For 300 years Britain has outsourced mayhem. Finally it’s coming home

[It is a great day in the Western media when the British confess that their government is the biggest, longest-running criminal enterprise in human history.  For humanity's sake let us pray that The Crown is finished.]

For 300 years Britain has outsourced mayhem. Finally it’s coming home

Opium, famine and banks all played their part in this country’s plundering of the globe. Now it’s over, we find it hard to accept

George Monbiot

Why now? It’s not as if this is the first time Britain’s representatives have been caught out. The history of governments in all countries is the history of scandal, as those who rise to the top are generally the most ambitious, ruthless and unscrupulous people politics can produce. Pushing their own interests to the limit, they teeter perennially on the brink of disgrace, except when they fly clean over the edge. So why does the current ballyhoo threaten to destroy not only the government but also our antediluvian political system?

The past 15 years have produced the cash-for-questions racket, the Hinduja and Ecclestone affairs, the lies and fabrications that led to the invasion of Iraq, the forced abandonment of the BAE corruption probe, the cash-for-honours caper and the cash-for-amendments scandal. By comparison to the outright subversion of the functions of government in some of these cases, the is small beer. Any one of them should have prompted the sweeping political reforms we are now debating. But they didn’t.

The expenses scandal, by contrast, could kill the Labour party. It might also force politicians of all parties to address our unjust voting system, the unelected Lords, the excessive power of the executive, the legalised blackmail used by the whips, and a score of further anachronisms and injustices. Why is it different?

I believe that the current political crisis has little to do with the expenses scandal, still less with Gordon Brown’s leadership. It arises because our economic system can no longer extract wealth from other nations. For the past 300 years, the revolutions and reforms experienced by almost all other developed countries have been averted in Britain by foreign remittances.

The social unrest that might have transformed our politics was instead outsourced to our colonies and unwilling trading partners. The rebellions in Ireland, India, China, the Caribbean, Egypt, South Africa, Malaya, Kenya, Iran and other places we subjugated were the price of political peace in Britain. After decolonisation, our plunder of other nations was sustained by the banks. Now, for the first time in three centuries, they can no longer deliver, and we must at last confront our problems.

There will probably never be a full account of the robbery this country organised, but there are a few snapshots. In his book Capitalism and Colonial Production, Hamza Alavi estimates that the resource flow from India to Britain between 1793 and 1803 was in the order of £2m a year, the equivalent of many billions today. The economic drain from India, he notes, “has not only been a major factor in India’s impoverishment … it has also been a very significant factor in the industrial revolution in Britain”. As Ralph Davis observes in The Industrial Revolution and British Overseas Trade, from the 1760s onwards India’s wealth “bought the national debt back from the Dutch and others … leaving Britain nearly free from overseas indebtedness when it came to face the great French wars from 1793″.

In France by contrast, as Eric Hobsbawm notes in The Age of Revolution, “the financial troubles of the monarchy brought matters to a head”. In 1788 half of France’s national expenditure was used to service its debt: the “American War and its debt broke the back of the monarchy”.

Even as the French were overthrowing the ancien regime, Britain’s landed classes were able to strengthen their economic power, seizing common property from the country’s poor by means of enclosure. Partly as a result of remittances from India and the Caribbean, the economy was booming and the state had the funds to ride out political crises. Later, after smashing India’s own industrial capacity, Britain forced that country to become a major export market for our manufactured goods, sustaining industrial employment here (and avoiding social unrest) long after our products and processes became uncompetitive.

Colonial plunder permitted the British state to balance its resource deficits as well. For some 200 years a river of food flowed into this country from such places as Ireland, India and the Caribbean. In The Blood Never Dried, John Newsinger reveals that in 1748 Jamaica alone sent 17,400 tons of sugar to Britain; by 1815 this had risen to 73,800. It was all produced by stolen labour.

Just as grain was sucked out of Ireland at the height of its great famine, so Britain continued to drain India of food during its catastrophic hungers. In Late Victorian Holocausts, Mike Davis shows that between 1876 and 1877 wheat exports to the UK from India doubled as subsistence there collapsed, and several million died of starvation. In the North-Western provinces famine was wholly engineered by British policy, as good harvests were exported to offset poor English production in 1876 and 1877.

Britain, in other words, outsourced famine as well as social unrest. There was terrible poverty in this country in the second half of the 19th century, but not mass starvation. The bad harvest of 1788 helped precipitate the French revolution, but the British state avoided such hazards. Others died on our behalf.

In the late 19th century, Davis shows, Britain’s vast deficits with the United States, Germany and its white dominions were balanced by huge annual surpluses with India and (as a result of the opium trade) China. For a generation “the starving Indian and Chinese peasantries … braced the entire system of international settlements, allowing England’s continued financial supremacy to temporarily co-exist with its relative industrial decline”. Britain’s trade surpluses with India allowed the City to become the world’s financial capital.

Its role in British colonisation was not a passive one. The bankruptcy, and subsequent British takeover, of Egypt in 1882 was hastened by a loan from Roths­child’s bank whose execution, Newsinger records, amounted to “fraud on a massive scale”. ­Jardine Matheson, once the biggest narco-trafficking outfit in history (it dominated the Chinese opium trade), later formed a major investment bank, Jardine Fleming. It was taken over by JP Morgan Chase in 2000.

We lost our colonies, but the plunder has continued by other means. As Joseph Stiglitz shows in Globalisation and its Discontents, the capital liberalisation forced on Asian economies by the IMF permitted northern traders to loot hundreds of billions of dollars, precipitating the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Poorer nations have also been strong-armed into a series of amazingly one-sided treaties and commitments, such as trade-related investment measures, bilateral investment agreements and the EU’s economic partnership agreements. If you have ever wondered how a small, densely populated country which produces very little supports itself, I would urge you to study these asymmetric arrangements.

But now, as John Lanchester demonstrates in a fascinating essay in the London Review of Books, the City could be fatally wounded. The nation that relied on financial services may take generations to recover from their collapse. The great British adventure – three centuries spent pillaging the labour, wealth and resources of other countries – is over. We cannot accept this, and seek gleeful revenge on a government that can no longer insulate us from reality.

www.monbiot.com

The American Ship They Just Couldn’t Sink

The American Ship They Just Couldn’t Sink

Tuesday, 09 June 2009 05:03 Phillip Marlowe

A Photographic Essay of Israel’s Treachery

The USS Liberty, June 8, 1967

The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Damage from Zuni rockets (possibly US made) fired from unmarked Israeli Jets. The machine gun damage probably came from the Israeli torpedo boats later. This attack came out of the blue after apparently friendly Israeli reconnaissance overflights — which would definitely have seen the large US flag and hull markings.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Israeli Mystere Jet (French made) lacking national insignia (a war crime), during one of the strafing runs and photographed by Captain McGonagle with a 35mm camera kept on bridge. The crew had no idea just who was attacking them until the torpedo boats showed up.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Photograph taken during high-speed turn to evade Israeli torpedo boat attack.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
One of the 3 Israeli torpedo boats. These boats actually machine-gunned the deployed lifeboats from the ship (a war crime). One took aboard a shot-up inflatable raft, probably as a souvenir.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Israeli helicopter, possibly with a commando boarding party, circles stricken ship before being called off by home base. It appeared to be looking for a place to set down on the ship and crew members described seeing armed, helmeted soldiers ready to disembark. Were they planning on gunning down the crew at close quarters and sinking the ship with explosives?
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Marked for death: Dazed, but lucky survivors shortly after the attack. Many are covered in blood from their shipmates.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
In this stark color photo, Napalm (to burn alive the bridge crew), Zuni rockets, machine gun and cannon fire damage is easily seen. The Israeli’s first attack priority was on the communications antennas and bridge — to stop any revealing maydays. Only by the crewman using a jury-rigged spare antenna, managed to save the entire crew from a watery grave — the Israelis must have intercepted their calls for help to the US Sixth fleet and, once realizing the jig was up, called off the rest of the attack.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
A US helicopter from the Sixth Fleet comes to give aid long after attackers had left.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
The Liberty limps under her own power 14 hours after. When attacked, the ship was in international waters, 14 miles off the coast of Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai.
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Arrival at port in Malta (when it should have been ordered to the much closer Crete). The Israelis could not sink her, but they sure tried. The only real question left: Were they the only ones trying?
The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara with President Johnson. They called off supporting US planes* from the US Sixth fleet and Johnson is said to have known they were Israelis before the crew even did. McNamara’s memory of the day remained “foggy” and dismissive to the end.

Reports from officers on board the USS Saratoga say that planes took off for Egypt, carrying nukes for a preplanned attack, but were soon recalled when it was found out the ship still floated and that sailors had survived.

Back in the port, the crew were threatened to stay silent about it all, with John McCaine’s admiral father heading a phoney investigation. The US government has covered up much about all this, even 42 years after. One Texas clown was President for a false-flag attack on the US in 1967 and another Texas clown was President in 2001. Think about it!

The American Ship They Just Couldn't Sink
Torpedo (probably US made) damage from Israeli torpedo boats. Looks a lot like what happened to the USS Cole after a terrorist attack in Yemen that killed 17 US sailors. The USS Liberty lost 25 sailors and communications analysts from this torpedo explosion alone and only by fluke did the ship not break apart and sink. No Hebrew translators were on board. 34 lives were lost in total and about 174 wounded, some terribly.

“The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it,” Forslund recalled.

“The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.

“The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors.”

Forslund said he clearly recalled “the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely.

“He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots’ responses that it didn’t sink.”

Read the Chicago Tribune Article on the evidence of Israeli duplicity.

Ask yourself these things:

If this was a mistake by Israel, like they still try to say, then why would they spray paint out the insignia on their attacking Jets and launch 3 different kinds of attacks on her? All trying to sink her and kill the 300 man crew. And why would Johnson and McNamara call off US Jets on their way to help?

My blog posting on this: A Treacherous False Flag Attack Foiled by Fate

“People may dismiss what I say as the rantings of an angry old man, but given what is taking place today regarding the war in the Middle East and everything that may happen, my suggestion is that–while there is time–people turn off the Britney Spears, the Desperate Housewives and the football games and listen, listen carefully to what happened, as it is likely to happen again, because, as the old saying goes, ‘a leopard does not change its spots.’”-– Phil Tourney, A Survivor’s Blog (excellent) here at WordPress

The tragedy though (and certainly the part hardest to swallow by patriotic Americans who would just as soon take their own lives as betray their fellow countrymen) is that there have been and are players on the American side of the equation whose hands are just as dirty as those of their Israeli counterparts. – Mark Glenn American Free Press

‘These rats,’ he said, referring to Israel and her defenders. ‘They lie about everything. You can’t believe a word they say’ he told AFP. - Insider Tells the Truth about Attack

Excellent blog synopsis of this event: Slow Decline blog posting

* Sometimes the excuse is given that the planes happened to be carrying nuclear weapons (which actually leads to even more inconvenient questions) and could not respond so equipped, but how many other planes on hand could have been vectored easily to the scene with conventional armaments? This shows you just one of the many lies of our government in covering all this up.

Source: Incog Man

ADL’s Abe Foxman Is a Big Fat Crybaby

db090531Doonesbury comic strip is ‘anti-Semitic’ bemoans ADL’s Abe Foxman

 

(by David West, published Tuesday, 09 June 2009 06:21)

 

New York, NY, June 1, 2009 — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today released the text of a letter to cartoonist Garry Trudeau concerning his Doonesbury strip of May 31, 2009:

(read here)

 

CIA tells judge not to release terror interrogation documents

Image...
CIA Director Leon Panetta told a federal judge Monday that releasing documents about the agency’s terror interrogations would gravely damage national security.

Panetta sent a 24-page missive to New York federal judge Alvin Hellerstein, arguing that release of agency cables describing tough interrogation methods used on al-Qaida suspects would tell the enemy far too much about U.S. counterterrorism work.

The CIA director filed the papers in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit has already led to the unveiling of Bush administration legal memos authorizing harsh methods — among them waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning, and slamming suspects into walls — and a fight over releasing long-secret photos of abused detainees.

“I have determined that the disclosure of intelligence about al-Qaida reasonably could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence,” Panetta wrote.

Panetta acknowledges in the court papers that the CIA destroyed 92 videotapes of detainee interrogations that took place in 2002. Officials have previously said that a dozen of those tapes showed the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which critics call torture. The destruction of the videotapes has spurred a criminal investigation into why they were destroyed.

The tapes — and the interrogations — are also an issue in the ACLU’s lawsuit.

The CIA is fighting efforts to force release of the documents, including dozens of agency cables. The cables, Panetta said, describe in detail the methods used on terror suspects, the information gleaned from them, and what U.S. officials still did not know at the time the suspects were being questioned…

FEMA Military Exercise in Prevention and Protection From Homegrown Terrorism

[It is simply astounding to observe the docile American people sitting by passively watching the instrument of our enslavement unfolding before our eyes, with actions such as these executed in preparation for the day when it all becomes real.  The reality at that time will not be the pretend scenario of armies of invading terrorists, but the cold reality of a state taking absolute control of its people for no other reason than for convenience sake, or for consolidation of profits.  Martial law will arrive soon enough; must we wait while they perfect their killing science?]

National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09)

National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) is scheduled for July 27 through July 31, 2009. NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery.

NLE 09 is designated as a Tier I National Level Exercise. Tier I exercises (formerly known as the Top Officials exercise series or TOPOFF) are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program (NEP), which serves as the nation’s overarching exercise program for planning, organizing, conducting and evaluating national level exercises. The NEP was established to provide the U.S. government, at all levels, exercise opportunities to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.

NLE 09 is a White House directed, Congressionally- mandated exercise that includes the participation of all appropriate federal department and agency senior officials, their deputies, staff and key operational elements.  In addition, broad regional participation of state, tribal, local, and private sector is anticipated.  This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09.

EXERCISE FOCUS

NLE 09 will focus on intelligence and information sharing among intelligence and law enforcement communities, and between international, federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector participants.

The NLE 09 scenario will begin in the aftermath of a notional terrorist event outside of the United States, and exercise play will center on preventing subsequent efforts by the terrorists to enter the United States and carry out additional attacks. This scenario enables participating senior officials to focus on issues related to preventing terrorist events domestically and protecting U.S. critical infrastructure.

NLE 09 will allow terrorism prevention efforts to proceed to a logical end (successful or not), with no requirement for response or recovery activities.

NLE 09 will be an operations-based exercise to include: activities taking place at command posts, emergency operation centers, intelligence centers and potential field locations to include federal headquarters facilities in the Washington D.C. area, and in federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in FEMA Region VI, which includes the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

EXERCISE OBJECTIVES

Through a comprehensive evaluation process, the exercise will assess prevention and protection capabilities both nationally and regionally. Although NLE 09 is still in the planning stages, the exercise is currently designed to validate the following capabilities:

  • Intelligence/Information Sharing and Dissemination
  • Counter-Terrorism Investigation and Law Enforcement
  • Air, Border and Maritime Security
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Public and Private Sector Alert/Notification and Security Advisories
  • International Coordination

VALIDATING THE HOMELAND SECURITY SYSTEM

Exercises such as NLE 09 are an important component of national preparedness, helping to build an integrated federal, state, tribal, local and private sector capability to prevent terrorist attacks, and rapidly and effectively respond to, and recover from, any terrorist attack or major disaster that occurs.

The full-scale exercise offers agencies and jurisdictions a way to test their plans and skills in a real-time, realistic environment and to gain the in-depth knowledge that only experience can provide. Participants will exercise prevention and information sharing functions that are critical to preventing terrorist attacks. Lessons learned from the exercise will provide valuable insights to guide future planning for securing the nation against terrorist attacks, disasters, and other emergencies.

For more information about NLE 09, contact the FEMA News Desk: 202-646-4600.

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters.

Military sends gunships to support Upper Dir tribesmen

Military sends gunships to support Upper Dir tribesmen

Hundreds of tribesmen in the district took up arms on Saturday and stormed villages where militants are holed up. — AFP

PESHAWAR: The military sent helicopter gunships to a northwest region Tuesday to support armed villagers who have risen up against Taliban to avenge a deadly mosque blast, an official said.

Hundreds of tribesmen in Upper Dir district took up arms Saturday, a day after 38 people were killed in a mosque suicide bombing there, and have stormed villages where extremists are holed up killing 14 fighters, the army has said.

The militia — known locally as a lashkar — were on Tuesday surrounding Shatkas and Ghazigai villages, where militants are believed to be hiding.

Upper Dir borders Swat valley, the centre of a fierce six-week military offensive aimed at crushing a Taliban insurgency.

‘Lashkar men are positioned on surrounding mountains and keeping a vigil on the movement of Taliban militants,’ said a military official who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

He said army helicopter gunships and artillery pounded suspected militant hideouts in Upper Dir, adding: ‘The shelling was in support of the lashkar.’

Pakistan’s government has in the past encouraged the formation of lashkar militias to help the official armed forces in their fight against militants, and say they want to build up and arm such community forces in the northwest.

Up to 1,200 villagers carrying firearms are reported to have taken on about 200 Taliban in a handful of remote Upper Dir hamlets.

Friday’s mosque bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on civilian and security targets — attacks widely seen as retribution by militants for a blistering offensive by the Pakistan army.

Taliban take 100 TNSM men hostage

Taliban take 100 TNSM men hostage

LAHORE: The Taliban have taken 100 members of the TNSM hostage including the local chief from Mamoond area of Bajaur, a private TV channel reported on Monday. The channel said that differences between the Taliban and the TNSM had intensified, while on the other hand a group of Taliban had refused to fight the military.

12 more killed in Karachi

12 more killed in Karachi

* At least four MQM-H workers killed g Two MQM activists shot dead
* Two passers-by fall victim to violence

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: A wave of violence emanating from rivalries between political factions in the provincial capital continued to spread as 12 more people fell victim to target killings on Monday.

The number of political activists to have fallen victim to target killings during the first week of June has reached 35, and there are fears that street clashes might erupt.

MQM-H: Around four Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) workers were killed in various incidents.

In Gulbahar area, at least three people were killed. SHO Fasihuddin said eight men on motorbikes – armed with Kalashnikovs – shot at two MQM-H workers, Abdul Naeem and Irfan. As a result, Naeem and two passers-by – including a seven-year-old boy – were killed. The targeted workers also had links with the Pakistan People’s Party, said the SHO.

Elsewhere, the body of MQM-H worker Amir Zaib Nasir was found in Landhi area.

Unknown motorcyclists targeted and killed the MQM-H’s Zahid Elahi (32) in Awami Colony. Fahimuddin (40) – also an MQM-H activist – was shot dead by two men on a motorbike in Liaquatabad.

MQM: At least two members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were killed in separate incidents.

Former MQM-H worker Saifullah Siddiqui (35) who had joined the MQM was shot dead by motorcyclists in Nazimabad. The MQM’s Khawaja Sibtain (42) was shot dead in Azizabad.

Also, four other people were killed in separate incidents. Police are claiming these four killings were a result of personal enmities.

Police sources said the Sindh Home Department has warned senior police officials that they would be suspended if further target killings were reported in their jurisdictions.

The prime minister has strongly condemned the target killings.

Drones Continue to Violate Pakistani Airspace

Drones violate Pak airspace

Published: June 09, 2009

BAJAUR (Online) – US drones violated Pakistan’s airspace on Monday over the areas of Charmang, Khar and Mamoond. According to a private TV channel, the flying of US drones created panic among the local people of the areas. The planes after violating Pakistani air space returned back.

Musharraf’s claim ‘a white lie’: Talal

Musharraf’s claim ‘a white lie’: Talal

By: Irfan Bukhari | Published: June 09, 2009

ISLAMABAD – Rebutting the claim of former president Pervez Musharraf that Nawab Akbar Bugti had been
killed in the wake of cave collapse, Talal Bugti, son of slain Baloch nationalist leader, said Monday that he would
soon meet PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif to devise a strategy for registering Bugti’s murder FIR against
Musharraf.
Talking to The Nation, Talal Bugti described former president Pervez Musharraf’s claim as a ‘white lie’ asserting
that he himself had congratulated in Bhurban security men in the past over killing of Bugti.
He said though he had submitted an application for lodging FIR on Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder against
Musharraf in the City Police Station Quetta but the police had not done so.
“Police say that the FIR could be lodged in the vicinity where the incident had occurred but we even do not know
the exact location where my father was murdered”, he said, adding that he did not know whether his father was
killed in the area of Bugtis or Marris. Talal Bugti said the incumbent PPP regime was following the line of Pervez
Musharraf. He alleged that the PPP regime had turned Dera Bugti into a no-go area for the Baloch person that
was increasing the level of anger and disappointment among the Bugtis.
He said in a few days he would call on PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif with a view to devising a strategy for
registering FIR on Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder against former president Pervez Musharraf. He said he would
also visit Multan to meet Javed Hashmi to condole over the death of his brother besides discussing with him the
matter of FIR against Musharraf.
Talal Bugti said that Nawab Akbar Bugti was not his living life with choice; rather he had been forced to go to the
mountains to save his life from Musharraf’s men. He predicted that the Nato forces would soon land in Pakistan
as the incumbent government had failed to resolve security crisis. “World community has started dubbing Pakistan as failed state and is also expressing its concerns over our nukes while the government has totally
failed to counter this negative propaganda”, he said adding that NATO forces would land in Pakistan on the
pretext of destroying dens of Al-Qaeda.
He said the drugs, weapons etc were being smuggled freely from Afghanistan into Pakistan while flour, cattle
and other edibles were being smuggled to Afghanistan from Pakistan unchecked.
He alleged that the whole business of smuggling was being carried out in the presence of border security forces.
He went to the extent of accusing some top political leaders having their share from the huge smuggling.
He said if Interior Minister could ask him to pay Rs500 million for the release of royalty of gas, then why could he
not be the partner in smuggling business. “I invite a delegation of media men from Islamabad to come here to
see the whole dirty business going unbridled with its own eyes.
I would arrange a visit for the delegation to the secret routes of smuggling with full security and it could itself
monitor the unchecked smuggling between two countries”, he added.
Talal Bugti said India was sponsoring militants in Swat and said that the Taliban had gone to the mountains as a
result of ongoing military operation and would continue fighting against security forces with guerrilla warfare
tactics.
It is to be mentioned here that former President General (r) Pervez Musharraf, in a recent interview with a private
TV channel, has claimed that Nawab Akbar Bugti was not killed in military operation but had died as the roof of
the cave collapsed during dialogue session.
Pervez Musharraf further claims in the interview that though Nawab Akbar Bugti had challenged the writ of the
government and taken shelter in bunkers to combat the security forces, yet, he was killed by the collapse of the
cave in which he was residing.

Baitullah’s Enemies Warn Mehsud Tribe Against Helping Renegade Leader

[SEE:  Taliban cornered in NW Pakistan by angry locals]

In this June 7 photo, Qari Zainuddin, second from right, the leader of a Taliban faction, accompanied by his bodyguards, pauses outside his office after an interview with The Associated Press, in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. (Ishtiaq Mahsud, Associated Press)
In this June 7, 2009 photo, Qari Zainuddin, second from right, the leader of a Taliban faction, accompanied by his bodyguards, pauses outside his office after an interview with The Associated Press, in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Zainuddin urged tribal leaders to resist Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and said his fighters, he claimed to have 3,000, would stay neutral if the army launches an operation in South Waziristan, Mehsud’s stronghold. (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud)
By Munir Ahmad Associated Press Writer / June 9, 2009

TTP chief asked to renounce violence

Akhtar Shahzad

TANK: Malik Turkistan Bhittani, an eminent commander of late Abdullah Mahsud’s group, has warned tribal elders to refrain from extending any support to the banned Baitullah Mahsud-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which, he said, was involved in brutal activities in the region.

He was speaking at a Mahsud tribal jirga here Monday. Turkistan is considered the main player behind an armed movement against Baitullah Mahsud and his militant organisation. Turkistan asked Baitullah Mahsud and his armed militants to stop violent activities and killing of innocent people. He asked the Mahsud tribal jirga to force Baitullah to negotiate with the government in the larger national interest, or set up lashkars and fight with him.

Malik Turkistan Bhittani, a pro-government militant commander, condemned suicide attacks carried out by the Baitullah Mahsud-led group across the country, in which, he said, innocent people were being killed.

His commanders Misbahuddin Toofan, Akhlas Mahsud alias Baba and a number of armed militants flanked him.Misbahuddin Mahsud, brother of Qari Zainuddin, chief of late militant commander Abdullah Mahsud’s group, urged tribal elders to stop supporting such anti-social elements (Baitullah and his colleagues) and save their region. He warned the tribal elders that their support to banned TTP could bring serious consequences.

The tribal jirga, which was led by former MNA Maulana Merajuddin, was largely attended by known tribal elders including Rapa Khan, Malik Kamalo Jan, Malik Said Muhammad Advocate, Azizullah Barki, Malik Sher Muhammad and others. Turkistan Bhittani had joined the anti-TTP forces after armed clashes with Baitullah Mahsud in which over 40 people from Turkistan Group lost their lives in 2008.

Kyrgyzstan open to talks on keeping US military presence: FM

[Get out your check book, Putin.]

Kyrgyzstan open to talks on keeping US military presence: FM

BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday it was open to talks on keeping a US military presence on its territory, in a possible softening of line over the eviction of a base key for coalition operations in Afghanistan.

“Kyrgyzstan is prepared to discuss the question of the use of its territory for assisting anti-terrorism coalition forces in Afghanistan with all interested sides,” Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbaev told state news agency.

The Kyrgyz government had announced it was evicting the US military from the airbase at Manas after Moscow agreed to provide over two billion dollars worth of loans and aid to the impoverished former Soviet republic.

Since the closure was announced, Washington has secured transit routes for non-lethal cargo through several other Central Asian states, but the agreements do not address the problem of troop and military material transport.

Pentagon offers assistance for Malakand operation

[Beware of wolves and vampires at your door, offering a helping hand, you know what happens if you let them in.]

Pentagon offers assistance for Malakand operation

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Pakistani military action against militants in Swat Buner and Dir is encouraging and offered to provide assistance for the successful completion of the operation.

“Wherever those threats exist, we would be encouraging of the Pakistani military taking it to them head on and defeating them,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters at a press briefing.

“I am not going to go through a strategy; we want them to go here next and there after that. I mean, they are an independent, sovereign nation that makes decisions on its own about what’s in its interests in terms of self-defence,” Morrell said.

“But we are clearly encouraged by the fact that, ever since there was this encroachment on Islamabad by the Taliban and associated other militant groups, that we are seeing an aggressive and sustained military operation in response,” he said.

“We are, from a defence department perspective, very encouraged by the fact that they have continued these operations, and they show no signs of letting up at this point,” Morrell said.

Taliban cornered in NW Pakistan by angry locals

Taliban cornered in NW Pakistan by angry locals

In this June 7, 2009 photo, Qari Zainuddin, second from right, the leader of a Taliban faction, accompanied by his bodyguards, pauses outside his office after an interview with The Associated Press, in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Zainuddin urged tribal leaders to resist Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and said his fighters, he claimed to have 3,000, would stay neutral if the army launches an operation in South Waziristan, Mehsud's stronghold. In this June 7, 2009 photo, Qari Zainuddin, second from right, the leader of a Taliban faction, accompanied by his bodyguards, pauses outside his office after an interview with The Associated Press, in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Zainuddin urged tribal leaders to resist Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and said his fighters, he claimed to have 3,000, would stay neutral if the army launches an operation in South Waziristan, Mehsud’s stronghold. (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud)
By Munir Ahmad Associated Press Writer / June 9, 2009

ISLAMABAD—A group of Taliban fighters under siege by hundreds of angry tribesmen tried to sneak to another village in northwest Pakistan, only to find themselves cornered there too, an official said Tuesday.

A citizens’ militia that sprang up over the weekend to avenge a deadly suicide bombing at a mosque in Upper Dir district appeared unwilling to stop pursuing the Islamist fighters, underscoring the rising anti-Taliban sentiment in Pakistan.

The growing pressure on militants who have held sway in parts of Pakistan’s northwest comes as the army bears down on their one-time stronghold in the Swat Valley region. Talk has also turned to the possibility of another operation against al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in the nearby tribal belt along the country’s border with Afghanistan, something U.S. officials privately say they would like to see.

Some 1,500 tribesmen laid siege to several villages known as Taliban strongholds in Upper Dir over the weekend, eventually cornering militants in Shatkas and Ghazi Gay villages. By Tuesday, some of the Taliban tried to get away to Malik Bai village, which the tribesmen also encircled, police official Fazal Rabi said.

“About 200 Taliban have been surrounded by the militia” in the villages, Rabi said.

Officials have said the Taliban carried out Friday’s mosque bombing that killed 33 in the town of Haya Gai because they were angry that local tribesmen had resisted their moving into the area, where minor clashes between the two sides occurred for months. Rabi said the tribesmen had sworn on the Quran that they would not let the militants go unpunished.

At least 13 insurgents have died in the fighting since Saturday.

The citizens’ militia, or lashkar, was using its own weapons and had no police backup, Rabi said.

The army’s chief spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, on Monday urged civilians to consider the kind of rule the Taliban was trying to impose — they stand accused of whippings and beheadings in the name of Islamic law in Swat — and join the fight against them.

“Citizens should ponder upon the way of life they are introducing, if that is acceptable to us,” Abbas told the News1 television network. “If not, they have to raise a voice against them, they have to rise against them.”

Washington strongly backs the Swat offensive, and officials have said privately they would like Pakistan to follow up by launching an operation in nearby South Waziristan tribal region, the main base for Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

The government has announced no plans to attack the area, where al-Qaida fighters also are believed to be operating.

Demoralised militants on run

Demoralised militants on run

Sajjad Shaukat

Present different war between Pakistan’s state actors and the non-state actors is simply a ‘clash of wills’ between two entities. Military thinkers agree that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the ‘will to fight’ or ‘moral force’ that determines the outcome of war. Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon” In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. Moral force, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.

The ongoing different war between the militants and Pak Army in Malakand Division in wake of the successful military operations and retreat of the Taliban has proved without any doubt that such elements like ‘will to fight’ and ‘moral force’ have been more noted in Pakistan’s armed forces who have exerted psychological impact of causing fear and shock, resulting in demoralisation in the Taliban.Unlike the different war waged between the insurgents and Pakistan’s security forces in 2007 and 2008 when the militants were provided equal chance of ceasefire, dialogue and peace agreement, this time an allout war has been declared by Pakistan’s government against the non-state actors with a view to eliminating them completely from Swat and FATA. Since the end of March, this year when the military operations were launched, Pak Army has achieved victory after victory by ejecting the Taliban from Buner, Dir, Swat and other adjoining areas, while killing more than four thousands insurgents and capturing there strongholds.

Latest reports suggest that after the killing of most of their commanders, majority of the recruits have deserted the ranks of militants and are on the run along with hardcore leadership. Many insurgents have started shaving off their beards to manage safe exit out of Swat battle zone. Reportedly, Commanders like Ibne Amin and Zain-ud-Din have been killed. Similar apprehensions have been found about other militant leaders including Fazalullah whose whereabouts are still unknown. Some media sources have disclosed intercepted conversation among the commanders of the insurgents, which indicate that the militants have been completely demoralised in coping with Pakistan’s armed forces. It could be judged from the talks which show that high ranked commanders of the insurgents are even threatening their own fighters in acute desperation. In this regard, some Taliban as suicide bombers were dispatched to a commander Hamzala, but Haji Gul warned them along with other militants that if any one of them tried to leave his position and task will be tortured to death. Similar threats to the Taliban warriors have also been given by other leaders and commanders of the banned Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) led by Sufi Muhammad and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Maulana Fazlullah.

The militants are demoralised to such an extent that even threats of death have no impact on them and they are deserting their comrades. Quick retreat of the insurgents from the war-affected areas has endorsed this fact. Besides, there is a significant decline in motivation of suicide bombers because most of the Taliban have either been killed or fled their areas, especially in Mingora, their headquarter in Swat. No doubt, demoralisation in the militants has increased pressure which has ultimately been resulting in withdrawal of trained non-state attackers and suicide bombers from their mission.

However, various political analysts have agreed that major failure of the militants of TTP Swat has been the absence of the motivated suicide bombers in the battlefield. In the recent past, a network for motivating and training suicide bombers existed in certain Taliban strongholds in Swat, but it appears that majority of the young bombers sent to the valley and other districts of Malakand were not locals. Most of them could have come from the training centre of Qari Hussain, a trusted aide to the Chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan. Known as the Ustad-i-Fidayeen (Teacher of suicide bombers), Qari Hussain has been supplying suicide bombers which were being sent to various cities of the Frontier Province and Punjab. And now, demoralization and desertions in the Swati militants including their comrades in rest of the Malakand division do not have a supply of suicide bombers and field fighters. Demoralised in their unjustified mission, the desperate Swati militants have also contacted Baitullah Mehsud. According to a report, an intercepted communication shows that Muslim Khan, the spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah, reportedly asked the militants in South Waziristan for using suicide bombers to strike targets in the cities of Punjab. Although some help came from Mehsud in the form of the suicide bombing, targeting ISI office, police rescue 15 in Lahore and Islamabad including some terrorist strikes in public places in Peshawar and a mosque of Dir, yet even militants led by him have been frightened by the ongoing Malakand military operations. Mehsud and his followers wanted to attack some high profile government officials and installations, but they were demoralised and these missions were not implemented despite the official information that more than 40 suicide bombers have entered Islamabad, Lahore and Multan.

Even then such attacks could be in the pipeline as Bailtullah Mehsud who is the agent of Indian RAW and American CIA has been playing a double game by inciting the peace-loving people of Waziristan in order to conduct subversive activities in implementing foreign agenda to destablise Pakistan. But it seems doubtful that Mehsud is doing this sinister job in support of the beleaguered Taliban of Buner, Dir and Swat. Under this strategy, artillery guns were fired in the area populated by the Mehsud tribe to warn him to stop attacking the security forces. And there were also rumours that after Swat, military operations will be extended to Waziristan. It is due to these reasons coupled with the retreat of Swati Taliban that tribal fighters from Waziristan stopped going to Swat to reinforce the Fazlullah-led Taliban, while those already there started returning home.

Nevertheless, there are various causes which demoralised the Malakand militants. First, high ‘moral force’ and ‘will to fight’ coupled with strong determination and cohesiveness as noted in Pakistan’s armed forces played a key role in ejecting Taliban out of their strongholds. In this respect, during street to street fighting in Mingora, these characteristics were witnessed. Without bothering for their own lives, by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the Taliban supply routes stretching from Waziristan to Malakand. They succeeded in disrupting the command and control structure of the Taliban and besieged them at various hotspots, rendering them unable to send reinforcements to their fighters. Second, morale of Pak Army is very high as the entire intellectual and the non-intellectual citizens of the country have been fully backing the military operations. Third, owing to the aerial strikes against the Taliban in Dir entailing other towns, local people started denying the Taliban sanctuaries and disrupted their links with each other. Fourth, various middle and lower level ranks of TTP insurgents have become doubtful about the main cause they have been fighting for and are now themselves apprehensive for massacring innocent Muslims in Pakistan through brutal acts like beheadings, decimation and suicide attacks. Fifth, it is due to these anti-Islam and other criminal acts like hostage-taking for ransom and forced demands that the general masses of their own local regions left their houses and fled as more than 2.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) verify the atrocities of the Taliban. They have recognized that Sufi Muhammad and Maulana Fazalullah have nothing to do with implementation of Islamic law. Terror, not Sharia is their real agenda which is in fact part of a foreign agenda to create lawlessness in Pakistan. Sixth, every Pakistani has come to know the reality that these militant leaders have been recruiting teenagers and were motivating them for Jehad through false tactics of indoctrination and brainwashing. So they were misusing Jehad which does not allow suicide attacks in killing their own Muslim brethren.

Notably, demoralization of the militants could also be gauged from the statement of Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani who while reiterating the army’s resolve to defeat the terrorists, and praising the troops, said on June 4, 2009 that the military had “decisively turned the tide” against the Taliban in Swat and adjoining districts—major “population centres and roads leading to the valley have been largely cleared of organised resistance by the Taliban.”

As majority of the demoralised militants are on run, the remaining ones, showing pocket resistance must learn a lesson from their comrades. Time is running out with the running insurgents. So they must reconcile and surrender so that they can once again lead a peaceful life.

Israel Calls on New Lebanon Gov’t to Disarm Hezbollah

Israel Calls on New Lebanon Gov’t to Disarm Hezbollah

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 1097

08/06/2009 It seems that Israel was on its nerves waiting for the outcomes of the Lebanese parliamentary elections more than the Lebanese themselves. Thus as soon as the unofficial results of the polls started to be announced on Monday dawn, Israeli officials rushed to give their advices to the “new Lebanon government” concerning the disarmament of Hezbollah, the Islamic resistance in the country.

An Israeli cabinet minister called on Monday for Hezbollah to be disarmed after what he called “the defeat of its alliance in Lebanon’s election”. “The victory of pro-Western forces in Lebanon over the pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian forces led by (Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan) Nasrallah signals important tidings for the region and Israel,” Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told public radio.

“We must now move to disarm Hezbollah in accordance with agreements made in the past,” he said.

Likud MK in Israeli Knesset and former Israeli occupation army Spokeswoman Miri Regev said that “Hezbollah’s loss” in the Lebanese parliamentary elections is considered a direct result of the 2006 July War.

It is worth to mention that the Lebanese national opposition kept its seats in the Parliament and nothing was changed and Hezbollah’s candidates have all won the elections.

In July 2006, Israel launched an aggressive war against Lebanon where it was defeated by the Islamic resistance fighters. Israeli officials are still examining the reasons for that defeat till now and trying to enhance their “air defense and home front” since then.

Moreover on Monday, the Israeli foreign ministry said that the new government in Lebanon must act to prevent attacks from its territory. “It is incumbent upon any government that is formed in Beirut to ensure that Lebanon will not be used as a base for violence against the state of Israel and against Israelis,” the Israeli ministry said in a statement.

“The government of Lebanon must act to strengthen the country’s stability and security, to stop arms smuggling into its territory and to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions. Israel considers the Lebanese government responsible for any military or otherwise hostile activity that emanates from its territory.”

HEZBOLLAH WARNS AGAINST TOUCHING ITS WEAPONS
Meanwhile, Hezbollah warned the March 14 that won Lebanon’s election that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion. “The majority must commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state,” head of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc Mohamed Raad told AFP.

U.S. Prefers a Lebanese Foreign Minister who is Not a Hizbullah Ally

[Lebanon has just set itself up for a new round of American/Saudi/Israeli/British/French/Syrian intervention.]

U.S. Prefers a Lebanese Foreign Minister who is Not a Hizbullah Ally

Washington welcomed the victory of the March 14 forces in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, and said it preferred a foreign minister who is not allied with Hizbullah.
A high-ranking State Department source told As Safir newspaper that there was “a clear choice between March 14 and independents on the one hand and Hizbullah and its allies on the other” in the parliamentary elections.

However, the opposition “will play an important role in political life” because the majority’s victory was “not absolute,” the source added.

He said Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun will have “an important voice in parliament” with the 21 MPs he now has in his bloc. While Hizbullah’s 11-member bloc is not strong in terms of membership, the official added.

He said the U.S. and Lebanon’s friends were not comfortable with the experience of veto power in the government because many issues were frozen in the previous period.

A high-ranking State Department source also told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that it would be easier to cooperate with a Lebanese foreign minister who is not allied with Hizbullah.

About U.S. aid to Lebanon, the source said: “Washington’s assistance to Lebanon depends on what it wants and what it expects from the Lebanese government in terms of its partnership with the U.S.”

Aid also depends on the upcoming cabinet’s formation and policy statement, the official added.

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said Lebanese voters declared that the government should be responsible for security and sovereignty which is in compliance with resolutions 1559 and 1701.

He told al-Arabiya TV network that Hizbullah’s rejection to give up its weapons and become a political party puts Lebanon in danger.

Sayyed Nasrallah: We Accept Official Results; Let’s Start Building our Country

Sayyed Nasrallah: We Accept Official Results; Let’s Start Building our Country

Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 2705

08/06/2009 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivers a speech on Al-Manar TV.

“Tonight I will tackle Sunday’s election and the outcome.
First, I would like to congratulate all the Lebanese people, opposition and loyalty, on this great national achievement. I would also like to laud the popular presence that reflects a great national responsibility. This is a positive point. I also seize the moment to thank the ministries and the public administrations, the Lebanese army and the security forces, for the handling of the electoral process and for preserving security and stability. These administrations were in front of a major challenge of holding general elections on a single day. Despite some flaws, which we’ll assess later, the challenge was faced with responsibility. I congratulate the winners who have to know that they have just taken the responsibility of the people. We accept the announced results by the Interior Minister. Contesting the results at the Constitutional Council is another matter. We accept the results and we accept that the rival camp has secured the majority of parliament seats, knowing that the opposition has also kept its seats. In past speeches, I used to say that there is a difference between a parliamentary majority and a popular majority. If most votes have given the majority to the March 14 bloc, I would accept this regardless of our evaluation to the whole process. We accept the result regardless of the huge expenditure that will illustrated in the days to come; regardless of the sectarian incitement and the lies that were aimed to intimidate the public opinion, especially in some particular districts and regardless of open foreign interference, however I will not tackle this tonight and this will not affect our acceptance to the results.”

“I would like to point to two major allegations that have been thwarted: First is the political rhetoric that claimed that the opposition does not want elections to be held and that it will work on sabotaging the political and security situations to prevent elections. It was also claimed that the opposition will not accept the results if they were not in their favor. I’m not saying that this is the rhetoric of all March 14 leaderships, but most of them.  The results have come out proved that this was the biggest lie ever that was used in the campaign. We have witnessed a remarkable day of elections with a huge turnout and with no problems. The second lie was their claim that elections cannot be held with Hezbollah keeping its arms, because this would mean that the people will be under pressure and will not be able to express themselves. Articles were written about this point.  If the opposition had won, this matter would have been raised again, but now that the March 14 bloc won, no one is mentioning the issue. Today this big lie has been exposed. Elections took place at a time Hezbollah possesses an arsenal of weapons, but nothing has happened. One of the main conclusions is that these weapons are not to impose political realities. The people had their say freely. The whole electoral process has proved the integrity of the party that is using those arms. What important in this experience is that the Lebanese have proven their ability to preserve security and stability and to handle competitiveness even in its sharpest aspects.”

“I would also like to greet all the leaderships and cadres of opposition parties and tell them that we have set an honest national objective to fulfill the project of reform. This is why we have sought after the majority in parliament; to serve this project but not to grab authority. We have fought this battle together and we have confronted what can be named as the global war against us, this is of course General Michel Aoun’s term. If we were not able to serve the project that we have believed in – by being a majority – this will not mean that we have no obligation to serve it from a position. Today, I renew the pledge and call on all opposition leaderships to renew their pledge to commit to our project for reform. This is a non-ending responsibility. Although it is important, however elections are not more than a station on a long road of struggle to fulfill these noble goals. We have to determine our next steps and the way we will deal with the issues of choosing a House Speaker and naming a Prime Minister. “

“I would like to my deep hearted gratitude to all my brothers in Hezbollah and to Hezbollah supporters. There was no competition is south Lebanon and Baalbek-Hermel districts as well as Beirut’s southern suburb, but we have called on voters to have a strong presence to express their political choices and convictions, particularly with regards to the resistance issue, because those were the people who have paid the tax. We noticed that the turnout in these districts was huge and in some cases exceeded the turnout in some districts were sharp competition was taking place. This was not a surprise because this is the voters’ conviction.  I would like to thank the voters who took part in the remaining districts and the campaigns’ staffs who worked incessantly to secure this massive turnout in districts with Shiite seats and in districts where Hezbollah candidates were running and in all other districts because we consider that the opposition as a whole was engaged in Hezbollah’s battle. On the other hand, I condemn the sectarian rhetoric that considers that a certain majority in a certain district should determine its fate. Why is this rhetoric considered sectarian here (opposition) and then considered patriotic there (March 14)? Every Lebanese, regardless of his religion, has the right to vote; it’s his national obligation.
I congratulate all my brothers in the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc because they have gained unprecedented public support.”

“I would like to express my deep hearted gratitude to all my brothers in Hezbollah and to Hezbollah supporters. There was no competition is south Lebanon and Baalbek-Hermel districts as well as Beirut’s southern suburb, but we have called on voters to have a strong presence to express their political choices and convictions, particularly with regards to the resistance issue, because those were the people who have paid the tax. We noticed that the turnout in these districts was huge and in some cases exceeded the turnout in some districts were sharp competition was taking place. This was not a surprise because this is the voters’ conviction.  I would like to thank the voters who took part in the remaining districts and the campaigns’ staffs who worked incessantly to secure this massive turnout in districts with Shiite seats and in districts where Hezbollah candidates were running and in all other districts because we consider that the opposition as a whole was engaged in Hezbollah’s battle. On the other hand, I condemn the sectarian rhetoric that considers that a certain majority in a certain district should determine its fate. Why is this rhetoric considered sectarian here (opposition) and then considered patriotic there (March 14)? Every Lebanese, regardless of his religion, has the right to vote; it’s his national obligation.
I congratulate all my brothers in the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc because they have gained an unprecedented public support.”

“The people have told the world that resistance is their choice; that this is the choice of a resistance not an armed gang; a choice that was not forced on them by the threat of weapons or the temptation of money. When those people voted, they told the world that the choice of the resistance was a popular choice that expressed their will and their awareness. The second message was that the resistance is not a piece of arms to be discussed, but a popular will. There is no need to worry about the resistance as long as it’s a popular choice. This matter shall be discussed calmly and objectively.”

“I tell the Lebanese that the chance of building a just, capable and strong state is still standing, regardless of the outcome of the elections. We all agree that there are big challenges ahead of us on the economic, social, political and administrative levels. We must have reached already the conviction that saving this country and developing it while preserving its independence and sovereignty necessitates the cooperation of all sides. This chance is not lost. It is related to the party that has secured the majority in parliament; what is its real program? Is its project clear and transparent? What are its priorities? how will its conduct be with regards to public affairs? Will it make use of past experiences? Let us try to build a republic based on sincerity and not on lies, accusations and fears. I did not respond to what was said during the electoral campaign, this is behind us. Let us start building our country and pull it out of its crises. We are in front of a new phase and a new situation. We have to learn from the past, determine our weak points and strength points and develop our presence. However, what will never change is our commitment to our people and our country and to those who have offered their blood for the sake of liberating Lebanon and defending it. Peace be upon all of you.”

Fisk: Washington Preferred that Hariri Came out with a Clear Win

Fisk: Washington Preferred that Hariri Came out with a Clear Win

Readers Number : 916

08/06/2009 Government of ‘national salvation’ set to rule after “pro-Western MP Saad Hariri” failed to claim decisive victory, this is how prominent journalist Robert Fisk analyzed yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

“There will, after yesterday’s vote – for the Hezbollah-Christian coalition and for the secular Sunni-Christian alliance – be a government of “national salvation” in Beirut, run by an ex-army general-president with ever-increasing powers,” Fisk wrote in British newspaper The Independent on Monday.

“Washington would have preferred that Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated ex-prime minister, came out with a clear win. But out of the shadows will come the same crippled, un-healable Lebanon; delightful, unworkable, poor old Lebanon, corrupt, beautiful, vanity-prone, intelligent, democratic – yes, definitely, democratic – and absolutely outside our powers to reform,” Fisk said.

“The electoral system – a crazed mixture of sectarianism, proportional representation and “list” fixing – means that no one ever really “wins” elections in Lebanon, and yesterday was no different. The “anti-Syrian” parties – the Sunnis, the Druze, half of the Christian community – made sure that their votes prevented a Hezbollah takeover, while the huge Shia vote – for Hezbollah and the Amal party and the Christians who follow the lead of the raving Christian ex-general Michael Aoun – made certain there would be no clear win for America’s friends in the country,” the writer added.

Fisk said that the Lebanese president, who under Lebanon’s unwritten constitution must be a Christian Maronite, will be able to fashion some kind of “central bloc” by midday today – or so all Lebanon hopes – which will include Hezbollah, the forces of “anti-Syrian” Sunni Islam, the Druze and even the Christians. “The latter, always their own worst enemies in Lebanon, albeit a minority, will ironically be more powerful than ever because their president is one of them.”

More political strife in Lebanon expected after victory of U.S.-backed coalition

LEBANON-VOTE

PATRICK BAZ / AFP/Getty Images
In Beirut, supporters of the anti-Hezbollah Christian Lebanese Forces party revel in their coalition’s unexpected victory in parliamentary elections.
The March 14 coalition campaigned on a platform of disarming Hezbollah.
By Meris Lutz and Borzou Daragahi
June 9, 2009

Reporting from Tehran and Beirut — A U.S.-backed coalition’s election victory over an alliance led by the militant Hezbollah movement sets the stage for a new period of political discord in Lebanon, analysts and officials said Monday.

One point of contention, they noted, will be the arsenal of weapons held by the Shiite Muslim militiamen of Hezbollah.

Election officials Monday confirmed a decisive parliamentary election victory of the so-called March 14 coalition, led by pro-U.S. lawmaker and billionaire Saad Hariri, over a Shiite-Christian alliance called March 8.

Hariri’s coalition, which includes Sunni, Christian and Druze parties, won 71 of the parliament’s 128 seats. The March 8 alliance won 57, according to official numbers cited by the government news agency.

Hezbollah and its closestallies had characterized the vote as a referendum on their armed resistance to Israel. The March 14 coalition campaigned on a platform of disarming Hezbollah.

Hariri has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of granting the opposition the same veto power it received after a deal last year that ended clashes between Hezbollah and his Sunni supporters in Beirut and elsewhere. That deal allowed Hezbollah to retain its arms.

“I expect a real political crisis if March 14 digs their heels in on this,” said political analyst Amal Saad-Ghorayeb.

Signs of strife over Hezbollah’s weapons emerged immediately after the vote. Hezbollah lawmaker Mohammad Raad told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the majority must “commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state.”

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah noted that his party won big in areas of Lebanon near Israel and said it would discuss its weapons only in a “calm and objective” atmosphere.

“Saving this country requires the cooperation of everybody,” he said in a televised speech.

The more immediate challenge for both sides is forming a government, a process that is unlikely to be quickly resolved. “The political picture will not be different, but the political agreement will be tedious and will take time,” said Ghassan Azzi, a professor of political science at Lebanese University. “The March 14 coalition cannot disarm Hezbollah even if they win the whole parliament.”

Israel, whose military battled Hezbollah fighters for weeks in Lebanon in 2006, voiced doubt that moderate forces were really in charge of Lebanon. The Foreign Ministry warned in a statement that Israel still considers the Lebanese government responsible for any military or “otherwise hostile activity” from its territory.

“Lebanon is likely to remain a deeply divided country overridden by regional powers, election results aside,” journalist Avi Issacharoff wrote on the website of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, citing armed conflicts between factions in the streets of Beirut last year. “With last summer’s violent showdown, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made absolutely clear who is in charge.”

The March 14 coalition’s victory is considered an upset by most. Over the last few months, some of Hezbollah’s staunchest critics, including Hariri’s backers in Saudi Arabia, had resigned themselves to an opposition win by sending representatives to meet with the movement.

With the Shiite and Sunni districts sewn up by Hezbollah and Hariri, the election hinged on the Free Patriotic Movement of charismatic Christian leader Gen. Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally who failed to deliver key swing districts.

Many also point to the fiery rhetoric of Nasrallah and a critical speech made by Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the Maronite Christian community, as potential factors that swayed the Christian vote toward the March 14 parties. Sfeir warned that the country was in danger, a statement seen as a blast against Hezbollah and Aoun.

Although he still managed to walk away with a large percentage of the vote, Aoun’s losses indicate that significant segments of the Christian community are still uneasy with the thought of a Lebanese state openly allied to Iran and Syria.

The Achrefieh area of Beirut “is what it really came down to, and those Christians witnessed Hezbollah on the street in 2008,” said Harvard researcher Elias Muhanna, who writes the popular Lebanese politics blog Qifa Nabki.

daragahi@latimes.com

FBI investigating alleged militia training camp

FBI investigating alleged militia training camp

By Casey Norton

MONROE, Wash. — Special federal agents are investigating a local gun range suspected of serving as a militia training camp, according to court documents.Owner Jim Faire says he can’t afford to run a background check on every visitor because his outdoor gun range is a nonprofit business. As a result, he said, county officials and the FBI have begun cracking down on the range after a convicted felon was caught with guns and drugs there.

With thousands of shells littered across the ground, the gun range is now closed. Neighbors are glad to have the quiet, but they never suspected anything criminal was going on.

“There is no threat. And I am not worried about terrorism or any type of radical thing,” said neighbor Arne Viklund.

Faire said the county shut down the gun range, citing violation of commercial zoning laws. But he believes the county clamped down because of one man — Andrew Gray, a convicted felon who faces federal weapons and drug charges.

According to court documents, agents say Gray has a history with anti-government groups. An undercover informant told the FBI Gray had been firing rifle sat the gun range, prompting agents to search his storage unit.

Inside they found 21 pistols and rifles, including a military-style machine gun. Also in the unit were two bulletproof vests and unregistered silencers. A search of Gray’s house turned up more than 300 marijuana plants growing in the detached garage.

Gray’s attorney refused to comment on the case.

Faire would not say just how long he’s known Gray, but now he knows the FBI is watching him, too.

Court documents said anti-terrorism agents keep an eye on the gun range because the informant says it’s known as a militia training center.

But Faire claims the word “militia” is just a part of an inside joke. He says his group is a local chapter of Project Appleseed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching marksmanship and preserving gun rights.

And neighbors who’ve known Faire for more than 40 years say that sounds about right. They don’t believe he’s involved in any radical or anti-government movements.

Gray’s attorney says her client stopped meeting with anti-government groups a few months ago. Gray has been freed on bail. He is due in court on Thursday.

Pentagon admits “problems” with Afghan air strike

Pentagon admits “problems” with Afghan air strike

Photo

Villagers look at the destruction caused after air strikes in Ganj Abad of Bala Buluk district, in Farah province, May 5, 2009.

REUTERS/Stringer

By Andrew Gray

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon acknowledged on Monday that there were “problems” with the way U.S. forces conducted a bombing raid in Afghanistan that provoked outrage over civilian casualties.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was briefed on the investigation into the incident, which took place in early May in the western province of Farah, a Pentagon spokesman said.

“There were some problems with some tactics, techniques and procedures or… the way in which close air support was supposed to have been executed in this case,” said Pentagon press secretary

Geoff Morrell, who sat in on the briefing.

The bombing heightened tensions between Afghans and foreign troops over civilian casualties. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged an end to U.S. air strikes in his country, but Washington has rejected his call.

Afghan officials put the civilian death toll from the Farah bombing as high as 140. An Afghan human rights watchdog put the total at 97 and said no more than two Taliban fighters were killed.

The U.S. military has said 20-35 civilians were among 80-95 people killed, most of them Taliban fighters who used the civilians as human shields.

Morrell said B-1 bomber, after identifying the targeted building, had to break off and then return to the scene to carry out the strike, without checking again whether the target was still appropriate.

There was no way to determine whether that had caused any civilian casualties, he said. “That was not part of the briefing that we received. It was just noted as one of the problems associated with these events, not that it was the cause of the civilian casualties.”

Morrell said the investigation found that U.S. Marines on the ground took great care to limit civilian casualties.

He did not provide casualty figures, but said the civilian deaths were “greatly outnumbered” by the number of Taliban killed.

He declined to say whether the investigation, carried out by the U.S. military’s Central Command, had found fault with any other part of the operation.

Morrell’s remarks were the first public acknowledgment by the Pentagon of problems with the bombing operation. But last week military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a New York Times report that said the investigation had uncovered mistakes in the air strikes.

Central Command expects to release a summary of the investigation’s findings later this week.

Assault on Humanity

Assault on Humanity

image

It is not monsters from space that are planning this attack but human monsters who make rapists and your typical mass murderers look like choir boys. It takes a very special type of human consciousness, something beyond arrogance and hate to plan a simultaneous assault on billions of people. And it takes an extreme weakness of human spirit to bend over and let what is planned come into play. This attack is being financed and planned, not in secret but in full view and is almost guaranteed to be fully implemented next fall during the flu season in the northern hemisphere.

So now is the time to plan a long vacation in the south in a country whose medical officials have not sold their hearts, minds and souls to pharmaceutical madness or what I have coined pharmaceutical terrorism. Not sure if any such country exists though.

There are many forms of terrorism that go unrecognized. Medical
terrorism, which first made its full scale appearance in the
concentration camps, holds a special kind of horror for humanity.

F. William Engdahl, author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order is reporting thatAccording to information from within the World Health Organization in Geneva, the UN organization supposedly monitoring global health dangers, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan plans to declare a Phase 6 Official Pandemic Alert in the coming days. This bizarre act if declared would come at a time that the country has stopped reporting new cases.”1

The report that WHO may declare an official Pandemic global alert any
time is all the more bizarre given the fact that the global wave of cases
reported to date to WHO from around the world reportedly have been
so mild as to be indistinguishable from the symptoms of ordinary flu.
F. William Engdahl

Even more terrible to consider is come around next October or November, when the world is again in deep financial crisis and people are spooked all over the world they step in with this declaration and herd hundreds of millions of men, women and children into long lines for their mandatory shots given at gunpoint. We have already seen this recently in the eastern United States. Americans should be proud to be the first to emulate the distant Nazi medical programs, the home of the most terrible pharmaceutical company in history, I.G. Farben.

We humans really have a hard time seeing the dark side of our
leaders and especially of medical people because we don’t
want to dwell much on our own dark side of our own ego.

The French government will spend nearly a billion euros on a mandatory flu vaccination this autumn, a French website reported on May 30. “France is preparing a battle plan without precedent for this autumn, including an obligatory vaccination campaign for all French of more than 3 months of age,” writes Marie-Christine Tabet for Le Journal du Dimanche. “According to our information, the State will place an order for 100 million units of influenza vaccine from three laboratories (GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Novartis).”2

They are using the travesty of the recent swine
flu outbreak, the super flu fizzle it should have
been called, to prepare many future graves.

In Australia the government has ordered 10 million doses of a new vaccine being developed by CSL. CSL plans to start producing a new vaccine in the next days that can be used for human testing. A vaccine based on the California strain of the virus is being tested in ferrets. China says that it will have samples of swine flu on hand by June and plans to start manufacturing a new A/H1N1 vaccine in July.

The Association of American Physicians and
Surgeons considers mandatory vaccines a
violation of the medical ethic of informed consent.

image

This is not an outrageous depiction of human suffering,
it’s real and it’s serious and there are people who
just smile at the thought of such possibilities.

Drug giants gearing up for a massive assault obviously delighted that their medical official minions around the world are acting on their behalf. It does not matter to them how dangerous their vaccines or so-called antiviral drugs like Tamiflu are. They have their excuse even though it’s no excuse at all. This recent outbreak of swine flu was a contrived dud with more people dying of sneezing and lightening strikes than of any deadly virus.

New Jersey parents are furious over a
requirement that children get a flu shot in
order to attend preschools and day-care centers.

The US government is doing its part recently made available one billion dollars to help big vaccine makers like Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline ready production of new vaccines. Novartis leads the herd with $289 million in federal support, followed by Sanofi Aventis with $191 million and GlaxoSmithKline, which gets $181 million. In addition the US Government had decided to ‘de-risk’ the vaccine production, presumably removing usual safeguards for new vaccines. Many drugmakers are using techniques of genetic manipulation to produce their new vaccine offerings in a race to market. The Maryland drugmaker Novavax which reported severe annual income losses prior to the current Swine Flu scare, now is preparing a genetically modified vaccine they claim is suitable for H1N1 flu.

There is evidence of an increase in
vaccine refusal in the United States.3

In 1976 President Gerald Ford issued an Executive Order calling for every man woman and child in the USA to be vaccinated against a suspected outbreak of swine Flu at the Fort Dix US military base. Within months more than forty million unknowing Americans had been vaccinated, some 20% of the then total population despite the fact that no pandemic ever appeared. The flu was restricted to Fort Dix.

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Mass vaccinations started in October 1976, but within weeks
reports started coming in of people developing Guillain-Barré
syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease, right after taking the shot.
Within two months, 500 people were affected, and more than 30 died.

Tony Long

In the United States, and probably elsewhere there is a huge problem between forced vaccination in 1976 with Ford and now. “In 1976 US insurance companies refused to insure vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits for vaccine-related illnesses or deaths. Today drug makers need have little fear of damages from product liability lawsuits. They can unleash whatever substances the FDA lets them, and indications are that under Pandemic declaration safety standards would be dropped in the rush to stab the population as widely as possible with vaccines. Under rulings made under the Bush Administration, vaccines can be labeled as “unavoidably unsafe” meaning that when a product is ‘carefully designed, manufactured and marketed, but is dangerous nonetheless,’ it is not a defective product, even though it might cause injury. Clear? It certainly is clear to the pharmaceutical industry which lobbied hard for the determination.”

If enacted, the multibillion-dollar effort would represent the first time that
top federal health officials have asked Americans to get more than one flu
vaccine in a year, raising serious challenges concerning production,
distribution and the ability to track potentially severe side effects.

Washington Post

The Obama fall vaccination program, according to the, would entail giving Americans three flu shots — one to combat annual seasonal influenza and two targeted at the H1N1 flu virus. That’s three times the danger but vaccinationists don’t see vaccines as dangerous so to them it’s three times nothing. Last thing they will ever admit is that since the 1990s, as they have added more and more vaccines our children have gotten only sicker and sicker and this is sickening. What we have allowed to be done to our children is absurd and the owed karma for this is huge.

Forty-two states have mandatory vaccine policies,
and many children are required 22 shots by first grade.

Though it would seem ridiculous to announce a Phase 6 Pandemic Alert now, all hell could break loose when they do with governments and population going into panic, cancellation of international travel, severe domestic travel restrictions and other emergency measures resembling martial law. It’s really sickening out there already with pediatricians having discontinued or routinely consider discontinuing their provider relationship with patients who refuse vaccines.

You are already a likely enemy of the state if you don’t vaccinate your children – welcome to the world of medical fascism. Welcome to the start of a thousand year rein of pharmaceutical terror so very soon you’re going to have to hide your kids. More worried about the stock market?

Mandatory vaccines violate the medical ethic of informed consent.
American Association
of Physicians and Surgeons

Now it’s going to happen on an international scale and the vaccines are being rushed and will not be tested for safety and we might as well put guns to our kids’ heads like in Russian roulette. Not every man, woman and child will die but anyone who knows anything about vaccines know they kill people, especially children and the old folks, with some vaccines being considerably more dangerous than others. Like rape and child sexual abuse we don’t hear the numbers shouted in the press but vaccine damages are very real destroying lives and we see this with autism and other neurological disorders as well. Though the CDC and Institute of Medicine deny these disorders have anything to do with the childhood vaccination programs.

We have talked about Tamiflu and the bizarre side effects that have lead to deaths in Japan, where the drug has been widely used. For the little it does, ameliorate symptoms of flu for just a day, one gets a drug widely distributed in case of medical emergency where in many cases severe toxic reactions can cause paralysis, breathing problems and even death. Not a very nice drug to be giving out during a panic.

According to the World Health Organization at
the United Nations, production of up to 4.9 billion
doses of a swine flu vaccine a year would be possible.

It really is hard to tolerate vaccinationists in the 21st Century and even harder to understand how some very intelligent people, educated to the dangers of vaccines can still not come out clearly against them. All vaccinationists endorse the deliberate poisoning of children and adults alike because by definition all vaccines contain poisons in “low” dosages. All vaccinationists endorse the “rare” deaths that are not so rare and the even less rare diseases/side effects millions have had to endure.

There is no more fanatical religion on the planet today than the one that believes in vaccines. This is the one remaining religion that people still die over and you never ever have seen a crowd that feels so right. Pro vaccinationists are going to have a field day very soon and may God have mercy on the souls of all who get in their way.

Mark Sircus Ac., OMD
Director International Medical Veritas Association
http://publications.imva.info

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Confronting the CIA’s Mind Maze: America’s Political Paralysis Over Torture

Confronting the CIA’s Mind Maze: America’s Political Paralysis Over Torture

When the Abu Ghraib photos were released in 2004, it seemed that most Americans were shocked by such novel and horrific images, but at least one was not. I’m talking about Alfred McCoy, who had been following the Central Intelligence Agency since the early 1970s, when it unsuccessfully tried to stop the publication of his book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. As soon as McCoy saw the now grimly iconic images of hooded figures, naked men on leashes, and the like, his reaction — even grimmer than that of the rest of us — was recognition. He had long been studying the CIA’s pioneering research into methods of psychological torture. (The Agency had embarked on this project in the early 1950s, initially studying old Soviet and Chinese methods of interrogating and breaking prisoners.) As a result, he knew that what was unique at Abu Ghraib was not the methods of abuse, but those images. Thanks to cell phones and computers, these could be taken in quantity and passed around by anyone in the vicinity. Those photos, he also knew, were no record of aberrations: they represented policy and were recognizably out of the CIA’s several-decade-old torture playbook. That this was so still remains little understood today, even though in 2006 McCoy published an important book, A Question of Torture, on the subject (and even earlier wrote a post at TomDispatch laying out some of this grim history). His work has since been incorporated into, for instance, Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, a striking account of the war on terror as a torture fest. Yet the history offered in his book remains largely ignored or missing-in-action in our world — and without it much of the so-called torture debate of this moment makes less sense than it should. Recently, McCoy read a front-page New York Times piece headlined “U.S. Relies More on Aid of Allies in Terror Cases,” which began this way: “The United States is now relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to current and former American government officials.” Again, McCoy quickly recognized ancient history returning to haunt us. After all, until the Bush era, American administrations regularly outsourced torture (and torture techniques) to foreign allies. So read his latest piece of missing history below and then, if you want to grasp the depths of this old story, which shows no sign of ending, get your hands on a copy of his book. (To catch a superb TomDispatch audio interview with McCoy in which he discusses the CIA’s “Manhattan Project of the mind,” click here.) Tom Engelhardt


By Alfred W. McCoy

If, like me, you’ve been following America’s torture policies not just for the last few years, but for decades, you can’t help but experience that eerie feeling of déjà vu these days. With the departure of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from Washington and the arrival of Barack Obama, it may just be back to the future when it comes to torture policy, a turn away from a dark, do-it-yourself ethos and a return to the outsourcing of torture that went on, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, in the Cold War years.

Like Chile after the regime of General Augusto Pinochet or the Philippines after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Washington after Bush is now trapped in the painful politics of impunity. Unlike anything our allies have experienced, however, for Washington, and so for the rest of us, this may prove a political crisis without end or exit.

Despite dozens of official inquiries in the five years since the Abu Ghraib photos first exposed our abuse of Iraqi detainees, the torture scandal continues to spread like a virus, infecting all who touch it, including now Obama himself. By embracing a specific methodology of torture, covertly developed by the CIA over decades using countless millions of taxpayer dollars and graphically revealed in those Iraqi prison photos, we have condemned ourselves to retreat from whatever promises might be made to end this sort of abuse and are instead already returning to a bipartisan consensus that made torture America’s secret weapon throughout the Cold War.

Despite the 24 version of events, the Bush administration did not simply authorize traditional, bare-knuckle torture. What it did do was develop to new heights the world’s most advanced form of psychological torture, while quickly recognizing the legal dangers in doing so. Even in the desperate days right after 9/11, the White House and Justice Department lawyers who presided over the Bush administration’s new torture program were remarkably punctilious about cloaking their decisions in legalisms designed to preempt later prosecution.

To most Americans, whether they supported the Bush administration torture policy or opposed it, all of this seemed shocking and very new. Not so, unfortunately. Concealed from Congress and the public, the CIA had spent the previous half-century developing and propagating a sophisticated form of psychological torture meant to defy investigation, prosecution, or prohibition — and so far it has proved remarkably successful on all these counts. Even now, since many of the leading psychologists who worked to advance the CIA’s torture skills have remained silent, we understand surprisingly little about the psychopathology of the program of mental torture that the Bush administration applied so globally.

Physical torture is a relatively straightforward matter of sadism that leaves behind broken bodies, useless information, and clear evidence for prosecution. Psychological torture, on the other hand, is a mind maze that can destroy its victims, even while entrapping its perpetrators in an illusory, almost erotic, sense of empowerment. When applied skillfully, it leaves few scars for investigators who might restrain this seductive impulse. However, despite all the myths of these last years, psychological torture, like its physical counterpart, has proven an ineffective, even counterproductive, method for extracting useful information from prisoners.

Where it has had a powerful effect is on those ordering and delivering it. With their egos inflated beyond imagining by a sense of being masters of life and death, pain and pleasure, its perpetrators, when in office, became forceful proponents of abuse, striding across the political landscape like Nietzschean supermen. After their fall from power, they have continued to maneuver with extraordinary determination to escape the legal consequences of their actions.

Before we head deeper into the hidden history of the CIA’s psychological torture program, however, we need to rid ourselves of the idea that this sort of torture is somehow “torture lite” or merely, as the Bush administration renamed it, “enhanced interrogation.” Although seemingly less brutal than physical methods, psychological torture actually inflicts a crippling trauma on its victims. “Ill treatment during captivity, such as psychological manipulations and forced stress positions,” Dr. Metin Basoglu has reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry after interviewing 279 Bosnian victims of such methods, “does not seem to be substantially different from physical torture in terms of the severity of mental suffering.”

A Secret History of Psychological Torture

The roots of our present paralysis over what to do about detainee abuse lie in the hidden history of the CIA’s program of psychological torture. Early in the Cold War, panicked that the Soviets had somehow cracked the code of human consciousness, the Agency mounted a “Special Interrogation Program” whose working hypothesis was: “Medical science, particularly psychiatry and psychotherapy, has developed various techniques by means of which some external control can be imposed on the mind/or will of an individual, such as drugs, hypnosis, electric shock and neurosurgery.”

All of these methods were tested by the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s. None proved successful for breaking potential enemies or obtaining reliable information. Beyond these ultimately unsuccessful methods, however, the Agency also explored a behavioral approach to cracking that “code.” In 1951, in collaboration with British and Canadian defense scientists, the Agency encouraged academic research into “methods concerned in psychological coercion.” Within months, the Agency had defined the aims of its top-secret program, code-named Project Artichoke, as the “development of any method by which we can get information from a person against his will and without his knowledge.”

This secret research produced two discoveries central to the CIA’s more recent psychological paradigm. In classified experiments, famed Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb found that he could induce a state akin to drug-induced hallucinations and psychosis in just 48 hours — without drugs, hypnosis, or electric shock. Instead, for two days student volunteers at McGill University simply sat in a comfortable cubicle deprived of sensory stimulation by goggles, gloves, and earmuffs. “It scared the hell out of us,” Hebb said later, “to see how completely dependent the mind is on a close connection with the ordinary sensory environment, and how disorganizing to be cut off from that support.”

During the 1950s, two neurologists at Cornell Medical Center, under CIA contract, found that the most devastating torture technique of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, was simply to force a victim to stand for days while the legs swelled, the skin erupted in suppurating lesions, and hallucinations began — a procedure which we now politely refer to as “stress positions.”

Four years into this project, there was a sudden upsurge of interest in using mind control techniques defensively after American prisoners in North Korea suffered what was then called “brainwashing.” In August 1955, President Eisenhower ordered that any soldier at risk of capture should be given “specific training and instruction designed to… withstand all enemy efforts against him.”

Consequently, the Air Force developed a program it dubbed SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) to train pilots in resisting psychological torture. In other words, two intertwined strands of research into torture methods were being explored and developed: aggressive methods for breaking enemy agents and defensive methods for training Americans to resist enemy inquisitors.

In 1963, the CIA distilled its decade of research into the curiously named KUBARK Counter-intelligence Interrogation manual, which stated definitively that sensory deprivation was effective because it made “the regressed subject view the interrogator as a father-figure… strengthening… the subject’s tendencies toward compliance.” Refined through years of practice on actual human beings, the CIA’s psychological paradigm now relies on a mix of sensory overload and deprivation via seemingly banal procedures: the extreme application of heat and cold, light and dark, noise and silence, feast and famine — all meant to attack six essential sensory pathways into the human mind.

After codifying its new interrogation methods in the KUBARK manual, the Agency spent the next 30 years promoting these torture techniques within the U.S. intelligence community and among anti-communist allies. In its clandestine journey across continents and decades, the CIA’s psychological torture paradigm would prove elusive, adaptable, devastatingly destructive, and powerfully seductive. So darkly seductive is torture’s appeal that these seemingly scientific methods, even when intended for a few Soviet spies or al-Qaeda terrorists, soon spread uncontrollably in two directions — toward the torture of the many and into a paroxysm of brutality towards specific individuals. During the Vietnam War, when the CIA applied these techniques in their search for information on top Vietcong cadre, the interrogation effort soon degenerated into the crude physical brutality of the Phoenix Program, producing 46,000 extrajudicial executions and little actionable intelligence.

In 1994, with the Cold War over, Washington ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture, seemingly resolving the tension between its anti-torture principles and its torture practices. Yet when President Clinton sent this Convention to Congress, he included four little-noticed diplomatic “reservations” drafted six years before by the Reagan administration and focused on just one word in those 26 printed pages: “mental.”

These reservations narrowed (just for the United States) the definition of “mental” torture to include just four acts: the infliction of physical pain, the use of drugs, death threats, or threats to harm another. Excluded were methods such as sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain, the very techniques the CIA had propagated for the past 40 years. This definition was reproduced verbatim in Section 2340 of the U.S. Federal Code and later in the War Crimes Act of 1996. Through this legal legerdemain, Washington managed to agree, via the U.N. Convention, to ban physical abuse even while exempting the CIA from the U.N.’s prohibition on psychological torture.

This little noticed exemption was left buried in those documents like a landmine and would detonate with phenomenal force just 10 years later at Abu Ghraib prison.

War on Terror, War of Torture

Right after his public address to a shaken nation on September 11, 2001, President Bush gave his staff secret orders to pursue torture policies, adding emphatically, “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” In a dramatic break with past policy, the White House would even allow the CIA to operate its own global network of prisons, as well as charter air fleet to transport seized suspects and “render” them for endless detention in a supranational gulag of secret “black sites” from Thailand to Poland.

The Bush administration also officially allowed the CIA ten “enhanced” interrogation methods designed by agency psychologists, including “waterboarding.” This use of cold water to block breathing triggers the “mammalian diving reflex,” hardwired into every human brain, thus inducing an uncontrollable terror of impending death.

As Jane Mayer reported in the New Yorker, psychologists working for both the Pentagon and the CIA “reverse engineered” the military’s SERE training, which included a brief exposure to waterboarding, and flipped these defensive methods for use offensively on al-Qaeda captives. “They sought to render the detainees vulnerable — to break down all of their senses,” one official told Mayer. “It takes a psychologist trained in this to understand these rupturing experiences.” Inside Agency headquarters, there was, moreover, a “high level of anxiety” about the possibility of future prosecutions for methods officials knew to be internationally defined as torture. The presence of Ph.D. psychologists was considered one “way for CIA officials to skirt measures such as the Convention Against Torture.”

From recently released Justice Department memos, we now know that the CIA refined its psychological paradigm significantly under Bush. As described in the classified 2004 Background Paper on the CIA’s Combined Use of Interrogation Techniques, each detainee was transported to an Agency black site while “deprived of sight and sound through the use of blindfolds, earmuffs, and hoods.” Once inside the prison, he was reduced to “a baseline, dependent state” through conditioning by “nudity, sleep deprivation (with shackling…), and dietary manipulation.”

For “more physical and psychological stress,” CIA interrogators used coercive measures such as “an insult slap or abdominal slap” and then “walling,” slamming the detainee’s head against a cell wall. If these failed to produce the results sought, interrogators escalated to waterboarding, as was done to Abu Zubaydah “at least 83 times during August 2002″ and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad 183 times in March 2003 — so many times, in fact, that the repetitiousness of the act can only be considered convincing testimony to the seductive sadism of CIA-style torture.

In a parallel effort launched by Bush-appointed civilians in the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave General Geoffrey Miller command of the new American military prison at Guantanamo in late 2002 with ample authority to transform it into an ad hoc psychology lab. Behavioral Science Consultation Teams of military psychologists probed detainees for individual phobias like fear of the dark. Interrogators stiffened the psychological assault by exploiting what they saw as Arab cultural sensitivities when it came to sex and dogs. Via a three-phase attack on the senses, on culture, and on the individual psyche, interrogators at Guantanamo perfected the CIA’s psychological paradigm.

After General Miller visited Iraq in September 2003, the U.S. commander there, General Ricardo Sanchez, ordered Guantanamo-style abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. My own review of the 1,600 still-classified photos taken by American guards at Abu Ghraib — which journalists covering this story seem to share like Napster downloads — reveals not random, idiosyncratic acts by “bad apples,” but the repeated, constant use of just three psychological techniques: hooding for sensory deprivation, shackling for self-inflicted pain, and (to exploit Arab cultural sensitivities) both nudity and dogs. It is no accident that Private Lynndie England was famously photographed leading an Iraqi detainee leashed like a dog.

These techniques, according to the New York Times, then escalated virally at five Special Operations field interrogation centers where detainees were subjected to extreme sensory deprivation, beating, burning, electric shock, and waterboarding. Among the thousand soldiers in these units, 34 were later convicted of abuse and many more escaped prosecution only because records were officially “lost.”

“Behind the Green Door” at the White House

Further up the chain of command, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, as she recently told the Senate, “convened a series of meetings of NSC [National Security Council] principals in 2002 and 2003 to discuss various issues… relating to detainees.” This group, including Vice President Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and CIA director George Tenet, met dozens of times inside the White House Situation Room.

After watching CIA operatives mime what Rice called “certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques,” these leaders, their imaginations stimulated by graphic visions of human suffering, repeatedly authorized extreme psychological techniques stiffened by hitting, walling, and waterboarding. According to an April 2008 ABC News report, Attorney General Ashcroft once interrupted this collective fantasy by asking aloud, “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.”

In mid-2004, even after the Abu Ghraib photos were released, these principals met to approve the use of CIA torture techniques on still more detainees. Despite mounting concerns about the damage torture was doing to America’s standing, shared by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice commanded Agency officials with the cool demeanor of a dominatrix. “This is your baby,” she reportedly said. “Go do it.”

Cleansing Torture

Even as they exercise extraordinary power over others, perpetrators of torture around the world are assiduous in trying to cover their tracks. They construct recondite legal justifications, destroy records of actual torture, and paper the files with spurious claims of success. Hence, the CIA destroyed 92 interrogation videotapes, while Vice President Cheney now berates Obama incessantly (five times in his latest Fox News interview) to declassify “two reports” which he claims will show the informational gains that torture offered — possibly because his staff salted the files at the NSC or the CIA with documents prepared for this very purpose.

Not only were Justice Department lawyers aggressive in their advocacy of torture in the Bush years, they were meticulous from the start, in laying the legal groundwork for later impunity. In three torture memos from May 2005 that the Obama administration recently released, Bush’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stephen Bradbury repeatedly cited those original U.S. diplomatic “reservations” to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, replicated in Section 2340 of the Federal code, to argue that waterboarding was perfectly legal since the “technique is not physically painful.” Anyway, he added, careful lawyering at Justice and the CIA had punched loopholes in both the U.N. Convention and U.S. law so wide that these Agency techniques were “unlikely to be subject to judicial inquiry.”

Just to be safe, when Vice President Cheney presided over the drafting of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he included clauses, buried in 38 pages of dense print, defining “serious physical pain” as the “significant loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.” This was a striking paraphrase of the outrageous definition of physical torture as pain “equivalent in intensity to… organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death” in John Yoo’s infamous August 2002 “torture memo,” already repudiated by the Justice Department.

Above all, the Military Commissions Act protected the CIA’s use of psychological torture by repeating verbatim the exculpatory language found in those Clinton-era, Reagan-created reservations to the U.N. Convention and still embedded in Section 2340 of the Federal code. To make doubly sure, the act also made these definitions retroactive to November 1997, giving CIA interrogators immunity from any misdeeds under the Expanded War Crimes Act of 1997 which punishes serious violations with life imprisonment or death.

No matter how twisted the process, impunity — whether in England, Indonesia, or America — usually passes through three stages:

1. Blame the supposed “bad apples.”

2. Invoke the security argument. (“It protected us.”)

3. Appeal to national unity. (“We need to move forward together.”)

For a year after the Abu Ghraib exposé, Rumsfeld’s Pentagon blamed various low-ranking bad apples by claiming the abuse was “perpetrated by a small number of U.S. military.” In his statement on May 13th, while refusing to release more torture photos, President Obama echoed Rumsfeld, claiming the abuse in these latest images, too, “was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals.”

In recent weeks, Republicans have taken us deep into the second stage with Cheney’s statements that the CIA’s methods “prevented the violent deaths of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people.”

Then, on April 16th, President Obama brought us to the final stage when he released the four Bush-era memos detailing CIA torture, insisting: “Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” During a visit to CIA headquarters four days later, Obama promised that there would be no prosecutions of Agency employees. “We’ve made some mistakes,” he admitted, but urged Americans simply to “acknowledge them and then move forward.” The president’s statements were in such blatant defiance of international law that the U.N.’s chief official on torture, Manfred Nowak, reminded him that Washington was actually obliged to investigate possible violations of the Convention Against Torture.

This process of impunity is leading Washington back to a global torture policy that, during the Cold War, was bipartisan in nature: publicly advocating human rights while covertly outsourcing torture to allied governments and their intelligence agencies. In retrospect, it may become ever more apparent that the real aberration of the Bush years lay not in torture policies per se, but in the President’s order that the CIA should operate its own torture prisons. The advantage of the bipartisan torture consensus of the Cold War era was, of course, that it did a remarkably good job most of the time of insulating Washington from the taint of torture, which was sometimes remarkably widely practiced.

There are already some clear signs of a policy shift in this direction in the Obama era. Since mid-2008, U.S. intelligence has captured a half-dozen al-Qaeda suspects and, instead of shipping them to Guantanamo or to CIA secret prisons, has had them interrogated by allied Middle Eastern intelligence agencies. Showing that this policy is again bipartisan, Obama’s new CIA director Leon Panetta announced that the Agency would continue to engage in the rendition of terror suspects to allies like Libya, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia where we can, as he put it, “rely on diplomatic assurances of good treatment.” Showing the quality of such treatment, Time magazine reported on May 24th that Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who famously confessed under torture that Saddam Hussein had provided al-Qaeda with chemical weapons and later admitted his lie to Senate investigators, had committed “suicide” in a Libyan cell.

The Price of Impunity

This time around, however, a long-distance torture policy may not provide the same insulation as in the past for Washington. Any retreat into torture by remote-control is, in fact, only likely to produce the next scandal that will do yet more damage to America’s international standing.

Over a 40-year period, Americans have found themselves mired in this same moral quagmire on six separate occasions: following exposés of CIA-sponsored torture in South Vietnam (1970), Brazil (1974), Iran (1978), Honduras (1988), and then throughout Latin America (1997). After each exposé, the public’s shock soon faded, allowing the Agency to resume its dirty work in the shadows.

Unless some formal inquiry is convened to look into a sordid history that reached its depths in the Bush era, and so begins to break this cycle of deceit, exposé, and paralysis followed by more of the same, we’re likely, a few years hence, to find ourselves right back where we are now. We’ll be confronted with the next American torture scandal from some future iconic dungeon, part of a dismal, ever lengthening procession that has led from the tiger cages of South Vietnam through the Shah of Iran’s prison cells in Tehran to Abu Ghraib and the prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The next time, however, the world will not have forgotten those photos from Abu Ghraib. The next time, the damage to this country will be nothing short of devastating.
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Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror (Metropolitan Books), which is also available in Italian and German translations. Later this year, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, a forthcoming book of his, will explore the influence of overseas counterinsurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures here at home. To catch a TomDispatch audio interview in which McCoy discusses the CIA’s “Manhattan Project of the mind,” click here.

Copyright 2009 Alfred W. McCoy