The U.S. Federal Budget Pipeline: Where Do The Dollars Drain?

The U.S. Federal Budget Pipeline: Where Do The Dollars Drain?

By Emily Spence

In order to raise sales and personal royalty gains, Alan Greenspan, just prior to the release of his book The Age of Turbulence, carried out a public relations blitz dragged out for a whole week in which he made remarks similar to those conveyed in his hardback. These included statements such as “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Indeed, many Americans and people from other countries knew that domination of a region rich in fossil fuels represented the primary motive for the Iraq incursion and the only significant reason that Iran is not similarly assaulted is that it has an arsenal, unlike Saddam Hussein, capable of rendering serious damage in retaliation (i.e., aimed at U.S. troops in Iraq). Besides, the U.S. military is stretched too thin as it is with approximately 1,000 bases worldwide, along with operations occurring on every continent, such as the AFRICOM sorties, which are generally tied to oil company interests as the map at the first reference shows. [1]

Furthermore, plans to invade Iraq were long in the making, but the problem was finding the grounds, legal or not, to obtain the support of the public for such an outrageous act of violence, which to date has led to the displacement of millions of Iraqis and the slaughter of more than one million individuals, including over 4,300 U.S. troops. In tandem, George W. Bush and Tony Blair knew that the UN inspectors would not find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and were hard pressed to find a reason that could justify the war. So the U.S. President came up with imaginative alternatives:

“Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan ‘to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover’. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.

“The president expressed hopes that an Iraqi defector would be ‘brought out’ to give a public presentation on Saddam’s WMD or that someone might assassinate the Iraqi leader. However, Bush confirmed [in a memo written approximately two months prior to America's preemptive attack on Iraq that] even without a second [United Nations] resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was ‘solidly with the president.’” [2]

This in mind, it behooves the public, particularly the American public, to realize that U.S. armed invasions and covert operations, in general, have little to do with protection of Americans from global terrorists and more to do with obtainment of fossil fuels on behalf of the Pentagon and favored companies, whose heads contribute to government officials’ campaign funds and offer other perks like high paying jobs upon the completion of terms in office. As such, it would be more accurate were the directors of the Department of Defense to change its name to the Department of Assault. Doing so would, certainly, better reflect the United States history that has been well chronicled by Bill Blum, who indicates, “From 1945 to the end of the century, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.” [3]

He, further, reminds that, prior to 1945, there existed a total of 168 separate invasions of countries around the world by the United States. This information was derived from the revision to the 1969 rendition of the Appendix to a report researched by the Foreign Affairs Division, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1975 and listed as “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945. [4]

Meanwhile, Alan Greenspan summarized, in talks and The Age of Turbulence, his displeasure with the Bush administration. “My biggest frustration remained the president’s unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending,” Greenspan indicated. “Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency. . . To my mind, Bush’s collaborate-don’t-confront approach was a major mistake.”

It, certainly, was and, in the Obama administration, it still is a major mistake compounded by other factors. These include the bailout funds committed as of December 2008 in the amount of $8.5 trillion, which  represents 60% of the GDP [5] and the $1,449 billion, 54% of the federal budget, allocated for military  expenditures in 2009. (This is in contrast to $1,210 billion, which represents 46% of the $2,650 billion total intended for the 2009 federal outlay, which is largely comprised of money borrowed from Chinese government controlled institutions). [6]

Out of such a reckless and cavalier setting, the total federal debt, itself, has blossomed to around $100 trillion [7], according to some researchers, based on the ongoing pattern of spending loaned funds and expecting future taxpayers to foot the ultimate bill in a ponzy-like scheme, one that makes the USA inarguably the world’s biggest debtor. (While Barack Obama seems to consider spiraling healthcare costs as the primary driver of the public deficit, surely he jests. Based on the tabulations above, it is clear that warfare and preparedness for extended wars is the largest cost that taxpayers subsume.)

Simultaneously, the IMF and WB directors, in a way, must be beside themselves with glee over the mounting shortfall. Like the personification of Bernie Madoff, Simon Legree and Uncle Scrooge all rolled into one, they draw together in a perfect vision of eager anticipation over the financial killing yet to come.

As Vi Ransel explains about them in two sections of “Manufacturing Poor People”:

“The World Bank loans money to a poor country to “help” in its development, to build up a part of its economy. “If”, and almost certainly when (that’s The Plan) the poor country is unable to pay the usurious interest on the loan because of declining exports (again, The Plan), the country has to borrow more money in order to service the debt. Enter the [International Monetary Fund].

“The IMF extends more loans, with more of those stainless steel strings more tightly bound around the victim, er, I mean, loan recipient, trussing up the “benefiting” poor nation like a Thanksgiving turkey about to be devoured by the West, The Rich. The country which borrows money… must give tax breaks to Western transnationals. The country must slash wages and refuse to protect local businesses from being ravaged by cheap imports and corporate takeovers.

“The country is further strong-armed to sell, at fire sale prices, all its government-owned mines, its railroads, industries and utilities to privately-owned, mostly-foreign corporations. The country must allow its forests to be clearcut and its land to be strip-mined. Money for education, healthcare, food assistance and the transportation infrastructure must be sheared back to service the debt. And the interest on the debt, through the wondrously magical Western miracle of compound interest, keeps growing and growing and growing and growing and on and on and on and on… And all the while, the people of the country are less able to feed themselves, since they are forced to grow cash crops for export to feed that debt service.

==

“Well, U.S. transnationals didn’t intend to ever let that happen again. There would be no more giving a real leg up to potential competitors. And thus we arrived at where we are today. And, in fact, the ruse works so well, that since the Seventies the plutocracy has been using the very same template here at home, – with an increasingly heavy hand. See U.S. auto workers, healthcare, the bank bailout, foreclosed homes, 600,00 jobs a month jettisoned, the murder of California, et al. Who, or what, will be next?” [8]

Will it be the entire USA? Perhaps it will be in that the public finances in America are, currently, arranged   along this line:

In Fiscal Year 2008, $412 Billion was spent to pay back interest on money owed to holders of the National Debt. It represents the third biggest federal expense and the full amount owed in 2009, due to continued borrowing, will be, in all likelihood, higher as it equaled $214 Billion by May. Furthermore, educational spending in 2008 received a mere 4.4 percent of the budget while the accumulated estimated total for the interest owed on the National Debt is estimated to be $445,095,000,000, although the sum will, obviously, increase as more money is borrowed. [9]

Meanwhile, the current monthly aggregate for the 2009 interest owed comes to roughly $42.8 billion per month while the entire monthly federal outlay is approximately $220.8 billion per month. Therefore, the $42.8 billion in interest paid back each month represents around 5% of each tax dollar spent or, posed another way, totals over nineteen cents for each dollar expended while the budget deficit, itself, entails loans close to fifty cents on every dollar paid out with an increase in borrowing in 2010 by $87 billion to $1.3 trillion over 2009 anticipated to occur according to a White House spokesperson. [10]

In addition, there will, ultimately, be less tax dollars to collect in that presently America is hemorrhaging jobs at one every thirty seconds according to some analysts. So why not spend money to bail out the families living in their cars and under tarps in tent cities by providing employment and income through a widespread Works Progress Administration (WPA) and extended Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs as occurred during the Great Depression?

Wouldn’t such a plan go further than bailouts to financial institutions and the ever present resource wars as a way to jumpstart the American economy, as well as US taxpayers who are watching 73 % of every tax dollar going to military expenditures (54%) and interest payments (19+%)? (With only 27% left for everything else, it forces one to wonder from where funds are going to derive for universal public health care, future Social Security payments, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and assorted other programs, such sustainable benign energy provision on a model close to energy independent Denmark’s enviable prototype as described by Thomas L. Friedman in “Flush With Energy”. [11]

Then again, the Pentagon directors probably have concluded that they need their resource wars in that the U.S. military is the single biggest user of oil in the world and it takes lots of oil to get the further oil supplied to American favored oil companies so that it can be returned in large measure and at high expense to the armed forces. In other words, it requires the type of assurance for a continued oil supply that only beaten down countries and puppet governments can render.

On account, open combat and covert operations will continue to be the favored means to obtain fossil fuels. Consequently, the military will continue to drain away the majority of the U.S. federal budget while the US covert operations budget, by itself, will surpass a staggering $50 billion for 2009.

“‘That’s the largest-ever sum,’ according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, a longtime black-budget seer — a three percent increase over last year’s total. It makes the Pentagon’s secret operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside, ‘roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan,’ Sweetman adds. All in all, about seven and a half percent of the Defense Department’s total spending is now classified.” [12]

By and large, the ongoing U.S. financial mess provides signs that, while China’s rising, the USA will never gain back its former glory days that gave rise to both world dominance and a large middle class. As the country continues to lose jobs at the rate of approximately one every thirty seconds to either offshore company sites or business cutbacks, it has nowhere else to go except to sink down into increased hardship, as well as some degree of destitution, for an increasing number of Americans and the nation as a whole.

The unending act of misappropriating a land’s collective assets year after year has a way of ensuring this final result. As Ethel Grodzins Romm alleges,“What could our worst enemy do to damage this strong and beautiful country? He could do no better than to get us to squander our human and natural resources on dubious missions and then trick us into plugging our ears against the howls of those who object.”

[1] Major Oil Corporation and U.S. Military Activities in Africa (https://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/major-oil-corporation-and-u-s-military-activities-in-africa/).

[2] Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/21/iraq-inquiry-tony-blair-bush).

[3] The question of oil: U.S. corporate interests in control of … (http://www.representativepress.org/Oil.html).

[4] APPENDIX II from ‘KILLING HOPE’ by William Blum (http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2008/07/appendix_ii_fro.html).

[5] Cost Of Bailout Hits $8.5 Trillion-Total sum represents 60 per … (http://investment-blog.net/cost-of- bailout-hits-85-trillion-total-sum-represents-60-per-cent-of-gdp/).

[6] The Federal Pie Chart (http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm).

[7] The Real US Federal Debt Has Ballooned to More than $100 … (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20090527/real-us-federal-debt-has-ballooned-more-than-100-trillion.htm).

[8] Manufacturing Poor People (http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/manufacturing-poor-people/).

[9] Tax Chart 2009 Notes & Sources (http://www.nationalpriorities.org/taxday2009/notes_and_sources).

[10] US to borrow 46 cents for every dollar spent (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2248835/posts).

[11] Op-Ed Columnist – Flush With Energy – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/opinion/10friedman1.html).

[12] Pentagon’s Black Budget Grows to More Than $50 Billion … (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/pentagons-black-budget-grows-to-more-than-50-billion/).

Emily Spence is an author living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved in human rights, environmental and social services efforts.

Who Wants Pakistan to Wage War Against Itself?

[The other shoe has finally dropped, the secret assassins (who have only one goal, to force the Army to wage total war against the local "Taliban") have made their first attempt to eliminate the other half of the anti-Mehsud faction, Turkistan Bettani.  The Generals should ask themselves these questions: what superpower relies on "Islamists" to carry-out its dirty work, who has just put a Special Ops. general in charge of a war of assassins on Pakistan's border, and who insists that the Army wage war within Pakistan?]

Attack on Baitullah Mehsud’s rival commander office averted

Updated at: 0944 PST,  Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Attack on Baitullah Mehsud’s rival commander office averted TANK: An attack on the office of Baitullah Mehsud’s opponent group commander Turkistan Bethni has been averted.

According to sources, unknown gunmen attacked office of Baitullah Mehsud’s rival group commander Turistan Bethni in Mal Mandi, which was averted through retaliatory action of Bethni group armed men. The attackers were managed to flee from the scene.

Pakistan’s Plans for New Fight Stir Concern

A girl displaced during the fighting in the Swat Valley carries her ration of food during a distribution at the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.
A girl displaced during the fighting in the Swat Valley carries her ration of food during a distribution at the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. (By Emilio Morenatti — Associated Press)

Pakistan’s Plans for New Fight Stir Concern

Swat Refugees, Others Question Move to Battle Insurgents in Tribal South Waziristan

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CAMP JALOZAI, Pakistan — As they bake in a sea of plastic tents under the relentless sun, families displaced by the recent army campaign against Taliban forces in the Swat Valley have a single, burning question about the Pakistani government’s plans for a far more ambitious military assault against armed extremists in the tribal area of South Waziristan.

“What about us?” demanded Tahir Khan, 35, a farmer who fled Swat with his family one month ago and now lives among 50,000 people in this former Afghan refugee camp in northwest Pakistan. “Our homes are destroyed, our crops are burned, our animals are dead. The Taliban could come back anytime. Why is the army going into Waziristan when they haven’t finished the job in Swat?”

Khan’s question has a strategic dimension as well as a human one, and it is among many concerns being raised in Pakistan about the government’s decision to launch a second major army operation, aimed at flushing thousands of well-armed Islamist insurgents out of the toughest terrain and most rebellious tribal territory in the country.

On Tuesday, in a setback to the army’s momentum, a key pro-government commander was fatally shot in his compound. Officials and witnesses said the killer was apparently a loyalist of Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban leader who is the main target of the government’s South Waziristan campaign.

Over the past several months, a solid national consensus has developed for the first time that the Taliban and other violent Islamist groups must be stopped. This has bolstered the army’s determination to crush the extremists after several years of failed raids and peace deals, and has done much to redeem the military’s prestige after a decade of unpopular rule.

In preparing for a full-fledged battle, the military has pounded South Waziristan for days with bombs and heavy artillery and moved in more than 50,000 troops. A sizable number have been shifted from the eastern border with India, signaling a major psychological shift in a military establishment groomed to fight a conventional war with its Hindu-majority neighbor.

“Finally, the mind-set has changed,” said Mahmood Shah, a retired security official in northwest Pakistan who often reflects military thinking. “There is a realization that the threat to Pakistan in modern times is not Indian divisions and tanks, it is a teenaged boy wearing a jacket” full of explosives.

But the Waziristan campaign, formally announced by the government last week, has also unleashed a flood of concerns. Military experts worry about the danger of opening too many fronts at once and challenging hostile tribes that historically have been notorious for defeating foreign invaders.

There is also widespread confusion about exactly who the enemy is and what the operation’s goals are. Numerous militant groups operate in the mountainous, tribal no-man’s-land straddling the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In the past, Pakistan has tolerated local extremists while blaming those in Afghanistan for its problems, but today there are ever-closer alliances and fuzzier distinctions between them.

Among the homegrown militants, it is becoming difficult for Pakistan’s security and intelligence services to separate “good” Taliban leaders, whom authorities can presumably control or use against foreign adversaries, from “bad” ones, who have a rogue, anti-state agenda — especially since the two groups often seem to change places because of personal enmity or political convenience.

At the moment, Pakistan’s Public Enemy No. 1 is Mehsud, an elusive religious fanatic said to command thousands of fighters and dozens of

suicide bombers. He has asserted responsibility for a series of devastating attacks that have shaken the nation in the past year, including the truck bombings of two luxury hotels in the cities of Islamabad and Peshawar.

“He has had a hand in virtually every terrorist attack in Pakistan,” the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, said this month. Other officials have variously described Mehsud as a monster, an enemy of the state and — perhaps to capitalize on public antipathies in this impoverished Muslim society — an agent of India and the United States.

As a counterweight, the government reached out this month to several other tribal militant leaders once affiliated with Mehsud. In a high-profile campaign to isolate him, military officials made agreements with two once-hostile fighters, Qari Zainuddin and Haji Turkistan Betani, and began hailing them as patriots.

On Saturday, a spokesman for Zainuddin said in a phone interview that his forces had established control over most of Mehsud’s turf. The spokesman also said that Zainuddin, a former Islamist rebel in his late 20s, had broken with Mehsud over his terrorist methods and fully supported the government.

But Tuesday, while Zainuddin was napping after morning prayers in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, a gunman burst in and shot him dead. Pakistani officials said the gunman was probably acting on behalf of Mehsud. Experts said the killing illustrated the unpredictable and risky nature of official efforts to play favorites among tribal groups, which are constantly embroiled in feuds and whose loyalties to the state are fleeting.

Yet another problem is the conflicting priorities of Pakistani and U.S. military planners as they struggle to refine their often uneasy alliance against Islamist radicals. Last week, just as the government was courting yet another militant leader as part of its prewar planning, a U.S. drone rained missiles on his territory, presumably aiming at an al-Qaeda or Taliban target but unintentionally jeopardizing the deal.

Although the U.S. government has strongly endorsed Pakistan’s new get-tough policy toward the extremists, American officials are also concerned that the Waziristan campaign could merely drive them into Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO forces are waging a grueling and protracted war against Afghan Taliban fighters and other insurgents.

“Pakistan wants to get rid of these militants from our territory now,” said Shah, the retired official. “The goal is not to push them into Afghanistan, but we can’t be underwriting the security of the U.S. and NATO. They need to fend for themselves.”

Despite the now-broad public antipathy toward Islamist extremists and the unprecedented support for army operations against them, the humanitarian toll from the recent Swat campaign — with hundreds of civilians killed and more than 2 million forced to flee their homes — has added a layer of caution to the general enthusiasm for the fight.

In the sweltering government camps and makeshift tent colonies dotting North-West Frontier Province, people cluster around radios, hoping for news that it is safe to go home. The army has proclaimed the Swat campaign a success and begun to escort thousands of people home to the neighboring district of Bunir. But many refugees are still haunted by the specter of fanatical fighters slipping back to harass them again.

“There are still pockets of Taliban everywhere, and they still have sophisticated weapons. A lot of them escaped to the hills or cut off their beards,” said Khurshied Ali, 42, who fled from Swat last month with 320 other villagers in a convoy of rented trucks. “They are not defeated yet. Before the army starts a new fight, we need them to finish this one.”

Special correspondent Haq Nawaz Khan contributed to this report.

The Fire of Lal Masjid Has Gone Out

Aziz urges ulema, judges to jointly work against terrorism

Updated at: 1339 PST,  Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Aziz urges ulema, judges to jointly work against terrorism RAWALPINDI: The former Khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz Wednesday said the judges and ulema should come forward and jointly work out on the issue of terrorism.

Talking to media outside the Anti-Terrorism special court here, he said Lal Masjid Operation has spawned myriads problems, as the operation offers no solution to extremism.

Abdul Aziz continued that 1971 Operation led to the split of the country.

On the occasion, he condemned the abduction of former MNA Shah Abdul Aziz, adding if there are cases against him, they should be presented to the court.

Earlier, the ATC adjourned till July 13 hearing of nine cases, as the counsel of Maulana Abdul Aziz was busy at the Supreme Court.

The Best Laid Plans of Armies and Free Men

Qari Zain laid to rest in DIK

Updated at: 1718 PST,  Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Qari Zain laid to rest in DIK DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Qari Zainud Din, rival of Baitullah Mehsud has been laid to rest in Dera Ismail Khan, Geo News reported Wednesday.

Earlier, his body was brought here from Abbotabad for burial.

His body was put in CMH Abbotabad in view of security apprehensions.

In the morning, the body was taken to his uncle Maulvi Sher Muhammed’s house situated in Jangi Saeedan here, where his (Qari’s) wife, mother and other family members cast a last glance at his face.

In the meantime, the secret security agency’s personnel put security cordon around the area. Later on, his body was transported to Frontier Force Regiment Center by an ambulance.

After security clearance, his body was moved to Dera Ismail Khan, where he was laid to rest in Chah Syed shah Munawwar Graveyard near Madina Colony.

During the burial, police continued strict security cordon around the areas.

57 PAF officials arrested over links with terrorists

57 PAF officials arrested over links with terrorists

Updated at: 1744 PST,  Wednesday, June 24, 2009
57 PAF officials arrested over links with terrorists ISLAMABAD: Over 50 Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officials have been court marshaled following arrest on charges of having links with terrorists while an important PAF official who is also wanted is at large.

According to information gathered from Geo News source, action against some of the PAF officials over links with terrorists began in former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime.

More arrests were undertaken after a PAF official Mushtaq was apprehended. As many as 57 officials were arrested from Kamra, Lahore, Sargodha, Mianwali and Karachi. Of these, 26 had to face court marshal who were awarded three and half to 17 year imprisonment while six were awarded capital punishment on involvement in serious crimes.

Those awarded death sentence are: senior technicians, Karamdin, Khalid Mehmood; carpool technician Nawazish; junior technicians, Niaz, Nasrullah and Adnan.

A wanted carpool technician Amir is still at large whose photos have been affixed at all the air bases.

Murder of anti-Baitullah commander a major blow to army operation

Murder of anti-Baitullah commander a major blow to army operation

Wednesday 24 June 2009

. LAHORE: The June 23 murder of Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander and the arch rival of the FBI’s Most Wanted Commander Baitullah Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan, has come as a major blow to the Pakistan Army’s Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan agency on the Pak-Afghan border, which was launched only last week in a bid to expand the ongoing military offensive against the TTP (Tehrik Taliban Pakistan) from Swat Valley to Mehsud’s mountainous Waziristan stronghold.

Zainuddin, the leader of a rival faction of Mehsud’s tribe inhabiting the troubled South Waziristan region, was shot dead early Tuesday morning while he was asleep in his Dera Ismail Khan home by a lone gunman, who escaped after firing. Baz Mohammad, an aide of the militant commander who was also wounded in the attack, said that one of his personal bodyguards had barged into Zainuddin’s bed room after morning prayers and opened fire. “Zainuddin was martyred on the spot. I think those companions of Baitullah who had joined us recently after getting amnesty from us, were behind the assassination”, he said. Although Qari Zainuddin too had a ruthless past, he had recently parted ways with Baitullah and accused him for a string of suicide bomb attacks that killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis. Zainuddin had further accused Baitullah of masterminding the December 2007 assassination of the former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Well placed interior ministry sources in Islamabad conceded that Zainuddin was being seen by the Pakistani authorities as a key to a successful army offensive in South Waziristan given the fact that like Baitullah, he too was a native Mehsud and had been challenging Baitullah’s leadership in a bid to stage a coup against him. The murder has shattered the Pakistan army’s hopes of exploiting internal divisions in South Waziristan against Baitullah and the recently launched battle against him is now going to be harder. The sources claimed that Baitullah was genuinely shaken by the challenge being posed by none other than one of his former associates.

Before being killed, the sources said, Qari Zainuddin had almost succeeded in his efforts to arrange a jirga meeting of the Mehsud tribal chiefs in a bid to secure their support for staging a coup against Baitullah, the chieftain of the Mehsud tribe. It was also for the first time in recent years that the Pakistani military authorities had succeeded in their efforts to create divisions within the Mehsud tribe, after which Operation Rah-e-Nijat (the way of salvation) was launched in South Waziristan, primarily to target Baitullah Mehsud. However, Zainuddin was assassinated hardly a week after NWFP Governor Owais Ghani announced [on June 15 at a press conference in Islamabad] the federal government’s decision to launch a decisive military operation against Baitullah to eliminate him and dismantle his network, saying he was the root cause of all evils. The same day, Zainuddin had announced his support to the anti-Baitullah military operation, saying that whatever he and his associates were doing in the name of Islam was not a jehad, and in fact it was terrorism.

“Islam stands for peace, not for terrorism. Baitullah had betrayed both his religion and his tribesmen. To fight our own country is wrong. Islam doesn’t give permission to fight against a Muslim country. This is where we differ. What we are seeing these days – suicide bombings in mosques, in markets, in hospitals; these are not allowed in Islam. We don’t agree with them”, said Zainuddin in an interview to Britain’s McClatchy newspaper on June 15, barely a week before his murder in Dera Islam Khan by his own guard. Qari Zainuddin’s strong statements against Baitullah had led to speculation that the military authorities were encouraging him to stand up to his rival.

Circles close to Qari Zainuddin claimed that after his revolt against the TTP chief, Baitullah had taken several steps to mend fences with his former associate and had even offered to carve out a separate territory for Qari Zainuddin in South Waziristan if he dropped the fight. However, Zain had rejected the offer since he had a personal score to settle with Baitullah – his uncle and an ex Guantanamo Bay inmate Commander Abdullah Mehsud was allegedly killed by the Pakistani security forces in Zhob Balochistan on a tip off from Baitullah Mehsud, making him to turn against his former chief.

However, Qari Zainuddin was not the only one to have turned against Baitullah. He was being backed by Turkistan Khan Bhittani, another tribal leader, who had since long parted ways with Baitullah. If Zainuddin was a former Khasadar, Turkistan had been a former member of the South Waziristan Scouts, a paramilitary wing of the Frontier Constabulary. Both the pro-government commanders were poised to play a vital role in the success of the military operation in South Waziristan against their common foe. But the fugitive TTP chief seems to have struck first as usual, although Interior Minister Rehman Malik has stated that Qari Zainuddin seems to have been assassinated by one of his own comrades, Gulbadin Mehsud from Makeen, who made good his escape.

In fact, the military action against Baitullah Mehsud was launched even before a formal announcement was made about it on June 15. The Pakistan Air Force used jet-fighters to bomb his positions in Makeen, Ladha and Kotki area in South Waziristan on June 13 while the long-range artillery guns of the Pakistan Army deployed in Razmak in North Waziristan shelled his strongholds the same day. However, as the Governor NWFP made an official announcement to launch the anti-Baitullah operation in South Waziristan, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said on June 16 that the head of the Taliban in Pakistan must be eliminated.

“Baitullah has a hand in virtually every major terrorist attack in Pakistan and he is not fighting for Islam”, he said. It was, perhaps, the first significant indication from the military leadership that the establishment – long derided for avoiding taking the chief of Pakistani Taliban head-on – had had enough. As things stand, the battle lines seem to have been drawn once again in South Waziristan between the military and the militants led by Baitullah. The fugitive ameer of the Pakistani Taliban, a foe-turned-friend-turned-foe of the Pakistani establishment, is today a marked man by the American and the Pakistan security forces and his mountainous demesne in South Waziristan is under frequent aerial attacks by the Pakistani fighter jets and the Afghanistan-based US drones, in a desperate a bid to hunt him down..

amir.mir1969@gmail.com

Nabbing Baitullah alive

Nabbing Baitullah alive

Ahmed Quraishi

Pakistan will probably never catch terrorist leader Baitullah Mehsud alive. Why? For the same reason that we will never really know why alcoholic beverages were found from some of their hideouts. Or why citizens of China and Sri Lanka – two close military allies of Pakistan – were attacked on Pakistani soil by people claiming to be fighting America.

Similarly we will never know why listed companies like Google and Facebook are speeding up Persian translations of their sites when no profit is involved. (Will their stockholders accept democracy instead of profits?) And why the government did not object when the US and other allied donors tried to create a special fund for Balochistan and NWFP with the condition that it operate outside Pakistan’s control.

The popular Pakistani understanding of the battle against Baitullah Mehsud is more American than Pakistani. This prevents us from accepting that this insurgency is wrapped in multiple layers of deceit. The entire prevailing narrative of the situation is exclusively American, tailored to suit Washington’s worldview. It talks about a uniform threat of the Taliban and Al Qaeda with no distinction made between the Afghan Taliban and the new Pakistani version; the American narrative does not explain how or why the ranks of the Pakistani Taliban have been swelling steadily when the Afghan Taliban are not experiencing a similar surge; and why the American narrative suppresses any discussion of Pakistani grievances about an organised anti-Pakistan terror wave emanating from Afghanistan. The Pakistani counter-narrative is missing on the government level and is probably limited to some circles within the Pakistani strategic and intelligence communities. The impression that one gets is that the Pakistani government is essentially bartering silence for US aid. And this is a dangerous bargain.

It means that Pakistani officials are unlikely to take a stand on the use of Afghan soil to export terror to Pakistan. In fact, there are strong grounds to conclude that while other parts of the US government engage Pakistan, freewheeling elements within the CIA are probably conducting their own foreign policy on the ground in the region. The simultaneous trouble in both the Pakistani and Iranian parts of Balochistan is but one case in point.

Another downside to our enthusiasm for American aid money at any cost is our waning ability to resist the upcoming American plan to install India as the resident guardian over Pakistan and Afghanistan. A senior US national security official is expected to bring this plan to Pakistan in the next few days. Islamabad’s obsession with US aid while staying mum on vital Pakistani interest is absurd. Why is Prime Minister Gilani complaining now about the US ‘surge’ in Afghanistan when Mr Zardari and his foreign minister wasted no time in warmly welcoming it when Mr Obama unveiled the plan in March?

This explains why the president signed an American-proposed agreement to give India overland trade routes to Afghanistan. There are also fresh questions on the extent of support the United States is getting from two of its closest allies, India and Israel, in Afghanistan. There are credible reports that Indian and Israeli intelligence involvement in US-controlled Afghanistan has deepened in the past seven years.

Some US military and intelligence officials are impressed with the record of both countries in fighting Islamic groups, especially the Indian experience in occupied Kashmir. The Israelis have invested heavily in establishing schools that study the art of Islamic indoctrination. These schools were used to learn how clerics can brainwash recruits and then exploit them politically. Israeli spymasters have used this knowledge to penetrate Mideastern Islamic groups. They have passed this technique to the Indians to help them counter pro-Pakistan religious groups in Kashmir.

The mess in Pakistan’s western border areas is not just a battle with religious extremism. A larger part is a battle of proxies. None of this means that we should treat Washington as an enemy. But it does have an agenda that is increasingly diverging from Pakistan’s strategic interests.

Missile attacks kill 50 in South Waziristan

Missile attacks kill 50 in South Waziristan

Dawn Report

At least 50 people, including militant commander, were killed in a series of suspected US missile strikes in South Waziristan.—AP/File

TANK/WANA: At least 50 people, including an important militant commander, were killed in a series of suspected US missile strikes in South Waziristan on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said between 20 and 30 people were reported killed in the strikes.

The drone aircraft struck as hundreds of people gathered for a funeral in Mehsud’s northwest tribal stronghold.

Security officials and Taliban militants have been giving widely differing death tolls, with some saying up to 65 people were killed.

‘We have initial reports that are not confirmed but the casualties are somewhere between 20 and 30,’ Athar Abbas said in Islamabad.

‘There were two attacks.’

The first strike by an unmanned drone killed six militants in Shubi Khel, a remote area under the control of Mehsud’s Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), about 65 kilometres north of the main district town of Wana.

As mourners gathered for funeral prayers, another drone unloaded three more missiles into the crowd, officials and residents said.

‘After the prayers ended people were asking each other to leave the area as drones were hovering,’ Mohammad Saeed Khan, 35, who lost his right leg in the attack, told AFP from Miramshah hospital in North Waziristan.

‘First two drones fired two missiles, it created a havoc, there was smoke and dust everywhere. Injured people were crying and asking for help… they fired the third missile after a minute, and I fell on the ground.’

Rumours also circulated that Mehsud himself had been in the area before the drone attack, but officials would not confirm his presence.

Security officials said the drones fired missiles when Sangeen, the Afghan commander of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan who died in Tuesday’s attacks, was holding a meeting soon after the funeral of an associate of Baitullah Mehsud in Lataka area.

They said that apparently the drones remained in the air after the first strike as it also targeted some vehicles in which the militants were fleeing.

The commander, along with other militants, had attended the funeral of Khog Wali, who was earlier killed in another drone attack, along with five others, in Bekh Mary Langara area.

There were unconfirmed reports about the presence of Baitullah Mehsud in Lataka when drones fired three missiles at the funeral procession. Militants and tribesmen fired on drones flying over the area.

Waliur Rehman, a deputy of Mehsud, called an AFP reporter in Peshawar and claimed that 65 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the strikes.

‘One of our commanders Bilal was also martyred. We buried them all in three different graves as some of the bodies were badly mutilated,’ he said.

‘Our leadership is safe,’ he said from an unknown location.

An intelligence official in Dera Ismail Khan district bordering South Waziristan said that the death tolls were impossible to verify.

‘Frankly nobody is clear about the actual number as the government has no writ in that area… We have no other source of getting information, we are relying on local people and residents coming here,’ he told AFP.

Local people said three missiles were fired by the drone.

Sources said five injured people were taken to a hospital in Razmak, North Waziristan.

Earlier, an unmanned plane fired missiles at a bunker in Bekh Mary Langara, a predominately Mehsud area.

The missile attack left six militants, including commander Wali, dead while seven others injured. According to some reports, Pakistan Air Force jets also bombed suspected locations in Karama area.

‘US drone’ hits Pakistan funeral

‘US drone’ hits Pakistan funeral

The Pentagon has denied it has any military operations under way in Pakistan [AP]

At least 60 people have been killed after missiles were fired from a US “drone” at the funeral of a suspected Taliban commander of the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, Pakistan officials have said.

The attack by the unmanned aircraft was carried out in the village of Najmarai in the Makeen district on Tuesday, Pakistani intelligence officials and witnesses said.

“Three missiles were fired by drones as people were dispersing after offering funeral prayers for [Taliban commander] Niaz Wali,” an intelligence official told the Reuters news agency.

“I saw three drones, they dropped bombs,” Sohail Mehsud, a resident of Makeen, said.

The funeral was being held for the commander and six other fighters killed earlier in the day in a suspected US drone attack on what Pakistan officials said was a “Taliban training centre”.

Tuesday’s attacks came as the Pakistani army was preparing to launch an offensive against Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban.

US denial

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said: “There are reports that Mehsud himself was at the congregational prayer and escaped the attack.

In depth

Profile: Baitullah Mehsud
Profile: The Pakistan Taliban
Timeline: Pakistan under attack
Witness: Pakistan in crisis
Inside Story: Pakistan’s military
Riz Khan: The battle for the soul of Pakistan
Video: US denies carrying out drone raid in Pakistan

“However, we are told that a number of people present at that particular moment were [also] killed.”There were unconfirmed reports that the death toll is much higher because a number of the bodies are badly mutilated.”

Pakistan officially objects to strikes on its territory by the pilotless US aircraft.

Questioned about the reported attacks, a US defence department said: “There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s military mounted an operation earlier this month against Mehsud in South Waziristan, launching air raids and artillery barrages against suspected Taliban bases in the region.

The missile raids came on the same day that Qari Zainuddin, a key rival of Mehsud, was assassinated in the northwestern town of Dera, police said.

Zainuddin, a Taliban commander, had spoken out strongly against Mehsud and may have been about to mount a challenge against him.

Potential backlash

Al Jazeera’s Hyder said Tuesday’s attack was likely to cause considerable anger in the country.

“It may play into the hands of elements like Mehsud because the attack took place on a funeral – there are cultural sensitivities,” he said.”Such attacks are likely to complicate the situation for the Pakistani military because they have to be equally sensitive to public opinion in that area – something that is not going to be helped by the drones.”

Mehsud, an al-Qaeda ally, was accused of plotting the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a former Pakistani prime minister, in 2007.

The US government had offered a reward of $5m for information leading to his location or arrest.

There have reportedly been more than 20 US drone attacks against targets in Pakistan so far this year, although Tuesday’s strikes are the deadliest to date.

Frequent attacks by pilotless US drone aircraft have been heavily criticised by Pakistani leaders for killing innocent civilians and infringing upon national sovereignty.

The US considers Pakistan’s tribal region, of which South Waziristan is a part, a hideout from where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters launch attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

“Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order”

“Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order”

Review of F. William Engdahl’s book
by Stephen Lendman
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Global Research, June 22, 2009

For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Engdahl’s two previous books include “A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” explaining that America’s post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity – unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world’s reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.

Engdahl’s other book is titled “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” on how four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting all life forms to force-feed GMO foods on everyone – even though eating them poses serious human health risks.

Engdahl’s newest book is reviewed below. Titled “Full Strectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order,” it discusses America’s grand strategy, first revealed in the 1998 US Space Command document – Vision for 2020. Later released in 2000 as DOD Joint Vision 2020, it called for “full spectrum dominance” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.

Other means as well, including propaganda, NGOs and Color Revolutions for regime change, expanding NATO eastward, and “a vast array of psychological and economic warfare techniques” as part of a “Revolution in Military Affairs” discussed below.

September 11, 2001 served as pretext to consolidate power, destroy civil liberties and human rights, and wage permanent wars against invented enemies for global dominance over world markets, resources, and cheap labor – at the expense of democratic freedoms and social justice. Engdahl’s book presents a frightening view of the future, arriving much sooner than most think.  (read here)

The U.S. Federal Budget Pipeline: Where Do The Dollars Drain?

The U.S. Federal Budget Pipeline: Where Do The Dollars Drain?

by Emily Spence

In order to raise sales and personal royalty gains, Alan Greenspan, just prior to the release of his book The Age of Turbulence, carried out a public relations blitz dragged out for a whole week in which he made remarks similar to those conveyed in his hardback. These included statements such as “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Indeed, many Americans and people from other countries knew that domination of a region rich in fossil fuels represented the primary motive for the Iraq incursion and the only reason that Iran is not similarly assaulted is that it has an arsenal, unlike Saddam Hussein, capable of rendering serious damage in retaliation. Besides, the U.S. military is stretched too thin as it is with approximately 1,000 bases worldwide, along with operations occurring on every continent, such as the AFRICOM sorties, which are generally tied to oil company interests as the map at the first reference shows. [1]

Furthermore, plans to invade Iraq were long in the making, but the problem was finding the grounds, legal or otherwise, to obtain the support of the public for such an outrageous act of violence, which to date has led to the displacement of millions of Iraqis and the slaughter of more than one million individuals, including over 4,300 U.S. troops. In tandem, George W. Bush and Tony Blair knew that the UN inspectors would not find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and were hard pressed to find a reason that could justify the war. So the U.S. President came up with alternatives:

“Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan ‘to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover’. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions. “The president expressed hopes that an Iraqi defector would be ‘brought out’ to give a public presentation on Saddam’s WMD or that someone might assassinate the Iraqi leader. However, Bush confirmed [in a memo written approximately two months prior to America's preemptive attack on Iraq that] even without a second [United Nations] resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was ‘solidly with the president.’” [2]

This in mind, it behooves the public, particularly the American public, to realize that U.S. armed invasions and covert operations, in general, have little to do with protecting Americans from global terrorists and more to do with getting fossil fuels on behalf of the Pentagon and favored companies, whose heads contribute to government officials’ campaign funds and offer other perks like high paying jobs upon the completion of terms in office. As such, it would be more accurate were the directors of the Department of Defense to change its name to the Department of Assault. Doing so would, certainly, better reflect the United States history that has been well chronicled by Bill Blum, who indicates, “From 1945 to the end of the century, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.” [3]

He, further, reminds that there existed a total of 168 separate invasions of countries around the world by the United States. This information was derived from the revision to the 1969 rendition of the Appendix to a report researched by the Foreign Affairs Division, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1975 and listed as “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945. [4]

Meanwhile, Alan Greenspan summarized, in talks and The Age of Turbulence his displeasure with the Bush administration. “My biggest frustration remained the president’s unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending,” Greenspan indicated. “Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency… To my mind, Bush’s collaborate-don’t-confront approach was a major mistake.”

It, certainly, was and, in the Obama administration, it still is a major mistake compounded by other factors. These include the bailout funds committed as of December 2008 in the amount of $8.5 trillion, which represents 60% of the GDP [5] and the $1,449 billion, 54% of the federal budget, allocated for military expenditures in 2009. (This is in contrast to $1,210 billion, which represents 46% of the $2,650 billion total intended for the 2009 federal outlay, which is largely comprised of money borrowed from Chinese government controlled institutions). [6]

Out of such a reckless and cavalier setting, the total federal debt, itself, has blossomed to around $100 trillion [7], according to some researchers, based on the ongoing pattern of spending loaned funds and expecting future taxpayers to foot the ultimate bill in a ponzy-like scheme, one that makes the USA inarguably the world’s biggest debtor. (While Barack Obama seems to consider spiraling healthcare costs as the primary driver of the public deficit, surely he jests. Based on the tabulations above, it is clear that warfare and preparedness for extended wars is the largest cost that taxpayers subsume.)

Simultaneously, the IMF and WB directors, in a way, must be beside themselves with glee over the mounting shortfall. Like the personification of Bernie Madoff, Simon Legree and Uncle Scrooge all rolled into one, they draw together in a perfect vision of eager anticipation over the financial killing yet to come.

As Vi Ransel explains about them in two sections of “Manufacturing Poor People”: “The World Bank loans money to a poor country to “help” in its development, to build up a part of its economy. “If”, and almost certainly when (that’s The Plan) the poor country is unable to pay the usurious interest on the loan because of declining exports (again, The Plan), the country has to borrow more money in order to service the debt. Enter the [International Monetary Fund].

“The IMF extends more loans, with more of those stainless steel strings more tightly bound around the victim, er, I mean, loan recipient, trussing up the “benefiting” poor nation like a Thanksgiving turkey about to be devoured by the West, The Rich. The country which borrows money… must give tax breaks to Western transnationals. The country must slash wages and refuse to protect local businesses from being ravaged by cheap imports and corporate takeovers.

“The country is further strong-armed to sell, at fire sale prices, all its government-owned mines, its railroads, industries and utilities to privately-owned, mostly-foreign corporations. The country must allow its forests to be clearcut and its land to be strip-mined. Money for education, healthcare, food assistance and the transportation infrastructure must be sheared back to service the debt. And the interest on the debt, through the wondrously magical Western miracle of compound interest, keeps growing and growing and growing and growing and on and on and on and on… And all the while, the people of the country are less able to feed themselves, since they are forced to grow cash crops for export to feed that debt service.

“Well, U.S. transnationals didn’t intend to ever let that happen again. There would be no more giving a real leg up to potential competitors. And thus we arrived at where we are today. And, in fact, the ruse works so well, that since the Seventies the plutocracy has been using the very same template here at home, – with an increasingly heavy hand. See U.S. auto workers, healthcare, the bank bailout, foreclosed homes, 600,00 jobs a month jettisoned, the murder of California, et al. Who, or what, will be next?” [8]

Will it be the entire USA? Perhaps it will be in that the public finances in America are, currently, arranged along this line:

In Fiscal Year 2008, $412 Billion was spent to pay back interest on money owed to holders of the National Debt. It represents the third biggest federal expense and the full amount owed in 2009, due to continued borrowing, will be, in all likelihood, higher as it equaled $214 Billion by May. Furthermore, educational spending in 2008 received a mere 4.4 percent of the budget while the accumulated estimated total for the interest owed on the National Debt is estimated to be $445,095,000,000, although the sum will, obviously, increase as more money is borrowed. [9]

Meanwhile, the current monthly aggregate for the 2009 interest owed is roughly $42.8 billion per month while monthly federal outlay is approximately $220.8 billion per month with this interest paid back each month representing slightly more than 5.1 % of each tax dollar spent or, posed another way, over nineteen cents for each one expended while the budget deficit, itself, entails loans close to fifty cents on each dollar paid out with an increase in borrowing by $87 billion to $1.3 trillion expected in 2010 according to a White House spokesperson. [10]

In addition, there will, ultimately, be less tax dollars to collect in that presently, America is hemorrhaging jobs at one every thirty seconds according to some analysts. So why not spend money to bail out the families living in their cars and under tarps in tent cities by providing employment and income through a widespread Works Progress Administration (WPA) and extended Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs as occurred during the Great Depression?

Wouldn’t such a plan go further than bailouts to financial institutions and the ever present resource wars as a way to jumpstart the American economy, as well as US taxpayers who are watching 73 % of every tax dollar going to military expenditures (54%) and interest payments (19+ %)? (It forces one to wonder from where funds are going to derive for universal public health care, future Social Security payments, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and assorted other programs, such sustainable benign energy provision on a model close to energy independent Denmark’s enviable prototype as described by Thomas L. Friedman in “Flush With Energy”. [11]

Then again, the Pentagon directors probably have concluded that they need their resource wars in that the U.S. military is the single biggest user of oil in the world and it takes lots of oil to get the further oil supplied to American favored oil companies so that it can be returned in large measure and at high expense to the armed forces. In other words, it requires the type of assurance for a continued oil supply that only beaten down countries and puppet governments can render.

On account, open combat and covert operations will be the favored means to obtain fossil fuels. On account, the military will continue to drain away the majority of the U.S. federal budget while the US covert operations budget, by itself, will surpass a staggering $50 billion for 2009.

“‘That’s the largest-ever sum,’ according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, a longtime black-budget seer — a three percent increase over last year’s total. It makes the Pentagon’s secret operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside, ‘roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan,’ Sweetman adds. All in all, about seven and a half percent of the Defense Department’s total spending is now classified.” [12]

All in all, the ongoing U.S. financial mess provides signs that, while China’s rising, the USA will never gain back its former glory days that gave rise to both world dominance and a large middle class. As the country continues to lose jobs at the rate of approximately one every thirty seconds to either offshore company sites or business cutbacks, it has nowhere else to go except to sink down into increased hardship, as well as some degree of destitution, for an increasing number of Americans and the nation as a whole.

The unending act of misappropriating a land’s collective assets year after year has a way of ensuring this final result. As Ethel Grodzins Romm alleges,“What could our worst enemy do to damage this strong and beautiful country? He could do no better than to get us to squander our human and natural resources on dubious missions and then trick us into plugging our ears against the howls of those who object.”

Notes

[1] Major Oil Corporation and U.S. Military Activities in Africa (https://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/major-oil-corporation-and-u-s-military-activities-in-africa/).

[2] Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/21/iraq-inquiry-tony-blair-bush).

[3] The question of oil: U.S. corporate interests in control of … (http://www.representativepress.org/Oil.html).

[4] APPENDIX II from ‘KILLING HOPE’ by William Blum (http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2008/07/appendix_ii_fro.html).

[5] Cost Of Bailout Hits $8.5 Trillion-Total sum represents 60 per … (http://investment-blog.net/cost-of- bailout-hits-85-trillion-total-sum-represents-60-per-cent-of-gdp/).

[6] The Federal Pie Chart (http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm).

[7] The Real US Federal Debt Has Ballooned to More than $100 … (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20090527/real-us-federal-debt-has-ballooned-more-than-100-trillion.htm).

[8] Manufacturing Poor People (http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/manufacturing-poor-people/).

[9] Tax Chart 2009 Notes & Sources (http://www.nationalpriorities.org/taxday2009/notes_and_sources).

[10] US to borrow 46 cents for every dollar spent (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2248835/posts).

[11] Op-Ed Columnist – Flush With Energy – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/opinion/10friedman1.html).

[12] Pentagon’s Black Budget Grows to More Than $50 Billion … (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/pentagons-black-budget-grows-to-more-than-50-billion/).

Emily Spence is an author living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved in human rights, environmental and social services efforts.

Netanyahu Wants International License to Forcibly Disarm Palestinians

[International peacekeeping force agreed to in MOU signed by Livni and Rice not good enough.  World must grant Zionist forces authority to carry-out "Operation Cast Lead"--times ten-- to erase Palestinian right to self-defense.]

PM: No foreign troops in PA territory

By HERB KEINONThe international guarantees Israel is seeking to ensure that a future Palestinian state remains demilitarized does not mean the introduction of foreign forces, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet at its Sunday meeting.

Expanding on his speech last week at Bar-Ilan University in which he said international guarantees were necessary to make sure a future Palestinian state would be demilitarized, Netanyahu said rather that Jerusalem wanted international acceptance of the principle that Israel could take the actions it thought necessary to ensure the future state’s demilitarization.

“We need effective measures to ensure demilitarization,” Netanyahu said. “The existing ones in Lebanon and Gaza are not effective.”

Netanyahu said that Israel wanted international recognition for the idea of a demilitarized state to avoid a situation wherein Israel would withdraw from territory that was to be demilitarized, the Palestinians would violate that agreement and then Israel would be blamed for going back into the Palestinian territories to destroy weapons.

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank

[The fact that the Defense Minister is responsible for authorizing the settlement construction tells us that this particular step of colonization is an element of military strategy, in other words, the settlers are the front line shock troops in the creeping seizure of Palestinian land.]

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank, defying U.S. calls for a halt to settlement growth.

Activists for Bimkom association, which works for justice and human rights in planning and knows a thing or two about the situation in the territories, have discovered that Barak recently authorized the Civil Administration to submit a plan for the construction of 300 housing units in the unauthorized outpost of Givat Habrecha, near the community of Talmon.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pressed Israel to halt settlement activity as part of a bid to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The new construction is located around 13 kilometers east of the Green Line, on the “Palestinian” side of the separation barrier. According to the Sasson Report, this outpost was built without government approval and without a master plan and damaged private Palestinian property.

The objections submitted by Bimkom (with the Al-Ghaniya village council) say the planned construction is on lands formerly declared “state lands” and the plan apparently is a bid to whitewash the illegal construction of 60 housing units that have already been put up and to allow the construction of another 240 housing units, public buildings and roads.

Bimkom argues that adjacent to the area of the plan on the ground, which even according to the Civil Administration is private Palestinian land, several permanent structures were put up by the residents. So far there have been wide-scale building violations at Givat Habrecha, including the paving of roads and the building of public structures and residential buildings – all without permits and contrary to the master plan defining the area as agricultural. In its objection to the plan the association argues that approving the construction would be tantamount to blessing the start of unmonitored construction in unauthorized outposts

Half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab meant to deny them a viable state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to declare a settlement freeze, which could spark a backlash within his right-leaning coalition government.

Israel says the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to stop militant violence.

Why Do They Just Giggle?

Why Do They Just Giggle?

by Butler Shaffer
June 23, 2009

No one is sadder than the man who laughs too much.
~ Jean Paul Richter

It is a curious thing to watch videos of Peter Schiff’s appearances on television interview programs. Going back from one to three years, Schiff predicts the adverse consequences that are likely to occur as a result of government economic policies. Some of the economists and investment advisors on the same shows mount no more of a response to his prognostications than to giggle. Even after Schiff’s predictions were proven correct, more recent programs generate the same guffawing when he foresees more adverse consequences.

Why is this so?

Why would a man who has anticipated so much of the economic dysfunction in the world – and who has provided sound, economic analysis to explain his thinking – be openly laughed at by others who, on some of these same programs, were advising investments in the banking industry? What is even worse, why does so much invective get heaped upon Schiff for being accurate?

Furthermore, how do these other investment advisors manage to stay in
business, after their advice has been shown to have been so
fundamentally unsound?

I encounter this same syndrome from a number of my colleagues and students. I recall one conversation with a colleague following the atrocities inflicted by the federal government upon the Branch Davidians. After explaining both the legal and moral wrongdoing in this attack to this man, his response was to do no more than laugh. “Is giggling all that your years of formal education have prepared you to do?,” I asked.

In more recent discussions of the destructive nature of governmental regulation of the marketplace, or the evil nature of the war system, or of efforts by statists to bring virtually all forms of human activity under political control in order to “save the planet,” I am greeted with the same snickering. It is not just that such people have a different perspective on these issues, and endeavor to debate me on them. We could then have the kind of intelligent inquiry that might lead both of us to consider the other’s positions. Rather, their all-too-common response is to employ laughter in the way that a small child does to ward off fear.

“The people who promote these governmental programs,” I go on, “are destroying the world in which your children and grandchildren will live. Why do you giggle about this?”

The answer, I suspect, is to be found in our conditioned practice of identifying our sense of being with institutions. (I dealt with this topic in my first book, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival.)

Through schools, churches, the media, corporations, our parents, and
various other influences in our development, we train ourselves to look for meaning in our lives not within ourselves, but in external organized systems that have a vested interest in having us elevate their purposes above our own. It is this practice that is the midwife to all forms of collectivism.

An institution is an organization that has become an end in itself, a condition that can arise only through our thinking; only by
regarding the collective as of greater significance than ourselves. We
do this through learning to identify ourselves through what Fritz Perls called “ego boundaries,” which may embrace our nationality, race, gender, ideology, or other belief systems. By so identifying our sense of purpose and meaning in these abstractions, we set ourselves up to be dominated by the institutions which, we are told, represent such groupings. Whatever individuality we might otherwise have becomes subservient to – and subsumed by – the institutions that thus become our collective identity.

The principal beneficiary of such thinking has been the nation-state. Through years of careful conditioning – conducted through such agencies as the government schools and the entertainment industry – we have been taught to regard the state not only as the fundamental organizing principle, but the raison d’etre for both human beings and society. We learned to recite our daily catechism of purpose to our lives in the form of a “pledge of allegiance” to a flag that was the omnipresent and dominant symbol of the state in our classroom. (Have you ever dissected the literal meaning of this pledge; that you are vowing to become and remain subservient to state authority?) The media and the rest of the entertainment industry join forces with the schools to provide us a consistent indoctrination in the centrality of statism.

We learn to regard obedience to constituted authority as our greatest
virtue; to replace morality with legality as our personal standard of
conduct. War films – starring the likes of John Wayne, who managed to
keep himself out of World War II – brainwash us to believe that dying
for the glory of the state is our glory; the concrete meaning of the U.S. Army’s advertisement to “be all you can be, in the Army.”

The sadness as well as the unmitigated evil of such practices are reflected in the faces of World War II military veterans, who are trotted out for every holiday – each of which has been converted into an excuse for more war-celebration and John Wayne flicks – to speak of the sacrifices they and others made. To such men – identifiable with their “U.S.S. Missouri” baseball caps, or their “5th Army” shoulder patches – any suggestion that this war was carefully contrived by political and corporate interests, and that FDR manipulated the attack on Pearl Harbor, is met with rage, and understandably so. Having been conditioned to identify themselves with the state, to see their very sense of being tied up with obedience and service to the state, the slightest hint that political forces had conspired to exploit them does more than question the integrity of the state: more importantly, it creates uncertainties as to one’s own moral stature.

Imagine that, from the early 1940s to the present, you have thought of yourself primarily as a victorious warrior on behalf of the United States of America, with which you have identified your life. A few times each year, you are invited to don your old army or navy uniform – with your numerous medals – and to go out to a cemetery or auditorium to celebrate the “glorious” history of which you have been a part. Tom Brokaw feeds your ego by labeling you “America’s greatest generation.” Historians then begin to present evidence of the contrived and corrupt nature of this war that is, in the most literal sense, your war; the expression of meaning to your life.

For you to question not only the legitimacy of World War II, but of the entire war system with which you have come to associate yourself, would be destructive of what you have become. If, in elevating the state above yourself, in creating the state as your super-ego, you were to be open to the challenges raised by the war critics, the entire meaning to your life might be jeopardized. If your state can engage in evil – be it in promoting wars, engaging in torture, or bombing civilian populations in such places as Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki – then such evil unavoidably stains your very soul. Your 80+ years of being a war hero evaporates, and rather than seeing the virtue of spending the remainder of your life with a transformed consciousness, you react with anger or, in the case of those with more tangential attachments to the state, bouts of giggling.

To wholly reform the existential base of one’s thinking can be a very troublesome undertaking, rendered more so by Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle,” which reminds us that the one conducting the change is the one to be changed. I find my students more willing to engage in this process than are many of my colleagues: my students have less baggage to sort through, and will at least listen to the questions I raise. Rather than undergo such a challenging task, many of my colleagues endeavor to laugh the questions away.

I recall how, during the Vietnam War years, a number of fathers expressed contempt for their sons who chose to go to Canada or Sweden rather than participate in this war. I recall asking one such parent whether he really loved the political system more than he did his own son. At the time, I had less of an understanding of the psychological factors at work in the minds of those who identify themselves with the state.

Today, however, I would have to acknowledge that, yes, such fathers did love the state more than they did their own children or grandchildren. And why not? Such adults have learned to love the state more than they do themselves; why would we expect them to be more caring for their offspring than they have been for themselves?

There is much encouragement in the fact that so many veterans of the Vietnam and Iraq wars have become vocal critics of such atrocities. I suspect that, in years to come – with a depleted supply of World War II vets – on Memorial Day, July 4th, Flag Day, and other militaristic celebrations, there will be fewer veterans prepared to don their costumes and join with the politicians – most of whom manage to keep themselves out of the sound of gunshots – to reinforce the patriotic fervor upon which the state depends for its survival.

On a sadder note, at a time when more soldiers are committing suicide than are dying in battle, it is well to remember that, no matter how thoroughly indoctrinated the belief in the superiority of an abstraction, there remains within each of us a powerful life-force that can never be fully repressed. What Gandhi called Satyagraha – a “Truth-force” or “Soul-force” – remains deep within us as, perhaps, the greatest power at work upon each of us. The state – and the civilization it is helping to bring down – will continue to fight this life-force in every conceivable manner, not simply in the war system, but in efforts to regulate even the most miniscule details of life’s expressions.

When the minds and the spirits of men and women combine to address, with intelligence, what we have done to ourselves – and are doing to our children and grandchildren – we may be able to walk away from our roles as servo-mechanisms to state and corporate power interests, and to discover how to live according to that life-force within each of us. To those unable or unwilling to confront the wickedness implicit in their robotic existences, there will be nothing but unfocused anger and giggling to accompany their trip into the awaiting black-hole.

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail bshaffer@swlaw.edu] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938 and of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. His latest book is Boundaries of Order.

Senior Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders meet with Baitullah

Senior Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders meet with Baitullah

By Bill Roggio

Mullah Omar.

Senior al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders are reported to have met with Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud to advise him to move his group’s operations into Afghanistan and halt attacks against the Pakistani state.

Several meetings were said to have been held last week after an 11-man delegation of al Qaeda and Taliban heavy hitters arrived in Waziristan to deliver a request from Mullah Omar, the Amir al Mumineen, or the leader of the faithful in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to a report in The Nation.

The Taliban dispatched Sirajuddin Haqqani, the powerful military commander of the Haqqani Network, and Abdul Hakeem Sharaee and Mir Ahmad Jan Hashemi, two senior deputies of Mullah Abdullah Zakir, the Taliban’s senior-most military commander in southern Afghanistan who was released from Guantanamo Bay.

Al Qaeda sent Abu Yahya Al Libi, one of al Qaeda’s senior ideologues and a representative of the religious committee, and Abdul Haq Turkistani, the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda-linked group that is made up of Uighurs who fight the Chinese government. Abdul Haq serves on al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council.

The joint Taliban and al Qaeda delegation reportedly advised Baitullah to halt the Pakistani Taliban’s attacks against the military and government and to focus his energy in Afghanistan. The leaders believe Baitullah’s terror attacks against the Pakistani state are putting undue pressure on the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and threaten to damage the overall Taliban movement.

The Taliban and al Qaeda leadership are concerned that even a limited Pakistani military offensive in the tribal areas will put their training camps and safe houses throughout the border regions at risk as the Afghan Taliban is gearing up for a major fight with Coalition and Afghan forces.

Baitullah.jpg

Baitullah Mehsud from a recent Taliban video.

Baitullah was reportedly advised to dodge the nascent Pakistani Army offensive in South Waziristan and move the bulk of his forces into Afghanistan to carry out attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces.

The Taliban and al Qaeda delegation was also reported to have advised North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar to provide safe passage for Baitullah and his Taliban army.

Baitullah is said to have rejected the request from Mullah Omar, responding, “Mullah Omar is our Amir but like Afghanistan, they [the Pakistani Taliban] are determined to continue resistance in Pakistan.”

Baitullah also met with the shura of the United Mujahideen Council, the alliance with South Waziristan Taliban warlord Mullah Nazir and powerful North Waziristan leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Nazir, who is being pressured by the Pakistani government to sit out the operation against Baitullah, is said to have not attended, according to the Islamabad Ausaf, a pro-jihadi Urdu-language newspaper. Bahadar offered Baitullah safe passage through to Afghanistan, as advised by the al Qaeda and Taliban delegation.

US strikes as meetings underway

US and Pakistani forces struck inside South Waziristan three times during the same week that the high-level al Qaeda and Taliban leaders met with Baitullah. The meetings are said to have begun early last week and ended on June 16, while US and Pakistani warplanes struck on June 14, 15, and 18.

US intelligence officials refused to comment on the targets of the strikes. But the target of these strikes appears to have been the Taliban and al Qaeda delegation gathering in Waziristan.

On June 14, US predators struck in Baitullah’s hometown of Makeen in South Waziristan. The next day, Pakistani Air Force also struck in Makeen. Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was reported to have been wounded in the attack. Three days later, US Predators conducted attacks in two towns in Mullah Nazir’s territory in South Waziristan.

Yuldashev is a senior leader in al Qaeda’s allied network in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and is a close ally to both Baitullah Mehsud and Mullah Nazir. He likely was to attend the meeting with Baitullah.

The timing of last week’s attacks points to an attempt to target al Qaeda and the Taliban’s senior leadership. Prior to the June 14 Predator strike, the last US attack inside Pakistan’s tribal areas took place on May 16. The US has been under internal and external pressure to end the airstrikes in Pakistan.

Baitullah and Fazlullah may be in North Waziristan

While Baitullah has said he would not end attacks against the Pakistani state, a report indicates he may have partially followed the delegation’s advice and moved from South Waziristan to take shelter in Mir Ali, an al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan.

Baitullah was accompanied in Mir Ali by Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah and his spokesman and military commander Muslim Khan, The Nation reported. Fazlullah and Khan fled to Makeen in South Waziristan after the Pakistani military moved into Swat to oust the Taliban. They have since relocated to Mir Ali with other Taliban leaders after the government telegraphed the South Waziristan operation.

US military intelligence officials contacted by Long War Journal are concerned that Baitullah may leave Pakistan and move his forces into eastern Afghanistan to fight Coalition forces.

Fazlullah and the other 20 senior-most Taliban leaders in Swat have so far evaded the Pakistani military’s attempts to round them up.

Meeting provides insights on inner workings of al Qaeda and the Taliban

Siraj_Haqqani-1.jpg

A composite image of Siraj Haqqani; Siraj has not allowed his photograph to be taken.

The high-level meeting between Baitullah and the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda leaders sheds more light on the close relationship of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, and their dealings with al Qaeda.

The delegation went to Pakistan to forge a consensus with Baitullah in order to get him in line with the overall organization’s goals. Siraj is said to still be working to convince Baitullah to accede to Omar’s wishes. Baitullah was pressured to redirect his energies towards Afghanistan, but he was not ordered.

Siraj Haqqani’s role as a mediator between the groups also highlights his prominent role within the overall movement. Siraj and his father have close links to the senior leadership of both the Taliban and al Qaeda. His network operates on both sides of the border, and has significant pull in the Taliban affairs in both countries.

Siraj played a similar role back in 2007 when he and Mullah Dadullah Akhund, the former Taliban military commander in Afghanistan, and Baitullah negotiated a truce between Mullah Nazir and Uzbeks allied with the Islamic Jihad Union.

The meeting also dispels a slew of reports that have cropped up since late 2007 that claimed Baitullah was expelled from the Taliban movement. These rumors still floated even as Baitullah allied himself with Nazir and Bahadar and continued to shelter al Qaeda and support the Afghan Taliban.

Finally, the meeting highlights the relative unimportance of two Pakistani Taliban leaders in opposition to Baitullah. Qari Zainuddin Mehsud and Haji Turkistan Bhittani both were excluded from the meeting, even though they claim to be close to Mullah Omar and say they are the true Taliban representatives in South Waziristan.

Despite reports of the growing influence of Zainuddin and Turkistani, the Mehsud tribal leaders are hesitant to back them as they are seen as being in bed with the government. The Pakistani government has been supporting Zainuddin and Turkistani despite their promises to wage jihad in Afghanistan, and not Pakistan. Zainuddin even put up recruiting posters in the district of Tank with photos of Abdullah Mehsud, his predecessor and a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay who fought in Afghanistan. Pakistani security forces killed Abdullah during a raid in Zhob in Baluchistan province.

Mehsud tribal leaders put little stock in Zainuddin’s value. The leaders believe that if Baitullah is killed, his deputy Qari Husain Mehsud will take his place. Qari Husain is notorious for recruiting and training children for suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/06/senior_al_qaeda_and.php#ixzz0JIdoxuAL&C

Mehsud, Fazal shift to Mirali, NWA

Mehsud, Fazal shift to Mirali, NWA

By: Shamim Shahid | Published: June 21, 2009

PESHAWAR – In the wake of ongoing military action against them, the leading figures of Tehrik-e-Taliban from both South Waziristan Agency and Swat region have shifted to Mirali region of North Waziristan Agency.
Through some highly placed reliable sources, this scribe came to know that since long TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud along with his confidential aides was in Mirali region of North Waziristan Agency. But a couple of months back, he returned to his stronghold in Laddha Subdivision of South Waziristan.
However, Baitullah Mehsud again slipped into Mirali region when the government announced military action against him. Baitullah Mehsud has held detailed meetings with Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders who are making attempts to shift the TTP activists from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
Besides Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP Swat chapter leader Maulana Fazal Ullah has reportedly reached in Mirali region and is now accompanying Baitullah Mehsud and other leading militant commanders and leaders. Before Mirali, Maulana Fazal Ullah was also witnessed in Makeen town of South Waziristan bordering with North Waziristan Agency.
The sources informed that TTP Swat chapter spokesman Muslim Khan had also visited both Mirali of North Waziristan and Makeen of South Waziristan. Besides others he discussed in depth the current situation having erupted with military action against them in Swat and other parts of the region.
It may be mentioned here that a number of localities in both Mirali of North Waziristan and Makeen of South Waziristan are considered strongholds of militants. Apart from TTP leaders and commanders a large number of Al Qaeda and Taliban Tehrik Afghanistan leaders and stalwarts are also settled in this part of the tribal belt.
The sources maintained that government’s free-operation publicity and announcement provided a chance to Baitullah Mehsud and his associates to escape from his stronghold in Mehsud dominated areas of South Waziristan Agency.

Britain Orders Tit-for-Tat Diplomatic Expulsions with Iran

Britain Orders Tit-for-Tat Diplomatic Expulsions with Iran

(AFP) Readers Number : 60

23/06/2009 In the latest escalation of tensions between Iran and the West following presidential elections, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Tuesday that Britain has expelled two Iranian diplomats in a tit-for-tat action after Tehran ordered two British diplomats to leave.

Brown denounced the “unjustified” step by the Islamic republic. “It is… with regret that I should inform the House (of Commons) that Iran yesterday took the unjustified step of expelling two British diplomats over allegations that are absolutely without foundation,” he told lawmakers.

“In response to that action we informed the Iranian ambassador earlier today that we would expel two Iranian diplomats from their embassy in London,” he added.

And he said: “I am disappointed that Iran has placed us in this position but we will continue to seek good relations with Iran and to call for the regime to respect the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Iranian people.”

he surprise announcement came after an Iranian foreign ministry source on Tuesday denied that the country’s ambassador to London had been recalled, amid mounting tensions between Tehran and London.

Iran has accused Britain, and other Western governments, of meddling over the election that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and manipulating the subsequent unrest.

Iranian student unions called off a planned demonstration outside the British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday to protest at London’s “interference” after it was banned by the Iranian authorities.

Centuries-old mistrust of British interest in Iran welled up once more as Iranian leaders said that London played a key role in fomenting the unrest that has swept the Islamic republic since the June 12 presidential polls.

Amid the heightened tension, Britain’s Foreign Office warned its nationals Monday against “all but essential travel to Iran” following “large scale demonstrations” and “violent clashes.” It also said it is withdrawing the families of embassy staff “until the situation improves.”