The Data Beast

As the corruption spread throughout our society in the 1990′s, I was forced by circumstance to estimate how the operations of systemic physical and financial violence in our society work. How is so much financial fraud engineered? How was it millions of Americans went along with a housing and debt bubble that bankrupted us? What about the distribution of narcotics into every community in America in ways that are invisible to most people? How is $500 billion – $1 trillion of the proceeds of mortgage and financial fraud, drug sales and other illegal businesses laundered through the US financial system with rarely a peep from the network news?

In the drugging and bankrupting of America, I kept coming back to the importance of building proprietary or secret databases and information systems to support your operations. Such operations are quite expensive, which is part of the beauty of having governments pay private companies and banks to collect and maintain such data, which can then be secretly aggregated and applied. What looks like many different government agencies with diverse purposes, is really a few large defense contractors and banks building and maintaining vast databases that are easily aggregated in powerful ways.

—Excerpt from Part III

This article originally appeared as a six-part series on the Catherine Austin Fitts Blog.

Catherine Austin Fitts served as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration. Her company Hamilton Securities Group served as lead financial advisor to the Federal Housing Administration during the Clinton Administration. She is a former managing director and member of the board of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.  (more here)

UN Envoy: Gaza Op Seems to be War Crime of Greatest Magnitude

UN Envoy: Gaza Op Seems to be War Crime of Greatest Magnitude

By News Agencies

March 20, 2009 “Haaretz” — -A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel’s offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the “greatest magnitude.”

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” Falk said.

“On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion,” he wrote in an annual report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Falk called for an independent experts group to be set up to probe possible war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas.

Violations included Israel’s alleged “targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances” during the December 27-January 18 offensive and its use of weapons including white phosphorus, as well as Hamas firing of rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel.

Falk said that Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip of 1.5 million people violated the Geneva Conventions, which he said suggested further war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

The aggression was not legally justified and may represent a “crime against peace” – a principle established at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi criminals, according to the American law professor who serves as the Human Rights Council’s independent investigator.

He further suggested that the Security Council might set up an ad hoc criminal tribunal to establish accountability for war crimes in Gaza, noting Israel has not signed the Rome statutes establishing the International Criminal Court.

Rights group names 1,417 Gaza war dead; Israel disputes toll

A Palestinian human rights group has released the names of 1,417 Gazans it says were killed in Israel’s recent war on the Palestinian territory’s Hamas rulers.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Thursday that of those killed, 926 were civilians, 236 were combatants and 255 were members of the Palestinian security forces.

Most of the policemen were killed in a series of Israeli bombing attacks on Hamas security compounds on December 27, the first day of the war.

The group says it has investigated every civilian death. The list is posted on the center’s Web site.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev disputes the findings. He says Israel is working on its own list and contends that most of those killed were combatants or legitimate targets.

Thirteen Israelis were killed during the 22-day Gaza operation.

USA Has Two Options To Save its Economy: Declare Default or Trigger War

USA Has Two Options To Save its Economy:

Declare Default or Trigger War

By Ekaterina Yevstigneyeva

March 20, 2009 “Pravda.Ru” — – The United States is the largest borrower in the world. The US national debt has already exceeded the level of 11 trillion dollars as of the beginning of 2009 and continues to grow like an avalanche. Experts say that the USA has only two ways to solve the problem: to either declare default or trigger off a war.

According to experts’ estimates, the probability of default on US treasury bonds is very high at the moment. The rumors are not new at all. Moreover, experts say that the USA has already started to work on an opportunity to refuse from the dollar in order to avoid debt payments.

Dmitry Abzalov, an expert with the Center for Russia ’s Political Conjuncture, said that governments currently take on the debts of corporations. “The corporate debts crisis thus becomes the crisis of governmental debts. The US debt in the beginning of 2009 amounted to $10.6 trillion. Taking into consideration the current deficit budget of the United States , as well as the prospects for the deficit of the budget during the current year, it becomes clear that the US Treasury bond market is based on no alternative whatsoever. There is no other way for investors to invest their funds with treasury bonds being the only option,” the expert told

When the world economy recovers, investors will realize that there are plenty of other opportunities for investments, the European bonds, for example (if the European economy recovers from the crisis too, of course), or the bonds of developing countries.

“The pyramid of US bonds will collapse in this case. The debt percentage grows every day, which makes the USA borrow more and more on a daily basis. America will have no chances to pay off the debt,” the expert said.

Inga Foksha, an analyst with Aton Investment Company, agrees that the US default is quite possible, although she is certain that it will not happen unless the world finds an alternative to the US dollar. The dollar will collapse immediately in case of default, which is absolutely unacceptable, because 63 percent of world reserves are saved in dollars. Their collapse will trigger the global economic collapse.

“Technically, the default of the United States may occur during three or five years, although it is too early to say that it could be possible. The USA can print new dollars to pay their debts with them,” she said.

Nevertheless, the US government bonds still enjoy investors’ support and are still considered a risk-free investment.

Dmitry Abzalov believes that the current situation with the US national debt may end with a new war. The war will destroy excessive liquidity and the current debt.

“The war in Iraq began to delay the US crisis, which started brewing in the US economy at the end of 2000,” he said.

The Americans have been trying to raise their economy with the help of military actions for decades, since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A war boosts the nation’s industry, even if a recovery is based on defense orders.

Ekaterina Yevstigneyeva

Remembering the 1999 NATO led War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime

Remembering the 1999 NATO led War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime

Michel Chossudovsky

March 19, 2009

Ten years ago, March 24th 1999, marks the commencement of NATO aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia. The bombings which lasted for almost three months, were followed by the military invasion (under a bogus UN mandate) and illegal occupation of  the province of Kosovo.

The following article was written and published in April 1999.

Michel Chossudovsky, March 19, 2009

Heralded by the global media as a humanitarian peace-keeping mission, NATO’s ruthless bombing of Belgrade and Pristina goes far beyond the breach of international law. While Slobodan Milosevic is demonised, portrayed as a remorseless dictator, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies.

Following a pattern set during the War in Bosnia, public opinion has been carefully misled. The multibillion dollar Balkans narcotics trade has played a crucial role in “financing the conflict” in Kosovo in accordance with Western economic, strategic and military objectives. Amply documented by European police files, acknowledged by numerous studies, the links of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to criminal syndicates in Albania, Turkey and the European Union have been known to Western governments and intelligence agencies since the mid-1990s.

“…The financing of the Kosovo guerilla war poses critical questions and it sorely test claims of an “ethical” foreign policy. Should the West back a guerilla army that appears to partly financed by organised crime.” 1

While KLA leaders were shaking hands with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Rambouillet, Europol (the European Police Organization based in the Hague) was “preparing a report for European interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug gangs.”2 In the meantime, the rebel army has been skilfully heralded by the global media (in the months preceding the NATO bombings) as broadly representative of the interests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

With KLA leader Hashim Thaci (a 29 year “freedom fighter”) appointed as chief negotiator at Rambouillet, the KLA has become the de facto helmsman of the peace process on behalf of the ethnic Albanian majority and this despite its links to the drug trade. The West was relying on its KLA puppets to rubber-stamp an agreement which would have transformed Kosovo into an occupied territory under Western Administration.

Ironically Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, had described the KLA last year as “terrorists”. Christopher Hill, America’s chief negotiator and architect of the Rambouillet agreement “has also been a strong critic of the KLA for its alleged dealings in drugs.”3 Moreover, barely a few two months before Rambouillet, the US State Department had acknowledged (based on reports from the US Observer Mission) the role of the KLA in terrorising and uprooting ethnic Albanians:

“…the KLA harass or kidnap anyone who comes to the police, … KLA representatives had threatened to kill villagers and burn their homes if they did not join the KLA [a process which has continued since the NATO bombings]… [T]he KLA harassment has reached such intensity that residents of six villages in the Stimlje region are “ready to flee.” 4

While backing a “freedom movement” with links to the drug trade, the West seems also intent in bypassing the civilian Kosovo Democratic League and its leader Ibrahim Rugova who has called for an end to the bombings and expressed his desire to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Yugoslav authorities.5 It is worth recalling that a few days before his March 31st Press Conference, Rugova had been reported by the KLA (alongside three other leaders including Fehmi Agani) to have been killed by the Serbs.

Covert Financing of “Freedom Fighters”

Remember Oliver North and the Contras? The pattern in Kosovo is similar to other CIA covert operations in Central America, Haiti and Afghanistan where “freedom fighters” were financed through the laundering of drug money. Since the onslaught of the Cold War, Western intelligence agencies have developed a complex relationship to the illegal narcotics trade. In case after case, drug money laundered in the international banking system has financed covert operations.

According to author Alfred McCoy, the pattern of covert financing was established in the Indochina war. In the 1960s, the Meo army in Laos was funded by the narcotics trade as part of Washington’s military strategy against the combined forces of the neutralist government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the Pathet Lao.6

The pattern of drug politics set in Indochina has since been replicated in Central America and the Caribbean. “The rising curve of cocaine imports to the US”, wrote journalist John Dinges “followed almost exactly the flow of US arms and military advisers to Central America”.7

The military in Guatemala and Haiti, to which the CIA provided covert support, were known to be involved in the trade of narcotics into Southern Florida. And as revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) scandals, there was strong evidence that covert operations were funded through the laundering of drug money. “Dirty money” recycled through the banking system–often through an anonymous shell company– became “covert money,” used to finance various rebel groups and guerilla movements including the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan Mujahadeen. According to a 1991 Time Magazine report:

“Because the US wanted to supply the mujehadeen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer.8

America and Germany join Hands

Since the early 1990s, Bonn and Washington have joined hands in establishing their respective spheres of influence in the Balkans. Their intelligence agencies have also collaborated. According to intelligence analyst John Whitley, covert support to the Kosovo rebel army was established as a joint endeavour between the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) (which previously played a key role in installing a right wing nationalist government under Franjo Tudjman in Croatia).9 The task to create and finance the KLA was initially given to Germany: “They used German uniforms, East German weapons and were financed, in part, with drug money”.10 According to Whitley, the CIA was, subsequently instrumental in training and equipping the KLA in Albania.11

The covert activities of Germany’s BND were consistent with Bonn’s intent to expand its “Lebensraum” into the Balkans. Prior to the onset of the civil war in Bosnia, Germany and its Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher had actively supported secession; it had “forced the pace of international diplomacy” and pressured its Western allies to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. According to the Geopolitical Drug Watch, both Germany and the US favoured (although not officially) the formation of a “Greater Albania” encompassing Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia.12 According to Sean Gervasi, Germany was seeking a free hand among its allies “to pursue economic dominance in the whole of Mitteleuropa.”13

Islamic Fundamentalism in Support of the KLA

Bonn and Washington’s “hidden agenda” consisted in triggering nationalist liberation movements in Bosnia and Kosovo with the ultimate purpose of destabilising Yugoslavia. The latter objective was also carried out “by turning a blind eye” to the influx of mercenaries and financial support from Islamic fundamentalist organisations.14

Mercenaries financed by Saudi Arabia and Koweit had been fighting in Bosnia.15 And the Bosnian pattern was replicated in Kosovo: Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries are reported to be fighting alongside the KLA in Kosovo. German, Turkish and Afghan instructors were reported to be training the KLA in guerilla and diversion tactics.16

According to a Deutsche Press-Agentur report, financial support from Islamic countries to the KLA had been channelled through the former Albanian chief of the National Information Service (NIS), Bashkim Gazidede.17 “Gazidede, reportedly a devout Moslem who fled Albania in March of last year [1997], is presently [1998] being investigated for his contacts with Islamic terrorist organizations.”18

The supply route for arming KLA “freedom fighters” are the rugged mountainous borders of Albania with Kosovo and Macedonia. Albania is also a key point of transit of the Balkans drug route which supplies Western Europe with grade four heroin. 75% of the heroin entering Western Europe is from Turkey. And a large part of drug shipments originating in Turkey transits through the Balkans. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “it is estimated that 4-6 metric tons of heroin leave each month from Turkey having [through the Balkans] as destination Western Europe.”19 A recent intelligence report by Germany’s Federal Criminal Agency suggests that: “Ethnic Albanians are now the most prominent group in the distribution of heroin in Western consumer countries.”20

The Laundering of Dirty Money

In order to thrive, the criminal syndicates involved in the Balkans narcotics trade need friends in high places. Smuggling rings with alleged links to the Turkish State are said to control the trafficking of heroin through the Balkans “cooperating closely with other groups with which they have political or religious ties” including criminal groups in Albanian and Kosovo.21 In this new global financial environment, powerful undercover political lobbies connected to organized crime cultivate links to prominent political figures and officials of the military and intelligence establishment.

The narcotics trade nonetheless uses respectable banks to launder large amounts of dirty money. While comfortably removed from the smuggling operations per se, powerful banking interests in Turkey but mainly those in financial centres in Western Europe discretely collect fat commissions in a multibillion dollar money laundering operation. These interests have high stakes in ensuring a safe passage of drug shipments into Western European markets.

The Albanian Connection

Arms smuggling from Albania into Kosovo and Macedonia started at the beginning of 1992, when the Democratic Party came to power, headed by President Sali Berisha. An expansive underground economy and cross border trade had unfolded. A triangular trade in oil, arms and narcotics had developed largely as a result of the embargo imposed by the international community on Serbia and Montenegro and the blockade enforced by Greece against Macedonia.

Industry and agriculture in Kosovo were spearheaded into bankruptcy following the IMF’s lethal “economic medicine” imposed on Belgrade in 1990. The embargo was imposed on Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians and Serbs were driven into abysmal poverty. Economic collapse created an environment which fostered the progress of illicit trade. In Kosovo, the rate of unemployment increased to a staggering 70 percent (according to Western sources).

Poverty and economic collapse served to exacerbate simmering ethnic tensions. Thousands of unemployed youths “barely out of their Teens” from an impoverished population, were drafted into the ranks of the KLA…22

In neighbouring Albania, the free market reforms adopted since 1992 had created conditions which favoured the criminalisation of State institutions. Drug money was also laundered in the Albanian pyramids (ponzi schemes) which mushroomed during the government of former President Sali Berisha (1992-1997).23 These shady investment funds were an integral part of the economic reforms inflicted by Western creditors on Albania.

Drug barons in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia (with links to the Italian mafia) had become the new economic elites, often associated with Western business interests. In turn the financial proceeds of the trade in drugs and arms were recycled towards other illicit activities (and vice versa) including a vast prostitution racket between Albania and Italy. Albanian criminal groups operating in Milan, “have become so powerful running prostitution rackets that they have even taken over the Calabrians in strength and influence.”24

The application of “strong economic medicine” under the guidance of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions had contributed to wrecking Albania’s banking system and precipitating the collapse of the Albanian economy. The resulting chaos enabled American and European transnationals to carefully position themselves. Several Western oil companies including Occidental, Shell and British Petroleum had their eyes rivetted on Albania’s abundant and unexplored oil-deposits. Western investors were also gawking Albania’s extensive reserves of chrome, copper, gold, nickel and platinum… The Adenauer Foundation had been lobbying in the background on behalf of German mining interests. 25

Berisha’s Minister of Defence Safet Zoulali (alleged to have been involved in the illegal oil and narcotics trade) was the architect of the agreement with Germany’s Preussag (handing over control over Albania’s chrome mines) against the competing bid of the US led consortium of Macalloy Inc. in association with Rio Tinto Zimbabwe (RTZ).26

Large amounts of narco-dollars had also been recycled into the privatisation programmes leading to the acquisition of State assets by the mafias. In Albania, the privatisation programme had led virtually overnight to the development of a property owning class firmly committed to the “free market”. In Northern Albania, this class was associated with the Guegue “families” linked to the Democratic Party.

Controlled by the Democratic Party under the presidency of Sali Berisha (1992-97), Albania’s largest financial “pyramid” VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue “families” of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests. VEFA was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.27

According to one press report (based on intelligence sources), senior members of the Albanian government during the Presidency of Sali Berisha including cabinet members and members of the secret police SHIK were alleged to be involved in drugs trafficking and illegal arms trading into Kosovo:

(…) The allegations are very serious. Drugs, arms, contraband cigarettes all are believed to have been handled by a company run openly by Albania’s ruling Democratic Party, Shqiponja (…). In the course of 1996 Defence Minister, Safet Zhulali [was alleged] to had used his office to facilitate the transport of arms, oil and contraband cigarettes. (…) Drugs barons from Kosovo (…) operate in Albania with impunity, and much of the transportation of heroin and other drugs across Albania, from Macedonia and Greece en route to Italy, is believed to be organised by Shik, the state security police (…). Intelligence agents are convinced the chain of command in the rackets goes all the way to the top and have had no hesitation in naming ministers in their reports.28

The trade in narcotics and weapons was allowed to prosper despite the presence since 1993 of a large contingent of American troops at the Albanian-Macedonian border with a mandate to enforce the embargo. The West had turned a blind eye. The revenues from oil and narcotics were used to finance the purchase of arms (often in terms of direct barter): “Deliveries of oil to Macedonia (skirting the Greek embargo [in 1993-4] can be used to cover heroin, as do deliveries of kalachnikov rifles to Albanian `brothers’ in Kosovo”.29

The Northern tribal clans or “fares” had also developed links with Italy’s crime syndicates.30 In turn, the latter played a key role in smuggling arms across the Adriatic into the Albanian ports of Dures and Valona. At the outset in 1992, the weapons channelled into Kosovo were largely small arms including Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, RPK and PPK machine-guns, 12.7 calibre heavy machine-guns, etc.

The proceeds of the narcotics trade has enabled the KLA to rapidly develop a force of some 30,000 men. More recently, the KLA has acquired more sophisticated weaponry including anti-aircraft and antiarmor rockets. According to Belgrade, some of the funds have come directly from the CIA “funnelled through a so-called “Government of Kosovo” based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Washington office employs the public-relations firm of Ruder Finn–notorious for its slanders of the Belgrade government”.31

The KLA has also acquired electronic surveillance equipment which enables it to receive NATO satellite information concerning the movement of the Yugoslav Army. The KLA training camp in Albania is said to “concentrate on heavy weapons training – rocket propelled grenades, medium caliber cannons, tanks and transporter use, as well as on communications, and command and control”. (According to Yugoslav government sources.32

These extensive deliveries of weapons to the Kosovo rebel army were consistent with Western geopolitical objectives. Not surprisingly, there has been a “deafening silence” of the international media regarding the Kosovo arms-drugs trade. In the words of a 1994 Report of the Geopolitical Drug Watch: “the trafficking [of drugs and arms] is basically being judged on its geostrategic implications (…) In Kosovo, drugs and weapons trafficking is fuelling geopolitical hopes and fears”…33

The fate of Kosovo had already been carefully laid out prior to the signing of the 1995 Dayton agreement. NATO had entered an unwholesome “marriage of convenience” with the mafia. “Freedom fighters” were put in place, the narcotics trade enabled Washington and Bonn to “finance the Kosovo conflict” with the ultimate objective of destabilising the Belgrade government and fully recolonising the Balkans. The destruction of an entire country is the outcome. Western governments which participated in the NATO operation bear a heavy burden of responsibility in the deaths of civilians, the impoverishment of both the ethnic Albanian and Serbian populations and the plight of those who were brutally uprooted from towns and villages in Kosovo as a result of the bombings.


1. Roger Boyes and Eske Wright, Drugs Money Linked to the Kosovo Rebels The Times, London, Monday, March 24, 1999.

2. Ibid.

3. Philip Smucker and Tim Butcher, “Shifting stance over KLA has betrayed’ Albanians”, Daily Telegraph, London, 6 April 1999

4. KDOM Daily Report, released by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, Office of South Central European Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, December 21, 1998; Compiled by EUR/SCE (202-647-4850) from daily reports of the U.S. element of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission, December 21, 1998.

5. “Rugova, sous protection serbe appelle a l’arret des raides”, Le Devoir, Montreal, 1 April 1999.

6. See Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia Harper and Row, New York, 1972.

7. See John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega, Times Books, New York, 1991.

8. “The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.

9. Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999; see also Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997.

10. Quoted in Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999).

11. Ibid.

12. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4

13. Sean Gervasi, “Germany, US and the Yugoslav Crisis”, Covert Action Quarterly, No. 43, Winter 1992-93).

14. See Daily Telegraph, 29 December 1993.

15. For further details see Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997, p. 288.

16. Truth in Media, Kosovo in Crisis, Phoenix, 2 April 1999.

17. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 13, 1998.

18. Ibid.

19. Daily News, Ankara, 5 March 1997.

20. Quoted in Boyes and Wright, op cit.

21. ANA, Athens, 28 January 1997, see also Turkish Daily News, 29 January 1997.

22. Brian Murphy, KLA Volunteers Lack Experience, The Associated Press, 5 April 1999.

23. See Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3, see also Barry James, In Balkans, Arms for Drugs, The International Herald Tribune Paris, June 6, 1994.

24. The Guardian, 25 March 1997.

25. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, La crisi albanese, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, Torino, 1998.

26. Ibid.

27. Andrew Gumbel, The Gangster Regime We Fund, The Independent, February 14, 1997, p. 15.

28. Ibid.

29. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3.

30. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 66, p. 4.

31. Quoted in Workers’ World, May 7, 1998.

32. See Government of Yugoslavia at

33. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4.

US seeks nod for more drone attacks

US seeks nod for more drone attacks

Iqbal Choudhry

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and US Friday discussed in detail the shift in policy on war against terror as US administration is seeking permission for more drone attacks in Balochistan, highly placed sources informed The Post on Friday.

The issues were discussed in a meeting between COAS Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and CIA Chief Leon E Panetta, who traveled to Pakistan from India as part of the second phase of his tour to South Asia. This was Panetta’s first foreign visit after becoming the CIA chief.

Panetta, 70, had been director of Office of Management and Budget during former US President Bill Clinton’s era.

In Islamabad, he met COAS Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Ahmad Shujaa Pasha and Advisor to PM on Interior Rehman Malik.

During the discussions, Panetta said US would like Pakistan to effectively counter the insurgents and control its border areas and Pakistan, he said, needed stable ties with India to accomplish this task. The CIA chief, however, praised the role of Pakistan Army in war on terror.

Gen Kayani informed the visitor that Pakistan needed US financial aid to continue war on terror effectively.

Washington’s sense of frustration with President Hamid Karzai’s leadership in Afghanistan is at an all-time high. The Karzai government remains highly corrupt and inefficient, thereby allowing various insurgent groups to fill the resulting leadership vacuum.

US plans to add more than 30,000 additional US soldiers in Afghanistan this year, bringing the US-NATO force total to nearly 90,000 troops.

US administration is seeking shift-in-policy in the region and wants more cooperation from Pakistani side.

Army Chiefs’ bond bolsters US hopes in Pak: WSJ

Army Chiefs’ bond bolsters US hopes in Pak: WSJ

Published: March 21, 2009

Army Chiefs' bond bolsters US hopes in Pak: WSJ

The Obama administration’s hopes of stabilizing Pakistan increasingly rest on the strong bond between military chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Ashfaq Kayani. The two men spoke daily during the recent political crisis, in which growing opposition protests threatened to undermine the government until Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari — also under pressure from Gen. Kayani and senior U.S. officials — made significant concessions. During the crisis. Gen. Kayani assured Adm. Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he wasn’t contemplating a military coup, according to U.S. officials. These officials said Adm. Mullen trusted the assurances — but they acknowledged that some senior U.S. military officials harbor doubts about Gen. Kayani’s capabilities and intentions. Gen. Kayani ultimately helped resolve the crisis by mediating between Mr. Zardari and his chief rival, Nawaz Sharif, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. The relationship offers potential dividends for both countries. American officials want Islamabad to take stronger steps against the militants working to destabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan, and need Gen. Kayani’s help as an ally in the fight, which they say he supports. Pakistan wants to continue receiving American financial aid and military assistance, which requires maintaining close ties with Adm. Mullen’s Pentagon. It is a relationship born of necessity. Mr. Zardari is also seen as committed to battling militants, but his government is fragile. Many Pentagon officials believe the government will fall within the next few months, although civilian U.S. officials say the president could hold on. As an ally, Gen. Kayani is “seen as the safer bet, because he’ll probably be the last one standing,” a senior U.S. military official said. But the U.S. reliance on Gen. Kayani carries risks. During the Bush years, U.S. officials had a similarly warm relationship with Gen. Kayani’s predecessor as army chief, Pervez Musharraf, and sent him more than $10 billion in American aid. In the end, Mr. Musharraf, who was also president, disappointed the U.S. by failing to order a broad crackdown on the Islamic extremists in his country. “It’s a complete replay of what took place with Musharraf,” said C. Christine Fair, a senior political scientist with Rand Corp. and former United Nations political officer in Kabul. “We have a love affair with whichever chief of army staff is in office at any one time until they thoroughly disappoint.” In their public and private comments, U.S. and Pakistani officials say such concerns are unfounded. “Gen. Kayani wants the system to work,” Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in an interview, adding that the officer’s outlook was “pro-democracy.” U.S. military and civilian policy makers say Gen. Kayani shares their belief that Islamic extremism poses a threat to Pakistan’s survival and has taken steps that show he is serious about tackling the problem. In September, he replaced the head of Pakistan’s intelligence service, which reports to him, and which U.S. officials say has long maintained ties to the Taliban. Pakistani officials say they only maintain contacts with some elements of the Taliban and no longer directly support the militants.
“He has done what he said he was going to do,” Adm. Mullen told reporters earlier this year. “Gen. Kayani has not misled me at all.” In an interview, a senior Pentagon official praised Gen. Kayani for keeping tens of thousands of Pakistani troops deployed against Islamic militants in restive Bajaur province, instead of shifting them to the country’s tense border with India. Gen. Kayani is a chain smoker, while Adm. Mullen wakes up before 5 a.m. each day to work out before he arrives at the Pentagon. They also have professional differences: Gen. Kayani once ran Pakistan’s main spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, while Adm. Mullen has spent his entire career in the regular military. But they have forged strong ties since becoming their nations’ top uniformed military officers in 2007. “There’s increasing confidence,” said Talaat Masood, a Pakistani military analyst and retired general. “They trust each other in a way, even if they know are certain things that the Pakistan army will not do,” he said — specifically that Pakistan won’t drastically reduce its troop strength along the border with India. Since taking office, Gen. Kayani has cheered U.S. officials by putting experienced, nonideological officers in charge of two of Pakistan’s most important security arms: the Inter-Services Intelligence and the 60,000-strong Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force that is taking the lead in battling the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas. More recently, Gen. Kayani played a crucial role in defusing last week’s political crisis, which centered on Mr. Zardari’s refusal to reinstate the former chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Pakistani officials said that Gen. Kayani repeatedly met with Mr. Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani. “Initially, he confined himself to polite advice, but his tenor became firmer at the end,” a Pakistani official said. “It was the Kayani model — invisible, but around,” said Jhangir Karamat, a retired chief of army staff.

Why aren’t we acting now?

Why aren’t we acting now?

By Arshad Zaman

on the day after US/Nato forces invade and occupy some of Balochistan and Waziristan, what will we say we should have done, and why aren’t we doing it now? Is this far-fetched?— Reuters/File Photo

on the day after US/Nato forces invade and occupy some of Balochistan and Waziristan, what will we say we should have done, and why aren’t we doing it now? Is this far-fetched?— Reuters/File Photo

THIS article poses two questions: on the day after US/Nato forces invade and occupy some of Balochistan and Waziristan, what will we say we should have done, and why aren’t we doing it now? Is this far-fetched?

The facts suggest otherwise. Like the US invasion of Iraq, plans for covert operations and military strikes against Pakistan have not only circulated for long among influential US groups, they are visibly under implementation. Again, like Bush, the Obama presidency has provided the opportunity to implement these plans.

Obama has been elected on a Democratic Party platform that holds that ‘The greatest threat to the security of the Afghan people — and the American people — lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train, plot attacks and strike into Afghanistan and move back across the border. We cannot tolerate a sanctuary for Al Qaeda.” It defines Pakistan as ‘a nuclear-armed nation at the nexus of terror, extremism and … instability’ and goes on to promise that ‘we will lead a global effort … to secure all nuclear weapons material at vulnerable sites within four years’.

There cannot be a clearer statement of US intentions. Nor are the outlines of likely US actions entirely unknown. The logic of the US action will be provided by Kampuchea; the tactics by Kosovo on our western borders and Palestine on our eastern borders. Naturally, historical analogies are far from exact, but they do merit study.

Even though the contextual background of the US bombing of Kampuchea departs from the situation in Pakistan on many points, what is common to the two is that US troops are bogged down in adjacent Afghanistan, the Americans believe that their ‘enemy’ is able to find ‘sanctuaries’ and ‘safe havens’ in Pakistan, and they have been conducting covert bombing operations in Pakistan for some time, which have progressively intensified.

We should not be misled by diplomatic pleasantries. In April 1969, Richard Nixon assured Prince Sihanouk that the US respected ‘the sovereignty, neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia …’ Over the next 14 months the US dropped 2,750,000 tons of bombs on Kampuchea, more than the total dropped by the Allies in the Second World War. In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister, Lon Nol. The country’s borders were closed, and the US and the Republic of Vietnam Army (ARVN) launched incursions into Kampuchea to attack the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (VPA/NLF) bases.

The coup against Sihanouk and the US bombing destabilised Kampuchea and increased support for the Khmer Rouge. The parallels to recent developments in Pakistan are obvious.

Unlike Vietnam and Kampuchea around 1960, however, the Americans do not intend to withdraw from Afghanistan. Instead, in pursuit of a ‘surge’ strategy, some 17,000 US troops are expected to arrive in Afghanistan in the coming months; and the US appears to be digging in for a long stay. This creates enormous supply problems to which solutions, significantly, are being put together without dependence on Pakistan.

On March 17, 2009, Gen Duncan McNab testified before the armed services committee that the US military is reconsidering the long-term viability of the Khyber Pass supply route, through which 140 containers pass every day. Earlier this month therefore the US inaugurated the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) a rail-truck transit corridor passing through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with a capacity of 100 containers of non-lethal supplies per day.

To consolidate the NDN, officials from US, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey met in Baku on March 9-10, 2009 to establish a supply spur in the Caucasus. Even so, the closure of the Manas airbase outside Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan in February has been a severe blow to US supply capabilities from the north.

A solution to these problems can be found by creating an independent corridor to the Arabian Sea in Balochistan. This corridor, together with the occupation of Afghanistan, would also ensure US access to Central Asian crude oil, the raison d’etre of the so-called war on terror.

The groundwork for this scenario has already been laid by influential US groups in the military and intelligence community: comparing Pakistan to Yugoslavia, predicting civil war and advocating break-up supported by a map in the 2006 US Armed Forces Journal. These proposals would be endorsed by US Vice President Joe Biden, who supports the division of Iraq along ethnic lines. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), trained and financed by US and British intelligence services (among others), is said to be Washington’s chosen model to be replicated in Balochistan.

On the eastern front the Indians have been pressing the Americans to accept their right to unilateral military strikes inside Pakistan in self-defence, as they accept Israel’s rights in Palestinian territories; and as the Americans have claimed for themselves throughout the world. For well over a decade now, Israel has been teaching the Indians what they have learned in their repression of the Palestinians. In the wake of the Mumbai incident, Indian planes crossed over into Pakistani air space.

According to press reports, US Admiral Mullen sought formal approval for Indians to execute ‘surgical strikes’ inside Pakistan, like the US does, but Pakistan refused. Clearly, this is not the last we have heard of this and India will continue to pursue its policy of keeping Pakistan under the maximal sustainable military, diplomatic and economic pressure.

To conclude, then, there are good reasons to believe that a US-Israel-India axis is in pursuit of a coordinated plan to balkanise militarily consequential Muslim states (next Pakistan, then Iran — the order reversed by Musharraf’s weak military policies); ‘secure’ Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; support Baloch irredentism not only to open a corridor both for logistic support of its troops in Afghanistan and for export of Central Asian crude oil, but also to weaken Iran and Pakistan in the long-term; coerce the Pakistan Army into a civil war (advocating suppression of the Taliban by force in Pakistan, while admitting the failure of exactly this policy in Afghanistan); and further consolidate its hold over civilian leadership by creating the kind of financial dependency that would allow it to control ‘democratic’ elections, and to annul their results if they were unfavourable (as Israel did with Hamas).

Reportedly, Obama is expected to consider and approve options soon, and increased US military activity should take place once the snow melts. One hopes that a small group of patriotic officers in Pakistan are also asking themselves what can be done, and why aren’t we doing it now.

New threat of strikes

New threat of strikes

Targeting Al Qaeda and the Taliban may be important but it is also critical that America not lose its few friends in this part of the world.

Targeting Al Qaeda and the Taliban may be important but it is also critical that America not lose its few friends in this part of the world.

Hopefully better sense will prevail and nothing will come of reports that the US may extend its covert operations in Pakistan beyond Fata to Balochistan.

According to The New York Times, the Obama administration has been advised by military commanders to strike Taliban ‘safe havens’ in and around Quetta, which they believe serve as the headquarters of Mullah Omar and a staging post for attacks in southern Afghanistan. Pakistan has long denied such claims. Fortunately not everyone in Washington subscribes to the new policy being proposed by the military brass.

One senior official has been quoted as saying that ‘expanding [the] US role inside Pakistan may be more than anyone there can stomach”. We couldn’t agree more. American strikes in Pakistan violate the country’s sovereignty and give those who are fanning anti-western and anti-Islamabad sentiments even more ammunition.

At the same time, the civilian deaths caused by such strikes not only alienate but enrage ordinary tribal people without whose cooperation the war against militancy can never be won. That said, certain home truths need to be driven home. Pakistan rightly condemns violations of sovereignty but also needs to accept its own shortcomings.

While US policy may be misguided, it is the Pakistani state that allowed the sore of militancy to fester and disfigure large swathes of the country. The folly of ‘strategic depth’, a goal that could only be achieved through non-state actors, is one of the root causes of militancy in today’s Pakistan. Guns that once targeted foreign ‘enemies’ now point inwards. Many also  believe that the Musharraf regime deliberately kept the threat of Talibanisation alive to convince the West of his indispensability.

Militancy spread first from the tribal agencies to the frontier regions (FRs) and then to the settled districts of the NWFP. Taliban-inspired militants can now be found across the country, including the major cities. As for Balochistan, the FC inspector general may be correct in his assessment on Wednesday that the Taliban do not enjoy political or tribal support in the province. That, however, does not mean that there are no Taliban holed  up there. It is after all a fact that top Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud died in district Zhob in July 2007 during an encounter with security personnel.
Drone strikes are a low-cost way of taking out targets without risking American lives. The US top brass thinks it is a successful policy because drone attacks have reportedly made inroads into the Al Qaeda leadership.

This is a simplistic assessment and the ongoing strategic review of America’s Afghan policy must take the broader picture into account. Targeting Al Qaeda and the Taliban may be important but it is also critical that America not lose its few friends in this part of the world.

India’s Answer to Holbrooke’s Request for Troop Pull-Back

Pakistan, India exchange fire across Line of Control

Indian army soldiers at the Line of Control —Reuters/File photo

Indian army soldiers at the Line of Control —Reuters/File photo

SRINAGAR: Indian forces resorted to ‘unprovoked firing’ on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control but there were no casualties in the rare clash between the rivals, the Pakistani military said on Saturday.

‘The firing started from the Indian side at around 10 p.m. (1700 GMT on Friday) and intermittent firing continued for several hours,’ said a Pakistani military official who declined to be identified.

A ‘strong protest’ had been lodged with India, the military said. There was no immediate Indian response.

Meanwhile, Indian army officials have said that an Indian soldier was injured when Pakistani troops allegedly fired at Indian army positions across the Line of Control, the Indian army said.

The incident broke five months of relative calm along the heavily militarised border.

According to the Indian army officials, Pakistani troops fired 1,500-2,000 machinegun rounds towards Indian forward posts in the Western Uri sector, an Indian army spokesman said.

The firing lasted five hours, ending early Saturday morning, the spokesman said, adding that Pakistani fire was ‘unprovoked’.

India in the past has accused the Pakistani army of providing covering fire for infiltrating militants.

Last year India accused Pakistani soldiers of crossing the Line of Control and killing an Indian soldier – allegations Islamabad denied.

The War Plan Requires Creation of New “Al Qaida” Strawmen, Somalia’s “al-Shabaab”


‘Several’ Missing Somali-Americans Back in U.S. After Overseas Terror Mission

By Mike Levine Thursday, March 19, 2009

Many of the Somali-American men who were recruited to join an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group overseas have returned to the United States, according to a source familiar with an FBI investigation into the matter — but the FBI still has not revealed publicly if it is pursuing arrests in the case.

“Some of the guys who were missing aren’t missing anymore,” the source said. “Some of them got blown up and some of them came back, and some of them are still there [in Somalia].”

For several months the FBI has been investigating at least 20 Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area who traveled to war-torn Somalia, where some of them trained and fought with an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group known as al-Shabaab, according to counterterrorism officials.

Asked to characterize how many of those men are now back on American soil, the source would only say that “several” have returned. Federal authorities believe the men went to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, which has been warring with the moderate Somali government since 2006.

Usama bin Laden weighed in Thursday on the battle. In an audiotape posted online, the Al Qaeda leader urged Somalis to fight against the Somali government, insisting, “The war which has been taking place on your soil these past years is a war between Islam and the international crusade.”

At a Senate hearing in Washington last week, counterterrorism officials said there is no intelligence to indicate that Somali-Americans who traveled to Somalia are planning attacks inside the United States.

“We do not have a credible body of reporting right now to lead us to believe that these American recruits are

being trained and instructed to come back to the United States for terrorist attacks,” said Philip Mudd, a top-ranking official with the FBI’s National Security Branch. “Yet, obviously, we remain concerned about that, and watchful for it.”

Minneapolis has become the hub — and the media focus — of the FBI’s investigation. But the FBI is casting a wide and growing net across the country, even in places hundreds of miles away from Minneapolis.

Testimony from counterterrorism officials and others at the Senate hearing last week suggested that the FBI investigation is active in Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Boston; Seattle; and San Diego.

“The FBI will follow leads wherever they takes us,” said Rich Kolko, the chief of the FBI’s National Press Office.

In fact, the FBI Field Office in San Diego has already interviewed “dozens” of people from the Somali-American community there, according to a local attorney.

The lawyer, Mahir Sherif, said he knows many of those who were interviewed, and he said the FBI often asked the same questions: Do you know anyone who has left the United States for Somalia? What are your feelings about Somalia? What are your feelings about Barack Obama? Do you know anyone who has committed an act of terrorism?

Sherif also said he knows at least one Somali-American who has received a subpoena to appear before a San Diego grand jury in the next couple of weeks. Sherif wouldn’t identify the person but described him as a naturalized U.S. citizen in his 30s. Sherif said the person “consulted” with him after receiving the subpoena. The person recently traveled to the Middle East, which may have raised a red flag with authorities, according to Sherif. He did not say where in the Middle East the person visited.

Last week, a Muslim leader in the Minneapolis area told FOX News that at least 10 people in the Somali

community there had been subpoenaed to testify before a Minneapolis grand jury, and another 40 had been interviewed by the FBI.

In cases like this, the field office leading the investigation — with help from FBI headquarters in Washington — “outlines” an investigative plan that is then implemented by other field offices, according to Kevin Donovan, a former FBI Assistant Director with the New York Field office.

“The lead field office basically sends out assignments in field offices across the U.S. and even around the world,” he said.

It’s unclear exactly what the FBI or any grand jury in San Diego would be investigating. A former Justice Department official said an FBI or grand jury investigation could be looking into something as clear-cut as a group of men from San Diego who joined al-Shabaab in Somalia, or they could be investigating whether someone from the San Diego area helped finance the Minneapolis men’s travel overseas.

Either way, the former official said, “there has to be some kind of link to the Southern District of California.”

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials tell FOX News that federal authorities in Seattle have been keeping track of a group of men in Washington state with alleged ties to Somali-American terrorists.

Authorities in Seattle recently arrested a Muslim convert the FBI believes had been in contact with Ruben Shumpert, one of the first Americans to join Islamic militants in Somalia. Shumpert, also a convert to Islam, was killed in Somalia last year.

Two weeks ago federal authorities charged Jimmy Lee King with drug and weapons-related offenses stemming from an incident in late November, according to court documents. An FBI official said King had been on the FBI’s radar for some time, first gaining the FBI’s attention after “assocating” with Shumpert. It’s unclear whether the FBI has interviewed King in its investigation of Somali-linked terrorism, but court documents filed two weeks ago by the Joint Terrorism Task Force say King talked with the FBI “on several previous occasions regarding matters unrelated to the [November incident].”

The FBI official said King is believed to be involved in gang activity in Seattle, but the FBI is still trying to determine exactly how strong of a connection — if any — he has to international terrorism.

Donovan, the former FBI official, said charging a suspect with “lesser charges” when that suspect may have information relevant to a bigger investigation is “prudent.”

“Many times it would be absolutely critical using lesser charges … to get deeper into an organization,” he said.

737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

By Chalmers Johnson

With more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet and military bases spread across each continent, it’s time to face up to the fact that our American democracy has spawned a global empire.

The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson’s new book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” (Metropolitan Books).

Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America’s version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial “footprint” and the militarism that grows with it.

It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

The total of America’s military bases in other people’s countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush’s strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

U.S. troop in Iraq

Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 — mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets — almost exactly equals Britain’s thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion — surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries — and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base’s “worth” is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.

The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world’s largest landlords.

These numbers, although staggeringly big, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2005 Base Structure Report fails, for instance, to mention any garrisons in Kosovo (or Serbia, of which Kosovo is still officially a province) — even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the KBR corporation (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root), a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation of Houston.

Halliburton Corporation’s Houston offices

The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq (106 garrisons as of May 2005), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, even though the U.S. military has established colossal base structures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asian areas since 9/11. By way of excuse, a note in the preface says that “facilities provided by other nations at foreign locations” are not included, although this is not strictly true. The report does include twenty sites in Turkey, all owned by the Turkish government and used jointly with the Americans. The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one — possibly not even the Pentagon — knows the exact number for sure.

In some cases, foreign countries themselves have tried to keep their U.S. bases secret, fearing embarrassment if their collusion with American imperialism were revealed. In other instances, the Pentagon seems to want to play down the building of facilities aimed at dominating energy sources, or, in a related situation, retaining a network of bases that would keep Iraq under our hegemony regardless of the wishes of any future Iraqi government. The U.S. government tries not to divulge any information about the bases we use to eavesdrop on global communications, or our nuclear deployments, which, as William Arkin, an authority on the subject, writes, “[have] violated its treaty obligations. The U.S. was lying to many of its closest allies, even in NATO, about its nuclear designs. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, hundreds of bases, and dozens of ships and submarines existed in a special secret world of their own with no rational military or even ‘deterrence’ justification.”

In Jordan, to take but one example, we have secretly deployed up to five thousand troops in bases on the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Jordan has also cooperated with the CIA in torturing prisoners we deliver to them for “interrogation.”) Nonetheless, Jordan continues to stress that it has no special arrangements with the United States, no bases, and no American military presence.

The country is formally sovereign but actually a satellite of the United States and has been so for at least the past ten years. Similarly, before our withdrawal from Saudi Arabia in 2003, we habitually denied that we maintained a fleet of enormous and easily observed B-52 bombers in Jeddah because that was what the Saudi government demanded. So long as military bureaucrats can continue to enforce a culture of secrecy to protect themselves, no one will know the true size of our baseworld, least of all the elected representatives of the American people.

In 2005, deployments at home and abroad were in a state of considerable flux. This was said to be caused both by a long overdue change in the strategy for maintaining our global dominance and by the closing of surplus bases at home. In reality, many of the changes seemed to be determined largely by the Bush administration’s urge to punish nations and domestic states that had not supported its efforts in Iraq and to reward those that had. Thus, within the United States, bases were being relocated to the South, to states with cultures, as the Christian Science Monitor put it, “more tied to martial traditions” than the Northeast, the northern Middle West, or the Pacific Coast. According to a North Carolina businessman gloating over his new customers, “The military is going where it is wanted and valued most.”

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld, US Presidnet George W. Bush,
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

In part, the realignment revolved around the Pentagon’s decision to bring home by 2007 or 2008 two army divisions from Germany — the First Armored Division and the First Infantry Division — and one brigade (3,500 men) of the Second Infantry Division from South Korea (which, in 2005, was officially rehoused at Fort Carson, Colorado). So long as the Iraq insurgency continues, the forces involved are mostly overseas and the facilities at home are not ready for them (nor is there enough money budgeted to get them ready).

Nonetheless, sooner or later, up to 70,000 troops and 100,000 family members will have to be accommodated within the United States. The attendant 2005 “base closings” in the United States are actually a base consolidation and enlargement program with tremendous infusions of money and customers going to a few selected hub areas. At the same time, what sounds like a retrenchment in the empire abroad is really proving to be an exponential growth in new types of bases — without dependents and the amenities they would require — in very remote areas where the U.S. military has never been before.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was obvious to anyone who thought about it that the huge concentrations of American military might in Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea were no longer needed to meet possible military threats. There were not going to be future wars with the Soviet Union or any country connected to any of those places.

In 1991, the first Bush administration should have begun decommissioning or redeploying redundant forces; and, in fact, the Clinton administration did close some bases in Germany, such as those protecting the Fulda Gap, once envisioned as the likeliest route for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But nothing was really done in those years to plan for the strategic repositioning of the American military outside the United States.

By the end of the 1990s, the neoconservatives were developing their grandiose theories to promote overt imperialism by the “lone superpower” — including preventive and preemptive unilateral military action, spreading democracy abroad at the point of a gun, obstructing the rise of any “near-peer” country or bloc of countries that might challenge U.S. military supremacy, and a vision of a “democratic” Middle East that would supply us with all the oil we wanted. A component of their grand design was a redeployment and streamlining of the military. The initial rationale was for a program of transformation that would turn the armed forces into a lighter, more agile, more high-tech military, which, it was imagined, would free up funds that could be invested in imperial policing.

What came to be known as “defense transformation” first began to be publicly bandied about during the 2000 presidential election campaign. Then 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq intervened. In August 2002, when the whole neocon program began to be put into action, it centered above all on a quick, easy war to incorporate Iraq into the empire. By this time, civilian leaders in the Pentagon had become dangerously overconfident because of what they perceived as America’s military brilliance and invincibility as demonstrated in its 2001 campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda — a strategy that involved reigniting the Afghan civil war through huge payoffs to Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance warlords and the massive use of American airpower to support their advance on Kabul.

World Trade Center under attack on 9-11

In August 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unveiled his “1-4-2-1 defense strategy” to replace the Clinton era’s plan for having a military capable of fighting two wars — in the Middle East and Northeast Asia — simultaneously. Now, war planners were to prepare to defend the United States while building and assembling forces capable of “deterring aggression and coercion” in four “critical regions”: Europe, Northeast Asia (South Korea and Japan), East Asia (the Taiwan Strait), and the Middle East, be able to defeat aggression in two of these regions simultaneously, and “win decisively” (in the sense of “regime change” and occupation) in one of those conflicts “at a time and place of our choosing.”As the military analyst William M. Arkin commented, “[With] American military forces … already stretched to the limit, the new strategy goes far beyond preparing for reactive contingencies and reads more like a plan for picking fights in new parts of the world.”

A seemingly easy three-week victory over Saddam Hussein’s forces in the spring of 2003 only reconfirmed these plans. The U.S. military was now thought to be so magnificent that it could accomplish any task assigned to it. The collapse of the Baathist regime in Baghdad also emboldened Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to use “transformation” to penalize nations that had been, at best, lukewarm about America’s unilateralism — Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey — and to reward those whose leaders had welcomed Operation Iraqi Freedom, including such old allies as Japan and Italy but also former communist countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The result was the Department of Defense’s Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy, known informally as the “Global Posture Review.”

President Bush first mentioned it in a statement on November 21, 2003, in which he pledged to “realign the global posture” of the United States. He reiterated the phrase and elaborated on it on August 16, 2004, in a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati. Because Bush’s Cincinnati address was part of the 2004 presidential election campaign, his comments were not taken very seriously at the time. While he did say that the United States would reduce its troop strength in Europe and Asia by 60,000 to 70,000, he assured his listeners that this would take a decade to accomplish — well beyond his term in office — and made a series of promises that sounded more like a reenlistment pitch than a statement of strategy.

“Over the coming decade, we’ll deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We’ll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. … It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families. … See, our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, more time for their kids and to spend with their families at home.”

On September 23, 2004, however, Secretary Rumsfeld disclosed the first concrete details of the plan to the Senate Armed Services Committee. With characteristic grandiosity, he described it as “the biggest re-structuring of America’s global forces since 1945.” Quoting then undersecretary Douglas Feith, he added, “During the Cold War we had a strong sense that we knew where the major risks and fights were going to be, so we could deploy people right there. We’re operating now [with] an entirely different concept. We need to be able to do [the] whole range of military operations, from combat to peacekeeping, anywhere in the world pretty quickly.”

Though this may sound plausible enough, in basing terms it opens up a vast landscape of diplomatic and bureaucratic minefields that Rumsfeld’s militarists surely underestimated. In order to expand into new areas, the Departments of State and Defense must negotiate with the host countries such things as Status of Forces Agreements, or SOFAs, which are discussed in detail in the next chapter. In addition, they must conclude many other required protocols, such as access rights for our aircraft and ships into foreign territory and airspace, and Article 98 Agreements. The latter refer to article 98 of the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, which allows countries to exempt U.S. citizens on their territory from the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Such immunity agreements were congressionally mandated by the American Service-Members’ Protection Act of 2002, even though the European Union holds that they are illegal. Still other necessary accords are acquisitions and cross-servicing agreements or ACSAs, which concern the supply and storage of jet fuel, ammunition, and so forth; terms of leases on real property; levels of bilateral political and economic aid to the United States (so-called host-nation support); training and exercise arrangements (Are night landings allowed? Live firing drills?); and environmental pollution liabilities.

When the United States is not present in a country as its conqueror or military savior, as it was in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II and in South Korea after the 1953 Korean War armistice, it is much more difficult to secure the kinds of agreements that allow the Pentagon to do anything it wants and that cause a host nation to pick up a large part of the costs of doing so. When not based on conquest, the structure of the American empire of bases comes to look exceedingly fragile.

From the book NEMESIS: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson. Reprinted by arrangement with Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright (c) 2006 by Chalmers Johnson. All rights reserved. Posted on Japan Focus, February 20, 2007.

Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific.

They hold out the hope that reconciliation can prevail over retaliation in human affairs.

Living With the Bomb: The Atomic Bomb in Japanese Consciousness

Mark Selden

Until the last six months of World War Two, the home islands of Japan were virtually untouched by the ravages of war. That changed definitively on the night of March 9 1945, as the full fury of U.S. firebombing was unleashed on Tokyo. The raid turned a fifteen square mile area of Tokyo into an inferno. Police Cameraman Ishikawa Koyo described the streets as “rivers of fire. Everywhere one could see flaming pieces of furniture exploding in the heat, while the people themselves blazed like match sticks. . . . Immense vortices rose in a number of places, swirling, flattening, sucking whole blocks of houses into their maelstrom of fire.” 100,000 civilians died. More than one million homes were destroyed. Yet this was but a prelude of the hell that was to come.

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945 a fireball with a temperature of several million degrees centigrade formed in the sky above Hiroshima. On the ground, the temperature at the hypocenter rose to 3,000-4,000 degrees centigrade — far higher than the temperature at which iron melts. The Enola Gay had dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over Hiroshima.

Victims in Hiroshima, and three days later on August 9 in Nagasaki, provided vivid personal descriptions of the hellfire unleashed by the bomb. A young sociologist described “a park covered with dead bodies waiting to be cremated. . . . some girls, very young girls, not only with their clothes torn off but with their skin peeled off as well.” The force of the blast and the heat of the thermal flash tore away the clothing and peeled away the skin from many of the victims. A Hiroshima girl who was five at the time of the blast recalled, “I had a terrible lonely feeling that everybody else in the world was dead and only we were still alive.” A twenty-year old entering Hiroshima two hours after the blast encountered “a painting of hell.”

The devastation was cataclysmic. In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, half of all those within three quarters of a mile of Ground Zero died on the day of the explosion; more than 80 percent eventually died from wounds or radiation inflicted by the bomb. By the end of 1945, the atomic bomb had claimed the lives of 140,000 Hiroshima people and 70,000 in Nagasaki. The legacy of the bomb in the form of blast injuries, burns, and radiation continues to inflict death and suffering on its victims to the present day.

Although 64 Japanese cities were firebombed, with immense destruction and loss of life, Hiroshima and Nagasaki became the central symbols of war, overshadowing the events elsewhere. This was a product not only of the special features of the bomb, its power and radioactivity, but also of parallel efforts by Japanese and American rulers, reinforced by their respective media, to highlight the power of the bomb. In the case of the US, the goal was to convey awe at the unique power the US possessed and was prepared to use. The Japanese state sought to foster victim consciousness centered on the inhumanity of the bomb, thereby shifting attention away from Japan’s criminal aggressive acts. The worldwide anti-nuclear movement similarly dramatized the effects of the atomic bomb, but in hope of abolishing nuclear weapons.

The depth and nuance of feeling of the victims is well conveyed in the poetry, stories and art created by citizens of the two cities in the wake of the atomic bombing.

Sakamoto Hatsumi, a primary school student, wrote in 1952:

“When the atomic bomb drops day turns into night people turn into ghosts.”

Nakamura On, a survivor, also remembered

“Under a pale blue glow, the black sun, dead sunflowers, and a collapsed roof, people lifted their faces voicelessly: bloody eyes that exchanged looks then loosely peeling skin lips swollen like eggplants heads impaled with shards of glass — ‘how can this be a human face’ everyone thought at the sight of another yet each who so thought had the same face. . . . Without even uttering a cry of horror toward a place without flames from the west and from the east naked figures their skin loosely peeling you couldn’t tell men from women a procession of ghosts continued; in the middle of all this suddenly an old woman in the process stopped pulling in something like a sash that was coming off when the flames had already come so close!

Someone, unable to take it any longer, said ‘come, throw that away, let’s hurry’; then she answered ‘these are my intestines.’”

The memories of that day were literally burned into the consciousness of survivors.

Writing about the bomb was strictly censored during the U.S. occupation of Japan as bigger bombs were stockpiled and readied for use. The literature and art that has emerged since that time helped to fuel a worldwide anti-nuclear movement that has been among the most important Japanese responses to the war and the bomb. And, as part of a broader anti-nuclear movement, may have contributed to the prevention of nuclear war.

The torment inflicted by the bomb — together with deep anger at the Japanese state for embarking on a brutal and senseless war and callously failing to protect its soldiers and citizens — nurtured a widely shared pacifism and hatred of war among Japanese. That sentiment was in harmony with the U.S.-imposed Constitution whose Article Nine goes further than does any other constitutional provision in committing a nation to a peaceful future. “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order,” it states, “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

Memories of the carnage that Japanese armies had wrought throughout China and Asia, and of war crimes associated with the Nanjing Massacre and the enslavement of the comfort women, were long suppressed by the postwar Japanese state. Since the 1980s, however, they have reemerged through efforts by researchers and activists, and been reinforced by court cases and demonstrations by the victims. Textbook treatment of these issues has generated sharp debate in Japanese domestic politics and has given rise to continuing disagreements between Japan and its victims in the era of colonialism and war, particularly China and Korea.

Reflecting on Japanese atrocities and war crimes committed during the colonial era and the Pacific War can provide the occasion for Americans, whose government vigorously criticized earlier Japanese and German bombing of cities, to reflect on our own war crimes in firebombing 64 Japanese cities and using nuclear weapons to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as subsequent deployment of weapons of mass destruction targeting civilian victims.

For Japan, an epoch of perpetual war from 1895-1945 gave way to half a century in which that nation at peace achieved unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. In the new millennium this course is being challenged by a leadership that has sent Japanese military forces to Iraq in support of U.S. war aims. Japan’s leaders are also pressing to revise the peace provisions of the constitution at a time of mounting tensions with North Korea and China. Yet memories of war, and particularly of the bomb, and its relevance to the contemporary age, continue to surface, particularly among older generations. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba warns that “Worship of nuclear weapons is rapidly leading us toward a crisis. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the primary international agreement for the abolition of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse. The United States, the nuclear superpower, has publicly reserved the option of a preemptive first strike with nuclear weapons. It has openly stated its intention to develop small “useable” nuclear weapons and is seeking to resume production of plutonium pits, the atomic bomb triggers for hydrogen bombs.”

At a time when Japanese neonationalists and American neoconservatives are on the offensive, and when new nations seek to acquire nuclear power, and more sophisticated nuclear weapons are being developed by the powers, the surviving victims of the bomb, the hibakusha, are among the most powerful symbols of the belief in a vision of peace predicated on the abolition of nuclear weapons. They hold out the hope that reconciliation can prevail over retaliation in human affairs.

An Honest American Reporter Defends Truth About Bomb’s Effects


Voice and Silence in the First Nuclear War: Wilfred Burchett and Hiroshima

By Richard Tanter*

Hiroshima had a profound effect upon me. Still does. My first reaction was personal relief that the bomb had ended the war. Frankly, I never thought I would live to see that end, the casualty rate among war correspondents in that area being what it was. My anger with the US was not at first, that they had used that weapon – although that anger came later. Once I got to Hiroshima, my feeling was that for the first time a weapon of mass destruction of civilians had been used. Was it justified? Could anything justify the extermination of civilians on such a scale? But the real anger was generated when the US military tried to cover up the effects of atomic radiation on civilians – and tried to shut me up. My emotional and intellectual response to Hiroshima was that the question of the social responsibility of a journalist was posed with greater urgency than ever.

Wilfred Burchett 1980 [1]

Wilfred Burchett entered Hiroshima alone in the early hours of 3 September 1945, less than a month after the first nuclear war began with the bombing of the city. Burchett was the first Western journalist – and almost certainly the first Westerner other than prisoners of war – to reach Hiroshima after the bomb. The story which he typed out on his battered Baby Hermes typewriter, sitting among the ruins, remains one of the most important Western eyewitness accounts, and the first attempt to come to terms with the full human and moral consequences of the United States’ initiation of nuclear war.

For Burchett, that experience was a turning point, ‘a watershed in my life, decisively influencing my whole professional career and world outlook’. Subsequently Burchett came to understand that his honest and accurate account of the radiological effects of nuclear weapons not only initiated an animus against him from the highest quarters of the US government, but also marked the beginning of the nuclear victor’s determination rigidly to control and censor the picture of Hiroshima and Nagasaki presented to the world.

The story of Burchett and Hiroshima ended only with his last book, Shadows of Hiroshima, completed shortly before his death in 1983. In that book, Burchett not only went back to the history of his own despatch, but more importantly showed the broad dimensions of the ‘coolly planned’ and manufactured cover-up which continued for decades. With his last book, completed in his final years in the context of President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ speech of March 1983, Burchett felt ‘it has become urgent – virtually a matter of life or death – for people to understand what really did happen in Hiroshima nearly forty years ago . . . It is my clear duty, based on my own special experiences, to add this contribution to our collective knowledge and consciousness. With apologies that it has been so long delayed . . .” [2]

That one day in Hiroshima in September 1945 affected Burchett as a person, as a writer, and as a participant in politics for the next forty years. But Burchett’s story of that day, and his subsequent writing about Hiroshima, have a greater significance still, by giving a clue to the deliberate suppression of the truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to the deeper, missing parts of our cultural comprehension of that holocaust.

[Read Burchett's eye-witness testimony below]

One Day in Hiroshima: 3 September 1945


Nuclear Weapons, Suicide Bombers, and the Danger of Swarming Human Locusts


Nuclear Weapons, Suicide Bombers, and the Danger of Swarming Human Locusts

By Wakamiya Yoshibumi
On the afternoon of Aug. 7, 1945, the Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo made the following announcement: (1) “Yesterday, Aug. 6, Hiroshima was attacked by a small number of enemy B29s and suffered severe damage.”, and (2) “While it appears that the enemy used a new type bomb for the aforementioned attack, we are currently looking into the situation in detail.”

When the announcement was made, people in Hiroshima were in a living hell. Two days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

A blinding flash, followed instantaneously by a violent explosion and radiation, killed many people. Countless survivors eventually succumbed to agonizing deaths. Even now, people still suffer from the aftereffects. To date, the death toll in Hiroshima from the bombing stands at 237,000. For Nagasaki, the figure is 135,000. Ordinary citizens and children accounted for most of those who died or were injured.

On Aug. 10, Japan lodged a formal protest with the United States, saying, “The use of bombs that are incomparably more indiscriminate and atrocious than any conventional weapons and projectiles is a new crime against human culture.” The protest was ignored and Japan surrendered unconditionally on Aug. 15.

Japan must own up to guilt

That was 60 years ago this month.

The scars of the bombings are much in evidence.

The atomic bombs were dropped after repeated air raids by U.S. bombers on Tokyo and other cities. In the 2004 movie “The Fog of War,” Robert McNamara said the United States would have been guilty of war crimes if it had lost the war. McNamara was involved in the U.S. effort against Japan under the command of Gen. Curtis LeMay and later became U.S. secretary of defense.

But victors never admit they were at fault. At the peace festival (later peace memorial ceremony for A-bomb victims) held in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1948, to mark the third anniversary of the bombing, commander-in-chief Horace Robertson of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force delivered a speech in which he referred to the punishment inflicted on Hiroshima as an act of retaliation against Japan as a whole.

Robertson attended the ceremony on behalf of the occupational forces.

Were it not for the atomic bombs, Japan probably would not have surrendered and instead waged fierce resistance in a ground battle on its mainland. Why should Japan, which started the war, present itself as a victim of atomic bombings? It doesn’t seem right. That is the logic and emotional response of many people in the United States. When the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome was added to the list of World Heritage sites in 1996, the U.S. government objected.

But was it really necessary to drop an atomic bomb on a densely populated city center just after 8 a.m. on a Monday morning when people had just started their week? Was the United States simply trying to find out what the bomb could do? Although Japan and the United States ended up forming a close postwar alliance, we are left with uneasy feelings over the atomic bombings.

On the other hand, it is not fair to pin all the blame on the United States. That is how I felt as I watched recently two aired programs on Japan Broadcasting Corp.’s “NHK Special.” They are “Okinawa Yomigaeru Senjo” (Okinawa, a battle-ground brought back to life), which was shown June 18, and “Bokura ha Gyokusai Shinakatta-Shonen Shojo-tachi no Saipan-sen” (We did not die honorable deaths-the youth’s battle of Saipan), which aired July 2.

In Okinawa Prefecture and on Saipan, islanders were told to commit mass suicide after having been forced to fight a hopeless battle alongside Imperial Japanese Army troops.

In Okinawa, residents of an entire village were shot to death by Japanese soldiers, who suspected they were U.S. spies. In Saipan, islanders leaped to their deaths from cliffs, crying “Long live the emperor,” or charged at the enemy in desperation. Many families committed suicide together using grenades that were distributed to them for that purpose. I was speechless as I listened to accounts from aging residents of both islands who narrowly escaped death and recalled their “hell on Earth” experiences.

A common thread in all the accounts was that people who followed orders to commit suicide did so because they had been brainwashed into believing that choosing an honorable death was better than staying alive and being subjected to humiliation as prisoners. The teaching advocated by Minister of the Army Tojo Hideki, who later became prime minister, was aimed at instilling awareness of Japan’s imperial rule and bolstering the people’s fighting spirit. It applied not only to soldiers but also to the ordinary population.

This is the reality of 60 years ago. What right did the Japanese government have to criticize the United States for indiscriminately attacking civilians?

War changes people

“We must not make swarming locusts out of humans” read an editorial of The Asahi Shimbun dated Jan. 5, 1997. It likened people to locusts and grasshoppers that, triggered by famine, suddenly multiply and form black, belligerent swarms that consume crops.

At the time, civil war was raging in the former Yugoslavia. Even though the people there are known for their hospitality, ethnic confrontation led them to kill each other.

“People can be friendly or aggressive. They are fickle. They are easily influenced by the atmosphere of the groups to which they belong and once they get out of control, it is difficult to stop them,” the editorial read. I often remember this piece written by an editorial writer who died last year.

War changes people. What was once unbelievable becomes common sense. The atomic bombs dropped by the United States-a country committed to fighting oppressive totalitarianism-embody the ultimate contradiction and horror of humans.

For a long time, the nuclear powers managed to keep their arsenals to themselves. However, nuclear weapons have proliferated, which was one of the reasons given by the United States for invading Iraq. The world is also troubled by North Korea, which has declared nuclear weapons programs.
Terrorism is raging in Iraq, where there were no nuclear weapons. Suicide bombers have attacked London and Egypt.

Nuclear weapons and suicide bombers have one thing in common. They both indiscriminately kill civilians. What would happen if nuclear weapons traded in the black market are used for terrorist attacks?

We must not make swarming locusts out of humans. Once again, I feel the significance of these words.

Wakamiya Yoshibumi heads The Asahi Shimbun editorial board. This article appeared in IHT/Asahi Shimbun, August 1,2005. Posted at Japan Focus on August 1, 2005.

Balochistan Assembly passed unanimous resolution against US drone attacks.


BA passes resolution against US drone attacks


QUETTA (updated on: March 21, 2009, 16:06 PST): Balochistan Assembly here on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution against US drone attacks.

According to sources, the resolution presented by Jamiat Ulema Islam-F urged federal government to play their due role against US drone attacks in Balochistan.

Senior Minister of JUI-F Maulana Abdul Wasaay said government should brief US and Nato forces about efforts made against terrorism and tell them that their suspicions are baseless.

Militant rocket kills 10 civilians in Landi Kotal

Militant rocket kills 10 civilians in Landi Kotal

ISLAMABAD (March 21 2009): A stray rocket fired by militants at a paramilitary base in a border town killed at least 10 people and wounded 32, an official said Friday. The rocket attack was launched Thursday night on a camp of the Frontier Corps paramilitary force based in the remote town of Landi Kotal, 10 kilometres from the Afghan frontier, said Nasir Khan, a local administrator.

“All five rockets fired by the militants missed their target, but one hit a commercial warehouse in the vicinity, killing 10 civilians and injuring 32 others,” Khan said. The security forces did not suffer any fatalities but one Frontier Corp soldier was wounded in an ensuing clash, he added.

More than 20 rooms in the warehouse were damaged in the rocket attack, which sparked a more than four-hour gunfight. The government troops used mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to target the militants. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Khan said soldiers were hunting for the militants Friday. Landi Kotal lies in the Khyber tribal region, which hosts a major land route serving the US and Nato forces fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan. This vital route has been blocked several times in recent months after militant attacks on Nato-bound trucks and terminals where vehicles loaded with food and military equipment are parked at night.
Copyright Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 2009

Pakistan Militant Rocket Attack Kills 10

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Pakistan Militant Rocket Attack Kills 10

Readers Number : 35

20/03/2009 At least 10 people were killed and 45 others wounded when militants fired rockets into a town in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous Khyber tribal area overnight, local administration official Azam said Friday.
“The rescue effort continued overnight amid intense gunfire,” he added.

One paramilitary soldier was wounded when three rockets fired by militants hit his camp late Thursday, a security official said. Other rockets slammed into Landi Kotal, the main town in the volatile Khyber district that borders war-torn Afghanistan, sparking a three-hour gunbattle between militants and paramilitary troops before the rebels fled.

Militants in the rugged tribal area have staged spectacular attacks in recent months, targeting NATO supply depots outside Peshawar, torching hundreds of vehicles and containers destined for occupation troops in Afghanistan.

“get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land.”

“get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land.”

“The military rabbinate brought many magazines and articles with a very clear message: ‘We are the Jewish people, a miracle brought us to the land of Israel, God returned us to the land, and now we have to struggle so as to get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land.’ All the feeling throughout all this operation of many of the soldiers was of a war of religions,” he said. “As a commander, I tried to explain that the war is not a war of Kiddush Hashem [the sanctification of God's name, including through martyrdom] but over the stopping of the launching of the Qassam rockets.”


Their holy book promises ultimate rewards for ultimate barbarism:

“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the world for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron…” (Psalms 2.8.9)




Israel troops admit Gaza abuses

Israel special forces during Gaza conflict

Israel frequently claims to possess the most moral army in the world

An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers’ accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.

One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home.

Another speaker at the seminar described what he saw as the “cold blooded murder” of a Palestinian woman.

The army has defended its conduct during the Gaza offensive but said it would investigate the testimonies.

The Israeli army has said it will investigate the soldiers’ accounts.

The testimonies were published by the military academy at Oranim College. Graduates of the academy, who had served in Gaza, were speaking to new recruits at a seminar.

The climate in general [was that] lives of Palestinians are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers
Soldier testimony

“[The testimonies] conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians,” academy director Dany Zamir told public radio.

Heavy civilian casualties during the three-week operation which ended in the blockaded coastal strip on 18 January provoked an international outcry.

Correspondents say the testimonies undermine Israel’s claims that troops took care to protect non-combatants and accusations that Hamas militants were responsible for putting civilians into harm’s way.

‘Less important’

The Palestinian woman and two of her children were allegedly shot after they misunderstood instructions about which way to walk having been ordered out of their home by troops.

“The climate in general… I don’t know how to describe it…. the lives of Palestinians, let’s say, are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers,” an infantry squad leader is quoted saying.


In another cited case, a commander ordered troops to kill an elderly woman walking on a road, even though she was easily identifiable and clearly not a threat.

Testimonies, which were given by combat pilots and infantry soldiers, also included allegations of unnecessary destruction of Palestinian property.

“We would throw everything out of the windows to make room and order. Everything… Refrigerators, plates, furniture. The order was to throw all of the house’s contents outside,” a soldier said.

One non-commissioned officer related at the seminar that an old woman crossing a main road was shot by soldiers.

“I don’t know whether she was suspicious, not suspicious, I don’t know her story… I do know that my officer sent people to the roof in order to take her out… It was cold-blooded murder,” he said.

The transcript of the session for the college’s Yitzhak Rabin pre-military course, which was held last month, appeared in a newsletter published by the academy.

Israeli human rights groups have criticised the military for failing to properly investigate violations of the laws of war in Gaza despite plenty of evidence of possible war crimes.

‘Moral army’

The soldiers’ testimonies also reportedly told of an unusually high intervention by military and non-military rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in religious terminology.

A wounded Palestinian child is carried into the Kamal Adwan hospital after an Israeli air strike on 11 January 2009

Palestinian civilians paid a heavy price during the three-week Israeli operation

“All the articles had one clear message,” one soldier said. “We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land.”

“Many soldiers’ feelings were that this was a war of religion,” he added.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that the findings would be examined seriously.

“I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of course there may be exceptions but I have absolutely no doubt this will be inspected on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Medical authorities say more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s 22-day operation, including some 440 children, 110 women, and dozens of elderly people.

The stated aim was to curb rocket and mortar fire by militants from Gaza. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians were killed.