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Scenes from the 2003 film “Control Factor”, Universal Studios. Plot deals with mind control, behavior modification, and psychotronic warfare
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more about “Control Factor (2003)“, posted with vodpod
Icann oversees the structure of the net
The US government has relaxed its control over how the internet is run.
The US has signed a four-page “affirmation of commitments” with the net regulator Icann, giving the body autonomy for the first time.
Previous agreements gave the US close oversight of Icann – drawing criticism from other countries and groups.
The new agreement comes into effect on 1 October, exactly 40 years since the first two computers were connected on the prototype of the net.
“It’s a beautifully historic day,” Rod Beckstrom, Icann’s head, told BBC News.
By: Abrar Saeed
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani assured the annoyed FATA ministers, who had handed over their resignations to him Monday night, that on the return of President Asif Ali Zardari from his foreign tour, all their genuine demands including the replacement of the NWFP Governor would be met, source privy to the development disclosed.
The sources in the Government disclosed that the decision of replacing NWFP Governor Awanis Ghani was made much before the departure of President Zardari’s visit abroad and government was looking for some suitable replacement acceptable to all stakeholders including Awami National Party leading the NWFP Government.
These sources further disclosed that the new NWFP Governor would be installed in the first half of the next month and a few names were under consideration.
Premier Gilani had assured the FATA ministers who had handed over their resignations to him that all their demands would be met on return of President Asif Ali Zardari from abroad.
A source amongst the FATA MPs informed TheNation that besides removal of the Governor NWFP another major demand was regarding the launching of operation in South and North Waziristan agencies, which almost all the FATA members had opposed in their meetings with Governor NWFP and other concerned quarters.
The FATA members were of the view that instead of going for military offensive the matter should be resolved through negotiations and by empowering local Maliks and chieftains to form Lashkars to contain these miscreants; as according to them in this way they would achieve their targets without annoying general public in these areas.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the concerned authorities to expedite the implementation and completion of development projects particularly those relating to electrification and infrastructure development as adequate funds had already been released for this purpose. The remaining amount of Rs. 600 million should be utilised on priority basis, he added.
The Prime Minister also directed the Minister of State for Finance Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar to oversee and monitor the implementation of the developmental work in FATA and, to ensure better coordination, hold monthly meetings with the FATA Parliamentarians.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A terrible notion has been put forward by a British newspaper. It suggests officials in Washington may be planning drone strikes on Quetta – to target key militants who they believe are based there. The story suggests this idea was discussed with the Pakistani team that has been visiting the US. It has been met at home with shock. The spectre of aerial strikes over a major city is simply unthinkable. Perhaps this is a result of Islamabad’s failure to oppose the Predator strikes in our tribal areas. It is a well-established fact, for all the official denials, that the flights that have brought death to some militants – but also many innocent people – where tacitly backed by successive governments. According to reports in the western media, there was an agreement to make a lot of noise but do nothing in more concrete terms to stop the unmanned aircraft. It is this that seems to have led to the new and still more audacious proposal to take out targets in a heavily populated area.
Our interior minister has denied the presence of Afghan Taliban leadership, including Mullah Omar, in Quetta. The problem is that the government has little credibility. We must also ask what it has done itself to track down key militant figures who many believe remain in Pakistan. Had our own security forces apprehended some of them, the case for drone attacks might have been considerably weakened. Pakistan’s request that they be carried out as joint operations is in fact an acknowledgement that they have been successful. The strike that killed Baitullah Mehsud is a prime example of this. But the expanded use of drones presents an enormous risk to all of us. Some intelligence insiders say the Taliban have been deliberately moving leaders to cities to try and keep them safe. By doing so they put all of us at greater risk. The US must be told there can be no drone strikes over heavily populated areas. Pakistan must voice the strongest opposition to this and dissuade Washington from finalizing a strategy for which the people of the country would never forgive it and indeed their own government.
PESHAWAR: Supporting the military operation against Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam, a tribal elder on Tuesday asked the government to continue the military operation against militants and demanded compensation for the displaced people from Bara subdivision of Khyber Agency.
Addressing a press conference, Akbar Khan, an elder of Malikdinkhel tribe, said: “We want to get rid of Mangal Bagh and his merciless supporters who have played havoc with our lives.” He said that people of Bara were happy with the government initiative of launching military operation as they were fed up with Mangal Bagh and his ruthless policies. He alleged that Mangal Bagh slaughtered innocent people and forced the dwellers to grow beard and offer prayers at mosques regularly. “Islam is the religion of peace and such steps are earning a bad name for the religion,” he added.
The elder accused Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi of supporting Lashkar-e-Islam chief Mangal Bagh and his policies. He said the minister was equally responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Agency. He demanded of the government to make the operation target-specific and eliminate the militants as early as possible so that the people of the area could take a sigh of relief.
By Rahimullah Yusufzai
PESHAWAR: There has been no claim or evidence yet that Tahir Yuldachev, leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), died in a US drone strike in South Waziristan recently but a man claiming to be his bodyguard phoned the Radio Liberty in Prague on Tuesday to claim that the Uzbek commander was dead.
The caller, who spoke Uzbeki language and claimed he was calling from somewhere in Pakistan, maintained that Yuldachev was killed after the death of Baitullah Mahsud in a similar US missile attack. The man who phoned Radio Liberty refused to identify himself. He claimed to have served as bodyguard to Yuldachev, who is also known as Tahir Yuldash, for a year in the past and quit the IMU as he wasn’t happy with its policies.
The caller disclosed that an Uzbek militant, Abdur Rahman, had taken Yuldachev’s place as the new IMU head. He said Yuldachev failed to recover from head and leg injuries sustained by him in the missile attack.
There was no way to confirm the claim made by the identified caller. The IMU or its allied Uzbek militant group, Islamic Jehad Union, hasnít commented on this claim yet. They would be expected to deny the claim, though the militant groups in recent times have been arguing that such claims are made at the behest of their enemies to provoke some of the most wanted militants to come forward and show their presence so that they could be tracked down.
Yuldachev, stated to be in his late 30s, became the head of the IMU after the death of Juma Namagani in fighting against the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 or early 2002. There have been sightings of Yuldachev in South Waziristan, mostly in Wana area before he and his fellow Uzbeks were expelled by Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen following intensive fighting a couple of years ago. He and his fighters then shifted to parts of South Waziristan controlled by Baitullah Mahsud. Before moving to Waziristan, Yuldachev and his Uzbek militants were living in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and trying to destabilise Uzbekistan by sending fighters there across the Afghan-Uzbek and Afghan-Tajik border. Yuldachev has been producing videotapes to propagate the IMU cause against the government of President Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. In his messages, he has also been criticising the US for its alleged anti-Muslim policies and praising the al-Qaeda and Taliban for resisting the Western powers.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
WASHINGTON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said here on Monday that the US would make a “disastrous” mistake if it withdrew from Afghanistan and warned that a delay in sending more troops would be seen as a sign of weakness, the Washington Times reported.
Asked by reporters and editors at The Washington Times whether the US and its allies might be seen as weak because of the prolonged debate over whether to send more forces to Afghanistan, Musharraf said, “Yes, absolutely. … By this vacillation and lack of commitment to a victory and talking too much about casualties shows weakness in the resolve.”
He said al-Qaeda was less of a threat than the Taliban, which he said was growing in strength among ethnic Pashtuns who straddled the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We must win in Afghanistan,” Musharraf said, warning that otherwise it would become a haven again for al-Qaeda as it was before the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.
“Quitting is not an option,” he said. “We should not delay. Earlier the better.”
Musharraf said US commanders shouldn’t “pursue in areas” where they have the advantage but “draw them out” into areas where the US coalition has the upper hand.
The Taliban “move with bread and onions,” Musharraf said, and don’t require the elaborate logistical support that US troops do.
Musharraf conceded that insurgents cross the border but said that money and weapons were flowing primarily from Afghanistan into Pakistan, not the other way around.
Asked whether the ISI was still helping the Taliban in order to hedge against a US withdrawal and oppose Indian interests in Afghanistan, he denied it.
“I don’t think that is correct at all,” Musharraf said.
“ISI behaves as they are ordered by the government. They never go against government policy.”
He added, “If our attitude is that the army and ISI are the culprits, God save all of us.”
Asked about Pakistan’s previous support of the Taliban, Musharraf said that Pakistan had no other option after the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan but to recognize the Taliban because a rival movement, the Northern Alliance, was supported by India and other opponents of Pakistan. “Is it in our interest to be on the Taliban side now? No,” Musharraf said.
Musharraf also denied reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan sold nuclear weapons materials and designs to Iran, North Korea and Libya with the knowledge of the Pakistani government.
ISLAMABAD: US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson has said that the Afghan Taliban “Quetta Shura” is high on Washington’s list, reports The Washington Post.
According to report, US officials are expressing new concerns about the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mulla Omar and his council of lieutenants in Quetta.
But US officials acknowledge they know relatively little about the remote and arid Pakistani border region, have no capacity to strike there, and have few windows into the turbulent mix of Pakhtun tribal and religious politics that has turned the area into a sanctuary for the Taliban leaders, who are known collectively as the “Quetta Shura”.
“In the past, we focused on al-Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region,” Patterson said. “Now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list.” She also acknowledged that the United States is far less familiar with the vast desert region than with the northwestern tribal areas.
As Patterson put it, bluntly: “Our intelligence on Quetta is vastly less. We have no people there, no cross-border operations, no Predators.”
According to Pakistani analysts, the Taliban’s presence in the Quetta region is more discreet than it was earlier in the decade, when Omar fled there from US and Afghan military attacks. He was joined by thousands of fighters, who blended into ethnic Pakhtun neighbourhoods and refugee camps.
“Quetta is absolutely crucial to the Taliban today,” said Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban, in a telephone interview. “From there they get recruits, fuel and fertilizer for explosives, weapons, and food. Suicide bombers are trained on that side.
They have support from the mosques and madrassas.” Michael Semple, a former UN official in Afghanistan now based in Islamabad, described the Quetta region’s refugee camps as “a great reserve army” for the Taliban. He said Pakhtun tribes in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s ethnic and spiritual base, have strong ties with those on the Pakistan side. “They are intermarried, they have Pakistani ID cards, and you can’t tell the difference,” Semple said. On the other hand, he said, reports of Taliban leaders living openly in Quetta, even attending weddings, are nonsense. “They are deeply suspicious of the Pakistanis, and they have their own agenda,” he said.
This is from NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday. Peter Kenyon talks to Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies about the ramifications of a military strike against Iran. Kenyon asks Inbar about potential blow back here. Here is Inbar’s response. Note: Inbar is not an extremist but a highly respected and credentialed Israel academic and expert on military strategy.
First Inbar addresses the west’s resistance to going to war.
“In Western Europe, they have a strategic culture which views military action as something anachronistic, a thing of the past. Maybe Obama administration has changed somewhat its tone, but I must say that in the Middle East, Obama is still viewed as very weak. And I don’t think that another Obama speech will impress very much the Iranian elite.”
Then he explains why the fear of terrorist attacks here is no reason not to attack Iran. We can learn to live with terrorism.
“Even 9/11 is something that America recuperated [from], you know, within a few months. The attacks on London, on Madrid, were things which those two countries were able to absorb relatively easily despite the tragedy in the loss of lives. Israel obviously has been subject to terrorism for so many years, and we have learned to live with it. So, terrorism is something that should not deter, you know, the West from attacking Iranian nuclear sites.”
In other words, to prevent Iran from developing a single bomb (Israel has 200, a rather intimidating deterrent) we should simply learn to live with more terrorism here. After all, “even 9/11 is something that America recuperated [from] within a few months.”
That is true. “America recuperated.” Just not the thousands of families who lost their sons, daughters, parents or siblings.
By: Kanchan Lakshman
The madrassa (religious seminary) has long been a principal component of the supply chain of Islamist extremism in Pakistan. Most much-publicised but altogether half-hearted attempts at fixing this problem have inevitably failed, substantially for want of any real commitment to reform. The Pakistani madrassa, consequently, continues to provide foot-soldiers for the jihad in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in India, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq and other theatres of Islamist extremism and terrorism across the world.
Successive Governments, both at the federal and provincial levels, have announced reforms of the madrassa system, to and bring them at par with the mainstream education system. These have, however, inevitably run into a dead-end, as they come up against opposition from the various organisations controlling the seminaries, as also because of the lack of any serious intent within the administration.
The Wafaq-ul-Madaris, Pakistan’s main confederacy of seminaries, which runs over 8,200 institutions, has been at the forefront of opposition to madrassa reform, along with the Tanzeemaat Madaris Deeniya and Tanzim-ul-Madaris Ahle Sunnat. The ulema (religious leaders) claim that the reform process is intended to curb the ‘independence and sovereignty’ of madrassas and is, consequently, not acceptable. A majority of the seminaries source funds from local businessmen, domestic and foreign religious foundations, charities and the Pakistani Diaspora. With financial independence and enormous social and political power, seminaries in Pakistan are entirely unwilling to accept any oversight by the Government.
Most of the officially estimated 15,148 seminaries (unofficial estimates range between 20,000 and 25,000, with some approximations going up to as much as 40,000) in Pakistan, with an enrolment of about 1.5 million students, have squarely rejected tentative reform proposals – essentially requiring the registration of madrassas and the maintenance of accounts, including records of domestic and foreign donors, as well as the teaching of ‘secular’ subjects as part of the curriculum – initiated by the Government in 2003. They maintain that the proposed reforms are a conspiracy to secularise or de-Islamize the education system at the behest of the United States.
Among the objectives of proposed reforms is to register, regularise and supervise the operation of madrassas within the ‘mainstream’ education system, and to introduce a more secular and modern curriculum. In the national capital Islamabad itself, however, at least 18 seminaries have, according to reports on September 10, 2009, outright refused to register themselves with the Government, claiming that they will cooperate only if they are contacted through the madrassa body, the Tanzim-ul-Madaris. Official sources told Dawn that 122 madaris or religious schools have, however, been registered with the capital’s District Administration. The Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, Amir Ali Khan, stated that he had directed the Auqaf Department to invite representatives of the 18 openly non-compliant religious schools for a meeting to persuade them to register, since there is no existing law through which the Government can force religious schools to do so. In fact this has been the story with many an attempt at seminary reform over the years. Absent a system of penalties, there is not much that the state can do. For the record, Jang reported on June 18, 2009, that the Government had discovered that there were 260 seminaries in Islamabad, out of which at least a dozen were altogether illegal.
Saleem H. Ali of the University of Vermont, in an empirical study of madrassas in Pakistan (under a grant from the United States Institute of Peace), conducted a survey of every single madrassa in one district of rural Punjab, Ahmedpur, and found that only 39 out of 363 surveyed madrassas were registered with the Government. This study also found evidence of a link between a large number of seminaries and sectarian violence, particularly in rural Punjab. Analysis of Police arrest data for sectarian attacks between Shias and Sunnis clearly shows that “sectarian activity in areas of greater madrassa density per population size was found to be higher, including incidents of violent unrest.” Furthermore, the number of madrassas has increased over a ten year period by around 30 per cent, and in some areas they are competing with Government and secular private schools for enrolment.
In the Punjab province, there is currently an impasse between the Auqaf and Education departments and administrators of five seminary bodies on the issue of constituting religious boards on the pattern of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. Office bearers of the five establishments, including Tanzim-ul-Madaris (Barelvi), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Deobandi), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Shia), Wafaq-ul-Madaris (Ahle Hadith) and Rabita-ul-Madaris (Jamaat-e-Islami), are insisting that they be given the status of a secondary board to conduct exams by themselves and issue certificates/degrees equivalent to Matriculation/SSC (Secondary School Certificate) without any Government interference. The Government had offered to allow the seminaries to continue issuing their own certificates of religious education like Dars-e-Nizami, Hafiz Quran and Nazra, The Nation reported. However, the Government has demanded that students of these seminaries also study subjects like Mathematics, English and Pakistan Studies, and appear in the respective proposed boards for SSC at par with the students passing examinations in Government and recognised private schools. The Government has “also offered teachers’ employment in accordance with Government standardised scale in the three subjects along with computer labs. It has also agreed that the appointment of teachers will be made in consultation with the proposed religious boards.”
The consolidation of radical madaris, however, continues apace. A report in London’s The Telegraph stated that the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has acquired a 4.5-acre compound outside Bahawalpur city in Punjab province in addition to the madrassa named Usman-o-Ali inside the city. While the local authorities acknowledge that the group has “spread out of the city, they deny that the new acquisition is anything more than a cattle farm to supply milk to the Jaish seminarians.” The city, with a population of 408,395 (1998 Census) and counting, already has an estimated 1,000 seminaries. Bahawalpur, where the JeM is headquartered, has for years been “a centre for ideological indoctrination and terrorist planning due to its isolation.” Daily Times reported on September 14, 2009, that the group “openly runs an imposing madrassa, Usman-o-Ali, in the centre of the town, where it teaches its extremist interpretation of Islam to hundreds of children every year.” Jaish’s new compound, approximately five kilometres outside Bahawalpur at Chowk Azam, on the main road to Karachi, is much larger, The Telegraph has reported. It said there is evidence “it could contain underground bunkers or tunnels, adding that it has a fully-tiled swimming pool, stabling for over a dozen horses, an ornamental fountain and even swings and a slide for children – contradicting claims by the group and Pakistani officials that the facility is simply a small farm to keep cattle. On the inside walls, extremist inscriptions are painted, including a warning to “Hindus and Jews”, with a picture of Delhi’s historic Red Fort.” Unsurprisingly, the local administration (Bahawalpur also has a huge cantonment) has chosen to overlook the issue. Mushtaq Sukhera, the Regional Police Officer for Bahawalpur, while confirming that both facilities belong to the JeM, claimed that “there’s nothing over there except a few cows and horses… No militancy, no military training is being imparted to students (at Usman-o-Ali),” he said, adding, “There is no problem with militancy (in south Punjab), there’s no problem with Talibanisation. It’s just media hype.” Some security personnel, however, were quoted by Daily Times as stating that the new facility is a “second centre of terrorism” designed to complement the existing Jaish madrassa in the middle of Bahawalpur.
Having failed over the decades to strengthen the mainstream education system, Governments are now declaring that the madrassa system is doing great ‘social service’ by providing free education to more than 1.5 million students in Pakistan, articulating the dangerous viewpoint that there is no alternative to the seminary system, both in terms of its large reach across the country and the state’s own failure to generate adequate financial and other resources for a secular and modern education system.
The failure at reforming the seminary system and the state’s inability to have a secular pedagogy also has to do with Pakistan’s power structure. It is the feudal-cleric bloc which wields enormous power and patronage across the country and this bloc has an entrenched vested interest in persevering with an education system which supports extremism and militant violence. In addition, the articulation of Pakistan’s identity in terms of an exclusivist and dogmatic religious state has, over the years, consolidated the system of madrassa education.
In July 2009, the Pakistan Government informed the United States that it would not close the madrassa system of education in the country, and it has become a habit for regimes in Pakistan to whine about the lack of money for social sector reforms. However, there is now increasing evidence that Pakistan clearly lacks intent to reform a system of education that essentially teaches a brand of Islam which produces suicide bombers and militant youth. The Federal Government has virtually shelved a US-aided, multi-million dollar plan to reform seminaries considered nurseries of terrorism, as it has failed to garner the support of clerics. The Government had initiated the project in 2002 in an attempt to introduce a secular curriculum in the seminaries. The project sought to introduce computer skills, science, social studies and English into the predominantly religious curriculum at thousands of madrassas across Pakistan. “We had a huge budget of Rs. 5,759 million (USD 71 million) to provide madrassa students with formal education but we could not utilise it,” Education Ministry spokesman Atiqur Rehman disclosed. The Government has failed to meet the target of reforming around 8,000 seminaries within five years. “We reached 507 madrassas only, spending Rs. 333 million and the rest of the [money] – Rs. 5,426 million – has lapsed,” Rehman said. “The Interior Ministry held talks with various madrassas… but many of them refused to accept the Government’s intervention,” said Mufti Gulzar Ahmed Naeemi, a senior official of the Sunni clerics’ alliance, the Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat.
There is a school of thought in Pakistan which fervently believes that, since Government schools have not had any comparable measure of success with nation-building, and since there is also a severe ‘resource crunch’, madrassas, which purportedly fill a social void by offering free education and sustenance for the vast majority of the poor in the countryside, need to be engaged and also encouraged. The state appears to have no immediate interest in diminishing recruitment into the seminaries and has, on the contrary, decided to engage with the madrassa system, without any process of internal reform, to take advantage of its vast physical and financial infrastructure. That these schools are also the base of an intense radicalisation of impressionable minds is knowingly ignored.
For long considered a nursery for the global jihad, the madrassa system in Pakistan is closely linked to the country’s foreign policy objectives in Kashmir and Afghanistan, which have dominated the country’s historiography since its creation. Attempts to control or neutralize the growing threat from this supply line of extremism would undermine an entire spectrum of Islamists in their present positions of power, their memberships of the national Parliament and State Assemblies, and their influence across the countryside.
The failure of madrassa reform has also a great deal to do with fear. The feudal-clerical elite (with considerable help from state agencies) have captured a great deal of grass-root support and, more ominously, linkages – indeed controlling interests – in many of the jihadi groups. There is a latent threat that too hard a push release even greater terrorist violence than is already manifested across Pakistan.
The central problem of curricular reform has been ignored for decades in Pakistan. Instead of pluralistic interpretations of Islam, an exclusionary doctrine is taught in most of the seminaries. These doctrines, Mustafa Qadri opines, have developed to the extent that “today the more fundamentalist, puritanical views of Salafist Islam, while not inherently synonymous with extremism, are the most organised, vocal and hence powerful religious voices in Pakistani politics and society. They have historically been the greatest apologists for Taliban violence, especially during their rule in Afghanistan before September 2001.”
Seven years after its inception, the Madrassa Reform Project has been an unambiguous failure. While there is certainly resistance and even confrontation at the ground level, ambivalence and a reluctance to implement the reforms dominate the state’s agencies and initiatives. The collapse of the seminary reform project is a clear indication that the power of the extremist infrastructure across the country has not diminished in the post 9/11 era, and that the state lacks both the will and the capacity to dismantle this radical network.
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management; Assistant Editor, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution
CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA, TNN
Pakistan has been put on a US legislative terror watch.
Effectively implicating Pakistan in acts of terrorism in the region and across the world, including against India, US lawmakers have imposed stringent conditions on Pakistan (requiring monitoring of compliance by Washington) while okaying a five-year, $ 7.5 billion dole for Islamabad till 2014.
The conditions, which should settle some unease in New Delhi that the US is blind to terrorism affecting India, include six-monthly evaluations by Washington of efforts by Pakistan to A) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups in the FATA and settled areas; B) eliminate the safe havens of such forces in Pakistan; C) close terrorist camps, including those of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed; D) cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups; and (E) prevent attacks into neighboring countries.
Although there is no specific reference to India in keeping with Pakistan’s plea that any India-specific conditions would be humiliating, the so-called Kerry-Lugar bill leaves no doubt that Islamabad risks losing US aid if it keeps up its terror campaign against India. Underscoring the language in the entire bill is the premise that Pakistan has been using terrorism as state policy against India, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said recently.
Section 203 of the Senate Bill S. 1707 enjoins the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan has made progress on matters such as "ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighboring countries."
The Secretary of State also has to certify that Pakistan is stopping terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, dismantling terrorist bases of operations, including in Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets.
Muridke is widely known to be a terrorist pilgrim center with jihadis of all hues and vintage gathering there for congregations patronized by the Pakistani intelligence establishment. Quetta is where western agencies suspect Pakistan is harboring the Taliban shura headed by the one-eyed Mullah Omar.
The legislation has caused much disquiet in Pakistan, where there has been long-time denial of its practice of terrorism, despite telephone and intelligence intercepts implicating its top generals, including Pervez Musharraf and Parvez Ashfaq Kiyani, in terrorism. In more recent times, Pakistani military personnel and special forces’ commandos seconded to jihadi groups, such as Ilyas Kashmiri, have been killed in US drone strikes, exposing the nexus between the Pakistani military and terrorism, and US knowledge of the connection and its intent to act.
Proxies of Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment are now pillorying the Zardari-Gilani civilian government for submitting to excessive US scrutiny and oversight, saying it is ‘insulting’ and sends a wrong message to the world. In fact, according to some reports from Pakistan, the military itself is angry about the bill, which clearly seeks to extend Pakistani civilian control over the country, and has flagged it for discussion.
Section 302 of the bill enjoins the Secretary of State, in consultation with Secretary of Defense, to assess and report to Congress every six months whether "the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration."
Pakistan has not escaped US oversight of its nuclear proliferation activities either, although, in keeping with Islamabad’s sensitivities, there is no specific mention of A.Q.Khan. Section 203 (C) of the bill requires the Secretary of State to certify that the Government of Pakistan "is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks."
The Secretary is also required to provide a six-monthly assessment to Congress of "whether assistance provided to Pakistan has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, whether by the diversion of United States assistance or the reallocation of Pakistan’s financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programs and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons program."
Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School, 2007
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, Dan Halutz, head of the Israeli military, orchestrated a policy of indiscriminate aerial bombardment that entailed widespread war crimes. Over 33 days, Israeli jets killed up to 1,200 Lebanese civilians and bombed houses, hospitals, ambulances, refineries, and roads [sample video and pictures here and here]. Some four thousand Lebanese were wounded and nearly a quarter of the country’s four million people were driven from their homes.
Halutz — the first career air force officer to lead Israel’s military and a vocal proponent of the use of airpower — oversaw a three-pronged aerial strategy: saturation bombing of southern Lebanon; punitive airstrikes aimed at civilian areas in Beirut deemed to support Hizb Allah politically; and destruction of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and manufacturing base.
According to the Israeli government’s own official inquiry — which criticized the country’s leadership for its failure to win the war while remaining utterly silent on atrocities against Lebanese civilians — Halutz’s “personal involvement with decision making within the army and in coordination with the political echelon was dominant.”
Before describing these three policies in detail, it’s necessary to deal with the most common excuse for civilian casualties, namely that Hizb Allah fighters “hide behind” Lebanese civilians while attacking Israel, and that Israel’s army is a moral one that does everything possible to avoid hurting non-combatants.
The Myth of Precision Bombing
“… if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.” -Dan Halutz, interview with Ha’aretz, 21 August 2002
Extensive onsite investigations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) found that the pattern of bombings and civilian casualties could not be dismissed as accidents nor excused by alleged “human shielding” by Hizb Allah fighters (though both AI and HRW have extensively criticized Hizb Allah as well). Both organizations concluded that Halutz’s forces were bombing without regard to whether they were hitting civilians or fighters, and in some instances targeted civilians and civilian objects directly, both of which are war crimes under international law.
These reports discredited Israel’s main excuse for these casualties, namely that they were the unfortunate but inevitable outcome of Hizb Allah fighters hiding amongst Lebanese civilians . HRW investigated over two dozen incidents that accounted for over 150 of the 500 deaths that had taken place at the time; in none of them was there evidence of Hizb Allah military activity nearby. As Peter Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director, wrote:
“Israel’s claims about pin-point strikes and proportionate responses are pure fantasy. As a researcher for Human Rights Watch, I’ve documented civilian deaths from bombing campaigns in Kosovo and Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. But these usually occur when there is some indication of military targeting … In Lebanon, it’s a different scene. Time after time, Israel has hit civilian homes and cars in the southern border zone, killing dozens of people with no evidence of any military objective. My notebook overflows with reports of civilian deaths.” [emphasis added]
Similarly, Mitch Prothero, an American journalist who has worked throughout the Middle East, pointed out that for a guerrilla organization such as Hizb Allah, hiding among its civilian constituents makes little political or military sense:
“… the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah ‘hiding within the civilian population’ clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don’t know what they’re talking about. Hezbollah doesn’t trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well — with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion.”
1. Turning the South into a Free-Fire Zone
“Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that.” -Dan Halutz, Ha’aretz, 14 July 2006
The towns and villages of southern Lebanon bore the brunt of Halutz’s bombing campaign, with the most notorious incident being the 30 July midnight bombing of a building in Qana that killed dozens of civilians in their sleep, more than half of them children. There was no evidence of fighting or Hizb Allah military activity in the area at the time (video below; warning, graphic images).
Apologists for Israeli policies often point out that Israeli forces warned Lebanese civilians by dropping leaflets from jets before leveling these villages, as if giving a warning is tantamount to a license to bomb. HRW executive director Ken Roth excoriated the policy, accusing Israel of turning south Lebanon into a “free-fire zone”:
“The IDF seemed to assume that, because it gave warnings to civilians to evacuate southern Lebanon, anyone who remained was a Hizbullah fighter. When the IDF saw a civilian home or vehicle that Hizbullah might use, it often bombed, even if, as in Kana, Srifa, Marwahin, or Aitaroun, there was no evidence that Hizbullah was in fact using the structure or vehicle at the time of attack. In weighing the military advantage of an attack against the civilian cost, the IDF seemed to assume no civilian cost, because all the ‘innocent’ civilians had supposedly fled. Through these calculations, the IDF effectively turned southern Lebanon into a free-fire zone.” [emphasis added]
Moreover, even those who heeded the IDF’s threats and fled faced the danger of being bombed on the roads, according to AI:
“Particularly disturbing is a leaflet of 7 August which announced that ‘any vehicle of any kind travelling south of the Litani river will be bombarded, on suspicion of transporting rockets, military equipment and terrorists.’ This flagrantly breaches the principle of distinction and the presumption of civilian status: an attack carried out in implementation of this threat would have been an indiscriminate attack and may also have been a direct attack on civilians.
… At any rate, escaping was no guarantee of safety. Israeli forces attacked civilians who had left their villages and were travelling north in response to instructions from the Israeli military authorities, delivered through air-dropped leaflets and other means. Israel has provided no adequate explanation for specific instances of the killing of unarmed civilians in such circumstances.” [emphasis added]
Israeli jets and drones rocketed civilians vehicles fleeing northward, including ambulances. In one of the better-known cases, Israeli aircraft on 23 July attacked two clearly marked Lebanese Red Crescent ambulances that were carrying civilian victims of a previous airstrike, wounding six medical workers and further injuring the three patients, one of whom, Ahmed Fawaz (picture below), lost his leg:
2. The Destruction of Haret Hreik
“Army chief of staff Dan Halutz has given the order to the air force to destroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) in response to every rocket fired on Haifa” -senior air force officer, quoted by Israeli Army Radio
Haret Hreik (in the Dahiya district) is a large, densely populated, predominantly Shi’i, neighborhood in southern Beirut that was repeatedly bombed by Halutz’s forces during the war. Haret Hreik was far from the front lines but singled out for reprisals by Israel because of its inhabitants’ alleged political support for Hizb Allah. Analysis of satellite imagery taken before and after the war [download here — warning: large file] shows that at least 178 buildings — most of them multi-story structures — were destroyed in the neighborhood during the war.
3. Shattering Infrastructure
“If the [captured Israeli] soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.” -Dan Halutz, interview with Channel 10, 12 July 2006
According to one Israeli analyst and former paratrooper, “From the first day of the campaign, Halutz advocated attacking infrastructure beyond southern Lebanon to pressure the Lebanese government to counter Hezbollah.” During the war, Israeli jets systematically bombed Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, including 3 airports; 14 power generation stations; 120 water pumping, storage, and purification facilities; 52 medical buildings, including 2 hospitals; and a sewage treatment plant. Some 127 factories, 80 bridges, and 94 roads were partially or completely destroyed. Lebanese officials estimated that the war cost some $US 3.5 billion worth of damage, a massive toll on the country’s economy.
The destruction of infrastructure – especially roads and bridges – also made it extremely difficult for civilians to flee bombing raids, for ambulances to evacuate the wounded, and for aid to reach trapped populations.
AI’s Executive Deputy Secretary General Kate Gilmore described attacks on Lebanese infrastructure as “war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of power and water plants, as well as the transport infrastructure vital for food and other humanitarian relief, was deliberate and an integral part of a military strategy” (AI’s full study of infrastructure attacks is available here).
The most common excuse for these attacks, in addition to notions of unfortunate error and alleged Hizb Allah shielding, was the “dual use” argument: that since a particular object could hypothetically be used by Hizb Allah, its destruction was therefore militarily necessary and justified. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon pointed out the absurdity of this argument in its report:
“Israel justified its attacks on the civilian infrastructure by arguing its hypothetical use by Hezbollah. The Commission appreciates that some infrastructure may have had ‘dual use’ but this argument cannot be put forward for each individual object directly hit during this conflict. By using this argument, IDF effectively changed the status of all civilian objects by alleging that they might be used by Hezbollah. Further, the Commission is convinced that damage inflicted on some infrastructure was done for the sake of destruction.” [emphasis added]
One of the most infamous incidents was the bombing of the Jiyyeh power station 30km south of Beirut on 13 and 15 July, creating a massive oil slick polluting over 170km of Lebanon’s coastline that will require at least a decade to clean up. The extent of the spill can be seen in this satellite image:
Justice, not Junkets
More than any other individual, Dan Halutz was responsible for designing, managing, and implementing the policies that led to the widespread loss of life and massive destruction of property in Lebanon during the 2006 war — policies that were roundly condemned by the international community. Instead of facing justice for his crimes, however, Halutz is enjoying a two-month junket at Harvard Business School and staying in its luxury dormitory.
As the information on this website shows, Halutz’s actions were clearly a matter of public record before he arrived at Harvard. Moreover, his case is not unique, but rather part of an alarming pattern of known human rights abusers and war criminals studying or working at the university. If Harvard wants to teach the world about human rights, it can start by not giving diplomas to people like Dan Halutz.
By: Peter Chamberlin
We are faced with the ever-present and ever-growing problems presented by the state of Israel. The entire world has been given the most sinister ultimatum of all time (and
Barack Obama is fully supporting it)—we either make Israeli interests the paramount issue concerning the world today, or else Israel will single-handedly start World War III.
If we do not take military actions to preserve Israel’s outlaw nuclear edge in the Middle East, then, according to Israel’s supreme leader, Israel will use those nuclear weapons upon Iran (Israel can only do the job with nukes). If the leadership of the world does not alleviate Israeli leaders’ greatest fears through limited, though intense military actions, then Israel will unleash WWIII in the Middle East, effectively destroying the oil-based international order.
The new American leadership is the most craven, sniveling, and condescending to Israeli demands, of all previous administrations. Never before has an American administration had to publicly reverse itself because of demands openly made upon it by the Zionist state, concerning illegal settlements and other ethnic cleansing measures. To then be forced to announce to the world the reversal of the defense and arms control strategy of the previous administration, to make protecting Israel more important than protecting Europe, is a stinging indictment of Obama Administration loyalties.
The missiles were never really there because of Iran, merely a tool to antagonize Putin. By reversing the Bush deployment policy for ABM systems (allegedly intended to protect Europe from Iranian missiles), moving those missiles which represented no real threat to Iran, to positions between Israel and Iran (on ships in the Persian Gulf and from missiles based on Arab soil), the only superpower was humiliated before the world, while billions of American defense dollars were shifted to investing in protecting the world from the actions of the shitty little mad dog state.
The US military is helping making Israel immune from rocket and missile attack, while there are no such defenses for the either the United States or the European Union. If Israel were really either an island of “democracy” or an outpost of freedom in the Middle East, then it might merit such unprecedented world protection—but it is neither.
In point of fact, the Zionist state is the opposite of both of those ideals. Ruled by a small ruthless minority, the “state,” which has stolen every square inch of property from a powerless unarmed populace, proceeds to destroy every conceivable avenue of change for the better, even that of peaceful coexistence, in order to follow a similar path calculated for gain and furtherance of the secret goal. That goal is the establishment of “Greater Israel,” an un-Biblical concept, used to claim Biblical “divine right” allegedly promised to the real descendents of Abraham.
The Obama Administration represents nothing short of a “gold mine” for Israel, because of the great policy changes that are being made in their favor. We are seeing the pay-off from the heavy Zionist stacking within the Obama Administration that exceeds the record number of Zionists in the previous two administrations. Bush had become an obstacle to Israeli designs in the region, simply because they would take no action against Iran, the only obstacle to complete Israeli domination of the region.
Obama has served his Zionist overlords very well. Obama’s theatric ultimatums to Iran have distracted the world from the building international pressure that was being generated for war crimes investigations by public reactions to the fascist war of ethnic cleansing in Gaza. The “Cast Iron” campaign of terror was giving substance to legitimate comparisons being made between the fascist Israeli actions and those of the Nazis, leading also, to the Goldstone Report on war crimes in Gaza. The war against Iran, which the Israelis are demanding, can only be avoided by a total confrontation of those demands.
Over the years, the American people have stood in silent witness, as this Constitutional Republic has been slowly reshaped into a police state by the subversive financial powers. The population has been conditioned through a series of psyops, staged dramas, intended to accept familiarize the people with the encapsulated plotline. We have been encouraged to believe in the inevitability of a militarized world. Every medium screams that Brave New World is an inevitability, never mentioning that those who are sounding the warning are the same ones who are planning it all.
Since the days of WWI, powerful forces within the United States and Europe have created war as an instrument for social change. The people could be convinced into accepting all sorts of bad things in the name of “self-defense.” Wall St. financiers first bankrolled the Bolsheviks of Russia, repeating the same successful formula a few years later by funding the National Socialists of Germany. The “Islamist militants” are merely the latest model of America’s perennial pre-fabricated enemy. The “Islamist” psyop serves the interests of the Zionist world financiers today and no one else.
The problem with Israel is that the Zionist leaders there have taken the lead role in the psyop and they don’t intend to let anyone else call the shots. In this respect, Israel is in partial rebellion to its master, the American ruling class. The Mossad hand in the creation of the international “Islamist” network gives them an inside track to effect the outcome of planned terror events. Israeli agents, stationed strategically throughout American government, the press, academia and the military, maintain their chokehold on America. America will serve one last time, as Israel’s attack dog, until the once proud Nation strangles on its own vomit and wallows in its own feces, as it struggles for life, dangling at the end of the chain over the side of the cliff, after it has outlived its usefulness.
The parasitic Zionist bankers and the system that they have used to drain the life from this Nation and the world, fully intend to use the full power of the massive military-industrial complex that they have created to seal the global arrangement that they have also created. World War III, just like the two world wars before it, were unnecessary, planned events. Americans never catch-on, because they are too trusting, our fatal weakness.
After the dust settles from the next unnecessary planned world war, the inhuman bankers will have a stranglehold on food production for the surviving remnant, with their genetically modified seeds and industrial farms. They will have the same death grip on all fuel and shipping resources, in addition to control of the world bank and the world government.
Government action is already in play in the former American Congress to cause all of this. Israeli-owned senators and representatives have already given the president the necessary emergency powers to enact the destruction of the Republic. They have legislation waiting until Obama’s Iranian ultimatum passes in October, to carry-out the necessary military strangulation of Iran, as well as the major military actions planned to pursue the imaginary enemy “al Qaida.” That will start the ball rolling. “Hate crime” legislation will then pass swiftly, as part of the next escalation of emergency powers, beginning with a broad suspension of all civil rights under “Patriot Act III.”
The only thing that will prevent all of this is millions of bodies in the streets, either dead ones, or alive ones. We really are “the change that we have been waiting for.” If we don’t pour into the streets now, while we are still somewhat free, we will have to do it later with our Second Amendment rights in our hands.
There will be a second revolution in America, a revolution against a different hidden, colonial power. We have the privilege of shaping that revolution into something that the survivors can all be proud of, instead of one that none can take pride in. If we cannot unseat the Zionists within our own government in a peaceful national protest against where they are taking us against our will, then whoever comes after our time will make no such distinctions between the political Zionists and the Jewish-American community which they have historically abused in order to maintain their illegitimate criminal power.
Our only remaining decision in the matter is what form that revolution will take. If we fail to make a peaceful revolution now, then the option will be taken from our hands by the real “anti-Semites” who are sure to follow.
A Pentagon source told us recently that the issue that literally keeps senior military people up at night is the prospect of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program.
In recent months, the rhetoric coming from high-level Israeli military and political officials in meetings with U.S. officials has become increasingly hawkish as Israel sees a narrowing window of opportunity to inflict enough damage to slow Iran’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon and at a small enough cost.
The Obama administration has been frantically cobbling together a package of incentives to try and convince the Israelis to keep their bombers out of Iranian air space. Placing a ring of anti-ballistic missiles at sea in the Persian Gulf and at sites on the Arabian Peninsula is a key part of that effort, the source tells us.
Because of Arab sensitivities, the U.S. cannot come out and say that anti-ballistic missiles placed on Arab territory are meant to protect Israel. But they will do just that.
Obama administration military officials do not see Russia as a threat. In public statements, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who spent many years eyeballing the Soviet threat from his perch at the CIA, has repeatedly downplayed Russian military capabilities, almost to the point of outright mockery. He sees a more real and immediate threat, as he said at his press conference yesterday: “The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran’s short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected.”
Strategy is all about making smart choices with limited resources. The immediate threat to U.S. interests is the regionally destabilizing fallout of an Israeli strike against Iran and all that would imply for the U.S. wars in two countries that abut Iran. Hence, the shift in missile defense from defend Europe to defend Israel and Arab Gulf allies. Much of the official language out of the White House and DoD will seek to mollify the offended parties in Eastern Europe. Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, and Ellen Tauscher, the undersecretary of state for arms control, are in Europe talking to U.S. allies.
Behind the scenes, near term deployments will focus on boosting missile defense capabilities in the Gulf. The first phase of the missile defense aimed at deterring Israel will be based at sea, and has already started. As Gates said: “We will deploy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors, which provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed.” He said that Aegis ships are already in the Gulf; an Aegis cruiser can carry around 100 SM-3 missiles.
There will also be a land-based component. As Gen. David Petraeus writes today in the The Times: “Iran constitutes the main state-based threat to stability in the region. The impact of its malign activities and harsh rhetoric are felt throughout the Arabian Peninsula, making it, ironically, the best recruiter with prospective partners. We now have eight Patriot missile batteries spread across countries on the western side of the Gulf, where two years ago we had far, far fewer.”
Patriot is a point defense system. Sources tell us that DoD is trying to get Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries to the United Arab Emirates, but Lockheed Martin can’t build them fast enough for the Army, let alone for overseas sales. THAAD is just completing its testing and is beginning initial fielding of two batteries with the Army. One of the Army’s powerful X-band radars is currently deployed in Israel’s Negev desert. Under development is a capability to tie X-band radars to the Navy’s SM-3 interceptor missiles.
As Gen. Cartwright said yesterday, the land-based version of SM-3, that has been used in testing, is already a go. “We’ll put together the system in a deployable configuration so that we can move it forward to places like Europe.” Note that he said “like” Europe. Also, while the first THAAD battery is scheduled to deploy to Europe, don’t be surprised if that battery is diverted to a U.S. base in the Gulf, such as in Qatar or even Israel.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the U.S. may leave missile defense systems in Israel following the “Juniper Cobra” joint missile drills scheduled for next month. It will be the largest joint exercise between the two countries and will include tests of the Israeli Arrow 2 system, THAAD and Aegis.
As we’ve written here before, the Pentagon, as will be evident in the forthcoming QDR review, is very much focused on “high end asymmetric threats”; specifically, how to counter the increasingly capable ballistic missile arsenals of countries such as Iran. Lost in the fevered criticism of the administration from more conservative circles is the importance of these steps in addressing real threats to U.S. security interests and those of its ally Israel.
By ISHTIAQ MEHSUD, Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mehsud, Associated Press Writer – 44 mins ago
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A missile killed six Taliban fighters in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, intelligence officials said, apparently the latest strike in a covert U.S. program that American officials are considering intensifying.
U.S. drones have carried out more than 70 missile attacks in the north over the last year, but the strikes are rarely acknowledged by Washington. The United States says the mountainous tribal belt along the border is a base for militant attacks on American and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan and a stronghold of al-Qaida’s senior leadership.
An unmanned U.S. drone targeted a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal region and killed six insurgents, including two Uzbek fighters, and wounded six others, two Pakistani intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The missile attack occurred in Sararogha village, the base of former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in an Aug. 5 strike by an American drone.
South Waziristan is an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has seen a spike in violence in recent days, including suicide attacks and rocket and mortar exchanges between militants and the Pakistani army. The army has moved into other areas in the northwest over the last year, but has so far avoided major operations in Waziristan.
The U.S. missile attacks have killed several al-Qaida and Taliban commanders as well as civilians. The Pakistani government routinely protests the attacks, but they are widely believed to take place with the sanction of Pakistani security agencies.
Washington says defeating the militants in Pakistan is vital for stabilizing Afghanistan, where violence is raging eight years after the U.S-led invasion to topple the Taliban. The U.S. believes much of the Afghan insurgency is directed by militants in safe havens across the border.
U.S. officials have said they are considering a strategy of intensified unmanned drone attacks against al-Qaida and Taliban targets on the Pakistani side of the border, as an alternative to sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Any significant increase, however, could trigger protests in Pakistan and hurt ties between Washington and Islamabad.
UNITED Nations investigators are preparing to question former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, amid mounting doubts over official versions of how she died and claims of a cover-up.
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals today evidence that a bullet – probably sniper fire from a high-velocity rifle – killed the former prime minister.
The Musharraf regime said a “bump on the head” resulting from a Taliban or al-Qa’ida suicide bomber killed Bhutto on December 27, 2007, shortly before an election she was expected to win.
This evidence contradicts the regime’s claim that the murder was the work of the Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US unmanned drone attack.
There is no history of the militants using sniper fire – or even regular gunfire – in any of the hundreds of suicide attacks they have mounted in Pakistan.
Also revealed in The Weekend Australian Magazine is detail of the cover-up that followed Bhutto’s murder. The crime scene in Liaquat Bagh, a park in Rawalpindi, was washed with high-pressure hoses within 45 minutes of the blast, destroying almost all forensic evidence.
Naheed Khan, Bhutto’s political secretary for 23 years, who cradled her head as she died, told The Weekend Australian Magazine: “There were bullets coming from different directions. There are lots of high buildings overlooking the area. This was a typical intelligence (agency) operation.”
Ms Khan’s husband, senator Safdar Abbasi, who is also a doctor, was in the Toyota Landcruiser when Bhutto was attacked. “The way she died – her instant death – suggests very sharp sniper fire. A typical intelligence (agency) operation.”
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals that, despite the law in Pakistan mandating autopsies in all cases of murder, and doctors attending Bhutto telling police that one should be carried out, none was performed on her or others who died in Liaquat Bagh.
Within hours, her body had been flown to Sindh province for burial, without a full forensic examination.
There is no suggestion of any involvement by Mr Musharraf in her murder. But the UN investigators want to question the former general. Given the authority he wielded in Pakistan, including over the army and its agencies, Mr Musharraf, 66, is thought to be in a better position than most to cast light on events surrounding the assassination.
At his apartment off London’s Edgeware Road, living under the protection of the British government, Mr Musharraf has appeared untroubled by demands to bring him back to Pakistan. He has played bridge with friends and eaten out during the holy month of Ramadan.
An internationally brokered secret deal allowed Mr Musharraf to step down and assured his future security.
After long delays in getting Security Council approval for its mission, the UN investigators started looking into Bhutto’s death in July and are expected to report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this year.
The investigators are reported to be preparing to talk to people in London and Washington, including CNN presenter Wolf Blitzer. On October 20, 2007, Bhutto sent Blitzer an email, through a friend, reading: “If it is God’s will, nothing will happen to me. But if anything happened to me, I would hold Pervez Musharraf responsible.”
Investigations into Bhutto’s killing are the subject of controversy in Pakistan.
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By: Peter Chamberlin
Each political protest that attempts to open people’s eyes to the world of untruths which constantly inundates us, exposes the silent majority to more and more of the police state tactics that the ruling elite has gathered together, to use as it wages war against the American public by less than deadly means. In addition to rubber bullets and flash grenades, the police state brought-out acoustic weapons to herd protestors at the recent G20 Summit in Pittsburgh:
Electromagnetic weapons were used by the Honduran military on Pres. Zelaya, who is holed-up in the Brazilian Embassy:
Pain rays have been used in Iraq (witnesses report that other more exotic lethal weapons were used there, some of which could allegedly melt human flesh, even large vehicles):
The weapons pictured above are just some of the known weapons at the tip of the iceberg of electromagnetic weaponry, ranging from the near-lethal, to those capable of causing mass death. All of these weapons were developed by the military-industrial complex for crowd control. This says nothing about the even more exotic weapons that have been kept hidden and the next class of electromagnetic weaponry, another level higher in magnitude, intended for use over broad areas, perhaps even hemispheric in reach.
The threat from such massive weaponry is so great that the EU has called for their regulation. In October 2000, Congressman Denis J. Kucinich introduced in the House of Representatives a bill, calling for a ban of space based weapons.
In this bill, the definition of a weapons system included:
“any other unacknowledged or as yet undeveloped means inflicting death or injury on, or damaging or destroying, a person (or the biological life, bodily health, mental health, or physical and economic well-being of a person)… through the use of land-based, sea- based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations“(15).
On a personal and more probable level, since, hopefully, most of us won’t be directly attacked by the police state:
There is the standard taser,
The long-range taser
The multi-shot taser.
And the really long-range taser.
My point in all of these examples is to highlight just how much research has actually gone into giving both the military and law enforcement a whole new range of weaponry, to create an entirely new class of violent tactics to use in enforcing crowd control and to persuade resisters to concede to the demands of authority. This has empowered government to openly wage war against its own population without violating international law or being charged with war crimes. Non-lethal weaponry allows the state to physically attack Americans without crossing the line to gunplay, thus side-stepping the Second Amendment and the issue of armed self-defense.
Government warfare against the population is structured much like regular warfare, meaning that enforcement operations are preceded by a period of softening-up the target, using psychological warfare tactics, fighting an informational war. The softening-up process has been underway in America since WWII. Just like in real warfare, the first line of offense is to find or plant sympathetic voices in the local media to serve as the primary instrument for the waging of this form of information warfare, where false ideas are introduced and truth about real intentions is discredited.
The government-controlled media pretends that there is no information war, as they work tirelessly to condition the people to accept the non-lethal warfare directed against us. Movies, TV shows, books and every conceivable method of mass-communication is used to downplay the criminal use of techniques designed for warfare against the civilian population.
The militarization of American police forces and their adaptation to the new low-level warfare techniques is spoon-fed to us, mixed-in with the usual themes of “terrorism” and other fear factors, hoping to intimidate any potential resistance movement before it even begins—stifling the idea itself. That’s the entire mission of the war against the people, in a nutshell, to stifle all unacceptable ideas within the mind itself, before trouble arises from them.
This is a war against all free minds, against all free thought. All thought must be of the government-approved variety. The idea is to replace all unacceptable thinking, acceptable falsehoods must replace reality-based thoughts.
By common consent, the entire “civilized” world operates on the American version of events. Countries that don’t accept the American version of events are ostracized. Going against the flow, as determined by American interests, is a certain formula for losing valuable foreign aid and inviting heat of the more aggressive kind. Individuals who refuse to accept the official version of events are branded as radicals and extremists. Extremist nations and individuals find themselves facing the full wrath of the police state whenever they contradict the official line, asgiven each night by the controlled press.
The universal psyop goes much deeper than debilitating weapons and the informational war, extending into the populace on a deeply personal subterranean level. The phenomenon called “mass-stalking” refers to psychological conditioning (brainwashing) aimed at specifically targeted individuals, even to entire families, using the time-tested methods.
The targets for this stalking are determined on the basis of intellectual testing and psychological profiling, which is conducted at all the elementary schools in the United States. With the results obtained by these tests, the herding process of American children begins. Much like the selective breeding process applied to animal husbandry, some of the human livestock will be separated for special care, while others will be separated from the herd and marked for disposal by the hired hands.
By comparing the results of these intelligence tests to standardized psychological tests, gifted individuals and those with psychological weaknesses are identified, in order to acquire test subjects for both reasons, to further development strategies or for more extensive manipulative techniques. The results of this testing follow each of the test subjects throughout their juvenile and adult years. The gifted are set on paths to develop their fullest potentials, while the others who are destined to be society’s outcasts, are set on pathways to lifetimes of pure hell.
The object of the mass-stalking is mass-experimentation in enforced behavior. Using the most bizarre and effective methods devised by government scientists, unsuspecting individuals are involuntarily subjected to systematic torture, to either cause, or take advantage of split-personality disorders. The purpose of this cruelty remains unclear—whether it is just another way to advance total state power, or simply a messy sadistic disposal system run by thugs who might otherwise work in slaughter houses, throwing live poultry against walls.
Beginning in their youth, these individual victims of these sadists are systematically subjected to the most disgusting forms of violent, sexual, chemical and electromagnetic torture, in order to destroy their young minds, by splitting and fragmenting them. Many of these victims were abducted and tortured, others subjected to traumatic sexual and violent events, intended to force susceptible young minds into retreating within themselves, where they would split-off the personality associated with the unacceptable memory and submerge them and the memories associated with them.
The mass-stalking program grew out of the mkultra experiments and the mass-testing based experimentation previously done on American troops for WWII and Korea, intended to separate and develop potential leaders and those who were deemed to be “inadequate soldiers.” This mass-conditioning program was the prototype for the nationwide program which was to follow.
The secret programs carried-out in hospitals, universities and military bases, which relied upon the crude electro-shock methods of deprogramming, were the forerunners for later, more sophisticated, electromagnetic based memory erasure and stimulation. Wireless transmission made the entire populace potential subjects for these tests.
These scientific programs for establishing government control over maverick free thinkers are very effective at preempting and suppressing potential resistance. For those who are not so easily swayed by all this impressive technology or the cruelty of the government’s trained technicians, we know that FEMA camps await to be filled by someone.
Diehard resisters face formidable technical obstacles to their efforts to wake-up the sleeping sheeple and reach-out to those who have just given-up. The task before us is to find ways to get past the personal defensive psychological barriers that have been erected to even listening to another opinion that contradicts their own. This has been the primary problem that we have faced in raising an effective resistance. We have not really had a chance to convince an open-minded audience that they believed in multiple lies. How do you persuade people that their own belief system is based on pure deception? How do you open people’s eyes and ears without first crossing pre-set boundaries of biases and preconceptions, inadvertently increasing their resistance to the truth?
The United States of America is a nation that has been heavily indoctrinated for over sixty years with false ideas about American benevolence in the world. To convince an “average Joe” that this, the core of all his other beliefs, is false, is a monumental task in itself. Yet, this is the central problem we face today, beyond the electronic/propaganda fence that has been erected to contain us. If we could break through this one barrier, then there might not be a need for street confrontations. All else might just fall in place.
Resistance begins and ends within the mind. The police state knows this. When they say euphemistically, that it is a war for “hearts and minds,” this is what they mean—a battle to kill-off ideas of resistance. The Master State is attempting to preempt future resistance by anticipating who will be in the resistance, so that their rebellious minds might be swept clean of such unacceptable thinking, before trouble comes from it.
Resistance to the idea of the all-powerful state is all that prevents the rising-up of the global dictatorship. Many plans are afoot now to bring this new order about. Full implementation of the plan will bring-about a massive planetary kill-off, where multiple animal and plant species will disappear, along with a billion or more human beings. Silence in the face of such inhuman plans is a deadly surrender of apocalyptic proportions.
ZAGREB, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Croatia said on Monday it had frozen all activities related to building an international oil pipeline linking the Caspian basin and Italy because the project appeared to have run out of steam.
Croatia told its partners in July it had frozen the project pending the government’s new guidelines, but this had not been made public until now.
Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Italy agreed in 2007 to build the Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP) to bring crude from the Caspian basin via the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta to Trieste in Italy.
First projections said the pipeline could be operational in 2012, but the target date was then moved to 2015.
“The Croatian oil pipeline operator (JANAF) has for years been engaged and willing to seek, together with partners, investors and partners who will use the pipeline. Unfortunately, there has been no progress in the project in recent years,” JANAF, said in a written statement to Reuters.
Janaf is 75 percent owned by the state, its energy companies and other agencies. It has a big portion of the Croatian transport facilities for PEOP already in place.
“We do not think the project can yield benefits without active participation of Italian companies, as Italy is crucial for transport of crude towards the EU markets. Without it, there is no need for PEOP,” the statement said.
JANAF also said Slovenia’s refusal to take part would mean higher costs, as the pipeline would have to be laid under the sea in the northern Adriatic to bypass Slovenia, which voiced concern that PEOP could threaten its sensitive karst terrain.
“Also, there are some other competitive projects for Caspian crude that have already kicked off, like the Burgas-Aleksandropoulis pipeline,” the statement said, referring to the “Balkan oil pipeline.”
“All of this necessitates a reconsideration of the PEOP and we have frozen our activities until the government defines its position in the new circumstances,” it added.
PEOP is one of several international pipeline projects the European Union wants to see in place to diversify supply routes.
The costs for 1,400-km long PEOP, with envisaged annual capacity at 1.2-1.8 million barrels per day, are estimated at between $2 billion and $3.5 billion. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; edited by Zoran Radosavljevic and James Jukwey)
Street leading to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s Lahore home. It is unclear if Saeed is under house arrest
One reason why Pakistan doesn’t appear to be sincere in its action against Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Sayeed is slowly emerging.
It’s been learnt here that some of the LeT’s top commanders, spearheading its violent campaign in India, have now joined the Pak Army’s campaign against the Taliban.
Sources said they have been moved from Punjab in Pakistan to set up and lead Army-sponsored armed “village defence committees” in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP).
Sources said LeT commanders Sad Baba, Asad Khan, Bilal, Gazi Sultan and Huzefa have moved to NWFP where the Pak Army is encouraging local tribesmen and their elders to form armed groups to fight the Taliban.
Local tribesmen are said to have told the Pak Army not to deploy its forces because their presence helps build support for the Taliban. Hence, the committees.
This anti-Taliban resistance has a parallel with the “Sunni awakening” in Iraq, where tribesmen took on al-Qaeda militants in Anbar province and elsewhere.
The village defence groups rely on tribal customs and widespread ownership of guns to raise traditional private armies — interestingly, these are also called Lashkars — each with hundreds of volunteers from local tribes.
These armies, launched last autumn, are not aimed at preventing individual acts of terrorism — suicide bombings etc — but to create a local defence system that prevents the Taliban from setting up an “extremist mini-state” in the lawless north-west.
Such Lashkars have already been established in Bajaur, Dir and Buner in NWFP.
The biggest anti-Taliban Lashkar had been set up by Sulthankeil tribe in Khall town with 10,000 local recruits who came along with their weapons.
Sources reveal that the LeT’s support for setting up and leading these tribal groups has two main reasons. One, the LeT belongs to a different ideological sect, theologically opposed to the Taliban and an armed rebellion against the Pak army.
Two, LeT’s commanders are experienced in guerilla warfare and most of them have been operating in Kashmir or directing terror acts in various cities across India.
Security agencies monitoring Lashkar operations have found that the geographical location of many of these LeT commanders is being concealed via “spoofing” of their satphones.
“When a satellite phone is spoofed, it means its Lat (latitude)-Long (Longitude) is misrepresented by highly sophisticated sensors thus preventing surveillance,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
The official alleged that there were instances where the service provider was “giving inaccurate information.”
“We worked on two numbers, one belonging to an LeT commander and another used by a Hizbul man. Both were spoofed and in both cases we knew the actual location of the users. The service provider gave us the correct information about the Hizbul man while it misled us on information about the phone used by the LeT.”
The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
ACCORDING TO reports, Lashkar-e-Taiba is helping the Pakistan army fight against the Taliban by setting up defence groups in villages.
Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Sayeed, has ordered his commanders to move to the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). The local tribesmen seem to be wary of the Pakistani Army’s presence in the area, which has helped build up support for the Taliban. Hence, the elders in the area have invited the LeT commanders to take over the fight and campaign from the army.
Small armies or groups are being formed in villages as a defence mechanism against the Taliban to stop the organisation from gaining more power over the NWFP. Interestingly, these groups, comprising of villagers are also called Lashkars. They are trained in arms but refrain from suicide bombings that the LeT is known for.
These lashkars are being organised in areas like Dir and Buner in the NWFP. Khall has the largest group of Lashkars, amounting to 10,000 local people. The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
However, the intervention of LeT may not be a very good sign for India. LeT is known as a terrorist organisation and has been banned in many states like India, Russia, UK, US and Australia. Pakistan has also officially denounced LeT. The body has also come under the radar for many terrorists activities in India. Lashkar men have been accused of heightening tensions between India and Pakistan.
The main objective behind LeT’s formation was Kashmir Jihad. It has done everything possible to make things difficult for India, from guerrilla warfare to suicide bombings. India has alleged that Lashkar men have infiltrated the border many a times, to train Kashmiri youth to fight for Jihad.
Hence the amount of control that the organisation would gain in NWFP province is unsettling for India. With the support given to local tribesmen, it is likely that the locals in the area might slowly fall to Jihadist ideology and become new warriors in the fight against India.
The organisation is known for recruiting and training men and women to fight with modern arms and tactics. Once the Taliban is flushed out, their attention will once again turn to India. NWFP has witnessed anarchy for ages. Its economy, education and employment rates are abysmal. Hence it is easy for the LeT men to indoctrinate the youth from here into their outfit. The growing popularity of the organisation among the local men is dangerous for India.
In spite of banning the organisation in international forums, the fact that Pakistani military is taking the support of LeT chiefs in another matter of concern. Pakistan needs to learn lessons from the past. The Mujahideen and the Taliban were once formed and trained by Pakistan to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now the Taliban are set to take over in many of its regions. If today, the Pakistan army helps the LeT men to breed in their soil, it wouldn’t be long before another conflict erupts between the state and LeT.
WANA: Tribesmen continue to migrate from various areas of South Waziristan in fear of an apprehending operation here.
According to sources a large number of tribesmen is taking refuge – leaving their houses in Luddha, Posh Ziarat and other adjacent areas – in various parts of Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and North Waziristan after Security Forces announced directives to vacate the area from a local radio station.
Political official said people have been advised to vacate these areas as action against terrorist has become inevitable in Maken and Mehsud.
By Ben Farmer in Kabul and Javed Siddiq in Islamabad
Published: 5:42PM BST 27 Sep 2009
Washington has long been frustrated at Islamabad’s reluctance to target the Afghan Taliban’s ruling council, the Quetta Shura, which is accused of directing large parts of the insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.
State department and intelligence officials delivered the ultimatum to Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, last week as he visited the US for the United Nations’ security council sessions and the G20 economic summit.
Pakistan’s government has argued the Quetta Shura, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, does not harm Pakistan. It has said that dealing with other militants such as those in the Swat valley was a higher priority.
But last week Anne Patterson, America’s ambassador to Islamabad, told the Daily Telegraph that the offensive in Swat was not targeting the insurgents posing the greatest danger to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
An official at the Pakistani interior ministry told the Daily Telegraph: “The Americans said we have been raising this issue with you time and again. These elements are attacking Nato forces in southern Afghanistan, especially in Helmand. The Americans said ‘If you don’t take action, we will.'”
Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, said the US had so far been unable to provide detailed intelligence to target the Quetta Shura. He said: “We need real-time intelligence. The Americans have never told us any location.”
US unmanned drone strikes have so far been confined to Pakistan’s federally administrated tribal border regions where Islamabad holds little sway. But attacks in or around Quetta, in Baluchistan, would strike deep into the Pakistan government’s territory and are likely to cause a huge outcry in the country.
Details of the shift in strategy emerged as Barack Obama, the US president, continued to reconsider his strategy for tackling the growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Gen James L. Jones, Mr Obama’s national security adviser, said no deadline had been set for responding to an urgent request for up to 40,000 new troops from the senior Nato commander in Afghanistan.
Gen Stanley McChrystal made the request after delivering a strategic assessment which labelled the situation serious and deteriorating.
Polls show growing US opposition to the war in Afghanistan and several senior democrats have spoken out against sending more troops. Mr Obama said he was a “sceptical audience” to the request.
Joe Biden, US vice president, has argued that Washington should abandon ambitious military proposals and concentrate on more limited operations against al-Qaeda using drones and special forces.
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, denied a rift between the White House and Pentagon over the troop request and said Gen McChrystal was happy for the strategy to be decided before the troop request was considered. Mr Gates rejected calls to set a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan and said failure in Afghanistan “would be a huge setback for the United States”.
Separately, the Afghan minister for energy and water has survived an assassination attempt when a car bomb exploded, killing at least four civilians and leaving 17 wounded.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Ismail Khan, who is one of Afghanistan’s key political figures. The bomb exploded in the north western city of Herat as the former warlord’s convoy was passing, leaving twisted wreckage littering the tree-lined road.
The tribe have collectively decided that there won’t be any Taliban on their soil. The Taliban have been driven out of the Salarzai area. The Salarzai lashkar, mostly made up of labourers and peasants, has successfully kept the Salazai area free of the Taliban.Tens of Salarzail lashkar leaders have been target-killed. The Salarzai leaders informed me they hold the ISI responsible for the targeted killings. “The Taliban are just a facade. The real force is the ISI punishing us for our anti-Taliban struggle,” said one of the leaders.
The leaders said that Mamond Taliban headquarters used to be in Damadola, which is a few kilometres from the FC fort in Bajaur. The Mamond Taliban used to bomb Salarzai villages. The Salarzai tribal elders requested the Political Agent, the authorities of the FC [Frontier Corps] and the Pakistani army to stop the Mamond Taliban. None of these offered any help. Finally the Salarzai lashkar took positions on the mountains and for two hours heavily bombarded the surrounding villages of the Mamond Taliban. At that point the political agent and a colonel of the army asked the Salarzai lashkar to stop the bombing. They gave the same old logic: who will fight the NATO forces from across the Afghan border if you eliminate the Taliban? [emphasis added]
Following such encounters with the state authorities, the Salarzais decided to fire at any forces entering their area: be it the Taliban, Al Qaeda, the army or the US or NATO.
According to the tribal leaders, the military was ordered to shell anti-Taliban villages:
The Salarzai leaders also informed me that last year the army deliberately fired at those villages in Bajaur that were known to be staunchly anti-Taliban. They said one of their colleagues called Maj Gen Alam Khattak to ask him to stop the bombing of his village. “Major General Sahib! I will start a vendetta with you if you did not halt the bombing of my village immediately. I will make sure to kill you and your family at the first available opportunity,” they quoted one of their colleagues as saying. The major general asked him to meet Col Sajjad who was bombing the anti-Taliban villages from his base in Timergara. That colleague saw a big Bajaur map affixed on the wall in the office of Col Sajjad. The map had several encircled villages. Col Sajjad informed him that the map had been handed over to him by his commanders with the order to bomb all the encircled villages. “Our colleague’s blood boiled with anger: none of the villages had Taliban in them,” said the Salarzai leaders…On the other hand, those Salarzai villages that had Taliban were not marked on the map or bombed by the army.
This does not appear to be an isolated incident. Back in the spring of this year, a lashkar in Upper Dir battled the Taliban after a suicide attack leveled a mosque. The members of the lashkar were infuriated when the military targeted the villages with artillery, and they demanded that the military stop the shelling. The lashkar then refused help from the military.
Couple this report with yesterday’s report that more jihadi terror camps focusing on the fight against India have opened, and it is clear that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services remain compromised and that they have refused to abandon the notion of keeping the Taliban and other terror groups in reserve against India as well as a hedge against a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. And not only that, elements in Pakistan’s military and the ISI are also actively aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan: “Who will fight the NATO forces from across the Afghan border if you eliminate the Taliban?” the colonel and the political agent in Bajaur asked.
The report also shows that some of the more rosy analyses of Pakistan’s counterinsurgency prowess are flawed. If you assume that the military merely made a mistake and shelled the wrong towns, the act of indiscriminately shelling towns is just what a military should not do when fighting an insurgency.
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/09/pakistani_intel_army_backing_t.php#ixzz0SOMFP68z
A US Counteroffensive In Pakistan
A Loose Coalition Of Pro-American Politicians, Writers, Academics To Promote US Goals, Isolate Pak Military
Forget US diplomacy with the Pakistani government. The Americans are now setting the policy agenda in Pakistan in direct talks with Pakistani political parties. To ensure privacy, these talks are being held in Washington, away from prying eyes and ears in Pakistan. Pakistani politicians, writers and some academicians are being recruited to promote US policies and isolate the Pakistani military and intelligence. This is how a superpower occupies a nuclear-armed nation.
Face Of An American Bully In Islamabad:
Is it our country or yours, Madam Ambassador?
By Ahmed Quraishi
Sunday, 27 September 2009.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US political and military officials go on the offensive inside Pakistan, boldly confronting critics and seeking to build a coalition of pro-American supporters across Pakistani politics, media and the academia. The goal is to create a domestic counter to the entrenched Pakistani policymaking establishment [read ‘the military’] that is resisting American efforts to force Pakistan to become a voluntary full-fledged second theater of war after Afghanistan.
Signs of the new American aggressiveness abound from increased willingness of US diplomats in Pakistan to confront their local critics, to sweet-talking Pakistani politicians, media and academicians into openly promoting the US agenda through sponsored visits to Washington and Florida.
This is similar to a Plan B: using local actors to force change from within. Plan A, which was focused on coercive diplomacy and threats of sending boots on the ground into Pakistan, failed to yield results over the past months.
In essence, the United States is covertly raising an army of special agents and soldiers on Pakistani soil, with the help of local Pakistani accomplices, but without the full knowledge of the Pakistani military to avoid a confrontation.
This counteroffensive began with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson’s attempt to intimidate a Pakistani columnist and a known critic of US policies. Ms. Patterson did not seek a public debate to counter criticism. Instead, she resorted to backchannel contacts to have the writer blocked. In so doing, Ms. Patterson unwittingly broke a new barrier for US influence, creating precedence for how the US embassy deals with the Pakistani media. This is something that the Ambassador’s counterparts could never imagine pulling off in places like Moscow, Ankara, or Cairo.
Buoyed by this, the Ambassador went on the offensive. This month, she held a press conference, released a long policy statement, and met Prime Minister Gilani to reassure him after reports suggested her government did not trust Islamabad with the expected aid money. She also appeared on primetime television, carefully choosing a nonaggressive TV talk show as a platform to address Pakistanis glued to their sets in peak evening hours.
Pakistan’s ‘New Capital’: The gigantic expansion of the US embassy in Islamabad. The US ambassador [left] kicking off her counteroffensive on Sept. 19, telling her Pakistani host she intervened to stop a columnist from writing against her government and affirmed she will do this again because criticism endangers the lives of US citizens in Pakistan.
The television appearance coincided with an interview she gave to a US news service accusing Pakistan of refusing to join the US in eliminating one of the Afghan local parties – the Afghan Taliban – whom her own government and military failed to wipe out in Afghanistan in eight years of war. The statement played on the usual American accusations, backed by no evidence, that seek to explain the growing disenchantment of the Afghan people with the failed American occupation of their country by linking it to alleged Pakistani sanctuaries and covert support.
But hours before her television appearance, on Sept. 19, Pakistani police raided the Islamabad offices of Inter-Risk, a Pakistani security firm representing American defense contractor DynCorp, where a huge quantity of illegal sophisticated weapons was confiscated. According to one news report, the Pakistani owner of the firm, retired Captain Ali Jaffar Zaidi, escaped from his house hours before the police arrived. A Pakistani journalist, Umar Cheema, who works for The News, confirmed in a published statement that Mr. Zaidi told him a day before the raid that “the US embassy in Islamabad had ordered the import of around 140 AK-47 Rifles and other prohibited weapons in the name of Inter-Risk” and that “the payment for the weapons would be made by the embassy.”
[The News reports today that the government has “disbanded” Inter-Risk, voiding its contract with both the US embassy and with DynCorp. The company director Capt. Zaidi remains at large.]
In other words, Pakistani security authorities have found American and Pakistani citizens working for the US embassy involved in suspicious activities.
What Really Happened?
US ambassador Anne Patterson used her goodwill to seek the personal intervention of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik to obtain licenses for prohibited weapons.
Sixty-one pieces of sophisticated weapons were seized by the police at the Inter-Risk/DynCorp facility.
The question is: Why did the Pakistani police confiscate the weapons if they were duly licensed by the government?
The only logical answer is that the licensing procedure, which includes clearance from the country’s intelligence and security departments, was not followed.
Apparently, Washington’s staunch allies inside Pakistan’s elected government helped their friends with advanced weapons into the country without the knowledge of important national security departments of the government.
This raises serious questions because of several reports recently that implicate Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, in issuing a large number of visas to US citizens without proper clearance from Islamabad. Since US tourists are not exactly flocking to Pakistan, Amb. Haqqani is suspected of having facilitated private US security agents to enter Pakistan. A spate of recent reports have exposed the presence of private American security firms on Pakistani soil.
When the country’s security departments finally paid attention to Ambassador Haqqani’s indiscretions, the ambassador, who is a former journalist, is suspected of leaking a protest letter he wrote to his country’s intelligence chief, apparently attempting to clear his name before his American friends. Of all places, the letter, which is a classified government communication, surfaced in New Delhi, on the screen of an Indian television news channel.
Ambassador Haqqani’s letter secret that blasts the ISI surfaces in New Delhi. Pakistanis joke that Mr. Haqqani is ‘the US ambassador to the United States, stationed at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC.’
PATTERSON’S LIE EXPOSED
On Sept. 30, Mr. Ansar Abbasi of The News published the full content of a letter written by Ambassador Patterson to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, dated March 30, seeking his “intervention” to grant Inter-Risk and DynCorp “the requisite prohibited bore arms licenses to operate in the territorial limits of Pakistan and as soon as possible.”
The letter creates a new dent in the US embassy’s counteroffensive that seeks to downplay the presence of private US security firms in the country. A Web news portal, PakNationalists/AhmedQuraishi.com released fresh evidence this month showing the infamous US security firm formerly known as Blackwater recruiting military-trained agents fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.
A screen shot from the secure server of BlackwaterUSA.com that shows the American defense contracter hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents to serve in Pakistan, where the pro-US government and the US ambassador are vehemently denying the presence of American mercenaries on Pakistani soil.
To quell the controversy, Ambassador Patterson went on record confirming that five million US dollars will be spent by her government to build new living quarters for US Marines within the embassy compound in Islamabad. But the number of marines utilizing this facility will not exceed 20, she assured Pakistanis recently.
The Sept. 19 raid, however, proves there will be a far larger number of armed Americans on Pakistani soil eventually than the figure given by Ambassador Patterson.
US MERCENERARIES IN PAKISTAN?
The strong denials of US officials on the presence of private US security firms in Pakistan do no tally with the circumstantial evidence. At least three verified incidents have been reported in Islamabad alone over the past few weeks that involve armed US individuals in civilian dresses. In two incidents, Pakistani police officers arrested and then released armed civilian Americans after intervention from the US embassy. In one incident, a Pakistani citizen reported being assaulted by armed Americans in civilian clothes. Police officers refused to register a complaint against the Americans for fear of being reprimanded in case of intervention by the US embassy.
US DOLLARS RECRUITING PAKISTANIS
TO WORK AGAINST PAKISTANI MILITARY
Private US security agents sneaking into Pakistan is one level of the current US engagement with Pakistan. Another level is political and seeks to isolate the Pakistani policymaking establishment, and especially the Pakistani military and the country’s powerful intelligence agencies, from within, after months of incessant one-sided US media campaign demonizing the country’s military and intelligence services.
On the political front, Washington’s Pakistan handlers have launched a new bout of US meddling in domestic Pakistani politics. The US government has put into high gear its contacts with Pakistani political parties. Washington is now conducting direct diplomacy with these parties.
A high level delegation of MQM, which controls the port city of Karachi, the starting point of US and NATO supplies headed for Afghanistan, is in Washington meeting US political and military officials.
A similar exercise is planned with the ANP, the small ex-Soviet communist ally currently governing the NWFP, the Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan.
Both parties came to power thanks to former President Musharraf’s secret ‘deal’ brokered by Vice President Dick Cheney and his State Department officials in 2007. The deal sought to create a pro-American ruling coalition in the country that would ensure that the Pakistani military is aligned with the US strategic goals in the region.
The Americans are trying to accentuate what they see as pro-Indian, pro-American strains within the two parties.
Washington began this program quietly in 2007 after getting a green signal from President Musharraf to increase US involvement in Pakistani politics. There are reports that nazims of several districts in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP were invited to Washington to meet US government and military officials over the past thirty months. But these were very low key visits. In fact, they were so secretive that ANP chief Asfandyar Wali refused in early 2008 to confirm or deny a visit he made to Washington after the Feb. 2008 elections in Pakistan. In contrast, no effort was made this time to downplay the current visits by MQM and ANP delegations to Washington and their meetings with US and NATO officials. And as in all of these covert visits, the federal Pakistani government, the Foreign Office and the country’s security departments are not privy to what is being discussed between US officials and the leaders of the two Pakistani political parties on US soil. In fact, US officials arranged the meetings on US soil precisely in order to circumvent the Pakistani government.
While there is no immediate evidence that Pakistan should be alarmed by Washington’s direct diplomacy with Pakistani political parties outside Pakistan’s territory, Islamabad needs to be wary of strong strains within Washington’s policy establishment that have been focusing on exploiting Pakistan’s ethnic and linguistic fissures in order to support its so-called ‘Af-Pak’ agenda.
A lot of work has been done over the past three years in several Washington think tanks on Pakistan’s linguistic and ethnic fissures and how these can be exploited by Washington to weaken Islamabad and force it to follow the US agenda in Afghanistan and the region.
During Pakistan’s worst domestic instability in 2007, mainstream US media outlets were leaking policy and intelligence reports focusing on alleged separatism in several Pakistani regions. This week, some of the most ardent American supporters of separatism inside Pakistan – the usual suspects from the US think-tank circuit – came together in Washington to launch a political action committee that seeks independent status for a Pakistani province, Sindh. The ceremony for the launch of the ‘Sindhi American Political Action Committee’ was addressed by Selig Harrison and Marvin Weinbaum, two think-tank types with extensive links to the US intelligence community and both advocates of engagement with Pakistani separatists as a leverage against Islamabad.
The new American confidence in openly meddling in Pakistani politics should raise alarm bells in the Pakistani capital. This is the strongest sign yet of how weak the federal Pakistani government, and in turn Pakistan itself, appears to outsiders.
The weakness of Pakistan’s ruling elite is inviting American hounding at a time when the American bully is on the retreat elsewhere.
A condensed version of this report was published by The Nation of Lahore on Saturday.
© 2007-2009. All rights reserved. AhmedQuraishi.com & PakNationalists
September 26, 2009
“Stop the Spread of Guantanamitis” is a demonstration organized by Amnesty International’s Islington and Hackney Group — with support from the London Guantánamo Campaign, Redress, Peace Strike, the Helen Bamber Foundation, the Stop the War Coalition, CAMPACC (the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities) and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers — to raise awareness of the plight of the remaining 225 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and also to discuss how “Guantanamitis” has infected international law around the world, leading to a situation whereby imprisonment without charge or trial, “extraordinary rendition” and torture have been disguised as necessary behavior — rather than as war crimes and criminal activities — by governments around the world.
On the day, those attending will be offered placards representing each of the prisoners still held. Singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie will open the proceedings at 1 pm, and speakers who will address various aspects of “Guantanamitis” include solicitors Louise Christian and Imran Khan, Kevin Laue (Redress), Helen Bamber (of the torture survivors’ support group Helen Bamber Foundation), Sunny Hundal (Pickled Politics), Andy Worthington (journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files), and representatives of Amnesty International and Stop the War.
With doubts regarding President Obama’s ability to close Guantánamo by his self-imposed deadline of January 2010, revelations that the US prison at Bagram airbase still stands “outside the law” (due to attempts by the US government to resist granting rights to foreign prisoners “rendered” there from other countries, recent hints that “rendition” has resumed under President Obama, and an apparent refusal on the part of the US to reinstate the Geneva Conventions for prisoners seized in wartime), and a refusal on the part of the US authorities to thoroughly investigate the crimes of the Bush administration, the need to keep Guantánamo and the fallout from the “War on Terror” in the public eye is as important as ever. Please come along if you can!
Campaigners will also be raising awareness of the case of Shaker Aamer, a British resident (with a British wife and children) who is still held at Guantánamo, and will also be calling on the British government to offer a home to Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian who lived in the UK for two years (and was in the process of applying for asylum), when he took a holiday in Pakistan at the wrong time, and was kidnapped and sent to Guantánamo. Belbacha has been cleared for release from Guantánamo since February 2007, but is terrified of being repatriated, as he faces threats to his life from both the Algerian security services and the Islamists whose threats encouraged him to seek asylum in the UK in the first place.
For further information, please contact Sophie Khan of Amnesty International. A Facebook page for the event is here.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009, and if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Gordon Duff Salem-News.com
How long have we watered the Tree of Deceit with the blood of patriots?
John Farmer’s book: “The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11″
(CINCINNATI, Ohio) – In John Farmer’s book: “The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11″, the author builds the inescapably convincing case that the official version… is almost entirely untrue…
The 9/11 Commission now tells us that the official version of 9/11 was based on false testimony and documents and is almost entirely untrue. The details of this massive cover-up are carefully outlined in a book by John Farmer, who was the Senior Counsel for the 9/11 Commission.
Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities’ School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was responsible for drafting the original flawed 9/11 report.
Does Farmer have cooperation and agreement from other members of the Commission? Yes. Did they say Bush ordered 9/11? No. Do they say that the 9/11 Commission was lied to by the FBI, CIA, Whitehouse and NORAD? Yes. Is there full documentary proof of this? Yes.
Farmer states…“at some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened… I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The [Norad air defense] tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years. This is not spin.”
The 9/11 Commission head, Thomas Kean, was the Republican governor of New Jersey. He had the following to say… “We to this day don’t know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth. . . ” When Bush’s own handpicked commission failed to go along with the cover up and requested a criminal investigation, why was nothing done?
9/11 Commission member and former US Senator, Bob Kerrey, says, “No one is more qualified to write the definitive book about the tragedy of 9/11 than John Farmer. Fortunately, he has done so. Even more fortunately the language is clear, alive and instructive for anyone who wants to make certain this never happens again.”
With the only “official” 9/11 report now totally false, where do we go from here? Who is hurt by these lies? The families of the victims of 9/11 have fought, for years, to get to the truth. For years, our government has hidden behind lies and secrecy to deny them closure.
In 2006, The Washington Post reported…”Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources. Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission…”
What does Farmer’s book tell us? Farmer offers no solutions, only a total and full rejection of what was told and his own his own ideas concerning the total failure of honesty on the part of the government, a government with something to hide.
Farmer never tells us what. Nobody could keep a job in the public sector speaking out more than Farmer has. What were Farmer’s omissions? There are some. Now that we know that intelligence given the 9/11 Commission wasn’t just lies from our own government but based on testimony coerced through torture from informants forced to back up a cover story now proven false, a pattern emerges.
We know that, immediately after 9/11, many more potential suspects and informants were flown directly to Saudi Arabia by Presidential order than were ever detained and questioned. We will never know what they could have said. Their testimony would have been vital to any real investigation were they not put beyond the reach of even Congress and the FBI.
Putting aside all other questions of recent evidence of CIA involvement with bin Laden prior to 9/11 or altered physical evidence involving the Pentagon attack, any failure to call to account the systematic perjury committed by dozens of top government officials, now exposed as a certainty is an offense to every American.
What do we know? We know the conjecture about 9/11 still stands but for certain, we know we were lied to, not in a minor way, but systematically as part of a plot covering up government involvement at nearly every level, perhaps gross negligence, perhaps something with darker intent.
Are we willing to live with another lie to go with the Warren Report, Iran Contra and so many others? Has the sacrifice of thousands more Americans, killed, wounded or irreparably damaged by a war knowingly built on the same lies from the same liars who misled the 9/11 Commission pushed us beyond willingness to confront the truth?
Have we yet found where the lies have begun and ended? There is no evidence of this, only evidence to the contrary. The lies live on and the truth will never be sought. The courage for that task has not been found.
Can anyone call themselves an American if they don’t demand, even with the last drop of their blood, that the truth be found?
How long have we watered the Tree of Deceit with the blood of patriots?
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon’s published articles at this link: VeteransToday.com.
He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today’s veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon’s timely and critical reports on Salem-News.com, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.
You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address: Gpduf@aol.com
As everybody knows that Suicide and car bomb blasts are done from the FATA area of Khyber and Orakzai Agency. Where these cars bombs , and suicide jackets are prepared in that criminal Kingdom.
As operation was being, conducted, in Khyber agency and Orakzai Agency and many criminals were apprehended under FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations), and were being kept in Jails of Peshawar jail by Political agent Khyber Agency Mr Tariq Hayat Khan.
The operation had not even finished , but these criminals were promptly released by Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani illegally, as PM has no authority over FATA according to Article 247 of 1973 constitution. This Authority is vested only in President of Pakistan.
This deed of letting go of Criminals of FATA, happened after the Minister for Environment hailing from Bara Khyber agency FATA, Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi , of PPP , met the prime minister . Within few hours, all the Tribal Terrorists were let go to let loose Poor citizens of NWFP.
Not only the Terrorists were let go but the political Agent was also suspended and Transferred to teach him a lesson , he was not even replaced by another political agent while the Operation was underway .
As a result for 72 hours operation was being conducted without a Political Agent in Khyber Agency, creating a joke of the Operation and the security of people.
In these 48 hours Bomb Blasts occurred in Hango Kohat and then in Peshawar Cantonment area . Another blast occurred in Bannu area . on the same day . All three blasts in Matter of 48 hours .
The Blood of Citizens of Peshawar is on the Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani , who wanted to appease the corrupt minister , who occupies official residence in Peshawar University campus to the protests of students of University of Peshawar although he own bungalows in double digits all over Peshawar area and Plazas.
The student claims the he is polluting the education environment of Peshawar University . Through strange looking Tribals, he carries around in his entourage who stares at girl Students.
It may be added that he just attended in First class all expenses paid , by Government a trip to attend the trip to United Nations conference on Environment.
Which he conveniently skipped along with President Zardari , who was supposed to be with him, but was meeting Richard Halbrook as who cares about environment which he represents.
I blame the Prime Minister and Governor NWFP and Environment Minister of PPP for this blood letting of 18 Innocent citizens of Pakistan for helping terrorist escape justice as there is judicial way present now after FCR has been amended, why PM interfered in judicial process. These people should have appealed instead of coming through back door.
I appeal to Lawyers and bar council and Judiciary to challenge this lawlessness on immediate basis. As I am fed up of these kind of rulers who don’t care about us.
Thanking you in Anticipation from , Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.
The Swine Flu is an orchestrated attempt to spread fear and chaos into the population and to try to get people vaccinated, which everyone should know contains mercury that damages your nervous syst…
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) talking to CNN’s Larry King, September 25
Iran’s president has criticized the US President Barack Obama and blasted his British and French counterparts for their recent comments on Tehran’s nuclear program.
“Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Brown’s statements lack any real credibility. From our viewpoint, what they say is not of much value… If they have the guts they sould solve the problems they face in France and Britain,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told CNN host Larry King on September 25.
“Who exactly are they to decide about others around the world? In which part of the IAEA regulations does it allow France and Britain to make such statement on their own? We are a member state. We are not a subcategory of Britain or France.
“Their mind frame is still in the colonial age. That era has past… It does not matter to us (what they say), but what Mr. Obama says does matter… We did not expect Mr. Obama to violate the commitment that he spoke of at the UN in less than 48 hours.”
Ahmadinejad elaborated that he was referring to Obama’s promise to try to bring about change, adding that Tehran welcomes the “change” that the American people hope will occur.
The president implied that Obama had made his recent comments based on the “wrong information” that had been provided to him, adding that misrepresentation of Iran would not help the US leader’s efforts to improve the United States’ global image.
“[Obama’s] statement was very weak and illogical. We have cooperated with the IAEA and then been accused of wrongdoing.”
By talking of cooperation, Ahmadinejad was referring to the September 21 announcement Iran made to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the construction of a new uranium enrichment plant in the country.
Although several days after the publication of the Iranian letter, a US counter-proliferation official claimed that Washington “knew” about the second Iranian nuclear plant “for several years,” the Iranian announcement drew some heavy criticism from Western leaders.
In his comments on September 25, Obama attacked Iran over the declaration, which Iran says was within the framework of its treaty obligations, charging that Tehran had tried to cover up the project for years. He claimed that Iran must re-energize its efforts to build the trust of the international community.
The US president, who was accompanied by Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh, also asked the UN nuclear watchdog to look into the new plant thoroughly.
Obama described the new nuclear facility, which, according to Western reports is located near Iran’s holy city of Qom, as a “direct challenge” to international non-proliferation rules.
Sarkozy, for his part, accused Iran of taking the world down a “dangerous” path and threatened new sanctions against the Islamic Republic if it does not give in to Western demands by December.
Commenting on the possibility of more sanctions against Iran, Ahmadinejad told Larry King of the previous US and British administrations’ efforts to pressure Tehran through embargoes, and said the West had not gained anything from those measures.
“Whoever imposes sanctions on Iran is adopting sanctions against himself. The time for sanctions has passed… So what Mr. Sarkozy says lacks any value… It is regrettable that an individual like him is the president of France,” said the Iranian president.
During the September 25 press conference, Obama and Sarkozy also said that all options were on the table with regards to Iran, implying that they may be considering a military strike against the country.
Brown also said that Iran’s “serial deception” in its nuclear work demanded a tougher action by the international community.
This is while at another press conference on the afternoon of the same day, Ahmadinejad insisted that not only was the announcement not an indication of secrecy on the part of Iran, but a sign of its willingness to comply with IAEA regulations.
“According to the IAEA rules, countries must inform the Agency 6 months ahead of the gas injection in their uranium enrichment plants. We have done it 18 months ahead and this should be appreciated not condemned,” Ahmadinejad told the gathered reporters.
In addition, in a statement issued on September 25 by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s nuclear chief affirmed that “As with Iran’s other nuclear facilities, the activities of the [newly announced] facility will be within the framework of the IAEA regulations.”
Readers Number : 8
27/09/2009 Sixteen Palestinians have been injured and another seven detained after Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli security forces on Sunday fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at Palestinians who attempted to prevent a Zionist rally from entering the al-Haram al-Sharif courtyard within the compound on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
"Special forces are still deployed inside the Haram compound yard, but are no longer clashing with the worshippers [Palestinians] inside", estimated to be around a thousand, reporters said.
Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said two Israeli policemen were also injured in the confrontation. At dawn, extremist Jewish groups declared their intention to attack the Aqsa Mosque on the occasion of the ‘Day of Atonement’ Jewish Yom Kippur. The soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowds, arresting many of the citizens.
The police entered after Israeli settlers and Zionist groups attempted to force entry to a part of the complex they call Temple Mount. Other Israeli settler-activist extremist groups also gathered at the Hetta and Majlis gates.
The Israeli occupation closed all the gates of the holy Aqsa Mosque before the Israeli police and soldiers attacked the crowds of Palestinians who gathered in the Mosque for praying.
Israeli forces have imposed military closure on Palestinian territories starting from Saturday midnight until Monday midnight, in view of the religious holiday.
"There was a large group of Jewish settlers who gathered outside Al-Aqsa and tried to break in," said a Palestinian witness who would give his name only as Abu Raed. "Some of them entered and went all the way to the heart of the compound, where there were people praying… They were Jewish settlers dressed as tourists," he said.
After entering the sprawling compound, the extremist group was confronted by more than 100 Muslim faithful who chanted and eventually threw rocks, at which point the police pulled the settlers out and closed the gate, police and witnesses said. Immediately after the clash, police blocked off the compound as speakers from mosques in the Old City urged people to gather at the site.
Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third-holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Israel occupied the Old City of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it along with the rest of mostly Arab East Jerusalem in a move not recognized by the international community.
TURNING A PHRASE Jon Favreau, chief speechwriter to Senator Barack Obama, at work the night of the New Hampshire primary.
AT the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, N.H., Jon Favreau sipped Diet Coke and munched on carrot sticks and crackers to pass the time. His boss, Senator Barack Obama, wandered in and out of the room.
ECHOES Barack Obama’s speeches are written in his own style.
Finally, results from the New Hampshire Democratic primary started coming in, surprising everyone. Hillary Clinton was pulling past Senator Obama, who had won the Iowa caucuses only five days earlier.
Mr. Favreau, the campaign’s 26-year-old head speechwriter, found himself in the hotel lounge with less than three hours to revise what was to have been a victory speech. What made it particularly strange was that his words were being challenged. Mrs. Clinton had helped turn her campaign around by discounting Mr. Obama’s elegant oratory, saying, “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.”
“To be honest,” Mr. Favreau said, “the first time I really stopped to think about how it felt was when he started giving the speech. I looked around at the senior staff, and they were all smiling. And I looked around the room and thought, ‘This is going to be O.K.’ ”
Mr. Favreau, or Favs, as everyone calls him, looks every bit his age, with a baby face and closely shorn stubble. And he leads a team of two other young speechwriters: 26-year-old Adam Frankel, who worked with John F. Kennedy’s adviser and speechwriter Theodore C. Sorensen on his memoirs, and Ben Rhodes, who, at 30, calls himself the “elder statesman” of the group and who helped write the Iraq Study Group report as an assistant to Lee H. Hamilton.
Together they are working for a politician who not only is known for his speaking ability but also wrote two best-selling books and gave the much-lauded keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
“You’re like Ted Williams’s batting coach,” Mr. Favreau said.
But even Ted Williams needed a little help with his swing.
“Barack trusts him,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief campaign strategist. “And Barack doesn’t trust too many folks with that — the notion of surrendering that much authority over his own words.”
When he first met Mr. Obama, Mr. Favreau was 23, a recent graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., near where he grew up. Mr. Obama was rehearsing his 2004 convention speech backstage, when Mr. Favreau, then a member of John Kerry’s staff, interrupted him: the senator needed to rewrite a line from his speech to avoid an overlap.
“He kind of looked at me, kind of confused — like, ‘Who is this kid?’ ” Mr. Favreau recalled.
Mr. Obama became his boss the following year. Mr. Favreau had risen to a job as a speechwriter on the Kerry campaign, but by then was unemployed. He was, he said, “broke, taking advantage of all the happy-hour specials I could find in Washington.”
Robert Gibbs, Mr. Obama’s communications director, had known Mr. Favreau during the Kerry campaign, and recommended him as a writer.
Life was relatively quiet then, and Mr. Obama and Mr. Favreau had some time to hang out. When Mr. Obama’s White Sox swept Mr. Favreau’s beloved Red Sox three games to none in their American League 2005 division series, the senator walked over to his speechwriter’s desk with a little broom and started sweeping it off.
Mr. Favreau also used this time to master Mr. Obama’s voice. He took down almost everything the senator said and absorbed it. Now, he said, when he sits down to write, he just channels Mr. Obama — his ideas, his sentences, his phrases.
“The trick of speechwriting, if you will, is making the client say your brilliant words while somehow managing to make it sound as though they issued straight from their own soul,” said the writer Christopher Buckley, who was a speechwriter for the first President Bush. “Imagine putting the words ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ into the mouth of Ron Paul, and you can see the problem.”
Many Democratic candidates have attempted to evoke both John and Robert Kennedy, but Senator Obama seems to have had more success than most. It helps that Mr. Obama seems to have the élan that John Kennedy had, not to mention a photogenic family.
For his inspiration, Mr. Favreau said, “I actually read a lot of Bobby” Kennedy.
“I see shades of J.F.K., R.F.K.,” he said, and then added, “King.”
Not everyone is so enamored. Mr. Obama excels at inspirational speeches read from a teleprompter before television cameras, critics have noted, but many of his other speeches on the campaign trail have failed to electrify.
Ted Widmer, a historian at Brown University, said that Mr. Obama’s speeches “were perfect for getting to where he was early in the race, but I think now that we’re in a serious campaign, it would be helpful to hear more concrete proposals.”
“There’s more to governing, there’s more to being president, than speechwriting,” he added.
Mr. Favreau said that when he is writing, he stays up until 3 a.m. and gets up as early as 5. He hasn’t slept for more than six hours in as long as he can remember, he said.
Coffee helped him through the Iowa caucuses. Two days before the victory there, he walked across the street from the campaign’s Des Moines headquarters and cloistered himself inside a local cafe.
He and Mr. Obama had talked about the post-caucus speech for about 30 minutes, settling on a theme of unity and an opening line: “They said this day would never come.”
“I knew that it would have multiple meanings to multiple people,” Mr. Favreau said. “Barack and I talked about it, and it was one that worked for the campaign. There were many months during the campaign when they said he’d never win. And of course there was the day that would never come, when an African-American would be winning the first primary in a white state.”
In discussions about the speech, the issue of race never came up, Mr. Favreau said. But, he added, “I know I thought about it.”
As Senator Obama’s star has risen, so has Mr. Favreau’s. In New Hampshire, Mr. Favreau stood in the back of a gym watching his boss campaign when Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter to the current President Bush, introduced himself. He complimented him on the Iowa victory speech.
The campaign staff has started teasing Mr. Favreau about his newfound celebrity. Not that it’s any great pickup line. Mr. Favreau, who said he doesn’t have a girlfriend, observed somewhat dryly that “the rigors of this campaign have prevented any sort of serious relationship.”
“There’s been a few times when people have said, ‘I don’t believe you, that you’re Barack Obama’s speechwriter,’ ” he went on. “To which I reply, ‘If I really wanted to hit on you, don’t you think I’d make up something more outlandish?’ ”
He does have other things to worry about. “Can you get through this process and keep the core of yourself?” Mr. Favreau asked. “You know, we’re finding out. I’m confident he can. And I think I can, too.”
Posted: 27 September 2009 1701 hrs
TEGUCIGALPA : The stakes rose in Honduras Sunday after ousted leader Manuel Zelaya, holed up at Brazil’s embassy in Tegucigalpa, called on his supporters for a final offensive — and coup leaders respond by giving Brazil a harsh warning.
Zelaya, who has been in the embassy since he made a surprise return almost one week ago, called on his supporters to converge on the capital on Monday, exactly three months after the coup.
“We’re making a patriotic … call to resistance across all national territory,” Zelaya said Saturday in a statement handed to an AFP photographer inside the embassy.
He called on his supporters to peacefully march to the capital for a “final offensive against the de facto government.”
Shortly after, the regime gave Brazil up to 10 days to define Zelaya’s status in a statement read on national television.
It urged “that Mr. Zelaya immediately stop using the protection that Brazil’s diplomatic mission gives him to instigate violence in Honduras.”
The statement warned that “if that’s not done, we’ll be forced to take supplementary measures under international law,” without elaborating.
The interim government — which took over after Zelaya was ousted in late June at the height of a dispute over his plans to change the constitution — promised not to attack the “integrity” of the embassy.
They are seeking to arrest Zelaya for violating the constitution.
The UN Security Council on Friday warned the interim Honduran regime headed by Roberto Micheletti not to harass the embassy, as Brazilian officials complained it was “under siege.”
Several thousand Zelaya supporters took to the streets again Saturday, in a march on foot and in scores of cars, waving red flags, honking horns and calling for him to return to office.
Zelaya said Saturday that the regime had not responded to a call for dialogue which he made after returning to the country, but had replied “with more repression against the people.”
“It’s the only place in the world where there’s an embassy under siege,” said Francisco Catunda, the Brazilian charge d’affaires.
Most people inside the embassy were in good health, Catunda said, adding that one Brazilian diplomat told him he had smelled gas the previous day, after Zelaya accused the army of trying to poison him and some 60 people still inside the compound by pumping noxious gases into the building — a charge roundly denied by Honduran officials.
Demonstrators have come daily to the embassy compound, which is surrounded by anti-riot police and soldiers, to show their support for the embattled head of state.
“Thanks, Brazil, for protecting Mel from this vile regime,” one banner read, using Zelaya’s popular nickname.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, at a meeting of African and South American leaders in Venezuela, cautioned against “backsliding” on democracy in Honduras and throughout Latin America.
“We fought hard to sweep military dictatorships into the trash can of history, we can not allow these kind of setbacks in our continent,” he said.
As efforts to mediate struggled to get off the ground, European Union countries decided to send back their envoys who were withdrawn after the coup, but said that did not mean they recognized the interim regime.
A daytime curfew was lifted Thursday and airports reopened, allowing businesses to resume and providing relief to an increasingly frustrated public. A nighttime curfew remained in place.
The United Nations on Wednesday froze its technical support for a presidential vote scheduled for November.
Regime authorities still wish to carry out the vote, which they say is the best exit to the crisis.
“We’re losing guarantees for free elections and in these conditions the people will question and fail to recognize the electoral process and its results,” Zelaya said.
A police spokesman told AFP Wednesday that two people had been killed in pro-Zelaya protests since the start of the week, and rights groups have voiced concern about clampdowns on demonstrators and local media.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research said US bank loans have fallen at an annual pace of almost 14pc in the three months to August (from $7,147bn to $6,886bn).
“There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s,” he said. “The rapid destruction of money balances is madness.”
The M3 “broad” money supply, watched as an early warning signal for the economy a year or so later, has been falling at a 5pc annual rate.
Similar concerns have been raised by David Rosenberg, chief strategist at Gluskin Sheff, who said that over the four weeks up to August 24, bank credit shrank at an “epic” 9pc annual pace, the M2 money supply shrank at 12.2pc and M1 shrank at 6.5pc.
“For the first time in the post-WW2 [Second World War] era, we have deflation in credit, wages and rents and, from our lens, this is a toxic brew,” he said.
It is unclear why the US Federal Reserve has allowed this to occur.
Chairman Ben Bernanke is an expert on the “credit channel” causes of depressions and has given eloquent speeches about the risks of deflation in the past.
He is not a monetary economist, however, and there are indications that the Fed has had to pare back its policy of quantitative easing (buying bonds) in order to reassure China and other foreign creditors that the US is not trying to devalue its debts by stealth monetisation.
Mr Congdon said a key reason for credit contraction is pressure on banks to raise their capital ratios. While this is well-advised in boom times, it makes matters worse in a downturn.
“The current drive to make banks less leveraged and safer is having the perverse consequence of destroying money balances,” he said. “It strengthens the deflationary forces in the world economy. That increases the risks of a double-dip recession in 2010.”
Referring to the debt-purge policy of US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in the early 1930s, he added: “The pressure on banks to de-risk and to de-leverage is the modern version of liquidationism: it is potentially just as dangerous.”
US banks are cutting lending by around 1pc a month. A similar process is occurring in the eurozone, where private sector credit has been contracting and M3 has been flat for almost a year.
Mr Congdon said IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is wrong to argue that the history of financial crises shows that “speedy recovery” depends on “cleansing banks’ balance sheets of toxic assets”. “The message of all financial crises is that policy-makers’ priority must be to stop the quantity of money falling and, ideally, to get it rising again,” he said.
He predicted that the Federal Reserve and other central banks will be forced to engage in outright monetisation of government debt by next year, whatever they say now.
Barack Obama’s recent conduct at the U.N. removed all remaining doubt as to Israeli influence inside this latest U.S. presidency. When he uttered the phrase “the Jewish state of Israel,” he provided precisely the provocation required to ensure that peace in the Middle East will continue to be deferred.
When, in May 1948, Christian-Zionist Harry Truman agreed to recognize an enclave of Jewish-Zionist extremists as a nation state, he struck out “Jewish state” and wrote the “state of Israel.” Despite assurances from Zionist lobbyist Chaim Weizmann that Israel would be a democracy, Truman feared the Zionist state might become what it became: a racist theocracy committed to an expansionist agenda that endangers U.S. interests in the region.
Barack Obama is a political product of Chicago’s West Side Jewish community and the nation’s “first Jewish president” according to former Clinton White House counsel Abner Mikva. Though branded an agent of change, when the zeitgeist of his campaign suggested that change might encompass a shift in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, those Ashkenazim who produced this presidential phenomenon let their displeasure be known.
The candidate of change quickly made the requisite rounds of pro-Israeli venues where he promised his benefactors there would be no change in an entangled alliance that, in retrospect, is the primary reason the U.S. finds itself at war in the Middle East. His U.N. performance thrilled those colonial Zionists whose duplicity troubled Truman. Meanwhile his “Jewish state” comment was guaranteed to inflame tensions in the region.
In the lead-up to this speech, Israelis told Obama what they intended to do-and then did it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would use agreed-to terms of the Road Map to trade for stronger action against Iran. When Obama blinked and failed to insist that Israel comply with the agreed-to freeze on settlements, Netanyahu got what he sought-an emphasis on war with Iran rather than peace with the Palestinians.
Rather than announcing progress in negotiations, Obama announced only his hope that negotiations could soon resume-maybe. When Tel Aviv saw how easily they outwitted this novice negotiator, their agenda became more audacious. Obama’s mention of the code phrase “Jewish state” confirmed the ongoing role of the same stage managers who flew him directly from his speech in Cairo to a photo-op at Germany’s Buchenwald death camp.
Confirming the Zionists’ insider influence, Rahm Emanuel, widely described as the most powerful Chief of Staff in decades, assumed a prominent position in the U.N. chamber alongside the Secretary of State, the U.N. Ambassador and the National Security Adviser.
As with Cairo, Obama not only missed another opportunity to build goodwill, he missed a chance to restore the tattered credibility of the U.S after eight years of a Christian-Zionist president. Instead of progress toward peace, he offered yet another photo-op featuring Israeli and Palestinian leaders in yet another handshake signifying … nothing.
At what point will Americans realize they’ve been played for the fool by a purported ally? At what point does presidential conduct become culpable complicity? Why would The New York Times report a decline in Barack Obama’s approval ratings in Israel?
Pundits put a positive spin on this foreign policy disaster by suggesting that Obama boxed Netanyahu in by finessing the settlements issue and forcing the Israeli leader to mention final status negotiations. That analysis misses the point. For Tel Aviv, there is no final status. The point of this six-decade process is more process-to avoid resolution.
Should Washington maneuver Israel into a box, Tel Aviv will collapse yet another coalition government. Or announce a resignation. That was Ben-Gurion’s ruse in June 1963 when John F. Kennedy insisted on inspections to stop Israel’s nuclear arms program. Ehud Olmert used the same negotiating tactic when it appeared that the Road Map could lead to a final status agreement. His well-timed resignation brought back Netanyahu.
The only party in a box is the U.S. The way out is to end this entangled alliance and the perils to U.S. interests that this “special relationship” was certain to create. In practical effect, in order to keep an Israeli government intact with which to negotiate, the U.S. must satisfy the most right-wing elements of the most right-wing political party of an infamously right-wing foreign government. How can that be in America’s interest?
Harry Truman’s recognition of this enclave as a legitimate state was an overwrought reaction to a unique combination of domestic and international circumstances that were manipulated to the advantage of violent religious extremists. Their ethnic cleansing of Palestine has yet to be either acknowledged or addressed.
After six decades of occupation and oppression, the best a U.S. president could offer Palestinians was an assurance that a U.S. ally-should negotiations resume-would come to the table with “clear terms of reference.” What greater insult could a U.S. president inflict on the Arab world than such an empty promise?
Obama’s performance was pathetic. Also, in effect, he gave the green light for another mass murder in the U.S. or in the European Union. As part of the pre-staging of another plausible rationale for the invasion of yet another Middle Eastern nation, mainstream U.S. media misrepresented remarks to the U.N. by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, giving credence to Iran as a nuclear threat. That Evil Doer portrayal is consistent with the pre-staging of other operations by which the U.S. was induced to war on false pretenses.
The next incident could be nuclear. While Obama was conceding to Israeli demands, Defense Minister Ehud Barack was meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to assure him that Tel Aviv may yet attack Iran. In yet another signal to a worldwide audience about just who shapes U.S. foreign policy, the Pentagon chief was accompanied by Dennis Ross who joined Obama’s Iran advisory team from a think tank affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
For the first time in history, a U.S. president chaired a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Presented with an occasion to caution an ally not to aggravate the nuclear arms race that Kennedy sought to halt in its infancy, Obama focused instead on Iran, forgoing a warning to the one nation in the Middle East known to have a nuclear arsenal. And the only nation able to deliver on the threat of deployment.
As an additional insult to Arab nations, the U.S. negotiating team urged-despite no sign of good faith by Tel Aviv-that those nations offer diplomatic gestures of goodwill. Or make “substantive concessions” as Netanyahu put it. No reason was offered why, after enduring more than sixty years of nonstop duplicity, they should agree to do so.
For anyone to assume or suggest that Israel is operating in good faith reflects a perilous misreading of history. What we just witnessed at the U.N. is how warfare is waged in the Information Age. This was neither the behavior of a U.S. ally nor a nation deserving U.S. support, friendship, arms or even recognition. Any further appeasement of this extremist enclave and Obama can rightly be charged with breach of his oath of office to defend the U.S. from all enemies, both domestic and foreign.
Jeff Gates is author of Guilt By Association, Democracy at Risk and The Ownership Solution.
Paul Harris talks to anti-war campaigners as they gear up for an autumn of discontent over US war in Afghanistan
Sunday, 27 September 2009
At his home in Richmond, Virginia, Larry Syverson spends part of every day worrying there will be an unwanted knock on the door. Syverson’s son, Branden, is an American soldier serving in Afghanistan, conducting dangerous patrols in an area infested with Taliban.
“I worry every day that I might hear someone come to the door unexpected. Just last week two of his best friends were killed over there,” he said.
That’s why Syverson, 60, an environmental engineer, is trying to organise a protest in Richmond against the war in Afghanistan for the second weekend in October, almost eight years after the conflict began.
He is a member of Military Families Speak Out, an anti-war group made up of relatives of military personnel that is preparing to turn its attentions from the conflict in Iraq to the one in Afghanistan. He has three sons in the military who together have served five tours in Iraq as well as Branden’s stint in Afghanistan.
“I am extremely proud that they have chosen a military career. I just don’t like the way that they are being used to fight these unnecessary wars,” said Syverson.
That is a growing sentiment in America. As Barack Obama appears likely to increase America’s already greatly enlarged troop commitment to the Afghan war, the war itself is becoming increasingly disliked.
The conflict used to be called America’s “forgotten war”. No longer. As casualties have spiked, so has hatred for the war: a solid 57% of Americans now oppose it. That has seen the anti-war movement in America prepare to turn its attentions from Iraq to Afghanistan, gearing up for an autumn campaign of marches and civil disobedience.
They hope to emulate the anti-Vietnam war protests, using highly visible public campaigns to force the hand of the White House to pull out of the country, not escalate the conflict.
The first major protest will happen next weekend, when anti-war protesters plan to arrange more than 500 empty pairs of boots on a grassy lawn right outside the White House. Each pair will represent an American soldier killed in the war.
Syverson knows that such a move is symbolic but he hopes its position so close to the centre of power will be effective, just like the old Vietnam war protesters who regularly thronged Washington’s Mall in the 1960s.
“If Obama looks out of his window, he is going to see a symbol of over 500 soldiers who died in Afghanistan. He is going to know the public is waking up to this war. The honeymoon with Obama is over and the American people are not going to stand for it much longer.” Syverson said.
One person who will be in Washington for the boots protest is Cindy Sheehan, perhaps the most famous single protester to emerge from the demonstrations against the Iraq war. Since her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, Sheehan has become a bête noir to many conservatives and an outspoken rallying point for the anti-war movement. She was a one-woman force of nature who dominated the headlines when she camped outside the Texas ranch of President George W Bush.
Now she too is concentrating on opposing the war in Afghanistan. She has already kept a vigil outside Obama’s summer holiday home on Martha’s Vineyard and will be going to Washington next weekend. “It’s unfortunate that it has taken eight years for the anti-war movement to focus on Afghanistan,” she told the Observer. “We have to start to put a human face on what is happening over there.”
Sheehan said that she and her fellow organisers would be gearing up for next year, which will feature midterm elections to Congress. She sees this autumn’s events as being a preview of mass actions to come all the way through 2010.
“It is year of the midterm elections. I can’t tell you what we are planning but it is going to be brilliant. There will be a lot of protests, a lot of civil disobedience,” she said.
A broad coalition of anti-war groups is also already co-ordinating protests and demonstrations for the coming weeks, hoping to emulate the successes of the Vietnam protests in a way that the anti-Iraq war movement never pulled off. There will be vigils, memorials, teach-ins, demonstrations and marches. They will range in scale from a few individuals to events where thousands of people will be expected to turn up.
Groups involved include Military Families Speak Out, Win Without War, Code Pink, United For Peace and Justice and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
“There will be hundreds of events all across the US,” said Syverson. Some other groups, like US Labor Against the War, which represents 190 unions, which have been largely silent on Afghanistan compared to Iraq, have also announced they are now planning to start opposing the Afghan war too.
The movement is certainly tapping into a growing public mood of anger and discontent. For years, Afghanistan was seen as the “good war” as opposed to Iraq’s “bad war”. It had supposedly been won with relatively little loss of life, deposed a reviled government and been justified by the Taliban’s open support of al-Qaida.
But now, there are more US casualties each day in Afghanistan than in Iraq, and American troop numbers will have risen dramatically to 68,000 by the end of the year. Indeed, Washington and the White House are consumed by speculation over whether Obama will accept a request from General Stanley McChrystal for yet more troops to be sent to the combat zone.
On American television screens, reports from Iraq have become rare. But news from Afghanistan – nearly all of it bad – has become common. Pictures of the carnage reach into every American living room and are frequently splashed across the front pages.
Now public sentiment has shifted firmly towards wanting American troops to pull out, a reversal of the once common opinion that Afghanistan had been a conflict worth fighting. As recently as April, a majority of Americans supported the war. Now only 43% do.
It has hit Obama’s personal ratings too. When it comes to Afghan policy, his approval score has dropped 18 points from 67% to 49%. A handful of soldiers are also refusing to serve in Afghanistan. In Fort Hood, Texas, Iraq war veteran Victor Agosto was sentenced last month to 30 days in jail and his rank reduced to private after refusing to deploy there. He was the second Fort Hood soldier to do so.
But sustaining a meaningful opposition movement to the war in Afghanistan is not going to be easy. Much of the wind was taken out of the anti-war movement by the election of Obama, who, it is safe to say, the majority of protesters supported in the 2008 election.
Even Sheehan admits that taking the anti-war fight to the White House under Obama is not going to be a walk in the park, despite the fact that he is presiding over a massive escalation of the war. “It was super-easy to hate George Bush. It was also easy to embrace Obama. But both emotions are irrational when the policies remain the same. We have to make it about the policy, not the person,” Sheehan said.
Yet so far, the Obama administration does not appear to have much fear of the doveish wing of the broad liberal coalition that put Obama into the White House. In America’s two-party system of government, the Republican party offers an alternative on Afghanistan that is more hawkish, not less. Indeed Obama, who has championed the already massive increase in US troops there, has been criticised only for seeming to hesitate in agreeing to McChrystal’s latest request for yet more troops. The request was included in a confidential assessment of the situation that concluded the entire mission would most likely result in failure without more soldiers.
“This is not the time for Hamlet in the White House,” said Mitt Romney, one of the likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Yet that criticism seems unfair. Though Obama is reportedly striving to reshape Afghan policy in the face of the worsening violence there and the fallout from an Afghan election widely regarded as deeply fraudulent, no one seriously expects America’s troop commitment to the country to be radically cut. That means the anti-war movement too is gearing up for a long struggle and a war of attrition aiming to chip away at Obama’s popularity.
It might work. After only a year in office, Obama’s approval ratings have dipped across the board and the war in Afghanistan is increasingly seen as “Obama’s war”, not just the legacy of Bush and his neoconservative foreign policy. Indeed, Obama fought his election on a campaign promise of shifting the focus to Afghanistan away from Iraq.
“If Obama’s decisions are seen as a continuation of Bush’s, then Obama will lose the effect of his honeymoon period. You can already see that happening,” said Mitch Hall, a history professor at Central Michigan University.
The irony of left wing, anti-war protesters campaigning against Obama is not lost on many of them, including Syverson, who voted for Obama, went to his rallies and campaigned for him.
“I feel really let down,” he said. He is unlikely to be alone. But American history has shown repeatedly, especially with Vietnam, that political stripes at home often mean nothing abroad. After all, it was under the liberal Democrat presidents JFK and Lyndon Johnson that US involvement in Vietnam escalated and under conservative Republican Richard Nixon that America finally got out. Some prominent commentators have drawn other parallels with Vietnam, comparing McChrystal’s troop increase request with those of General William Westmoreland, who demanded extra troops for the doomed fight in Vietnam. “In Vietnam and Afghanistan, as the situation worsened and public opinion began turning against the war, the commanding generals – Westmoreland and McChrystal – put in requests for thousands of extra troops,” wrote San Francisco Chronicle columnist Joel Brinkley. Given that history, it seems perfectly possible that the deepening quagmire in Afghanistan might last for every year of Obama’s time in office, even if he serves two terms.
For Syverson, though, Obama’s policy on Afghanistan has already been enough to make him angrily tear off the Obama bumper sticker he had put on his car. “Hell, if I’d ever vote for him again,” he said. As the anti-war protests unfold, Obama’s presidency may end up being defined by how many Americans can be persuaded to take a similar view.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009
MOSCOW, Sept 24 (Reuters) – The Kremlin-backed chief of Russia’s turbulent Chechnya region said his forces were fighting U.S. and British intelligence services who want to split the country apart, according to an interview published on Thursday.
Former rebel-turned-Moscow-ally Ramzan Kadyrov said in comments to Zavtra newspaper reprinted on his official website that he had seen the U.S. driving licence of a CIA operative who was killed in a security operation he led. Chechen authorities have previously said insurgents following the radical Wahabist form of Islam receive support from international Islamist groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda, but have not accused the West of instigating violence.
"We’re fighting in the mountains with the American and English intelligence agencies. They are fighting not against Kadyrov, not against traditional Islam, they are fighting against the sovereign Russian state," he said.
The West sought to attack both Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole by targeting the country’s weakest regions, Kadyrov said in the comments republished prominently on http://www.chechnya.gov.ru.
Kadyrov was appointed by Moscow as a bulwark against separatist rebels in the mainly Muslim province, but rights activists say he flouts federal laws and is himself responsible for much of the violence that has grown in recent months.
"The West is interested to cut off the Caucasus from Russia. The Caucasus – a strategic frontier of Russia. If they take away the Caucasus from Russia, it’s like taking away half of Russia."
Many Chechens have emigrated to Europe, Turkey, and Georgia and some have been recruited as insurgents, said Kadyrov.
"Now they strike a blow against Putin and Russia. Chechnya, Dagestan are weak, vulnerable parts of the Russian state," Kadyrov said, referring to the neighbouring region, which has also been rocked by violence. Asked if he was saying there were signs of CIA and MI6 participation in the violence, he said "Of course", he had seen evidence of their direct involvement in an operation he led.
"There was a terrorist Chitigov, he worked for the CIA. He had U.S. citizenship…When we killed him, I was in charge of the operation and we found a U.S. driving licence and all the other documents were also American," he said. (Reporting by Conor Sweeney; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)
MINGORA, SWAT // As dawn slowly broke over the picturesque valley of Swat one morning this week, an unusual group of men began gathering in Kanju, a town about 45km from the city of Mingora. Middle-aged men with unkept beards and bushy moustaches joined young men with lean physiques; warlords mingled with businessmen and those who had fled Swat during the fighting accompanied those who had stayed behind.
Some held rifles, others had Kalashinkovs, while still others came empty-handed. “Today is a special day for us,” said Wali Khan, 37. “We now have our own lashkar and will be able to protect ourselves better.”
“With this lashkar, we now have the power to defend ourselves,” said Asad-ullah Khan, 45, who previously favoured the Taliban and one of its leaders, Maulana Fazlullah, but who now wants to fight against them. “We will now be able to definitively defeat the Taliban.”
As the lashkar, or civil militia, gathered, an even more surprising scene began unfolding. Brig Salman Akbar, in charge of the military in the area, watched as army officers began handing out rifles and AK-47s. In total, more than 300 weapons were distributed to about 500 men. “We have been told to help out the lashkars in every way possible,” said an army officer present. “Bullets, ammunition, everything.”
As well as weapons and bullets, one army officer remarked that the chief of the lashkar had been given 50,000 rupees (Dh2,200) as “a mobilisation fee”.
The head of the lashkar, a former warlord and tribal chief called Said Badshah, stood next to the army officers and watched, with a big smile, as they handed weapons to his men as if they were distributing alms.
“The military has been a huge support,” he said. “They have helped us in every way possible. If we need guns, they give them to us. If we need bullets, they give them. Money, they give us.”
Thursday was a historic day for Kanju township for another reason – the army unofficially handed over control of the area to the lashkar and withdrew part of its unit from the area.
Officially the Pakistan army denies all these claims.
“There is no such assistance, none whatsoever,” said the military spokesman in Swat, Lt Col Akhtar. “The army is in close co-ordination with these groups, and so we know where they are working and what is happening just in case they need our help. But all these rumours about the army providing guns, money or training to these groups are false. These groups are being formed voluntarily by civilians working with their own resources.”
The military spokesman in Swat, Lt Col Akhtar vehemently denied charges of the army assisting lashkars.
But Col Amjad, who has been working in Swat for the past three months and declined to give his last name, said his superiors had clearly told them to support the lashkars in every way possible. “The military is even providing financial assistance to these groups since the lashkars are made up of poor people who can’t afford to move around,” he said.
More than 8,000 armed men have become a part of these militia groups which are being silently set up by the military to assist in fighting the Taliban and, some say, as a permanent paramilitary force in the area.
Analysts and sources in the military say the militias are part of a strategy to develop a force loyal to the army and the government in a valley where anti-government sentiment has been running high for years.
But there are concerns that such widespread arming of the population could lead to disastrous results.
Brigadier Mahmood Shah, an analyst based in the North West Frontier Province, said the militias were being portrayed as community groups rather than military offshoots because association with the army could lose them credibility among local people. “A lot of anti-government sentiment exists in Swat due to delays in assisting the refugees, inadequate help given to the internally displaced and an overall sentiment that Swat has been neglected by the centre. The survival of the lashkars is in being portrayed as a unit different from the military.”
The first such group was formed in late July in Taal with about 200 members.
The number of members can range from 50 to almost 600, depending on the population of the area. Usually, the khan, or tribal leader of a region, gathers the local population and encourages them to form a group. Once a consensus is reached, a leader is elected.
In one example of the type of actions they carry out, two weeks ago, a small group of Taliban fighters barged their way into a neighbourhood mosque just before evening prayers and demanded allegiance from the gathered crowd. One villager managed to escape the mosque and alert the lashkar, which rushed to the mosque, shot three Taliban fighters, captured their cache of weapons and forced the remaining Taliban to flee from the area. The wounded villagers were taken to a nearby army hospital.
In some cases, army assistance to the lashkars is subtle, used as backup support or to open army hospitals for wounded fighters. But in other cases, the military assistance is visible and in the open. Such is the situation in Totana Bandai where a 400-member strong militia was recently formed by the former warlord Safiullah Khan. Outside his house, the military has maintained a check post. Talking to The National, he said: “The army has been very kind to us. We have a militia of about 400 people and some of them had outdated weapons or no weapons at all. We asked for these and the army sent them to us.”
Mr Khan refused to elaborate on how the weapons were delivered, and then remarked that he had already said too much. Mr Khan is particularly vulnerable to attacks from the Taliban because his group is based in an area which used to be a Taliban stronghold. While it is possible to firm up Pakistan military assistance to the groups, it is much harder to confirm what many suspect: US aid is being redirected to the lashkars in a bid to replicate the Sunni awakening groups which helped quash a Shiite uprising in Iraq.
Lashkar fighters in Qalagy said they had heard of foreign assistance being poured into their area but did not know where it was coming from. “Our sardar told us that we shouldn’t worry and more money and ammunition would be given to us if we kept working well,” he said. “He said lots of money was being sent from abroad.”
But when asked, the head of the lashkar in Qalagy, Ajmair Khan, denied having said so. “I am not receiving money from anyone,” he insisted. “The lashkar is staffed with people working on a voluntary basis, simply to secure their hometown.”
The political analyst Hassan Askari said while it was clear that more military assistance was being given to the lashkars than openly admitted, foreign aid could not be substantiated. “The army’s interest in sustaining these lashkars is clear because the lashkars provide a permanent solution to the problem in Swat,” he said. “But whether the army is funnelling through US money is hard to say.”
A Swat-based reporter Usman Arif also said he suspected there was indirect foreign assistance. “In the past the government initially supported the lashkars, but then backed away and left these groups without any logistical support. But since August, it has been a completely different story with the military and the government standing strong with the lashkars. It seems as if this time around the military was told by the Americans to assist these groups.”
Besides providing assistance, the Pakistan military has also imposed conditions. A military official speaking on the condition of anonymity said one of the army’s major concerns was that these groups may end up posing a threat to the military itself. “Though we provide supporting assistance to these groups and backups whenever needed, we would never agree to giving them heavy artillery.”
He also said an unwritten rule the army was trying to follow was that while they can support these groups, they try not to initiate them. “But it’s a grey line and the demarcation isn’t always clear.”
* The National
“Famous is thy beauty majesty, but behold, a lovely maid I see…Rags cannot hide her gentle grace…Alas, she is more fair than thee…”
–The Magic Mirror in Walt Disney’s Snow White
We have to assume–given the incalculable suffering presently taking place–that had He (the Almighty) to do over again He would probably leave out all the “I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee” nonsense and get right down to business with the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots“.
After all, He is considered a wise and merciful creator, is He not? Not just wise and merciful, but the shrewdest of all investors as well, and what has His (supposed) aggrandizement of this tiny microbe of “chosen people” profited Him and His business interests?
Well, if we are to go by the “official records”–meaning the Bible–ever since these people pushed and elbowed their way into 1st place ahead of their contemporaries it has been nothing short of disastrous, both then and now. War, exploitation, deception, greed, envy, assassination, genocide, despoilment, enslavement–all these and more–the same bitter fruits our forefathers dealt with yesterday that we are dealing with today. The only real difference between then and now is that 4,000 years ago the Chosenites had neither nuclear weapons nor control of the world’s economy as they do today.
And yet, the lone individual responsible for bringing this venture about–both past and present-is supposed to be pleased with this? Are we really to believe (as some think) He gets some kind of sick pleasure seeing his priceless merchandise–meaning the innocent men, women and children in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere–squandered and wasted (literally in the millions) and that He wants even more of it in places such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere? That He fantasizes about seeing entire swaths of stable, productive civilizations being turned into caldrons of misery or that He shrieks with glee at the sight of maimed children–the same children He created with a mere thought–robbed of their legs, arms, faces, etc, by psychopaths who believe this is all part of the “Divine Plan”?
Well of course, there are plenty of nutcases these days who would say “yes” to the above questions and who maintain with the same kind of fervency as yesteryear’s flat-earthers that indeed the Big Guy sits up there, beer in one hand and a wad of popcorn in the other as He reclines and watches the light show down below.
After all, these nutcases say, He DID make that promise to His “Chosen“ people that He will “bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee“ and therefore, logically, He is more than ready, willing and able to bring about Armageddon and the consummation of the entire world for the benefit of this the tiniest of minorities…That He sits up there with an itchy trigger finger, growling through clenched teeth “Go ahead punks, make my day…” and is just waiting for an excuse to run everything–vegetable, animal, mineral or what not–through the great divine paper shredder…
…and just so He can make good on His word to this same microscopic group of people who have been so much a welcome addition to mankind’s various civilizations that they have been kicked out of every decent country in the world throughout history shortly after their arrival.
Of course, the one question not asked in the 4,000 years since this concept of “chosenness“ (said to be the definitive bird’s-eye view into the mind of the Almighty) was first introduced is whether or not there is a shred of truth in any of it. On its face, the idea certainly seems to defy all logic, that the creator responsible for all life and order in the universe would pick one guy–ONE GUY–stick a blue “First Prize” ribbon on him (as well as on his kith-n-kin) before the beauty contest even got underway, give everyone else in the competition the boot and declare that all future contests had been decided already by this one decision.
And yet this is how we are supposed to believe it all went down, and more so, that to this day, the creator of all things STILL favors them heads and shoulders above all else…That there is something organically and ontologically different about them–meaning the Jews–making them better and rendering the rest of us inferior, or, as Jewish writer Ariel Natan Pasko wrote in his article “This War Is For Us“–
“Simply put another way, if all the world is a stage, then the Jews-and especially those in the Land of Israel-are the lead actors on the stage of history, and the goyim (the gentiles) have supporting roles…As our tradition states, G-D – the great playwright – created the world for the sake of the Jewish People, and it is our responsibility to implement the Torah – absolute morality and the blueprint of creation – in it…”
It is so farcical, so non-sensical and irrational on its face that in this the modern age it should be rejected with all other notions rooted in madness and illogic such as the aforementioned flat-earth theory or the practice of drilling holes in the heads of the mentally ill so the demons afflicting them could escape.
And yet, unbeknownst to so many, it is not. Rather, it is swallowed whole hog by entire swaths of people, so much so that it is now THE dominant ideology driving world events today and yet which threatens to destroy all life on earth if its aims are not met.
For those who have not put 2 and 2 together in this matter, what we are of course discussing is the present “clash of civilizations” being waged Israel’s proxies in the “Christian” West against those in the Middle East and elsewhere. Whether recognized as such or not, nevertheless it is a billion+ on one side vs. a billion+ on the other and all engineered by this covetous, envious third party in the interests of seeing the two succumb to the inevitable mutual assured destruction, leaving what is left on the carcass free for picking and pecking on the part of Jewish interests, and all fueled by a mindset that cannot tolerate fair competition, because with fair competition comes the possibility of defeat, which is unthinkable.
Of course some, carefully placed throughout the various podiums and soapboxes around the globe will say it is more complicated than simple narcissism on the part of Jewish interests, that there are other factors with long, complicated names, pronunciations and definitions that the rest of us are too stupid to understand. Themes such as “jihad” and “72 virgins” and “anti-Semitism” and “fatwa” and “Islamo-fascism” and a whole host of others that Merlin and his fellow magicians have conveniently conjured up and stored away in their little black bag of dirty tricks.
But in the end, in the final analysis where the rubber meets the road and where the bottom line speaks with the same authority as an auctioneer’s gavel on the podium, it is this indeed, this “love thyself above all others” that is the bedrock of the Jewish mindset and–more importantly–which acts as THE sparkplug for the impending Armageddon the entire world is facing.
In short, pathological narcissism that obliterates any sense of morality or conscience on the part of those afflicted and–much like the latter stages of rabies–renders the infected animal mad and, just as former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan once described the Jewish state–”too dangerous to bother.”
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” asks the wicked Queen in Snow White. She isn’t asking this because she is curious, but rather–
(1) Because her identity is wrapped up in her unchallenged beauty and superiority. Rather than just accept she is a typical woman subject to fleeting beauty, meaning age, gray hair, wrinkles, weight gain, etc and that she must compete fair and square with her competitors on the great catwalk of life, instead she insists on being numero uno, FOREVER, and the possibility she might be bumped from 1st place as a result of another’s beauty is a nightmare too horrible to contemplate.
(2) In the event the mirror drops the bomb and breaks her the bad news that indeed she has been replaced as Grand Champion she needs to know who the lucky lady is so she can be eliminated from the scene, thus replacing the balance of her own private universe and not unlike what took place years back between 2 Olympic figure skaters Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, where the one sent her boyfriend on a mission with a crowbar to break the other’s legs.
And so it is with Jewish thinking. Much like the legend concerning Lucifer’s fall from heaven, where the celestial being saw himself as the most beautiful of all the angels (the realization of which destroyed him, leading him to declare he would not serve another) and thus took as many of his fellow angels to hell with him as possible, so too has this self-awareness on the part of those held prisoner by Jewish thinking done likewise. For those who imagine themselves as the apple of God’s eye, the idea that such will not jibe with reality–and worse–that someone else, some other group of people, may surpass them in beauty, virtue and culture is terrorism in its purest sense, the only solution to which is war, despoilment, genocide, enslavement et al.
Which is why Iran MUST be destroyed, and why Iraq, Palestine and other places HAVE been destroyed. This is the reason for this thing, this “Clash of Civilizations”, a ten-shekel word describing in effect a campaign of extermination against the same Islamic world that refuses to bow down and worship the bitch in front of the mirror and declare her to be the fairest of them all.
The obvious proof this entire business of one microscopic, seemingly insignificant group of people being sifted out of the rest of humanity and made into race of supermen of sorts by an entity no less in importance than the creator Himself did not spring forth from the mind of a wise, merciful and rational being but rather from the organically-criminal narcissism of those who stand to benefit from this “chosenness” is the fact it has failed everywhere it went. From Egypt to Canaan in the Old Testament to Palestine and Iraq today, EVERYWHERE this idea has been implemented the results have been the same–devastation, war, misery, on and on for those who find themselves within its clutches. Like a highly radioactive element that destroys everything in its immediate vicinity, the pathological narcissism known as Judaism has never blossomed into anything of any benefit for mankind.
Rather, as we are witnessing today, it has been and continues to be like a single lit match dropped on the forest floor resulting in a wildfire devastating millions of acres, thousands of homes and everything else in its path, and it is this single factor–Jewish pathological narcissism–that has brought the world to the brink of extinction today.
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root…”as Henry David Thoreau once wrote…
And indeed, it is now our lot, as well as that of our children, to suffer the disastrous consequences of pruning this tree (in the form of all the ghettos, expulsions, pogroms and “persecutions“) rather than destroying it root and all by declaring this pathology of the spirit and mind to be what it is–an outlaw, criminal mentality.
Indeed, if there be a 2nd chance in the future, let us hope that wise men recognize this fact and finish what their forefathers were unable or unwilling to do, which is to toss the tree–root and all–into the great bonfire of history and to never weep over its demise.
Then, and only then, will peace on earth flourish, where the “fairest of them all” do not spend so much time in front of the mirror but instead choose to live in peace with their fellow men as equals.
(c) 2009 Mark Glenn
Bighorn sheep battle for dominance. In a system like that of bighorn sheep where there is strong competition among the males for impregnating females, large size and high dominance status are normally key factors in a male’s success. (Credit: iStockphoto)
ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2009) — The team led by Denis Reale, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM and Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Ecology, recently completed a study showing the link between personality, survival and reproductive success in male bighorn sheep. Their results were published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. In addition to being a significant advance in our knowledge of these mammals, the research offers insight into personality differences in animals and humans, from an evolutionary perspective.
Since 1969, several teams of researchers have been studying this population of bighorn sheep in Alberta, Canada. They have collected considerable data over the years. Denis Reale and his collaborators, Julien Martin and Marco Festa-Bianchet, University of Sherbrooke, and Dave Coltman and Jocelyn Poissant, University of Alberta, focused on the animals’ personality. Initially, the team identified the rams in terms of boldness and docility. They then conducted paternity tests to determine which rams were reproducing.
In a system like that of bighorn sheep where there is strong competition among the males for impregnating females, large size and high dominance status are normally key factors in a male’s success. Males usually attain these conditions in the prime of life (between 6 and 12 years). However, the paternity tests showed that some young males manage to fertilize females.
Given the risk associated with participation in the rut (males can be injured or fall from a cliff in fighting), Denis Reale and his colleagues hypothesized that the young males that manage to reproduce would be the boldest and most combative. Analysis of the data confirmed this hypothesis. However, in exchange for sexual precocity and risk-taking, these rams often die younger than their more docile peers! The latter, instead, invest in the long term, breed later and reach an older age.
The research thus indicates a variation in the personalities and life histories of the population, with two extreme types: one that could be characterised as "live fast and die" and the other as "slow and steady wins the race." Depending on their personality, the males managed to breed and to transmit their genes, but in different ways. This study demonstrates that personality has a direct influence on the lifestyle of individuals.
Adapted from materials provided by Université du Québec à Montréal.
September 25, 2009
After today’s emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, US Ambassador Susan Rice emerged to read a warning to the Honduras coup regime:
The wording is unequivocal. After investigating the claims (and the de facto regime’s denials) of constant technological and chemical attacks on the diplomatic seat in Tegucigalpa, and illegal impediment of ingress and egress to and from the embassy, where legitimate President Manuel Zelaya and at least 85 aides, supporters and some members of the news media are sheltered, the UN Security Council has concluded that said harassment i s real and it is ongoing.
If the coup regime believed that its use of chemical and sonic devices would render its attacks less visible, it has already lost that gamble.
Article 31 of The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is titled “Inviolability of the consular premises,” and states:
Article 33 states: “The consular archives and documents shall be inviolable at all times and wherever they may be.”
Article 34, titled “Freedom of movement,” states: “the receiving State shall ensure freedom of movement and travel in its territory to all members of the consular post.”
Article 35, titled “Freedom of communication,” states:
In light of those international laws, the device you see in the photograph up top, deployed by Honduran coup regime security forces at the gates of the Brazilian Embassy, offers a smoking gun of proof that the regime is violating the Vienna Convention.
Narco News and its team of technical engineers and counter-surveillance consultants has identified the apparatus as the LRAD-X Remote Long Range Acoustic Device, manufactured by the American Technologies Corporation.
The instrument is an offensive weapon, used on US Navy warships and by other nations, which can emit sounds that, “Through the use of powerful voice commands and deterrent tones, large safety zones can be created while determining the intent and influencing the behavior of an intruder.”
The LRAD-X machine can shoot sounds of up to 151 decibels. According to the US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders sounds less loud than those it produces can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL): “Sources of noise that can cause NIHL include motorcycles, firecrackers, and small firearms, all emitting sounds from 120 to 150 decibels. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before NIHL can occur.”
The front of the device looks like this:
And this is the back of the device:
In other words, the LRAD-X is the source of the high-pitched and pain-inducing sounds that have been fired both at those inside the Brazilian Embassy and turned around when anti-coup demonstrators have tried to come close to it. As such, it interferes with the Vienna protected inviolability of the Embassy and its free communications.
Under international law, this violation already serves as sufficient justification for intervention by UN Peacekeeping Forces of the multinational kind that the country of Brazil has led in Haiti.
But that’s not all: Narco News has received the following photos of a C-guard LP Cellular telephone jamming device designed for low power indoor use. The black out range can be set to cover an area of 5 to 80 meters. The device was found inside the premises of the Brazilian embassy yesterday. Here it is, front:
(On Monday a large multitude of people, including journalists, including some from pro-coup news agencies, were able to enter the Brazilian Embassy to welcome or interview President Zelaya. It is possible that the cell phone jamming device was placed inside the premises then.)
Sold by Netline under the product category of “Counter Terror Electronic Warfare,” the device, the company boasts, “C-Guard LP cellphone jammers block all required cellular network standards simultaneously: GSM, CDMA, TDMA, UMTS (3G), Nextel, 2.4 GHz and more.”
The deployment of a cell phone jamming device is in direct violation of the Vienna Convention articles above protecting the inviolability of embassy and consular communications. What’s more, sources inside the embassy that are in constant direct contact with Narco News testify that prior to locating and removing the device, cell phones of the President, his aides and others in the building were impeded by much interference.
Additionally, around noon today, President Zelaya called a press conference inside the embassy, during which a medical doctor testified that two of the people staying inside the embassy displayed symptoms of bleeding from the nose or the stomach, and that a larger number of them displayed symptoms of nausea, throat and sinus irritation and related problems that can be caused by neuro-toxic gases used in chemical warfare that are also prohibited by international treaties.
Zelaya said, calmly and deliberatively, that upon awaking at 7:30 a.m., he had felt an unfamiliar irritation, “first in the mouth, next in the throat, and later a small pain in the stomach. I drank water and milk. And I came out to find others feeling sick. Since then we’ve been trying to figure out where it is coming from.”
Understanding the dramatic nature of this kind of warfare and its capacity to generate panic, fear and anger, Zelaya urged members of the anti-coup civil resistance, “Please, do not attack the police. Maintain yourselves at a respectable distance. Don’t come near enough to be beaten. Protest your grievances peacefully.”
Displaying the cell phone jamming device, President Zelaya said, “This apparatus is installed to interfere and practically act against all telephones inside the Embassy. We practically have a sonic intervention that could also be affecting the health and nerves of people inside.”
Hortensia “Pichu” Zelaya, also inside the embassy, sent out this photograph, below, taken earlier today of a device, partly covered by a green plastic bag, that security forces erected from one of the neighboring properties in clear view and air stream of the Brazilian embassy. “As soon as we discovered it,” she wrote, “they immediately took it down.”
Father Andrés Tamayo, also inside the embassy, told reporters at the press conference that he witnessed that device first hand. It is not yet known what exactly it is, or why it was accompanied by a plastic bag, or whether some kind of substance or chemical agent or gas was inside the bag and aimed at the Brazilian embassy.
These evidences and the eye-witness testimonies, including that of the doctor and the priest, demonstrate convincingly that while the Honduran coup regime issues emphatic denials of such attacks on the sovereign embassy of Brazil, it is clearly engaging in them nonetheless. The UN Security Council should not need any high tech apparatus of its own to be able to see and hear what is really going on at ground level, and respond accordingly to the coup regime’s mockery of it.
Update 5:08 p.m. Tegucigalpa (7:08 p.m. ET): The coup regime held a “cadena nacional” (mandatory broadcast on all radio, TV and cable channels) this afternoon to deny having engaged in any chemical warfare and to say it would allow the international Red Cross and Dr. Andres Pavon, a human rights leader, into the embassy to check the health of those inside. A group of doctors, including Pavon, just emerged from the examinations and reported the following:
That the symptoms were definitely caused by some kind of “contaminant.” Upon review of the photos of the unidentified device in the final photograph above, Pavon concludes that it is a humidifier and that the plastic bag contained some kind of liquid to put where water usually goes, and that it was the likely cause of the contamination of the embassy. It was not concluded whether the contaminant weapon was chemical or biological.
The doctors also confirmed, for Radio Globo, that UN officials had entered the Embassy with them to participate in the investigation.
The coup regime has just called a military curfew for most of the country’s population from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight.
5:32 p.m.: We’ve just confirmed independently from a source inside the building that UN officials have entered the Brazilian embassy.
:: Article nr. 58304 sent on 26-sep-2009 08:24 ECT
Blackwater: Enemy in Every House
On September 19 this year, police raided the Inter-Risk, a private security company in Islamabad, and arrested its two employees, possessing unlicensed arms and ammunition. Meanwhile, US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire confirmed, “The US contract with Inter-Risk is to provide security at the embassy and consulates.”
In the recent past, media have focused on private security firms which American diplomats are using in Pakistan. In this regard, the existence of the US notorious private security firm, Blackwater has been verified in our country with a new name as XeServices.
Last month, at the Super Market in Islamabad the road in front of girls school was sealed off—it was believed that employees of Blackwater entered in the guise of diplomats. And a number of well-furnished houses have been hired, while some US officials revealed that they have expanded the staff of their embassy. Last year, agents of the Blackwater had landed in Peshawar where a firing incident, targeting the officials of the US Consulate, Lynne Tracy and Stephen Deviance occurred.
As regards Blackwater, on August 19, 2009, New York Times reported, “The C I A in 2004 hired contractors from Blackwater as part of a secret program to assassinate top Al Qaeda operatives…Blackwater employees in Iraq were accused of using excessive force on several occasions including shootings in Baghdad in 2007 in which 17 civilians were killed. Iraqi officials have since refused to renew the company license.” The Times also endorsed firm’s secret operations in Afghanistan.
However, Blackwater has rapidly been establishing its network in Pakistan. It has started recruiting Pakistani nationals who are vulnerable and can work on payroll. In this connection, the company has been giving high financial incentives to our people.
Although the US says that it is adding more staff to its embassies and is giving additional humanitarian aid to Islamabad for lessening extremism, yet under this cover, it is likely to set up a number of Guantanamo-style secret prisons all over Pakistan. In this context, by playing a double game, US sent Blackwater which will engage in espionage and other criminal activities such as kidnapping, torture and killing of our citizens.
It is notable that Washington considers stability in Pakistan critical to helping the faltering war effort in neighboring Afghanistan. Despite Pakistan’s successful military operations in Swat, Buner and Dir including the arrest and surrender of the renowned Taliban commanders, breaking their backbone, under the pretext of Al-Qaida fighters, now America wants to destabilise Pakistan which is the lonely Islamic country, having nuclear weapons. For this purpose, Blackwater will be like Gestapo which was responsible for thousands of illegal arrests, executions and torture of anti-Nazis under the ‘Hitlerite Germany.’ Regarding the Gestapo, histroians agree that in Germany every one had been spying over every one.
In this respet, the KGB, the secret agency of the former Russia presents another such example. During one-party Soviet State, the agency played its role in suppressing ideological subversion and eliminating anti-Soviet public figures. The clandestine nework of KGB was working in such a manner that every man was spying over every other man.
Unlike the Gestapo and the KGB, the Blackwater with modern intelligence devices is likely to deploy its legal and illegal espionage residencies in every nook and corner of Pakistan where the spies with the legal residents, working in American embassy and consulates will have diplomatic immunity from prosecution. If caught, they will be returned to their country. The agents with the illegal residents will be Pakistanis unprotected by diplomatic immunity.
In the ongoing era of modern technologies, Blackwater’s personnel are likey to perform more dangerous functions. Besides the targeted executions and abductions of those persons, hostile to American polocies, its activities will entail disinformation, counter-intelligence, intensification of sectarian violence, division among our files and destruction of our websites. Covertly, they will employ all possible means to increase instablity in Pakistan.
Most harmful act of the company will be to gather information about Pakistan’s nuclear assets. For all its sinister designs, Blackwater which has already been in cooperation with the CIA, could be in collusion with the Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad. In this regard, Pakistan’s civil and military high officials have openly been revealing that RAW and other foreign agencies are involved in supporting militancy in the Frontier Province and separatism in Balochistan.
Incusion of foreign agencies could be judged from the statement of NWFP Governor Awais Ghani who disclosed on June 28 this year that some world powers were trying to divide Pakistan, adding that if he were not a governor, he would have exposed them. In one or the other way, ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas has also expressed similar thoughts during his intermittent press briefings.
Nevertheless, Blackwater’s agents will be present in every building, every market, every company, every NGO, every public place, every computer, and under every tree.
Now the right hour has come that there must be a strong sense of unity among our security agencies and every patriot Pakistani to check the covert operations of Blackwater. We must be more vigilant in this respect because enemy will be in every house.
Sajjad Shaukat writes regularly for Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs. Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.
By Paul Street. Originally published at The Greanville Journal
Carefully engineered myth and reality clash hard in Obama. But both his policies and advisors will soon tell us how much hope for change is justified—if any.
Barack Obama and his followers continue to revise the history of his ascendance, pretending his campaign was rooted among the “outsiders.”
The public line is a fiction, as even the most rudimentary research reveals. In fact, Obama’s own words document his intense courtship of the rich and powerful. Unfortunately, “few if any of” Obama’s staunchest supporters “have bothered to read a single solitary word of Obama’s blatantly imperial, nationalist, and militarist foreign policy speeches and writings,” says the author. “And my sense is they never will.”
“Obama is an act of system-legitimizing brilliance.” “This is bigger than life itself. When I was coming up, I always thought they put in who they wanted to put in. I didn’t think my vote mattered. But I don’t think that anymore.”
The speaker of these words is Deddrick Battle, a black janitor who grew up in St. Louis’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe housing projects during the 1950s and 1960s.
Battle was speaking about the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. He was quoted on the front page of last Sunday’s New York Times in a story about the pride many African Americans are naturally feeling in Obama’s candidacy. The story contained numerous examples of American blacks who have been encouraged by the Obama phenomenon to think for the first time that “politics is for them, too” .
But, as The New York Times’ editors certainly know, “they” still “put in who they want to put in” to no small extent. The predominantly white U.S. business and political establishment still makes sure that nobody who questions dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines can make a serious (”viable”) run for higher office – the presidency, above all. It does this by denying adequate campaign funding (absolutely essential to success in an age of super-expensive, media-driven campaigns) and favorable media treatment (without which a successful campaign is unimaginable at the current stage of corporate media consolidation and power) to candidates who step beyond the narrow boundaries of elite opinion. Thanks to these critical electoral filters and to the legally mandated U.S. winner-take-all “two party” system , a candidate who even remotely questions corporate and imperial power is not permitted to make a strong bid for the presidency.
Barack Obama is no exception to the rule. Anyone who thinks he could have risen to power without prior and ongoing ruling class approval is living in a dream world.
An Early and ‘Quieter Audition’ with the ‘Moneyed Establishment.’
Conventional wisdom holds that Obama entered national politics with his instantly famous keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But, as Ken Silverstein noted in Harper’s in the fall of 2006, “If the speech was his debut to the wider American public, he had already undergone an equally successful but much quieter audition with Democratic Party leaders and fund-raisers, without whose support he would surely never have been chosen for such a prominent role at the convention.”
The favorable elite assessment of Obama began in October of 2003. That’s when “Vernon Jordan, the well-known power broker and corporate board-member who chaired Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team after the 1992 election, placed calls to roughly twenty of his friends and invited them to a fund-raiser at his home. That event,” Silverstein noted, “marked his entry into a well-established Washington ritual-the gauntlet of fund-raising parties and meet-and-greets through which potential stars are vetted by fixers, donors, and lobbyists.”
Drawing on his undoubted charm, wit, intelligence, and Harvard credentials, Obama passed this trial with shining colors. At a series of social meetings with assorted big “players” from the financial, legal and lobbyist sectors, Obama impressed key establishment figures like Gregory Craig (a longtime leading attorney and former special counsel to the White House), Mike Williams (the legislative director of the Bond Market Association), Tom Quinn (a partner at the top corporate law firm Venable and a leading Democratic Party “power broker”), and Robert Harmala, another Venable partner and “a big player in Democratic circles.”
Craig liked the fact that Obama was not a racial “polarizer” on the model of past African-American leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Williams was soothed by Obama’s reassurances that he was not “anti-business” and became “convinced…that the two could work together.”
“There’s a reasonableness about him,” Harmala told Silverstein. “I don’t see him as being on the liberal fringe.”
By Silverstein’s account, the good “word about Obama spread through Washington’s blue-chip law firms, lobby shops, and political offices, and this accelerated after his win in the March  Democratic primary.” Elite financial, legal, and lobbyists contributions came into Obama’s coffers at a rapid and accelerating pace .
The “good news” for Washington and Wall Street insiders was that Obama’s “star quality” would not be directed against the elite segments of the business class. The interesting black legislator from the South Side of Chicago was “someone the rich and powerful could work with.” According to Obama biographer and Chicago Tribunereporter David Mendell, in late 2003 and early 2004:
“Word of Obama’s rising star was now spreading beyond Illinois, especially through influential Washington political circles like blue chip law firms, party insiders, lobbying houses. They were all hearing about this rare, exciting, charismatic, up-and-coming African American who unbelievably could win votes across color lines…..[his handlers and] influential Chicago supporters and fund-raisers all vigorously worked their D.C. contacts to help Obama make the rounds with the Democrats’ set of power brokers. …Obama…spent a couple of days and nights shaking hands making small talk and delivering speeches to liberal groups, national union leaders, lobbyists, fund-raisers and well-heeled money donors. In setting after setting, Obama’s Harvard Law resume and his reasonable tone impressed the elite crowd.”
According to Mendell, Obama now cultivated the support of the privileged few by “advocate[ing] fiscal restraint” and “calling for pay-as-you-go government” and “extol[ing] the merits of free trade and charter schools.” He “moved beyond being an obscure good-government reformer to being a candidate more than palatable to the moneyed and political establishment.” .
“Reasonable tone” was code language with a useful translation for Obama’s new business-class backers: “friendly to capitalism and its opulent masters.”
“On condition of anonymity,” Silverstesin reported two years ago, “one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a ‘player.’ The lobbyist added: ‘What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?’”
Obama’s ‘Dollar Value’
Since his election to the U.S. Senate and through the presidential campaign, the “deeply conservative” (according to New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar) Obama has done nothing to undermine his “palatability” to concentrated economic and political power. He has made his safety to the power elite evident on matters both domestic and global, from his support for bailing out parasitic Wall Street financial firms with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (while claiming to be “a free market guy” and proclaiming “love” for “capitalism”) to his refusal to question the morality of U.S. colonial wars and his strident support for maintaining a globally unmatched “defense” (empire) budget that accounts for nearly half the world’s military spending. As Edward S. Herman and David Peterson note in an important recent article, “in 2007-08, Obama has placated establishment circles on virtually every front imaginable, the candidate of ‘change we can believe in’ has visited interest group after interest group to promise them that they needn’t fear any change in the way they’re familiar with doing business” .
It’s all very consistent with Obama’s history stretching back to his days as the Republican-pleasing editor of the Harvard Law Review and his climb up the corporate-friendly politics of Chicago. As Ryan Lizza noted in The New Yorker last July, “Perhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them” .
Obama’s business-friendly centrism helped him garner an astonishing, record-setting stash of corporate cash. He received more than $33 million from “FIRE,” the finance-real-estate and insurance sector. His winnings include $824,202 from the leading global investment firm Goldman Sachs . He has been consistently backed by the biggest and most powerful Wall Street firms.
At the same time and by more than mere coincidence, Obama enjoyed a remarkable windfall of favorable corporate media coverage. That media treatment was the key to Obama’s success in winning support and donations from the middle-class and from non-affluent people like Deddrick Battle.
This does not mean that the Obama phenomenon has raised no concerns among the rich and powerful. As Herman and Peterson note, “Obama’s race, his background, his enthusiastic, and less predictable constituency, and the occasional slivers of populism that creep into his campaign, make the establishment nervous, whereas Hillary Clinton and John McCain clearly posed no such threat.”
Still, the moneyed elite’s most reactionary wing used its formidable media and propaganda system to keep the Obama “movement” safely within conservative boundaries. It employed a series of neo-McCarthyite anti-radical and related racial scare tactics including the Jeremiah Wright Affair and subsequent public relations campaigns surrounding alleged Obama links to “terrorist” charter-school advocate William Ayers and “radical professor” Rashid Khalidi. It has sought to link the openly capitalist Obama to the “anti-American” threat of “socialism,” alleging that that the harbors a nefarious desire to “redistribute” wealth.
‘Holding Domestic Constituencies in Check’
At the same time, many in the establishment sensed (accurately) that Obama is particularly well-suited to the goal of wrapping corporate politics and the related American Empire Project in insurgent garb. Their profit- and empire-based system and “leadership” has been behaving so badly that a major image makeover is required to keep the rabble (the citizenry) in line. Once he was properly “vetted” and found to be “reasonable” – to be someone who would not fundamentally question dominant power structures and doctrines – Obama’s multicultural background, race, youth, charisma, and even his early opposition to the Iraq War became useful to corporate and imperial elites. His outwardly progressive “change” persona is perfectly calibrated to divert, capture, control, and contain coming popular rebellions. He is uniquely qualified to simultaneously surf, de-fang, and “manage” the U.S. and world citizenry’s hopes for radical and democratic transformation in the wake of the Bush-Cheney nightmare. As John Pilger warned last May:
“What is Obama’s attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy’s [in 1968]. By offering a ‘new,’ young and apparently progressive face of Democratic Party – with the bonus of being a member of the black elite – he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell’s role as Bush’s secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent” .
Obama’s race is no small part of what makes him “uniquely qualified” to perform the key tasks of mass pacification for which he has been hired. As Aurora Levins Morales noted in a Z Magazine essay written for left progressives last April:
“We’re far more potent as organizers and catalysts than as voters. Our ability to create a world we can thrive on does not depend on who wins this election, it depends on our ability to dismantle profit-based societies in which greed trumps ethics. This election is about finding a CEO capable of holding domestic constituencies in check as they are further disenfranchised and… [about] mak[ing] them feel that they have a stake in the military aggressiveness that the ruling class believes is necessary. Having a black man and a white woman run helps to obscure the fact that …decline of empire is driving the political elite to the right. Both [Obama and Hillary Clinton] represent very reactionary politics…Part of the cleverness of having such candidates is the fact that they will be attacked in ways that make oppressed people feel compelled to protect them” .
The logic works at the global as well as the domestic level. A considerable segment of the U.S. foreign policy establishment thinks that Obama’s race, name (technically Islamic), experience living (Muslim Indonesia, as a child) in and visiting (chiefly his father’s homeland Kenya) poor nations and his nominally anti-Iraq War history will help them repackage the U.S. imperial project (replete with more than 730 military bases located in nearly every nation on Earth) in softer and more politically correct cover . John Kerry, who ran for the presidency four years earlier largely on the claim that he would be a more effective manager of empire (and the Iraq War) than George W. Bush , was certainly thinking of these critical imperial “soft power” assets when he praised Obama as someone who could “reinvent America’s image abroad” [11A]. So was Obama himself when he said the following to reporters aboard his campaign plane in the fall of 2007:
“If I am the face of American foreign policy and American power, as long as we are making prudent strategic decisions, handling emergencies, crises, and opportunities in the world in an intelligent and sober way….I think that if you can tell people, ‘We have a president in the White House who still has a grandmother living in a hut on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a sister who’s half-Indonesian, married to a Chinese-Canadian,’ then they’re going to think that he may have a better sense of what’s going on in our lives and country. And they’d be right” .
What Obama didn’t tell reporters was that his idea of “prudent” and “intelligent” foreign policy is strongly committed to U.S. global hyper-militarism and world supremacy, including unilateral action whenever “we” deem it necessary to “protect the American people and their vital interests” .
Obama’s distinctive biography is one of his great attractions to the mostly white U.S. foreign policy elite in a majority non-white world that has been deeply provoked and disgusted by U.S. behavior in the post-9/11 era (and truthfully before). He is a perfect symbol of deceptive imperial “re-branding.” According to the power-worshipping and unconsciously imperialist New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof three weeks ago, the election of a black president “could change global perceptions of the United States, redefining the American ‘brand’ to be less about Guantanamo and more about equality” . Never mind that the U.S. remains the most unequal and wealth-top-heavy country in the industrialized world by far, strongly dedicated to maintaining steep socioeconomic and disparity within and between nations and scarred by a domestic racial wealth gap of seven black cents on the white dollar.
Call it “the identity politics of foreign policy.” The Empire wants new clothes and Obama is just the man to wear them.
“If there’s anyone out there who still questions the power of our democracy…”
The first public words out of Obama’s mouth on the evening of his election were richly consistent with his assignment of restoring legitimacy to the American System. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible…..who still questions the power of our democracy,” Obama intoned, “tonight is your answer” .
Our supposed “left” President-Elect’s first statement was NOT a call for peace, justice, and equality. It wasn’t a call for America to confront the inseparably linked problems (what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “triple evils that are interrelated”) of economic exploitation, racism (deeply understood), and militarism-imperialism.
No, it was a Reagan-like declaration bolstering the American plutocracy’s ridiculous claim that the U.S. – the industrialized world’s most unequal and wealth-top-heavy society by far – is home to a great democracy and limitless opportunity for all.
And what’s with the word “still” (used twice) in Obama’s assertion? It’s not exactly like the case for the U.S. being a great popular democracy has been made with special, self-evident strength in recent times! The last three-and-a-half decades have brought the deepening top-down infliction of a sharply regressive corporate-neoliberal policies that are widely (but irrelevantly) repudiated by the majority of U.S. citizens .
In this century we’ve witnessed the execution of a monumentally criminal petro-imperialist Iraq Invasion sold to the U.S. populace by a spectacular state-media propaganda campaign (including preposterous claims of noble democratic intent Obama has embraced) that mocked and subverted the nation’s democratic ideals. Dominant U.S. media’s role in the invasion of Iraq marks perhaps the all-time low point of the “free press” in the U.S. . The “democracy disconnect” – the gap (chasm really) between majority public opinion (which supports things like national universal health care, significant reductions in military expenditure and imperial commitment, massive public works, reduced corporate power, etc.) and “public” policy – is a widely acknowledged problem in American political life . The specter of homeland totalitarianism – please see Sheldon Wolin’s recent book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton, NJ, 2008) – has never loomed larger than in the opening decade of the 21st century. “If there is anyone out there who still questions the power of our democracy”? Hello? How about: “Is there anybody who seriously thinks we really have a functioning democracy in the U.S.?”
Elections as Change
“In all of the post-election noise,” a student recently wrote me, “I think one thing Obama said in his acceptance speech was completely right on: the election itself is not the ‘change’ but simply the chance to make the changes we have to make. I know, I know, Obama was the ruling class candidate, but you have to admit that this represents at least symbolically a very good (first) step.”
In the fifth paragraph of his acceptance oration, however, the President-Elect said that “because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.” That line (anyway) makes the election itself change. Later in the speech Obama said that his election “proved that…a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth” . That was very premature. Whether or not that judgment proves accurate remains to be seen and the answer is up to citizens, not politicians. I’m no where near ready to put Wolin’s book in the basement because of the neoliberal “conciliator”  Barack Obama’s election.
I’ve never said Obama was THE ruling class candidate, just A ruling class candidate. And for what it’s worth, I agree with Herman and Peterson that the Obama phenomenon (not so much Obama but the expectations surrounding him) causes some anxiety in establishment circles  – as well it should.
‘Carefully Crafting the Obama Brand’
“Our campaign,” Obama announced last Tuesday night, “was not hatched in the halls of Washington” . Yes it was. “One evening in February 2005, in a four-hour meeting stoked by pepperoni pizza and great ambition,” the Chicago Tribune reported last year, “Senator Barack Obama and his senior advisors crafted a strategy to fit the Obama ‘brand.’” The meeting took place just weeks after Obama had been sworn into the upper representative chamber of the United States government. According to the Tribune’s Washington Bureau reporters Mike Dorning and Christi Parsons, in an article titled “Carefully Crafting the Obama Brand”:
“The charismatic celebrity-politician had rocketed from the Illinois state legislature to the U.S. Senate, stirring national interest. The challenge was to maintain altitude despite the limited tools available to a freshman senator whose party was in a minority.”
“Yet even in those early days, Obama and his advisors were thinking ahead. Some called it the ‘2010-2012-2016′ plan: a potential bid for governor or re-election to the Senate in 2010, followed by a bid for the White House as soon as 2012, not 2016. The way to get there, they decided, was by carefully building a record that matched the brand identity: Obama as a unifier and consensus builder, and almost postpolitical leader.”
“The staffers in that after-hours session, convened by Obama’s Senate staff and including Chicago political advisor David Axlerod, planned a low-profile strategy that would emphasize workhorse results over headlines. Obama would invest in the long-term profile by not seeming too eager for the bright lights” .
This Tribune story suggests a degree of cynicism, manipulation, and ambition that does not fit very well with the progressive and hopeful likeness that the Obama campaign projected. The politician being sold would make sure to seem non-ambitious and humble. But, by Dorning and Parsons’ account, Obama and his team were actually and quite eagerly all about “the bright lights” and “the headlines” in a “long-term” sense. They were already scheming for the presidency less than a month into his Senate seat.
The image of Obama as a humble and hardworking rookie who got along with his colleagues across partisan lines was part of their marketing strategy on the path to higher – the highest – office. Obama may have just become only the third black to sit in the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, but for Obama and his team the Senate was largely a marketing platform for the Next Big Thing – a place to build his image as a “unifier” and “consensus builder.” The term “Obama brand” suggested the commodified nature of a political culture that tends to reduce elections to corporate-”crafted” marketing contests revolving around candidate images packaged and sold by corporate consultants and public relations experts.
The fact that presidential opportunity knocked four years before 2012 does not alter the basic point. Other “halls” of wealth and power also “hatched” Obama: LaSalle Street (Chicago’s financial district), Wall Street (Goldman Sachs alone gave Obama nearly $900,000 for the 2007-08 campaign), and the monopoly media .
Power Elite Cabinet Appointments
Those remaining bizarre individuals on the lunatic fringe who “still question the power of our democracy” are going to be entertained and/or nauseated by “Obama Inc.’s” cabinet appointments. As the balmy populist warmth of Election Day (75 degrees and blue skies as I knocked doors in rural Iowa) gives way to the big chill (it was freezing in Iowa City by Friday) of corporate-imperial governance, Obama has already named the brass-knuckled power-elite enforcer Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff. This is a slap in the face to leftish progressives who think the next president is one of them.
Emmanuel is a former leading member of the corporate-neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Formed by business-oriented elites to increase the Democratic Party’s distance from labor, environmentalism, blacks, and Civil Rights, the DLC’s mission was to steer the party closer to the corporate, imperial, southern, suburban, and racially accomodationist center. It’s goal was to advance post-partisan convergence between Democratic and Republican agendas and to impose economically and racially regressive polices underneath the cloak of “progressive” strategy and “pragmatic” “realism.”
Emmanuel was a leading Clinton administration agent of the corporate-globalizationist investors-rights bill called the “North American Free Trade Agreement.” He is a leading liaison between corporate funding sources and the Democratic Party.
The son a wealthy Israeli doctor, he is a fierce defender of Israel’s apartheid regime and its illegal occupation of Palestine.
He played a critical role in favoring conservative and pro-war Democrats over progressive antiwar Democrats during the 2006 congressional primaries.
The rest of Obama’s cabinet appointments should follow in much the same vein. Expect Republican imperialist Robert Gates (who advocated the straight-up U.S. bombing of Nicaragua in the name of the Monroe Doctrine during the early 1980s) to stay on as “Defense” Secretary for at least a year. In the campaign home stretch, Obama bought into the noxious notion that the Bush-Patraeus-Gates “Surge” is “working” (”beyond our wildest dreams” he told FOX News thug Bill O’Reilly) in Iraq
We will certainly get somebody from the neoliberal Wall-Street-Goldman Sachs-Harvard-University of Chicago-Hamilton Group crowd in Treasury – a seasoned state-capitalist apparatchik who understands the need to bail out the wealthy Few, not ordinary homeowners and workers. Top Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers could well be brought in, despite (a) his scandalous claim that females are genetically unfit for science; (b) his claim (as World Bank economist) that Africa was under-polluted since people don’t live very long there anyway; and (c) his critical role (along with Robert Rubin, another possibility at Treasury) in advancing the financial deregulation that helped create the recent meltdown of U.S. and global financial markets.
Look for a foreign policy post of some sort to go to Richard Holbrooke, a major Iraq War Hawk, largely indistinguishable from Paul Wolfowitz on Iraq and the broader Middle East. Holbrooke’s resume includes authorizing (during his time as a State Department functionary in the Carter administration) the continued sale of arms to Indonesia while its military conducted a genocidal invasion of East Timor during the middle and late 1970s.
I could go on.
‘I Can’t Read That’
Are progressive people I used to like and take seriously really going to let themselves be turned into hopeless reactionaries and/or fools by the Obama phenomenon?
The progressive filmmaker Michael Moore says this on his Web site: “Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war” . Obama is an “anti-war candidate?” Yes, and Love is Hate. I tried to write Moore to suggest that he read my book’s fourth chapter (titled “How ‘Antiwar’? Obama, Iraq, and the Audacity of Empire”), but his mailbox was full.
A left labor historian I’ve worked with has admonished me for criticizing Obama, who (the historian hopes) will bring the Employee Free Choice Act (re-legalizing and expanding unions). Well, the EFCA is in Obama’s policy book and I’m going to work for it but mark my words: it’ll have to be fought for tooth-and-nail against the likes of Emanuel, Summers, and Obama’s own “deeply conservative”  instincts. (This morning on ABC, the neoconservative commentator and Obama fan George Will said that president Obama might well be pleased to see the EFCA fail since it could end up being for the new administration what “gays in the military” was for Bill Clinton).
An old friend used to be a very smart Marxist and was an early member of SDS – a real New Leftist. She refused to be given – yes, refused to be given – a copy of my very careful and respectful book on the Obama phenomenon. “I can’t read that,” she said. Some of the names on the back of the book (Adolph Reed Jr., Noam Chomsky, and John Pilger) are former icons of hers (she introduced me to the writings of Adolph Reed, Jr in the mid-1990s.) but now she’s in love with Obama. “It’s the best thing that could happen,” she says about his election. She’s repudiated her radical past and agrees with centrist American Enterprise Institute (AEI) “scholar” Norman Ornstein’s recent ravings on how “the left” must not press Obama for very much right now (Ornstein’s AEI-funded admonitions have recently been broadcast again and again across America’s wonderful “public” broadcasting stations (”N’PR and “P”BS) because of, you know, “the economy” and all.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times (a left-liberal Obama critic during the primary campaign) says there’s “something wrong with you” if you weren’t “teary-eyed” about Obama’s election . Yes, numerous other radicals and I need to be put under psychiatric care because we didn’t cry over the militantly bourgeois and openly imperialist Obama’s presidential selection.
We have the increasingly unglued white anti-racist Tim Wise screaming “Screw You” to Obama’s harshest radical critics  – this after recklessly charging racism against working-class whites  Wise 2008b) and Hillary Clinton supporters  who had any issues with (the racially conciliatory) Obama.
Half-progressive liberals I know in Iowa City (white-academic-Obamaist ground zero) ask my opinion of the election. I express the slightest hint of substantive, evidence-based left critique/concern and they turn away.
The local bookstore, run by progressives (left-liberal Edwards supporters during the Iowa Caucus), is wiling to sell my book but “too scared” to have an author event.
Few if any of these people have bothered to read a single solitary word of Obama’s blatantly imperial, nationalist, and militarist foreign policy speeches and writings. And my sense is they never will. They do not care about such primary sources in the ongoing history of the Obama phenomenon. For the last two years talking to many liberals and avowed “progressives” I know about Obama – who I picked to be the next president in the fall of 2006 (I thought he was too simultaneously irresistible to both the power elite and the liberal base not to prevail) – has been like talking to Republicans about George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2004: no room for messy and inconvenient facts.
I am hearing people of color identify with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that would be unimaginable without Obama. This may be the worst thing of all.
Obama is an act of system-legitimizing brilliance – a tour de force for the ruling class. He has been chosen to wear the Empire’s new clothes. He is the “managed democracy’s” fake-progressive public relations makeover at home and abroad.
Meanwhile the real heartland white fascists – the ones Wise doesn’t make up – are buying up assault weapons at a record pace.
Such is the dark authoritarian reality of U.S. political culture lurking behind the pride and excitement felt by Deddrick Battle and many other poor and black voters who have been inspired by the Obama phenomenon to think that “politics is for them too.” President Obama can be counted on to use their new faith in reactionary and imperial ways reflecting hidden allegiance to the timeworn elite principle that really big matters of politics and policy are for the rich and powerful – not ordinary citizens. At the end of the day Obama’s job is to keep the restless poor, working class, and global Many safely pacified while serving the needs of the wealthy and imperial Few. It’s a deadly juggling act that could have terrible consequences. How long he can maintain the illusion of serving the interests of the people and the elite at one and the same time is an open question.
The sooner seriously left agitators and activists can expose the corporate-imperial truth behind the progressive Obama façade to disenfranchised people at home and abroad, the quicker we can get to real social and democratic change beyond the ruling class’s latest quadrennial candidate-centered electoral extravaganza. Paul Street’s books include Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (New York, 2007), and most recently Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, September 2008).
Paul can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Susan Saulny, “Obama-Inspired Black Voters Find Politics is For Them Too,” New York Times, November 2, 2008, sec.1, p. 1.
2. In deciding against “fusion” electoral options (which would allow a voter to select Obama [or McCain] in the name of the Green Party or any other non-mainstream party), the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the nation has an interest in restricting the number of viable political parties to just two.
3. Ken Silverstein, “Barack Obama, Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine,” Harper’s (November 2006).
4. David Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 248-49.
5. Edward S Herman and David Peterson, “Jeremiah Wright in the Propaganda System,” Monthly Review, September 2008, pp. 3-4; Paul Street, Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008). For Obama as “deeply conservative,” see Larissa MacFarquhar, “The Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama Coming From?” The New Yorker (May 7, 2007). According to MacFarquhar, “In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative.”
6. Ryan Lizza, “Making It: How Chicago Shaped Obama,” The New Yorker, (July 21, 2008).
7. Center for Responsive Politics, “Open Secrets,” Barack Obama’s Campaign Finance Profile, read at www.opensecetrs.org (accessed on November 2, 2008).
8. John Pilger, “After Bobby Kennedy There Was Barack Obama,” Common Dreams, May 31, 2008, read at www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/31/9327/.
9. Aurora Levins Morales, “Thinking Outside the Ballot Box,” Z Magazine (April 2008).
10. James Traub, “Is (His) Biography (Our) Destiny?” New York Times Magazine (November 4, 2007). See also Liza Mundy, “A Series of Fortunate Events: Barack Obama Needed More Than Talent and Ambition to Rocket From Obscure State Senator to Presidential Contender in Three Years,” Washington Post Magazine (August 12, 2007).
11. See Paul Street, “Bush, Kerry, and ‘Body Language’ v. ‘Message’: Notes on Race, Gender, Empire and Mass Infantilization,” ZNet Magazine (October 12, 2004).
11A. John F. Kerry, “Truly Transformative,” Newsweek (April 28, 2008): 34.
12. Quoted in Traub, “Is (His) Biography (Our) Destiny?”
13. For truly ugly details, please see the fourth chapter – titled “How ‘Antiwar?’ Obama, Iraq, and the Audacity of Empire” – in my book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics.
14. Nicholas Kristof, “Rebranding the U.S. With Obama,” The New York Times, October 23, 2008, p. A27.
15. Barack Obama, “Remarks on Election Night,” Chicago, IL (November 4, 2008), read at http://www.barackobama.com/2008/11/04/remarks_of_presidentelect_bara.php
16. For one among many sources, see see Jeff Faux, The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future and What It Will Take to Win it Back (New York: Wiley, 2006).
17. For some important recent reflections, see John Bellamy Foster, Hannah Holleman, and Robert W. McChesney, “The Military/Industrial/Media Triangle,” Monthly Review (October 2008), pp. 15-16.
18. For sources and details, see Paul Street, “Americans’ Progressive Opinions vs. ‘The Shadow Cast on Society by Big Business,’” ZNet Sustainer Commentary (May 15, 2008), read at http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/3491.
19. Obama, “Remarks on Election Night.”
20. MacFarquhar, “The Conciliator.”
21. Herman and Peterson, “Jeremiah Wright.”
22. Obama, “Remarks.”
23. Mike Dorning and Christi Parsons, “Carefully Crafting the Obama Brand,” Chicago Tribune, 12 June, 2007, sec.1. p.1.
24. Ken Silverstein, “Obama, Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine,” Harper’s (November 2006); Center for Responsive Politics 2008, Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power; Paul Street, Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, September 2008), pp. xvii-72.
25. Michael Moore, “Pinch Me,” ZNet (November 5, 2008), read at http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19359. And what’s with this “time of war” crap? Is Moore dodging IEDs and mortar shells on his way to and from his filming locations or home? Are they imposing nighttime blackouts and rationing scarce war materials in Moore’s hometown of Flint or anywhere else in the U.S.?
The American Empire has undertaken two vicious and one-sided petro-colonial occupations in oil- and gas-rich Southwest Asia. It is not imposing anything like wartime rigors on the imperial homeland.
26. MacFarquhar, “The Conciliator.”
27. Paul Krugman, “The Obama Agenda,” New York Times, November 7, 2008.
28. Tim Wise, “Good and Now Back to Work,” ZNet (November 6, 2008), read at http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19398
29. Tim Wise “This is How Fascism Comes,” Red Room (October 11, 2008), read at http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/this-how-fascism-comes-reflections-cost-silence.
30. Tim Wise, “Your Whiteness is Showing,” LIP Magazine (June 5, 2008), read at http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/WhitenessShowing.html
By Timothy V. Gatto
All day long I’ve been seething. I finally calmed down enough to sit down and through writing about how I feel, sort of work things out. Because this is a very personal set of feelings I’m working through and writing about, what I have to say really needs to be said and more importantly thought about, especially if this material is new to you.
The reason why I wrote a book was to reach an audience that hadn’t heard what I have to say, not to make a buck. I’m not the smartest guy in the world but I’m not the dumbest either. It took a long time to arrive at where I am now in my political thinking. Most people that are familiar with my writing know that at one time I was very naive. I sometimes wish I were still, life was easier. I know just about all it is possible to know without actually being in the political system and privy to what is said in backrooms and in whispers. I am aware of what my nation is doing and I am ashamed.
I never believed in Barack Obama nor did I believe in Hillary Clinton. Still, like many other Americans I felt that a change from the radical right to something more centrist would be good for this country. I still had very deep reservations about Barack Obama. I followed his campaign and I saw where his financing was coming from. I was convinced that he hadn’t been chosen by the Democrats; instead he had been anointed by corporate America. I now believe it to be true and I am unshakeable in this opinion. It has been ten months since the Democrats have had control over both houses of Congress and the executive branch and still we seem to be to be on the same course as we were under Bush and Cheney.
Let me state some irrefutable facts that every American should know;
1. The United States spends 48% of the entire world budget for the military. $515.4 billion dollars for the basic budget alone. That does not include appropriations for Afghanistan and Iraq. We have 800 bases in 130 different nations. We have revived the 4th Fleet that is responsible for operating in Latin America. We are building 5 new bases in Columbia to whom we have given 5 billion dollars to over the past three years. Uribe, the leader of Columbia has supported murder and violence against trade unions and those that disagree with his rule. Columbia still remains the largest exporter of cocaine to the United States. Afghanistan produces 90% of the opium in the entire world.
2. The goal of “fighting terrorism” is but a guise to cover the real objectives of the United States. According to Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times in the article U.S. Arc of Instability JustKeepsGettingBigger.
“Most of all, the underlying logic remains divide and rule. As for the divide, Beijing would call it, without a trace of irony, “splittist”. Split up Iraq – blocking China’s access to Iraqi oil. Split up Pakistan – with an independent Balochistan preventing China from accessing the strategic port of Gwadar there. Split up Afghanistan – with an independent Pashtunistan allowing the building of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline bypassing Russia. Split up Iran – by financing subversion in Khuzestan and Sistan-Balochistan. And why not split up Bolivia (as was attempted last year) to the benefit of US energy giants. Call it the (splitting) Kosovo model. Kosovo, incidentally, is known as the Colombia of the Balkans.” What Washington calls the “Western hemisphere” is a sub-section of the New Great Game. The linkage between the recent military coup in Honduras, the return of the living dead – that is, the resurrection of the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet in July 2008 – and now the turbo-charging of seven US military bases in Colombia is not to be blamed merely on continuity from president George W Bush to Obama. Not really. This is all about the internal logic of Full Spectrum Dominance.
“Full Spectrum Dominance” is the real motivation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Columbia.
3. According to Paul Craig Roberts in an article entitled “The Economy is a Lie Too” (Sept 23, 2009) he states; The spin that masquerades as news is becoming more delusional. Consumer spending is 70% of the US economy. It is the driving force, and it has been shut down. Except for the super rich, there has been no growth in consumer incomes in the 21st century. Statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com reports that real household income has never recovered its pre-2001 peak.
4. Obama supporting the renewal of The Patriot Act and the practice of “Preventive Detention”. The Patriot Act which is the draconian measure that basically tries to legitimatize “the security state (fascism)” allows for warrant less searches of citizen’s homes without their knowledge before or after the searches. While this was brought into the act on the premise of stopping terrorism, the use of these searches has primarily been against suspected drug dealers. Preventive detention basically does away with the writ of habeas corpus; no right to a lawyer, no disclosure of the crimes against the detained, no trial and no peer jury. This is America?
5. Propping up Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. The President declares that we are seeing a rebound in the economy when in reality unemployment and homelessness are still rising. There are one million homeless children in America and over 47 million unemployed. The only indicator that has risen is the stock market where wild speculation is still taking place. Corporations and banks have been the recipient of the lion’s share of bailout funds, not the individual citizen. Job outsourcing to other nations in order to increase the bottom line of corporations has crippled the manufacturing base of the United States. We are at a point where we produce very little. Production has been the means in which to gauge the economy and has been tied to rising or falling salaries. Now we are in a service economy dependant on retail sales for 70% of our GDP. In this climate, how is America affecting a financial rebound? Improbable to say the least.
These are but a few of the reasons why all Americans need to get involved. The practice of listening to the guidance of our political leaders should be terminated. There are only a handful of people in government that are not on the take. The pharmaceutical industry according to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has over 1100 lobbyists in Washington, two for every Senator and Representative. The money that flows to politicians from corporate coffers is measured in the billions. The Congressional Branch has been bought and paid for. I believe it is now impossible to enact campaign finance reform. The Supreme Court is considering overturning the Austin Decision which puts a cap on corporate campaign contributions. If this happens, corporations will have no prohibition against legally installing their own people in State and Federal government.
One telling example of Obama’s loyalty to corporate America was his decision to prevent re-importation of drugs into the United States and to ban government agencies from negotiating lower drug prices. This in effect gave big pharma free reign to rape the consumer. He claimed that we saved “billions” in the compromise which in reality turned out to be a 2% decrease in future pricing.
The expansion of NATO operations on all continents except Latin America and the ensuing encirclement of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russia), China and Iran all point towards a quest for international hegemony by the U.S. The result of which will not significantly change the situation of American citizens. Far from it, the resulting wars without end will, in my opinion, bleed this nation dry of resources and capital. The only entities that will profit from continued conflict will be those that make up the military industrial complex, the defense industries and related corporations. One must consider that the continuing outsourcing of manufacturing to other nations have created corporate entities that are multi-national or “supra-national” corporations with no allegiance to any one country. Some of these corporations such as Exxon/Mobil have assets that are larger than most nations on the planet.
What I see for the future of the United States does not bring me any peace. The real problems in the world such as dwindling resources and climate change beg attention. There is no real way to affect change when military budgets and foreign military adventures use up the lion’s share of our budget. What possible good will come of a world ruled by the United States of America when this world is facing world-wide starvation, desertification, anarchy and extreme poverty while a good percentage of planet Earth’s citizens become refugees looking for arable land in order to feed themselves? Civilization itself is facing collapse while the nations of the Earth fight wars over resources and political disagreements.
Capitalism has long outlived its usefulness. Just to prove a point, the Rothschild family is estimated to have 100 Trillion dollars in assets, the Rockefellers’ of the United States 11 Trillion dollars. These are unsubstantiated numbers and come from Pravda (Retired management consultant Gaylon Ross S., author of Who’s Who of the Global Elite, has been tipped from a private source that the combined wealth of the Rockefeller family in 1998 was approx (US) $11 trillion and the Rothschild’s (U.S.) $100 trillion. However something of an insider’s knowledge of the hidden wealth of the elite is contained in the article, “Will the Dollar and America Fall Down on August 19?..” on page 1 of the 12th July 2001 issue of Russian newspaper Pravda.).
The question Americans must ask themselves is what do they want from the future? Are American ideals that were enshrined in The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution really important? Do the tenants of the Magna Charta really matter? Can people ever be truly free under any government? Who will benefit from the incessant wars fought for undetermined principles? Can capitalism ever be refined to the point where all people have the same chance to succeed? Will it ever be possible for the people of the United States to again be in control of the Federal Government as if we ever had control?
I believe that it is now impossible to affect change from inside the system. The government has ceased to be by the people and for the people. This is not a question of right or left, it is a question of what is good for the majority. Change must be affected from outside the government in the form of civil disobedience, boycotts and demonstrations. The most important task in front of us is educating our fellow citizens to the grave dangers we face by maintaining the status quo. Eventually war with Russia and China will be inevitable. War with Iran is just around the corner. Our freedoms are being usurped by both political parties in power. The government has no real regard for the good of the citizenry. Our system is corrupted by corporate greed and most wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population.
Is Revolution the answer? If we take Revolution out of the equation what are the alternatives? Will enough of us see the coming dangers so as to change the future? Do we have any choice than but to “go along to get along” because too few of us are capable of critical thinking? As George Carlin once said, “There is a club that rules this country…and you ain’t in it”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that most of us cannot possibly continue to live at the levels we are accustomed to as long as the lion’s share of our nation’s wealth is being used to fund our military and our wars for “full spectrum dominance”. In the short run military expenditures will keep our economy from going bust, but in the long run these military expenditures will bankrupt us. Nobody in the government today is going to change things, change must come from the people, if not revolution, then what?
email@example.com http://liberalpro.blogspot.com Read Tim’s new book “From Complicity to Contempt”
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_ The “torture house” and mind control _ Testimony and Appeal Swetlana Schunin. Allemagne _ Germany _
Swetlana Schunin, Hegaustr.24, 76297 Stutensee, Tel.: 0721 / 5043925 , firstname.lastname@example.org , Swetlana Schunin, Hegaustr.24, 76297 Stutensee, Tel.: 0721 / 5043925, email@example.com,
The interview for the journalists and television The interview for the journalists and television
My name is Swetlana Schunin and I am a German citizen as well as co-organizer and President of the Association Against the Abuse of Psycho-physical Weapons. My name is Swetlana Schunin and I am a German citizen as well as co-organizer and President of the Association Against the Abuse of Psycho-physical Weapons. In 1993 we came over to Germany from Russia in order to lead a normal way of life. In 1993 we came over to Germany from Russia in order to lead a normal way of life. Being a teacher, I have worked my whole life teaching children. Being a teacher, I have worked my whole life teaching children. Since however, living in Germany, we have been constantly terrorised and tormented by some unknown criminals. Since however, living in Germany, we have been terrorised and Constantly tormented by some unknown criminals. They have tried to murder us and our children several times by causing car accidents and by creating other dangerous situations. They have tried to murder us and our children several times by causing car accidents and by creating other dangerous situations. I myself, have even survived an attempt of murder and a raid in our apartment. I myself, have even survived an attempt of murder and a raid in our apartment.
In 2006 the European victims of electronic terror, decided to found the “Association Against the Abuse of Psycho-physical Weapons”. In 2006 the European victims of electronic terror, Decided to found the “Association Against the Abuse of Psycho-physical Weapons”. The problem we are concerned with here, deals with the covert crimes committed against innocent people in Germany, in Europe, and in many other countries of the world. The problem we are concerned with here, deals with the covert crimes committed against innocent people in Germany, in Europe, and in many other countries of the world. Experiments are taking place using psycho-physical weapons which are being implemented without the consent of the people. Experiments are taking place using psycho-physical Which weapons are being implemented without the consent of the people. An immense number of information has already accumulated, which confirms that concealed military-medical experiments on peaceful citizens have been carried out over many decades. An overwhelming number of information has already accumulated, Concealed Which confirms that military-medical experiments on peaceful citizens have been carried out over many decades.
The victims of these atrocious experiments and their families are forced to live under the worst conditions of psycho-physical and social terror in spite of being law-abiding and conscientious citizens. The victims of these atrocious experiments and their families are forced to live under the worst conditions of psycho-social and physical terror in Spite of being law-abiding and conscientious citizens. These weapons are of dreadful effectiveness and endanger the lives of the entire population of our planet . These weapons are of dreadful effectiveness and Endanger the Lives of the entire population of our planet. Apart from causing physical damage and great pain to human subjects and to animals, secret manipulation in controlling the mind, the thoughts and behaviour are also being implemented. Apart from causing physical damage and great pain to human subjects and to animals, secret manipulation in controlling the mind, the thoughts and behavior are also being implemented. With these means, dissidents and politically interested people can easily be murdered without any kind of detection because these psycho-physical weapons have such an impact on the mind which can eventually lead to death. With these means, dissidents and politically interested people can easily be murdered without any kind of detection Because these psycho-physical weapons have such an impact on the mind Which can eventually lead to death.
The homes of victims are transformed secretly into drill-grounds for these weapons. The homes of victims are secretly transformed into drill-ground for these weapons. In order to prevent any traces of their presence, the Secret Services usually perform their experiments from a distance. In order to Prevent any traces of their presence, the Secret Service usually perform their experiments from a distance. We have reports, concerning the relatives of some of the victims, who dared to address the courts with complaints, and have thus been killed themselves with the same weapons. We have reports, concerning the respect of some of the victims, who Dared to address the courts with complaints, and Thus have been killed themselves with the same weapons. There are an uncountable number of witnesses, who are able to submit evidence about their own torture by radiation. There are an uncountable number of witnesses, who are able to submit evidence about their own torture by radiation. Victims of such experiments, are discredited in the family, neighbourhood and at work, eventually losing their jobs and subsequently declared mentally ill. Victims of such experiments, are discredited in the family, neighborhood and at work, eventually losing their jobs and subsequently declared mentally ill. According to instructions by the Secret Services, all the people who complain about these military-medical experiments, are locked away in a psychiatric institutions. According to instructions by the Secret Service, all the people who complain about these Military-medical experiments, are locked away in a psychiatric institution. This happened to Arina Droshinowa, who was admitted to a psychiatric clinic in Gehlsdorf , Rostock 2 months ago and she has still not yet been released. This happened to Droshinowa Arina, who was admitted to a Psychiatric Clinic in Gehlsdorf, Rostock 2 months ago and she has still not been released yet. She was threatened by the psychiatrist Dr. Habermeier, to sign a paper, allowing medical treatment to commence and that if she refused, electric shock therapy would be applied. She was threatened by the psychiatrist Dr. Habermeier, to sign a paper, Allowing medical treatment to commence and that if she refused, electric shock therapy would be applied. All rights of the victims are diminished and they are subjected to special care, their children are even taken away from them. All rights of the victims are diminished and they are Subjected to special care, even their children are taken away from them. Their families are destroyed and eventually they lose their homes and become very poor. Their families are destroyed and they eventually lose their homes and become very poor. Other examples are Jaqueline Saali from Berlin and Christa Bauer from Regensburg. Other examples are Jaqueline Saali from Berlin and Christa Bauer from Regensburg. These two German mothers have been fighting against this crime against humanity for years. These two German mothers have been fighting against this crime against humanity for years.
The injuries caused by radiation are kept secret by the medical institutions of the state and the examination results are altered deliberately because a large amount of medical institutions are under control of the Secret Services in many countries. The injuries caused by radiation are kept secret by the medical institutions of the state examination and the results are altered Deliberately Because a large amount of medical institutions are under control of the Secret Services in many countries. The police and the public prosecutors are prohibited to investigate the injuries and hence, they are not exposed, meaning that victims have no possibility to obtain any forensic examinations. The police and the public prosecutors are prohibited to investigate the injuries and hence, they are not exposed, meaning that victims have no possibility to Obtain any forensic examinations.
The media are not allowed to report about the psycho-physical radiations of the population. The media are not allowed to report about the psycho-physical radiation of the population. The European High Court for Human Rights and UN Courts have been informed about these crimes, but we have as jet received no reply. The European High Court for Human Rights and UN Courts have been informed about these crimes, but we have have received no reply jet. Various reports submitted to government representatives of our homeland were all in vain . Various reports submitted to government representatives of our homeland were all in vain. All of our efforts have been completely ignored! All of our efforts have been completely ignored!
Psychophysical weapons are weapons which can have an effect on the mind and body enabling change of thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Psychophysical weapons are weapons Which can have an effect on the mind and body enabling exchange of thoughts, feelings and behavior. These are effected by radiation from low and high frequencies in pulsed electromagnetic fields, as well as by the use of acoustic ultrasound and infra red waves. These are effected by radiation from low and high frequencies in pulsed electromagnetic fields, as well as by the use of acoustic ultrasound and infra red waves. A description of this is documented in the Russian law on weapons from 2001 by the Russian scientists Lopatin and Gurow. A description of this is documented in the Russian law on weapons from 2001 by the Russian scientists and Lopatin Gurow. After a frank interview with Boris Ratnikow, the former general – major of the committee for state security, all doubt about the existence of these weapons disappeared. After a frank interview with Boris Ratnikow, the general form – Staff of the committee for state security, all doubt about the existence of these weapons disappeared. . . Boris Ratnikow has said that in 10 years these psycho-tronic weapons will be more dangerous than nuclear weapons because they enable millions of people to be mind controlled – similar to “robots”. Boris Ratnikow has said that in 10 years these psycho-tronic weapons will be more dangerous than nuclear weapons Because they enable millions of people to be mind controlled – similar to “spam”. These psycho-physical weapons were created to be used on the battle ground, not only slaving the opponent but destroying their own people. These psycho-physical weapons were created to be used on the battle ground, not slaving the only opponent to destroying their own people. The use of psycho-physical weapons leads to complete slavery of populations. The use of psycho-physical weapons leads to complete slavery of people. People are transformed into well-behaved bio-robots which leads to complete physical destruction. People are transformed into well-behaved bio-robots Which leads to complete physical destruction. So-called Psichotron-Matrjoschka exists according to opinion of WM Kandyba from some different personalities. So-called Psichotron Matrjoschka exists-according to opinion of WM Kandyba from some different personalities. With the change-over of one on the other personality the manners change. With the change-over of one on the other the manners personality changes.
http://torsion2005.narod.ru / zomb.html 50 KB http://torsion2005.narod.ru / zomb.html 50 KB
Russian scientist WNAnissimow states that psychophysical weapons can kill from a distance, produce or cause any chronic disease, turn people into criminals or make them insane and irresponsible, make them fall down on the ground or stumble,cause flight, railroad or car disasters in a few seconds, cause any climate upheavals, damage devices . Russian scientist WNAnissimow Psychophysical states that weapons can kill from a distance, produce or cause any chronic disease, people turn into criminals or make them insane and irresponsible, make them fall down on the ground or stumble, because flight, railroad disasters in gold as a few seconds, because any climate upheavals, grooming devices.
These weapons can harm the psyche, damage the movement-coordination and the muscle tones, change the functions of the organism’s various systems . These weapons can harm the psyche, damage the movement-coordination and the muscle tones, change the functions of the organism’s various systems. They can control people, manipulate any biological object and change the view of life of the population. They can control people, biological manipulate any object and change the view of life of the population. With a continuous psychophysical process they can secretly control people and also the behavior of any groups and of the whole society . With a continuous process Psychophysical they can secretly control people and also the behavior of any groups and of the whole society. The victims of the special experiments can be gifted people, soldiers and officers, athletes, prisoners, and both psychologically ill and totally healthy people. The victims of the experiments can be special gifted people, soldiers and officers, athletes, prisoners, and both psychologically ill and totally healthy people. The hunt for victims is taking place in both cities and small places. The hunt for victims is taking place in both cities and small places.
There are three stages in the psychoprogramming. There are three stages in the psychoprogramming. The first stage is braincontrol, the second stage refers to the control of the targeted individual’s psychophysical activity and the third stage concerns the destruction of the targeted individual. The first stage is braincontrol, the second stage refers to the control of the targeted individual’s Psychophysical Activity and the third stage concerns the destruction of the targeted individual. The main rivals and competitors in the development and in the control of mindcontrol newest technologies were and still are the USA and Russia. The main rivals and competitors in the development and in the Control of mindcontrol newest technologies were and still are the USA and Russia. Some examples of such experiments were the following mindcontrol projects: MK ULTRA, MKDELTA, MKNAOMI, MKSEARCH, BLUE BIRD, ARTISCHOCK and others conducted by the CIA, with the use of drugs,electronic and electric shocks, and also the short frequencies and oscillations of superhigh frequencies and high frequencies. Some examples of such experiments were the following mindcontrol projects: MK ULTRA MKDELTA, MKNAOMI, MKSEARCH, BLUE BIRD, Artischocke and others conducted by the CIA, with the use of drugs, electronic and electric shocks, and also the short and frequencies of oscillations Superhigh frequencies and high frequencies. Doctor José Delgado had a special contribution in these secret projects by developing the different stimulators: love-hate, sympathy-antisympathy. Doctor Jose Delgado had a special contribution in these secret projects by developing the different stimulators: love, hate, sympathy-antisympathy. The aim of such experiments is to realize the possibilty of controlling people’s behavior. The aim of such experiments is to realize the possibilty of controlling people’s behavior. If the radiation is directly aimed at the person from a short distance, it is possible to control and destroy his willpower completely. If the cancellation is Aimed directly at the person from a short distance, it is possible to control and destroy his willpower completely.
Who has these weapons? Who has these weapons?
At that time Helen Blinnikowa-Wyazemskaya reported that “the preprogramming-methods , the psyche and mindcontrol were carried out for military purposes in the USA, France, Germany, Israel, England and China and in other countries.” At that time Helen Blinnikowa-Wyazemskaya reported that “the preprogramming-methods, the psyche and mindcontrol were carried out for military purposes in the USA, France, Germany, Israel, England and China and in other countries.” In Germany such investigations are carried out at the universities of Bonn and Freiburg. In Germany such investigations are carried out at the universities of Bonn and Freiburg. In Great Britain the same kind of investigations is being carried out at London University, in the lab of the psychological studies of Cambridge University . In Great Britain the same kind of investigation is being carried out at London University in the lab of the Psychological Studies of Cambridge University. Now the most efficient technologies are used not only in the arsenal of the military forces in the USA, Great Britain and France. Now the most efficient technologies are used not only in the arsenal of the military forces in the USA, Great Britain and France.
American scientific doctor Nick Begich wrote: “New technologies have been developed, it is possible with the help of acoustics or the electric stimulation of the brain to control the behaviour of a person, to manipulate his behaviour and even his thoughts with good or bad intentions. Scientific American doctor Nick Begich wrote: “New technologies have been developed, it is possible with the help of acoustics or the electric stimulation of the brain to control the behavior of a person, to manipulate his behavior and even his thoughts with good or bad intentions .
The English author and also a victim of psychophysical experiments Jim Keith has written a book “Mass control – Engineering human consciousness” in which he has described how it is possible to control the mind of a whole mass of people from a distance. Français The author and also a victim of Psychophysical experiments Jim Keith has written a book “Mass Control – Engineering Human Consciousness” in which he has described how it is possible to control the mind of a whole mass of people from a distance. Jim Keith further wrote : ” The technologies with whose help, emotions, communications and subliminal orders were directly sent to the brain of the targeted people were in the arsenal of American and Soviet governments. “ Jim Keith wrote further: “The technology with Whose help, emotions, communication and subliminal orders were sent directly to the brain of the targeted people were in the arsenal of American and Soviet governments.”
www.emil-tessmer.de/script.html – 346k www.emil-tessmer.de/script.html – 346k
The Russian scientific professor and victim Vassily Lensky reports that any citizen is continuously monitored by the Secret Services according to a torture-pattern, because he or she has been put down without any reason on a destruction list (there exist about 30 million of them in Russia). The Russian scientific professor Vasily Lensky and victim reports that any citizen is continuously monitored by the Secret Service according to a torture-pattern, Because he or she has been put down without any reason it was destroyed list (there exist about 30 million of them in Russia).
An extremely wide net of murderers has been set up to carry out the victims’ torture. An extremely wide net of murderers has been set up to carry out the victims’ torture. It is a gigantic army about which nothing has ever been published in the newspapers and only few people have heard about it. It is about a gigantic army Which nothing has ever been published in the newspapers and only few people have heard about it. Doctors have been criminally involved for a long time. Doctors have been criminally involved for a long time. The whole judicial system is corrupt and only serves the culprits. The whole judicial system is corrupt and only serves the culprits. The culprits’ misdeeds and terrorism are even covered up by the International Court for Human Rights and the International Criminal Court. The culprits’ misdeeds and terrorism are even covered up by the International Court for Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.
In these last hours of the history of crime and criminal aggressions all borders have been crossed. In these last hours of the history of crime and criminal aggressions all borders have been crossed. The history of mankind has never known such barbarity ! There never have been “criminalized victims ” nor ” Manchurian candidates “. The history of mankind has never known such Barbarity “There never have been” criminalized victims “nor” Manchurian Candidate “.
We must have a good knowledge of killing sprees’phenomenon, in order to subject the new “clean weapons” to a close scrutiny. We must have a good knowledge of sprees’phenomenon killing, in order to subject the new “clean weapons” to a close scrutiny.
Only in this way it is possible to see the real reasons for events such as the Erfurt case seven years ago, the recent cases in Winnenden in Germany, in America, in the Belgian childrengarden, and the other crimes of all kinds possibly staged by the Secret Services. Only in this way it is possible to see the real reasons for events such as the Erfurt case seven years ago, the recent cases in Germany in Winnenden, in America, in the Belgian childrengarden, and the other crimes of all kinds possibly staged by the Secret Services. The responsibility for these crimes and for terrorism are assumed by NATO and the secret services together with the organized crime, masons and sects. The responsibility for these crimes and for terrorism are assumed by NATO and the secret services, together with the organized crime, masons and sects.
We,the victims of non-lethal weapons want the secret services and military forces to get their dirty hands off the highly dangerous experiments carried out on us, on our partners, our children and grandchildren! We, the victims of non-lethal weapons want the secret services and military forces to get their dirty hands off the highly dangerous experiments carried out on us, on our partners, our children and grandchildren!
We can no longer accept that psychomurderers control and destroy the population with unethical, immoral and often deadly experiments. We can no longer accept that psychomurderers control and destroy the population with unethical, immoral and often deadly experiments.
The situation is comparable with the Third Reich, now the same is taking place, but with high tech weapons on a worldwide scale. The situation is comparable with the Third Reich, now the same is taking place, but with high tech weapons on a worldwide scale. This possible genocide of a new kind has no right to exist. This possible genocide of a new kind has no right to exist. The culprits must be brought to the international court of law to face up to their responsibilities! The culprits must be brought to the international court of law to face up to their responsibilities!
Our association is now seriously looking into the preparation of a law on psychophysical weapons. Our association is now seriously looking into the preparation of a law on Psychophysical weapons. Europe urgently needs a law which forbids unlawful use of all kinds of psychophysical weapons on human beings on one hand, and on the other hand a real authority for the control of the Secret Services, and a control of research and science. Europe urgently needs a law Which forbids unlawful use of Psychophysical all kinds of weapons on human beings on one hand, and on the other hand has real authority for the control of the Secret Service, and a control of research and science. But victims will never have the protection of the law to be able to sue for offences like physical injury or deprivation of freedom . But victims will never have the protection of the law to be able to sue for offenses like physical injury or deprivation of freedom. Together with German and European victims, our association requests from the Council of Europe and the European Court of law that a commission be founded for the investigation into this crime and genocide both on the European and international levels to expose and punish all the criminal organisations and all the culprits. Together with German and European victims, our association requests from the Council of Europe and the European Court of law that a committee be founded for the investigation into this crime and genocide on both the European and international levels to states and punish all the criminal organizations and all the culprits.
Therefore, we ask all reasonable people of this planet to support us and help us to solve this global problem. Therefore, we ask all reasonable people of this planet to support us and help us to solve this global problem. We must do this for our children and for the future generation! We must do this for our children and for the future generation!
We demand that our leaders,the politicians and the media open their eyes and support us. We demand that our leaders, the politicians and the media open their eyes and support us. It is not too late to pull the emergency brake. It is not too late to pull the emergency brake.
We also request German and international journalists to help the victims to break the wall of silence on psychophysical crimes .We all shoulder the entire responsibility for it. We also request German and international journalists to help the victims to break the wall of silence on Psychophysical crimes. We all shoulder the entire responsibility for it.
Those who protect the criminals and hide the truth are indirectly accomplices and culprits. Those who protect the criminals and hide the truth are indirectly culprits and accomplices.
„Association against the abuse of psychophysical weapons inc.”in Germany/ Stutensee, “Association Against the Abuse of Psychophysical Weapons inc.” In Germany / Stutensee,
===> www.psychophysischer-terror.de.tl/ , ===> Www.psychophysischer-terror.de.tl/,
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By: Cecil Victor
How Pakistan has reduced the war against terror to a farce was illustrated by the short-notice first information report filed against Interpol-wanted terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (formerly Lashkar-e-Toiba). The case is not for the Mumbai massacre on 26/11 but for some local offence which could be rendered infructuous by the simple expedient of the public prosecutor being absent from hearings as happened in the Lahore High Court in the chargesheet filed on the Indian complaint.
Given the deliberate farce over the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attack and the armed provocation along the Line of Control where the ceasefire was broken by the Pakistan Rangers in their attempt to facilitate the infiltration by group of terrorists trained in new camps set up in Pakistan Punjab and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, the Government of India will be well-advised if it ignores the forthcoming Secretary-level talks on the sidelines of the UN meeting.
The method in this madness is carefully crafted so that some excuse is forthcoming for Islamabad to move its troops away from the border with Afghanistan and abandon the US-induced pursuit of the Taliban on grounds that India has mobilized its armed forces. . The much-publicised “offensive” against the Taliban to clear its occupation of Swat and Buner in the North West Frontier Province where it set up the rudiments of a shariah-based caliphate is similarly farcical in that television clips clearly show that Pakistan armd forces firepower was expended on demolishing abandoned houses even as the Taliban particularly its top leadership quietly melted away into the mountains after announcing that it had no intention of fighting the Pakistan Army.
Since then top leaders like Sufi Mohammad and his relatives who played a big part in supporting the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine in Afghanistan have surrendered to the Army and have been provided comfortable accommodation instead of being put in jail and prosecuted for waging war against the State. More recently, the official spokesman of the official spokesman Taliban also surrendered and there is talk that the much-feared bloodthirsty Fazalullah has also sent feelers that he wants to surrender but the Pakistan Army is trying to make out that it will “capture” him as well.
The cynical method all this is being done – carefully preserving these dangerous “non-State actors” for reoccupation of Afghanistan once the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), comprising troops from various western nations, moves out next year very much in the manner in which the bloodletting has intensified in areas vacated by the US-led forces in Iraq.
The US finally discovered the duplicitous game that the Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence played in protecting the top leadership of the Taliban-Al Qaeda- United Jihad Council by providing them safe havens in Pakistan after they were chased out of Afghanistan post-9/11. It began developing its own human and electronic intelligence and launching unmanned but armed drone aircraft for precision strikes to kill those the Pakistanis were protecting either by denying the US intelligence about their whereabouts or deliberately misleading the US.
Al Qaeda second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri was almost killed when the house in which he was supposed to hold a meeting in Waziristan along the Pak-Afghan border was hit by a missile launched by a Predator drone aircraft. The most spectacular of such strikes has been the recent killing of Baitullah Mehsud when he visited his father-in-law’s house to meet his second wife. About forty other Taliban fighters were killed in that attack.
Pakistan’s attitude towards the Taliban became clearer when it refused to follow US advice to strike the Mehsuds after the Baitullah killing when they were in disarray and confusion. It would have meant that Pakistan Army would have regained sovereignty over its tribal belt bordering Afghanistan and the war on terror could have been better prosecuted.
US attempts to create a favourable atmosphere prior to the proposed meeting on the sidelines of the UN meeting by prosecuting Hafiz Saeed elicited such a prompt response that it was surprising and unexpected – Saeed is to be “tried” for something totally unrelated to the Mumbai carnage which he masterminded and supported during its execution. It has left both Washington and New Delhi stupefied.
Some Indian analysts have begun to suggest that in order to pacify Pakistan India should offer to withdraw from Afghanistan. At a time when Europe is trying to lay the blame for the causes of World War II this kind of suggestion of division of “spheres of influence” in this part of the world is going to lay the foundations of World War III. If Afghanistan is to be put into Pakistan’s sphere of influence then it means that the Taliban-Al Qaeda will once again gain ascendancy and with their quest for nuclear weapons satisfied by Dr A.Q.Khan who has been released from custody the world will be an even more dangerous place than it is already.
India should quietly tell Pakistan in New York that unless it takes action against those named in the Mumbai dossiers and stop its crossborder terrorism and violation of ceasefire there will be no forward movement under duress. There is a very apt Indian saying: “Dekhna hai kitna zor bazu-e-katil may hai”.
All that the Indian security forces will need to do is to keep their promise of stopping the infiltrators at the Line of Control itself
Britain, France and the United States set the stage for a dramatic confrontation with Iran when they revealed the existence of a secret nuclear site inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom as evidence of Tehran’s efforts to deceive the international community. The coup de théâtre came at the opening of the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh after three days of intense diplomacy at the UN General Assembly. President Obama, President Sarkozy and Gordon Brown took turns to demand that Iran disclose its nuclear ambitions and threaten new sanctions. Later, Mr Obama raised the spectre of military conflict, saying that failure by Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons would lead down “a path that is going to lead to confrontation”. “Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on October 1 they are going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice,” he said. Mr Obama added that he would prefer a diplomatic resolution but added: “We do not rule out any options when it comes to US security interests. It’s up to the Iranians to respond.” Britain was said to have played a leading role in the operation to expose the secret uranium enrichment plant, at Qom, which officials say could only be used for military purposes. Three years of intensive investigation and surveillance by the most trusted of America’s intelligence allies: Britain, France and Israel, led to the discovery. “We will not let this matter rest,” said Mr Brown. “The level of deception will shock and anger the whole international community and it will harden our resolve.” Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, said Iran should allow inspectors into its plant in order to prove one way or another whether it was designed to create fuel, as Iran claims, or weapons.
“Let the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) make an inspection and we will see who was right,” he said. “I want them to be right, but they need to let us make the controls.” The revelation raises the stakes significantly for the meeting next week between Iran and the five members of the Security Council plus Germany. Russia opened the door to new sanctions on Iran this week but China remained opposed. That could change, the leaders said. Sanctions could be imposed by December if Iran refused to come clean on October 1. The existence of the plant shrinks the timescale by which Iran could build a nuclear bomb. Iran wrote to the IAEA, the UN’s atomic watchdog, on Monday to declare the site when it discovered that its secrecy had been breached, but the world leaders were already preparing to break the news. (The Times)
By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO — Japan’s new government launched an investigation Friday into whether previous administrations entered secret security pacts with Washington, including one said to endorse U.S. nuclear-armed ships despite a policy of barring such weapons.
The Democratic Party of Japan, which unseated the long-ruling Liberal Democrats in parliamentary elections last month, has vowed to improve transparency in government as well as review military ties with the U.S.
Japan’s previous governments have always denied secret deals, but some bureaucrats have recently said that long-standing speculation that they existed is correct, prompting new Foreign Minister Katsuya Okadato to launch an inquiry.
“We will reveal everything we find,” Okada told reporters in New York, according to Kyodo news agency.
Four alleged pacts are subject to the investigation, including one between the two allies in 1960 giving tacit approval of port calls by U.S. military aircraft and warships carrying nuclear weapons.
Nuclear arms are a sensitive topic for Japan, the world’s only country to have suffered nuclear attacks. Tokyo since 1967 has maintained principles of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons into the country.
Okada has assigned a 15-member team to sift through more than 3,200 files at the Foreign Ministry, as well as 400 files stored at the Japanese Embassy in Washington. The team will report their findings in late November, the ministry said.
They will also look into an alleged secret deal in 1960 regarding the use of U.S. military bases if there is war on the Korean peninsula. The other two pacts are related to the entry of nuclear weapons onto the southern island of Okinawa in times of emergency and the cost burdens associated with the 1972 handover of Okinawa back to Japan from U.S. control.
Okada has said that if the secret pacts are confirmed, he does not intend to punish Foreign Ministry officials who may have been involved in any cover-up.
But any new revelations are likely to spark new debate about Japan’s relationship with the United States, which the Democrats hope to modify. Okada supports more equal relations between Tokyo and Washington, and has said he wants to review the status of the nearly 50,000 U.S. troops deployed across Japan under a post-World War II bilateral security pact.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government also wants to end Japan’s naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in support of the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
They made it seem just like any other bombing run
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Saturday, September 26, 2009
By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON: The Friends of Democratic Pakistan, a forum which was created by President Asif Ali Zardari to raise billions of dollars for ‘his’ Pakistan, on Thursday quietly dumped the issue back into the lap of the World Bank, something which Mr Zardari had specifically warned against when he launched it a year ago.
And in another subtle move the FoDP turned itself into a political debating club for expressing support, minus of course the talk of the billions. Foreign Minister Qureshi had to explain to the media that the FoDP meeting was not about “pledges”, although Mr Zardari had nothing else in mind except getting pledges of billions.
This subtle change of its purpose and definition contrastssharply with the original idea of President Zardari who launched it almost exactly one year ago at the same time and place, with the urgent appeal to collect $100 billion dollars as grants, from what he considered to be friends ready to trust him after the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto and his dramatic rise to power.
On Oct 4, 2008, shortly after the FoDP was launched with much fanfare, Mr Zardari had gone on record asking for the $100 billion dollars and warning against involving the World Bank. After interviewing him, the Wall Street Journal reported: “On Mr Zardari’s request for $100 billion in grant he has a simple and powerful argument to make that the world cannot allow his government to fail…In asking the international community for infusion of $100 billion into Pakistan’s economy, Zardari was keen to insist that it not be described as aid. Aid is proven through the researches of the World Bank . . . (to be) bad for a country. I’m looking for temporary relief for my budgetary support and cash for my treasury which does not need to be spent by me. It is not something I want to spend. But (it) will stop the (outflow) of my capital every time there is a bomb (blast). In this situation, how do I create capital confidence, how do I create businessmen’s confidence?”
But when on Thursday in New York, the high profile summit of FODP ended with a political statement of good wishes and “we all love you” but go to the World Bank Trust for money, the only saving grace for the Pakistani managers of the FODP moot was the Senate passage of a modified version of the Kerry Lugar Bill. This was the best news President Obama could give to the FODP leaders although it has to pass through several stages before any dollars reach Pakistan.
Just one day before the FODP meeting Zardari had urged the US to reimburse $1.6 billion dollars and had called for an early realisation of about $6 billion pledged to Pakistan at a Tokyo donors conference early this year.
A top diplomatic source in New York said Pakistan had just received less than 15 per cent of this pledged amount so far and the creation of a Word Bank trust means the whole issue has been thrown into the mill of the financial institutions where Pakistan is already grappling with conditions and repayment schedules. What Mr Zardari wanted was aid or grants not loans. That has not yet come.
Even the prolific support of Richard Holbrooke for Mr Zardari was not enough to get more than statements stuffed with hot air. His own remarks after the FODP meeting reflected this helplessness or inaction. This is what he said: “… we wanted to show clearly that we were – that the United States and Pakistan’s other friends are all working together for Pakistan. It’s a long way from this meeting to realities on the ground, but this is the first summit meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, and we’re very proud that it was co-hosted by our President on American soil.” In essense, a long way to go but we are proud to host it now.
The way the FODP initiative was mixed up and merged with the Kerry Lugar bill was a master stroke of the PPP strategists who wanted to cover up the lack of progress in New York with the work in progress on Capitol Hill.
The British envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Sir Cooper, called the adoption of the Kerry-Lugar bill the best “Eid gift” to the people of Pakistan. Where is that gift was left open for the people to look for but he reaffirmed British support for the country.
This support for the “people of Pakistan” was a repeated mantra because the US and other world leaders did not want to fall into the trap of equating the support for Pakistan to support for Mr Zardari. President Obama mentioned this in his opening remarks at the FODP by congratulating President Zardari but reaffirming deep commitment to the people.
Diplomatic insiders in New York say one of the reason behind President Zardari’s “absence” from all the speeches of President Obama in New York, three at least, was this hesitation in US circles to express direct and unequivocal personal support for the Pakistani president. It was hilarious to note that Mr Zardari missed Obama’s speech because he had to go for a medical check up but his personal physician, who is accompanying the president and should have been with him in the hospital, was left behind to hear Mr Obama’s address, one diplomat revealed.
The hoopla about the passage of the Kerry Lugar bill may have partly made up for the lack of substance at the FODP meeting but a close reading of the Kerry Lugar text reveals that the conditions and clauses included have almost made the US the big brother with a big stick watching almost every economic, political, military and social activity in Pakistan. No wonder the US needs a lot of houses and residences in Islamabad.
The list of conditions and monitoring subjects (pl refer to the text of the bill) makes stunning reading but the key para which is likely to create a lot of trouble, although it is desperately needed in Pakistan’s context, is about keeping the armed forces under control of the civilians.
This para is about US monitoring and every six months Secretary of State has to give the Congress “an assessment of the extent to which the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration.”
The Indian factor has been added in these conditions under the following clause: “It is the sense of Congress that the achievement of United States national security goals to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan requires the development of a comprehensive plan that utilizes all elements of national power, including in coordination and cooperation with other concerned governments, and that it is critical to Pakistan’s long-term prosperity and security to strengthen regional relationships among India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.”
There are several roadblocks, checkpoints and mechanisms to monitor where the aid given to Pakistan will flow because of the widespread fears of corruption and pilferage of the aid dollars.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressed that question in a diplomatic way but Richard Holbrooke said it bluntly. In response to a question on possibilities of corruption, the foreign minister assured the journalists that a mechanism has been devised in consultation with the Friends of Pakistan to make the whole process transparent. He said that the donor countries were satisfied with this arrangement.
Answering the same question, Holbrooke said that the US government has assigned Ambassador Robin Raphel, who under the instructions of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will coordinate with the relevant government ministries as the aid process moves forward. What he meant was that she will be the “monitor in chief” to catch any thief, big or small.
Whether Kerry Lugar washes away the impact of the missing dollars at the FODP meeting, a senior ex-diplomat in New York put the whole circus into a comical perspective. He said: FODP or FOP was a stock character in English literature and especially comic drama, as well as satirical prints. He is a “man of fashion” who overdresses, aspires to wit, and generally puts on airs. FOP was widely used as a derogatory epithet for a broad range of people by the early years of the 18th century; many of these might not have been considered showy lightweights at the time, and it is possible that its meaning had been blunted by this time.
WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday military action against Iran would only “buy time,” adding diplomacy was needed to persuade the Islamic state to abandon its nuclear program.
“The reality is there is no military option that does anything more than buys time. The estimates are one to three years or so,” Gates said in an interview with a US channel.
“The only way you end up not having a nuclear capable Iran is for the Iranian government to decide their security is diminished by having those weapons.”
PESHAWAR: At least ten people were killed and 75 others injured when a car bomb exploded near a private bank at Fakhr-e-Alam Road in Peshawar’s Saddar area, Geo News reported Saturday.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, condemning the suicide attack, directed that the injured be provided with the best medical facilities. While, NWFP Chief Minister Amir Hyder Khan Hoti also announced the aid for the bereaved families.
At least two suspects have been taken in custody and shifted to some undisclosed location for interrogations.
It should be mentioned that the blast occurred a little before noon, destroying two dozens of vehicles around.
At least 25 injured have been brought to Lady Reading Hospital and 50 others taken to CMH Hospital. Several injured are in critical state.
SSP Operations Abdur Ghafoor Afridi said 100-kg of explosives was used in the blast, which caused the human body parts to get scattered on the blast site.
The eyewitnesses said the 7-storey building has been receiving threatening calls for long. The sources said the bomb was planted in a car parked in a nearby parking area.
The security forces put a security cordon around the area and started investigations.
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, NA Speaker Fahmida Mirza, NWFP CM and Governor condemned the attack in strong words.
One of the oddest – indeed, surreal – encounters around
the war in Afghanistan has to be a telephone call this
past July 27. On one end of the line was historian
Stanley Karnow, author of Vietnam: A History. On the
other, State Department special envoy Richard Holbrooke
and the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General
Stanley McChrystal. The question: How can Washington
avoid the kind of defeat it suffered in Southeast Asia
40 years ago?
Karnow did not divulge what he said to the two men, but
he told Associated Press that the “lesson” of Vietnam
“was that we shouldn’t have been there,” and that,
while “Obama and everybody else seems to want to be in
Afghanistan,” he, Karnow, was opposed to the war.
It is hardly surprising that Washington should see
parallels to the Vietnam debacle. The enemy is elusive
enemy. The local population is neutral, if not hostile.
And the governing regime is corrupt with virtually no
support outside of the nation’s capital.
But in many ways Afghanistan is worse than Vietnam. So,
it is increasingly hard to fathom why a seemingly
intelligent American administration seems determined to
hitch itself to this disaster in the making. It is
almost as if there is something about that hard-edged
Central Asian country that deranges its occupiers.
In his address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Obama
characterized Afghanistan as “a war of necessity”
against international terrorism. But the reality is
that the Taliban is a polyglot collection of
conflicting political currents whose goals are local,
not universal jihad.
“The insurgency is far from monolithic,” says Anand
Gopal, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor
based in Afghanistan. “There are shadowy, kohl-eyed
mullahs and head-bobbing religious students, of course,
but there are also erudite university students, poor
illiterate farmers, and veteran anti-Soviet commanders.
The movement is a mÃ©lange of nationalists, Islamists,
and bandits…made up of competing commanders and
differing ideologies and strategies who nonetheless
agree on one essential goal: kicking out the
Taliban spokesman Yousef Ahmadi told Gopal, “We are
fighting to free our country from foreign domination,”
adding, “Even the Americans once waged an insurgency to
free their country.”
Besides the Taliban, there are at least two other
insurgent groups. Hizb-I-Islam is led by former U.S.
ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyer. The Haqqani group, meanwhile,
has close ties to al-Qaeda.
The White House’s rationale of “international
terrorism” parallels the Southeast Asian tragedy. The
U.S. characterized Vietnam as part of an international
Communist conspiracy, while the conflict was
essentially a homegrown war of national liberation.
One casualty of Vietnam was the doctrine of
counterinsurgency, the theory that an asymmetrical war
against guerrillas can be won by capturing the “hearts
and minds” of the people. Of course “hearts and minds”
was a pipe dream, obliterated by massive civilian
casualties, the widespread use of defoliants, and the
creation of “strategic hamlets” that had more in common
with concentration camps than villages.
In Vietnam’s aftermath, “counterinsurgency” fell out of
favor, to be replaced by the “Powell Doctrine” of
relying on massive firepower to win wars. With that
strategy the United States crushed the Iraqi army in
the first Gulf War. Even though the doctrine was
downsized for the invasion of Iraq a decade later, it
was still at the heart of the attack.
However, within weeks of taking Baghdad, U.S. soldiers
were besieged by an insurgency that wasn’t in the
lesson plan. Ambushes and roadside bombs took a steady
toll on U.S. and British troops, and aggressive
countermeasures predictably turned the population
against the occupation.
After four years of getting hammered by insurgents, the
Pentagon rediscovered counterinsurgency, and its
prophet was General David Petraeus, now commander of
all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia.
“Hearts and minds” was dusted off, and the watchwords
became “clear, hold, and build.” Troops were to hang
out with the locals, dig wells, construct schools, and
measure success not by body counts of the enemy, but by
the “security” of the civilian population.
This theory impelled the Obama administration to
“surge” 21,000 troops into Afghanistan, and to consider
adding another 20,000 in the near future. The idea is
that a surge will reduce the violence, as a similar
surge of 30,000 troops had done in Iraq.
But as Patrick Cockburn of The Independent discovered,
the surge didn’t work in Iraq.
With the possible exception of Baghdad, it wasn’t U.S.
troops that reduced the violence in Iraq, but the
decision by Sunni insurgents that they could no longer
fight a two-front war against the Iraqi government and
the United States. The ceasefire by Shi’ite cleric and
Madhi Army leader Muqtada al-Sadr also helped calm
things down. In any case, as recent events have
demonstrated, the “peace” was largely illusory.
Not only is a similar “surge” in Afghanistan unlikely
to be successful, the formula behind counterinsurgency
doctrine predicts that the Obama administration is
headed for a train wreck.
According to investigative journalist Jordan Michael
Smith, the “U.S/ Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency
Field Manual” – co-authored by Petraeus – recommends “a
minimum of 20 counterinsurgents per 1,000 residents. In
Afghanistan, with its population estimated at 33
million, that would mean at least 660,000 troops.” And
this requires not just any soldiers, but soldiers
trained in counterinsurgency doctrine.
The numbers don’t add up.
The United States and its North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) allies currently have about 64,000
troops in Afghanistan, and that figure would rise to
almost 100,000 when the present surge is completed.
Some 68,000 of those will be American. There is also a
possibility that Obama will add another 20,000,
bringing the total to 120,000, larger than the Soviet
Army that occupied Afghanistan. That’s still only a
fifth of what the counterinsurgency manual recommends.
Meanwhile, the American public is increasingly
disillusioned with the war. According to a recent CNN
poll, 57% of Americans oppose the war, a jump of 9%
since May. Among Obama supporters the opposition is
overwhelming: Nearly two-thirds of “committed”
Democrats feel “strongly” the war is not worth
Afghanistan isn’t like Iraq because NATO is behind us.
Way behind us.
The British – whose troops actually fight, as opposed
to doing “reconstruction” like most of the other 16
NATO nations – have lost the home crowd. Polls show
deep opposition to the war, a sentiment that is echoed
all over Europe. Indeed, the German Defense Minister
Franz-Joseph Jung has yet to use the word “war” in
relation to Afghanistan.
That little piece of fiction went a-glimmering in June,
when three Bundeswehr soldiers were killed near Kunduz
in northern Afghanistan. Indeed, as U.S. Marines go on
the offensive in the country’s south, the Taliban are
pulling up stakes and moving east and north to target
the Germans. The tactic is as old as guerrilla warfare:
“Where the enemy is strong, disperse. Where the enemy
is weak, concentrate.”
While Berlin’s current ruling coalition of Social
Democrats and conservatives quietly back the war, the
Free Democrats – who are likely to join Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s government after the next election –
are calling for bringing Germany’s 4,500 troops home.
The opposition Left Party has long opposed the war, and
that opposition gave it a boost in recent state
The United States and NATO can’t – or won’t – supply
the necessary troops, and the Afghan army is small,
corrupt and incompetent. No matter how one adds up the
numbers, the task is impossible. So why is the
administration following an unsupportable course of
Why We Fight
There is that oil pipeline from the Caspian that no one
wants to talk about. Strategic control of energy is
certainly a major factor in Central Asia. Then, too,
there is the fear that a defeat for NATO in its first
“out of area” war might fatally damage the alliance.
But when all is said and done, there also seems to be
is a certain studied derangement about the whole
matter, a derangement that was on display July 12 when
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament
that the war was showing “signs of success.”
British forces had just suffered 15 deaths in a little
more than a week, eight of them in a 24-hour period. It
has now lost more soldiers that it did in Iraq. This is
Britain’s fourth war in Afghanistan.
The Karzai government has stolen the election. The war
has spilled over to help destabilize and impoverish
nuclear-armed Pakistan. The American and European
public is increasingly opposed to the war. July was the
deadliest month ever for the United States, and the
Obama administration is looking at a $9 trillion
What are these people thinking?
Conn Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In
by Ben Hayes