 09: Six policemen and a driver killed, and several cricketers injured, in ambush on the Sri Lanka cricket team in central Lahore
20 Sept 08: 54 die in an attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad
6 Sept 08: Suicide car bombing kills 35 and wounds 80 at a police checkpoint in Peshawar
Aug 08: Twin suicide bombings at gates of a weapons factory in town of Wah leave 67 dead
March 08: Suicide bombs hit police headquarters and suburban house in Lahore, killing 24

Helicopter gunships backed up troops who confronted the militants. They were armed with grenades and some are believed to have blown themselves up with suicide vests.

Our correspondent, who witnessed the aftermath, saw broken glass, bullet casings and body parts scattered over the floor of the academy.

The attack came days after US President Barack Obama pledged to put Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, at the heart of his fight against al-Qaeda militants.

He said “al-Qaeda and its extremist allies” were “a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within”.

US officials have pledged to help Pakistan target so-called “safe havens” for militants in Pakistan’s north-west tribal region bordering Afghanistan

Mass-Murderer Mehsud Claims Responsibility for Latest Lahore Attack

See:  Rewards for Justice: Baitullah Mehsud

Pakistan Taliban say behind Lahore raid

By Kamran Haider

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud said on Tuesday his group had carried out an assault on a police academy in the city of Lahore in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks on militants in Pakistan.

He also suggested a bounty put on his head by the United States could be avenged by an attack in Washington.

Eight cadets were killed and scores wounded in the brazen assault that came less than a month after a dozen gunmen attacked Sri Lanka’s cricket team in the city, killing six police guards and a bus driver.

Four militants were killed and three were arrested during an eight-hour gunbattle with security forces in the police academy on Monday.

“We wholeheartedly take responsibility for

this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future,” Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked leader based in the Waziristan ethnic Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border, told Reuters by telephone.

“It’s revenge for the drone attacks in Pakistan.”

Mehsud leads the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Movement of Taliban Pakistan, a loose umbrella group of factions which has carried out attacks across the country, mainly in the northwest.

Authorities have accused him of being behind a string of attacks in Pakistan including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

Pakistani Taliban also have links with Afghan Taliban and send fighters across the border to fight Western forces in Afghanistan.

The United States last week announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the location or arrest of Mehsud.

Frustrated over Pakistan’s inability to stem growing cross-border attacks by militants into Afghanistan, the United States has carried out a series of missile attacks by pilotless drones on militant targets in northwestern Pakistan.

“MORE ATTACKS”

Mehsud shrugged off the U.S. bounty on his head, saying his militants would continue their attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan and could even mount attacks in the United States.

“You can’t imagine how we could avenge this threat inside Washington, inside the White House,” he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Friday the findings of a policy review towards Afghanistan and Pakistan with the elimination of al Qaeda in the two countries the principle objective of his strategy.

Obama also made support for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s government a centrepiece of his policies.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said on Monday the militants behind the attack in Lahore were believed to be fighters loyal to Mehsud and had come from his powerbase in South Waziristan.

Malik said one of the men captured was an Afghan who had arrived in Lahore 15 days ago and rented a house.

Militant violence has surged in Pakistan since mid-2007, with attacks on security forces, government and Western targets, severely testing the year-old civilian government.

The militants rampaged through the police training centre on the outskirts of Lahore, near the border with India, for eight hours before they were overpowered in a joint operation by the army, paramilitary rangers and a crack police squad.

Three of the militants blew themselves up during the final assault, and commandos rescued 10 police being held hostage.

Officials said 89 policemen were wounded.

(Additional reporting by Alamgir Bitani in PESHAWAR; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jerry Norton)

BEWARE! The Devil is Seeking Recruits

CIA Recruiting
Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Being a spy may involve assumed identities and coded messages, but becoming a spy isn’t exactly top secret business. These days, in fact, all you have to do if you”re interested in that particular career path is turn up your radio. The CIA is running ads on stations across the country for jobs in its clandestine service.

“Are you a person of curiosity and integrity?” asks one spot. “Are you ready for a world of challenge … a world of ambiguity and adventure?”

The Agency won”t say how much it is spending on the ad campaign, but a CIA spokesman, George Little, tells TIME via e-mail: “We continue to seek highly qualified candidates to support the mission of America”s premier intelligence agency.” (See the top 10 Secret Service code names.)

The advertising campaign is the first by the Agency under its new director, Leon Panetta, who has said he would like to recruit more people with foreign-language skills as well as more minorities.

The agency is not lacking for applicants: it gets more than 100,000 resumes a year, and the number is growing fast. Little says that if current trends hold, there may be a 40%-50% increase in applications over last year.

But the sheer volume of applications masks some of the Agency’s recruiting problems. In a roundtable discussion with journalists last month, Panetta noted that less than 13% of his staff have foreign-language skills, and 22% are from minority communities. “I’d like to get to a point where every analyst and operations officer is trained in a foreign language,” he said. Panetta also said he’d like to increase the number of minorities at the Agency to 30%, “so that we resemble America.” And he acknowledged the need for “better outreach for Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans and Latinos.” (Read Six Ways to Fix the CIA.)

The outreach program is already underway. Earlier this month, the CIA’s third-highest ranking official, Scott White, held meetings with leaders of the Arab-American and Chaldean-American communities

in Detroit, Mich. “In communities with large numbers of first- and second- generation Americans, we want the message conveyed loud and clear that we welcome their interest in employment with the Agency, especially given their language skills and knowledge of other cultures,” says Little.

The Agency is also looking to reduce its dependence on outside contractors, which increased dramatically after 9/11. “I think we have to bring those capabilities in-house,” Panetta said.

The CIA holds about 2,000 recruiting events per year—many of them at colleges and universities. It also advertises, selectively, on television, in print and even on airport billboards. The outreach extends to new media, as well. For the past two years the Agency has been using its Facebook page as a recruitment medium. Its TV ads can also be seen on YouTube

CIA officials say all this effort is bearing fruit. “We are on track to meet the hiring goals set forth by former President Bush in 2004, which mandated that we increase by 50% the number of CIA officers in certain job occupations, such as intelligence analysts and clandestine officers,” says Little.

India deeply saddened and shocked by Lahore attack

India deeply saddened and shocked by Lahore attack

New Delhi: India is deeply saddened and shocked by the terror attack on the police academy in Lahore and it condemns the incident, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said here on Monday.

Talking to reporters even as the siege was on, Mr. Menon said he hoped the authorities there would be able to resolve the situation soon with minimum loss of life. “Our sympathies and condolences go out to the families of those killed. Terrorism is a menace to the entire region.”

Pakistan: On the brink again

Pakistan: On the brink again

Gurmeet Kanwal

“The Frankenstein monster created by the Pakistan army and the ISI to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] has grown completely out of control. Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders must work together to formulate a comprehensive internal security strategy to fight radical extremism. Such a strategy must of necessity include good governance, socio-economic development and pro-active military measures against hard core extremist elements.”

Allah, army and America have worked together to save Pakistan again! President Asif Ali Zardari’s [Images] stubbornness and political immaturity and Nawaz Sharif’s [Images] all or nothing gamble had brought the shaky civilian government to the verge of collapse and ominous portents of another round of army rule were in the air. However, Hillary Clinton [Images], the US Secretary of State, personally urged restraint and General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, effectively stepped in to nip any such moves in the bud.

Though Pakistan’s civil society has re-asserted itself, the country continues to be in a complete mess and is once again reaching the tipping point on the way to becoming a failed state. The last thing Pakistan needs at this juncture in its troubled history is political instability. After Sharif’s ‘long march’ politics and the lawyers’ agitation, President Zardari has come out much weaker and will be forced to shed some of the President’s disproportionately high powers to Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] and his cabinet ministers.

Sharif has gained in strength and when elections to the National Assembly are held again soon — the Zardari government is unlikely to last its full term — his party PML (Nawaz) may gain enough seats to form the government. General Kayani has redeemed himself and reinforced his democratic credentials by convincing President Zardari to reach a compromise with the opposition.

Notwithstanding the political truce, Pakistan’s troubles are far from over. Its economy has failed to weather the ongoing financial storm; inflation is ruling in double digits; the Pakistani rupee has fallen to record lows against the US dollar and unemployment is at an all time high. Pakistan has become a rentier state that is surviving on US dole for services being rendered for logistics support — a euphemism for allowing US and NATO countries to use its territory for supplying their forces fighting the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine in Afghanistan. Since the amounts being received are far in excess of the cost of fuel and other services that Pakistan is providing, monetary compensation is obviously being given to Pakistan for silently suffering missile and air strikes launched from across its border with Afghanistan by US and NATO forces against the terrorists in the NWFP and FATA. While unveiling his new Af-Pak policy, President Barack Obama [Images] has demanded greater accountability from Pakistan in the so-called global war on terrorism. This will put even greater pressure on the Pakistan army [Images] to show tangible results.

The Pakistan army has claimed victory in the Bajaur area after months of heavy fighting, but only time will tell whether the radical extremists of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have actually been rooted out permanently. The capitulation to Maulana Fazlullah’s TNSM in the Swat Valley does not augur well for the Pakistan army’s ability to fight insurgency effectively. Besides troops of the Frontier Corps who are mainly tribesmen with personal loyalty to TTP leaders like Baitullah Mehsud, regular Pakistani soldiers have been deserting their battalions and some have refused to fight fellow Sunni Muslims.

The army also lacks counter-insurgency weaponry and equipment as it has been investing in upgrading its war fighting capability for conventional war with India, which is at worst a distant threat. The army has also not yet succeeded in fine tuning its tactics, techniques and procedures for dealing with internal security challenges, which require uniquely different preparation. The army will take at least another two to three years to upgrade its capabilities to the level necessary to face the new challenges provided it begins now in earnest and makes a determined effort to succeed.

Meanwhile, urban terrorism is gradually gaining momentum and cities like Lahore [Images], Rawalpindi and Karachi have witnessed large-scale terrorist strikes in the recent past. Radical mullahs are springing up with alarming regularity and people are being forced to pay heed to their diktats. CDs of films and music cassettes have disappeared from the shelves of shops in all but the most upscale markets. Attacks by suicide bombers have become commonplace and every new day brings news of many casualties.

The Frankenstein monster created by the Pakistan army and the ISI to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] has grown completely out of control. Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders must work together to formulate a comprehensive internal security strategy to fight radical extremism. Such a strategy must of necessity include good governance, socio-economic development and pro-active military measures against hard core extremist elements.

The international community, including India, must offer the Pakistan government all the help and encouragement that it needs to fight and root out the menace of radical extremism, or else the terrorists will spread their tentacles far and wide — including, eventually, into India.

Gurmeet Kanwal is Director, Centre for Land Warfare, Studies, New Delhi [Images].


Second Attack on Pakistani Police in One Week Reveals Link to Mumbai Investigation

See: Two killed in suicide attack on Islamabad police station

The court directed Special Investigation Cell to produce the three accused — Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Hamza alias Abu Alqa — before the court again on March 19 and produce Hamad Ameen Sadiq again on March 30.

“The SIC registered a case against eight suspects, including Zakiur Rehamn Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Hamza alias Abu Alqa, Mr Khan, Javed Iqbal, Hamad Ameen Sadiq, Muhammad Ashfaq and Muhammad Riaz on February 12 for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks.”


Pakistani police a growing target, Lahore attack shows

Interior minister says the Pakistani Taliban are behind the attack.

(Photograph)

Target: A police officer aims his weapon while entering the Lahore police academy stormed by gunmen Monday, one of several recent attacks on police in Pakistan.
Emlio Morenatti/AP

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Pakistani commandos overpowered at least 10 gunmen Monday to retake control of a police academy near Lahore.

The gunmen had eight hours earlier stormed the compound disguised in

blue uniforms, leaving eight people dead and about 100 wounded – and demonstrating for the second time this month the weakness of police forces in the heart of Pakistan. On March 3, terrorists launched a similarly brazen attack in Lahore against the Sri Lankan cricket team, killing seven people before slipping away.

“The security guards weren’t able to resist because they had no guns or no ammunition,” says eyewitness M. Ilyas, a police constable.

Police have drawn the ire of jihadi groups for leading a crackdown and investigation of their suspected involvement in the attack on Mumbai in November. Analysts are divided over how much enthusiasm the Army has for tackling militant groups – even in the face of a rise in attacks – but there’s consensus that it’s the police who have proven the most aggressive and need the most Western backing moving forward.

“The police are the weakest link. They are both the most vulnerable and the most essential to the state if there is to be an effective crackdown” on jihadi groups, says Samina Ahmed, a Pakistan-based analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG).

She takes a dim view of the military’s interest in pursuing these groups, adding that top American officials publicly expressed doubts about it as recently as last week.

Instead, civilian law enforcement is key to beating insurgents in Pakistan because the Army has done little, Ms. Ahmed says, and because establishing the rule of law is the most effective weapon against armed militancy.

But police have neither the means nor the independence to do so, she continues. Police have told ICG that since Sept. 11, 2001 the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has been given most of the power to deal with counterterrorism.

Even before Monday’s attacks, the police had paid a price for its role in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks. Last week a suicide bomber targeted an Islamabad police station at the center of the investigation. One policeman who thwarted the bomber from entering the building died in the blast.

The two Lahore attacks suggest the police are outgunned and outwitted by an increasingly sophisticated breed of militants. Monday’s attack suggests careful planning, down to the blue uniforms and timing during a parade of unarmed trainees.

The cricket attacks caught police flatfooted, despite official promises there would be top-notch security for the game. Instead, nearby police failed to respond in time to prevent the gunmen from casually getting away, though police on the scene did manage to protect the cricketers.

“It’s a new generation of terrorists – better equipped with better planning and better coordination,” says Pakistani security expert Ayesha Siddiqa. The attack “makes a case for better equipping the police and training them.”

Injured police in hospitals remain in shock over the attack, which took place close to the Indian border in the town of Manawan.

“Eight hundred of us were parading the ground when the attack began. I was injured in my leg and just ran for my life,” says constable Abid, speaking from his hospital bed.

As with the Mumbai attacks of November, television stations beamed live images of security forces caught in a protracted standoff against a handful of terrorists. Pakistani Interior Ministry advisor Rehman Malik boasted that the commando counterstrike ended “in four hours” compared to the Indian response in Mumbai, which took more than three days.

The standoff ended after Pakistani forces killed three gunmen and captured at least three more. Three of the gunmen blew themselves up.

Mr. Malik said at a press conference that the attack was carried out by fighters of Pakistani Taliban leader Beitullah Mehsud, and that one of the assailants captured was an Afghan national. “A foreign hand may be involved, though it’s a matter of ongoing investigation,” he said. “Where did they get so many grenades, rocket launchers, and vehicles?”

In the northwestern valley of Swat, a Pakistani Taliban group targeted security forces so ruthlessly until a peace deal was forged a month ago that police began taking ads out in newspapers announcing their resignation. (See related story here.) Although there’s little danger of mass desertions of police in major cities like Lahore, the attack could jeopardize the force’s morale.

“These kinds of systematic attacks would quite obviously deter some at least from trying to counter the terrorists,” says Ahmed, with the ICG. She notes that during the cricket attacks, police from a nearby station didn’t bother to respond.

However, the ability of the elite Punjab Police to regain control of the situation after less than a day “suggests that the Pakistani security establishment could be going on the offensive,” according to an email report from Stratfor, a security analysis group in Austin, Texas. Others agree that the attack could become a rallying point for police.

“The jihadis may have stirred up the hornet’s nest,” says Rifaat Hussein, a defense expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. “The police will call for more resources, more reinforcements, [and] the police in Punjab is a much bigger and stronger force than its counterpart in Swat.”



Arrested terrorist is Afghan national, says Malik

Arrested terrorist is Afghan national, says Malik

One of the terrorists arrested for Monday’s attack on a police training centre in this eastern Pakistani city is an Afghan national, interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said.

The suspect, arrested with grenades while he was trying to target some helicopters being used in operations against the terrorists who stormed the police facility, belongs to Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, Malik told reporters.

Malik was speaking after security forces captured or killed the terrorists who attacked the training centre during an eight-hour-long operation. Nine persons were killed and over 90 injured in the terrorist assault.

He said three other suspects had been taken into custody for questioning. The attack on the police centre was planned in the South Waziristan tribal region and the militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas were receiving training across the border, he added.

Malik said the suspects are being interrogated and more details would be available within three days after a high-level investigating committee completed its probe into the incident.

Punjabi and Pushtun militants (TTP) behind Manawan attack

Punjabi and Pushtun militants behind Manawan attack

Monday 30 March 2009

LAHORE: The Pakistani authorities investigating the 30/3 bloody assault on the Police Training School in Manawan on the outskirts of Lahore believe the highly trained and equally equipped terrorist squad involved in the Monday attack most likely belonged to the same group of the Punjabi militants and are backed by their like-minded Taliban jehadis from South Waziristan which had targeted the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 at the Liberty Chowk in Lahore.

The attackers killed eight police cadets before being overwhelmed by a massive counter operation jointly carried out by the Pakistan Army, Rangers and Police. Four militants died during the assault, while three suspects have been captured. The investigators say they have solid evidence to suggest that the Manawan raid was a coordinated operation carried out by the Punjabi Taliban with the logistic support of the South Waziristan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban ameer Baitullah Mehsud which had earlier attempted to target the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 in Lahore. They say the attack on the police academy was possibly a retaliatory act by the Punjabi and Pushtun militants against the Pakistan government’s growing cooperation with Washington in hunting down the Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda and Taliban linked jehadi leaders.

According to the investigators, an aide of the Manawan attackers, Hijrat Ullah alias Nadeem Asghar, who was captured alive from outside the police training centre during the operation, has already confessed having been sent by Baitullah Mehsud. The attack was carried out four days after the US State Department had authorised a reward of up to $ 5 million for information leading to the location, arrest, and/or conviction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s leader Baitullah Mehsud who is being regarded by the Americans as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan.

The investigators point out that the Manawan attackers had many features in common with the assailants of the Liberty assault and there was a possibility that those involved in the 3/3 episode had also taken part in the 30/3 attack since none of them had been arrested either during or after the gruesome operation that killed half a dozen policemen. Although the Manawan attack came three weeks after the Liberty ambush on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the authorities have so far avoided naming any particular group, amidst contradictory media reports regarding the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

As far as the similarities between the appearance and tactics of the Liberty and the Manawan attackers are concerned, the investigators say those involved in the Monday attack too carried backpacks stuffed with highly sophisticated arms and ammunition, as well as bottled water and dried food items, showing that they had actually anticipated a protracted siege. The second common feature was that the attackers had acted under a well-researched and equally organised strategy after getting prior information about the ins and outs of the Manawan building. The third common feature was the use of hand grenades by the terrorists at the police training centre to begin the operation, followed by erratic firing at police jawans with the sole aim of killing them, as had happened in the Liberty attack.

Asked about the identity of those involved in the Manawan attack, Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik said the assault was similar to the Mumbai terror strike. He told Geo TV that the terror strike in Lahore was similar to the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai that left 170 people dead. Malik hinted that home-grown militant groups were involved in Monday raid. “Who is supporting them? Who is giving them weapons? Everyone knows these banned groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad”, he added. A few hours later, having reached Lahore after the operation came to an end, Rehman Malik told newsmen that the agencies had prior information about such an attack on a police training installation.

Asked if any of the attackers had been arrested alive, Malik said while most of them had been killed by the security forces during the operation, three of them blew themselves up before being arrested. However, he added that an alleged companion of the attackers had been arrested from outside the building of the police training school who is being interrogated by the authorities to ascertain if he belonged to the same group. Asked about the findings of the Liberty attack investigations, the advisor on interior said the authorities have already obtained solid evidence about those involved in the 3/3 attack and that they are about to expose them.

To recall, six policemen and a Pakistan Cricket Board van driver lost their lives when a group of a dozen terrorists ambushed Sri Lankan cricketers’ convoy near the Liberty roundabout in Lahore on March 3, 2009. Six of the Sri Lankan players suffered injuries. A four-member police team, headed by Punjab’s Additional Inspector-General of Police (Investigation) Salahuddin Khan Niazi, and another joint investigation team comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency, Inter Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau, was subsequently established by the ministry of interior to investigate the matter and submit a report to the federal government.

Well placed sources in the country’s security establishment say despite having acquired solid evidence regarding the involvement of Punjab militants in the 3/3 terrorist attack, the Pakistani authorities are reluctant to formally name the group for unknown reasons. After preliminary investigations into the Liberty assault, the authorities had first suspected the Lashkar-e-Toiba, saying the attack on the Sri Lankan team might have been an attempt to take the players hostage and to demand the release of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the chief operational commander of the LeT who had been arrested by the Pakistani authorities in December 2008 and is presently being tried in Rawalpindi by an Anti Terrorist Court (ATC) for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But the LeT has strongly refuted its involvement in the attack.

However, while changing tack, the Pakistani advisor on interior Rehman Malik had ruled out the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Toiba in the Liberty attack in the second week of March while talking to newsmen in Islamabad. His statement was followed by some media reports, quoting official sources and saying that the 3/3 operation was actually carried out by an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni sectarian banned terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). These reports had named an al-Qaeda linked LeJ leader Matiur Rehman as the mastermind of the attack, adding that it was actually planned with the coordination of Baitullah Mehsud led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

As Pakistan shared with Sri Lanka the findings of preliminary investigations into the attack on its cricket team on March 25, without naming any particular group, a section of the Pakistan media accused India for the assault, saying the rocket-launchers and explosives used during the terrorist operation on the Sri Lankan cricket team are in the use of Indian forces. These reports cited a forensic report prepared by the Pakistani experts and saying that the four rocket-launchers and nine explosives seized from the crime scene are factory-made and used by Indian forces. According to the findings by Pakistani authorities, 40 grenades, 10 sub-machine guns, five pistols, 577 live rounds of SMGs and 160 bullets of pistols were also found from the site.

The Pakistani authorities point out that the Manawan attack came hardly three days after the American military leadership claimed to have acquired evidence that elements within Pakistani military intelligence, the ISI, continue to provide support for the Taliban. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in a CNN interview on March 27, 2009 that the ISI had links with militants on both the Pakistani borders with Afghanistan and India. “Fundamentally, that is one of the things that has to change”, he said. In another interview to the PBS the same day, the head of US Central Command General David Petraeus, said some of the militant groups had been established by the ISI and that their links continued.

Petraeus said there was evidence that in the fairly recent past, the ISI had tipped off militants when their positions were in danger. “It is a topic that is of enormous importance, because if there are links and if those continue and if it undermines the operations against Islamic militants, obviously that would be very damaging to the kind of trust that we need to build”, said General Petraeus. These statements were followed by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’s March 29 remarks: “What we need to do is try and help the Pakistanis understand these groups are now an existential threat to them and we will be there as a steadfast ally for Pakistan”.

amir.mir1969@gmail.com

Manawan operation ends; Commandos overpower terrorists

Manawan operation ends; Commandos overpower terrorists

MANAWAN (updated on: March 30, 2009, 15:56 PST): Security forces on Monday declared victory over attackers who besieged a police academy, firing into the air in jubilation, an AFP reporter witnessed. At least three bearded men in vests put their hands in the air and surrendered to the small group of armed security forces and commandos on the rooftop of the main academy building just outside the city of Lahore.

The forces shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater), flashed V for victory signs and pumped bullets into the air, a traditional sign of celebration, nearly eight hours after attackers stormed the compound.

Ambulances, which had lined up outside the police academy, started to enter the training ground within minutes of the declared victory.

Agreement on “Southern Stream” to be signed in late April

Agreement on “Southern Stream” to be signed in late April

30. March 2009. | 10:02

Source: EMportal

The agreement on the realization of the “Southern Stream” gas line project will be signed by the end of April in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, in the attendance of heads of all states that the gas line will pass through

The agreement on the realization of the “Southern Stream” gas line project will be signed by the end of April in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, in the attendance of heads of all states that the gas line will pass through, communicated the Serbian Ministry of Power Supply.

It has been stated that at Friday’s session of Serbian Minister Petar Skundric and Deputy Director General of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev it was said that the final itinerary of the “Southern Stream” will be presented and the increase of the capacity announced, from the originally planned to some 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually, to the growing demand of the European market for that fuel.

Skundric and Medvedev have agreed to intensify the negotiations on the joint completion of the gas storage in Banatski Dvor.

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends:Black Agenda Report

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends

To hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary, click the flash player above.  to download an MP3 copy for broadcast or personal use, click here.

afghanA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can’t buy you love.” At root, the Obama/ Petraeus plan for Afghanistan is bribery on a massive scale, a “surge” of billions of dollars to convert the desperately unemployed into U.S.-allied fighters. The plan only looks halfway intelligent in comparison to the early Rumsfeld Iraq plan, which was based on the assumption that the US would be greeted as Afghanistan’s “liberators.”

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“As the old song goes, money can’t buy you love.”

The Obama plan for Afghanistan, like General David Petraeus’s plan for Iraq, boils down to using massive bribery – ten or twenty billion dollars, or more – to create a political and military ally in a country that doesn’t want the U.S. to be there. There’s really nothing mysterious or out of the ordinary about the strategy. The Obama/Patraeus plan for Afghanistan was also the George Bush plan for Iraq in the last two years of the Republican administration, and only appears to be some kind of stroke of brilliance when compared to the Donald Rumsfeld plan to subdue and colonize Iraq in the early years of the Iraq war.
Rumsfeld’s plan was defeated because it was based on thoroughly racist assumptions. The first assumption was that Iraqis would be universally overjoyed to be occupied by the Great (White) American Father – that they would gladly surrender their national sovereignty and put up no long-term resistance. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney and all the Bush minions had not a shred of a doubt that the Iraqis desired nothing more than to become a colony of the United States. When Baghdad was burning, consumed in flames set by the Iraqis themselves after American forces captured the city, Secretary Rumsfeld announced, and truly believed, that the Iraqis were “celebrating” having been conquered by the U.S.A. He assured the American people that only a few of Saddam Hussein’s most fanatically loyal “dead-enders” would put up further resistance to the American occupation. That essentially racist belief – that colored people desire to be ruled by white people – convinced the Bush administration that it could keep U.S. troop levels in Iraq low – that the vast majority of Iraqis wanted to be occupied by foreigners.
Rumsfeld stuck with his assumption until the American occupation was transformed into a siege of the Americans. Finally, Rumsfeld lost his job. In counter-insurgency terms, the war had been lost.

“General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because Sunni fighters were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.”

But America’s war was not the Iraqi’s war. Shia Muslim political parties had their own agenda, and waged a savage war of ethnic cleansing and sectarian annihilation. The Americans didn’t want Iraqis of any religious persuasion running their own country, but they were unable to control events. What happened next was not part of an American plan. Shia Muslim forces had captured 75 percent of Baghdad and Sunni Muslims were on the ropes. At least one hundred thousand former Sunni resistance fighters – virtually the entire force that had earlier brought low the American war machine – agreed to join the U.S. payroll. They made peace with the Americans to escape the wrath of the Shia – and to feed their families. General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because there were few Sunni fighters to surge against. They were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.
President Obama hopes to buy off various groups of fighters in Afghanistan in the same way. The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can’t buy you love – in Afghanistan or Iraq – especially when it competes with people’s natural desire to run their own countries. Only racists believe otherwise.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to http://www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Major attacks in Pak since July 2007

Major attacks in Pak since July 2007

Published: March 30, 2009

Following is a timeline of major attacks in Pakistan since July 2007, after gunmen stormed a police academy outside the city of Lahore in an assault officials say has killed at least 20 people.
2007
July 15: Suicide attacks kill at least 47 people in northwest Pakistan, including 26 at a police recruitment centre
July 19: Three suicide attacks kill more than 50 people. The deadliest targets Chinese workers in southwestern Pakistan, but kills only locals
October 18: Bomb attacks targeting two-time former premier Benazir Bhutto kill at least 139 people in Karachi, just hours after she returns to Pakistan for the first time in eight years. She survives unhurt
December 21: At least 50 are killed in an attack on a mosque in the northwest of the country
December 27: A gun and suicide bomb attack kills Bhutto and nearly two dozen of her supporters as she leaves a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. The interior ministry later says another 58 people died in a wave of unrest triggered by the former premier’s assassination
2008
February 16: Suicide car bomber strikes a rally by Bhutto’s party in the northwestern tribal town of Parachinar, killing 37
February 29: A suicide bomber kills 44 people in Mingora, the main town in the troubled Swat valley, during the funeral of three policemen killed by a roadside bomb earlier in the day
March 2: Suicide bomber kills 43 at a meeting of anti-militant tribal elders in the northwestern district of Darra Adam Khel
March 10: Suicide attackers detonate two huge truck bombs in Lahore, killing 26 people and partly demolishing the Federal Investigation Agency building in the city

July 6: Suicide bomber kills 15 people in an attack on police in Islamabad during a rally to mark the anniversary of an army raid on the radical Red Mosque
August 21: Twin suicide attacks kill at least 57 people outside Pakistan’s main arms factory in Wah, near Islamabad
September 6: Suicide bomber kills 33 people at a security checkpoint near Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province
September 20: At least 60 people are killed when a suicide attacker rammed a massive truck bomb into the gates of the five-star Marriott hotel in Islamabad
October 10: A suicide bomber blows himself up at a meeting of anti-Taliban tribal leaders in a Pakistani region of Orakzai district, killing at least 40 people
December 5: At least 27 people are killed and dozens injured when two bomb blasts struck crowded markets in northwest Pakistan
December 28: At least 41 people are killed in a bomb blast at a polling station in the town of Buner on the edge of the Swat valley in northwest Pakistan.
2009
February 5: 35 people are killed when a suspected suicide bombing hits a crowd of Shiite worshippers outside a Pakistani mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan
February 20: Thirty people are killed in a suicide bombing at a funeral procession for an assassinated local Shiite Muslim leader in Dera Ismail Khan in northwest Pakistan
March 3: Gunmen mount a brazen, coordinated attack on Sri Lanka’s touring cricket team in Lahore, killing eight Pakistanis as well as wounding seven players and a coach.
March 27: A suicide bomber attacks a packed mosque in the northwestern town of Jamrud at prayer time, killing around 50 people and wounding dozens more.
March 30: Gunmen storm a police training compound at Manawan, near Lahore, unleashing a fierce battle with security forces that kills at least 20 people.

Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

LAHORE: Masked gunmen stormed Manawan police academy Monday, unleashing a fierce firefight that has left at least 26 dead in an echo of the commando-style assault on Sri Lanka’s cricket team.

Armed with grenades and assault rifles, and some of them dressed in police uniform, the attackers shot their way into the camp near Lahore and were continuing to trade fire six hours later with security forces.

Bodies of policemen were lying face down on the parade ground as rescuers carried out casualties on sheets and gunfire rattled round the compound at Manawan.

Paramilitary soldiers, armed and wearing flak jackets and helmets, opened fire and fanned out around the perimeter of the site, which was surrounded by scores of police cars and armoured vehicles, Geo news reported. People gathered outside the centre were boosting the morale of the operation forces engaged in carrying out the operation against terrorists.

“The number of killed is at least 26,” police officials told journalists, adding that around 90 were rushed to hospital. The security officials said the number of deaths could rise due to the crossfire. There were also television reports of hostages being taken, but that could not be confirmed.

“There were three or four back-to-back blasts from hand grenades and rocket launchers,” policeman Mohammad Riaz told Geo news from inside a room where he was barricaded with others.

“They directly targeted us. Suddenly there were bodies all around me,” one injured policeman told Geo news from his hospital bed.

Eyewitnesses said that half the assailants were in police uniform and half in civilian clothing. They were armed with hand grenades and rifles, and killed security guards at a rear entrance to get in.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik suggested homegrown terror movements were responsible.

“The nation knows these terrorist organisations,” he told Geo news, adding: “The question is — from where they are getting grenades, guns and rocket launchers in such a large number?”

Indian officials condemned the latest attack, saying it threatened security across the region and that its military was on alert for any “spillover.”

“We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

Militants Swarm Lahore Police Academy

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Eyewitness: Pakistan academy attack

Elite troops outside the academy

Elite troops arrived 90 minutes after the fighting began

There was confusion outside the Manawan police training academy in Lahore, Pakistan, for at least 90 minutes after the gunmen stormed the place.

Some kind of coherent response developed only later, with elite police commando units, the paramilitary rangers as well as army troops surrounding the compound.

Policemen interviewed by TV crews on the spot said the attack came during the morning parade hour when more than 800 trainees were out, all unarmed.

The militants entered the sprawling compound, apparently by scaling the boundary wall, and threw grenades at the parading trainees.

Ilyas, a police constable and eyewitness, told reporters: “We were exercising in the training ground inside the compound when we heard a blast.”

“A great cloud of dust blew over us and I felt something hit my face. When I touched my face there was blood all over.”

“Then I saw a man firing a Kalashnikov running towards us. He had a beard and his face was partially covered by a bandanna. Three of my colleagues fell down in the burst of firing. I just turned and ran. Thank God, I managed to get away.”

Police sub-inspector Mohammad Riaz, one of the trainers who is holed up inside the school, told a TV reporter that he was trapped inside with “10 to 12 people, including policemen and recruits”.

He said the attack happened when a police parade was going on around 0730. About 750 policemen were participating in the parade, he said.

“I was in my room. Suddenly there was an explosion. Then a second, and a third. Some three or four big explosions, after which firing from heavy weapons started,” said Mr Riaz.

“They [probably] first threw in some grenades or rocket propelled grenades from outside the wall. The recruits started running. I saw them running. I tried to get out [of the room], but then heavy weapon fire started from all directions.”

“I couldn’t judge where it was coming from. All the windowpanes of the building were broken. Then we took shelter in a room and stayed there until the rescue people arrived.”

Mr Riaz said the attackers were present at “three or four positions”.

“Two or three men are on the second floor [of the building], some are on the third floor above, said the policeman, who said he was armed with a gun.

Some of the trainees did manage to escape, one of them with a bullet in his leg.

TV cameras peeping from over the boundary wall captured motionless images of five or six policemen, lying on the ground in the parade area.

They appeared dead, though some may have been only injured.

Some civilians were also hit and injured on the road outside the compound, apparently when the attackers fired in the direction of police security at the gate along the road.

Rescue workers have been able to take some of the injured out of the school in armoured personnel careers.

Speculation

Despite growing incidents of militant attacks across the country, the school only had peacetime security in place at the time.

Besides, some experts interviewed on TV said the training schools usually had small armouries, with old weapons not fit to counter the modern weapons of the militants.

A senior retired police official, Afzal Shigri, said it was not known whether the trainees were new recruits or trained officials on mid-service training.

He said new recruits were unlikely to challenge the attackers, but if there were any trained police officers in there, they might find a way to overcome the attackers even without any arms.

But defence analyst Lt-Gen (rtd) Talat Masood said that Pakistani policemen did not match the level of physical endurance and motivation that the militants had displayed time and again.

When the elite forces arrived 90 minutes later, they were welcomed by the crowd of spectators outside the school with loud chants of Allah-O-Akbar (God is Great).

Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop

 

Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop

By: Peter Chamberlin

Another anomaly in the “war of [mistakes] terror” may have been solved.The unfolding story about the anti-Pakistan psyop revolves around Britain’s MI6 and the “Pakistani Taliban.”

What exactly were Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple doing in Helmand?At the end of December, 2007 the European diplomats were arrested and evicted from Afghanistan for “talking to the Taliban.”News reports after the fact reveal that the two diplomats were actually agents of British MI6 secret service, sent to strike a bargain with top Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah or his younger half-brother Mansoor.The negotiations are alleged to have begun in early summer, according to the British press.

But the operation began much earlier than that, in March, when Mansoor Dadullah was released on March 19 in a prisoner exchange for Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was being held by feared Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah.


Again, according to the British press, the whole attempt at turning Mansoor began in an operation tokill his brother.The recruiting attempt began with that prisoner exchange which freed Mansoor. He was tracked from Quetta back to Helmand where British Special Forces killed Mullah Dadullah on May12, 2007, using the latest technology (Predators) to follow his satellite phone signal.Either they supplied him the phone or they simply tailed him from Helmand to Quetta, where they managed to pick-out his the satellite phone.

The evidence that the operation began with the prison release of Mansoor is only circumstantial, that being that it was the Western negotiators who introduced him into the equation(the Taliban leader didn’t mention Mansoor in the initial contact, naming only Taliban spokesmen Mohammad Hanif and Abdul Latif Hakimi) and the British press admits that Mullah was killed by successfully following Mansoor.

A voice recording of a man claiming to be top Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah has said an Italian journalist captured by the militants has confessed to spying for the British military…Apparently referring to the detentions of two Taliban spokesmen, the man in the recording also accused the Western media of bias.

“They give one-sided freedom to media. We don’t give a one-sided freedom to media. The media should be all free or should be banned totally.

“No one can accept … that the Taliban journalists be in prisons and their journalists be free.”

The hold-up to introduce the Mansoor operation into play cost Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s driver, Sayed Agha his head.

RAI-1 channel beamed images of Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver Sayed Agha and his interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi, kneeling blindfolded before gun-wielding militants.More..
It then showed Agha being beheaded

Ajmal Naqshbandi

Ajmal Naqshbandi worked as a guide for visiting reporters

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Mastrogiacomo was freed to celebrate his life and mourn the brutal death of his friend.The American and British military geniuses who conceived the Dadullah ploy rejoiced at the success of their devious diversion and celebrated before the fact the coming fate of Mullah Dadullah.

On May 10 2007 ,Tony Blair announced that he will formally step down from his post on June 27; no reason is given.

On or about May. 11,British military begins talks with Afghan “civilians” (read:Taliban).

Dadullah was killed by a British commando attack two days later, on 13 May 2007.

The British were arrogantly intent on reviving their colonial skills at dealing with and against the local tribes (See The Legendary Fighters of Waziristan), so they apparently sought-out Mullah Dadullah in an attempt to replicate his successful negotiations with Pakistan.The Taliban chieftain must have balked at negotiations with “slaves of America,” (meaning the British or the Afghan puppet regime), since he termed such negotiations as “impossible” in an interview with Al Jazeera given at about that time.Even though negotiations with the Taliban’s old friends in Pakistan was acceptable to him, it was beyond the pale to suggest to the old mujahedeen veteran negotiating with the back-stabbing Americans and Brits.

Even though he was known as a ruthless killer and a charismatic militant leader, reaching Dadullah seemed feasible to the Brits, after all, he had just signed a truce on September 24, 2006between the Pakistani Army and the local Taliban. Mullah Omar had sent one of his most trusted and feared commanders, Mullah Dadullah, to ask local militants to sign the truce.

“Had they been not asked by Mullah Omar, none of them were willing to sign an agreement,” said Lateef Afridi, a tribal elder and former national assembly member. “This is no peace agreement, it is accepting Taliban rule in Pakistan’s territory.”

“An Interior Ministry statement said Dadullah was killed in fighting with security forces in Helmand’s Girishk district on Saturday night.”

The Western powers missed a grand opportunity to excise the real “al Qaida” Wahabbi fighters from Pakistani territory, when they failed to see the significance of the Pakistani/Taliban accord created by Mullah Omar.Thousands of “al Qaida” Uzbeks were entrenched in Waziristan, waging war against the local populace to enforce their version of “Shariah” law, and instigating war against the Pakistani Army.The treaty signed by Dadullah stopped the anti-government warfare and later inspired local tribal leaders to raise “Lashkars” (militia forces) to fight against the “al Qaida” and to expel them from the region.

Instead of supporting Pakistan’s efforts and bringing peace to the Afghan Taliban’s troublesome rear areas by building on the division that was opening-up between the actual “al Qaida” terrorists and the local Pashtun tribal militias, Bush and Cheney chose to use the Predator and terrorist attacksas a tool for closing the gap between the battling groups, in order to wage war upon the Pakistani government for defying their orders.

On the night that Dadullah was killed, May 13, 2007, fierce fighting broke-out between the Pakistani and Afghan (or coalition) forces:

“early Sunday when the Pakistani army attempted to position their forces in mountains in Goyee area of Jaji district of the south-eastern Paktia province, General Zahir Azimi, Afghan defence ministry spokesman told a press conference.”

This killing of Afghans by Pakistani troops outraged the local tribesmen, who began to marshal tribal defenses to defend against the aggression.

May 15 Mansoor replaces Dadullah as new Taliban commander.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the local “Taliban” were busily engaged in inter-tribal warfare, to expel Uzbek/”al Qaida” criminals from their midst.

On 15 May 2007 a powerful bomb ripped through a hotel Peshawar has killed at least 24 people.

“The Marhaba, is popular with tribal visitors from Afghanistan.”

Onmay 18, 2007 four policemen were seized in Islamabad at the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid).

The relationship between the European spies and Mansoor Dadullah developed throughout the year.

On July 24, Abdullah Mehsud was killed near Quetta.

On Oct. 18, 2007 Benazir Bhutto returned to Karachi, to be greeted with a massive suicide bomb attempt on her life. “Al Qaida” was blamed for the blast.

November 3, 2007, President Musharref declares a national emergency in Pakistan.

On 13 Dec 2007 Britain is understood to have given the green light to President Hamid Karzai to undertake talks with Taliban militants as part of a long-term strategy to bring peace in Afghanistan..

December 14, 2007, the formation of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan (TTP).

December 16, Musharref lifts the state of emergency declared on Nov. 3.

On 26 Dec 2007 Karzai orders the arrest of the British agents.

On December 27 Benazir Bhutto was killed,

Dec. 29, 2007, Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed read to AFP over the telephone a statement issued by Omar that said Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was sacked

“because he disobeyed orders of the Islamic Emirate’ of Taleban.”

What was the order that Mansoor failed to follow?Was he cast-out for dealing with the Brits, or for blowing the deal with the Brits?Or was he shunned because he ordered the assassination of the popular female Pakistani politician on orders from some shady higher authority?

Riots and killing broke-out across Pakistan after the murder of Bhutto, turning into an opportunity for the British-influenced TTP to begin a new wider campaign of terror in FATA and North West Frontier Province.

7 January 2008:

“Gunmen stormed the office of Taleban commander Maulavi Nazir in Wana on Sunday night and killed three of his supporters and wounded four others, officials said.

They said five people were killed in the nearby Shkai area in another attack on the office of Commander Khanan, who is loyal to Mullah Nazir.

Officials say they suspect the attackers to be Uzbek militants, who are opposed to Mullah Nazir”.

The wave of terror expanded to the major cities:

10 January 2008 “A suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and wounded another 60 when he hurled himself at policemen standing outside the high court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore this morning.”

The Sararogha Fort raid occurred on 15-16 January 2008 when several dozen Islamic militants overrun a paramilitary fort in South Waziristan,

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[The last half of the video discusses the economic problems, “less than dollar a day wages,” that drive desperate people into seeking radical, non-conventional solutions to their lives, such as joining militant groups.Here is where Obama’s plan of economic pay-offs and incentives might find a lot of “reconcilables.”]

On Jan. 29 the CIA launched its Predator war upon Pakistan.

Feb. 11, 2008 Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a senior Taliban figure, has been wounded and captured along with five lieutenants by Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, the Pakistani military reported.

Mansoor Dadullah arrested near Quetta Feb. 12, 2008

It is thought Mansoor may have been double-crossed as part of a deal between the hardline “neo” Taleban in Pakistan, and local security forces.

“[Semple] had become close to tribes in northern Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule in the late 1990s.Semple has a Muslim Pakistani wife.”This places him in a good place to recruit Northern Alliance and Uzbek fighters for a destabilizing mission into Pakistan, under the guise of a new insurgent group like the TTP (Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan), which formed later in December.Mullah Dadullah had attended the promotion ceremony of Baitullah Mehsud to Taliban commander and brokered the truce between Mehsud and the Army September 24, 2006.

The deal that the British were offering was to employ Dadullah and all 2500 of his fighters, some as militia-type forces, others for honest labor on non-opium projects.While this was going on the British were waging a psyop to disorient the local Taliban and to turn them against each other, through hired spies, they were devastating the local cadres, causing everyone to mistrust their comrades.Were Dadullah’s fighters being sent into Waziristan to target Pakistani leaders, to start the same process of sowing mistrust?Had the Brits hired these guys as an army of mercenary spies?

Are the Brits part of the same coalition who is funding the TTP?Did the TTP launch its offensive in reaction to British treachery, or led into the escalation by British influence?Considering the long-range meddling that preceded Bhutto’s assassination, it is probable that the offensive was just another manipulation by the Brits and their financial backers (the invisible financiers who produce the whole show).

In most cases of recent Sunni militant groups associated with the name “al Qaida,” the Saudis and their Gulf State friends have proven to be the secret sources of operational funds, command and control, just as it has been since the jihad in Afghanistan began in 1979.Between the radical militant groups linked to “al Qaida,” and the radical Wahabbi madrassas that pump-out new “Taliban,” Saudi Arabia (Pakistan’s other “best friend”) is also slowly cutting the Nation’s throat.Pakistan’s “friends” will be the death of her yet.

Was the Taliban split that was being staged a mirror image of the British/American “split” over Afghan policy that initiated the whole process of revelation and shakedown in late December.Was Mansoor busted by Mullah Omar on December 29 because the operation was exposed, or because of the assassination of Benizir Bhutto on the 27th?The idea of exposing the plot to the media told the Taliban that they could not even trust their leaders.

June 10, 2008, American Predator attacks Pakistani outpost at Gora Prai, resulting in the deaths of 11 paramilitary troops of the Frontier Corps.

July 8, 2008, the Indian embassy in Kabul is bombed, killing the military attaché, Pakistan is blamed for the attack.

July 11, 2008, Nine Pakistanis hurt in fire from Afghanistan

WANA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Seven Pakistani soldiers and two civilians have been wounded by firing from inside Afghanistan in the latest incident along the border between the uneasy U.S. allies… “About 60 rounds fell in Angoor Adda,”

On July 12, 2008, after a strategic meeting between US and Pakistan military leaders, an open rift was exposed between the two sides for all the world to see, at that time, the Predator war against Pakistan went into high gear (See: US/Pakistan Showdown/Throwdown July12).

August 18, 2008, Musharref’s resignation is accepted by the National Assembly.

Sep 6, 2008, the scandal-ridden widower of Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari (“Mr. Ten Percent”) is given the job of playing Pakistan’s president, for the next act of the deadly psycho-drama.

The war being waged against the Pakistani government since then is an even greater staged event.Pakistan is being dismembered by the concentrated application of fear and tension through repeated Predator and terror attacks upon groups of citizens, local madrassas and government forces.The people doing this in Pakistan are the same people who were doing it in Afghanistan.Whether this dismemberment, primarily by way of the TTP movement, is a product of a British psyop or a combination of US and British spies carrying-out a great play act together is immaterial; the important thing for Pakistanis to realize is that their so-called “friends” have built a hostile force in their midst.Cooperation with America or Britain, to eliminate the terror that so many people have worked so hard to create is suicidal.

President Obama claims to want to turn the situation around in “Af-Pak.”If he is serious about this claim then the first thing he will do is put an end to the ongoing psyop against Pakistan and take control of targeting for the Predator flights away from the CIA, or any other western agency and offer it to Pakistani Army Gen. Kayani.If Pakistan wants to use these air assets in a war against the militant network, then that should be their decision to make, not ours.

Last Friday, President Obama basically embraced the British plan for negotiating with the Taliban, which basically entails bribing them into “reconciliation” (the latest euphemism for ceasing hostilities). The process is focused on finding the reconcilables and separating them from the unreconcilables, in order to totally eliminate the uncooperative groups. The American counter-insurgency tactics rely on proxy forces to carry-out the violent prodding that is meant to discover the true natures of the targeted leaders, the “tickling” referred to by previous CIA captain Michael Hayden.It is the underhanded spy agency tactics chosen by the previous administration which have prolonged both the Iraq and the Afghan wars; why should the goons they placed in charge now be trusted to run the new front in Pakistan?This can no longer be the CIA’s war.

Asia Times senior correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad gives the following assessment of the British plan of divide, buy and conquer, and the resultant US/NATO “split” over the issue:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “NATO split over Afghanistan – Truveo …“, posted with vodpod

The process described in the video could possibly work, if the underhanded moves are stopped and Pakistan and the Western powers are on the same page.If NATO honors the “red line” commitment made by Ambassador Holbrooke, to not send NATO troops across the Durand Line and lets Pakistan call the shots for where and when American airpower will be brought to bear, then the war in Pakistan might be won, as a realistic first step towards halting Afghanistan’s downhill slide.But winning this war by anyone’s measure first requires a complete break with the Bush/Cheney policies that wrecked it.

The Taliban ruse is based on the “Al Qaida” ploy, set in stone at the beginning of the “war on terror” (which has now allegedly been downgraded).“Al Qaida” is an invention of the Bush/Cheney cabal.It never existed before 1999-2000.The bin Laden group, which has been dubbed “al Qaida” is a CIA fabrication, used as a conflict generator/force multiplier.The incident that began Bush’s terror war was also a manufactured event.

The purpose for creating this international militant army was to bring-about the “clash of civilizations.It was to serve as a self-perpetuating recruitment mechanism, funded by international trafficking in weapons and drugs.By perpetuating a false version of Islam based upon a worship of violence and jihad, then committing widespread violence, atrocities and crimes against the human race, the “Islamic” terror generator seduced thousands of young Muslim men into serving Shaitan.

May Allah guide you, Pakistan, in this hour of temptation.If you accept America’s billions to fulfill the contract of waging total war upon the Pakistani citizens of the Frontier Region then you will be selling your souls to Shaitan, while cutting your own throats.But if you choose to wage war against the “epicenter of terrorism” that you have allowed the United States to create in your western regions, then you will have no choice but to accept a gracious hand if it is offered, especially if it is overflowing with the overwhelming technological force that you will need for the task.

It’s Pakistan’s call to make.

peter.chamberlin@yahoo.com

Obama Adviser Gen. James Jones Claims Predators Produce Low “Collateral” Damage (Civilian Deaths)

Drone strikes are effective: US

By Anwar Iqbal

Washington and Islamabad will decide ‘collaboratively’ whether to continue these drone strikes: US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.—File Photo

‘The attacks have done a couple of things: One, they have been targeted very specifically against al Qaeda, two, they produce very low collateral damage,’ he said.

THE CLAIM:

The stepped-up Predator campaign has killed at least nine senior al-Qaida leaders and dozens of lower-ranking operatives

THE TRUTH:

According to one estimate by Agence France Presse, Predator strikes have killed “more than 340 people since August 2008”, a fair number of whom are civilians.

WASHINGTON: US drone attacks inside Pakistan were ‘having an affect,’ said US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones, adding that Washington and Islamabad will decide ‘collaboratively’ whether to continue those strikes.

In an interview to Dawn after President Barak Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gen. Jones defended the drones strikes as effective and said they were causing low collateral damage.

‘They are having an affect (but) whether they continue or not will be up to the Pakistani government and our government working side by side in a collaborative way,’ said the general.

‘The attacks have done a couple of things: One, they have been targeted very specifically against al Qaeda, two, they produce very low collateral damage,’ he said.

This marks the first time a senior US official spoke on record on the drone attacks. US officials usually do not acknowledge their involvement in these attacks and instead urge journalists to contact Pakistani authorities whenever such an attack takes place.

The drone attacks were first ordered by the Bush administration. The Obama administration has not only continued those strikes but some Obama officials have indicated recently that the drones may attack targets inside Balochistan as well.

Meanwhile, another US official, Assistant State Secretary Richard Boucher, assured Pakistan that his country had no plans to send American troops inside the Pakistani territory.

Mr Boucher said Pakistanis, a US ally in the fight against terrorism, were operating on their side of the border. ‘We operate differently on the other side of the border.’

The US, he said, understood that the Pakistanis did not want American forces inside Pakistan. ‘We’ll respect that, but at the same time we want to make sure we are them supporting properly,’ he said.

Another US official charged with implementing US policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, acknowledged frustrations, calling the fight to bring stability to Pakistani border areas ‘the most daunting challenge’ of the new regional plan because Pakistan had imposed a ‘red line.’

‘The red line is unambiguous and stated publicly by the Pakistani government —no foreign troops on our soil,’ he said.

Gen. Jones said the new US policy focused more intensively on Pakistan than in the past, and said this was ‘normal, because it’s a newer problem.’

He said that Washington’s relation with Pakistan, were ‘in a restart mode; that is to say that we are having very intensive dialogues. We’re building trust and confidence between the armed forces.’

At a separate White House briefing, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Middle East and South Asia expert, who chaired the White House review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: ‘Al Qaeda operates within a very sophisticated syndicate of terrorist organisations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.’

President Obama wants to make sure that this mission has a focus and a clear, concise goal, he said. ‘And that goal, as he spelled it out, is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, and to ensure that their safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot threaten the United States anymore,’ Mr Riedel said.

Zionist Press in Israel and London Pushes Israeli “Super Drones” Disinformation

‘UAVs hit Gaza-bound weapons convoys’

Jerusalem Post – ‎1 hour ago‎
By JPOST.COM STAFF Israel used unmanned aircraft in a series of attacks on Iranian convoys in Sudan which were attempting to smuggle long-range missiles

Report: Israel used unmanned drones to attack Sudan convoys

Ha’aretz – ‎4 hours ago‎
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies The Israel Air Force used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle weapons

Report: Israel used drones in Sudan

Ynetnews – ‎5 hours ago‎
Sunday Times quotes defense officials as saying Hermes 450 UAVs attacked convoys trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza. According to report, trucks were

ABC: IAF attacked 3 times in Sudan

Ha’aretz – ‎10 hours ago‎
By Yossi Melman and Yoav Stern The Israel Air Force carried out three air strikes in Sudan, not two, according to a report yesterday by ABC News.

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan

Times Online – ‎12 hours ago‎
ISRAEL used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The missiles have the range to strike

Hezbollah denounces alleged airstrikes on Sudan

eTaiwan News – ‎15 hours ago‎
AP Sudan says it believes Israel carried out the airstrikes in the remote mountainous desert region of northeast Sudan last month.

Hizbullah denounces alleged air-strikes on Sudan

Ynetnews – ‎16 hours ago‎
Hizbullah is denouncing alleged air-strikes on Sudan targeting weapons smugglers. Sudan says it believes Israel carried out the strikes, which Khartoum

Hizbullah: Sudan strikes a new Israeli crime

Ynetnews – ‎19 hours ago‎
AP and Ynet In a statement issued Saturday, Hizbullah called the airstrikes a new Israeli crime and urged Arab leaders meeting in Qatar next week to craft a

Report: Israel carried out 3 attacks on Sudan arms smugglers

Ha’aretz – ‎20 hours ago‎
By Haaretz Service and AP Israel has carried out three air strikes since January against what was believed to be Iranian arms shipments passing through

ANALYSIS / Sudan has become playground for terror groups

Ha’aretz – ‎Mar 26, 2009‎
By Zvi Bar’el Did the truck convoy making its way from Port Sudan to Egypt carry weapons from Iran, China or Russia – Sudan’s three major arms suppliers?

Ex-pilots split on what Sudan strike means for Iran

Ha’aretz – ‎Mar 26, 2009‎
By Anshel Pfeffer Former senior Israel Air Force officers are divided over what the IAF’s alleged strike on an arms convoy in Sudan means for the

Report: Israel Used UAVs to Attack Missile Convoys in Sudan

Arutz Sheva – ‎1 hour ago‎
by Yehudah Lev Kay (IsraelNN.com) The London Sunday Times reported that the Israeli Air Force used Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) to carry out strikes on

Egypt’s Al-Shurooq first broke the story showing US planes

DEBKA file – ‎1 hour ago‎
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources trace how an air strike on an Iranian arms convoy bound for Gaza, uncorroborated by witnesses or any other

So who did bomb the Iranian arms trucks in Sudan?

DEBKA file – ‎2 hours ago‎
The only solid fact emerging from the fanciful “reports” traded between Western and Middle East media over the bombing of an Iranian arms convoy bound for

London Times Tries to Turn Sudan Convoy Attack Into Grounds for Iran War

DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THIS GARBAGE?  The distance between southern Israel and Port Sudan is approximately 1,000 miles in a straight line.  The Israeli manufacturer of the drone cited maximum payload at 150 kg., and showed only sensors under the “payload” section.  Remember, initial reports claimed that there were “18- holes [craters?] diameters ranging between 160 and 430 meters.” Whatever was used to hit this convoy was not the drones claimed, so the accompanying claims about this being an Iranian convoy carrying broken-apart missiles is likely a lie, as well.

hermes_450_4hermes_450_12

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan

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ISRAEL used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The missiles have the range to strike Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona, defence sources said.

The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attacked two convoys, killing at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts. All the lorries carrying the long-range rockets were destroyed. Had the rockets been delivered to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, they would have dramatically raised the stakes in the conflict, enabling Palestinians to wreak terror on Tel Aviv.

According to western diplomats, Israel attacked the Iranian convoys at the end of January and in the first week of February in the remote Sudan desert, just outside Port Sudan. The convoys had been tracked down by agents from Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency.

The raids were carried out by Hermes 450 drones. One source claimed they were accompanied by giant Eitan UAVs, which have a 110ft wingspan, similar to that of a Boeing 737. The drones, controlled via satellite, can hover over a target for 24 hours. The Hermes 450 squadron is based at the Palmahim air base, south of Tel Aviv, but it remains unclear from which airfield they took off.

In a phrase that every Israeli recognised as a claim of responsibility for the raid, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declared last week: “We operate in every area where terrorist infrastructures can be struck.” He added: “We are operating in locations near and far, and attack in a way that strengthens and increases deterrence. There is no point in  elaborating. Everyone can use their imagination. Whoever needs to know, knows.”

Khartoum initially accused America of being behind the attacks. “We contacted the Americans and they categorically denied they were involved,” said Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ali al-Sadig.

His comments were the first official acknowledgment of the air strikes, first reported last week by the Egyptian newspaper El Shorouk. “We didn’t know about the first attack until after the second one. They were in an area close to the border with Egypt, a remote desert area, with no towns or people,” Sadig said.

Defence sources said the chief reason for choosing the drones was that a convoy forms a “slippery” target. “When you attack a fixed target, especially a big one, you are better off using jet aircraft. But with a moving target with no definite time for the move UAVs are best, as they can hover extremely high and remain unseen until the target is on the move.”

According to sources, the convoys were carrying Fajr3 rockets, which have a range of more than 40 miles, and were split into sections so they could be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza from Egypt. “They built the Fajr in parts so it would be easy to smuggle them into Gaza, then reassemble them with Hamas experts who learnt the job in Syria and Iran,” said a source.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards masterminded the smuggling operation. “The Iranians arrived in Port Sudan and liaised with local smugglers,” said a source. The convoy was heading for the Egyptian border where, for a fat fee, local smugglers would take over.

North Korea may also launch midrange missile: report

North Korea may also launch midrange missile: report

A model of North Korea's Scud-B missile is seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, March 27, 2009.
A model of North Korea’s Scud-B missile is seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul
Jo Yong-Hak

TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea is preparing to launch a close- to mid-range ballistic missile separately from the long-range missile that Pyongyang has said it will launch next month, the Sankei Japanese daily reported on Sunday.

The secluded state may fire the close- to mid-range missile shortly after the long-range missile is launched, the paper said, quoting unnamed Japanese government sources.

The report come as Pyongyang is poised launch a communications satellite between April 4-8 that regional powers believe will actually be a test of a long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, which is already believed to be on its launch pad.

North Korea has given international agencies notice that the rocket’s planned trajectory should take it over Japan, dropping booster stages to its east and west. Any attempt to shoot the rocket itself down would be an act of war, it has said.

Japan deployed two ballistic missile destroyers to the Sea of Japan on Saturday to intercept any dangerous debris in the event that the controversial missile launch planned by North Korea goes wrong.

Al Jazeera aired footage of Taliban Mullah Dadullah

In the interview, Dadullah basically says that How can we negotiate with “the Americans or their slaves” after the grief that they have brought to our women and our elders, after they have stripped our prisoners naked, defamed our Prophet PBUH and slandered our holy book?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Israeli assault on the press conference with injured American’s parents


“There is no respect for the grieving”
Barghouthi shocked by the Israeli assault on the press conference with injured American’s parents

Palestinian National Initiative

tristan_at_tree-sit_in_berkely.jpg

Tristan Anderson

25 March 2009

Ramallah: Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative condemned heavily yesterday Israeli aggression consisting in shutting down and beating Palestinian activists and journalist during the press conference held by the parents of Tristan Anderson, the American peace activist who was shot in Ni’lin last week.

“The boundaries of minimum respect for the victims have been crossed once again. We feel that there are no limits in the Israeli troops behaviour, no respect for the grieving of Tristan’s family”, the deputy said, shocked.

Tristan Anderson, 37 years old, an American citizen and peace activist, had an Israeli high velocity gas canister shot at his head in Ni’lin on the 13th of March. His skulls shattered several injuries and he was left in a very critical state at Tel Aviv hospital.

On Monday, during a press conference held by Tristan’s parents, a woman and a journalist were beaten by the Israeli troops. 11 persons were detained including 3 foreign peace activists.

The press conference was held in a very symbolic place, known as the ‘protest tent’, in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Al Kurd family has taken up residence for months after being evicted from their home.

Several journalists were reported being prevented to attend the conference. The Israeli army demanded that the event will be shut down. As several refused, they assaulted the audience, beating and detaining activists, media crews and officials.

“Such a raid leaves me speechless”, condemns the Deputy. ‘But we have to stand up loud. The Anderson family has the right to tell the world what Tristan has endured and express solidarity and their indignation and feelings regarding the shooting of their son. America is a country where freedom of speech is a core value. But once entering the Israeli controlled territory, nothing prevails anymore. Israeli soldiers have no shame and this should be reported. Loudly.”

Contacts:
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi: 0599/ 201 528
Or: 0599/ 940 073
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2 arrested over Pakistan mosque bombing

2 arrested over Pakistan mosque bombing

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Two suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing of a mosque that killed at least 51 people, Pakistani authorities said Saturday.

Friday's blast brought the roof of the mosque down on worshippers attending prayers.

Friday’s blast brought the roof of the mosque down on worshippers attending prayers.

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The two were arrested about 30 minutes after the Friday bombing after police spotted them fleeing the scene, said local official Rahat Gul.

The suspects were being questioned about the deadly blast that also wounded more than 100 people.

The blast occurred at Jamrod in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border.

This is the latest assault in a region populated by Islamic militants in Pakistani safe havens along the Afghan border, where NATO and the U.S.-led coalition have been battling Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

The bombed-out mosque had been frequented by Pakistani security officials who work at checkpoints along the route used by NATO to carry supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

The strike came hours before President Barack Obama explained his new urgent strategy for fighting Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the latest in a long line of attacks in the region that have been staged on days of political importance in the volatile Afghan and Pakistani region.

The two-story mosque had been packed with about 250 worshippers attending Friday prayers when the bomber, thought to be among the worshippers, detonated the explosive, authorities said.

The building collapsed as the explosion rippled through the structure, and rescue crews deployed to the scene were searching through the rubble for more victims.

What is the Truth About Life in Kabul?




By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Kabul

It is easy to tell that this war is not going well for the Afghan government and its foreign allies.

Afghan policeman stands guard in front of the fortified gate of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs on 8 March

The defences in Kabul betray the deteriorating security situation

More than ever, Kabul city centre resembles a fortress. In the two years since I was last here more roads have been closed off, and the blast barriers around embassies and government buildings have grown thicker and higher.

Nato troops still patrol the city in full combat gear, and, judging by the number of armed guards standing on the streets, this is a boom time for private security firms.

But the response to the worsening security situation in the city is lopsided. This is now a city of four million people, but the police force numbers only 4,000.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the security forces are even more stretched.

‘Enable the Afghans

US President Barack Obama’s announcement that they will receive more resources and more training will therefore be welcome news for many, not least the Afghan Defence Minister Gen Abdul Rahim Wardak.

An Afghan girl leads her donkey to get water in Kabul last Sunday

Afghans want to see changes in their daily lives

“Since the beginning in 2002 I have been telling everyone that the most cost-effective way for our friends and allies, and politically the less complex way, and the way to save the lives of our friends and allies, is to enable the Afghans themselves,” he told me before President Obama spoke.

“That is the only sustainable way to secure Afghanistan. It will take some time to train and equip a bigger force, but I that think once it is completed the gradual draw down of international forces can start,” he said.

The head of the international forces in the country, Gen David McKeirnon, is also keen to emphasis the vital role that the Afghan security forces increasingly are able to play.

‘Bottom-up approach’

The day before President Obama’s announcement, he was at the graduation ceremony for the first units of the Afghan Public Protection Force, which will operate at the community level.

The 240 men come from Wardak province, just to the south of Kabul, which was badly hit by the Taleban insurgency last year.

After three weeks of training by US special forces, these men will soon be sent back to their villages, to be a first line of defence. The plan is to replicate this force across the country.

“This is an example of a bottom-up approach, where we can have communities come together and help provide security and a unity of voice,” Gen David McKeirnon said.

But like much of Washington’s new strategy, Afghans have heard many things like this before.

It is only when they see changes on the ground, and in their impoverished and war-scarred communities, that they will begin to believe that there is indeed a new strategy, and one that works.

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns

shanty-1.jpg
An encampment of tents under an overpass in Fresno

shanty-2.jpg
Guillermo Flores, 32, said he had looked for work in the fields and in fast food, but had found nothing. For the last eight months, he has collected cans, recycling them for $5 to $10 a day, and lived in a hand-built, three-room shack, a home that he takes pride in, with a door, clean sheets on his bed and a bowl full of fresh apples in his propane-powered kitchen area. “I just built it because I need it,” said Mr. Flores, as he cooked a dinner of chili peppers, eggs and onions over a fire. “The only problem I have is the spiders.”


JESSE McKINLEY
Published: March 25, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. — As the operations manager of an outreach center for the homeless here, Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center.

Residents of Sacramento’s Tent City to Move to Fairground (March 26, 2009)

“They just popped up about 18 months ago,” Mr. Stack said. “One day it was empty. The next day, there were people living there.”

Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”

While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

In Seattle, homeless residents in the city’s 100-person encampment call it Nickelsville, an unflattering reference to the mayor, Greg Nickels. A tent city in Sacramento prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to announce a plan Wednesday to shift the entire 125-person encampment to a nearby fairground. That came after a recent visit by “The Oprah Winfrey Show” set off such a news media stampede that some fed-up homeless people complained of overexposure and said they just wanted to be left alone.

The problem in Fresno is different in that it is both chronic and largely outside the national limelight. Homelessness here has long been fed by the ups and downs in seasonal and subsistence jobs in agriculture, but now the recession has cast a wider net and drawn in hundreds of the newly homeless — from hitchhikers to truck drivers to electricians.

“These are able-bodied folks that did day labor, at minimum wage or better, who were previously able to house themselves based on their income,” said Michael Stoops, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group based in Washington.

The surging number of homeless people in Fresno, a city of 500,000 people, has been a surprise. City officials say they have three major encampments near downtown and smaller settlements along two highways. All told, as many 2,000 people are homeless here, according to Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager, who said that drug use, prostitution and violence were all too common in the encampments.

“That’s all part of that underground economy,” Mr. Barfield said. “It’s what happens when a person is trying to survive.”

He said the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments in the next several weeks, to determine how many people needed services and permanent housing. “We’re treating it like any other disaster area,” Mr. Barfield said.

Mr. Barfield took over his newly created position in January, after the county and city adopted a 10-year plan to address homelessness. A class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless people against the city and the California Department of Transportation led to a $2.35 million settlement in 2008, making money available to about 350 residents who had had their belongings discarded in sweeps by the city.

The growing encampments led the city to place portable toilets and security guards near one area known as New Jack City, named after a dark and drug-filled 1991 movie. But that just attracted more homeless people.

“It was just kind of an invitation to move in,” said Mr. Stack, the outreach center manager.

On a recent afternoon, nobody seemed thrilled to be living in New Jack City, a filthy collection of rain- and wind-battered tents in a garbage-strewn lot. Several weary-looking residents sat on decaying sofas as a pair of pit bulls chained to a fence howled.

Northwest of New Jack City sits a somewhat less grim encampment. It is sometimes called Taco Flats or Little Tijuana because of the large number of Latino residents, many of whom were drawn to Fresno on the promise of agricultural jobs, which have dried up in the face of the poor economy and a three-year drought.

Guillermo Flores, 32, said he had looked for work in the fields and in fast food, but had found nothing. For the last eight months, he has collected cans, recycling them for $5 to $10 a day, and lived in a hand-built, three-room shack, a home that he takes pride in, with a door, clean sheets on his bed and a bowl full of fresh apples in his propane-powered kitchen area.

“I just built it because I need it,” said Mr. Flores, as he cooked a dinner of chili peppers, eggs and onions over a fire. “The only problem I have is the spiders.

Sindh High Court (SHC) moved against ‘US meddling’ in Pakistan’s internal affairs

SHC moved against ‘US meddling’ in Pakistan’s internal affairs

KARACHI: A constitutional petition was filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC) here on Friday to challenge alleged meddling of US diplomats in the internal affairs of Pakistan, supporting opposition parties and meeting politicians for fanning unrest in the country.

The petition was filed by a local lawyer Sohail Hameed, who maintained that after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US government was now meddling in the internal affairs of Pakistan by using an indirect method of controlling political parties through their influence, forcing the government of the day to enter into a compromise on the terms dictated by the opposition.

He submitted that as per the Constitution of Pakistan (Objective Resolution), the government is bound to defend the territorial integrity of Pakistan and ensure independent governance as per Islamic ideology.

The petitioner stated that a series of meetings by US diplomats in Pakistan, are aimed at fanning political turmoil. Citing the president of Pakistan, prime minister and interior and foreign secretaries as respondents, the petitioner sought direction to the respondents to ensure independence of the country and to prevent US meddling into internal affairs of Pakistan. The petitioner also sought direction to the respondents to file a case before the US courts of law against US officials intervening in Pakistan’s political and other affairs. staff report

Can Mehsud be captured now?

Can Mehsud be captured now?

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Rahimullah Yusufzai

Baitullah Mehsud, a larger-than-life figure from the tribal region of South Waziristan, continues to draw attention on the world stage. Recently, Time magazine named him in its annual list of the 100 most influential persons in the world. And a few days ago, the US announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

In a way, the reward is an indictment against Pakistan for its inability to bring to justice a wanted Pakistani. Now that a precedent has been set, it is possible that more Pakistanis will be placed on the most-wanted lists internationally and monetary rewards announced for their arrests.

Ironically, the government of Pakistan hasn’t offered any such reward for Mehsud’s arrest, even though he and his outlawed organization, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is routinely blamed by authorities for most of the suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in the country. He has been charged in some police cases but has yet to be tried in a court of law or convicted.

It is possible that the US government took Pakistani authorities into confidence before announcing the cash reward for Mehsud’s capture. In fact, government functionaries in Pakistan have been privately complaining and using certain media outlets to highlight the issue of lack of cooperation from the US in targeting and eliminating people like Mehsud. They have pointed out that US drones failed to attack Mehsud and his hideouts even when intelligence information about his possible location was shared with American military commanders. One such occasion was a largely-attended press conference that Mehsud addressed in a government school in a part of South Waziristan inhabited by his Mehsud tribe and was widely reported in the media. By announcing a reward for Mehsud’s capture under its Rewards for Justice programme and including his name in its most-wanted list of Al-Qaeda facilitators, the US appears keen to address Pakistan’s concerns and at the same time further enlist its cooperation in achieving American objectives in its “war on terror.”

After being discarded by the UK, the term “war on terror” has now been abandoned by the US due to the belated realisation that it was misleading and was provoking large sections of the world’s Muslim population who believed it was a war against Islam. However, mere change of wording is unlikely to have the desired effect. Instead, the Western powers would have to change their policy of using unbridled force against those with a different worldview and pursue dialogue while resolving contentious issues. Also, there is need for change in the unconditional American and Western support for Israel and the neglect of Palestinian suffering, their backing for snon-representative rulers in Islamic countries and their urge to replace unfriendly governments in Muslim nations with those behaving as puppets.

It is interesting to note that on the day the reward for Mehsud’s capture was announced, the US State Department also made public two cash awards for those who could help in the arrest and conviction of an Afghan, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and a Libyan, Abu Yahya al-Libi. The fact that the US added a Pakistani, an Afghan and a Libyan to its list of most wanted people showed the trans-national character of the enemies of America. Also, all three are young, Mehsud being the oldest at about 35; Haqqani and al-Libi are under-30. This explains the transition taking place in Islamic militant organisations like Al-Qaeda and Taliban with younger people taking centre-stage in place of the older generation of militants. More importantly, the new generation of militants seems to be more radical and better organised. This also shows that killing or capturing older militants such as Osama bin Laden, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mulla Mohammad Omar is unlikely to greatly damage their organisations as younger and equally determined Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are ready to take over the moment the pioneers of these groups are eliminated or apprehended.

The $5 million reward for Mehsud’s capture places him just below Mulla Omar in terms of his importance to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reward for the latter’s arrest is $10 million and that for bin Laden and Zawahiri $25 million each. Mehsud he has time and again declared that his leader is Mulla Omar, who is Afghan.

The US charge-sheet against Mehsud is rather weak. The State Department statement announcing the reward for his capture noted that Mehsud is “regarded” as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in South Waziristan and that Pakistani authorities “believe” that the suicide attack against Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was staged by militants loyal to him. The statement also says that “press reports also have linked Mehsud to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the deaths of other innocent civilians.” Further, the US government pointed out in the statement that Mehsud had stated his intention to attack the United States. He was accused of conducting cross-border attacks against US forces in Afghanistan and posing a clear threat to American citizens and interests in the region. It is doubtful if all this would be enough to persuade independent judges to convict Mehsud in a court of law.

The reward for Haqqani’s capture is an acknowledgement of the Afghan Taliban commander’s hitherto underestimated power and influence. Earlier, the reward for his arrest was $200,000. It shows the US has finally recognised the threat the so-called “Haqqani Network” poses to the American, NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. His father, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of the most powerful Afghan Mujahideen and Taliban commanders in the 1980s and 1990s. The younger Haqqani, reverentially referred to as Khalifa by his followers, has built a bigger reputation by spearheading a relentless resistance campaign against the NATO and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan and Kabul and inflicting heavy losses on them. Most attacks, including the daring suicide bombings taking place in Kabul, are reportedly organised by Haqqani’s fighters.

The State Department statement doesn’t provide much grounds to seek his conviction in a court. It refers to an interview that he gave to an American news organisation in which he admitted planning the Jan 14, 2008, attack against the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including American citizen Thor David Hesla. He is accused of coordinating and participating in cross-border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from his hideout in Pakistan’s tribal areas and of maintaining close ties to al-Qaeda.

The same holds true for al-Libi, who is referred to by the State Department as an Islamic scholar and a prominent member of Al-Qaeda. The reward for his capture is $1 million. The statement recalls that al-Libi was captured in 2002 and imprisoned at the US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan. It doesn’t say that al-Libi and three other Arab fighters escaped from the heavily-guarded prison in Bagram in what was undoubtedly an unprecedented security lapse. The four Al-Qaeda fighters led by Abu Nasir al-Qahtani issued a videotape after their escape and described in detail their miraculous getaway from the maximum-security jail.

The Rewards for Justice programme hasn’t been very successful in netting the wanted men in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The cash awards are huge but not tempting enough to lure those who may have information that will lead to the capture of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and the 20 or so Asl-Qaeda and Taliban figures on the most wanted US list. Ramzi Yousaf and Aimal Kansi were apprehended in Pakistan with the help of informers who were tempted by the cash reward offered by the US. Certain other low-key, unimportant and, in a number of cases, innocent people were also captured, and according to General Pervez Musharraf’s book, delivered to the US in return for monetary prizes starting from $5,000. Most beneficiaries of the cash rewards were apparently personnel of Pakistan’s security and law-enforcement agencies.

In Mehsud’s case, there would be greater chances of netting him compared with figures like bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and Haqqani through the offer of cash reward. Unlike the others on the wanted list, his location and hideouts are known and confined to a limited area in South Waziristan and, occasionally, in North Waziristan. Besides, he has earned the enmity of both Pakistani security establishment and rival groups of militants. The suicide attack by one of his suicide bombers against the rival militant group led by Haji Turkestan in Jandola, the gateway to South Waziristan, on March 26 shows the intensity of his battle with militants and tribes that are standing up to him, reportedly at the behest of the government. However, the public announcement of the $5 million reward for Mehsud’s capture would alert him and make him even more careful about his movements. The lure of money is surely a powerful incentive and one comes across bounty hunters who come to our part of the world in the hope of finding bin Laden and his associates. But it seems the people who know the hideouts of these wanted militants are so committed to their cause that no amount of money could tempt them to give away the location of the wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban figures.

The writer is resident editor of The News in Peshawar. Email: rahimyusufzai @yahoo.com

Shadowlands

Shadowlands

Saturday, March 28, 2009
The relationship between our security services and the various iterations of the Taliban over the last fifteen years has recently been described as ‘ambiguous’ by an American Senator – which understates the case by several orders of magnitude. There is no doubt and it is well-enough documented that Pakistan (urged on by the American CIA) gave support to the Taliban in their formative years as a tool to dislodge the Russians from Afghanistan. There emerged a group that eventually held the governance of most of Afghanistan. Pakistan was one of a handful of nations to recognize the Taliban government. No western nation ever did and the Taliban government in Afghanistan existed in a diplomatic limbo, which may now be seen as a significant lost opportunity. Relationships could have been built then that would have served us all well now, but they were not and the post 9/11 Taliban have emerged as the ultimate loose cannon – powerful, destructive and difficult to predict. Today there are credible reports that the various Taliban groups are coming together in anticipation of the US troop surge to fight the American and NATO forces. If they do they will be formidable indeed.

In this shadowy world of unacknowledged relationships and covert alliances the intelligence agencies of all the player-nations are busy with their dark agendas – including our own. By their very nature secret agencies will willingly say little or nothing of what they do and when and where they do it and who they do it with. It is usually the media who ferret out what secret agencies are up to, and this week the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal carry reports that ‘S division’ of our own ISI are involved in supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and by extension supporting them here as well. These reports are of course immediately denied and waved away, our government assuring us that we have no part in this meddlesome business. Then there is a quiet caveat…if any of our people are involved it must be rogue officers, men of junior rank operating on their own and without official blessing. Beyond the pale. It is the sotto voce caveat that gives the confirmation, sows the seeds of doubt and gives credence to the reports in the NYT and the WSJ.

By the time these words are read we will know the details of the new American strategy, the Af-Pak plan. There is money in there for both countries – but it is going to be closely linked to performance indicators. Richard Holbrooke as recently as March 23 has spoken of the possibility of extending the war from FATA into other areas, specifically Quetta. He spoke of the need for tighter control of the Afghan-Pakistani border and linking aid to Pakistan’s willingness and actual performance against extremist forces. He even hinted that the US-led coalition would not hold back if targets were found anywhere in Pakistan. With America in aggressive mode and demanding results, our own agencies may find themselves in some difficulty if they are indeed supporting Taliban figures and groups. What would be the American response if they could credibly demonstrate that on the one hand we appeared to be fighting alongside them towards shared goals; whilst on the other we were supporting the very elements that we were supposed to be fighting against? The trilateral relationship that has begun to develop between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, and the more inclusive and consultative position of the Obama administration, could be threatened were such found to be the case. Worse still, our own secret agencies could themselves become targets – and it is clear that the US is going to have few scruples about hitting them. This is not the time for ambiguity. We need clarity and, within the bounds of necessary secrecy, a little more transparency and accountability from our secret agencies. De-coupling from the Taliban Express is a job better done by ourselves – but if we don’t do it then Uncle Sam may well do it for us, and hang the consequences.

Japan to shoot down DPRK missile

Japan to shoot down DPRK missile

Saturday, March 28, 2009
TOKYO: Japan gave its military the green light on Friday to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket, with tensions high ahead of a planned launch that the US and allies say will be an illegal missile test.

Japanese and US warships have already deployed ahead of the April 4-8 window, when the secretive North has said it will launch a communications satellite — warning that shooting it down would be seen as an act of war.

But South Korea, Japan and the United States have all warned the North that any launch would be unacceptable, amid fears the regime is actually intending to test a long-range missile that could reach North America.

Russia — which with the two Koreas, China, Japan and the US is part of a six-party forum working on the North’s nuclear disarmament — urged Pyongyang not to carry out the launch, saying there was no need to “ignite passions”.

The security council in Japan, officially pacifist since the end of World War II, decided ahead of time to shoot down any incoming missile that could hit its territory rather than wait until a launch. “The security council this morning decided to issue a destruction order in advance,” said Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada. “We will do our best to handle any flying object from North Korea.”

Japan later began relocating its Patriot missile defence batteries ahead of the expected rocket launch, local media reported. The North said on Thursday that even referring a launch to the United Nations would ruin the long-running and erratic six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, during which North Korea has already tested one missile and an atomic bomb.

US National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said the North wanted to show it had the technology to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The North is believed to be preparing to test a Taepodong-2 that could hit Alaska.

“North Korea is attempting to demonstrate an ICBM capability through a space launch,” Blair said.

Japan has announced no plans to strike the North Korean rocket unless it appears to pose a direct threat, for example due to a mishap that could send an errant missile or debris flying toward the country.

“There are various scenarios — for example, a case of failure,” Hamada said. “It’s extremely unpleasant that an object flies over our territories.” Pyongyang has reportedly already put a rocket onto one of its launch pads, raising the stakes in a delicate diplomatic stand-off that has come just two months into the new US administration of President Barack Obama.

North Korea said on Thursday that bringing any launch to the United Nations would be a “hostile action” that would end the negotiations.

The United States, which says the launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution, has vowed to do so.

“The six-party talks will become non-existent,” a spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry told official media. In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told reporters: “North Korea would be better off refraining from it.”

“There is no need to ignite passions around this problem,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s nuclear envoy headed to Washington on Friday for talks with US officials as regional powers scrambled to coordinate a joint strategy for North Korea’s planned rocket launch.

In Washington, envoy Wi Sung-lac plans to meet President Barack Obama’s envoys on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth and Sung Kim as well as with Japan’s nuclear envoy, Akitaka Saiki, who will also be in Washington, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

“As North Korea’s rocket launch preparations gather pace, I will have consultations on the issue and the six-way talks” on dismantling the North’s nuclear programme, Wi told reporters before his departure.

PM Gilani Promises Drones Attacks Will Continue on Same Targets, Nothing Changed

PM says no more drone attacks in Swat, Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said there will be no more drone attacks in Swat and Balochistan as Pakistan has already discussed the issue with US.

Addressing a meeting of parliamentary party, Prime Minister said that we will accept the verdict of court in Sharif brothers eligibility case and Punjab government. We had extended the hand of friendship, which was accepted by opponents.

Premier Gilani has directed the members not to chant slogans during President’s address to parliament.

Another Predator Attack?

Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Bombing of packed Pakistan mosque likely to further inflame region

At least 50 were killed in the suicide attack on the Sunni mosque in Khyber Agency.

By Ben Arnoldy

DELHI, INDIA – A suicide bomber entered a crowded mosque in northwest Pakistan and detonated an explosive that killed more than 50 people during Friday prayers.

It’s unclear who was behind the attack, which took place in tribal region West of Peshawar known as the Khyber Agency. Security forces tasked with protecting NATO supply lines were among those praying and subsequently killed at the mosque, according to local reports.

By attacking a packed Sunni mosque at Friday prayers, the perpetrators showed a brazen disregard for popular sentiment in the region, analysts say.

“I think people in the frontier will be scared to send their children and men to the mosque. And I think the moderate sort of religious people in Pakistan will be calling for some action against these people,” says security analyst retired Brig. Gen. Mahmood Shah.

Earlier this month, militants bombed a Sufi shrine in Peshawar. The attack damaged the tomb of Abdur Rahman Baba, a Sufi saint and one of the most famous poets in the Pashto language. Many local Pashtuns are fond of reciting his verses. Although that attack struck at a popular ethnic figure, it was largely seen as a sectarian strike against the Sufi faith.

Today’s attack marks the first bombing of a Sunni mosque in the region, says Mushtaq Yusufzai, a Peshawar-based reporter with The News, a newspaper based in Pakistan. Although the attack will further anger local people, Mr. Yusufzai doesn’t see that turning into an effective backlash against militant groups.

“The people cannot react, they are helpless. They cannot fight against these unseen fighters,” he says. In the past, local tribal leaders have organized lashkars, or armed posses, to go after militant groups. But militants retaliated by killing tribal elders and burning their homes, breaking much of the local resistance.

Yusufzai said he talked to some locals who claim to have seen drones recently in area the rumors, valid or not, will no doubt add to growing resentment of US airstrikes in the region. He also said the attacks came as a surprise because local Taliban were believed to have agreed to focus their efforts on the fight in Afghanistan.

Why Would “Islamists” Bomb Fellow Muslims at Prayer for American Attacks?

Pakistani tribesmen at the site of a suicide blast

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Grief-stricken relatives and residents Saturday buried the victims of a suicide bombing at a northwestern Pakistan mosque that left about 50 dead, officials and witnesses said.

A suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at the packed mosque in the northwestern tribal town of Jamrud, also leaving scores wounded in one of the bloodiest recent attacks in Pakistan.

Relatives of the dead, helped by residents, dug graves in the rugged terrain and prayed, administration official Bakhtiar Mohmand said.

“The whole town is in mourning,” Mohmand said.

“There are several trucks parked near the mosque and apparently the drivers and helpers of these trucks, who stopped to offer prayers (on Friday), died in the bombing,” Mohmand told AFP.

Several limbs picked out of the rubble of the mosque were also buried in a nearby graveyard.

There was no claim for the attack, but Pakistani security officials said they suspected the bombing was to avenge operations against Taliban fighters and other Islamist militants aimed at securing NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

US officials say northwest Pakistan has degenerated into a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan and have regrouped to launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.

Extremists opposed to the Pakistan government’s decision to side with the United States in its “war on terror” have carried out a series of bombings and other attacks that have killed nearly 1,700 people in less than two years.

Militants attack NATO supply terminal in Pakistan

Militants attack NATO supply terminal in Pakistan

Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. Pakistani tribesmen are seen next to the ruble of a destroyed mosque after a blast in Jamrud, in the Khyber region, about 25 km (16 miles) from Afghan border, Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday prayers in Jamrud, a town near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people and injuring scores more, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
By Riaz Khan Associated Press Writer / March 28, 2009

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Dozens of suspected militants fired rockets early Saturday at a transport terminal in northwest Pakistan that is used to ship supplies to NATO troops based in Afghanistan, police said.

At least 12 shipping containers were damaged in the attack at the Farhad terminal in Peshawar, capital of troubled North West Frontier Province, local police official Zahur Khan told The Associated Press. He said police opened fire at the insurgents but they managed to flee.

The attack came less than a day after a suicide bomber blew up in a packed mosque in North West Frontier Province’s Khyber tribal region, killing 48 people and wounding scores more in the worst attack to hit Pakistan this year.

Afghan-based U.S. and NATO forces get up to 75 percent of their supplies via routes that pass through Khyber and a southwestern Chaman border crossing — areas where Taliban militants are believed to be operating.

Islamic militants were suspected in Friday’s deadly mosque attack, apparently to avenge recent military operations in the area aimed at protecting the NATO supply route, authorities said.

The route passes in front of the mosque, where about 200 worshippers were present at the time of the blast.

Shortly after the attack, tribal police detained two suspects who were making a video near the mosque and investigators believed the men were linked to those who orchestrated the bombing, two local security officials said Saturday.

The officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media — provided no further details and only said the men were still in police custody and being questioned.

Several security officers were also killed in Friday’s attack, which came hours before President Barack Obama unveiled a revised strategy to “disrupt, defeat and dismantle” the al-Qaida terrorist organization and the Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan.

Afghan and Pakistani officials praised Obama’s emphasis on civilian aid to their countries, saying it would be an effective way to deal with the growing militant violence.

Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan have often killed scores of Pakistani civilians in attacks. Mosques and funerals have been targeted before, but Friday’s blast was seen by many as plumbing new depths of evil.

“What kind of holy war is this? Only poor people have been killed,” said Asfandyar Wali, head of the ruling secular party in the northwest. “This is not about implementing Islamic law, this is not about holy war. This is outright insurgency.”

Tariq Hayat, the top administrator of the Khyber tribal region, said 48 bodies were found in the rubble, and he predicted the death toll would likely rise. More than 100 people were wounded, medical officials said.

Pakistan has been hit by scores of attacks by al-Qaida and Taliban militants since the Muslim country withdrew its support for the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and supported the U.S.-led invasion of that country.

Until Friday, the deadliest recent attack was in September, when a suicide truck bomb killed at least 54 people and devastated the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the capital.

The militants are mostly sheltering in the border region, which Western officials say they use as a base to attack U.S. and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, where violence is also running at all-time highs. The lawless, mountainous region is believed to be a possible hideout for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism–S. CON. RES. 11

111th CONGRESS 1st SessionS. CON. RES. 11

Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and reaffirming the support of Congress for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 19, 2009

Ms. COLLINS (for herself, Mr. CARDIN, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. RISCH, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr. SANDERS, Mr. BAYH, Mr. BENNETT, Mr. CASEY, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. KYL, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. SHELBY, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. BARRASSO, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. BROWN, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mr. MENENDEZ, Ms. CANTWELL, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. WICKER, Mr. THUNE, Mr. VOINOVICH, Mr. HATCH, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. NELSON of Florida, Mr. KERRY, Mr. MCCONNELL, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. CORKER, and Mr. BURR) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and reaffirming the support of Congress for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and for other purposes.

Whereas the United States Government has consistently supported efforts to address the rise in anti-Semitism through its bilateral relationships and through engagement in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of American States;

Whereas, in 2004, Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act (Public Law 108-332), which established an Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, headed by a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism;

Whereas the Department of State, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, and others have reported that periods of Arab-Israeli tension have sparked an increase in attacks against Jewish communities around the world and comparisons of policies of the Government of Israel to those of the Nazis and that, despite growing efforts by governments to promote Holocaust remembrance, the Holocaust is frequently invoked as part of anti-Semitic harassment to threaten and offend Jews;

Whereas, since the commencement of Israel’s military operation in Gaza on December 27, 2008, a substantial increase in anti-Semitic violence, including physical and verbal attacks, arson, and vandalism against synagogues, cemeteries, and Holocaust memorial sites, has been reported;

Whereas, among many other examples of the dramatic rise of anti-Semitism around the world, over 220 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported to the Community Security Trust in London since December 27, 2008, approximately eight times the number recorded during the same period last year, and the main Jewish association in France, Counsel Representatif des Institutions Juives de France, recorded more than 100 attacks in January, including car bombs launched at synagogues, a difference from 20 to 25 a month for the previous year;

Whereas, interspersed with expressions of legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and actions, anti-Semitic imagery and comparisons of Jews and Israel to Nazis have been widespread at demonstrations in the United States, Europe, and Latin America against Israel’s actions, and placards held at many demonstrations across the globe have compared Israeli leaders to Nazis, accused Israel of carrying out a `Holocaust’ against Palestinians, and equated the Jewish Star of David with the Nazi swastika;

Whereas, in some countries, demonstrations have included chants of `death to Israel,’ expressions of support for suicide terrorism against Israeli or Jewish civilians, and have been followed by violence and vandalism against synagogues and Jewish institutions;

Whereas some government leaders have exemplified courage and resolve against this trend, including President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who said he `utterly condemned the unacceptable violence, under the pretext of this conflict, against individuals, private property, and religious buildings,’ and assured `that these acts would not go unpunished,’ Justice Minister of the Netherlands Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who announced on January 14, 2009, that he would investigate allegations of anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred and violence at anti-Israel demonstrations, and parliamentarians who have voiced concern, such as the British Parliament’s All-Party Group Against Anti-Semitism, which expressed its `horror as a wave of anti-Semitic incidents has affected the Jewish community’;

Whereas, despite these actions, too few government leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America have taken action against the anti-Semitic environments in their countries and in some cases have even promoted violence;

Whereas other leaders have made hostile pronouncements against Israel and Jews, including the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who called Israel’s actions a `Holocaust against the Palestinian people’ and singled out Venezuela’s Jewish community, demanding that they publicly renounce Israel’s `barbaric acts’ and in so doing implying that the Jewish community is co-responsible for any actions by the Government of Israel and thus a legitimate target, the leader of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar, who recently called for Jewish children to be attacked around the world, and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, who vowed to confer the status of `martyr’ on `anyone who dies in this holy struggle against World Zionism’;

Whereas incitement to violence against Jews also continues in state-run media, particularly in the Middle East, where government-owned, government-sanctioned, or government-controlled publishing houses publish newspapers which promulgate anti-Jewish stereotypes and the myth of the Jewish blood libels in editorial cartoons and articles, produce and broadcast anti-Semitic dramatic and documentary series, and produce Arabic translations of anti-Semitic tracts such as `The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and `Mein Kampf’;

Whereas Jewish communities face an environment in which the convergence of anti-Semitic sentiment and demonization of Israel in the public debate have fostered a hostile environment and a sense of global insecurity, especially in places such as Belgium, Argentina, Venezuela, Spain, and South Africa;

Whereas, in response, the United States Government and other governments and multilateral institutions have supported international government and civil society efforts to monitor and report on anti-Semitic activities and introduce preventive initiatives such as tolerance education and Holocaust Remembrance; and

Whereas challenges still remain, with the governments of many countries failing to implement and fund preventive efforts, accurately track and report anti-Semitic crimes, and prosecute offenders: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress–
    • (1) unequivocally condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to rationalize anti-Jewish hatred or attacks as a justifiable expression of disaffection or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere;
    • (2) decries the comparison of Jews to Nazis perpetrating a Holocaust or genocide as a pernicious form of anti-Semitism, an insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, and an affront both to those who survived and the righteous gentiles who saved Jewish lives at peril to their own and who fought to defeat the Nazis;
    • (3) calls on leaders to speak out against manifestations of anti-Semitism that have entered the public debate about the Middle East;
    • (4) applauds those foreign leaders who have condemned anti-Semitic acts and calls on those who have yet to take firm action against anti-Semitism in their countries to do so;
    • (5) reaffirms its support for the mandate of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; and
    • (6) urges the Secretary of State–
      • (A) to maintain the fight against anti-Semitism as a foreign policy priority of the Untied States and to convey the concerns of the United States Government in bilateral meetings;
      • (B) to continue to raise with United States allies in the Middle East their failure to halt incitement to violence against Jews, including through the use of government-run media;
      • (C) to urge governments to promote tolerance education and establish mechanisms to monitor, investigate, and punish anti-Semitic crimes, including through utilization of the education, law enforcement training, and civil society capacity building initiatives of the Tolerance and Non-discrimination Department of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE);
      • (D) to swiftly appoint the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State;
      • (E) to ensure that Department of State Annual Country Reports on Human Rights and International Religious Freedom Reports continue to report on incidents of anti-Semitism and the efforts of foreign governments to address the problem;
      • (F) to provide necessary training and tools for United States embassies and missions to recognize these trends; and
      • (G) to ensure that initiatives of the United States Government to train law enforcement abroad incorporate tools to address anti-Semitism.

The Planned Killing of Benazir Bhutto

The Planned Killing of Benazir Bhutto

by Ramtanu Maitra

The gruesome killing of Benazir Bhutto in the evening hours of Dec. 27 in Pakistan’s garrison town of Rawalpindi is yet another step in the process of weakening, and eventual break-up, of Pakistan.

Despite the crocodile tears shed in Washington and London over Bhutto’s assassination, it was a disaster waiting to happen and therefore, was altogether expected. Those who believed, naively, that Bhutto’s mission was to reinstate democracy in Pakistan and put its usurpers, the Pakistani military, in the background, do not realize why she was inserted into the scene, which was already rife with violence. The truth is that the British imperial circles, with their stooges in Washington, set up Bhutto’s execution, to advance their scheme to break up Pakistan, and create chaos throughout this strategic region. (See Lyndon LaRouche’s statement on British role.)

Bhutto, no doubt, was a mass-based political leader, but she was a woman (an excuse used by the puppet Islamic jihadists to commit violence against a person), and she was goaded into the scene by the United States—perhaps now the most hated nation among Muslims in general—to serve Washington’s purpose, which was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and force it to share power with a democratic politician. According to the master strategists in Washington, that is the best of both worlds—the Pakistani military stays friendly, while the United States shakes off its guilt of backing a military dictator.

It is not known what transpired in the telephone call between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Benazir Bhutto that led to Bhutto’s decision to return. What promises were made will not be known unless Rice can shake off the national security garb and tell the truth. The one who knew, and could tell others, is gone.

The 9/11 event had enticed a weak-in-the-head Bush Administration to embark on a journey, the path of which was paved by the British colonialists. The vestiges of British colonial aspirations exist not only at Buckingham Palace, but even more so in the power of the intrigue and secrecy-ridden City of London.

Britain and the Muslims

The partition of India, and the formation of Pakistan, a Muslim nation, by the British Raj, was not done because the British liked Muslims. They had slaughtered them by the thousands in 1856, when the Hindus and Muslims joined hands under the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, to drive out the firenghee (white-skinned foreigners). Those who remember that untold part of the history of the Indian independence movement, talk of the piles of bodies lying in the streets of Delhi slaughtered by British soldiers. Most of them, like Benazir Bhutto and her colleagues who died on Dec. 27, were Muslims. The Muslims were “traitors” aspiring to reinstate the “despicable” and “corrupt” Mughal dynasty, London screamed.

The key to the British Empire’s financial success was its ability to manipulate Islam. The British Empire-builders eliminated the Islamic Caliphate, created nations out of deserts, eliminated some nations, and partitioned others to create Islamic nations. Britain was aware that the oil fields of Arabia would be a source of great power in the post-World War II decades. The western part of British India bordered Muslim Central Asia, another major source of oil and gas, bordering Russia and Muslim Afghanistan. British India also bordered Islamic Iran and the Persian Gulf—the doorway to the oil fields of Arabia. In order to keep its future options open, Balochistan, bordering northeastern Iran, and the tribal Pushtun-dominated areas bordering Afghanistan, remained as British protectorates.

So, when the break-up of British India was planned by Churchill and others, Balochistan was not a problem. The problem was the Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which was led by a pro-Congress Party leadership, and had voted in the last referendum before partition, to join Hindu-majority India.

What London wanted was that the large Hindu-dominated India must not have common borders with Russia, or Central Asia. That could make it too powerful and, worst of all, energy independent. Pakistan was created by the gamesmen in London because they wanted a weak Muslim state that would depend heavily on the mighty British military. The Cold War period held this arrangement in place, to the satisfaction of the British. The Kashmir dispute, triggered from London to cut off Indian access to Afghanistan, served the British policy-makers well.

But the post-Cold War days are different. China is rising in the north and seeking entry into the Persian Gulf and Central Asia through the western part of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. China has a long-term plan to build, and build, and build, infrastructure in this area, to bring resources into its vast but thinly populated western sector that extends from bordering areas of Kazakstan under the shadows of the Tien Shan mountains in the West, to the Shaanxi province deep inside China.

What is the connection of this history to the gruesome incident that happened in the darkening shadows of Liaquat Ali Bagh in Rawalpindi? It is important for the Pakistanis, as well for the other citizens of the Indian subcontinent, to know and assimilate.

Britain wants another partition of Pakistan. Whether Washington wants it, or not, it is playing second fiddle to this absurd policy. This time, a new nation is supposed to emerge—a weak and disoriented nation, born out of violence, just like the partition of British India. This nation will consist of Pushtun-dominated North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Balochistan—all situated west of the Indus River and bordering he British-drawn disputed Durand Line that allegedly separates Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Why Bhutto?

The purpose of inserting Benazir Bhutto into the scene, after eight years of self-imposed exile, at a time when law and order had completely broken down, and even the Pakistani military was coming under serious attacks from the Islamic militants, was two-fold. The first objective, which Bhutto achieved in no time, was to put the Pakistani military on the defensive and generate demands in the street for the military to get back to barracks.

It is understood by the majority of Pakistanis, that despite the corruption that envelops the military, it is the only force in the nation that could, in the short term, maintain law and order, and fight the secessionists.

Once she put the Pakistani military on the defensive, Benazir did not become irrelevant. She became the designated qurbani (sacrifice). The killing of Benazir Bhutto has already unleashed domestic violence. In the midst of grieving Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activists and workers, who feel betrayed and orphaned, will be the killers whose objective is to challenge the military and postpone the Jan. 8 elections. They would provoke the military to shoot at the people.

It is to be noted that the international Islamic radicals, who dip heavily into the British and other foreign intelligence sources, have infiltrated over the years into the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the lower echelons of Pakistan’s military. That makes the task of keeping Pakistan together even more challenging.

The death of Bhutto was a step to breaking up Pakistan. She, however, wanted to unify the country. The Pakistani people must see to it that her death was not in vain.

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan

The President:  Good morning.  Please be seated.

Before I begin today, let me acknowledge, first of all, Your Excellencies, all the ambassadors who are in attendance.  I also want to acknowledge both the civilians and our military personnel that are about to be deployed to the region.  And I am very grateful to all of you for your extraordinary work.

I want to acknowledge General David Petraeus, who’s here, and has been doing an outstanding job at CENTCOM, and we appreciate him.  I want to thank Bruce Reidel — Bruce is down at the end here — who has worked extensively on our strategic review.  I want to acknowledge Karl Eikenberry, who’s here, and is our Ambassador-designate to Afghanistan.  And to my national security team, thanks for their outstanding work.

Today, I’m announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.   And this marks the conclusion of a careful policy review, led by Bruce, that I ordered as soon as I took office.  My administration has heard from our military commanders, as well as our diplomats.  We’ve consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments,
with our partners and our NATO allies, and with other donors and international organizations.  We’ve also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. And now I’d like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people.

The situation is increasingly perilous.  It’s been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Attacks against our troops, our NATO allies, and the Afghan government have risen steadily.  And most painfully, 2008 was the deadliest year of the war
for American forces.

Many people in the United States — and many in partner countries that have sacrificed so much — have a simple question: What is our purpose in Afghanistan?  After so many years, they ask, why do our men and women still fight and die there?  And they deserve a straightforward answer.

So let me be clear:  Al -Qaeda and its allies — the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.  And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows Al- Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.

The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan.  In the nearly eight years since 9/11, Al -Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.  This almost certainly includes al Qaeda’s leadership:  Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  They have
used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, to train terrorists, to communicate with followers, to plot attacks, and to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan.  For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.

But this is not simply an American problem — far from it. It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order.

Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to Al -Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and in Kabul.  If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it, too, is likely to have ties to al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around theworld is at stake.

For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people –especially women and girls.  The return in force of al Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence.

As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people.  We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future.  We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.

So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal:  to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al -Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.  That’s the goal that must be achieved.  That is a cause that could not be more just.  And to the terrorists who oppose us, my
message is the same:  We will defeat you.

To achieve our goals, we need a stronger, smarter and comprehensive strategy.  To focus on the greatest threat to our people, America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq.

To enhance the military, governance and economic capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have to marshal international support.

And to defeat an enemy that heeds no borders or laws of war, we must recognize the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan — which is why I’ve appointed Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who is here, to serve as Special Representative for both countries, and to work closely with General Petraeus to integrate our civilian and military efforts.

Let me start by addressing the way forward in Pakistan.

The United States has great respect for the Pakistani people.  They have a rich history and have struggled against long odds to sustain their democracy.  The people of Pakistan want the same things that we want:  an end to terror, access to basic services, the opportunity to live their dreams, and the security that can only come with the rule of law.  The single greatest threat to that future comes from Al -Qaeda and their extremist allies, and that is why we must stand together.

The terrorists within Pakistan’s borders are not simply enemies of America or Afghanistan — they are a grave and urgent danger to the people of Pakistan.  Al- Qaeda and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They’ve killed many Pakistani soldiers and police.  They assassinated Benazir Bhutto.  They’ve blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state.  So make no mistake:  Al -Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within.

Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The President’s plan for the increasingly troubled region is ambitious, although his goals are more limited than Bush’s.

By Howard LaFranchi

President Obama unveiled a new Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy Friday that includes new troops — beyond the 17,000 additional US soldiers the president has already ordered ­ new civilian development personnel, and new aid.

But the plan also for the first time sets benchmarks – or, as the president preferred to call them, “metrics” – for US involvement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting the military engagement is not open-ended and that both the Afghan and Pakistani governments must deliver on particular objectives. Those include reining in corruption for the Afghans and closing down Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens for the Pakistanis.

The new “comprehensive” strategy underscores how both Afghanistan, where 38,000 US troops are already on the ground, and Pakistan, a nuclear power threatened by a growing Islamic militancy, are crucial to the battle with Islamic extremism. The futures of the two countries are “inextricably linked,” Mr. Obama said.

In explaining the new strategy before an audience of military and diplomatic officials and flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Mr. Obama invoked the memory of the 9/11 attacks more forcefully than ever before in his young presidency.

He revisited the history of Al Qaeda planning the attacks from camps in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and he insisted that Al Qaeda is now “actively planning attacks on the United States” from “safe havens in Pakistan.” As a result, Obama says, “For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.”

More limited goals than Bush

Perhaps mindful that the strong reference to 9/11 might remind listeners of the former administration’s justification for and handling of two wars, Obama also pointedly declared that the US was “not blindly staying the course” in Afghanistan. The new strategy is designed to “restore basic security in Afghanistan,” he said, without reference to the lofty goals of democratization and freedom set by former president Bush.

The new strategy calls for 4,000 additional troops to focus on training Afghanistan’s army and police. Such training is already under way by US and NATO forces, but the addition of several thousand new trainers reflects reports from the field that the training undertaken so far is yielding results. The plan also calls for several hundred additional civilian government and development experts, while it endorses a proposal before Congress for $1.5 billion in development aid to Pakistan over each of the next five years.

Announcement of the anticipated plan is the result of a two-month inter-agency review that consulted military, diplomatic and civilian development officials and experts as well as the leaders of the two principle countries involved and NATO partners. It paves the way for discussing the new strategy with international partners next week.

Secretary Clinton will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague next Tuesday armed with the new strategy. Subsequently, Obama will take it up with NATO leaders when he attends the Alliance’s 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France, next Friday. Those two events will permit Obama to underscore his point that the challenge presented by Afghanistan and Pakistan “is not simply an American problem — far from it — [but] is instead an international security challenge of the highest order.”

To support that position, Obama reminded the foreign ambassadors who attended the strategy unveiling that terrorist attacks in London, Bali, North Africa, and Kabul and Islamabad have been linked to “Al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan.”

Situation in the region deteriorating

The new strategy reflects concerns that surfaced even before the new administration took office that the situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan was rapidly deteriorating, in part because the US and Allied presence in Afghanistan lacked a clear objective. Dispatched during the transition between administrations to the region, Vice-President Joe Biden returned to Washington “very worried” about the absence among US troops and officials of a clear idea of what they were doing, administration officials say.

“When this administration came into office we found a policy adrift and a lack of focus on the central challenge,” says Denis McDonough, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

The administration says the new strategy narrows the focus of US involvement to Al Qaeda.

“Disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda – the president set down a marker that this is our goal in Afghanistan,” adds Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council director for communications.

History of foreign occupation

But the heavy emphasis on economic development and governance, while eschewing the imposition of Switzerland-level foreign standards, also reflects an understanding that the US and its allies cannot succeed if they are seen by locals to be simply serving their own interests. Foreign armies installed in Afghanistan with expressly domestic security objectives — the Soviet Army invasion of the 1990’s for example – have come to be seen as occupiers and have not fared well.

In unveiling his plan, Obama made no mention of the growing use of unmanned Predator drones to attack and kill terrorists located in Pakistan’s autonomous tribal regions. The missile attacks have stirred already strong anti-American sentiment among Pakistanis – a challenge that would surely be exacerbated if the US decides to follow through on the idea of extending the drone strikes to areas of western Pakistan under the Pakistani government’s control.

The new focused strategy is viewed as a step forward by many analysts, though some are seconding the president’s warning that the road ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains perilous.

Pointing to data showing an expansion last year of Afghan territory where the Taliban holds a permanent presence to 72 percent, and significant increases in the number of suicide and roadside bombing attacks, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says almost all indicators point to a “rising threat.”

In a new report, Mr. Cordesman commends recent efforts to lay out to the American public the challenge the US faces, but says more “transparency” and honesty about the complexity of the conflict is necessary.

Critics urge more limited role

Others fault Obama’s new plan, saying more troops and more money are not the answer. Saying that “most of the greatest successes scored against Al Qaeda since 9/11 have not relied on large numbers of US troops,” Malou Innocent of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, says small-team special operations and short-term “capacity building” are a better answer. Extensive development projects, she adds, require security coverage “at a level we cannot provide.”

The president’s strategy also includes a nod towards Tehran. To emphasize his conviction that the challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan require a regional approach, Obama announced creation of a “contact group” of countries from Central Asia, the Gulf, China, India, and notably including Iran.

Administration officials say no official invitations to join such a group have been extended, but inclusion of Iran reflects both memory of the helpful role Iran played early in the war with Afghanistan’s Taliban, and recognition that Tehran is more likely to do mischief if left outside.

REVOLUTION NOW ! THE REVOLT OF THE MILITANT GARDENERS

REVOLUTION NOW ! THE REVOLT OF THE MILITANT GARDENERS

by William H. Kötke


The use of the word Revolution will cause the secret police who are
doing world-wide electronic surveillance, to open another file (Hello!
Project Echelon). That’s just fine. Those dinosaurs need some
alternative information. The information for them is that they, the
governments that employ them and the bankers that own the governments,
are on a severe downhill slide. The growth system that they depend on
has reached its apogee. The fuel of that growth over the centuries has
been topsoil, forests, fish stocks, clean water, petroleum and a
dependable climate in which to grow food. That’s all over now;
industrial civilization has eaten it all up. The most creative ideas
of present world leaders is to make money and grow big – that’s it!
The machine world of industrial civilization is dead. The hollow
personalities and biorobots of the planetary ruling elite have led the
human species into a cul de sac. The joke is, now that the human
species is facing extinction from mass die-off and the final nuclear
exchange over the last of the resources – these fat men in business
suits are down on the floor scrambling for the last coins. What a
joke!; take power in a crumbling civilization that is hell bent on
planetary suicide?  No thanks. An exponentially exploding population,
each with expanding material consumption: based on dwindling
resources, and a dying planet, will not work!

My German immigrant grandfather was a hard working sawmill worker
with five children, who built his own house and lived frugally in
Northern Idaho, until the depression, when the sawmill shut down and
the banker locked the door and left town with all the sawmill workers’
savings, just like hundreds of other bankers around the country. But
did the sawmill workers learn anything? No, they lived in a controlled
information environment. They were saving up for a 1949 Chevrolet
after the war. They liked Ike. They even said that some of the leaders
were born again Christians. They were led along.

My family progressively lost their independence in the slide toward
dependence. The grandchildren do not have the skills to build a house.
My mother grew up living in a hole in the ground called a “dugout” on
a homestead in Western Kansas. They were survivors!  None of the
children have those skills. We have been forced into specialist slots
in the industrial machine. We make money in order to purchase our
survival systems. We live a life of powerless dependency upon the
financial powers who sign the paycheck and sell the food; powers who’s
money web connects all the way to the International Bank of
Settlements in Switzerland. The world power of money controls our
lives.

The Inca civilization that covered a huge land mass in South America
functioned without any money. There were no poor people in that
society. The money power came and smashed their society. They stole
their art objects made of gold, melted them down and sent them away to
the bankers of Europe. The living standard of the native people of
that area still has not come back up to what they enjoyed five hundred
years ago.

In the U.S. we have a similar icon which stands outside the money
system. Those were the Minute Men (and Women). These were independent,
self-sufficient people with power. At any point they could drop their
hoe, grab the musket and go fight the British Empire. The leaders of
industrialism dumped vituperation on them, calling them “homespun.”
They were probably angered that they couldn’t draw these people into
the money web of profit and interest. These people were too powerful.
They depended only on their neighbors. They raised their own healthy
food. They built their own buildings. They grew the flax and spun the
cloth for their own clothes. The money system could not get leverage
on them. They were not part of the system that produces profits for
the thin layer at the top.

We can vote and vote and vote, for the stooges in business suits that
the ruling elite props up for us, but militant gardeners are already
rallying to the cry coming out of Western Oregon, “food not lawns!”
The guerilla gardeners are already dropping seeds in vacant lots and
railroad right-of-ways. The suits want to rig the game so that we have
no representation? Well, we will just take over the food supply of the
country and dump the corporate cronies from the industrial food
system, in the creek  In Russia after the fall, sixty percent of the
food supply was grown in citizen gardens. As we get more power over
our own survival systems, we will target the real estate parasites by
creating our own solar heated and hand made houses.

The basic fact of empire is centralization of power. This is where
the militant gardeners really hit them where it hurts – in the pocket
book. Decentralization is the word that causes trembling up and down
the halls of the International Bank of Settlements. As the militant
gardeners achieve power over their own survival systems through
self-sufficiency, they extricate themselves from the web of the money
power. Decentralize now! We take power over our own lives by our
creativity! When the planetary food monopoly has collapsed, we will
offer food to the suits of all countries, in exchange for dismantling
the nuclear weapons which are armed and aimed at us and are so
frantically over-produced they are capable of destroying each others
societies twenty-eight times over!

Already we can hear the cries of those in coveralls holding pitch
forks. Land reform! We, the descendants of our great leader, Emiliano
Zapata say, “Land to the tiller!” The ownership of our planet has the
same configuration as the 500 billionaires who control more wealth
than half the world’s population.

THIS REVOLUTION WON’T BE EASY – WE HAVE TO CHANGE OUR MINDS

Do not ask the militant gardeners what they think about the present
planetary civilization, ask them how they feel about it. Industrial
civilization has created an over- intellectualized culture for us to
live in. We live in industrially produced, artificial environments and
we are provided with an industrially produced artificial media reality
for the intellect to chew on. We are the culture of the intellect. We
are the specialists who know more and more about less and less. We as
a society, intellectually understand a million dead in Iraq, but have
no feeling about it. Death and life is simply an intellectual equation
for the industrialist, but life is a feeling for the militant gardener
who is encouraging life to grow. Reality comes down to a cash nexus
for the industrialist and reality comes down to the intelligence of
the heart for the militant gardeners. The intelligence of the heart
has already produced whole, enveloping, conclusive feelings about the
present planetary situation while the narrow intellect continues to
churn out details.

The superpredators of empire have stolen our being, and as the Native
American prophet, John Trudell says, they are feeding on that energy.
The empire has defined our power away. Militant gardeners know that
high school science experiments show that germinating seeds which are
prayed upon grow more vigorously than nearby seeds that are
disparaged. The ruling elite’s definition of what a human is,  says we
can’t do that. Everybody has an aunt or a grandma who has precognitive
dreams. That’s out too. Many have uncles or grandfathers who
communicate with plants and trees. Why are these human abilities – and
many more! – kept secret? They are kept secret because the empire has
defined us into powerlessness. If we believe we can’t do those things,
we can’t. We are living beings and we communicate with the living
beings around us through the intelligence of the heart.

The intelligence of the heart allows the militant gardener to have
respect for life itself. This is the political program: respect life,
cooperate with life and help it grow here on our blue planet.

The economics of the gardening revolution is the solar budget. The
climax ecosystem, such as an old growth forest or a natural prairie,
is the most efficient at producing volume of photosynthesis because
climax ecosystems have the greatest number of species per area
(biological diversity). Photosynthesis, which is the initial energy
feed of the living planet, then becomes the standard of economic
measurement. As individual plants grow old and fall on the soil, the
soil community transforms this energy into food for new plants. This
is a biological energy flow system. The economics of gardening is to
add to that energy flow and to restore ecosystems in the surrounding
area. The Solar Currency would then be generated by the increased
health and vigor the humans were adding to the earth’s life (growth of
biomass per acre).

Militant gardening is only a precursor to growing our own lives, the
lives of the children and the life of our village. Love is the power
of militant gardening. Experiments by high school students show that
love makes plants grow better than those disparaged. Gardeners also
grow children.

One does not plant the seeds until the soil is prepared. In a
gardening village where conscious conception is practiced, parents who
have made the choice to conceive would be especially loved in a ritual
manner by the elders. Medical research has shown that the future child
will be shaped by genomic imprinting of the parents and the condition
of their genes before conception. The conception itself, in a
gardening village, would be ritually accomplished with the full
conscious intent of the parents and village.

The celebrated medical researcher, Bruce Lipton has demonstrated that
the DNA of the fetus in utero changes with impacts on the mother. As
the mother perceives reality and reacts, her body produces a set of
particular hormones from among the large inventory that we have. The
hormones flow through the blood and trigger actions by various organs.
These hormones then get her body ready for the event she is
perceiving. They also go in the bloodstream to the baby which reacts
in kind. If the mother is subject to fear-stress, then hormones of the
flight or fight nature are produced. This cuts off blood to the
forebrain and gives it to the reptilian brain for a physical response.
In a fear based culture such as industrial civilization, there is
constant stress. Gardeners know that when plants are stressed they
become unhealthy.

Many hundreds of medical studies have shown that babies born to
anxious mothers will more often suffer a wide array of diseases and
disabilities and die sooner than others. What these new medical
revelations point to is that money has nothing to do with a child’s
ultimate flowering. In a village, where gardeners could sing, chant or
communicate in some other regular way, with the baby in utero, this
would add to the baby’s healthy growth by spreading the love
vibrations to it. Each human is an extremely tender flower that can be
injured by fear, anger and violence. The more care we can focus on
growing children, means the more healthy and bright our children will
be and the better chance our species will have to survive. This is
true progress and growth.

In a village where the growth of life is the practice, the child
bearing women are the centerpiece. The child bearing woman is the
mother of the village and the hope of the future. It is from this
biological fact that the structure of village society can flow.

The CIA and other spook degenerates have been fomenting revolts
around the world and naming them with advertising words, like “the
orange revolution,” the “velvet revolution” and such. Contrarily, the
revolt of the militant gardeners could- legitimately- be called, “the
revolution of the flowers,” because every garden has them.

Wm. H. Kötke has been disturbing the establishment and committing
thought crimes for a long time and is the author of, The Final Empire:
The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future and Garden
Planet: The Present Phase Change of the Human Species, which can be
viewed at www.gardenplanetbook.com.

The Worsening U.S. Failure

By Emily Spence
At the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen, attended by more than 2,500 researchers and economists, studies have been presented portraying a world in which there is a strong possibility that fifty percent of the Earth’s surface could become uninhabitable in the not too distant future, a slight shift upward in temperature could let loose a carbon “time bomb” from arctic soils, crop yield losses could be thirty percent or more on several continents by 2030, seventy-five percent of the Amazon forest cover would be totally destroyed by a three degree C. boost for more than a century and a staggering amount of methane stored for millions of years in permafrost is rapidly entering the atmosphere of which there exists approximately 70 billion tonnes of it in the Siberian bog alone with global estimates tabulated to be between 300 billion and 500 billion tonnes [1]. (Many scientists consider that a 4 degree C. temperature climb is the minimum amount that can be expected based on the carbon load spewed out to date into the air and water bodies around the world.)
At the same time, Lester Brown warns of the looming large scale conflicts that will arise over dwindling water supplies, paucity of food and lacks of other basic necessities [2] while the UN Population Division reports that the human population will exceed 9 billion in 2050, representing a fifty percent increase from the 6.7 billion people currently alive today [3]. Moreover, all of these assorted, although interconnected, difficulties are occurring at a time during which oceans are losing a huge amount of life due to high levels of acidification and other human induced impacts while close to one third of all species known to man have already become extinct between 1970 and 2005 [4]. Furthermore, demand for energy continues to surpass provision in a world that must largely discontinue fossil fuel use with an immediate all-out effort to prevent a run-away climate catastrophe of the sort that could render much of the Earth incapable of supporting life.
In light of overall environmental degradation, ever larger human population, ongoing major resource depletion, over-consumption of products that have been overproduced by too small a work force to involve full employment and climate change effects all increasing in their impacts, it seems likely that the worldwide economy will never completely recover and expand. Certainly cutbacks in both economic and population growth are absolutely necessary to curtail further ruin of the natural world on which all life ultimately depends for its continued survival.
Meanwhile, wealth will continue to flow to the top ultra-affluent elite while siphoned off of the middle and lower classes through various schemes like company managers outsourcing jobs to lowest wage populations whose salaries barely sustain them while finished products are marked up a hundred percent or more. Concurrently, further financial bailouts will continue to prop up outrageously high salaries, along with other  schemes being implemented jointly by government and business leaders so that the upper class is enriched at the expense of everyone else [5].
In addition, military force, if deemed needed in homelands, will likely be used to quell the unrest that will start breaking out when people face severe food insecurity and home foreclosures on a far greater scale than is currently present. Simultaneously, the debt load carried by many of the bankrupted governments will be so great as to render them unable to ease many of the crises faced by typical, at risk citizens as climate and economic hardships deepen based on a deteriorating natural world whose resources have been used up faster than the replenishment rate for fish, fresh water, lumber and other critical provisions.
It would seem that such an array of alarming factors would create huge unrest in the U.S., such as has taken place in many other countries like France that recently faced strikes and organized marches involving more than a million workers [6]. However, most Americans, having been trained in schools and by society in general to be passive and obedient, have not as yet gotten angry unlike so many others across the globe.
Instead, they, apparently, keep hoping and patiently expecting that President Obama and his cohorts will correct all of the myriad staggering problems confronting America and they do not know that our public servants, for the most part, cannot do so as the difficulties are far too great and varied to successfully address. As such, these officials will simply continue most of the major polices that recent prior administrations have carried out, including expansion of the resource wars in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere so as to ensure adequate supply of petrol for the U.S. military, the single biggest user of oil in the world, and availability of raw materials for American favored companies. They will, also, maintain support of globally oriented business ventures in multiple other ways, continue to shore up failed financial institutions and their avaricious advocates, pander to K Street expectations and largely ignore the urgency required to prevent ever more average Americans being progressively crushed by the financial downturn.
Similarly, our government representatives will not go all out to support alternative energy sources being put in place as fully and quickly as possible, along with ratifying on the scale needed other measures to stymie energy leaks and promote limits in use. However, what could be expected from these leaders when the continuance of day to day Congressional operations indirectly are, in large measure, funded by government owned Chinese companies through Treasury bond purchases and whose managers fully expect that, when the recession is mostly ended, Americans will once again fully resume their high rate of purchase of Chinese made goods? Could anyone really imagine Barack Obama stating that U.S. financial and other globally oriented institutions represent failed unworkable models for business when the ideal moment presented itself after Wall Street initially tanked? Could he be pictured stating that Americans should focus upon developing local, small scale industries, farms and banks that enhance communities, create a sufficient number of jobs and ensure environmental well being since people tend to look after their own group and surroundings? (They’d have to be incredibly cavalier to willingly destroy their own water sources, fisheries, forests and agricultural lands in a bid for immediate fiscal gain in lieu of keeping long term continuation in mind.)
Nonetheless, such a switch in scale, one away from transnational commerce, is necessary to foster sustainable lifestyles, limits in product importation (which requires lavish use of fossil fuel in transportation) curtailment in consumption of unnecessary goods, development of reasonable wages, full employment and improvements in the natural world. The latter outcome arises from the simple fact that people are more careful in resource use when their livelihoods and, inevitably, incomes are dependent on maintenance of a robust surrounding habitat from which they derive their living.
In a similar vein, it is hard for buyers to tabulate the environmental cost for imported goods. One can never see the devastation behind the abundance of products spread out across stores like super Wal-Marts as the conditions, such as DDT use, at the source are generally hidden from view. In addition, such a downscale move is clearly preferable to continuation of a pattern wherein jobs are mostly created for the lowest paid and highest paid workers — the sweat shop and field laborers in developing countries and the affluent owners of the international companies for which the poverty stricken drudges slave.
At the same time, it should come as no surprise that any company CEO or CFO would pick locations for overseas activities that have little or no environmental and worker safety regulations, nor chance for lawsuits being brought when workers are hurt or killed on the job. After all, they are expensive to handle as was discovered from data collected at any former sites (i.e., any American factories) before jobs shifted offshore. So outsourcing labor is clearly lucrative from many standpoints beyond simple wage issues.
Consequently, one has to ask: Are these predatory practices improving humanity and the world as a whole? Does not ongoing economic growth, unless very carefully carried out, rob the Earth away from our children, grandchildren and subsequent generations? Are not many of our politicians so caught up in the frenzy, glittering allurements and greed of corporate culture that they forget their chief responsibilities and the reason that they hold office? Did they let slip from memory the mandates to protect and uplift the quality of life for all of their constituents and strengthen the nation overall?
Even if the answers to these questions are negative, there probably won’t be much by way of any real protest in America about governmental plans, including ones that encouraged U.S. based companies to situate operations off of American soil, until it becomes too late to monumentally change anything. In other words, there will be no wide scale objection to bad programs until it is way after the fact in the great hoodwinking of the public.
Meanwhile, the ever mounting costs for enlarging the war efforts and the ongoing bailout of transnational corporations, in tandem, drain huge sums of money away from provision of quality universal healthcare, reasonable Social Security payout, adequate Medicare and Medicaid benefits, quality public education, sufficient support of alternative energy initiatives, the strengthening of industry and agriculture on the home front, and other programs required to empower U.S.A. and its citizens. Indeed, it is conceivable that, at some point, government representatives will simply declare that there is little money left to give towards general welfare while they and their kleptocratic cronies walk away, literally walk away, with their millions and billions of dollars made off of the armaments industry [7], consulting fees, bailout bonuses, high salaries and other perks from making the sorts of decisions that have been, by and large, disastrous for the majority of Americans and many others across the world, who have to deal with the consequences of unbridled U.S. military and industrial excursions in their own countries.
At the same time, it becomes increasingly noticeable that the “big business” model is successful primarily because it’s proponents ruin the land, waterways and atmosphere by taking all that can be snapped up as fully as possible with companies moving on to new sites to plunder when the earlier ones are exhausted in whatever materials were eked out from them whether they are minerals, metals, fish, timber or whatever else is removed. In exchange, often toxins, such as poisonous sludge from mining operations in the water supply, are left behind, along with depleted soil that needs, if it is still to be used, to be pumped with a tremendous load of manmade chemicals to force it back into service.
Similarly, local populations are left to cope with the aftermath at the point that their surroundings are so heavily destroyed that they can barely sustain themselves, such as occurs when whole forests are clear cut, mountaintops are blown up to obtain coal, strip mining tears up land for as far as the eye can see or a fishing zone has collapsed in entirety through stock depletion. In tandem, typical corporate policy is not to offer reasonable payment for raw materials so that money can be returned to improve local conditions. Instead, the lucre is simply pocketed by distant company managers and stockholders, who tend not to care one iota about the welfare of the communities from which their resources and employee pool originate.
In an analogous vein, the customers for the finished products are also “taken for a ride.” Clearly, they are charged an exorbitant amount more than the cost to produce in order to further enhance management and stockholders’ profits in the trillions of dollars.
In the end, such patterns absolutely take unfair advantage of the common workers, the purchasers and assorted eco-niches with only one main goal — that of making a financial killing as much as can be achieved. In addition, what will be left for future generations given the quickening pace with which the related planetary ruin is happening?
Tragically too many U.S. government officials are personally invested in the current financial and military programs to address the critical needs of our nation and the world relative to full employment, resource diminishment, support of the natural habits, population growth and climate change while knowing fully well the dire consequences of their neglect. They are deliberately putting the present and future generations at risk for their own private aims. As such, their blatant disregard represents a failure of the worst sort conceivable.
By their refusal to take the lead in preparing the U.S.A. and the world in general for vastly harder times ahead and by their not trying their utmost best to offset the difficulties as much as possible now, they show nothing short of gross ineptitude verging perhaps on criminality. Especially this is the case as they continue to loot the nation on behalf of Wall Street and global consortiums alike rather than earnestly serve the people who voted them into office.
At the same time, the majority of U.S. citizens, themselves, are to blame for their leaders’ dereliction of duty. Sadly, the public has not sufficiently demanded accountability.
Nonetheless, Americans can try to keep money in their communities by purchasing regionally made goods as much as possible, involve in activities that create local industry and agricultural ventures, and attempt to delimit their involvement in anything having to do with the sorts of gargantuan commercial enterprises that, obviously, were created for one purpose only — to benefit the oligarchs at the expense of everyone else. Naturally, these actions can take place at the same time that people rise up to collectively command that government officials follow their lead.
Yet, they don’t, for now, appear capable to do so. All considered, they have forgotten Andrew Jackson’s caution: “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” Instead, they seem only too willing to passively accept worsening peril rather than to courageously press for radical changes so that their nation can be set on a new and better course.
This in mind, they must in unison begin to soon insist that human and planetary well being be valued, along with profits. If not, we and future generations will all pay the price — one that will, without doubt, be far too great to bear.
References:
[1] “Speech: Professor Penny Sackett, Chief Scientist [for Australia], Science and Parliament: Engaging in a changing climate (17 March)” at http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/media/science-and-parliament.pdf, Beddington: World faces ‘perfect storm’ of problems by 2030 … (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/18/perfect-storm-john-beddington-energy-food-climate and John Beddington is UK’s chief scientist), A global temperature rise of 7C will render half of world’s … (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/12/global-warming-temp-rise-population)

[7] FINANCE: U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars (ipsnews.net/news.asp? idnews=41893), “Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon.”
Emily Spence is a progressive living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved with assorted types of human rights, environmental and social service efforts.

An Empty Tribal Belt? Pakistan Is Betraying Its Proud Tribesmen

An Empty Tribal Belt? Pakistan Is Betraying Its Proud Tribesmen

An empty buffer zone is slowly emerging, separating Afghanistan and Pakistan’s populated areas. A half-million Pakistanis are in tents, homeless and no one is bothered. Is it an American conspiracy and a Pakistani complacency? The Pakistani media and politicians are criminally ignorant and busy in their own power games while a major strategic change is taking place inside and around their country.

By Ahmed Quraishi

Friday, 28 March 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThis picture saddened me no end. The proud tribesmen of Pakistan, those who beat the English and the Russians and fought their way to liberate half of the Indian occupied Kashmir are now facing an American conspiracy and a Pakistani complacency.

America’s Afghan blunders have resulted in expelling the proud Pakistani tribesmen from their homes and turned almost half a million of them into refugees in their own country.

If this wasn’t enough, here comes Pakistan to treat them as animals in the ‘tent cities’ built for them near Peshawar. And then come the Americans and the Indians to spread literature encouraging the Pashtun to demand a separate homeland called Pashtunistan.

For a year and a half, we at AhmedQuraishi.com and PakNationalists Group have been explaining to Pakistanis, with original reporting and informed analysis, how Pakistan’s tribal belt was peaceful until 2005, and how ‘non-state actors’ in Washington DC have used the Afghan soil to create, arm and sustain insurgencies inside Pakistan that run from the Chinese-built Gwadar port in the south to the Chinese border in the north. The suicide bombings, the attacks and the destabilization is punishment for Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan and for insisting to stick to Kashmir against the wishes of India, Washington’s new regional slave-soldier.

The anti-Pakistan insurgencies hide behind the covered faces of the so-called Pakistani Taliban who receive money and weapons from Afghanistan.

Now the Americans want to expand the process of more and more Pakistani tribesmen leaving their homes and escaping deeper inside Pakistan. The suspicion is that Washington wants to create a buffer zone between the U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Pakistan, a zone inhabited by no one. All Pakistani tribes pushed out. The strategy is working. The number of these Pakistanis who have become refugees inside their own country is nearing half a million.

Pakistani media and journalists are playing an unfortunate role in helping the Americans by focusing on failed Pakistani politicians and their power games that are diverting the attention of the Pakistani public opinion from the important issue of the plight of these brave Pakistani tribesmen and how our government is silently abetting the Americans in humiliating them.

I wrote recently in The News that Pakistan needs a Putin, a Pakistani nationalist who loves his homeland and his people and who is ruthless enough to do what’s right for all of us and for the homeland and liberate it from the clutches of the stooges of the Americans and the Brits. I hope he comes before it’s too late.

Originally posted at Ahmed Quraishi’s The Lounge. Click and check his recent article on the possibility of putting former President Musharraf on trial.

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