A Military Coup Is Never A Smart Thing

[Perhaps Mr. Quraishi is repaying a debt to his political benefactors within the Kuwaiti occupation authorities who discovered him, recognizing his potential to contribute to their right-wing cause, or maybe its his lifelong infatuation with the military, but Ahmed has really strained his own credibility with this paean to Gen. Kayani.  Kayani is joined at the hip with Admiral Mullen.  To welcome a military intervention by the Pakistani Army is to welcome American intervention in Pakistan’s struggling democracy.  Pakistan’s only real hope is for some stout-hearted Pakistani leader, perhaps a doctor, or other respected professional man to come forward and gather popular support to Chief Justice Chaudhry, as he tries to find Pakistan’s “disappeared” and reign-in the all-powerful agencies of Pakistan, who answer to no one.]

A Smart Coup: Why One Last Military Intervention In Pakistan

Remains A Possibility

… But we are nowhere near that right now. Gen. Kayani certainly has no such thing in mind according to people who have met him.


Monday, 15 February 2010.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—”This was my first interaction with the soldier who commands the seventh largest military force on the face of the planet.”

With this catchy line, Dr. Farrukh Saleem began his brief and fascinating account of a meeting with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

On Feb. 10, 2010, Gen. Kayani met a group of Pakistani commentators and security analysts. The briefing was the third since the military began asserting Pakistan’s legitimate security and strategic interests in Afghanistan and the region.

On January 28 and 29, Gen. Kayani told NATO commanders in Brussels that Pakistan’s legitimate security interests will have to be respected.

Earlier, he told Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. David Petraeus, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal that instead of worrying about appeasing India, Washington better start paying attention to Pakistan.

This is a major development in the eight-year US-led war in Afghanistan.

At one point, Mr. Saleem makes an interesting observation about Gen. Kayani’s cool demeanor.

“Yes, he has the capacity for abstract thought, cold rationality and coarse creativity – all in one,” he says. “And yet he inhales reconstituted tobacco. Yes, he uses a filter and a cigarette holder. Yes, he never takes deep puffs and, yes, he only consumes half a cigarette at a time.”

At another point, Mr. Saleem makes an interesting use of pun. Talking about the general’s smoking habits, he says the following: ‘He knows that some of the things that he is doing are wrong, but still won’t give them up.’

Probably it’s a polite reference to the conspiracy theories that fill the US and British media, or the Am-Brit media, about Pakistan, its military and its intelligence agencies. So some skepticism is natural.

But the best part of his column in The News International was this concluding paragraph:

“I can tell you that I came back both proud but with a painful realisation; proud knowing that our legions are being led by strategic minds and sad to have discovered the much too visible an intellectual gap between our top political brains in Islamabad and our strategic minds at work in Rawalpindi. And what does he think about our politicians? When it’s breezy, hit it easy.

Could it be that the army rules not through the barrel of a gun but because of their intellectual superiority? Could it be that the army rules because our politicians have failed to institutionalize politics? Could it be that the army rules because our political parties do not transcend individual human intentions? Could it be that the army rules because it has structures, mechanisms of social order along with strategic thinking?”

In essence, Mr. Saleem hit at the core reason why the Pakistani military intervenes every time politicians lead the nation to a dead end.

Most importantly, the above reasoning answers even a more important question: Why the military mounts successful interventions and why the politicians can’t muster the moral authority to resist them.

Pakistani politicians remain a chaotic, undisciplined and shortsighted bunch. Their parties are messy and loose groupings of special interests in their crudest form. Almost all of them have lifetime leaders who never give way to fresh blood. And they are not public institutions but private, family-owned affairs.

Since the return to democracy in Pakistan in February 2008, hardly any of the parties in government or opposition devoted any high-level party meetings to education, health, culture and sports. None of them has plans in place for running the country. Worse, none has any vision.

The best place in Islamabad these days to see this mess in action is the National Defense University. Since 2002, the NDU has been holding the annual National Security Workshop. This is a unique 6-week course. It brings together politicians, military officers, businessmen, lawyers, social activists and journalists. The group is taken through a virtual tour into the corridors of strategic decision making in Pakistan. The course ends with a weeklong exercise that sees the class divided into a Pakistani government and a shadow government, complete with their own secretariat and staff. On the last day, the two governments frame and deliver a policy plan to deal with a hypothetical strategic crisis confronting Pakistan. The plan has domestic, military and foreign policy components. Often, senior commanders from Pakistani military’s General Headquarters attend the last day’s presentations.

NDU officials, both civilian and military, have one observation that has been constant during the past eight years of national security workshops: Military officers, businessmen, social activists and journalists often show the best performance. Politicians come last. Most can’t even draft a single-page policy brief, or work with a PowerPoint presentation.

In essence, middle class Pakistanis – military officers, businessmen, social activists and journalists – fair better than the politicians, mostly a feudal landowning elite.

This gets blurry sometimes, but you get the general idea.

And middle class Pakistanis can’t make it to political parties, let alone to the federal and regional parliaments and governments.

Elections might change this, but certainly not in the foreseeable future. And Pakistan may not have the luxury of time.

If the national deadlock continues with mounting domestic instability due to massive corruption and mismanagement by our politicians, the military may have to contend with one last intervention. It would be the last because if the military failed this time to help set Pakistan on the right track, it could be a free fall after that because Pakistanis are getting increasingly restless with the existing decay. Social turmoil simmers just beneath the surface.

If it comes to a military-led intervention, both military officers and politicians will have to stay out of actual power. The army chief may not become a chief executive. The military might have to look into a new concept called the ‘Smart Coup’, where the military can bring capable Pakistanis to power with a firm executable plan of reform over five years, or more, fully backed by the military.  There may not be time to put the plan to vote. It will have to be implemented.

This would be the absolute last option. But we are nowhere near that right now. Gen. Kayani certainly has no such thing in mind according to people who have met him. He wants democracy to work for the time being and he has proven this by resisting several opportunities to intervene over the past two years.

Pakistan is full of resources and opportunities, but it lacks good leadership and clean management. Even the bare minimum of these two commodities is not available in today’s Pakistan.

Books on political science and theory in Washington and London can’t help with this. Pakistanis will have to do what’s best for their homeland.

© 2007-2009. All rights reserved. AhmedQuraishi.comPakNationalists

Pioneer Living “Back to Basics” Online

Pioneer Living “Back to Basics” Online

Pioneer Survival

A True People Publication. Pioneer Living is a  publication for today’s creative doers. People like you!

People who want to get back to basics and work with nature. The “New” homesteaders, survivalists and

ones who will do more with less, the “New Pioneers”.

It is our goal at “Pioneer Living” to inform with solutions as many human beings as possible the

forgotten/lost art of basic human survival.

Pioneer Living is currently accepting articles for those of you who wish to share stories

on pioneer ways of life, homesteading, survival, gardening, preparedness and simple back to basics living.

Thank you,

The Editor.

News and up-dates

1 U.S. member will receive a free Super Survival Pack of seeds from Seed for Security.If you live outside of the country we will send something else do to shipping rules on seeds.

This is a members drive! The person that brings in the most members to our website by Feb 20 2010 wins.

Back To Basics

*  Pioneer Essentials

Even if cash-poor, ranchers of the Old West coveted a rack of shiny pots and pans,

preparation standards of the day didn’t allow fixing a meal with anything but the

most basic cookware.

*  Building an Open Fire Pit for Cooking

*  Soap Making Soap for good and vibrant health is a vital item in any home.

Without soap we would not be able to have clean bodies or clean clothes.

*  Making Charcoal Why Charcoal?  The many uses of charcoal is very important to your survival.

*  Tanning Hides The Indians tanned hides in several ways and by different substances according to the tribe.

Hides were used for clothing and blankets.

*  How to Wash on a Washboard

*  Rendering Lard While lard isn’t considered a food, it was vital to the cooking process for many years.


*  Preparedness

Pioneer Living’s No. 1 Investment Pick For 2009

And Still Our No. 1 Investment Pick for 2010!

Number 1 investment for 2009? Your answer should be….. ”Food”. Millions of Americans

and people around the world lost their jobs these past few years. Are you prepared if you

suddenly lost your job?

Recipes Chuckwagon Chow With all the modern conveniences we have today it seems we have little

appreciation for our early ancesters’ efforts to make even the most basic foods interesting.

Despite our capacity to bake in the world’s most advanced and well-equipped home kitchens, we

often do less than a pioneer did with just a campfire.

*  Food Storage The storage environment, storage containers, root cellars, rotating your stored foods

are all important to ensure your family is fed year round.

*  Canning and Preserving Canning 101

* Food Storage (Grains) Storing grains and preserving

* Return of the Root Cellar


*  Gardening Basics Ok, maybe you have dreamed it but now it is time to get

educated and learn a few basics of gardening, your life may depend on it.

*  Organic Soil Prep In the fall you can relax? Wrong! Now you must prep your

soil for next years garden.

* Superfoods Power packed nutritional food

*  Composting Composting is the single most important item in Organic gardening.

It is nature’s continuous recycling process.

*  Bug Control

*  Companion Planting

*  Solutions for City Dwellers, Suburbanites


*  Homesteading\Stories

*  Basic Animals Before buying animals, learn as much as you can about them, but don’t expect to become

an expert just by reading

*  Equipment/Tools/Utensils

*  Use and Re-Use

*  Basic Property Layouts


“A Little Land – A Lot of Living.”  We can learn a lot from older generations.

Those who went before were just as interested then as you are now in fresh air, sunshine,

green grass and wholesome food. Ed and Carolyn Robinson were one of the few that took the

time to lay down a blueprint for making it all happen.  A Classic 1940’s Must Read!


James Talmage Stevens

Foraging For Food Food is a very important part of life that you must have to survive.

In an extreme situation you must do what ever it takes to keep you and your family alive.

*  Beating The Cold Did you ever wonder why the Indians could travel so light without freezing to death?

Or why they only built a small fire?

*  Shelters

*  Water Survival

*  Survival Info Downloads

Tentative steps towards realistic lasting co-existence with neighbors India didn’t choose in the first place.

Tentative steps towards realistic lasting co-existence with neighbors India didn’t choose in the first place.

These are matters pondered over years, and written about over the same years.

So again with the recent peace initiative, for the 100 time, my mind focused on the matter over the past few days, and I made some rough notes as they came to me on my receipt book this Sunday past, as I idly passed my time, avoiding the junk on TV.

We have another round of peace negotiations between India, the wannabe super-power egged on by the USA, and Pakistan, the perennially failed state from its very inception.

Can International agreements, and especially peace agreements be made with failed States such as Pakistan? Surely a dodgy slippery proposition? Who has real authority in such a failed state? Zardari, and his kleptocracy…..here today, gone tomorrow? The Pakistan military? or Begum Memsahib Anne Paterson, and the USA?

For the sake of India’s prestige there is no point undertaking peace negotiations yet again, if you are not sure who has final authority in Pakistan. If you are not sure who has the final authority to sign such agreements of peace. Otherwise such events become mere theater for public consumption, and image making. I for one wouldn’t want the corrupt Zardari regime getting unwarranted legitimacy from such meetings with India, especially if such negotiations involved more time wasting on Pakistan’s part.

On the other hand India can’t manage the Maoist ascendancy in Nepal; events in Sri Lanka, which tragically ate up one of India’s PM’s; Bangladesh which purportedly has a very secure land slide victory vindicated pro-Indian government, let alone the near far countries of Afghanistan, Tajikistan or Myanmar. But India is successful in the Maldives and Bhutan, so we can sigh with some relief and gain some comfort from these small mercies.

So how can India with such weak foreign policy strategies and regional track record hope to gain lasting “peace” with ever belligerent failed state Pakistan; perhaps this is yet another case of the triumph of hope over actual experience.

Perhaps in this light the real problem in the region is India, not Pakistan? India is the real problem, and the ultimate source of the solution.

India is big in many senses, population wise, geographically, militarily, economically with an economy measured by PPP at around $3,500 billion, the fourth largest after the USA, China and Japan. It thus has plenty of resources to play with in its geo-strategic sphere, in furthering its interest. The question is does India know how to further these interests; the record indicates it does not. Though logically such a state should be able to exert meaningful, comprehensive influence in its neighborhood, which have a favorable outcome for all in the immediate vicinity. Indeed as a matter of course around the world, small and medium sized countries are striving for regional cooperation and coexistence very successfully, and without any problems. So India is not being asked to achieve impossible insurmountable objectives in its natural regional sphere, South Asia, as the biggest and most influential nation in that region.

Why hasn’t India succeeded with Pakistan?

I mean what is the big deal about Pakistan, which is blocking India from achieving peace with that country?

  • Its a failed state; OK so how can India manage that failure within Pakistan.
  • Pakistan’s economy is about 1/8 of India’s.
  • India exports 10 times more than Pakistan and the gap is/will be widening. Actual Indian exports are also grossly under reported for tax avoidance reasons.
  • Militarily India is about 4/5 times more powerful, and if India can sustain a one year war with Pakistan….and mobilize her resources that ratio will widen to 1/10 in India’s favor, as long as foreign arms is not poured into Pakistan during that time.
  • Pakistan’s political leadership is weak and fluid; they come and go, with short periods of rule, being destabilized by the Pakistan military in the background, so no actual state policy and governance takes place, as the politicians at least briefly focus on survival and consolidation rather than implementing comprehensive programs of government and governance.

So why can’t India manage such a failed state, and implement lasting bilateral relations which prevents future regional discord?

The problem lies with India as stated before. The Indian ruling elite is a post-colonial rotten figment left behind by the parting British, to rule India as the British ruled in many respects, in terms of actual administration and the organization of that administration. It thus is no surprise to discover that this Indian elite patriotically have stashed away $1,500 billion of the countries assets in the various tax havens around the world……….this is more than any other country, more than the USA, China or Japan.

Thus the Indian military is very much the same military the British ran up to the point of independence. If he could see it now Kipling would be proud of it, as would General Dyer, General Roberts, and even Clive, and Hastings……the Indian military is not a true Indian military serving India, but made up of second hand Gunga Dins in the top brass (General Deepak Kapoor down) who queue up for their slice of the cake from arms procurements from foreign countries…..and not just one source, oh no, but multiple foreign sources. So you can imagine the nightmare of India fighting an actual real war, over a few years, and the “complex” nature of its foreign based arms and ordnance, the sources of which are often highly unreliable (Russia).

The Indian police, amongst the worst in the world, again very much substantially a legacy of the colonial era, as is India’s legal/judicial system, and criminal justice system, ramshackle education system (previous talked about) and political administrative system. There is nothing Indian in any of these state organizations.

With such obvious flaws how can India manage the neighborhood if it can barely manage itself? Running a minimal state where the budget accounts for only 15% of the official GDP, widespread corruption, massive food insecurity, widespread poverty and great income inequality, and 55 billionaires.

One does not have to be a Professor Amartya Sen (married to a member of the Rothschilds banking family) to see what all the “Development” is really about: the abject poverty, dirt, filth, starvation and inequalities that impact the vast majority of ordinary Indians, and the oblivious indifference of the ruling elite to this problem after 63 years of “Independence”, beyond muttering the empty blurry platitudes to do something about it in the near future.

And so India is now steered and run by an illiterate firingi, Senora Sonia, from the back seat, whilst nice smiley weak Dr. Singh fronts her actual policies. This surely is unacceptable, and unconstitutional. Would such a political elite actually want to achieve peace with Pakistan anyway?

  • Pakistan is a failed state from the beginning, and will remain a failed state into infinity; India has to accept and manage this fact.
  • Pakistan was created by the UK, to clip India’s wings, and has dutifully attacked India in 1948, 1965, 1971, 1990 almost, 1999, and almost again in 2002. This apparent mad dog bravado by little Pakistan against big India is intriguing, and can only be explained in terms of outside encouragement. The UK created Pakistan’s ISI in 1948. Since the 1960’s the USA has been the main foreign power influencing Pakistan’s politics, through the Pakistan military/ISI primarily……running and funding the ISI.

On the one hand simple logic would dictate that there is no point trying to have meaningful negotiations which such a failed state, with its complex foreign alien orientated influence from other countries, which begs the fundamental question of what exactly constitutes independent Pakistan state policy, and on the other hand which of Pakistan’s state policies are shaped and directed by Washington…..a very moot issue that requires clarification. If Zardari and the Pakistan military are mere puppets of Washington, why should India waste its time negotiating with such a drunk failed state in the first place, staggering from one self made crisis to the next?

“In a dimly lit street, in a cold winter month. Excuse me Sir can you tell me the way to the Kashmiri railway station?”

“The drunk slowly fixes a blank vacant gaze at the other party…….burps loudly…..kuch naihee bhai shahib……….muttering to himself……..madar chaud….coexistence….negotiations….friendship…teek hai, Sumje…….you take the left, no the right…..or is it the first left, then straight on………..any Johnny Walker…….sala, no Johnny Walker……….ok.. ok…..wait, wait let me ask and phone Begum Paterson….she knows…she knows everything….bloody women…wait………..Amerikka Firingi woman runs our country, and Italian illiterate firingi woman runs your country, sumje sala…..sumje sala….so were on equal negotiation terms.”

There is something dignifying for India undertaking yet again peace negotiations with such a country. It tends to elevate Pakistan’s position diplomatically, and the ego of negotiating on equal terms, whilst simultaneously devaluing India’s position.

The Pakistanis political and military elite are abject liars, who do not hesitate to lie to their own people. A form of hardened pathology of cynicism has set in, to the point where it becomes an automatic art form, to see who can lie and fool the Pakistani people and others the most…….the military or the politicians.This is also considered as being somehow skillful, and clever.Normal people, with simple logic would not be able to comprehend such perverse warped pathology, and therefore would fail to identify this duplicitous game. Unfortunately still, the poor illiterate majority take at face value the utterances of the military/political elite.

“The Swat Taliban have been effectively defeated” (The Pakistan military set up the SWAT Taliban in the first place to destabilize Zardaris government ……the Pakistan military miss being out of power and are looking to get back in)…

“We have been completely successful in South Waziristan” (The Pakistan military for a couple of months conducted a shadow war, for the benefit of the Americans and the Pakistan people; a bogus war with their own puppets, who had long disappeared from the scene.)…………the lie of the numerous terrorist ops in Pakistan blamed on the TTP, the Pakistan militaries puppets, especially those in the NWFP.

The maintaining the “al-Qaeda” myth. The Pakistan military more than any other military should know the true origins of “al-Qaeda”. The Pakistan military mentored and guided OBL until his last days in December 2001, for America. It is a false fictious organisation which explains Israel’s false flag ops in the Greater Middle East and Europe. Pakistan provides this valuable service.In the pursuit of this fake narrative, Pakistan’s military have handed over 650 wholly innocent Afghans/Pakistanis to the Americans since 2001 as “al-Qaeda”…………….nearly ALL such people have been subsequently released by the Americans.

These cynical warped chaudis can sell their own grandmothers.

The politicians lie informing concerned Pakistanis that there is no Blackwater in Pakistan…….even though they are visible in Pakistan…..and the American defense secretary confirmed their presence in Pakistan. The Pakistani politicians tell everybody that American military and civilians aren’t swamping Pakistan, even though most people know of their presence.

Now failed state Pakistan is sending troops to failed state Yemen to fight “al-Qaeda”, whilst simultaneously still experiencing major security problems inside Pakistan……..on America’s orders. The Yemen problem is not “al-Qaeda”…….Its an on-going civil war between the majority Sunni government and the Shia Houthis, and the incompetence of yet another military man trying to retain power well past the sell buy date. The sheer irony and stupidity of one failed state sending troops to another failed state fighting an unnecessary war, against none existent threats, just so that America with Israel can image and highlight the waning “al-Qaeda” scarecrow.

What is the utility of negotiating peace with such a slippery state? Offering the hand of friendship and peaceful coexistence. Doesn’t all this make India look rather naive and clumsy? I think despite the unpromising bleak scenario, India does have definite interests in somehow finally dealing with and accommodating Pakistan, in a future where India becomes only more stronger whilst Pakistan simultaneously spirals out of control, as a result of the actions of its own politicians and military. A small wound on the side should not be ignored, because one is a little irritated by its periodic nuisance…..India should treat it decisively and finally.

Perhaps what India needs is a bold grand gesture with Pakistan to move out of the rut of negotiations with Pakistan; moving forward involving courage, foresight and imagination coupled with determination. Under SAARC, FTA’s will eventually be instituted within South Asia, to greater integrate South Asia…all well and good. Given the critical situation in Pakistan, and the reappearance of the East India Company in the neighborhood once again, doing exactly what they were doing 250 years ago…..(Opium/ and messy civilian costly wars)…….then it may be prudent to “rescue” Pakistan with Indian rupees……India is not a poor country…….there is after all $1,500 billion stashed away, lying idly in Jewish banks in Zurich and else where.

So why not offer Pakistan an immediate FTA in 2010 with India, backed by financial inducements of $5 billion, over 5 years, as an unconditional loan from India to Pakistan? We’re not talking about revolutionary initiatives here, FTA’s are on the pipeline in South Asia, but in Pakistan’s case why not bring that forward immediately and urgently, and further integrate the Pakistani people with India, bypassing the corrupt ruling elite in Pakistan,in light of the situation in Pakistan?

Now if Zardari wants to use that loan money to buy another mansion in Surrey, thats fine…and if the Pakistani miliary want to buy some artillery pieces with that money thats fine……they cannot and will not change their ways and their corrupt bankrupt mindset………but for India the benefits are clear, as the FTA develops, and the sheer absurdity of trading between the two countries via the UAE, worth more than $5 billion is resolved for good. It is a further process of decisively linking in Pakistan to India, and an important first step towards eventually negotiating peace in Kashmir.

Magnaminity, coupled with strategic thinking, out of the box.

The USA…….since the 1950’s has provided about $30 billion in military aid to Pakistan, and about $30 billion in economic aid……a significant generous amount. The Americans probably invented the concept of foreign aid starting with lend lease to the UK in the 1940’s…….and then the reconstruction of Europe after the war, including significant help for Germany and Japan, arch foes where 300,000 Americans died fighting these countries…..in real, mass, mobilized, mechanized wars. ……………..not the two week mild slapping sessions between India and Pakistan. We can be cynical about this enormous aid, and say there were obviously strategic interests/considerations why American planners were so keen to help……….but the generosity was unmistakable, and the world reciprocated in recognizing, in kind through this mode of soft power and significant help.

China…..is emulating the USA of the 1940’s, exactly the same.

Crazed Zionist Settlers Plot to Rebuild Temple of Solomon

[This has great explosive potential to ignite Israel’s cherished “third intifada,” especially if the equally loony Christian-Zionists try to build support for this insanity.  I guess that everyone realizes that it is necessary to destroy the second most sacred mosque in all of Islam to rebuild Solomon’s Temple?]

Sheikh Tamimi: Israel working to build Third Temple

Ma’an News

February 15, 2010

Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian Supreme Judge Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi warned on Monday that Israeli institutions, settler groups and the current Israeli government are working to fulfill the 18th century Rabbi Vilna Goan’s prophecy declaring that the Third Temple would be re-built by 16 March 2010.

Tamimi said that Israeli archeological excavations have caused structural damage to the Al-Marwani Mosque, under the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s northern walls and to Palestinian homes in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Sheikh further alleged that a plan had been implemented in 1993 to intensify efforts to Judaize Jerusalem, which consisted of establishing two major settlements around Jerusalem and a military brigade dedicated to closing off the city and separating it from its surrounding neighborhoods with military checkpoints.

Tamimi added that the plan included the shutting down of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, the expulsion of dignitaries and the revoking of Israeli ID cards of Jerusalem residents in Beit Hanina, Shu’fat, El-Essawiya, At-Tour and Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Additionally, a network of underground tunnels would be constructed to connect Jewish settlers to the Old City of Jerusalem, Tamimi claimed.

By the end of this process, some 36,000 Palestinians living in the Old City will be displaced as a result, Tamimi said.

Tamimi called on conveners of the Arab League Summit in Libya next month to create a plan to save Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

:: Article nr. 63301 sent on 15-feb-2010 18:54 ECT

Cheney Admits to War Crimes, Media Yawns, Obama Turns the Other Cheek

Cheney Admits to War Crimes, Media Yawns, Obama Turns the Other Cheek

Jason Leopold

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, World Economic Forum, stevefaeembra, MissusK)

t r u t h o u t, February 15, 2010

Dick Cheney is a sadist.

On Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News’ “This Week,” Cheney proclaimed his love of torture, derided the Obama administration for outlawing the practice, and admitted that the Bush administration ordered Justice Department attorneys to fix the law around his policies.

“I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” Cheney told Karl, as if he were issuing a challenge to officials in the current administration, including President Barack Obama, who said flatly last year that waterboarding is torture, to take action against him. “I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques…”

The former vice president’s declaration closely follows admissions he made in December 2008, about a month before the Bush administration exited the White House, when he said he personally authorized the torture of 33 suspected terrorist detainees and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners.

“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” Cheney said in an interview with the right-wing Washington Times about the waterboarding, a drowning technique where a person is strapped to a board, his face covered with a cloth and then water is poured over it. It is a torture technique dating back at least to the Spanish Inquisition.

The US has long treated waterboarding as a war crime and has prosecuted Japanese soldiers for using it against US troops during World War II. And Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions.

But Cheney’s admissions back then, as well as those he made on Sunday, went unchallenged by Karl and others in the mainstream media. Indeed, the two major national newspapers–The New York Times and The Washington Post–characterized Cheney’s interview as a mere spat between the vice president and the Obama administration over the direction of the latter’s counterterroism and national security policies. The Times and Post left Cheney’s admissions about waterboarding and torture in general out of their reports.

Karl also made no mention of the fact that the CIA’s own watchdog concluded in a report declassified last year that the torture of detainees Cheney signed off on did not result in any actionable intelligence nor did it thwart any imminent attacks on the United States. To the contrary, torture led to bogus information, wrongful elevated threat warnings, and, in one instance, derailed the prosecution of at least one detainee because the evidence against him was obtained through torture.

Karl also failed to call out Cheney on a statement the former vice president made during his interview in which he suggested the policy of torture was carried out only after the Bush administration told Justice Department attorneys it wanted the legal justification to subject suspected al-Qaeda prisoners to brutal interrogation methods.

Cheney told Karl that he continues to be critical of the Obama administration “because there were some things being said, especially after we left office, about prosecuting CIA personnel that had carried out our counterterrorism policy or disbarring lawyers in the Justice Department who had — had helped us put those policies together, and I was deeply offended by that, and I thought it was important that some senior person in the administration stand up and defend those people who’d done what we asked them to do.”

In an interview with Karl on December 15, 2008, Cheney made a similar comment, which Karl also allowed to go unchallenged, stating that the Bush administration “had the Justice Department issue the requisite opinions in order to know where the bright lines were that you could not cross.”

Bush’s Key Line of Defense Destroyed

Those statements, both on Sunday and in his December 2008 interview with Karl, destroys a key line in the Bush administration’s defense against war crimes charges. For years, Cheney and other Bush administration officials pinned their defense on the fact that they had received legal advice from Justice Department lawyers that the brutal interrogations of “war on terror” detainees did not constitute torture or violate other laws of war.

Cheney’s statements, however, would suggest that the lawyers were colluding with administration officials in setting policy, rather than providing objective legal analysis.

In fact, as I reported last year, an investigation by the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined that DOJ attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee blurred the lines between attorneys charged with providing independent legal advice to the White House and policy advocates who were working to advance the administration’s goals, according to legal sources who were privy to an original draft of the OPR report.

That was a conclusion Dawn Johnsen reached. Johnsen was tapped a year ago by Obama to head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), where Yoo and Bybee worked, but her confirmation has been stuck in limbo.

In a 2006 Indiana Law Journal article, she said the function of OLC should be to “provide an accurate and honest appraisal of applicable law, even if that advice will constrain the administration’s pursuit of desired policies.”

“The advocacy model of lawyering, in which lawyers craft merely plausible legal arguments to support their clients’ desired actions, inadequately promotes the President’s constitutional obligation to ensure the legality of executive action,” said Johnsen, who served in the OLC under President Bill Clinton. “In short, OLC must be prepared to say no to the President.

“For OLC instead to distort its legal analysis to support preferred policy outcomes undermines the rule of law and our democratic system of government. Perhaps most essential to avoiding a culture in which OLC becomes merely an advocate of the Administration’s policy preferences is transparency in the specific legal interpretations that inform executive action, as well as in the general governing processes and standards followed in formulating that legal advice.”

In a 2007 UCLA Law Review article, Johnsen said Yoo’s Aug. 1, 2002, torture memo is “unmistakably” an “advocacy piece.”

“OLC abandoned fundamental practices of principled and balanced legal interpretation,” Johnsen wrote. “The Torture Opinion relentlessly seeks to circumvent all legal limits on the CIA’s ability to engage in torture, and it simply ignores arguments to the contrary.

“The Opinion fails, for example, to cite highly relevant precedent, regulations, and even constitutional provisions, and it misuses sources upon which it does rely. Yoo remains almost alone in continuing to assert that the Torture Opinion was ‘entirely accurate’ and not outcome driven.”

For his part, Yoo had already admitted in no uncertain terms that Bush administration officials sought to legalize torture and that he and Bybee fixed the law around the Bush administration’s policy.

As I noted in a report last year, in his book, “War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account on the War On Terror,” Yoo described his participation in meetings that helped develop the controversial policies for the treatment of detainees.

For instance, Yoo wrote about a trip he took to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with other senior administration officials to observe interrogations and to join in discussions about specific interrogation methods. In other words, Yoo was not acting as an independent attorney providing the White House with unbiased legal advice but was more of an advocate for administration policy.

The meetings that Yoo described appear similar to those disclosed by ABC News in April 2008.

“The most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al-Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA,” ABC News reported at the time, citing unnamed sources.

“The high-level discussions about these ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed – down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

“These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al-Qaeda suspects – whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding,” according to unnamed sources quoted by ABC News.

The original draft of the OPR report concluded that Yoo and Bybee violated professional standards and recommended a referral to state bar associations where they could have faced disciplinary action and have had their law licenses revoked.

The report’s findings could have influenced whether George W. Bush, Cheney and other senior officials in that administration were held accountable for torture and other war crimes. But two weeks ago, it was revealed that officials in Obama’s Justice Department backed off the earlier recommendation and instead altered the misconduct findings against Yoo and Bybee to “poor judgment,” which means neither will face disciplinary action.

Torture Preceded Legal Advice

If ABC’s Karl had a firmer grasp on the issues he queried Cheney about he would have known that as recently as last week, three UK high-court judges released seven paragraphs of a previously classified intelligence document that proved the CIA tortured Binyam Mohamed, a British resident captured in Pakistan in April 2002 who was falsely tied to a dirty bomb plot, months before the Bush administration obtained a memo from John Yoo and Jay Bybee at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) authorizing specific methods of torture to be used against high-value detainees.

The document stated bluntly that Mohamed’s treatment “could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.”

Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the treatment of Mohamed and the clear record that the Bush administration used waterboarding and other brutal techniques to extract information from detainees should have triggered the United States to conduct a full investigation and to prosecute the offenders.In the case of the US’s refusal to do so, other nations would be obligated to act under the principle of universality.

However, instead of living up to that treaty commitment, the Obama administration has time and again resisted calls for government investigations and has gone to court to block lawsuits that demand release of torture evidence or seek civil penalties against officials implicated in the torture.

Though it’s true, as Vice President Joe Biden stated Sunday on “Meet the Press,” that Cheney is rewriting history and making “factually, substantively wrong” statements about the Obama administration’s track record and approach to counterterrorism, it’s difficult, if not near impossible, to defend this president from the likes of Cheney.

Case in point: last week the Obama administration treated the disclosure by British judicial officials of the former prisoner’s torture as a security breach and threatened to cut off an intelligence sharing arrangement with the UK government.

In what can only be described as a stunning response to the revelations contained in the intelligence document, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said “the [UK} court’s judgment will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK, and it will have to factor into our decision-making going forward.”

“We’re deeply disappointed with the court’s judgment today, because we shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations,” LaBolt said, making no mention of Mohamed’s treatment nor even offering him an apology for the torture he was subjected to by the CIA over the course of several years. Mohamed was released from Guantanamo last year and returned to the UK.

As an aside, as revelatory as the disclosures were, news reports of Mohamed’s torture were buried by the mainstream print media and went unreported by the cable news outlets, underscoring how the media’s interest in Bush-era crimes has waned.

Last December, on the day Obama received a Nobel Peace prize, Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, told reporters that “on every front, the [Obama] administration is actively obstructing accountability. This administration is shielding Bush administration officials from civil liability, criminal investigation and even public scrutiny for their role in authorizing torture.”

If one can defend the Obama administration against Cheney’s attacks, it would have to be with the Cheney’s claim that the administration is attempting to prosecute “CIA personnel that had carried out our counterterrorism policy or disbarring lawyers.”

The opposite is true. Holder has expanded the mandate of a special counsel, appointed during the Bush administration, who is investigating the destruction of torture tapes, to conduct a “preliminary review” of less than a dozen torture cases involving CIA contractors and interrogators to determine whether launching an expanded criminal inquiry is warranted.

And “disbarring lawyers, a clear reference to Yoo and Bybee, which is beyond the scope of the Justice Department watchdog’s authority to begin with, is no longer a possibility given that the OPR report reportedly does not recommend disciplinary action.

As Jane Mayer reported in a recent issue of the New Yorker, Holder’s limited scope authorization to Durham did not go over well with the White House and Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made sure Holder knew where the administration stood.

“Emanuel worried that such investigations would alienate the intelligence community…,” Mayer reported. “Emanuel couldn’t complain directly to Holder without violating strictures against political interference in prosecutorial decisions. But he conveyed his unhappiness to Holder indirectly, two sources said. Emanuel demanded, ‘Didn’t he get the memo that we’re not re-litigating the past?'”

:: Article nr. 63310 sent on 16-feb-2010 05:29 ECT

Names of Mossad Death Squad Published

Names of Mossad Death Squad Published

Kawther Salam

February 15, 2010

Lt. Gen. Dhafi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai’s police chief, stated during a press conference on Sunday that the team which carried out the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhouh in a room at the Al-Bostan, Rotana hotel in Dubai on January 20 consisted of six British passport holders, three Irish passport holders including the woman, and the holders of each a German and a French passport.

Pictures of the death squad members.

“This is a list of all the wanted suspects. The list will be given to the press, newspaper and the Interpol”, said Khalfan. Dubai will soon issue arrest warrants for 11 Europeans suspected in the killing of senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, but the police chief said on Monday that he was still not ruling out Israeli involvement.

Khalfan said that two Palestinians suspected of providing logistical support in Mabhouh’s murder were being held by police. Al Arabiya television said that the pair had been handed over by Jordan.

Khalfan said that the 11 suspects were believed to have rented a room across the corridor from al-Mabhouh around the time of the murder, and left Dubai shortly after. Al-Mabhouh entered the United Arab Emirates a day before his death using a passport that did not bear his family name.

Khalfan described the assassination of Al-Mabhouh, who was unarmed and alone, “by more than a dozen people” as a cowardly act and not an act of heroism. In an apparent reference to the possibility of state involvement in the assassination of Mabhouh, Khalfan said “if leaders of some countries export orders to their intelligence and security services to commit murders in another country, this is repugnant and unacceptable.”

The names of the suspected persons as published by Al-Quds:
Peter Ilevenger (sp?) – French passport
Kevin Davron – Irish passport
Gael Voallard (female) – Irish passport
Ivan Diningz (sp?) –  Irish passport
Paul John Keely – British passport
Melvin Adam Mildainer – British passport
Steven Daniel Hodge – British passport
Michael Lawrence Barney – British passport
James Leonard Clark – British passport
Jonathan Lewis Graham – British passport
Michael Bodenhaimer – German passport

If you know anybody who uses these names, or if you recognize any of the individuals on the pictures, please contact the police station nearest to you.

:: Article nr. 63313 sent on 16-feb-2010 08:12 ECT

Link: www.kawther.info/wpr/2010/02/15/names-of-mossad-death-squad-published?utm_source

In Haiti, Like Katrina, the Military Mission Is To Convince the World We Are Trying

And the U.S. Calls This a “Model Response?”

A Million Homeless in Haiti


February 15, 2010

Despite the fact that over a million people remained homeless in Haiti one month after the earthquake, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Ken Merten, is quoted at a State Department briefing on February 12, saying “In terms of humanitarian aid delivery…frankly, it’s working really well, and I believe that this will be something that people will be able to look back on in the future as a model for how we’ve been able to sort ourselves out as donors on the ground and responding to an earthquake.”

What? Haiti is a model of how the international government and donor community should respond to an earthquake? The Ambassador must be overworked and need some R&R. Look at the facts.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported February 11 there are still 1.2 million people living in “spontaneous settlements” in and around Port au Prince as a result of the January 12 earthquake. These spontaneous settlements are sprawling camps of homeless Haitian children and families living on the ground under sheets.

Over 300,000 are in camps in Carrefour, nearly 200,000 in Port au Prince, and over 100,000 each in Delmas, Petitionville and Leogane according to the UN.

About 25,000 people are camped out on one golf course in Petitionville. Hundreds of thousands of others are living in soccer fields, church yards, on hillsides, in gullies, and even on the strips of land in the middle of the street. The UN has identified over 300 such spontaneous settlements. The Red Cross reports there are over 700.

The UN reported that barely one in five of the people in camps have received tents or tarps as of February 11. Eighty percent of the hundreds of thousands of children and families still live on the ground under sheets.

Many of these camps are huge. Nineteen of these homeless camps in the Port au Prince area together house 180,000 people. More than half of these camps are so spontaneous that there is no organization in the camp to even comprehensively report their needs.

Another half a million people have left Port au Prince, most to the countryside. As a result there are significant food problems in the countryside. About 168,000 internally displaced people are living along the border with the Dominican Republic. Many are with families. Others are in “spontaneous settlements” of up to a 1000 people.

People living in these densely populated camps will be asked to move to more organized settlements outside the city. Relocation, says the UN, will be on a voluntary basis.

The U.S. Ambassador knows full well there are 900 or so aid agencies are on the ground in Haiti. Coordination and communication between those agencies and between them and the Haitian government continues to be a very serious challenge.

Though many people are trying hard to meet the survival needs Haiti, no one besides the Ambassador dares say that it is a model of how to respond. Partners in Health director Dr. Louise Ivers reported on the very same day that “there is more and more misery” in Port au Prince as fears of typhoid and dysentery haunt the camps as the rainy season looms.

But the still the Haitian spirit prevails. Everyone who has been to Haiti since the earthquake reports inspiring stories of Haitians helping Haitians despite the tragically inadequate response of the Haitian government and the international community. That spirit is something people should admire. Let me finish with a story that illustrates.

One orphanage outside of Port au Prince, home to 57 children, was promised a big tent so the children would no longer have to sleep under the stars. The tent arrived but without poles to hold it up. The same group was promised food from UNICEF. Twelve days later, no food had arrived. They improvised and constructed scaffolding to create an awning over the mattresses lying on the dirt. They are finding food from anywhere they can. “We’re holding on,” said the Haitian director Etienne Bruny, “We’re used to difficult times.”

Haitians are holding on despite the inadequate humanitarian response. They are the model.

Bill Quigley is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. He can be reached at: duprestars@yahoo.com.

:: Article nr. 63329 sent on 16-feb-2010 12:20 ECT