Electromagnetism Disrupts Brain’s Moral Center–Proof of Mind Control Theory

Neuroscientists use magnetism to fool our moral compass

March 31, 2010 | 10:51 am

Neuroscientists have marched forward by many means in their understanding of how the brain and its component parts work. They have long studied people with injuries to certain parts of their brains and, by seeing how the behavior of those individuals changes, have inferred the role that the damaged part of the brain plays. In more recent years, functional magnetic resonance imaging and electro-encephalograms (those electrical wires you see attached to babies’ bald pates in pictures) have helped researchers divine the roles of certain brain regions by “seeing” blood flow or metabolic activity in those regions during certain tasks.

But there’s also a little known and somewhat low-tech gadget that can have surprising powers of revelation. It’s called transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a small device that emits a powerful but narrow-spectrum magnetic charge is passed over a region of the brain. It won’t penetrate very far, but the result is that the cells in that region of the brain are briefly scrambled: For a few minutes, they go silent or misfire. (Neuroscientists have been known to have a bit of fun with this gadget.)

In the neuroscience lab of MIT researcher Rebecca Saxe, the role of the right temporoparietal junction — an area toward the back of your head, a couple of inches above your right ear — is an area of particular interest. This area has long been thought to play a role in how we interpret the actions and motives of the people around us — a largely-human talent called “theory of mind.”

In a recent study using transcranial magnetic stimulation, researchers in Saxe’s lab have found that the right temporoparietal junction — and our ability to infer other people’s thoughts and motives — may be important in how we make and act on moral and ethical judgments.

In a pair of experiments published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, MIT researchers passed a transcranial magnetic stimulator over the right temporoparietal junction, in one case for 25 minutes while the study participants read a series of scenarios and decided how they should behave, and in the second experiment, briefly, while participants were asked to make a complex moral judgment. In both experiments, researchers set up the moral conundrums so that the participants could make a dangerous or immoral decision (such as driving drunk) but not have any moral consequences (such as an accident ensuing).

With their right temporoparietal junctions scrambled, participants seemed unable to recognize an action as wrong unless it led to harm — a moral judgment that virtually all could make easily when their brains were not being magnetically scrambled. It seems that when unable to infer the motives and actions of another, they had to rely only on outcomes to tell them if their own actions were ethical.

The implications for human behavior are potentially far-reaching: Unless we can understand what’s on other people’s minds, we may be hampered in understanding how best to live cooperatively (and ethically) with others. And then there’s a take-home message for each of us: If someone you know seems to behave without moral bearings, you might try looking for a transcranial magnetic stimulator hidden with the remote control in the folds of his or her couch. Or you might infer that his or her powers of “theory of mind” need a bit of exercise.

— Melissa Healy

Chechnyan Group Both Denies and Accepts Responsibility for Moscow Bombing–Reuter’s

[The inevitable contradictions are beginning to arise already, indicating a false flag attack to implicate known militant group.  This has CIA/Special Forces written all over it.  The idea is to force Putin into a heavy-handed campaign of vengeance, for all the world to see.  The vilification of Putin and Russia are necessary to justify the large-scale movement of American forces closer to Moscow.  SEE:  America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to tread.]

Islamist group says not behind Moscow bombs

Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:52am EDT

(Reuters) – A militant Islamist separatist group led by a prominent Chechen rebel denied responsibility Wednesday for bombings that killed 39 people in two Moscow metro stations.

“We did not carry out the attack in Moscow, and we don’t know who did it,” Shemsettin Batukaev, a spokesman for the Caucasus Emirate organization, told Reuters by telephone in Turkey.

The spokesman said the group planned attacks on economic targets inside Russia, but not against civilians. Its leader, Doku Umarov, vowed last month to spread a Caucasian insurgency to Russian cities.

The Caucusus Emirate aims to create a pan-Caucasus, sharia-based state separate from Russia. Security analysts have named it as a potential suspect in Monday’s attacks, which Russian authorities have blamed on female suicide bombers with connections to the volatile North Caucasus region.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Moscow’s worst bomb attack in six years.

“Of course we plan on attacking Russian economic targets, but our plans do not include attacks on people,” said Batukaev, who lives in Istanbul and acts as the group’s foreign representative.

He said he also did not know who was behind two bombings in Dagestan that killed 12 people Wednesday, but did not deny the possibility that his organization was involved.

The bombings highlight problems Russia has faced in trying to stem rising violence in the North Caucasus insurgency, which is likely to be at the heart of a 2012 presidential election.


The Kremlin had declared victory in its battle with Chechen separatists who fought two wars with Moscow. But violence has intensified over the past year in the neighboring republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia, where Islamist militancy overlaps with clan rivalries, criminal gangs and widespread poverty.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who gained popularity by crushing the second Chechen insurgency, said the culprits behind the bombings should be “scraped from the sewers.”

Batukaev, speaking by telephone, said the attacks could have been the work of individuals “filled with enough hatred.

“There are lots of Chechens who would happily have thrown an atom bomb into the subway. There are many people filled with enough rage out there who could have done this,” he said.

“But these people do not represent us,” he said.

The Chechen rebellion began in the 1990s as a largely ethnic nationalist movement. Russian officials say Islamic militants from outside Russia have joined the campaign, most after the secong war, giving it a fresh intensity.

Batukaev said there were a few foreigners fighting with the insurgents but his organization did not have ties to foreign Islamist groups, like al Qaeda, and relied on sympathizers at home for funding.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, editing by Mark Trevelyan and Paul Taylor)

Chechen rebel says ordered Moscow attacks: website

Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:09pm EDT

(Reuters) – Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in the Moscow metro that killed at least 39 people, according to a video posted on the unofficial Islamist rebel website on Wednesday.

Umarov, who styles himself as the “Emir of the Caucasus Emirate,” said in the video that he had personally ordered the attacks. He said attacks on Russia would continue.

“As you all know on March 29 in Moscow, two special operations were carried out to destroy the infidels and to sent a greeting to the FSB,” Umarov was shown saying in the four-and-a-half minute long video on [Islamic terrorist website, Kavkaz Center]

One of the metro stations bombed was just meters (yards) away from the headquarters of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the country’s main domestic security service.

“Both of these operations were carried out on my command and will not be the last,” Umarov was shown saying against the background of what looked like a wood.

He spoke heavily accented Russian and said that he was speaking on March 29.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Ludmila Danilova, editing by Robin Paxton)

9/11 Reconstruction: Mental Before Physical

9/11 Reconstruction: Mental Before Physical

A new survey of Americans reveals that 100 million people question or reject official story. A new investigation is needed.

by Joel S. Hirschhorn


The failure to rebuild the World Trade Center site in Manhattan has received endless attention. But public anger about this failed reconstruction should not been seen so negatively. After all, mental reconstruction has also still not been successful and is surely more needed, with too many Americans still accepting the official government story about 9/11. This, despite a huge amount of compelling evidence that elements of the US government played some role, despite a very large, active 9/11 truth movement, and despite an impressive number of highly credible people demanding a new investigation as documented at patriotsquestion911.com.

In the recent Angus Reid Public Opinion survey of a representative national sample of American adults, 62 per cent of respondents disagree with the view that the “Sept. 11 incident was a big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan.” Far more Republicans disagree at 80 percent, compared to 66 percent of Independents and 55 percent of Democrats.

Consistent with this is that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree with the government commission that investigated the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which concluded that an attack was carried out by 19 hijackers who were members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, led by Osama bin Laden. Though 12 per cent of respondents reject the commission’s findings, one-in-five Americans (21 percent) are undecided. In particular, 35 percent of Independents and 34 percent of Democrats do not accept the official version, compared to just 20 percent of Republicans.

These figures translate to about 100 million Americans that question or find fault with the official 9/11 story, far from a trivial number and far too many to dismiss as conspiracy nuts and part of the lunatic fringe. This is the important message that merits public appreciation.

That the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge this kind of public sentiment reflects on their lack of courage to dig deep into the role of the government and face the truth. This behavior does nothing to improve American democracy and trust in government. True patriots must acknowledge that government through the terrible acts of some individuals can carry out hideous acts; there is a bipartisan history of this. Truth is the best way to stop such behavior.

Clearly, Republicans have blocked out the painful possibility that the Bush-Cheney administration played a role in 9/11. This may also explain why the large tea party movement that results from strong disillusionment with government does not embrace the 9/11 truth movement.

Here is my perspective: If far more Americans rejected or questioned the official government story and demanded a new investigation, we would get the mental reconstruction sorely needed to ensure that the government never again uses a false flag operation to advance a policy (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) that would not otherwise receive public support, especially one that kills thousands of Americans, both civilians and soldiers.

That the reconstruction at ground zero in Manhattan has still not succeeded symbolizes that the wounds of 9/11 are not healed, which means that we still have some chance of demanding and discovering the full truth, regardless of how painful it is. The cost of a first-rate new investigation might be $50 million, far less than the billions of dollars to reconstruct the Manhattan site.

In the end, truth is more important than new buildings. Worse than a hole in the ground is a hole in our national soul. We need Congress to authorize and fund a new 9/11 investigation. The highly fragmented 9/11 truth movement must unite behind a political strategy to make this happen. The only reason to fear a new investigation is the likely unsettling finding that, indeed, the US government was a lot more than incompetent and negligent.

The Dangers of Democracy In a Land of Sheeple

The recent Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commissionpermits corporations to directly donate to political parties as well as run political advertisements. Yet more shocking than the Court’s blatant partisan split on the issue is the degree to which public anger about the decision has been bipartisan. From left-of-center to right-of-crazy, both liberal activists and tea party protesters are incensed with a decision they see as allowing even more corporate influence over Washington. Yet while many would like to see this decision overturned, the truth of the matter is that the legislative system in the United States is already corrupted by private interests, and the Court’s decision, while appalling, does not affect the incentive structure in place which undermines and stymies Congress on many of the nation’s most pressing issues.

Lobbyists and public action committees already exploit the need for members of Congress to fret about re-election almost the nanosecond they are elected. The amount of money pushed into politics already makes a mockery of the ‘one person, one vote’ contract implicit in a democratic system. Indeed, on key political issues of the day, the financial lobby is busy trying to prevent the establishment of an independent consumer protection agency, and the insurance industry spent roughly one million dollars a day on lobbyists and contributions to block the public option. From oil companies trying to prevent climate change policy to automakers buying up and destroying public transportation systems to pharmaceutical and food companies lobbying against FDA regulations to no-bid contracts for American companies in Iraq to mortgage lenders protecting their ‘loan shark’ profit margins, it is evident that while corporations are for profit, governments exist to remain distinctly in the service of the people.

Yet while the notion of corporations as legal persons has made me uneasy for as long as I have understood the concept, I admit I am humbled by the legal ramifications involved in denying corporations- and by the same token unions- rights of personhood. Instead of adopting a ‘reverse or uphold’ legal approach, it would treat the problem more substantially if we challenged the underlying incentive structure in place, limiting financial influence over public servants, raising the costs of social harm, and maintaining an adamant regulatory system.

One idea, which is not new, is to even the playing field by eradicating private financing of elections altogether, and instead maintaining a national fund for elections. Before images of a socialist march come to mind, this system is already practice in the United States, albeit piecemeal. If a candidate privately raises $5,000 in each of at least 20 states and agrees to spending limits, the government subsidizes a dollar for dollar “match”. Yet without an even playing field as witnessed in the 2008 election, candidates who take public money often fall far short of what their competitors can privately raise.

We must alter elections from privately-funded popularity contests to publicly-financed issue-based contests open to all. This would transform the democratic system currently in place, where dollars are more powerful than votes and those who have the most money inevitably have the most influence. Prohibiting all private financing would additionally hamstring corporate influence without violating corporate free speech. Campaign finance reform would also engender greater transparency as ads run by corporations and unions would be based on the stances political parties or candidates take (for or against oil for example), and not on who has or hasn’t accepted undisclosed funds.

It would serve us well to examine an analogous example of where money corrupts politics. The ills that plague the oldest and the largest democracies in the world are not all that different, and the solution to help remedy them is surprisingly similar. India is known for being the world’s largest democracy and a ray of hope in a region blighted by political instability and military rule. But when I went to cover the largest elections in the world in April of 2009, pride in this democracy was the least of what I found.

Instead of the rosy picture of millions of people voting (418 million actually did), what I consistently encountered as I spoke with NGO leaders, academics, voters, journalists, ministers, and candidates was the increasing political influence and success of common criminals – thugs – in the elections. According to the Association for Democratic Reform, 28% of elected Indian MPs have criminal cases pending against them (more than one in five), while 14% have serious criminal indictments. More alarming is the fact that this number has increased by 31% since the 2004 elections.

It seems that those who have long lived beyond the reach of the law have figured out that if they manage to delay the adjudication of the cases against them in court (not very difficult in India for those who have money and power), and get elected in the interim, they can enjoy the fruits of parliamentary immunity. Indian election rules do not prevent those charged with criminal cases from standing for electoral offices, only those who have been convicted. Unscrupulous candidates use all the nefarious tools in their thuggish panoply, from bribery to extortion to intimidation to rioting and even murder and incitement of gang wars, to get the votes they need. For a village thug charged with a crime, the best thing he can do to free himself of accountability is to get elected. Along with the power of patronage that comes with vaunted ministry positions, an air of untouchability comes with electoral success (and not in the Hindu caste sense of the term, but rather Al Capone’s).

Historically, the term “thug” referred to a member of an organization of robbers and assassins in India who typically strangled their victims. Corporations are certainly not thugs in the literal sense: they are legal entities created by the State, endowed with rights of legal personhood, shielded from personal liability, and can exist in perpetuity. Armed with these benefits and shareholder funds, corporate executives and managers can generate wealth, which often does benefit society at large. Without these privileges, risk-averse individuals would not assume high levels of debt and risk bankruptcy to endeavor to make things. Thus, while the existence and life of a corporation is crucial to higher standards of living, their categorical incentive – self-interest, which maximizes profit for shareholders – can also do harm.

The near collapse of the global financial system at the hands of profit-maximizing investment bankers in 2008 illustrates this point well enough. Many concerned with avoiding another financial crisis argue that the root causes have not been addressed, and Wall Street continues to incentivize reckless risk. A lack of accountability and extremely close ties (some would say a revolving door) with Washington, conflicts of interest (such as the relationship between Goldman Sachs and Greece) and expectations of huge personal profits continue to endanger the world economic system.

One thing remains sad and true. Whether you are looking at the American Congress or the Indian Lok Sahba, reform falls into the hands of the very people who have incentives to stunt it. In other words, those who stand to gain from a corrupting system are the very ones who hold all the power to change it. Will we see campaign finance reform in our lifetime? The answer unfortunately lies with those who have the money: thug Parliamentarians in India and corporate entities in the United States. Can we trust them to regulate themselves as we naively did with respect to Wall Street?

Recently-elected Indian Parliamentarians with criminal offences boastfully refer to themselves as baahubali, which literally translates as “muscle men” or gangsters. Characteristic of these legitimized ruffians is a general desire to amass vast amounts of wealth, use this wealth to attain power, capture more wealth with this newfound power, and so on. Isn’t this essentially the same motivation for maximizing profit? It doesn’t take much of stretch to see that profit maximization is not always innocuous, and without regulation can endanger human lives, the environment, and even jeopardize competition itself. AsRalph Nader has argued, “from pollution, medical negligence, procurement fraud, product defects, and financial fraud, to antitrust, public corruption, foreign bribery and occupational homicide, corporate crime is widely ignored by politicians – yet acutely felt by all Americans.” American corporations, especially those that operate abroad, such as United Fruit, Halliburton, Nike, Enron, Blackwater, Dow Chemical, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Arthur Andersen, Hollinger, and a host of others throw around massive amounts of wealth, bribe, intimidate, tamper with and bend laws to suit their interests, silence whistleblowers, engage in patronage, squeeze out competition, and instill fear in their workers so as to avoid rebellion from within. All of these behaviors can be learned from a baahubali handbook, if ever one was literate enough to write one.

We have for far too long allowed the incentive structure in the American political system to tilt toward private money. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that eventually those with the most money will carry the greatest influence, and those who depend on those large caches of cash will be beholden to the dictates of their cash cows. It reminds one of that proverbial parental slogan: ‘as long as you live under my roof, you will do as I say.’ Just as children must move out and make their own money to gain their independence, so too should Members of Congress move out of the ‘care’ of their financial supporters. In order to free our lawmakers from the need to accumulate vast resources and then repay those supporters in kind, we must institute a system which publicly funds the campaigns of those who are eligible. The goal here is to even the playing field, dissuade lawmakers from using their time in office to obtain fresh funds, and use that time instead to make and vote on laws – their actual jobs.

It was never the intention of the Founding Fathers that America’s lawmakers would be beholden to financiers, and it seems doubtful that they would allow corporations to take center stage in our political system. The private sector is adept at many things; financing political outcomes shouldn’t be one of them. Glenn Greenwald, in pointing out how little healthcare reform hurts private interests or insurance companies, emphasizes, “Corporate control of the Government is one of the most serious problems, if not the single most serious problem, the nation faces. Every future bill — from “financial reform” to energy bills to national security and surveillance legislation — is dominated by that central fact.” Yet the idea that financial and political power should rarely mingle is still considered radical today.

In his dissent to Citizens United, Justice John Paul Stevens asked why corporations, which are not members of society and cannot vote or run for office, should be allowed to crowd out those who do. What is the point of voting at all if members of Congress are more indebted to their financial base than to their electoral base? Corporations alone seem to have the amount of cash required to fund campaigns, and they often fund both parties in order to ensure that their views are represented in debate on any legislation that would affect them. In India, thugs behave in the same fashion. They meet in secret with other Parliamentarians, give and trade favors, and do this with the extra cash and muscle they acquire from their positions. It is a negative feedback loop built around rational responses to incentives.

America is a capitalist democracy, and if we endear ourselves to the notion of proper incentive structures as well as free and fair elections, we should demand both! What actually and ironically seems the most self-evident about corporate influence in politics is that it has the power to corrupt absolutely.

Iraq’s Baby Steps Toward Democracy

[I hope and pray that the author of the following piece is correct that this is truly the beginning of Iraq recovering some of what it was before we inflicted its mortal wound.  There are a lot of “ifs” that determine whether this is real hope or more delusion–the biggest “if” is–“if” American troops really leave.  The next “if” concerns Maliki and Allawi–“if” they work for America, or “if” they work for Iran.  If either of those loyalties hold, then neither of them work for the Iraqi people.  Time will tell, as in all things.]

Iraq’s Baby Steps Toward Democracy

By Adil E. Shamoo

Iraqi voters show inked fingers. CC license: Wikimedia

The Obama administration may finally get some good news. Iraq’s recent elections for parliament might actually result in a non-sectarian, pro-American government. This outcome would enable the Obama administration to fulfill its goal of removing all but 50,000 support troops by this August and drawn U.S. forces down to zero by the end of 2011.

The resilient and courageous Iraqi people voted in higher percentages than the American electorate, with 62 percent of eligible voters going to the polls. This voter participation is a positive step toward a free, sovereign, and democratic Iraq. The future, however, will depend on the actions and attitudes of Iraqis, Americans and Iraq’s neighbors.

A New Parliament

The preliminary results for the 325 seats in parliament indicate that Ayad Allawi’s Iraqia Party has garnered 91 seats, while incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Party won 89 seats. The Kurds have perhaps lost the most from this election. The main Kurdish Alliance won 43 seats and thus have fewer seats than before. The new secular group, Goran (meaning “change”), has split the Kurdish alliance. Goran could play an important role in joining any secular coalition.

Before the election, the Justice and Accountability Commission (co-chaired by Ahmed Chalabi, a candidate for parliament in this election) barred over 100 candidates from running. Of these, 55 were from Allawi’s list, and he has protested vociferously. Yet, while both sides are claiming foul, UN senior envoy Ad Melkert contends that the irregularities in the Iraqi election aren’t widespread and won’t affect the overall outcome.

The threat of violence remains real in Iraq. Nearly 100,000 foreign troops and at least that many contractors currently occupy Iraq. Most democratic institutions are weak or nonexistent; sectarian security forces continue to exist. Iraq functions under a sectarian constitution imposed by the Americans early in the invasion. And yet there is room for hope in this election.

Iraqi voters, way ahead of their politicians, rejected both sectarianism and dividing Iraq under the guise of federalism. In this regard the religious parties, especially those with close ties to Iran, were the biggest losers. (One exception was the vote strength of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite Muslim movement, because of its anti-occupation and nationalistic message.) Maliki changed his previous stance, splitting from the religious coalitions to form a non-sectarian party, the State of Law Coalition. This time around, he aimed to appeal to the Iraqis’ abhorrence to sectarian violence. However, Maliki reserved his cordial relations with religious groups in case he needed them after the election.

U.S. Interference

Ambassador Christopher Hill and General Ray Odierno clearly interfered in the election in promoting pro-American candidates Maliki and Allawi. This effort achieved its goal, since the two groups will now control the government. But despite the interference from U.S. officials, Iraqis have made progress toward sovereignty and democracy, which can potentially become even stronger after the withdrawal of American troops. The removal of the anti-occupation card will erode support for al-Sadr and strengthen the messages of secular parties.

Allawi will be given the first chance to form the government. Together, the parties of Maliki and Allawi can form a stable and functional Iraqi government. This coalition will please the Americans. However, their personal animosity is a strong obstacle to forming such an alliance. Further complicating this coalition-building, the party of Al-Sadr won’t join Maliki, since he attacked and disarmed them in Basra at the behest of the Americans. Maliki’s party can form a coalition with smaller religious groups, but the resulting government will be weak. Moreover, Allawi and other non-sectarian groups would continue to undermine his authority. Both the weakened Kurdish Alliance and Goran will be the wild cards in this game of coalition-building.

The participation of Iraqis in their election and the enforcement of election laws by Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission are but two examples of small steps toward democracy. If a stable and functional government is formed, the Iraqi people will have another opportunity to sustain and cement their democracy. Central to this process will be the strengthening of civil society. Civil society is not new to Iraq. Hammurabi’s Code, the first written laws in human history, was instituted in Iraq nearly 2,200 years ago. Iraqi attempts to build a modern civil society must overcome the triple challenges of history, current sectarian strife, and ongoing American intervention. Respecting the Iraqis to go through their own process of democratic trial and error is all part of restoring the rule of law to the land of Hammurabi.

Adil E. Shamoo is a senior analyst at Foreign Policy In Focus. He is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and writes on matters of ethics and public policy. He can be reached at his blog.

Recommended Citation:

Adil E. Shamoo, “Iraq’s Baby Steps Toward Democracy” (Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, March 30, 2010)

U.S. Rescue May Reach $23,000,000,000,000–a Number Too High to Comprehend

U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says

By Dawn Kopecki and Catherine Dodge

July 20 (Bloomberg) — U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Treasury’s $700 billion bank-investment program represents a fraction of all federal support to resuscitate the U.S. financial system, including $6.8 trillion in aid offered by the Federal Reserve, Barofsky said in a report released today.

“TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” Barofsky said in testimony prepared for a hearing tomorrow before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said the U.S. has spent less than $2 trillion so far and that Barofsky’s estimates are flawed because they don’t take into account assets that back those programs or fees charged to recoup some costs shouldered by taxpayers.

“These estimates of potential exposures do not provide a useful framework for evaluating the potential cost of these programs,” Williams said. “This estimate includes programs at their hypothetical maximum size, and it was never likely that the programs would be maxed out at the same time.”

Barofsky’s estimates include $2.3 trillion in programs offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $7.4 trillion in TARP and other aid from the Treasury and $7.2 trillion in federal money for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, credit unions, Veterans Affairs and other federal programs.

Treasury’s Comment

Williams said the programs include escalating fee structures designed to make them “increasingly unattractive as financial markets normalize.” Dependence on these federal programs has begun to decline, as shown by $70 billion in TARP capital investments that has already been repaid, Williams said.

Barofsky offered criticism in a separate quarterly report of Treasury’s implementation of TARP, saying the department has “repeatedly failed to adopt recommendations” needed to provide transparency and fulfill the administration’s goal to implement TARP “with the highest degree of accountability.”

As a result, taxpayers don’t know how TARP recipients are using the money or the value of the investments, he said in the report.

‘Falling Short’

“This administration promised an ‘unprecedented level’ of accountability and oversight, but as this report reveals, they are falling far short of that promise,” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the oversight committee, said in a statement. “The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent.”

The Treasury has spent $441 billion of TARP funds so far and has allocated $202.1 billion more for other spending, according to Barofsky. In the nine months since Congress authorized TARP, Treasury has created 12 programs involving funds that may reach almost $3 trillion, he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should press banks for more information on how they use the more than $200 billion the government has pumped into U.S. financial institutions, Barofsky said in a separate report.

The inspector general surveyed 360 banks that have received TARP capital, including Bank of America Corp.JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. The responses, which the inspector general said it didn’t verify independently, showed that 83 percent of banks used TARP money for lending, while 43 percent used funds to add to their capital cushion and 31 percent made new investments.

Barofsky said the TARP inspector general’s office has 35 ongoing criminal and civil investigations that include suspected accounting, securities and mortgage fraud; insider trading; and tax investigations related to the abuse of TARP programs.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dawn Kopecki in Washington atdkopecki@bloomberg.netCatherine Dodge in Washington atCdodge1@bloomberg.net.

Terrorist vs. Terrorist

Terrorist vs. Terrorist

Bad-guy fratricide in AfPak

Ralph Peters

As an intelligence officer or journalist, you’ve got to know which sources you can trust. And a source who’s never let me down told me yesterday that the terrorist multinational based in Pakistan is coming apart.

According to this insider’s insider, the Pakistan-headquartered Afghan Taliban is furious at the Taliban’s Pakistani wing because its assaults on the Islamabad government triggered a stunning backlash.

Unleashed at last, Pakistan’s military launched a series of offensives aimed at smacking down the domestic Taliban. But those campaigns also crippled the Afghan Taliban’s freedom of action — and the murky Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) has been killing any Taliban leaders who resist its guidance. (As I’ve noted in past columns, Islamabad intends to dominate any Afghan peace deal.)

GettyHeating up: Army Lt. Scott Doyle moving into position under insurgent fire on March 16 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. US forces will soon mount a major offensive in and around Kandahar city.

Heating up: Army Lt. Scott Doyle moving into position under insurgent fire on March 16 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. US forces will soon mount a major offensive in and around Kandahar city.

Now Terrorist Mutt is blaming Terrorist Jeff.

The news gets even better. Both Taliban wings are mocking al Qaeda as a bunch of wimps unwilling to help with the fight. Under siege from drone attacks and special operators, al Qaeda has hunkered down — and is no longer paying the rent to which the Taliban are accustomed.

There’s more. Multiple reports tell of a “shootin’ war” between the Afghan Taliban and another brutal Afghan outfit, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb e-Islami mujaheddin (who’ve inched toward a deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai). Meanwhile, the ruthless Haqqani faction — aligned with the Taliban — is supposedly squabbling with everybody.

You don’t have to keep all the players straight — just be glad they’re at each other’s throats. The US policy of killing our enemies and goading the Pakistanis to do the same is paying off.

But if things are going better within Pakistan’s Wild Northwest, our peace-and-love policies inside Afghanistan are in a muddle. Officers worry that Gen. Stan McChrystal’s ploy of warning the Taliban that we’re coming to take back Kandahar may backfire.

This “look out, here we come” approach is meant to convince the Taliban to fade away before we deploy, thus limiting casualties and property damage. But reports claim the Taliban’s doing just the opposite: stockpiling weapons and bombs throughout Kandahar.

Aware that we’re hyper-sensitive to blood and rubble, the Taliban may try to turn Kandahar into a slaughterhouse for civilians, a long struggle for our troops — and, ultimately, a wasteland. (Taliban strategists may have drawn a lesson from the First Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, which the insurgents lost in the city’s streets, but won — with the media’s help — at the political level.)

The upcoming Kandahar campaign’s also complicated by the perceived need to have Afghan forces play a greater role. While letting Afghans bleed for their own country is theoretically the right answer, the Afghan National Army isn’t ready.

If an Afghan battalion breaks down under fire, guess what the headline will be — no matter how well other aspects of the fight go (the iconic image of our crucial victory in Second Fallujah remains a Marine shooting a terrorist prisoner).

Precious to the Taliban, Kandahar is McChrystal’s all-or-nothing gamble. It may not have been wise to announce in advance that he’s betting the bank on the outcome.

It also would have been encouraging had our president, instead of checking the “Afghanistan box” with a six-hour night-time visit, spent just one full day in-country to see what our troops are doing. Obama logged four times as many hours in the air as he spent on the ground in Afghanistan.

Worse, Obama’s darkness-shrouded drive-by sent a counter-productive message to our enemies, allies and regional observers: The US president’s afraid to be on Afghan soil during daylight hours.

It’s irrelevant whether his after-dusk arrival and post-midnight departure had to do with security concerns or just scheduling issues. He looked furtive. And appearances trump all.

Reportedly, the president read Karzai the riot act about the destructive corruption and ineptitude of his government. Nothing will come of it. The Karzai regime’s too far gone. It isn’t afflicted with corruption — it’s built on it.

Obama then chowed down with local luminaries, gave rear-echelon troops a 20-minute pep talk (complete with photo op) on the safest base in Afghanistan, and faded back into the night. That wham-bam-thank-you-Bagram visit was a perfect measure of the president’s level of interest in a war to which he’s sending 30,000 more men and women in uniform.

The good news? We’re not only killing terrorists in Pakistan — they’re starting to kill each other. The bad news? Afghanistan isn’t a war. It’s a politically correct experiment — conducted with our troops — by an administration with higher priorities.

Ralph Peters’ new book is “Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization.”

Pakistan alleges Afghans are releasing Taliban fighters

Afghanistan has been releasing Taliban fighters captured in Pakistan and turned over to the Karzai government, creating a growing rift between the neighbors as they struggle to defeat insurgents, three senior Pakistani officials said.

The releases have made Pakistan reluctant to turn over some top Taliban captives, the officials said. The Afghanistan Embassy declined to comment on the allegation.

The Washington Examiner reviewed classified Pakistani military case summaries on roughly 1,100 captured or killed Taliban insurgents and suspected al Qaeda fighters.

The reports detailed the return to Afghanistan upon the request of the Karzai government of dozens of insurgents. However, upon their return, the classified documents noted that they were “released back to the Taliban as bargaining chips in negotiations.”

A typical report detailed the case of a suspected Taliban named Maulvi Saeed. He was “a member [of] Taliban Shura in Kunar, planner of suicide bombings,” the classified report said.

“Arrested on February 22, 2007, from Peshawar. Handed over to [National Directorate of Security] on 24, December, 2007. He was released by Afghan security officials without notifying Pakistan,” a note attached to Saeed’s report stated.

“They don’t keep us on board and continually release dangerous and sometime high-level Taliban that we have captured,” said a senior Pakistani official, who spoke on condition that he not be named.

“We handed them over to the Afghan government,” the official said. “Then the Afghan government releases them to negotiate their own release of those the Taliban has captured or some other possible position that suits them.”

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Wright said the United States is aware of the release of some detainees in Afghanistan but that U.S. and NATO partners “carefully monitor the situation.”

One U.S. official with knowledge of detainee releases said American forces in the region “won’t turn a blind eye after the detainees are let go.”

The U.S. official said some suspected insurgents captured by American troops have also been released by the Afghan government, but he wouldn’t second-guess the motives of the Afghans. “What can we do when there is no evidence or if the Afghan government makes the decision to release them once they’re turned over? Our hands are tied,” he said.

The military official said, “Normally there are people watching, and we have various means of trying to maintain tabs on the detainees who warrant further attention.”

“Many of those released by Karzai’s government immediately go back to fighting with the Taliban and al Qaeda,” one high-ranking Pakistani official said.

In early March, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent two days in Pakistan, where he made a formal request for Pakistan to hand over the Taliban’s No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to be tried in Afghanistan.

Karzai has also expressed his anger over the arrest of Baradar, saying the detention had complicated efforts to reach an accord with some Taliban factions.

A Pakistan counterterrorism official told the Washington Examiner that Pakistan would turn Baradar over to Afghanistan, after “we are done with the interrogation.” But he said that his country is “apprehensive that he will be set free.”


Raping Muslim Women–Brainwashing Female Outcasts Into Suicide-Bombers

Future “shahid” women in Caucasus are raped to be recruited – criminalist

Moscow, March 30, Interfax – Militants in the North Caucasus have recently changed the way of recruiting suicide bombers.

“As far as I know, now it is done more cynically – a woman is just raped. After it, she becomes a social outcast, she is despised. Then they suggest her the only way to return respect – to become a warrior of Allah,” criminal psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov was cited by the Metro paper as saying.

According to him, usually they do not refuse as “there are no other options.” Then “very serious ideological indoctrination and drugs” are applied and women “are zombied.”

“Those women who have chosen the “shahid” way can’t give it up. It is based on religious and national specifics of the region. They have absolutely different understanding of family, sex, duty and faith,” the expert said.

He also pointed out that no Slavic suicide bomber had been known so far.

“They became snipers, mine layers, anything else, but never put on a “shahid belt.” While for a Muslim woman under certain conditions it is the only possible way,” Vinogradov said.

India Ends Mumbai Terror Trial Without Access to Headley–Proof That It Is Show-Trial

[How could India end the Kasab trial without receiving testimony from self-confessed planner?  It seems that they have obtained the only evidence that they really sought–Headley confirmation that the Pakistani Army was involved.  We will see after May 3 what they really intend to do with the foregone conclusions from this kangaroo court.]

26/11: Kasab trial ends, verdict on May 3

NDTV Correspondent

A year after it began, the 26/11 trial concluded today with the prosecution and defence ending their arguments in the case. (Read: Key moments in 26/11 trial)

Judge M L Tahaliyani announced May 3 as the date for the final verdict in the case. The prosecution examined as many as 658 witnesses, include 30 eyewitnesses, to prove that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) carried out the Mumbai attacks.

Speaking after the verdict Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that 26/11 was state sponsored terrorism. He said: “Not just Lashkar, Pak Army too was behind 26/11 attacks.”

Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist caught alive, while he and nine others carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Mumbai 26/11, the most audacious terror attack India has ever seen, killed 166 people.

The arguments by prosecution and defence are expected to conclude following which Judge M L Tahaliyani may announce the date for the verdict. Two Indians are also charged with taking part in the conspiracy. (Read: Kasab’s flip-flops during trial)

The prosecution examined as many as 658 witnesses to prove their case that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) carried out the dastardly attacks in Mumbai by sending 10 terrorists from Karachi.

The court also examined four witnesses, including two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, who led the teams in operations to fight the terrorists.

Police filed charge sheet on February 26 last year and the case was committed from magistrate’s court to a sessions court on March 9, 2009. A separate court was established in high security central prison in Mumbai to hear the case.

On April 17, before the trial began, Kasab had pleaded that he was a juvenile, but the court rejected his claim after examining prosecution witnesses and experts and ruled that he was above 20 years.

On May 8, the first witness stepped into the box, saying he had seen Kasab gunning down sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale at Girgaum Chowpatty.

After examining 658 witnesses, including 30 eye witnesses, Nikam opened arguments this month, saying there was evidence to suggest that the security apparatus of Pakistan was involved in the attacks on India’s financial nerve center.

Some days later, American terror accused David Headley, in a plea bargain before a Chicago Court, disclosed that Pakistani Army men were behind the conspiracy to strike terror in Mumbai in November 2008.

Nikam argued for 13 days before the trial court and filed a 675-page written submissions. Kasab’s counsel K P Pawar argued for three days while R B Mokashi, lawyer defending Faheem Ansari, argued on Tuesday. Ejaz Naqvi, the lawyer of co-accused Sabauddin Ahmed, would argue on Wednesday.

Nikam has sought conviction of the accused on various charges under IPC, including waging war against nation, and other laws such as Foreigners Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act, Customs Act, Passport Act, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosives Substances Act and Bombay Police Act. (With PTI inputs)

Afghan Bomb Targets Farmers In NATO Anti-Opium Program

Afghan Bomb Targets Anti-Opium Aid


KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 13 Afghans were killed on Wednesday morning when a bomb exploded at a market in an attack aimed at a NATO-backed program to reduce opium cultivation in the restive southern province of Helmand, local authorities said.

Most of the victims were farmers and other Afghans lined up to receive fertilizer and seeds from the NATO-backed Food Zone program, which is designed to persuade farmers to switch from poppy cultivation, the most profitable crop in Helmand, to wheat and other crops.

Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Helmand provincial governor, said 45 people were wounded, including eight children and a policeman. The attack took place between the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah and Gereshk, a volatile city with a significant Taliban presence about 25 miles to the north.

Helmand is a focus of the Taliban insurgency against the American-led coalition inAfghanistan.

An irrigation ditch near the attack turned red from blood flowing into the water, said the district governor of Gereshk, Haji Abdul Ahad Khan.

The acting Helmand provincial police chief, Col. Kamaluddin Khan, said the bomb was hidden on a bicycle, but Mr. Ahad Khan blamed a suicide bomber on a motorcycle.

The blast struck a busy shopping area known as the Wednesday bazaar, which is open one day a week and serves villagers from the area surrounding Gereshk who come to sell livestock, food and other goods and to buy their own supplies.

Local officials said the attack was clearly aimed at Afghans waiting to obtain aid from the seed-and-fertilizer-distribution program, which helps Afghans in Helmand who forego opium farming. Helmand accounts for the majority of the world’s poppy cultivation despite years of efforts by NATO to curb the industry.

“The Taliban and narcotics smugglers were behind this attack,” said Mr. Ahmadi, the spokesman for the Helmand provincial governor, Gulab Mangal, who has been a supporter of the Food Zone program and other western-backed efforts to reduce poppy cultivation.

“This was an attempt at intimidating people and stopping the process of development and peace building in the province,” Mr. Ahmadi said.

A statement from the NATO military command in Kabul said the attack took place in the Nahr-e Saraj district. Early reports indicated that at least 35 civilians were wounded along with an unspecified number killed but the “the nature of the explosion is currently unknown,” NATO said.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. reported from Kabul, Afghanistan and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul.



By Chris Hughes 31/03/2010

Police release the image of the two women they suspect detonated the bombs on Moscow’s metro.

Faces of the Moscow tube bomb killers

These grisly images show the faces of the Black Widow suicide bombers who killed 39 commuters on packed morning rush-hour trains in Moscow.

The grainy photos of the dead pair were released by security chiefs hunting the fanatics behind the carnage as concerns grew the women could be part of a 30-strong death squad.

The bombers, who detonated explosives at two underground stations on Monday, are believed to have belonged to a group of Chechnya-linked Islamic terrorists feared to be plotting more outrages in revenge for the death of terror mastermind Said Buryatsky.

The Muslim convert, thought to be behind several bomb attacks in Russia, was one of six rebels killed in a strike by the Federal Security Service, the successor to be old KGB, on March 2. Agents are now hunting down his female relatives of the woman, thought to be from the North Caucasus region, to eliminate them as suspects. They believe another seven members of the squad have previously blown themselves up in attacks.

Yesterday Russia’s hardman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who directed a fierce war against Chechen separatists a decade ago, vowed security forces would “scrape from the sewers” those responsible for the attacks in the Russian capital. He spoke after visiting Botkinskaya hospital in the capital, where 72 people injured in the blasts are being treated. Five remain in a critical condition.

Police believe the unnamed Black Widows detonated belts of explosives as the train doors opened at Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations 45 minutes apart.

Following the attacks which shocked the entire nation, commuters yesterday nervously returned to the blast-scarred subway stations, stopping to light candles or lay flowers as the country began a day of mourning.

Many people openly wept as they lay tributes. “I feel the tension on the metro, nobody’s smiling or laughing,” said university student Alina Tsaritova, not far from the Lubyanka station.

Police with machine guns and sniffer dogs stood at its entrance.

Flags flew at half mast at the Kremlin and in other cities. TV shows were scrapped and services were held at churches.

Moscow Bomb Reports of “Black Widow” Suicide Bombers and Attacks Upon Caucasian Women

[A wave of  media-generated Islamaphobia is in its infancy now, in Russia and the former republics.  This is the emotional reaction that was sought by the Moscow bombers, whoever they really are.  It would seem logical to ask at this point, why “Islamists” would want to cause revenge attacks upon fellow Muslims, if you subscribed to the theory of “Islamo-fascism.”  But frequent visitors to this website know that “al Qaida” and all the Islamist terror groups are products of the Western intelligence agencies and their subordinates.  No one is happier about successful Islamist terror attacks and the cycles of retribution which they unleash than CIA-types.  Dir. Casey’s withered old corpse is probably cracking in its grave, as he smiles today over Moscow’s new misery.]

Russia: The Caucasians and Muslims were attacked after the terrorist acts in Moscow


Moskovskiy komsomolets reports that after the terrorist acts in the Moscow subway two women in Muslim shawls and few suspicious-looking Caucasians were attacked.

The first incident took place on Monday in the wagon between the Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations. According to the witness, two Muslim women entered the wagon at the Avtozavodskaya station. MK says one of the passengers was attacked shortly after the train took off.Echo Moskvy informs, one of the passengers pushed out another woman at Paveletskaya station. Other passengers showed no response. There were no police officers either.

In the second incident few young men attacked two Caucasians at the Kuntsevskaya station. Later on it was identified that the volunteers decided to check the bags of suspicious passengers.

It has to be mentioned that on March 29, 2010 38 passengers died and few dozens were injured as a result of two terrorist acts at the Lubyanka and the Park Kultury stations. The investigators said they found the remains of bodies of two suicide bombers.

The Republic of Tajikistan Embassy in Russian Federation informed that three citizens of Tajikistan (Umed Abdurakhmonov, Nadirbek Karshiev and Islomjon Eshnazarov) were killed in the explosions. Another Tajik citizen Ore Nazarov was severely injured.

The Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan and the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Russia informed that the citizens of these two Central Asian republics were not listed as the victims of the bloody accident. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan released no official information about their victims.

The terrorist acts in Moscow should not affect law-abiding migrants – Vladimir Vasiliev, the Chairman of Russian Gosduma Committee for security. He is affirmed that the explosions will not affect the migration policy of the country. The deputy underlined that Russia, as any other state, is interested in migrants because the economy needs them, also adding that Moscow is interested in legal migrants. RIA Novosti says Vasiliev warns against the nationalistic accent in the search of guilty.

Tajik, Uzbek Water Dispute Disrupts New Afghan War Rail Supply Route

DUSHANBE – Daily News with wires
A town in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan created to house laborers is seen near the planned site for the Roghun dam, an epic multi-billion-dollar venture touted by the government as the solution to the cash-strapped country's woes. AP Photo
A town in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan created to house laborers is seen near the planned site for the Roghun dam, an epic multi-billion-dollar venture touted by the government as the solution to the cash-strapped country's woes. AP Photo
A town in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan created to house laborers is seen near the planned site for the Roghun dam, an epic multi-billion-dollar venture touted by the government as the solution to the cash-strapped country’s woes. AP Photo

A fresh controversy over rail transportation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan indicates relations remain far from smooth amid recent talks between Central Asian leaders in their search for common will to resolve regional disputes over water and energy.

On March 22, Tajikistan’s foreign ministry handed the Uzbek ambassador a protest note, saying a large number of railway freight trucks were being prevented from crossing the border. Tajikistan said the aim was to prevent materials from reaching the Roghun dam – a massive project currently under construction, reported the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, or IWPR, on its Web site.

Dushanbe believes completing the Roghun hydropower scheme, which has been stalled since the ’90s but was resumed in recent years, will alleviate its chronic energy shortages. If implemented, the project would construct the world’s tallest dam.

Uzbekistan, however, has raised objections to the project, taking the position that major new dams like Roghun and the Kambarata-1 and -2 plants in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, could reduce water flows down the Amu Derya and Syr Derya rivers to a point where its agricultural economy would be deprived of irrigation.

In response to the protest note, the Uzbek foreign ministry said the reasons for the delays were technical, not political, and stemmed from undertakings by Tashkent to facilitate shipments to Afghanistan, which overloaded the rail network, according to a report by the Russian Itar-Tass news agency.

Latest sign

In a groundbreaking decision last year, Uzbekistan agreed to allow NATO to use its territory to bring in cargo for the continuing operations in Afghanistan via the so-called “northern corridor” because land routes from Pakistan were becoming increasingly hazardous.

The diplomatic row is only the latest manifestation of the fraught relationship between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but its timing is particularly unfortunate given that all five Central Asian states appear more willing than ever to talk about the vexed issues of water and energy.

The disagreement focuses on the use of transnational rivers by the countries where they originate, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the states located downstream that rely on the water flow, including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

“Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan need water for irrigation while the Tajiks and Kyrgyz view it as a source of electricity,” Kazakh journalist Daur Dosybiev told the IWPR. “The Tajiks and Kyrgyz store up water and release it downstream in winter to generate electricity.”

When Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Tashkent on March 16-17, he backed Uzbekistan’s demand for an impact assessment. “Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are located downstream on the Syr Derya and Amu Derya, and they need guarantees of this kind,” said Nazarbayev.

The Kazakh leader said, before visiting Uzbekistan, he had telephone conversations with the Kyrgyz and Tajik leaders, Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Imomali Rahmon, both of whom had agreed to such a study.

Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow also discussed water issues on a visit to Tajikistan. Commenting on the outcome of the talks on March 18, President Rahmon said, using the water sources in its territory, Tajikistan would consider not only its own legitimate needs but also “common regional interests.”

Sanobar Shermatova, a Central Asia expert in Moscow, said Nazarbayev’s comments did not mean he had shifted to unconditional support for the Uzbek position.

Kazakhstan less dependent

Kazakhstan is much less dependent on the major Central Asian rivers than Uzbekistan. Its southern regions get water from the Syr Derya, which will be affected by the Kambarata schemes in Kyrgyzstan, but the construction of a new reservoir, inaugurated on March 18, means it will not be so vulnerable to fluctuating water flows. In addition, the country has a lot of influence in Kyrgyzstan.

“In general, construction of the Kambarata hydroelectric plants does not alarm Kazakhstan,” said Shermatova. “Given that small and impoverished Kyrgyzstan is reliant on its bigger neighbor, the two countries can be expected to reach some kind of agreement,” the IWPR quoted Shermatova as saying.

Arkady Dubnov, a journalist in Moscow who specializes in Central Asian affairs, agrees that the Kazakh leader’s public support for the Uzbek position should not be taken at face value. He doubts Nazarbayev would really press for an international study if that would jeopardize Kyrgyzstan’s energy plans. “Kazakhstan is not going to take a tough stand on this issue,” he said. “Astana will not go against Bishkek.”

Similarly, Turkmenistan is unlikely to align itself firmly with either side in the dispute. Last year, Berdimuhamedow backed Uzbekistan’s demand for an international study, and this will color Turkmenistan’s relationship with Tajikistan even as the latter seeks to buy gas and electricity supplies from it.

For the moment, the real differences are between Uzbekistan on the one hand and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the other.

Recent statements by Central Asian presidents suggest they are beginning to feel their way toward a solution that would suit everyone. However, unfriendly relations between Uzbekistan and its Tajik and Kyrgyz neighbors – spurred by Tashkent’s concern that its legitimate interests are being ignored – could delay a settlement.

Timeline: Recent attacks in Russia

Timeline: Recent attacks in Russia

The following is a timeline of big attacks on Russian soil over recent years:

1994-1996 – Tens of thousands of people are killed in the first Chechen war.

June 1995 – Chechen rebels seize hundreds of hostages in a hospital in the southern Russian town of Budennovsk. More than 100 people are killed during the rebel assault and a botched Russian commando raid.

Jan 1996 – Chechen fighters take hundreds hostage in a hospital at Kizlyar in Dagestan, then move them by bus to Pervomaiskoye on the Chechen border. Most rebels escape but many hostages are killed when Russian forces attempt a rescue.

Sept 1999 – Bombs destroy apartment blocks in Moscow, Buynaksk and Volgodonsk. More than 200 people are killed. Moscow blames Chechens who in turn blame Russian secret services.

Aug-Sept 1999 – Hundreds of Russian soldiers killed battling Chechen militants in the mountains of Dagestan. The second Chechen war begins and Russia bombs Chechnya. Tens of thousands are killed in the war. Russia re-establishes direct rule in 2000.

May 9, 2002 – More than 40 people are killed when a bomb tears through a military parade in the city of Kaspiysk in Dagestan. Local insurgents are blamed for the attack.

Oct 23-26, 2002 – 129 hostages and 41 Chechen guerrillas are killed when Russian troops storm a Moscow theater where rebels had taken 700 people captive three days earlier. Most of the hostages are killed by gas used to knock out the Chechens.

Dec 27, 2002 – More than 70 people are killed and hundreds injured when suicide bombers drive trucks packed with explosives into the pro-Russian Chechen government’s headquarters in Grozny. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility.

July 5, 2003 – Two women suicide bombers kill 15 other people when they blow themselves up at an open-air rock festival at Moscow’s Tushino airfield. Sixty are injured.

Aug 1, 2003 – A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives blows up a military hospital at Mozdok in North Ossetia bordering Chechnya. The blast kills at least 50.

Dec 5, 2003 – An explosion tears through a morning commuter train just outside Yessentuki station in Russia’s southern fringe. Forty-six people are killed and 160 injured.

Dec 9, 2003 – A suicide bomber kills five other people near the Kremlin. At least 13 people are wounded.

Feb 6, 2004 – A suicide bombing kills at least 39 people and wounds more than 100 on an underground train in Moscow.

May 9, 2004 – Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov is killed in a bomb blast in Grozny.

June 22, 2004 – Rebels seize an interior ministry building in Ingushetia, near Chechnya, and attack other points in lightning attacks. At least 92 people are killed including the acting regional interior minister, Abukar Kostoyev.

Aug 24, 2004 – Two Russian passenger planes are blown up almost simultaneously, killing 90 people. One Tu-134, flying to Volgograd, goes down south of Moscow. Moments later a Tu-154 bound for Sochi crashes near Rostov-on-Don.

Aug 31, 2004 – A suicide bomb attack in central Moscow kills 10 people and injures 51.

Sept 1-3, 2004 – 331 hostages – half of them children – die in a chaotic storming of School No.1 in Beslan, after it is seized by rebels demanding Chechen independence.

Oct 13, 2005 – Up to 100 rebels attack key security points in Nalchik, main city of the Muslim Kabardino-Balkaria region. Twelve local residents are killed as well as 12 police. Twenty fighters are killed and 12 are seized by security forces.

Feb 10, 2006 – Seven Russian policemen and 12 gunmen are killed when special forces storm houses to fight rebels holed up in a village in the Stavropol region of southern Russia.

Aug 21, 2006 – A bomb kills 10 people in a Moscow suburban market.

April 27, 2007 – A Russian helicopter is shot down in Chechnya, killing 18 people.

Aug 13, 2007 – A bomb derails the Nevsky Express between Moscow and St Petersburg, injuring 60 people.

Aug 31, 2007 – A bomb on a bus in the Southern Russian city of Togliatti kills eight and injures 50 during the rush hour.

June 22, 2009 – Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is seriously injured when a suicide bomber detonates explosives beside his car. He later recovers and returns to work.

Aug 17, 2009 – A suicide bomber drives a truck into the gates of the main police station in Nazran, the largest city in Ingushetia, killing 20 people and wounding 138 others.

Nov 27, 2009 – A bomb blast derails the Nevsky Express with about 700 people on board. At least 26 people are killed and 100 injured.

Jan 6, 2010 – At least seven policemen are killed and 20 more injured in Dagestan when a suicide bomber detonates a car packed with explosives at a traffic police depot.

March 29, 2010 – At least two blasts strike Moscow metro stations during rush hour, killing 34 people and wounding 18.

March 31, 2010 – Two blasts, including one by a suicide bomber, rock Kizlyar in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan, killing nine people including a top police official, a regional police spokesman tells Reuters.

Bombs kill 11 in Dagestan after Moscow metro attack

Bombs kill 11 in Dagestan after Moscow metro attack


(Reuters) – Two blasts, one set off by a suicide bomber, rocked Kizlyar in Russia’s Dagestan region on Wednesday, killing at least 11 people just two days after twin bombs hit Moscow, officials told Reuters.

Investigators said a suicide bomber dressed in a police uniform set off the second of the blasts in Dagestan, which followed the two bombings in Moscow that killed 39 people and which authorities blamed on female suicide attackers with links to insurgents in the turbulent North Caucasus.

In Kizlyar, a police official said a car parked near a school in the center of town blew up as a traffic police patrol was driving by, killing two police officers.

He said the second bomb was set off shortly after police and onlookers gathered at the scene.

The provincial police spokesman said Kizlyar police chief Vitaly Vedernikov was among the dead. At least six other police officers, an investigator and a civilian were killed, Russian news agencies cited police as saying.

Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim province adjacent to war-scarred Chechnya along Russia’s southern border, is plagued by frequent attacks targeting police and government officials.


Drawing police to the scene of an initial blast and then setting off another bomb is a common tactic used by militants in the North Caucasus.

Attacks linked to the insurgency that persists nearly a decade after the second post-Soviet separatist war in Chechnya had been limited mostly to the North Caucasus in recent years before the Monday bombings on Moscow’s metro.

Agency reports said there were no children in the school in Kizlyar at the time of the explosions.

The deadliest attack in the Russian capital in six years fueled fears of a broader offensive by rebels based in the North Caucasus and underscored the Kremlin’s failure to keep militants in check.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who led Moscow into a war against Chechen separatists in 1999 that sealed his rise to power, said on Tuesday that those behind the bombings must be scraped “from the bottom of the sewers” and exposed.

Moscow observed a day of mourning on Tuesday for the victims of the blasts, which authorities said were set off by female suicide bombers linked to the North Caucasus — a string of heavily Muslim provinces that includes Chechnya.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Peter Millership)

Moscow Links AfPak Militants to Train Blasts

[Is Russia implicating Taliban to create opening for American Special Forces, or for its own retribution plans?]

Special Report: Twin blasts rock Moscow subway

Backgrounder: Major metro blasts in Russia since 1998

A fire-fighter and Interior Ministry officers work near the entrance of the Lubyanka metro station in Moscow March 29, 2010. An explosion ripped through Lubyanka station in central Moscow at rush hour on Monday, killing at least 20 people and wounding 11 more, the Emergencies Ministry said. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

MOSCOW, March 29 (Xinhua) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the two female suicide bombers in the twin subway explosions may have links to militants on the Afghan-Pakistani border, Interfax news agency said.

Asked if any foreign elements were involved in the terrorist attacks, which killed at least 38 people and injured 64 Monday morning, Lavrov said he did not exclude that.

“We all know that the Afghan-Pakistani border, in the so-called no-man’s land, the terrorist underground is very well entrenched,” he said.

“We know that many people there actively plot attacks, not just in Afghanistan, but also in other countries. Sometimes the trails lead to the Caucasus,” he added.

Meanwhile, Russia’s FSB state security service said the two suicide bombers may have links to the North Caucasus, the center of an insurgency movement against Moscow.

Shoot-at-sight orders issued in Hyderabad as riots spread

Shoot-at-sight orders issued in Hyderabad as riots spread

Hyderabad: Communal riots spread to new areas in Hyderabad on Tuesday even as shoot-at-sight orders were issued in the old city and curfew was imposed in the areas under eight more police stations.

While curfew continued the old city without any relaxation, it was imposed in new areas following fresh clashes.

Hyderabad police Commissioner A.K. Khan said on Tuesday evening that indefinite curfew would be in force in Afzalgunz, Begumbazar, Shahinathgunz, Tappachaputra, Asifnagar, Mangalhat, Kulsumpura and Habibnagar police stations.

Fresh violence in Hyderabad; 8 hurt

He also imposed prohibitory orders banning processions and rallies across this Andhra Pradesh capital after clashes in new areas.

The indefinite curfew in the riot-hit old city of Hyderabad continued on Tuesday without relaxation. All 17 police stations under the south zone were brought under curfew on Monday night to control the situation.

The communal violence, which was so far confined to the old city, spread to other areas in the city, triggering tension.

Groups belonging to two different communities clashed in Musheerabad, Bholakpur and Rani Gunj and other areas in central Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad.

Andhra Pradesh police chief Girish Kumar told reporters that police were ordered to shoot anyone carrying lethal weapons, stones or sticks in the curfew-bound old city. The order came after fresh incidents of violence that left over 30 people injured.

While the curfew-bound old city remained by and large peaceful, trouble broke out in Musheerabad area when some people allegedly pelted stones on a religious procession. Rival groups clashes with stones and sticks. The miscreants attacked houses and damaged over 20 vehicles.

Curfew continues in tense Hyderabad

The trouble spread to nearby Bholakpur and Rani Gunj areas. In Begum Bazar area near the old city, police opened fire in the air to disperse two clashing groups.

There was tension in several areas as various organisations took out processions to mark Hanuman Jayanti. As the tension was mounting, police ordered closure of shops and business establishments in almost all parts of the city as a precautionary measure. Almost the entire city wore a deserted look.

Sporadic incidents of stone pelting were reported from curfew-bound areas of Gulzar Houz and Shahali Banda near the historic Charminar but the police controlled the situation by resorting to baton charges and arresting the miscreants.

The violence, which broke out Saturday in Moosabowli area of Hussaini Alam over a dispute on putting up of religious flags, has so far left one person dead and over 80 injured while several places of worship were attacked and vehicles torched.

With rampaging mobs taking to streets in several areas Monday afternoon, police imposed curfew to bring the situation under control. Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary forces personnel were deployed across the communally-sensitive walled city.

The violence of last three days and the curfew has put the residents to severe inconvenience.

Police, with the help of some dairy farms, arranged supply of milk in curfew-bound areas Tuesday morning. Women were allowed to come out and buy milk from the suppliers.

Policemen from other parts of the state, neighbouring states and personnel of central forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed in the trouble-torn areas.

Police Commissioner Khan said any decision on relaxing the curfew would be taken after a review of the situation Wednesday.

He said police had formed special teams to identify the culprits behind the riots. ‘We have so far arrested 110 people in connection with various incidents and questioning them to identify the culprits,’ Khan said.

Authorities have postponed the Class 10 examinations in all curfew-bound areas. The education department announced that the examinations would be held for students in the old city at a later date.

Hindu-Muslim clashes injure scores in India

Hindu-Muslim clashes injure scores in India

* Over 75 injured, 86 arrested after riots
* Skirmishes broke out as Hindus tried to replace green Muslim flags with saffron ones

HYDERABAD: Authorities fired tear gas and warning shots and swung batons on Monday to disperse crowds of angry Hindus and Muslims who attacked each other with stones and clubs in southern India, where more than 75 people have been injured.

Communal rioting broke out on Saturday in Hyderabad, capital of southern Andhra Pradesh state, and about 1,600 paramilitary soldiers and police have been deployed to calm the situation, AK Khan, city police commissioner, told reporters.

Hyderabad has a population of eight million with nearly 40 percent Muslims. The last major Hindu-Muslim rioting in Hyderabad took place in 1990, killing 200 people. The city had been mostly peaceful since then.

Trouble started after Muslims hoisted green flags to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) a month ago but never removed them.

Replacement: Clashes erupted between the two communities on Saturday after Hindus attempted to replace the green flags with saffron ones to celebrate a Hindu festival.

Violence continued on Sunday with dozens of vehicles torched and half a dozen mosques and temples damaged, Khan said. More than 75 people have been injured since Saturday, he said.

Hostilities persisted on Monday despite police banning the assembly of more than five people in one place and closing markets and schools for the day, he said.

Police fired warning shots into the air to control crowds and imposed an indefinite curfew in parts of India’s key information technology hub – a base for Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Eighty-six people from both communities have been arrested.

In the Gujarat state, Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods, towns and villages between February-April 2002, leaving about 1,000 people dead. ap

Interview With Russia’s Nemesis, Leader of Caucasus “Islamists”

“Our possibilities are endless…” (interview with Dokka Umarov)

"Our possibilities are endless..." (interview with Dokka Umarov)

In the following interview, Dokka Umarov, Emir of the Caucasus Mujahedin, spoke to Prague Watchdog by telephone.

The editors

Prague Watchdog: Some time ago there were reports that you had been wounded, and some even had you dead and buried. Were you wounded?

Dokka Umarov: No, I wasn’t. The last time was in 1995, when I received a leg wound.

PW: At the end of April the Kavkaz-Center website published a video in which you announced the decision to revive the Riyadus Salikhiyn brigade that was created by Shamil Basayev. In the video you said it had already carried out several successful attacks. That brigade also claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. Should we now expect a repetition of events like Beslan and Nord-Ost?

D. U.: If that is the will of Allah. Shamil did not have the opportunities I have right now. We are experiencing such an influx of manpower that, if Allah allows me, there will be a result. I think I will even be conducting a slightly larger number of operations.

PW: What sort of operations? When you became Ichkerian President in 2006, in your first public statement you said that only military objectives would be permitted, and that civilian targets and the civilian population would no longer be attacked. In your recent video you say things that appear to directly contradict that. Does this mean there will now be deliberate attacks on civilians?

D. U.: As far as possible we will try to avoid civilian targets, but for me there are no civilians in Russia. Why? Because a genocide of our people is being carried out with their tacit consent. Their taxes help to maintain the law enforcement bodies, they provide them with money and give their blessing to the killing and atrocities. So why should we regard these people as a “civilian population”? They send their soldiers here, give them their blessing to kill our parents, brothers and sisters, even the person who gives a mujahed some crumbs of bread out of pity. Why should we treat them as civilians? But I repeat: as far as possible we will try to avoid casualties among civilians.

PW: The Kadyrov authorities are now conducting special operations in Chechnya and Ingushetia. They claim that that they’ve been able to kill a lot of your men, and that this month they’re going to finally crush the insurgency. Is it true that your situation is critical?

D.U.: We have no problems. It is true that we don’t have enough time, resources or money, but otherwise we are fine: we have enough men, and we’re able to move around and wage war. Alhamdulillah, during the three years that I’ve been leading the mujahedin our resources have increased by 50-60 percent. Things are actually better for us now, because we don’t need to go looking for the enemy, the enemy are here, right next to us. Of course we feel sorry for the guys, they’ve been deceived by worldly promises and abandoned in the forests. But they have sold Allah (Exalted is He) and their honour. It’s very hard to take their lives, because they’re Chechens and Vainakhs, just like us.

PW: How do you move around?

D. U.: We do all of our moving around, our communicating, our planning without interference.  Right now I’ve just come from the Dagestan border. While I was there I saw all the commanders, set them their tasks, told them what to do and where. I can’t see that there’s anything standing in our way – I travelled 120 kilometres along the border, and I didn’t have any problems.

PW: On foot?

D.U.: Yes, on foot.

PW: What are the goals of your struggle today?

D. U.: Alhamdulillah, the Chechen state was built by Dzhokhar Dudayev, he gave the Vainakhs their freedom. Then Zelimkhan [Yandarbiyev] took over, and then Maskhadov completed that stage. Our slogans today are the same. Only now what we’re fighting for is a free Islamic Caucasus, freedom for the Muslims of the Caucasus, the right to live according to Sharia, the laws of Allah (Exalted is He), so that people won’t have to obey the rules that are written by Putin and Surkov. These are our slogans, inshallah!

PW: How will the future Caucasus Muslim State be organized?

D. U.: Wherever there are people, there are laws. The law is a dictatorship. Those who must bear arms will bear them, those who must lay them down will lay them down. Some will occupy themselves with creation, while those who are to be punished will be punished. This is called Dar-us-salam. There’s no need to reduce the Islamic way of life to that of the cave. In the Islamic state there will be both civil structures and law-enforcement structures. Everyone will be free to develop the talents they have been granted by God. All this it set out for Muslims in the Koran. Even Christians borrow all the healthy aspects of their lives from the Koran. The basis of our ideas about life is Islam, and we are not building a society of chaos. After all, in the end everyone on the planet is destined to live according to the Islamic view of the world.

PW: Your life must be quite hard? Living in the forests entails hunger, cold, all kinds of hardships.

D.U.: Yes, it is indeed hard. Not many of the Muslims would be able to live in the forests and rough it like this unless they had God in their souls, unless they lived their lives in the name of God, but, inshallah, since they do live their lives that way it is easy for them to overcome difficulties, and success comes of its own accord. The young men who come to us in the forests are moved by a sincere desire to travel the path of Allah (Exalted is He), by a desire to have a proper fear of Him. There is no lack of young men, all they need is sufficient resources of food and weapons. Alhamdulillah, the more the government tries to divert them from this path, the more stubbornly do they devote themselves to God. Because these men exist, our possibilities are endless.

PW: Does Chechnya’s Moscow-backed leadership try to contact you, offer you negotiations?

D. U.: We know that they used the pretext of negotiations to bring about the downfall of the two emirs who were my predecessors –- Aslan Maskhadov and Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev. Therefore, aware of how treacherous they are, I am cautious. They will have their “negotiations” when our forces are stronger! These forces are on their way, and this will soon be known. But the paths that are being offered to us right now are the insidious paths of deceit. Therefore we won’t accept them.

PW: And what is your attitude towards the position and activities of Akhmed Zakayev?

D. U.: He and I are related. I don’t intend to break my kinship with him. But when it comes to issues of work, we each have our own position. I don’t really know what he calls the role he is playing today. But I know that he won’t understand me, because he spends his time on a soft and comfortable sofa, and I spend mine in the forests. A mujahed never knows where his next meal is coming from. So there are bound to be disagreements between us.

PW: Ramzan Kadyrov accuses you of acting against the interests of the Chechen people.

D.U.: I would like to appeal to the Vainakhs. A lot of our people have been deceived, tempted by worldly goods. God did not give man a lifespan of a thousand years – man is doomed to die within a certain term. Yevkurov is a current example: he imagined that he was a great man, but where is he now? We are all of us destined to appear before the judgement of Allah (Exalted is He), and we must be prepared for it. Everything begins with God and ends with Him. So one should not live grovelling before power and hiding one’s face from one’s children and wives, one cannot live in fear. The Vainakhs have always been steadfast and courageous. And they should fear only Allah (Exalted is He), not the kafirs. But those who have become the slaves of the kafirs and don’t even own their own trousers, they live in disgrace. They only have Putin to hold up their trousers.

PW: The mujahedin say they are willing to turn themselves into human bombs and blow themselves up in order to inflict damage on the enemy. Surely this can be interpreted as the sin of suicide?

D.U.: It all depends on how one sees the world. The mujahedin who take this route are free to engage in such a mission. I am their commander and I order them to do something or not to do it. No one will take this route without my order. It is our enemies who have led our mujahedin to take it. The mujahedin depart this life not because they feel constricted here, and not because they are tormented by hunger – they are simply hurrying to accept the Paradise that has been promised them by Allah (Exalted is He).

Photo: Kavkazcenter.com.

U.S. Supports Islamic Terror Against Russia

We don’t yet know the whole story behind the two female suicide bombers who killed 38 people in Moscow and injured scores of others. Although their affiliation is unclear, the working assumption is that the bombers were tied to the Chechen rebel movement in the North Caucasus.

There is, however, something which we do know for sure, and which we paid no attention to despite its clear connection to the kind of terror Moscow witnessed yesterday morning.

There was a little-noted meeting that took place in December 2009, in Tbilisi, the capital of U.S. ally Georgia. That month Georgia hosted a conference of jihadists to plan “operations” against Russia. There was no news coverage of the event, and so it took a paid advertisement in the Washington Times to make it known. Stubbornly, still no news organization or blog picked up on it. And so here we are.

Below are the relevant parts of the paid-for article from last month, titled “The Georgian Imbroglio — And a Choice for the United States.” (Original emphasis preserved.) It was penned by James George Jatras, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer as well as foreign policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.

The Washington Times

The New American Suburbia

“And homeless near a thousand homes I stood, And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food.” Wordsworth

More likely, the tent slum population is a mix of new and old homelessness — perhaps with a few migrant workers in the mix.

The face of homelessness has changed dramatically in the past year, thanks to the policies of the last ten years.
Btw, I take offense at the term “slums.”  It has an ugly connotation and in many “tent cities” I’ve been in, slums don’t come to mind at all, especially when compared with some of the places I’ve seen in impoverished countries…..

Tent Slums Spring Up in America

Concentrations of homeless people are nothing new in America, but recent BBC and Los Angeles Times reports depict a rising trend of shanty slums, such as a “city” of newly homeless people living in tents near the Ontario airport in Los Angeles.

If you recall your Steinbeck, the residents of the 20c Hoovervilles were largely tenant farmers thrown off their farms by the owners, who in turn tried mechanized farming to bring down costs and break even. These displaced farmers migrated West where they became agricultural day laborers and settled into shanty camps.

The California tent slum depicted in the BBC report is quite different, because they are not migrant workers, so much as locals who have lost their homes. It is hard to tell if the newly dispossessed are all the victims of the subprime market. More likely, the tent slum population is a mix of new and old homelessness — perhaps with a few migrant workers in the mix.

I do not know if there is a technical point at which a tent city becomes a slum — a boundary of some sort that gets crossed in terms of population density or length of time in existence or total acreage. But theLos Angeles Times reports that the police are handing out wrist bands to make sure that only locals take up residence in the tent camp by the airport. Non locals have to get out. Passing out armbands to make sure only locals get into the camp has to be crossing a boundary of some kind. And it is not a good one to cross.

Whatever the actual demographics, the images and the stories are heartbreaking. If ever there was a reason to let go of market orthodoxy, and to re-embrace the American spirit of making things better by the most pragmatic means possible — this is it. Make it work better, period. No ideology; no grand theories about freedom from government; just come together to help people before we lose a generation to this mounting economic tragedy.
Crossposted from Frameshop)

Beijing’s $2.5 to extend Iran Pakistan pipeline to China

Beijing’s $2.5 to extend Iran Pakistan pipeline to China

Posted on March 28, 2010 by The Editor
5 Votes

ISLAMABAD (Online) – China has expressed keen interest in investing $2.5 billion in Pak-Iran gas pipeline project while Islamabad has also started talks with Beijing to purchase technical equipments to be used for laying down the pipeline.

According to sources within the Petroleum Ministry, China is interested to see the project is extended to its territory and a delegation would visit Pakistan in the second week of next month to discuss these matters. After inclusion of China, Pakistan would get an amount of $200 to $500 million annually as transit fee.

The sources maintained the talks were underway as Pakistan had raised no objection over inclusion of China in the gas pipeline project.

Rupee News has always supported the Iran-Pakistan-China pipeline over the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki seems to suggest that this is in the works. This development is a win-win situation for Pakistan, Iran and China.

Linking Iran, Pakistan and China via pipeline is natural process of hooking up the ECO allies with China. Expanding trade with China is a natural consequences of the deep military and economic relations between the two countries.

Exporting Iranian gas to China will aid energy starved China and help Pakistan get access to Iranian energy resources.

Pakistan should set up LNG plants in Lahore and Karachi and sell gas in cylinders in the open market as a commodity. If Delhi wants to buy the gas cylinders, it is up to Delhi. If it doesn’t, plenty of other countries will.

Iran-Pakistan pipeline: The impact

Pipelines: TAP or IP–Pakistan wins

Iran Pakistan Pipeline
Iran Pakistan Pipeline
The politics of IPC, IPI, TAPI, TAPIC

China should  replace India in the proposed IPI gas pipeline project as New Delhi has been dithering over the deal, a media report has said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claimed that Tehran was ready to start anytime the IPI “peace pipeline” project, originally conceived to include Iran, Pakistan and India.

China will replace India in the proposed project soon as India has been dithering over the deal, Mottaki is reported to have said. All the details between Pakistan and Iran in this regard have already been finalised, according to a report in Tehran Times newspaper.

India still needed some time but “we can even start the project without India,” Mottaki was quoted as saying by the daily.

The IPI project was conceived in 1995 and after almost 13 years India finally decided to quit the project in 2008. India walked out of the 2,775 km pipeline project due mainly to the hefty transit fee demanded by Islamabad.
Mootaki blamed the US for trying to sabotage the gas pipeline project and said, “Growing relations between US and India should not affect the relations of India with other countries of the region.”

He was confident that Pakistan would not hesitate to start the gas pipeline project despite the US pressure.

“We must not allow any third country to interfere in the bilateral relations of Iran and Pakistan,” Mottaki underlined.

The proposed 2,775 km long project is dubbed the ‘Peace Pipeline’, connecting Iran, Pakistan and India. China may replace India in IPI project: report Dubai, Feb 7 (PTI):

China rail integrates Afghanistan, Tajikistan, & Pakistan

Tehran snubs Delhi: Indian FM, PM trips canceled

Tehran snubs Delhi: Indian FM, PM trips canceled

Moin Ansari
Indo-Iranian relations have hit a new nadir with visits by the FM, and even the PM being canceled due to the snub from the Iranians. The relations have plummeted since Delhi stabbed Iran at the IAEA (India votes against Iran at IAEA) and then launched an Iran specific satellite for Israel.

The geopolitical situation in the Greater Middle has changed. All the countries of the region are tired of Bharati (aka Indian) machinations and like all her neighbors are weary of Bharati hegemony.

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have already made decision on the dispensation in Kabul. That agreement was signed between the three countries in Teheran. That agreement was then taken to all the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan and it was endorsed in Istanbul (sans India). Those two agreements were instrumental in getting 62 countries to consecrate the Pakistani point of view of talking to the Taliban and putting in place a broad based Pakhtun government in Kabul which would not be inimical to Islamabad.

Delhi is trying to scratch a hole into that wall of resistance–and not getting a toe hold. Bharati politicians have gone far and wide to try to get somewhere to get a sympathetic ear. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh even went to the Saudis and came back empty handed. They invited President Gul of Turkey, but he frankly told them that they Turkey could not displease the Pakistanis. A discussion was attempted with Iran, but the current news emanating from Delhi seem to indicate that the Iranians are in no mood to talk to the Bharatis.

NEW DELHI: India’s attempts to step up engagement with Iran on crucial regional issues, including Afghanistan, appear to have suffered a setback, with foreign minister S M Krishna calling off his visit to Tehran at the last moment amid signs of indifference on the part of the hosts.

Krishna decided not to go after the Iranians abruptly changed dates twice. It is not known if the visit will take place in the near future.

Sources revealed that Krishna reacted to Iran’s wriggling out of the dates it had intimated to India for the second time by saying prior commitments prevented him from making the visit.

India refrained from taking issue with Iran, but sources said that Tehran’s fickleness over the dates could result from a possible reluctance on Iran’s part after India took a stand favouring International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions against it for pressing ahead with its nuclear programme.

Bharat is facing failure on multiple fronts. It expulsion from Afghanistan can be gauged by the opinion columns of the pundits in Delhi and by the discussion about the withdrawal dates. It discussions with Kabul are on hold after Delhi’s blunder in supporting Mr. Karzai’s rival Mr. Abdullah. Delhi’s relationship with Washington is once again held hostage to parity with Islamabad. The Bharati relationship with Lanka was destroyed after it was caught supporting the rival presidential candidate and its proxy the LTTE was decimated on the Buddhist island paradise. All these are now being bundled as “malaise” by experienced Bharati diplomats like Ambassador Bhadrakumar.

The fiasco with Tehran is not an isolated item, it is emblematic of the bad policies of the past decades when Bharat parked the Tricolor on the wrong side of history. Bharat supported the USSRs invasion and did not work for the liberation of Afghanistan. In fact it opposed it. Bharat worked with the Soviet puppets like Mr. Najibullha who was found hanging for a lamp-post right after the last tank of the USSR left. Many predicts that the same end awaits Bharat’s partners in Kabul–the minority Northern Alliance.

Manmohan’s Iran visit also on hold

External affairs minister S M Krishna, an official revealed, had last month agreed to visit Tehran after receiving an invitation from his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. In the invitation, Mottaki said he wanted Krishna to take part in Navroze celebrations. March 28 and 29 were the dates communicated for the visit.

Tehran later asked that the dates be changed to March 30 and 31. Krishna accepted and agreed to travel on the revised dates suggested by Tehran, only to find the Iranians seeking to change the dates for again, this time to March 27 and 28.

This time the foreign ministry conveyed Krishna’s inability to make it on the new dates. Sources said that by the time this second change was communicated to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) by the Iranian embassy in Delhi, Krishna’s visit to Singapore had already been announced. Iranian embassy officials told the MEA that they wanted the dates changed again because of Navroze celebrations on March 27 and 28.

The message from Tehran is clear. It canceled a $6 billion LNG contract right after Delhi stabbed Tehran at the IAEA. Iran has steadfastly refused to honor Bharat’s request to resurrect the LNG deal. The main impediment to Iran-Delhi relations is Bharats deep and profound partnership with Israel. Bharat cannot break the alliance with Israel–therefore it cannot stop the withering away of its friends in Tehran, Kabul and the Arab and Muslim world. This is a fundamental structural problem for Delhi’s diplomats. Their enigma is to build a relationship with Israel and its enemies. A tough chore. Tehran has sworn to wipe of Israel from the face of the earth. Israel wants to bomb Iran. Delhi’s relationship with Tel Aviv is seen with suspicion in Tehran and Riyadh.

The Pakistani factor also complicates matters for Delhi. In the 80s there was competition between Iran and Pakistan. Both the Iranians and Pakistanis seem to have learned from their experience. The tripartite agreement, consensus in Istanbul and London display optics that seem to signify congruence between the Pakistani and Iranian point of views on Afghanistan and other matters.

But many are inclined to view Tehran’s change of dates against the background of strained ties resulting from India’s votes in favour the IAEA’s censure of Iran for its nuclear programme. When India again voted in favour of the IAEA resolution last year, Mottaki had made his displeasure known to Krishna.

PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tehran has also not materialised, even though the two sides have had it on the agenda for more than a year. India has been hoping to forge a strong alliance with Iran over the Taliban issue, as Tehran has maintained it does not believe there is any “good” Taliban, and that Taliban groups should not be allowed any role in the Kabul government in the event of a reconciliation.

However, the one important difference between the positions of the two countries is that, unlike India, Iran wants NATO troops to withdraw immediately from Afghanistan. Snubbed S M Krishna drops Iran visit, Sachin Parashar, TNN, Mar 30, 2010, 03.52am IST

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the same page on Afghanistan as evidenced in the tripartite agreement in Tehran, regional conference in Istanbul (which did not invite India) and the international conference in London (where India was given a 2nd row seat and ignored). China is now investing $2.2 to extend the Iran-Pakistan pipeline to China. Turkey is investing a multi-billion Dollar railway line from Islamabad to Istanbul via Tehran. A rial and road line is also being built to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan linking Pakistan to the birthplace of Babur.

Brit Government Bought Passenger Planes for War Zone

[The British government has forgotten how to wage war.]

Warplanes unfit for war: £12bn aircraft are five years late and unsafe for Afghanistan


Defence ministers are condemned today for spending up to £12.3billion on a fleet of aircraft that are unable to fly in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence has bought 14 aircraft designed to transport troops and equipment and carry out air-to-air refuelling. But the Airbus A330-200 planes cannot be flown in warzones because they lack proper protection, a National Audit Office report has revealed.

Fitting them with armour, antimissile systems and early warning kit to allow them to operate in ‘high threat environments’ would cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds more, the spending watchdog said.

EADS Airbus A330 of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft DivisionReady for war: Mid-air refuelling is one of the tasks expected of the MoD aircraft

The programme for the tankers and transport aircraft is already running five-and-a-half years behind schedule. Opposition MPs said it highlighted the ‘utter incompetence’ of Labour’s defence procurement programme.

The delay means the RAF is forced to rely on ‘ageing and increasingly unreliable’ VC10 and Tristar aircraft, which date back to the Cold War. Extra maintenance work to keep the old planes in the air will cost another £500million before the new planes are delivered before 2016.

The MoD has also forked out £23.5million replacing flight management systems and cockpit displays on the Tristars so they can continue flying.

Ministers have also spent £175million in only three years chartering private passenger planes to transport service personnel and equipment.

The NAO condemned the 27-year private finance initiative deal struck between the MoD and defence consortium AirTanker as being severely undermined by ‘shortcomings’.

The report, published today, attacked the MoD for failing to carry out a ‘sound evaluation of alternative procurement routes’ and not demanding to see a breakdown of the costs of subcontractors. This raised the prospect that it had paid
over the odds for the aircraft.

Ministers announced plans to buy the fleet of aircraft in December 1998 and intended to sign the contract in 2003. But the deal with the Air-Tanker consortium, which includes Airbus-owner and defence giant EADS, was not concluded until
March 2008.

Astonishingly, the NAO report said that initially it was ‘not envisaged’ that the joint tanker and transport planes would be required to fly directly into conflict zones. This is apparently why no funding was provided for protective equipment.

EADS Airbus A330 of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft DivisionEADS Airbus A330 of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Division

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: ‘Shortcomings in the early stages of the project put the MoD in a position where the operational pressures of an aging fleet and the need to maintain the vital air bridge restricted its ability to deliver a solution which achieved value for money.’

RAF sources said the programme was ‘on track and on budget’.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘We are content the UK has secured a good deal for the taxpayer and the RAF.’

The report is the latest to highlight MoD blunders when procuring military hardware.

Fifteen major projects – including building aircraft carriers and fast jets – are already £4.5billion over budget and a total of nearly eight years late.

Meanwhile, Britain has had to cut the number of Airbus A400M military transport planes it has ordered. Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said the UK would buy 22 aircraft rather than 25.

The MoD had been under pressure to rethink plans to spend billions buying the planes – nicknamed the ‘Grizzly’ because of its hulking design – to carry servicemen, vehicles and kit.

But the programme has been dogged by delays of more than three years and cost overruns. The deal was struck after the original £20billion price for 180 planes increased by up to £5billion.

Moscow fears ‘war unleashed on its streets’

[This is a return of former CIA Dir. Wm. Casey’s “global jihad” to the former Soviet Union.   Russian leaders know that Chechnyan leaders are “America’s Islamists.”  The big question is:  What are they going to do about it?]

Moscow fears ‘war unleashed on its streets’

Doku Umarov, self-styled emir of the Russian North Caucasus, is believed to be taking the battle into Russia itself.
Doku Umarov, self-styled emir of the Russian North Caucasus, is believed to be taking the battle into Russia itself.

  • Change in tactics among Chechen militants may bring fight to Russia’s cities, analysts fear
  • Warning came as investigators said Chechen rebels carried out Monday’s bombings
  • Funding from Islamist groups like al Qaeda may be behind change in tactics
  • Possible key weapon as Chechens wage war on Russia are female suicide bombers

(CNN) — A change in tactics among Chechnya’s militants is threatening to bring their nationalist fight to the heart of Russia’s cities, terrorism analysts fear.

The warning came as Russian investigators said they believed Chechen rebels were responsible for Monday’s twin suicide bombings in Moscow’s subway network that killed at least 39 people.

The Russia-Chechnya conflict dates back nearly 20 years, with Chechens having laid claim to land in the Caucasus Mountains region. Thousands have been killed and 500,000 Chechen people have been displaced from the fighting. The area is located in the North Caucasus region of Russia between the Black and Caspian seas.

Read how Chechen rebels threaten Russian stability

For the last 5 years the war has been largely fought in the Caucasus but, according to terrorism analyst Chris Hunter, the tide has been turning against the rebels. “They don’t have the same sort of supply chain they used to have,” he said, adding that pressure from the Russian military had taken its toll.

Video: Moscow metro attack
Video: Chechen warlord
Gallery: Moscow subway blasts
Moscow subway blast sites

Now there are suspicions that Doku Umarov, the 45-year-old self-styled emir of the Russian North Caucasus, is taking the battle into Russia itself.

Until now Umarov, a veteran of Chechnya’s nationalist fight with Russia, has been against killing civilians. He was critical of the Beslan attack in which Chechens killed more than 100 schoolchildren in 2004.

While he has not claimed responsibility for Monday’s subway bombings, if he is behind them, it would demonstrate a change in tactics due partly, analysts suspect, to a reliance on funding to continue the fight from radical Islamists such as al Qaeda.

“It’s got to the stage where the Chechens in particular are potentially looking out to the global jihad for that level of support,” said Hunter.

“By aligning himself to al Qaeda or other members of global jihad it would certainly be one source of securing that funding.”

A possible key weapon at Umarov’s disposal as he wages war on Russia are female suicide bombers, the so-called “Black Widows” who are believed to be behind Monday’s coordinated blasts, typical of an al Qaeda attack.

The reason for this, according to Russian security analyst Irina Isakova, is that killing oneself carries less stigma in Chechnya than elsewhere. “Suicide is much more considered traditional for women rather than for men; in Chechen culture it’s a different perception of suicide bombing than we have in the Middle East.”

The Black Widows are believed to be made up of women whose husbands, brothers, fathers or other relatives have been killed in the conflict. The women are often dressed head-to-toe in black and wear the so-called “martyr’s belt” filled with explosives.

Female suicide bombers have been involved in several attacks in Russia and first came to prominence in 2002 when 18 women were among a group of separatists who threatened to blow up a Moscow theater seized in the middle of a musical. In the rescue attempt by Russian special forces, 115 hostages and 50 Chechen separatists were killed.

“The majority of them have been recruited because they’ve someone close to them because they lost a husband, a brother, a cousin … and all of them indoctrinated, brainwashed,” said Hunter.

“They are very much exploited. In 2002 we saw between 40 and 50 gunmen storm the Moscow theater … not a single one of them was suicide bombers … all the suicide bombers were females.”

Black Widows were also among the 32-strong group of heavily-armed Chechen rebels who took 1,200 people as hostages in Beslan in 2004. In the ensuing gun battles between the rebels and Russian forces, 334 hostages were killed, many schoolchildren. Only one militant survived.

Moscow subway attacks bear mark of ‘Black Widows’

If Umarov has as many women at his disposal now, Moscow may indeed be facing in Umarov’s words a “war unleashed on its streets.”

CNN’s Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson contributed to this report.

Sarkozy chides US on economy, dominance

Sarkozy chides US on economy, dominance

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (L).

NEW YORK: France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called Monday for US economic reforms and, in comments echoing Franco-American spats of the past, said Washington cannot “run the world” alone.

The French leader used a visit to New York, where he met with students at Columbia University, to deliver what he called “home truths” to his hosts.

Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni, a former supermodel, was in New York a day before meeting President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington on Tuesday.

With his popularity diving at home and his party reeling from defeat in regional elections, the US visit is seen as a chance for Sarkozy to regain momentum.

While in New York he also met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

They discussed Wednesday’s planned aid conference on Haiti, international climate change talks and reform of the UN Security Council, where France is one of the five permanent members, the UN press office said.

Sarkozy has generally worked hard to rebuild ties with Washington, but his comments to Columbia students recalled a pricklier past.

Saying “there is no single country in the 21st century that can run the world alone,” he urged the United States to join Europe in “inventing the rules for the economy of tomorrow.”

Reiterating traditional European skepticism of US economic free markets, he said: “We need the great American people to understand that the absence of rules kills liberty.”

“The world economic regulations cannot go on as they are. We can’t accept a capitalist system without rules any more,” he added. Lack of rules, he said, “will be the death of capitalism.”

Sarkozy said he would discuss with Obama ways to stabilize commodities markets and to define “a new international monetary order.”

“The dollar is not the only currency in the world,” he said.

While he was careful to lavish praise on Obama, he appeared to have a less upbeat view of ordinary US citizens, pleading with them “not to lag behind” behind their Democratic president on financial regulations, defense and the environment.

Even his congratulations for Obama’s hard-fought victory in pushing health care reform through a divided Congress came laced with criticism.

“Welcome to the club of countries that does not dump its sick people,” Sarkozy said.

“But if you want me to be sincere, seen from Europe, when we see the US debate on health care reform, we find it hard to believe.”

France, he noted, had “resolved” the health care problem half a century ago.

Meanwhile, Sarkozy urged worldwide support for Russia following the deaths of 38 people in two suicide bombings in the Moscow metro.

The French president said the attacks were no different to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people, most of them in New York.

“Do you think there is a fundamental difference between the lunatics who blew up innocent victims in the Moscow metro and the insane people who flew planes into the Twin Towers of New York?” he asked.

“When New York was attacked, all the world’s democracies were attacked. And when Moscow is attacked, we are all attacked,” Sarkozy said.

The direct comparison between 9/11 and Monday’s rush hour suicide bombings in Moscow was unusual for a Western leader.

The West has regularly condemned bombings and other terrorist attacks in Russia, many of them carried out by militants linked to Chechen rebels.

However, Western capitals have also been deeply critical of Russia’s anti-insurgency campaigns in Chechnya and other areas of the mostly Muslim North Caucasus over the last 15 years, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and thousands have disappeared or been tortured.

Tribal elders’ support critical in Afghanistan

Elders from the Arghandab River Valley talk while waiting for a shura meeting to convene in the district government center March 24. Elders from the Arghandab River Valley talk while waiting for a shura meeting to convene in the district government center March 24.

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
BABA SAHEB, Afghanistan — Village elders from across the Arghandab River Valley waited for a weekly meeting, or shura, to get underway.

Though the official head of the government — the district governor — was there, he and the others waited until Said Amir Mohammad Agha, a tribal elder from the western side of the river, was ready for the council to begin.

A former Taliban leader, Agha is the head of one of the most powerful tribes in the valley and his opinion matters to the others, say U.S. military members here. On this day, his opinion is that he is far from convinced he should give his full support to the government of PresidentHamid Karzai and the troops who defend it.

“There are a lot of people in the government, but they are working for their own pockets,” he says. “That’s why the government doesn’t have any value.”

Getting the elders’ support for the Karzai government in the Arghandab District is critical to U.S. plans to push the Taliban from Kandahar province, birthplace of the jihadist movement.

The valley lies 5 miles north of Kandahar and has historically been an entry point to the city for the Taliban. The United States and NATO forces are preparing an offensive in the province this summer.

Agha has left the Taliban but has not openly denounced it. He is “evaluating” what the government can do for his people, said Lt. Col. Guy Jones, the commander of an 82nd Airborne battalion patrolling the valley and helping the government establish itself.

Jones and commanders like him across Afghanistan try to navigate the complexities of Afghan politics — a mixture of tribal feuds, government corruption and varying levels of sympathy for the Taliban — to persuade the people to turn from the Taliban to Karzai.

Jones says it will not be easy.

“You move one thing, and it changes the dynamics of the other 10 factors on that problem. You change it back, and guess what, the puzzle doesn’t go back to the way it was just a few minutes ago,” said Jones, who commands the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.


Step 1 is to get the elders to talk to the government.

Army 1st Lt. Hans Beutel is responsible for making initial contacts with village elders. Beutel spends countless hours trying to win over the older men in the northeast section of the Arghandab River Valley, where his Delta Company operates.

The 23-year-old with a baby face and braces plays up his youth when trying to bring around the hard-to-crack elders.

“I try to butter them up a little,” he says. “I tell him, ‘You’re the one with the long beard, you have more experience than me. I want to learn from you.’ ”

Nadir Jan, the Afghan police commander in the Sarkari Bagh village, said there are at least 70 Taliban members operating in the area and many more people who help them. When locals are identified as working with the government or coalition forces, they are targeted with threatening letters delivered in the middle of the night, beaten or sometimes killed.

Beutel says about 60% of the elders he has contacted work with him. When they tell him there are no Taliban operatives moving through their neighborhoods, that’s when he knows they are lying to him and will probably not be helpful.

Some village elders have decided to oppose the Taliban, and he is able to visit them. For those who are more fearful, he either talks to them on their cellphones or invites them to the U.S. combat outpost in Sarkari Bagh whenever they feel they can enter without being seen. “You want the information, but if you’re not careful, you’re not going to have many people left because they’ll all be killed,” he says.

The next step in the relationship involves gifts.

It starts small. Beutel recently gave the head of a family some shirts and hygiene kits that contain soap and toothpaste. Maj. Scott Brannon says local security officials sometimes demand boots, uniforms or weapons to go out on patrols with the Americans.

The price inevitably goes up.

Coalition forces build wells for villages. A Canadian unit has been renovating the Dahla Dam upstream of Kandahar, improving water flows to the residents and farmers. Contractors are building a bridge over the Arghandab River.

Brannon, the operations officer for the battalion, laughs as he recounts a negotiation with the Afghan national army’s local unit. The Americans tried to persuade the army leaders to move their Arghandab headquarters into a complex that housed the district governor’s office, the police headquarters and the U.S. military headquarters in the valley. The negotiations went on for weeks.

“It came down to rugs,” Brannon says. “We went back and forth for two weeks over the grade of rugs. They told us, ‘If my commander comes to my headquarters and I don’t have the highest quality rugs, I won’t have the authority I should have.’ ”

The rugs were supplied, and the army moved in mid-March.

‘Leadership challenge’

Capt. Claude Lambert, Delta Company commander, understands how difficult it is for young guys toting M-4 assault rifles to spend their days drinking tea with Afghans and tracking construction projects.

“It’s a leadership challenge to exhibit that restraint and to convince them that they’re having a positive effect,” he says.

Jones reports progress in Arghandab. The district governor, Haji Abdul Jabbar, has started coming to the government center on a more regular basis and, for the first time, is settling local disputes. Before, those people would seek justice from the Taliban.

“You can’t prevent them playing both sides,” says Maj. William Black, the executive officer of the battalion. “They want to stay alive.”

Iran Claims Diplomat Held By US/Mossad Militants–TTP?

Iran frees diplomat kidnapped in Pakistan

Iranian agents have released a diplomat from the Islamic Republic who was kidnapped in Pakistan by gunmen in 2008, the Iranian intelligence minister said.

Heidar Moslehi said Tuesday that Heshmatollah Attarzadeh-Niyaki, Iran’s commercial attache in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, was freed through a series of complicated intelligence operations.

Moslehi said that after the diplomat was abducted by an armed group backed by the US and Mossad, the Iranian government called on Pakistan to help Iran release the diplomat.

He said that the armed group made certain demands in exchange for the release but the Iranian forces refused to respond to them.

After the Pakistani government failed to assist Tehran, Moslehi said, the Iranian intelligence ministry took the initiative and managed to release Attarzadeh after a series of complicated measures.

Moslehi added that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the main target of US and Israeli intelligence services, warning regional countries against cooperating with the CIA and Mossad.

“The US, Mossad and European intelligence services, which are present in the region under false pretexts, are only creating instability in the region,” Moslehi said.

The official went on to add that even “those institutions and symbols in the world that are present in the region and Islamic countries under the title of defending human rights have, in fact, created insecurities in the region.”

The minister also said that the release of the Iranian diplomat after the arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of the Jundallah terrorist group, further proved that Iran’s intelligence service outperformed those of the US and Israel in the region.

Moslehi said that further details on the release of the diplomat and Rigi’s confessions would be provided in the near future.

Attarzadeh-Niyaki was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in an ambush on November 13, 2008, while on his way to the Iranian consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. His driver was killed in the attack.

Iranian Agents Free Diplomat Kidnapped In Pakistan In 2008

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s intelligence agents freed an Iranian diplomat kidnapped by gunmen two years earlier in northwestern Pakistan, state television reported Tuesday.

The agents rescued Heshmatollah Attarzadeh of Iran’s Peshawar consulate “in a complicated intelligence operation” the report said, without providing any further details.

The diplomat and his Pakistani bodyguard were driving over a narrow bridge in Peshawar on Nov. 13, 2008 when two gunmen blocked their way with a car and opened fire. The attackers fled with the diplomat, and the guard was killed.

In the 1980s, Peshawar was an intrigue-filled hub for U.S.-backed guerrillas fighting Soviet troops in neighboring Afghanistan, some of whom went on to form the Taliban or al-Qaeda.Osama bin Laden, now perhaps hiding in the adjacent tribal regions, was among them.

Despite that legacy, the city of some 2 million people was once considered relatively safe for foreigners. But residents say organized crime and militancy are on the rise — and increasingly hard to distinguish — and it was possible that the Iranian was kidnapped for ransom.

Growing pockets of the nearby tribal belt have become strongholds for various extremist groups.

A year after Attarzadeh was kidnapped, a Pakistani employee of the same Iranian consulate was gunned down near his home.

Iran is mostly Shiite and is regularly denounced by the fiercely Sunni al-Qaeda and Taliban that operates along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Hardline Sunnis consider Shiites to be heretics and often call for attacks against them.

The operation marks the latest success by Iran’s intelligence services broadcast on television. Last month, Iran captured Abdulmalik Rigi, leader of an armed Sunni opposition group whose insurgency in southeast Iran had destabilized the border region with Pakistan.

Rigi was captured on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan last month after he had left Pakistan. The Pakistani government claimed that Rigi’s capture would have not been possible without Islamabad’s cooperation but Iran insisted that its intelligence agents alone captured the terrorist leader.

Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?

Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?

Posted on Mar 29, 2010
AP / Jae C. Hong

By Chris Hedges

The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.

“We are ruled not by two parties but one party,” Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president on the Green Party ticket, told me. “It is the party of money and war. Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it. The only question now is whose revolution gets funded.”

The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die.

The unraveling of America mirrors the unraveling of Yugoslavia. The Balkan war was not caused by ancient ethnic hatreds. It was caused by the economic collapse of Yugoslavia. The petty criminals and goons who took power harnessed the anger and despair of the unemployed and the desperate. They singled out convenient scapegoats from ethnic Croats to Muslims to Albanians to Gypsies. They set in motion movements that unleashed a feeding frenzy leading to war and self-immolation. There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias. We can laugh at these people, but they are not the fools. We are.

The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.

“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left,” McKinney told me. “The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens United did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court. Our problem is a problem of governance. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”

We are bound to a party that has betrayed every principle we claim to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy, to a demand for quality and affordable public education, to a concern for the jobs of the working class. And the hatred expressed within right-wing movements for the college-educated elite, who created or at least did nothing to halt the financial debacle, is not misplaced. Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in the boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs. The shouting of racist and bigoted words at black and gay members of Congress, the spitting on a black member of the House, the tossing of bricks through the windows of legislators’ offices, are part of the language of rebellion. It is as much a revolt against the educated elite as it is against the government. The blame lies with us. We created the monster.



by Gordon Duff




By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Every time there is a terrorist attack, the nations blamed say that it was a “false flag” operation. This is what America did to cover up My Lai. We were lying. Germans claimed Poland invaded Germany in 1939. An educated guess is that 75% of terrorist attacks we hear of were staged, never happened or were done by “radical groups” that were first infiltrated, then controlled and eventually financed and supplied by intelligence agencies. Intelligence agencies are, in actuality, the biggest terrorist organizations in the world. The CIA has blown up more buses, airplanes and markets than any almost anyone else. The Mossad may be number one, followed by, well, everyone, the RAW, ISI, MI-6, IRA and dozens of others.

Either directly or through idiots, clones (operatives using false identity to look like “terrorists”) or through simply doing it themselves, these groups promote national policy by destabilizing nations, swinging elections or defaming religious, national or political groups by staging attacks and using the press to place the blame. The popular video game Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 even has a terrorist attack on a transportation center in Moscow built into it, a “false flag” attack. Today, the real thing happened.


With communism threatening to overrun Europe, NATO set up terrorist groups under Operation Gladio (short sword) to act as guerrilla armies in case Europe was overrun. As this became less and less likely, intelligence services began using the terrorist groups meant to fight Russia to manipulate politics in Europe through terrorist acts, such as bombings. We wouldn’t know the details if Cossiga, one of the planners of Operation Gladio, hadn’t spilled his guts about this and other “false flag” operations in Europe and elsewhere. This is what Cassiga told Robert Maroni, Italian Minister of the Interior about methods employed to control civil protests in Italy:

“Maroni should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior.

“University students? … infiltrate them with agents provocateurs … and let the agents provocateurs devastate shops, set fire to cars and put cities to the sword for ten days.

“Then, having won the sympathy of the public … the police should pitilessly beat the shit out of protesters and send them all to hospital. “

One of the operational leaders of Operation Gladio, representing NATO with the CIA, was Vincezo Vinciguerra who stated under oath:

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened.”

When the Italian parliament investigated, a number of allegations arose. It seemed that one of the Gladio operations was a train bombing in Bologna in 1980 which killed 85 people. This was supported by both physical evidence and significant testimony. It was also discovered that “Palestinian terrorists” operating in Europe including Abu Nidal were working for the CIA and Mossad. Investigations by the Italian parliament reported the following about Stefano delle Ciaie.

A neo-fascist group tied to extremist Masonic lodges in Italy had formed a political action cell called “P2.” Though none of this was reported in the US, this group, tied directly to NATO intelligence services was linked to terrorist acts throughout Europe and even in South America. The report reads as follows:

“In December 1985 magistrates in Bologna issued 16 arrest warrants, including at least three to P-2 members, accusing members of the Italian intelligence service SISMI of first planning and then covering up the Bologna bombing. One of these 16 was P-2’s leader Licio Gelli, who had spent most of the post-war years in Argentina. A small group of anarchists, penetrated by delle Chiaie’s man Mario Merlino, were blamed at first for the Piazza Fontana bombing, even though Sismi knew within six days that delle Chiaie was responsible, and Merlino had planted the bomb.”


We now use terms like “Low Intensity Conflict” and “Surrogacy Warfare” to describe terrorism operated by governments against either foreign governments or, more often, their own people. Most “false flag” attacks are used to influence elections or to push through “Patriot Act” and “FISA” type legislation or to justify acts like the invasion of Iraq. Control of both the press and any potential investigation makes such operations a mainstream effort of national policy, so commonplace that those who work in intelligence or at the highest levels of law enforcement automatically write off major terrorism incidents as staged.

In Vietnam, Operation Phoenix was terrorism, meant to kill civilian “communists” including doctors, nurses, teachers and even religious leaders. We ran similar programs in Central America for years, killing thousands, nuns, reporters, union leaders and moderate politicians we were afraid would eventually join with communists. It was a horrible embarrassment to the CIA that the “communist dictatorship” in Nicaragua was voted out of office in an open election they sponsored. We had been running death squads throughout that country from our bases on Honduras for years.

Similar operations have been staged all over the world, from Chile to Korea to Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States. Half the bombings during the 60s and 70s were planned or influenced by “informants” or “agent provocateurs” as described by Cossiga. The massive infiltration of the militia movements of the 80s and 90s brings the Oklahoma City bombing into question.


If a train or bus blows up in London, it is best to look at who is visiting, what political party is going to gain or what scandal needs to be pushed off the front page. In India, the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan, did nothing for Pakistan. Who gained? Israel gained as did India, gained massively. When a school is blown up in Pakistan and blamed on the Taliban, Pakistan doesn’t believe the Taliban had anything to do with it. When Iran is attacked from Balochistan, it knows nobody in Balochistan planned the attack.

Yes, there are real terrorists, people without hope who are pushed to extremism through exploitation, often by religious fanatics or hucksters. For every Maddrassa in Pakistan, there is a church in the US, perhaps ten, advocating beliefs that can lead nowhere but to violence.


Radicals within the United States have always been a serious problem. A good analytical tool is the simple public poll. It reveals how gullible a population is and how easy they would be to fool. The primary groundwork for terrorism is control of the press and the molding of public opinion. With foreign governments with highly suspect intelligence agencies infiltrating the press, as they have in the United States, there is little doubt that providing cover for “false flag” terrorism is in the cards.

Other findings of the Harris poll, due out tomorrow, include:

  • 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
  • 57 percent of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim
  • 24 percent of Republicans believe President Obama may be the AntiChrist

And it gets worse:

The basic rule is simply this, if terrorists suffer as a result of an attack, bring down massive retaliation, if new laws are passed or a public is aroused, then we are probably dealing with a “false flag” attack, not a genuine terrorist act. If a terror attack, such as the phony “Crotch Bombing” in Detroit are staged and inpiduals tied directly to security agencies make millions in profits overnight, you can be absolutely certain, no questions asked.

Inhuman Insurance Moguls Claim Right to Deny Insurance to Sick Children, Without Profit Guarantees

Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print


WASHINGTON — Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions.

Matthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV criticized insurance companies that say they do not yet have to cover pre-existing conditions.

Mr. Obama, speaking at a health care rally in northern Virginia on March 19, said, “Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.”

The authors of the law say they meant to ban all forms of discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions like asthmadiabetesbirth defects, orthopedic problems, leukemia, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. The goal, they say, was to provide those youngsters with access to insurance and to a full range of benefits once they are in a health plan.

To insurance companies, the language of the law is not so clear.

Insurers agree that if they provide insurance for a child, they must cover pre-existing conditions. But, they say, the law does not require them to write insurance for the child and it does not guarantee the “availability of coverage” for all until 2014.

William G. Schiffbauer, a lawyer whose clients include employers and insurance companies, said: “The fine print differs from the larger political message. If a company sells insurance, it will have to cover pre-existing conditions for children covered by the policy. But it does not have to sell to somebody with a pre-existing condition. And the insurer could increase premiums to cover the additional cost.”

Congressional Democrats were furious when they learned that some insurers disagreed with their interpretation of the law.

“The concept that insurance companies would even seek to deny children coverage exemplifies why we fought for this reform,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Senate commerce committee, said: “The ink has not yet dried on the health care reform bill, and already some deplorable health insurance companies are trying to duck away from covering children with pre-existing conditions. This is outrageous.”

The issue is one of many that federal officials are tackling as they prepare to carry out the law, with a huge stream of new rules, official guidance and brochures to educate the public. Their decisions will have major practical implications.

Insurers say they often limit coverage of pre-existing conditions under policies sold in the individual insurance market. Thus, for example, an insurer might cover a family of four, including a child with a heart defect, but exclude treatment of that condition from the policy.

The new law says that health plans and insurers offering individual or group coverage “may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion with respect to such plan or coverage” for children under 19, starting in “plan years” that begin on or after Sept. 23, 2010.

But, insurers say, until 2014, the law does not require them to write insurance at all for the child or the family. In the language of insurance, the law does not include a “guaranteed issue” requirement before then.

Consumer advocates worry that instead of refusing to cover treatment for a specific pre-existing condition, an insurer might simply deny coverage for the child or the family.

“If you have a sick kid, the individual insurance market will continue to be a scary place,” said Karen L. Pollitz, a research professor at the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University.

Experts at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners share that concern.

“I would like to see the kids covered,” said Sandy Praeger, the insurance commissioner of Kansas. “But without guaranteed issue of insurance, I am not sure companies will be required to take children under 19.”

A White House spokesman said the administration planned to issue regulations setting forth its view that “the term ‘pre-existing’ applies to both a child’s access to a plan and his or her benefits once he or she is in a plan.” But lawyers said the rules could be challenged in court if they went beyond the law or were inconsistent with it.

Starting in January 2014, health plans will be required to accept everyone who applies for coverage.

Until then, people with pre-existing conditions could seek coverage in high-risk insurance pools run by states or by the secretary of health and human services. The new law provides $5 billion to help pay claims filed by people in those pools.

Federal officials will need to write rules or guidance to address a number of concerns. The issues to be resolved include defining the “essential health benefits” that must be offered by all insurers; deciding which dependents are entitled to stay on their parents’ insurance; determining who qualifies for a “hardship exemption” from the requirement to have insurance; and deciding who is eligible for a new long-term care insurance program.

As originally conceived, most of the new federal requirements would have taken effect at the same time, in three or four years. The requirements for people to carry insurance, for employers to offer it and for insurers to accept all applicants were tied together.

But as criticism of their proposal grew, Democrats wanted to show that the legislation would produce immediate, tangible benefits. So they accelerated the ban on “pre-existing condition exclusions” for children.

Consumers will soon gain several other protections. By July 1, the health secretary must establish a Web site where people can identify “affordable health insurance coverage options.” The site is supposed to provide information about premiums, co-payments and the share of premium revenue that goes to administrative costs and profits, rather than medical care.

In addition, within six months, health plans must have “an effective appeals process,” so consumers can challenge decisions on coverage and claims.

British forces to withdraw from Helmand under new US plan for Afghanistan

[The Brits are no longer part of the Big Picture in Afghanistan, since the govt. failed to hold British courts accountable to American CIA whims.  British troops will be relegated to the “clean-up crew,” filling Canada’s former role.  SEE: It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead; UK releases ‘US torture evidence’]

British forces to withdraw from Helmand under new US plan for Afghanistan

British forces are to be withdrawn from Helmand and replaced by United States Marines under controversial new plans being drawn up by American commanders.

By Toby Harnden in Kabul

Helmand: US marines could replace Britsh forces in the Afghan region

Helmand: US Marines could replace British troops in Helmand Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The proposal, which would have to be approved by a new British government, is facing stiff resistance. Whitehall officials fear that a pull-out from Helmand, where nearly 250 British troops have been killed since 2006, would be portrayed as an admission of defeat.

Under the plans, British forces would hand over their remaining bases in Helmand to the US Marines as early as this year.

Such a move could bring back unhappy memories of the 2007 withdrawal from Basra in southern Iraq, which provoked jibes about British forces being bailed out by the Americans.

The proposal is linked to a reorganisation of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces that will split the current Regional Command (South) in two after an American-led offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar this summer.

A senior American officer in ISAF said that “the Marines will be the primary force in Helmand and Nimruz” while “British forces will go to a combination of Kandahar and Uruzgan and Zabul”.

British officials opposed to the move argue that the ground-level expertise and knowledge of local power brokers in Helmand, which they have built up over many years, would be squandered in apparent contradiction of the “know the people” counter-insurgency doctrine put in place by the Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal.

But while acknowledging the political sensitivities, a senior British officer in ISAF said that a new role outside Helmand would be central to Gen McChrystal’s campaign strategy, which is based on protecting the main Pashtun population centres.

“Through the microcosm of the UK media lens, a lot of people will say, ‘We fought, we’ve spilt British blood in Helmand and now we’re withdrawing’,” the official said.

“Completely wrong. We’re going to where the main effort is.”

Under Gen McChrystal’s plan, Helmand and Nimruz will come under a new Regional Command (South West) while Kandahar, Uruzgan and Kabul will constitute Regional Command (South East).

The US Marines have a strong tradition of independence and a determined preference for operating alone in a single area, as they did in Iraq’s Anbar province. Nato has agreed that Major General Richard Mills of the US Marines – who for 18 months commanded ground forces in Iraq’s Anbar province – will take command of the new south-western area of Afghanistan.

In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, Gen McChrystal stressed that Kandahar was of “tremendous moral importance” to the Taliban because it was their former capital and the birthplace of their leader the one-eyed Mullah Omar.

Asked whether British forces would move to Kandahar, he responded carefully: “There’s a lot of politics involved in where forces go, so rather than start a political debate about where forces are what I’d rather do is just move on with where things are now and let things develop.”

Canadian forces, 2,500 of which are currently based in Kandahar – where British forces won a decisive battle in 1880 that brought the Second Afghan War to an end – are due to withdraw from Afghanistan next year. Some 2,000 Dutch forces in Uruzgan are due to be pulled out by August.

British forces first deployed to Helmand in significant numbers in spring 2006, when 3,300 members of 16 Air Assault Brigade arrived. Their mission was to restore security so that reconsstruction could begin and the illegal opium trade be disrupted.

But they faced an immediate upsurge in Taliban activity and this has continued ever since, leading to regular calls for greater troop numbers. There are currently around 10,000 from the UK in the region, and 248 soldiers have been killed there.

This would leave a vacuum in south-eastern Afghanistan at a time when US Marines are pouring into Helmand as part of President Barack Obama’s surge of 30,000 troops, which will soon bring American forces to a level of 100,000, double what they were a year ago. About 20,000 US Marines will be in Helmand by this summer, more than twice the number of British troops there.

Some senior American officers believe the British have become too attached to “Helmandshire” and have developed tunnel vision.

Although British troops have been praised for their valour, the consensus within the American military is that control of the province has slipped away because of inadequate numbers, poor equipment and thin logistical support.

Senior American officers also believe the British became distracted by defending bases in outlying areas like Musa Qala, Kajaki and Sangin when they should have concentrated on the more-populated central Helmand.

A Washington defence source said that, under the new plan, “Helmandshire will become Marine-istan.”

The main British logistics base in Afghanistan is already at Kandahar airfield – a factor that makes a shift from Helmand more feasible. Nato forces in southern Afghanistan are currently commanded by Maj Gen Nick Carter from his Regional Command (South) headquarters at the airfield.

Mark Sedwill, formerly British ambassador in Afghanistan and now Nato’s Senior Civilian Representative, acknowledged that withdrawal of British forces from Helmand would make “a lot of sense” when viewed from a “purely military perspective”.

This was because “the challenges in Kandahar are very well suited to the resources we can bring and the capabilities” British troops have.

“Could we end up with the Brits in Kandahar?” he said. “I guess theoretically we could and certainly I wouldn’t rule it out because from the ISAF perspective we need to look at what is the sensible force deployment as the Canadians draw down after 2011 and given how central Kandahar is to the entire campaign.

“But any shift of that kind is not just an ISAF decision, it would have to be agreed with the British government of the day. There would be enormous political sensitivities to manage just because of the amount of investment of blood and treasure that has gone into central Helmand.”

Maj Gen Gordon Messenger, senior British military spokesman, said that there was “no thought at the moment of doing anything other” than “a job which is utterly, utterly needed as part of the coalition force in central Helmand”.

He added: “How that function changes over time is clearly being looked at … and there are any number of options. But it would be unwise to view moving and conducting ground-holding in Kandahar as one of them.”

Midwest Militia Was Preparing To Defend Jesus–the Poison of Irrational Beliefs

Militia members arrested in Sun. raid to be charged today

At least seven were taken into custody in raids by an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio

Jennifer Chambers and Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News

Federal prosecutors plan to unseal charges today against members of a self-described Christian militia arrested Saturday and Sunday in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

At least seven people were taken into custody in raids by an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based unit of the Hutaree, a group that professes it is training in modern armed combat techniques for a prophesized coming battle with the Antichrist.

The suspects are expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Detroit today, according to federal authorities, who declined to discuss the charges behind the multistate arrests.

“Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment …,” one of the group’s purported leaders wrote on its Web site. “We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming.”

The group’s insignia, worn as a patch on military camouflage uniforms, is a cross-shaped sword and the letters CCR for Colonial Christian Republic. The Hutaree Web site features links to conservative Christian news outlets along with photos and videos of combat training sessions under the banner, “Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in Detroit on Sunday, “There is law enforcement activity in progress, but I decline further comment because I don’t want to adversely affect its effectiveness.”

Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said warrants in the case are under court seal and declined further comment.

‘Too extreme’

A member of the controversial Michigan Militia said Sunday that the Hutaree is a nationwide organization with an ardent following in Adrian, 10 miles from the Ohio border just west of Detroit. “Their philosophy and ours differ in many ways, so we don’t do a whole lot with them. They are too extreme or radical for us,” said Jim Gulliksen, coordinator of the Lenaway Volunteer Michigan Militia with membership of about a dozen in the Adrian area. “I just kind of got a bad feeling about the group and we did not want to associate with them. They are a little too paranoid for me.”

Mike Lackomar of Michiganmilitia.com said he heard from other militia members that the FBI targeted the Hutaree after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations. Lackomar said the members of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia and Michiganmilitia.com weren’t arrested.

“Last night and into today (Sunday), the FBI conducted a raid against homes belonging to the Hutaree. They are a religious cult. They are not part of our militia community,” Lackomar said.

Lackomar said he was told there were five arrests Saturday and another five early Sunday. The FBI declined to comment.

One of the Hutaree members called a Michigan militia leader for assistance Saturday after federal agents already had began their raid, Lackomar said, but the militia member — who is of Islamic decent and had heard about the threats — declined to offer help. That Michigan militia leader is now working with federal officials to provide information on the Hutaree member for the investigation, Lackomar said Sunday.

“They are more of a survivalist group, and in an emergency, they withdraw and stand their ground. They are actively training to be alongside Jesus,” he said.

Gulliksen said he heard about the raids when he was in church Sunday morning. He immediately contacted local law enforcement, “to make sure they knew we weren’t really affiliated with Hutaree.”

Gulliksen said he believes national security tensions are high and the FBI may well be focusing on conservative groups because of anger over the federal overhaul of health care.

“A few months ago, I believe one of their (Hutaree) members down South was arrested on some sort of weapons charge,” Gulliksen said. “Everything is getting a little nervous right now with all the threats against congressmen and all.”

Law enforcement swarmed a rural, wooded property Saturday evening near Adrian, neighbors said. Two ramshackle trailers sat side-by-side on the property, the door to one slightly ajar late Sunday, as if it had been forced open.

Phyllis Brugger, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said some people who lived there were known as having ties to militia. They would shoot guns and often wore camouflage, according to Brugger and her daughter, Heidi Wood.

“Everybody knew they were militia,” Brugger said. “You don’t mess with them.”

About a month ago, 50 vehicles showed up on the property, and the women said neighbors assumed something bad was going on.

The leader of the local group, Gulliksen said, is a man who goes by RD Merzonik on the group’s Web site.

“I’ve met him. He’s an opinionated man who likes to share those opinions,” Gulliksen said. “The Hutaree is a nationwide group, but I have met a couple of the members here and I can say they all belong to one specific church. Our concern is the protection of our nation. Religion appears to be a big part of what they are doing.”

Muslims shocked

Hutaree members use nicknames sometimes linked to their rank, within an elaborate system for Hutaree soldiers that includes titles such as “Radok, Boramander, Zulif, Arkon, Rifleman and Lukmore.” A parable for commanders suggests, “You may be a leader of flesh but in heaven, leaders are of spirit.”

Sources from the Michigan militia community said one of the FBI raids took place Saturday during a wake for a Hutaree member who had died of natural causes. A Hutaree leader was arrested during the wake while agents were conducting raids.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations of Michigan, made an announcement Sunday during the group’s anniversary banquet about receiving a call from a journalist about the alleged threat against Muslims.

“Don’t allow this news to scare you away from practicing your faith,” Walid said.

Gasps were heard throughout the banquet hall when the news was announced. Walid said he will call local authorities about more information on the allegations. He urged local Muslims to recommit themselves to their faith in light of the accusations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported a resurgence in politically motivated militias, which emerged in the 1980s under perceived threats to conservative rights and conspiracies about a United Nations takeover when President George H.W. Bush spoke of a “New World Order.”

Militia groups came into the national spotlight in 1995, after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Michigan native Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh were convicted in the bombing, which killed 168 people. Nichols and McVeigh attended Michigan Militia events, a group which believes citizens have constitutional authority to organized an armed force. The Michigan militia denied Nichols and McVeigh were members.

Militia popularity declined during the administration of President George W. Bush, but the Southern Poverty Law Center claims the number of groups espousing anti-government doctrines and political conspiracy theories is again rising with anxiety over a perceived liberal agenda of President Barack Obama. The report identified 512 groups throughout the country, including 47 in Michigan, second to Texas, with 52.

The Associated Press and Staff Writers David Shepardson and Oralandar Brand-Williams contributed.

Suicide bombers kill dozens on Moscow metro

Suicide bombers kill dozens on Moscow metro

Posted: 29 March 2010 1231 hrs

File photo shows Russian policemen standing next to a map of the Moscow metro.

MOSCOW – Two suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday on trains on Moscow’s metro system, killing at least 34 people during morning rush-hour, emergency workers and prosecutors said.

The first explosion took place on a train after it had stopped in the Lubyanka station in central Moscow, close to the headquarters of Russia’s FSB security service, a spokeswoman for the Russian emergencies ministry told AFP.

Minutes later, a second explosion went off in a carriage as the train was on the platform at the Park Kulturi metro station, also in central Moscow.

Moscow’s chief prosecutor said that the attacks, the deadliest in the capital for several years, were caused by suicide bombers wearing belts packed with explosives.

The first blast at the Lubyanka metro station killed 22 people and wounded 12. The second at Park Kulturi station left 12 dead and 7 wounded.

Rescue workers rushed to the scene but the ITAR-TASS news agency said that emergency services were impeded from accessing the site of the blast due to the early morning rush hour traffic.

At Lubyanka Square, next to the metro station of the same name, dozens of orange and red trucks from the emergency services and fire department were present, an AFP correspondent reported.

An emergency services helicopter landed on Lubyanka Square, home to the FSB security service, the successor to the notorious Soviet KGB secret police.

While the affected stations and lines were shut, some metro lines were still open and police were checking people’s suitcases and large bags.

Around the Lubyanka metro station, crowds of people were calling loved ones but phone lines were busy as the network became overloaded, an AFP correspondent said.

The Russian capital has been hit over the last decade by a string of deadly explosions claimed by militants from its turbulent southern region of Chechnya but such events had become less frequent in the last years.

The authorities were quick to blame the blasts on militants.

“An inquiry has been opened according to article 205 of the Russian criminal code — terrorism,” Russian news agencies quoted the spokesman of the investigative committee of prosecutors, Vladimir Markin, as saying.

The head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Borotnikov was putting together a report for President Dmitry Medvedev. Meanwhile, the authorities denied rumours of a third blast at another metro station.

The Interfax news agency quoted a security source as saying that the first explosion could have been triggered by a suicide bomber.

“There is information that the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber,” the source said.

However another source later told Interfax that the explosive material could have been detonated by mobile phone.

“Experts will start working once all the wounded have been helped and everyone has been evacuated,” said the source.

Chechnya itself has seen a worrying rise in violence over the last months as the pro-Kremlin local authorities seek to clamp down on an Islamist uprising.

Citing better security, Russia last year abolished an “anti-terror” operation in Chechnya that has been in place for the last decade but its confidence has been belied by the spike in violence.

Increased violence in the nearby majority-Muslim regions of Ingushetia and Dagestan had also raised fears on the part of the authorities that the unrest could spread to Moscow.

– AFP/ir

Not Your Typical Grenade

Terrorists Could Use Explosives in Breast Implants to Crash Planes, Experts Warn

The Sun

Plastic surgeons using explosive-laden breast implants in homicide bombers could be a new terror tactic that current airport scanning methods may miss.


File photo shows a silicone gel breast implant.

Female homicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants which are almost impossible to detect, British spies have reportedly discovered.

The shocking new Al Qaeda tactic involves radical doctors inserting the explosives in women’s breasts during plastic surgery — making them “virtually impossible to detect by the usual airport scanning machines.”

It is believed the doctors have been trained at some of Britain’s leading teaching hospitals before returning to their own countries to perform the surgical procedures.

MI5 has also discovered that extremists are inserting the explosives into the buttocks of some male bombers.

“Women suicide bombers recruited by Al Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery,” Terrorist expert Joseph Farah claims.

The lethal explosives called PETN are inserted inside plastic shapes during the operation, before the breast is then sewn up.

The discovery of these methods was made after London-educated Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came close to blowing up an airliner in the U.S. on Christmas Day.

He had stuffed explosives inside his underpants.

Hours after he had failed, Britain’s intelligence services began to pick up “chatter” emanating from Pakistan and Yemen that alerted MI5 to the creation of the lethal implants.

A hand-picked team investigated the threat which was described as “one that can circumvent our defense.”

Top surgeons have confirmed the feasibility of the explosive implants.

Explosive experts allegedly told MI5 that a sachet containing as little as five ounces of PETN could blow “a considerable hole” in an airline’s skin, causing it to crash.

Who Gains By a War In Korea, At This Time?


A South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, sinks near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island, close to North Korea, in the western waters on Saturday, March 27, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

A South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, sinks near South Korea’s Baeknyeong Island, close to North Korea, in the western waters on Saturday, March 27, 2010.  (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Photo courtesy of Reuters

Cheonan; South Korean Naval Ship

SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) — Chances seem low that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is involved in its warship sinking, said South Korean officials at the presidential office on Saturday.

“It is hard to say for sure now, but chances appear to be slim that North (DPRK) was related,” a senior official told Yonhap on condition of anonymity.

“Given the investigations by government ministries so far, it is the government’s judgment that the incident was not caused by North Korea, although the reason for the accident has not been determined yet,” a senior government official was quoted.

“An unidentified reason caused a hole in the ship, which led to its sinking. Rescue efforts are under way,” the Defense Ministry said.

“The ship fired a warning shot at an unidentified object, and the object was later suspected to have been a flock of birds. But we are checking,” it said.

Cheong Wa Dae said that there has been no “unusual move” by Pyongyang so far despite initial media reports that the DPRK “might be to blame for the incident” that happened Friday night near the disputed western sea border between the two sides.

Initial media reports said the incident might be caused by a possible torpedo attack from an unidentified DPRK vessel, citing military sources.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has not responded to the incident.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting and ordered a “quick and thorough” investigation Saturday into the caused of the sinking, and investigators are asked to keep in mind “all possibilities”, his office said.

He also urged the military to make “all-out efforts” to rescue as many survivors as possible.

He had instructed his government to update other members of the six-party nuclear talks with the development of the incident, while urging government agencies to take measures to reassure the public, Presidential Office spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said at a press briefing after the meeting.

Rescue operation to search for the 46 missing sailors is still underway Saturday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“Many of the missing people might have been trapped inside the sunken ship,” JCS (the Joint Chief of Staff) spokesman Lee Ki-Sik told a parliament committee.

So far, 58 out of the 104 crew members aboard the 1,200-ton ship that sank off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula have been rescued, with two of them hospitalized for minor cerebral hemorrhage, the agency said.

The ship “Cheonan” went down off the South Korean island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast around 21:45 p.m. Friday local time (12:45 GMT Friday), with an explosion in the back of the ship, and another South Korean naval vessel fired at an unspecified target toward the north in response.

The vessel could be carrying French-made Exocet and U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles as well as torpedoes and other weaponry.

Navy and the National Maritime Police Agency have sent nine ships and a helicopter to the waters near the Baehryeongdo, and planned to mobilize Navy’s all rescue force to search for the missing.

The militaries will send divers to help find out whether the ship-based artillery shells or external attack caused the explosion, but authorities said they cannot reach any conclusion until the sunken ship is recovered and examined.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said his country is closely following the development of the incident.


S Korean Navy ship sinks possibly caused by mine explosion: YTN

SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) — Friday’s Navy ship sinking might be caused by mine explosion, South Korean media YTN quoted presidential sources as saying on Saturday.

General of the South Korean Navy Lee Ki-shik said later Friday that the 1,200-ton warship Cheonan went down after the unexplained explosion ripped a hole in the ship’s bottom.  Full story

Rescue continues in S Korean ship sinking, 46 still missing

SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) — The rescue operation to search for the 46 missing sailors of a South Korean ship that sank late Friday is still under Saturday, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

So far, 58 out of the 104 crew members aboard the 1,200-ton ship that sank off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula have been rescued, with two of them hospitalized for minor cerebral hemorrhage, the agency said. Earlier reports said 60 sailors have been rescued. Full story

Editor: Li Xianzhi

British MPs Starting To Wise-Up

Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

Michael Smith

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after the Iraq war as America’s “subservient poodle” has been highly damaging to Britain’s reputation and interests around the world. The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be “willing to say no” to America.

The report, entitled Global Security: UK-US Relations, says Britain’s relationship with America is “extremely close and valuable” in a number of areas, particularly intelligence co-operation. However, it adds that the use of the phrase special relationship, in its historical sense, “is potentially misleading and we recommend that its use should be avoided”.

It does not reflect the “ever-evolving” relationship between the two countries and raises unrealistic expectations, the MPs say.

“Over the longer term, the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past,” the committee adds.

In an apparent rebuke to Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush, the report says there are “many lessons” to be learnt from Britain’s political approach towards the US over Iraq.

“The perception that the British government was a subservient poodle to the US administration is widespread both among the British public and overseas,” the MPs say. “This perception, whatever its relation to reality, is deeply damaging to the reputation and interests of the UK.”

While the relationship between the American president and the British prime minister was an important part of dealings between the two countries, the cabinet and parliament also had a role to play. “The UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the US on those issues where the two countries’ interests and values diverge,” the MPs say.

They are also critical of the US use of extraordinary rendition and torture. The report calls for a comprehensive review of the use by the CIA of British bases, such as that on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to carry out extraordinary rendition.

“The issues relating to rendition through Diego Garcia to which we have previously drawn attention raise disturbing questions about the uses to which US bases on British territory are put”, the MPs say.

They express regret at “considerable restraints” on the ability of both the government and parliament to scrutinise US activities carried out on British territory.

“We recommend that the government should establish a comprehensive review of the current arrangements governing US military use of facilities within the UK and in British overseas territories.” The review should “identify shortcomings in the current system of scrutiny and oversight … and report to parliament on proposals to remedy these”.

The report also demands a statement from the government on the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment regarding the alleged collusion of MI5 in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident.

Last month the court ordered the government to release evidence from American intelligence reports which showed that MI5 was aware of the torture.

Senior US officials subsequently suggested that releasing such evidence might prevent the US from sharing some intelligence with Britain.

India Successfully Test Fires Prithvi Nuclear Vehicle to Cover Prior Failure in ABM Test

[SEE: Indian interceptor missile test fails. Look for Indian/Pakistani tension to boil over because of American scheming.  It’s going to be a long, hot summer.]

Photo from The Hindu

India successfully tests fires two nuclear capable ballistic missiles

 India successfully tests fires two nuclear capable ballistic missiles

© Сollage by RIA Novosti


India has successfully test-fired two short-range nuclear-capable missiles off the coast of the Orissa state on Saturday, the IANS news agency reported, quoting military officials.

The Dhanush was test-fired from a naval ship off the coast of India’s eastern Orissa state, while the Prithvi II was launched from the Chandipur firing range, some 200 kilometres northeast of the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Both tests occurred at 5:30 a.m. (11:00 GMT).

The Prithvi is India’s indigenously developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile, with a range of 350 km and payload capacity of 500 kg.

The Dhanush missile, which has liquid propellant, is the naval version of the Prithvi. It is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.

The first Dhanush test launch ended in failure in April 2000 over technical problems related to the take-off stage, but subsequent trials were reported as successful. The latest Dhanush trial was successfully conducted off Orissa coast in March 2007.

NEW DELHI, March 27 (RIA Novosti)

Saudis Still Spreading CIA’s “Islam” In Former Yugoslavia

[Anywhere in the world, where you see so-called “Islamists” who kill only other Muslims, you are looking at the CIA’s “Islamists.”  Wherever this phenomenom occurs it is done with Saudi money.  It happens using primarily Saudis, Pakistanis and Iranian terrorists/Islamists.  The term “al Qaida” is merely the label we use to describe our Islamists, who have been trained by our people.  SEE Bosnia and Clinton’s Radical Islamists ; BILL CLINTON: FIRST NEOCON PRESIDENT ]

Muslims stage a protest against the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed

Muslims stage a protest against the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed

Bojan Pancevski in Skopje

SAUDI ARABIA is pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into Islamist groups in the Balkans, some of which spread hatred of the West and recruit fighters for jihad in Afghanistan.

According to officials in Macedonia, Islamic fundamentalism threatens to destabilise the Balkans. Strict Wahhabi and Salafi factions funded by Saudi organisations are clashing with traditionally moderate local Muslim communities.

Fundamentalists have financed the construction of scores of mosques and community centres as well as handing some followers up to £225 a month. They are expected not only to grow beards but also to persuade their wives to wear the niqab, or face veil, a custom virtually unknown in the liberal Islamic tradition of the Balkans.

Government sources in traditionally secular Macedonia (official title the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), said they were monitoring up to 50 Al-Qaeda volunteers recruited to fight in Afghanistan.

Classified documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that Macedonian officials are also investigating a number of Islamic charities, some in Saudi Arabia, which are active throughout the Balkans and are suspected of spreading extremism and laundering money for terrorist organisations.

One of the groups under scrutiny is the International Islamic Relief Organisation from Saudi Arabia, which is on a United Nations blacklist of organisations backing terrorism. It did not respond to inquiries, but has previously denied involvement in terrorist activities, calling such claims “totally unfounded”.

According to its website, it works in 32 countries to provide relief to the victims of natural disasters and to carry out humanitarian, health and educational projects.

“Hundreds of millions have been poured into Macedonia alone in the past decade and most of it comes from Saudi Arabia,” said a government source. “The Saudis’ main export seems to be ideology, not oil.”

Sulejman Rexhepi, leader of the Islamic community in Macedonia, said a number of mosques had been forcibly taken over by radical groups. Four in central Skopje are no longer under the control of the official Islamic authorities. New imams claim they have been “spontaneously” installed by the “people”.

“Their so-called Wahhabi teachings are completely alien to our traditions and to the essence of Islam, which is a tolerant and inclusive religion,” said Rexhepi.

In some mosques believers are being told that Macedonia, which sent 200 soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, has been tricked into supporting a crusade against Islam spearheaded by Britain and America. Radical clerics have shown footage from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories to illustrate their claims that the West is waging war on Islam.

Rahman, a 35-year-old cab driver from Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, said he had stopped going to his local mosque since it was taken over by extremists. “Following the Haiti earthquake the new imam said God would punish the West for their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with natural disasters,” he said.

Bekir Halimi, an imam trained in Syria, runs Bamiresia, an Islamic charity that has been investigated for alleged terrorist links and money laundering. Police raided its offices but failed to find any evidence of terrorist links.

“We are fully entitled to receive funding from both governmental and non-governmental organisations from Saudi Arabia,” said Halimi, who refuses to name the sources of his funding but rejects any suggestion of criminal activity.

Macedonia’s law enforcement agencies warn that the European Union and America have failed to recognise the growing problem of Islamic extremism in the Balkans.

Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, has declared stability in the region to be her top priority, but local politicians complain that the EU and Nato are reducing their presence in troublespots such as Bosnia and Kosovo.

Last month, Bosnian security forces raided a village strongly influenced by Salafi extremists and found a weapons cache.

In raids elsewhere rifles, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades have been uncovered.

The West has put considerable political and financial efforts into helping build democracy in Bosnia following its civil war in the 1990s. Saudi organisations have also asserted considerable influence, giving more than £450m to build more than 150 mosques and Islamic centres.

In Macedonia, Fatmir, a former disc jockey, explained how he became an adherent of Salafism. The father of two has grown a beard and instructed his wife to wear a niqab. He now makes his living by selling Islamist literature. “Ours is the Islam of the 21st century,” he said.

Saudi Shootout With Another Neighbor

[Saudi terror, Saudi hegemony…all the same thing.  Being America’s number 1 friend gives you the right to do whatever you want, to anyone you want, all in the name of God.]

Naval battle between UAE and Saudi Arabia raises fears for Gulf security

A naval clash in the Gulf has reignited fears over the security of the world’s most important shipping lanes and disputed oilfields.

By Richard Spencer in Dubai

The United Arab Emirates navy is thought to have opened fire on a small patrol vessel from Saudi Arabia after a dispute over water boundaries.

According to one report, two Saudi sailors were injured in the alleged bombardment.

The Saudi vessel was forced to surrender, and its sailors were delivered into custody in Abu Dhabi for several days, before being released and handed over to the Saudi embassy earlier this week.

The incident has shocked diplomats who hope the countries, both key American allies, will help implement the West’s strategy to constrain Iran’s nuclear and military ambitions.

The clash happened in disputed waters between the coasts of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and the peninsula on which the gas-rich state of Qatar sits.

The seabed is rich with oil deposits, while the Dolphin pipeline project to carry natural gas direct from Qatar to Abu Dhabi has provoked irritation in the Saudi authorities. Nevertheless, direct conflict between the two countries’ armed forces is highly unusual.

The Gulf is one of the most heavily armed regions in the world. The Saudi government has been building up its army and air force for years in response to what it sees as a regional threat from Iran.

The UAE was slower to join the arms race, despite a long-running row with Iran over three Gulf islands previously under Abu Dhabi control which were seized by the late Shah in 1971 on the night the Emirates celebrated their independence.

But now the UAE, despite its small size, is the fourth largest purchaser of weaponry on the international market in the world.

Western governments are exasperated that the two countries are unable to co-operate because of a series of long-running border disputes, largely influenced by oil reserves.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer, while Abu Dhabi, though ranking only number four in OPEC, is by some counts the richest city per head of population in the world.

“It looks as though attempts were made to keep this quiet, which is predictable given the important relationship between the two countries and the strategic relationship with Iran,” a Gulf-based diplomat said. “But it does remind us of the simmering rows that there are in this part of the Gulf.”

The Gulf is the shipping route for 40 per cent of the world’s oil trade. The lack of agreed naval boundaries leads to repeated arrests of civilian vessels, including a British yacht by the Iranian navy last November, but more serious is the threat of Iranian retaliation for any attack by Israel or American forces on its nuclear installations.

The Iranian government has threatened to mine the Straits of Hormuz at the tip of the Gulf, or target the western navies moored in Gulf Arab ports.

“This is getting serious,” a local defence analyst said. “The Dolphin pipeline is a critical interstate energy project to bring gas from Qatar to the UAE, so a fight (with Saudi Arabia) is affecting the relations between these three countries at a time when they should be co-operating.”

A spokesman for the UAE ministry of defence said he was unable to give details of the incident.

An Unaccustomed Truth: American Commander Admits Afghan Atrocities

An Unaccustomed Truth: American Commander Admits Afghan Atrocities

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?

— Bob Dylan, “Tombstone Blues”

One can only assume that the regular editors of the New York Times were all out at a party, or left early for a weekend in the Hamptons, or something — but somehow, the paper published a front webpage story that stated — without the usual thousand excuses and extenuations — that American troops are routinely slaughtering Afghan civilians at checkpoints. What’s more, the story unequivocally ties the civilian killings to the “surge” ordered by the noble Nobel Peace laureate, Barack Obama.

Here’s what the Times says:

American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but in no instance did the victims prove to be a danger to troops, according to military officials in Kabul.

And what is the paper’s authority for this astounding admission of atrocity? Not the usual “unnamed sources” or “senior official in a position to have knowledge of the situation,” but none other than Obama’s hand-picked commander on the Af-Pak front, General Stanley “Black Ops” McChrystal his own self:

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” said Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who became the senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan last year. His comments came during a recent videoconference to answer questions from troops in the field about civilian casualties.

Let’s repeat the much-media-lauded general’s statement again: “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” Now, what would the authorities say if you or I shot “an amazing number of people who have never proven to be a threat?” Why, they would call us murderers — even mass murderers. Yet this is precisely what “the senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan” has just declared, on videotape.

The story goes on to make the extraordinarily straight — and indisputable — point that these wanton killings of civilians who have never even “proven to be a threat” is fanning the very “insurgency” (which is the Beltway term of art for any resistance to American military presence”) whose quelling is the ostensible reason for the Laureate’s “surge” in the first place:

Failure to reduce checkpoint and convoy shootings, known in the military as “escalation of force” episodes, has emerged as a major frustration for military commanders who believe that civilian casualties deeply undermine the American and NATO campaign in Afghanistan.

Many of the detainees at the military prison at Bagram Air Base joined the insurgency after the shootings of people they knew, said the senior NATO enlisted man in Afghanistan, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall.

“There are stories after stories about how these people are turned into insurgents,” Sergeant Major Hall told troops during the videoconference. “Every time there is an escalation of force we are finding that innocents are being killed,” he said.

The story even states plainly that the official figures of admitted killing of unthreatening civilians — already unconscionably high — might not be the true extent of these atrocities:

Shootings from convoys and checkpoints involving American, NATO and Afghan forces accounted for 36 civilian deaths last year, down from 41 in 2008, according to the United Nations. With at least 30 Afghans killed since last June in 95 such shootings, according to military statistics, the rate shows no signs of abating.

And those numbers do not include shooting deaths caused by convoys guarded by private security contractors. Some tallies have put the total number of escalation of force deaths far higher.

A spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, Zemary Bashary, said private security contractors sometimes killed civilians during escalation of force episodes, but he said he did not know the number of instances.

The story also presents an example of one slaughter of civilians, and shows how it leads directly to the rise of resistance against the American military presence:

One such case was the death of Mohammed Yonus, a 36-year-old imam and a respected religious authority, who was killed two months ago in eastern Kabul while commuting to a madrasa where he taught 150 students.

A passing military convoy raked his car with bullets, ripping open his chest as his two sons sat in the car. The shooting inflamed residents and turned his neighborhood against the occupation, elders there say.

“The people are tired of all these cruel actions by the foreigners, and we can’t suffer it anymore,” said Naqibullah Samim, a village elder from Hodkail, where Mr. Yonus lived. “The people do not have any other choice, they will rise against the government and fight them and the foreigners. There are a lot of cases of killing of innocent people.”

Finally, the story depicts McChrystal — again, the handpicked commander of the commander-in-chief — stating flatly when it comes to the widely ballyhooed “counterinsurgency doctrine” that is supposedly now governing the military occupation of Afghanistan, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. In other words, it’s a full-scale, four-star FUBAR:

More recently, General McChrystal moved to bring nearly all Special Operations forces in Afghanistan under his control. NATO officials said concern about civilian casualties caused by these forces was partly behind the decision, along with the need to better coordinate units and ensure that local commanders were aware of what was happening.

One unit could be doing counterinsurgency, while another carried out “a raid that might in fact upset progress,” General McChrystal explained during the videoconference.

Beyond the bare facts reported by the story — i.e., the top American commanders acknowledge that their forces are killing scores of innocent civilians who pose no threat to the occupiers, and that their own incompetent policies are actually breeding more hatred and resistance — there is also the astonishing circumstance that we have a story on the Laureate’s “good war” in Afghanistan that is almost entirely nothing but bare facts.

Of course, the story appeared late on a Friday, and will no doubt disappear down the memory hole in short order. (What, you think the Sunday talk shows will be filled with heated discussions about “McChrystal’s astounding admission”?) Still, I must admit that when I read the piece, I honestly did a double-take; I thought it was a hoax — or perhaps a hack. Not because the story seemed implausible — but precisely because it didn’t, and because it was shorn of most of the self-serving, empire-justifying bullshit that surrounds accounts of the “Peace Prize Surge.”

Again, just think of it, let it sink in, attend to the word of the commander: “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” Again: “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” Again:“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”

Again: what do you call it when innocent, unarmed, defenseless people who “have never proven to be a threat” are gunned down in cold blood? What do you call such an act?

Parachinar–Pakistan’s Gaza Strip

[SEE: The actual story of Parachinar Pakistan ]

Parachinar: Pakistan’s Gaza Strip remains under siege by Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba

The following news item in Dawn today (27 March 2010) forced me to post this rather lengthy compilation of events. First the news item:

Six kidnapped truckers found dead in Thal
Dawn, 27 Mar, 2010

PESHAWAR: Police on Saturday found the bodies of six truck drivers who were kidnapped a few days ago in a restive northwestern town, officials said.

The drivers were shot dead and their bodies were found in Thal district, local police official Abdul Rehman told AFP.

“A letter found in the pocket of one dead truck driver said that if anyone supplied goods to the Parachinar Shia community, he will be treated like this,” Rehman said.

Parachinar, the main town of Kurram tribal district, is a sectarian flashpoint where activists from the rival Shia and Sunni Muslim sects have clashed in the past.

A police spokesman confirmed the incident, but did not identify the suspects, saying an investigation was in progress.

Shias account for about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s Sunni-dominated population. The two communities usually coexist peacefully, but more than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence since the late 1980s.

Attacks by extremists, meanwhile, have killed more than 3,100 people since July 2007. Most attacks are blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.

Separately, militants early Saturday blew up a boys’ middle school in Alingarh village of Mohmand tribal district, where troops are hunting Taliban militants, local administration chief Amjad Ali Khan said. Taliban militants have destroyed 36 government school buildings in Mohmand since 2009.

Only three weeks ago, on 5 March 2010, terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba hadattacked a Shia convoy travelling to Parachinar, killing at least 14 women, men and children. Here is a picture of a child victim of that attack:


Here is a brief background of Parachinar and the blockade faced by its more than half a million population.

Parachinar and its siege

Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency, FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) of Pakistan, remains under siege by the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba for the last three years. Parachinar is situated on a neck of Pakistani territory south of Peshawar, that juts into Paktia Province in Afghanistan and is the closest point in Pakistan to Kabul and borders on the Tora Bora region in Afghanistan.

The main road that connects this remote area to Peshawar and the rest of Pakistan has been effectively blocked for almost three years by certain jihadi and sectarian outfits, i.e., Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba. Any one from Parachinar who tries to travel through this road is attacked and literally slaughtered.

To get their daily supplies of food and medicine, the people of Parachinar are forced to take the longer route to Peshawar which requires crossing the Afghan border.

The cost of daily supplies and travel to other parts of Pakistan has therefore multiplied five to six times.

The Afghan route is not very safe either. On several occasions, the passengers from Parachinar have been abducted and killed by the Afghan Taliban. T

The Pakistani state has to a large extent turned a deaf ear to various appeals requesting security and emergency supplies to Parachinar. Rogue elements within the state institutions (e.g. ISI) are actively backing the criminals (Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba) in their protracted, low-scale ethnic cleansing of the Parachinar people.

Parachinar: The Valley of Death
By Ali Jawad

Tucked away between soaring snowy-peaks and deep gorges in the fragile north-western region of Pakistan is the tiny town of Parachinar.

Humbled by towering snow-tipped mountains and covered by endless fruit orchards, Parachinar’s natural charm is breathtaking. Its narrative for the last two years however, has been anything but reflective of the serene beauty of its surroundings.

Strangled by recurring sieges laid on the town by the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, and a plight concealed from the consciences of the outside world by a silent media, the lives of Parachinaris have been a tale of untold suffering.

Since early 2007, Taliban insurgency has gripped the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which holds Parachinar, and the surrounding North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) leading to the deaths of hundreds. Even more have been left homeless and without means of sustenance with homes and local businesses regularly torched down just because their owners happen to fall under the wrong “sect”, i.e., Shia, who are considered infidel by extremist Deobandis and Wahhabis. Despite the periodical nature of sectarian violence in these regions, the unrelenting wave of the recent outbreak has been by far the bloodiest in recent memory.

Shias represent a majority of the population in Parachinar constituting over fifty-percent (50%) of the population. They also have a considerable presence in neighbouring towns in the north-west, e.g., in Kohat, Hangu and D.I.Khan.

During the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, the Kurram Agency (which hosts the town of Parachinar) came under increased focus for its strategic location as it provided the shortest route from within Pakistan to the Afghan capital, Kabul. Jutting out into Afghanistan almost like an island peninsula, it was famously nicknamed the “Parrot’s Beak” by US forces during the Soviet-Afghan War and was regularly used as a launching-pad by American-backed “jihadists” to strike out at the Soviets. As a result of this strategic importance, towns in the FATA region were flooded by inflows of Wahhabist and Salafist anti-Soviet “jihadists” well-known for their hatred towards Shias.

Following on from the early and comparably minimal killings unleashed in 2007, armed Wahhabi groups have since caved in on the local Shias of Parachinar from all sides. The Shia residents of Parachinar have repeatedly claimed that Wahhabi elements from Afghanistan have joined in the attacks against the town’s Shias, but these cries have been met by deaf ears in Islamabad’s Pakistani central government.

An all-out attack against the Shias of Parachinar has been underway for a long time now; even Sunni locals seen to be “friendly” towards Shias have not been spared in this maelstrom of killing. Gruesome images of beheaded and mutilated bodies, with arms and legs chopped off from corpses, have surfaced on the Internet since the outbreak of violence. Such showings of utter barbarity are not altogether unique. The collective massacres of Hazara Shias in next door Afghanistan – more notably in Mazari Sharif in 1998 where during a 48-hour period over 8,000 Hazaras were mercilessly slaughtered – evoke similar images of ruthlessness. By the end of the killing spree then, corpses littered the streets of the city after express orders were given out by the Taliban government for the dead to be left unburied.

Eerily reminiscent of massacres conducted against Afghan Shias in the recent past, Riaz Ali Toori, a villager from Parachinar, protested in a letter to a Pakistani daily:

“Today Parachinar is burning: daily bodies of more than five beheaded persons reach Parachinar. The situation of Parachinar is getting worse day by day and so is the life of all people living there. It’s a matter of great sorrow and shock that Pakistan, in spite of bringing Fata into the mainstream of the country, has been pushed into fighting a continuous war and facing terror.” (Letters to the Editor, The Dawn, April 08 2008)

Surprisingly, at a time when the “civilized” world is on a so-called offensive against “terror”, coverage of the sorrow-filled plight of Parachinaris within western media has been periodical at best. The reasons for this are unclear. May be it is because Parachinar, fatefully, does not sit over barrels of oil.

In July of 2008, the New York Times ran a piece highlighting the rise of “sectarian conflict” in Parachinar. By then, the town had already been subject to a siege that had spanned for months; food and medical supplies had been in severe shortage after the main Thal-Peshawar highway leading to the town was blocked off by armed groups.

The New York Times article carried the story of Asif Hussain, a Sunni driver, in a relief convoy headed for Parachinar; the convoy was ambushed, and its drivers taken captive. Asif Hussain was let off after convincing his captors that he was Sunni, the other eight drivers were not as lucky. (Power Rising Taliban Besiege Pakistani Shiites, New York Times, July 26 2008)

Today, the Taliban / Sipah-e-Sahaba led violence against Shias has spread out over a larger radius extending all the way through to the southern tips of the NWFP and the rest of the country. Attacks on Shias in Kohat, Hangu, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, Chakwal, D.G. Khan, Quetta and Karachi have become a norm.

The systematic targeting of followers of the Shia sect in various regions of Pakistan, more specifically in the north-west of the country, amounts to nothing other than a project of ethnic cleansing.

According to a reputed scholar of the phenomenon of ethnic cleansing, Drazen Petrovic, he defines it as such:

“ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is very often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all means, from discrimination to extermination …”

The above definition provides an almost perfect fit to the present situation of Shia in Pakistan, particularly in Parachinar. If international silence continues as it has over the last three years, the same story will have repeated across many towns in the FATA, NWFP and all over Pakistan.

That the Pakistani government, Pakistan Army in particular given its persistent patronage of and links with Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, holds principal blame for its failure to restrain the killings is indisputable and goes without mention. Wider global apathy to an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing however, is certainly not comprehensible and deserves a great deal of mention.

Parachinar deserves better. And the people of Parachinar certainly deserve better. The least we can do is speak out and urge our leaders to press the Pakistani government to bring an immediate end to these massacres. Then, and only then perhaps, can it be said that we have extended a hand to the forgotten victims of Parachinar.

Ali Jawad is a political activist and a member of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM); http://www.aimislam.com/.

Source: Counter Currents, 2009

Locals cry for freedom from militants in Kurram
‘Pakistan’s Gaza Strip’ under siege for three years

By Mumtaz Alvi

The News, March 24, 2010

Most recently, on 23 March 2010, the inhabitants of Kurram Agency have appealed to the government (read Pakistan Army) to come to their rescue in the face of long-continuing siege, militants’ (Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba) barbarism and economic blockade of their region.

Though an open letter, representing the over 0.5 million population of the agency, several locals of Turi and Bangash tribes through e-mails, have sought the government’s intervention to rid them of the militants, who were after them to implement their diabolical agenda.

“Through this open letter/petition, we, half-a-million population of Kurram Agency, Fata capital Parachinar and surroundings, want to draw the attention of the government, media and civil society towards inhuman behaviour being meted out to us on our own land in the form of siege and economic blockade since April 2007, has converted the paradise-like valley into a Gaza Strip,” they said.

They wondered why the state apparatus was helpless in dealing with a very small number of militants and why it lacked the ability to also open the road permanently. They noted through Voice of Parachinar (Parachinar-based website) if Swat and other areas, infested with militants could be cleared, why not the Kurram Agency?

The valley is located on the Pak-Afghan border. The inhabitants have to risk their lives while coming to other parts of Pakistan, as they have to do this via restive Afghanistan. Many of them have lost their lives in the bid during the last three years. The main road leading to the agency is blocked.

“The real challenge to the government is how to permanently make the Tall-Parachinar road secure at least for vehicular movement. But unfortunately, this has not been done so far,” said Hasan Gul Ishrat, who last visited Parachinar in November 2007. He said only a few days back, a suicide bomber hit a convoy, escorted by the FC personnel, again ringing alarming bells, for those who either wanted to visit their families in Kurram Agency or planned to come out of the under siege valley.

Sajid Hussain Turi and Munir Khan Orakzai, the two MNAs are from Kurram Agency, from NA-37 and NA-38, respectively. They too have not been able to freely visit their constituencies, let alone carrying out development works there. They have raised the issue on the floor of parliament several times and also brought it to the notice of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but the situation by and large remains unchanged.

Hasan Gul noted the Kurram Agency was divided mainly into Turi and Bangash tribes — Turis were Shias, whereas Bangash Sunnis, but unfortunately, both were hostages and suffering at the hands of the Taliban.

The residents feel that if it was difficult to take on the militants on ground, they could be effectively dealt a decisive blow by helicopters or jets. They have even offered to lead security forces in hunting down the militants.

A journalist from Parachinar, who is Islamabad-based, Ali Hussain Turi, talking to The News requested to the government to launch a decisive action to cleanse the Kurram Agency of militants on the auspicious anniversary of 1940 Resolution. He said that making the main road safe for public could provide the desperately-needed relief to the people of the Kurram Agency and this ultimately could lead to ending its occupation. Ali’s parents, brothers and sisters have also been under siege in Parachinar for the last three years.

Source: The News

Call for Help

The humanitarian crisis in Parachinar demands urgent action. We can’t afford to sit idle and wait for our army generals and government ministers to attend to their responsibilities. Thousands of people are literally on the verge of death. The objective of the protracted, low-scale ethnic cleansing is to drive them out of their ancestral lands and to provide a safe haven for terrorists of Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba. The brave people of Parachinar have been able to defend themselves for many years now. But their capacities are nothing compared to the organized terror machinery of their opponents. Their plight is indeed desperate. In the name of God and in the name of humanity, please come forward and help your brothers and sisters in need.

What YOU CAN do!

Educate yourselves and people around you about the situation.

Organize prayers, vigils, and workshops in your localities (school campus, public libraries, Friday prayers, mosques and community centers, embassies and press clubs). Prepare large posters with images and concise information.

Write op-ed columns and letters to your local and national newspapers with an informed perspective. Also write to your governments and local and international human rights groups. Hold poster and letter writing sessions in your communities.

Demand that the Pakistani army and government ensure the protection of all of its citizens. It should immediately end the blockade of the Peshawar-Parachinar route. The government should set up an independent commission to investigate the complicity of state officials and intelligence agencies. They should also estimate the level of damage and compensate the victims duly.

Generate emergency funds in your localities through donation and public service. Establish these funds as part of a regular project (with a target amount to be generated each year) to help victims of oppression in various parts of Pakistan and elsewhere.

As you help these victims with basic humanitarian aid (food, medicine, shelter), also empower them for the longer term by establishing and supporting sustainable development projects, relating to education, health, media/communications, micro-financing, and community building.

Keep up with the latest developments in Parachinar and other affected areas in Pakistan.

Lastly, in any assessment or condemnation of crimes against the Parachinar people, especially in the international media, it is important to hold accountable not only the front-end Taliban forces, but also the hidden hands (ISI, CIA, Saudi Arabia) that created and promoted them over the years and that continue to use them to advance their political and economic interests. Focusing purely on the Taliban conceals the crucial role of the bigger powers in this game. These very powers can also effectively control these criminals. Therefore, these powers should be the main target of international pressures. Merely denouncing the Taliban without denouncing the powers that originated them and for whose interests they are still working also leads to a kind of misperception in the eyes of the world that the problem is with Islam and its teachings.

Useful Readings:

Ahmed Rashid. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. (Yale University Press, 2001)

Ahmed Rashid. Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. (Viking Adult, 2008)

Ayesha Siddiqa. Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. (Pluto, 2007)

Gyan Pandey. Construction of Communalism. (Oxford, 2006, 2nd edition)

Hassan Abbas. Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism. (M.E. Sharpe, 2004)

Mahmood Mamdani. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. (Random House, 2004)

Shuja Nawaz. Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within. (Oxford, 2008)


Arab Summit: Turkey Blasts Israel, Dialogue with Iran Not Welcomed

Arab Summit: Turkey Blasts Israel, Dialogue with Iran Not Welcomed

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unleashed a vehement attack on Israel’s policy in Jerusalem at an Arab summit in Libya as Arabs turned down a proposal to open dialogue with Iran.

Erdogan, a guest speaker, blasted as “madness” Israel’s policy in dealing with the whole of Jerusalem as its united capital.

“Jerusalem is the apple of the eye of each and every Muslim… and we cannot at all accept any Israeli violation in Jerusalem or in Muslim sites,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Arab League summit in the Libyan town of Sirte Saturday.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was likewise invited by Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi to address the summit, said “now is the time to give peace a chance.”

“We have the possibility, we have the responsibility and we feel the urgency,” he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out U.S.-brokered indirect peace talks with Israel unless it freezes all settlement construction, as Arab leaders closed ranks over Jerusalem.

Abbas, in a speech at the opening of the two-day summit, echoed widespread concern that the Middle East peace process was at risk, urging his Arab peers to “rescue” Jerusalem.

“We cannot resume indirect negotiations as long as Israel maintains its settlement policy and the status quo,” he said.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon also addressed the summit, seeking Arab support for the peace talks.

He urged Arab leaders to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian “proximity” talks, saying “our common goal should be to resolve all final-status issues within 24 months.”

Ban also criticized as “illegal” Israeli settlement construction in mainly Arab east Jerusalem and stressed Jerusalem must emerge “as the capital of two states.”

Abbas accused Israel of seeking to wipe out the Arab identity of Jerusalem through “ethnic cleansing.”

He insisted that Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem must be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

“We have always said that Jerusalem is the jewel in the crown and the gate to peace,” Abbas said.

Fresh U.S. efforts to broker indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks earlier this month were still-born when Israel announced plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem.

The timing of the announcement during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden angered Washington and the Palestinians, who just days earlier had agreed to give peace talks another chance after a year-long hiatus.

Arab leaders from both the pro-Western and radical camps have also been angered by the opening of a restored 17th-century synagogue near east Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The 13 Arab leaders attending the summit along with Qadhafi are due to adopt a resolution to raise 500 million dollars in aid to improve living conditions for Jerusalem Palestinians.

After a plenary session for speeches, the leaders broke for lunch and returned for talks behind closed doors before wrapping up the first day of meetings.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who said before the summit that peace talks with Israel had become “pointless,” asked the leaders on Saturday to examine “the chances of failure of the peace process” due to Israel’s policies.

He also said the Arabs should open a dialogue with Iran, which is locked in a dispute with the West over its controversial nuclear program, and set up an “Arab Neighborhood Zone” that would include the Islamic republic and Turkey.

“I understand that some of us have concerns about Iranian positions. This does not rule out but maybe confirms the need for a dialogue in order to define our future relations with Iran, with whom we differ on many issues,” he said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit told reporters that the afternoon session discussed Moussa’s proposal on Iran “but most of the Arab countries don’t welcome this for now.” He did not elaborate.

The Arab summit follows the worst violence in the blockaded Gaza Strip in 14 months, and comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected anew on Friday international calls to stop settlement building in east Jerusalem.

Israeli tanks carried out an incursion into southern Gaza and killed a Palestinian militant on Saturday after the army lost two soldiers in clashes the previous day along the border with the coastal strip.

The Sirte gathering is the first annual summit to be hosted by Qadhafi, who considers Israel an implacable “enemy” of the Arabs.(Naharnet-AFP)

Ferghana Hydro relations…

Hydro relations…

26/03-2010 11:15, Bishkek – News Agency “24.kg”

Bishkek and Dushanbe are not going to decline from the ambitious projects of construction of Rogunsk and Kambar-Ata hydro power plants in order to satisfy Uzbekistan. Besides, the countries will conduct an international assessment, having agreed thereby with the Tashkent’s attitude.

For Dushanbe, the erection of the Rogunsk HPP is a chance to come out of energy isolation. Official Tashkent is determined not to admit such course of events.

– By means of a giant dam Dushanbe will have a serious influence on Tashkent’s policy. As an owner, Tajikistan can block off the access to water source any time. And fatally depending on irrigation, the Uzbek agro sector will die in a two-week’s time, – the Director of the Central Asian Department of the Institute for CIS and Baltic countries Andrei Grozin considers.

Russia also must reckon with Uzbekistan, despite the fact that Moscow intends to contribute to the construction of Kyrgyzstan’s Kambar-Ata HPP.

– Tashkent plays a very important role in energy and primarily gas sectors of the region. Russia must not lose such a partner by no means, Andrei Grozin notes.

Winter 2010 – turned out to be a very hot period for Central Asian countries. Uzbekistan refused from energy cooperation with the states included in the Unified energy system, whereby gave a great number of problems to its neighbors, especially to Tajikistan.

Dushanbe regards the attitude of Uzbekistan as disrespect to national interests of all Central Asian republics.

– Coming out of Uzbekistan from the Unified energy system harms not only our state, but all the countries of the region, since at the most hard times the “ring” provided with uninterruptible energy exchange”, stated the Ambassador of Tajikistan in Kazakhstan Abdutalip Ahmetov in the interview with NA “Novosti Kazakhstana”.

As soon as Uzbekistan broke the “ring”, Astana, Bishkek and Dushanbe decided to create their own system. According to Abdutalip Akhmetov, they will construct a transmission line from Kyrgyz Osh to Tajik Khudzhand that will help unite three energy systems into one.

Besides, a road will be laid between Kazakhstan and Tajikistan through Kyrgyzstan. Astana also agreed to create an investment fund of 100 million dollars on equal shares. Tajikistan has already decided how to apply the funds: they will direct them for development of hydroelectric sector, agriculture and construction. However, these projects have no real implementation yet.

Uzbekistan is continuing to occupy a defiant attitude. According to Tashkent, the neighbors should not undertake these constructions. At the same time, Uzbekistan authorities frankly stated several times that construction of the Rogunsk HPP can lead to great shallowing of Amudarya – one of the main arteries of the Aral Sea. But analysts assume that the root of the Aral problem is in irrational utilization of water resources. According to assessments of the UN experts, over 20 percent of water of river flows are discharged idly due to incorrect arrangement of irrigation system, simply go into ground, whereas only five percent required for reservoir filling.

– Uzbek expert, Director of Hydroproject OJSC Sergei Zhigarev in his interview to the news agency REGNUM stated that the intent of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to construct HPP by twenty-year-old projects is a criminal flippancy.

– All existing hydro power facilities of international importance must have licenses for safe exploitation, but only after documentary evidence that they comply with the requirements of modern international reliability and safety standards, Zhigarev concluded.

In turn, the Head of the International Fund “Institute for research of problems of water and water energy security in Central Asia” Ernest Karybekov accentuates that he cannot understand why the Uzbek party is so intensely insisting on conducting an assessment.

– When I hear requirements on conducting of assessment, then I involuntarily ask myself: what are our neighbors afraid of the most – the break of dams or decrease of water supply? If they bother of operation regime and water supply more, then these nuances can be included in contracts and agreements. If they think of possible break of dams, particularly like the one which happened as a result of explosion on Naryn River, then again we need to model a would-be emergency without any excessive emotions. Generally there is no any threat. The danger is contrived and exaggerated, Karybekov says.

In search of benefit, Moscow, sharing the attitude of Tashkent, is not breaching the agreement with Bishkek. The Kremlin understands that participation in Kambarata-Ata-1 Project in future will bring solid political dividends and Russia will obtain a powerful lever of influence on the region.

At the same time Russia refused to finance the Rogunsk HPP. And Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon declared that they will construct the Rogunsk HPP on their own. Moreover Tajikistan authorities are collecting funds for the construction from population, and the amount is 1.4 billion soms. Each Tajik family should buy shares of the Rogun. But they can count on dividends only after launch of the first aggregate of the HPP.

Tajik specialists stated that in the long-term perspective the Rogun is profitable not only for Tajikistan, but also for Uzbekistan. Thus, the neighbors can receive water in the required volume for irrigation of gourd fields.

The leading scientific officer of the Russian Institute of strategic researches Azhdar Kurtov considers that Uzbekistan hardly change its opinion regarding the “construction of century”. Tashkent will firstly undertake diplomatic efforts, and it’s not improbable that in order to find supporters, it will initiate discussion of the problem of the Rogunsk HPP at an international level.

A serious conflict is ripening, and as a peace-maker appeared the European Union, though it was expected that Russia will help.

The special representative of the EU to Central Asian countries Pierre Morel, who visited Dushanbe in the middle of January, informed about the willingness of Brussels to allocate 60 million dollars to Tajikistan, so that, instead of one big HHP, the Tajik build several but small HPPs. These funds will be enough to construct two small HPPs on Surkhob River and to modernize the existing Kairakumsk HPP.

– It is not easy to solve the existing problems in this direction in Central Asian countries, it is necessary to conduct a constant dialogue, and the European Union is ready to facilitate holding such a dialogue”, Pierre Morel stated.

Darya Podolskaya, special edition of Slovo Kyrgyzstana plus newspaper, 26 March, 2010

Uzbek Students Protest Tajik Aluminum Plant

Uzbek Students Protest Tajik Aluminum Plant

A barge operator on the Amu Darya river near the Uzbek border town of Termez

March 26, 2010
TERMEZ, Uzbekistan — Around 1,000 students and university professors in the southern Uzbek town of Termez have protested against neighboring Tajikistan’s plan to expand its aluminum plant near Uzbek territory, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.

Participants in the March 25 protest said industrial waste from the plant has caused serious health and environmental problems in Sariosiyo, Uzun, Denov, and other districts of Uzbekistan’s southeastern Surkhondaryo Province.

The aluminum plant, run by the Tajik Aluminum Company (Talco), was launched in late March 1975 in close proximity to the border with Uzbekistan.

Uzbek ecology movements have repeatedly said the plant has contaminated water, air, and soil in Surkhondaryo for over 35 years, resulting in an increase of pollution-related diseases among the local population.

According to Uzbek environmentalists, high rates of pulmonary and digestive diseases and blood disorders among Surkhondaryo residents are connected to pollution caused by the aluminum plant.

Tajik authorities have denied such accusations.

The protest action in Termez came two days after the Uzbek ambassador in Dushanbe was summoned by Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry to hand over a protest note over some 1,000 Tajik rail freight cars blocked in Uzbek rail stations.

According to reports by RFE/RL’s Tajik and Uzbek services, Uzbek railway officials since early February had blocked the cargo train wagons transiting through Uzbekistan, citing technical reasons.

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service quoted Tajikistan’s railway officials as saying the freight cars were carrying raw alumina for the Talco plant, a few bulldozers for the construction of the country’s Roghun hydropower station, fuel, and some nonmilitary cargo for international forces in Afghanistan.

The Uzbek Embassy in Dushanbe said today that some of the trains have already left for Tajikistan.

The embassy rejected a claim by Tajik authorities that political motives were behind the hold-up.

Relations have cooled between the two neighbors in recent months over Tajikistan’s plans to complete the construction of its key Roghun power plant despite Tashkent’s objections.

Uzbekistan says the Roghun plant will leave it facing water shortages.

Uzbeks ‘Ease’ Freight Holdup At Center Of Row With Tajikistan

Uzbeks ‘Ease’ Freight Holdup At Center Of Row With Tajikistan

The delayed railroad cars are carrying materials for the Talco aluminum plant.

March 27, 2010
DUSHANBE — Some of an estimated 1,000 freight cars held up for several weeks on Uzbek territory have now arrived in Tajikistan, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

Tajik railway officials said around 150 of the railcars were now in the country, but the Foreign Ministry said hundreds more were still being held up on Uzbek territory.

Officials said previously that the freight cars contain raw materials for Tajikistan’s Talco aluminum plant, construction equipment for the country’s Roghun hydropower station, fuel, and some nonmilitary cargo for international forces in Afghanistan.

The hold-up has caused a dispute between the neighboring countries, with Tajikistan accusing Uzbekistan of intentionally blocking the freight transiting through its territory.

Uzbekistan has blamed technical problems, along with bad weather and an increase in freight traffic.

On this last point, the Uzbek Embassy in Dushanbe said on March 26 that Uzbekistan was fulfilling “its obligations under international agreements on ensuring the passage of nonmilitary and humanitarian goods to Afghanistan.”

Relations have cooled between the two neighbors in recent months over
Tajikistan’s plans to complete the construction of its key Roghun power plant despite Tashkent’s objections.

Uzbekistan says the Roghun plant will leave it facing water shortages.

Tajik plans to expand the Talco plant, near the Uzbek border, have also prompted some anxiety in Uzbekistan.

On March 25, around 1,000 students and university professors in the southern Uzbek town of Termez protested the planned expansion, saying industrial waste from the plant had caused health and environmental problems.

Tajik authorities have previously denied such accusations

Increased Traffic Exposes Weak Links In Northern Distribution Network

Uzbek-Tajik dispute hinders Afghanistan supplies


The Associated Press

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — A dispute between two former Soviet republics in Central Asia has caused a bottleneck in the shipment of some nonmilitary supplies destined for U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, Tajik officials said Friday.

Tajikistan says freight traffic is being blocked from crossing its border with Uzbekistan, holding up many shipments, including the Afghanistan-bound supplies.

Tajiks say the action has severely damaged their economy. Some analysts say Uzbekistan has halted traffic because it fears that a huge dam project in Tajikistan will divert water from its territory.

Uzbekistan denies that the interruption in railway deliveries is intentional.

Under deals secured last year, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan granted the United States and NATO forces permission to transport nonmilitary materials through their countries to neighboring Afghanistan.

Tajik officials say that about 1,000 railway carriages transporting goods to Tajikistan for an important aluminum company and the giant Roghun hydroelectric dam construction project, as well as fuel needed for agricultural machinery, have been affected. Tajikistan’s state railways company says some of the railcars are also carrying supplies bound for international forces in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov criticized Uzbekistan for the holdup, which he said has caused his impoverished country millions of dollars. He appealed to the United Nations Secretary General to help settle the dispute.

Akilov accused Uzbekistan of intentionally targeting fuel supplies to disrupt farming in Tajikistan, which is largely rural.

The Uzbek Embassy in Tajikistan said the holdup was caused by too much traffic on its railroads.

“These problems are mainly technical and logistical, and they have been caused by a sharp increase in traffic on Uzbekistan’s railways,” the embassy said in a statement.

The statement said the increased traffic has been created by international agreements to allow deliveries of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan. Some transportation difficulties have also been caused by adverse weather, the embassy said.

Uzbek officials say its state railway company is devising an emergency timetable to ensure essential supplies are delivered to Tajikistan as soon as possible.

Since the 1991 Soviet collapse, relations between the two neighbors have been strained by border disagreements and failure to coordinate on sharing natural resources. But tensions have escalated in recent months over Tajikistan’s plan to build a giant hydroelectric plant by damming a river that flows into Uzbekistan’s agricultural heartland.


Associated Press Writer Peter Leonard contributed to this report from Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Nato chief proposes missile shield to include Russia

By Jonathan Marcus
BBC diplomatic correspondent

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for a new missile defence system that would protect the US and its allies, and include Russia as well.

Mr Rasmussen said the threat of missile proliferation was real and growing and, in cases such as Iran, these missiles could threaten Nato territories.

He said missile defence could bring Nato and Russia together.

Mr Rasmussen was speaking at the Brussels Forum – an international gathering in the Belgian capital.

The Nato secretary general said he saw a new Euro-Atlantic missile defence system, as he called it, as more than just a means of defending Nato countries against ballistic missile attack.

Mr Rasmussen clearly believes that such a system could re-invigorate not just the European allies’ relationship with the US but also Nato’s whole relationship with Russia.

“It would be an opportunity for Europe to demonstrate again to the United States that the allies are ready and willing to invest in the capabilities we need to defend ourselves,” he said.

‘New dynamic’

But he also argued that such a step would create a new dynamic in European security.

It would be a strong political symbol that Russia is fully part of the Euro-Atlantic family, he said.

It’s a bold proposal. The US has tried to draw Russia into its missile defence plans with very limited success.

Moscow tends to see the proposal as ultimately undermining its own nuclear deterrent.

But Nato as a whole is increasingly interested in such defences and looks set to go ahead with them with or without Russia on board.


Godzilla and Senator

Man can not control the forces of nature; because of the lust within, he will turn that power to evil.

Every child knows this instinctively. Children create images of Monsters in their dreams as a way to rationalize their fears, nightmares which are abstractions of reality.

Monsters are an important part of the human psyche rooted deep in the primal regions of the brain. While it is still unclear how the higher functions of the brain creates from theses primal instincts symbols, expressions and abstractions. It is from these abstractions that we as humans develop ideas about our survival and our future.

The Propagandist uses primeval tactics to reach the audience on a level that operates outside of objective and rational argument. The Propagandist uses images, ideas that awaken the deep primal fears every human being has locked away in our minds sequestered only by reason.  Mom or Dad rushed into our bedroom and turned on the lights to prove no monsters were hiding under the bed.

GODZILLA is my favorite monster my favorite propaganda image, idea. You may have never thought about Godzilla as a propaganda metaphor; but he is. Created by the Japanese as an anti nuclear symbol Godzilla is a monster born of the unintended consequence of scientific invention. The Bomb, nuclear fallout, nuclear waste and the uncontrollable effects of radiation in relation to nature and the human species.

Godzilla is a monster that slumbers deep in the hidden regions of the earth until he is awakened by some evil force. Sometimes he is called upon to help us fight an evil force. Never the less when he shows up he just kicks ass and he doesn’t care who woke him up or called him. In Godzilla’s eyes we are all worthy of and have earned an ass kicking.

When he is first awakened he usually swims around and eats a fishing boat a ship or two before he decide’s to wonder onto shore. Once he comes ashore he takes no sides and just destroys everything in his path in an uncontrollable rampage. In his primeval mind we are all instinctive threats. His intent is to render us harmless. Try as we might, we never destroy him, the more we try the more pissed off he gets and the more damage he does. Only when we finally realize our faults our errors and seek the higher road based on morality, ethics and embrace those things that are of the collective good does he retreat and fall back into his slumber until he is again woken.

This is a Warning; Godzilla is awake and he is roaming around those deep secret places in America. Only this time he has been awakened by the primeval shouting of conservative politicians who believe propagandizing primeval fear is an effective political strategy. Turn on any media source right now and you will find a consensus that the conservative message has been very successful. However Godzilla doesn’t know they’re just politicking and the conservative media pundits are pandering to a market share of the audience.  Today Godzilla is a metaphor for political fringe groups that believe government is evil and should be destroyed. We all know one of these people, it is our old uncle a co-worker or our own elderly mother who watches Fox news non stop and fears for her life.  Some of these people are armed and dangerous and are so embittered by hatred they are capable of extreme violence. They become Godzilla and they have been awakened by the shouting of Conservative Rhetoric.

So how does propaganda work so effectively. The message targets the primal fears of the audience.

We humans have three brains as it turns out combined into one head. First the reptilian brain or ‘R-complex’, second the mammalian brain or ‘limbic system’, and third the neo-mammalian brain or ‘neocortex’. The reptilian part of the brain controls reflexive actions, you stick your hand in an alligators open mouth and you lose your hand. The alligator reflexively closes its mouth, it doesn’t think about what is in its mouth. The mammalian brain controls primal fear as well as pleasure and sexual drive. It controls fight or flee instincts and it learns remembers instinctive behavior. The neocortex is the highest developed part of the system in most humans and is capable of complex and abstract thought processes. Like there is really no monster under the bed even after the other two brains reacted as if there was.

Recently you may have noticed if your using your neocortex that the conservative party message propagated by conservative politicians and the conservative media is based on key words, statements and a comprehensive message. Regardless of the question asked or regardless of whom it is asked the message the answers are the same. This is defined in the propaganda play book as Ad Nauseam to: use tireless repetition of an idea. An idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach works best when media sources are limited and controlled by the propagator.

The on going healthcare debate is an example of propaganda tactics that target primal fear. Have you heard the phrase “Ram it Down Our Throats”. This statement triggers the primal fear of choking. Or how about, “This Bill is a Baby Killer”. Triggers the primal fear to protect our offspring our children. Then there is the idea of Socialism. This idea triggers the learned primal fear of imprisonment or the loss of freedom, the loss of democratic control of free choice and the loss of wealth which equals safety or security. The intended response is to trigger such a primal fear that we don’t stop to engage the neocortex and analyze the threat. Soon through repetition we begin to believe or even develop a primal instinct and reaction to the key words and statements.

Soon the monster Godzilla is awake functioning on lower levels of the mammalian brain. He reacts without reason because of the fear driven instinctive impulses.  As Godzilla makes his way ashore he is always attacked by ineffective weapons, useless are guns and missiles. Oh sometimes these weapons knock him down or push him up against some high power lines that render a non lethal shock. He usually just lies and his back kicking and screaming and beating the ground until his reptilian brain kicks in.  Then he is just reacting reflexively to the attack. It is then our big lovable monster really starts to kick ass.

Weapons like Senator Tom Coburn’s manipulation of the new jobs bill that would extend unemployment benefits to desperate people are used to trigger the primal fear of survival, only agitates the monster.  Senate Plays Game Of Chicken With Unemployment Benefits

We can also thank the cute twin personalities of Sarah Palin for calling on Godzilla for help like the little twin fairies in the Godzilla movies that ask the monster for his help. This alway works out bad for the general population as Godzilla still rampages though cities fighting evil. But sister Palin the gun toting soccer mom has some help for Godzilla, she providing maps with her approved targets highlighted with bullseye’s  and cross hairs. So how can Godzilla miss?

Well the problem is that when primal fear controls your brain functions you don’t pay attention to the details. Maybe that’s why when some one shot a bullet through Republican Eric Cantor’s office window? He blamed the event on ratcheting up the rhetoric however police investigators determined. Bullet That Hit Eric Cantor’s Office From Random Gunfire.

Maybe it’s really Zombies we have to worry about? Zombies are good metaphors too. They function on the Reptilian Brain and they eat brains too. Zombies run amok with one intent, that is to eat your brain. Their brains are already infected, like in Resident Evil. Once infected your best friend or even your dear old mom will become a brain eating monster. Hey wait a minute isn’t there always an evil corporation  behind Zombie out breaks?

Well sooner or later if Government leaders keep telling us we can’t trust the Government we’er not going to trust the Government. I guess I need to use my neocortex and tell my Conservative Government Leaders that they are part of the Government they don’t want me to trust.

One thing is for sure based on history and the current crisis is this. As economic inequity and desperation are combined with fear, summer heat and hopelessness it is an explosive mixture.

It is time to cool down the rhetoric before the Zombies over run the rest of us. Because god help us if we have to call Godzilla to save us from ourselves.

Univ. Nebraska, Home to Afghanistan’s “Militarized” Islamist Textbooks

[It is very significant that this timely article appears at this stage in the war of terror.   America’s controversial history of collusion with “Islamists” must be made common knowledge, especially the policy of creating and training “Islamists” as part of American foreign policy.  If Americans only knew that our military and intelligence services have been training Islamists to become super terrorists for the past thirty years, the same people we are fighting today, they would not support a war designed to multiply their numbers.  If Americans only knew that these super-terrorists that we have trained are today called “al Qaida” then they would not accept either prolonging the war in Afghanistan to keep them out, or an expansion of the war into central Asia to chase after them.

Director Thomas Gouttierre, of U. Neb. Dept. of Afghan Studies, likes to maintain publicly that his effort was not a CIA project, but history and multiple lines of research by many different individuals proves that it was a political warfare operation, a psyop, from the very beginning.  It was started as CIA Dir. Wm. Casey’s pet project, which he used to extend Islamic terrorism into not only Afghanistan and Pakistan, but deep into Uzbekistan and all the Soviet Republics as well.  America’s Islamization programs are today our Achilles’ heel, which only has to be exposed to the American people to disrupt our war of conquest, which the Islamists have made possible.   (SEE: America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread )

According to the definitive history on this topic, given by author Steve Coll in Ghost Wars,:

CIA Director William Casey, in a move exceeding his authority, decided to extend destabilizing propaganda measures inside the borders of the Soviet Union. To this end, the CIA promoted the Muslim religion in Uzbekistan, by CIA commissioning a translation of the Qu’ran into Uzbek by an Uzbek exile living in Germany, and then commissioning Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to deliver 5,000 copies.”]

In Nebraska, a Center for Afghanistan Studies – and for controversy

Critics say the institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has gone too far in its work with the U.S. military, the State Department and even the Taliban. Its director makes no apologies.

Center for Afghanistan StudiesDirector Thomas Gouttierre has no apologies for the center’s work.: “Our interest is humanitarian.”(Chris VanKat / For The Times)
By Kate Linthicum
Reporting from Omaha – On the dusty plains of Afghanistan, a surprising number of people are said to know the word “Nebraska.”

It began as a fluke in the early 1970s, when administrators at the University of Nebraska at Omaha launched the Center for Afghanistan Studies. They wanted to distinguish the school as an international institution, and no other university was studying the then-peaceful nation half a world away.

As Afghanistan became a central battleground in the Cold War and then in the war against terrorism, the center — and its gregarious, well-connected director, Thomas Gouttierre — were fortuitously poised.

Equal parts research institute, development agency and consulting firm, the center has collected tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. military, the State Department and private contractors for its programs at home and in Afghanistan.

Like much of America’s involvement in that nation, it has not been without controversy.

The center has come under fire from some academics who say it has not generated the kind of scholarly research needed to help solve Afghanistan’s problems. It has also been criticized by women’s rights groups for its dealings with the Taliban.

Most frequently it has been targeted by peace activists, who say the center’s past and current collaborations with U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan are unethical. [Educator collaboration with CIA brainwashing programs is just as unethical as psychologists collaborating with CIA and military torture.]

“I don’t think the University of Nebraska has any business teaching kids anywhere in the world how to be killers,” said Paul Olson, president of Nebraskans for Peace, an activist group that has been calling on the university to close the center for the last decade.

As evidence, Olson points to the center’s $60-million contract with the U.S. government in the 1980s to educate Afghan refugees who were living in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation.

It printed millions of textbooks that featured material developed by the mujahedin resistance groups — including images of machine guns and calls for jihad against the Soviets.

Gouttierre says criticisms of the center are “revisionist” and fail to acknowledge the challenges of working in a society that has been at war for three decades.  [It is CIA efforts to destabilize Afghanistan, in which he played a vital part, that have plagued Afghanistan with its thirty year war.  Whatever the good professor says in the program’s and his own defense, it is not “revisionist” to point-out the fact that it is immoral to help pollute an entire generation of a nation’s young people with hatred and a determination to exact revenge.] The center’s aim, he says, has been to build cultural understanding and empower the Afghan people.

“Our interest is humanitarian,” he said. “They are victims who lost years of their lives on earth.”

Few Americans know more about Afghanistan than Gouttierre, who fell in love with the country as a Peace Corps volunteer there in the 1960s.

He and his wife, Mary Lou, arrived during the “golden age” of Afghanistan, a time before the Soviet invasion, the rise of the Taliban and the widespread production of opium.

In a mud house in Kabul, he wrote love poems in the Afghan language of Dari. At the high school where he taught English, he built a basketball court (he later coached the Afghan national basketball team).

And he met a collection of people who would later figure largely in Afghanistan’s history — future Marxists, anti-Soviets and ministers of the current government of Hamid Karzai.

In 1973, after nearly 10 years in Afghanistan, Gouttierre was invited by the University of Nebraska to lead the newly launched Afghanistan program, with the title dean of international studies.

Gouttierre moved to Omaha and set up an exchange program with Kabul University. He recruited Afghans to come teach and helped organize a large library of donated Afghan materials.

The U.S. funded its educational projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan until the 1990s, when the Taliban took power and the contracts dried up.

That left the center to do “whatever was necessary” to continue its programs, Gouttierre said.

In 1997, that meant signing a contract to train workers for Unocal, a California company that was trying to build a natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan. That year, several Taliban ministers came to Nebraska for a tour of the campus. Several women’s groups, angry over the Taliban’s repressive policies against women, protested.

It was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that launched Gouttierre — and the center — onto the international stage.

The morning of the attacks, Gouttierre showed up to teach his Introduction to International Studies lecture and found half a dozen reporters sitting in the center aisle.

Over the next 10 months, he said, he gave more than 2,000 interviews to journalists from around the globe who wanted to learn about the rise of the Taliban and about Osama bin Laden, whom Gouttierre had researched while on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan in the 1990s.

The center’s newfound prominence helped garner more funding.

In 2002, the State Department gave the center a $6.5-million contract to print 15 million textbooks. Images of AK-47s were absent in these books, but they included phrases from the Koran, prompting criticism that U.S. funds were inappropriately being used to print religious material. The following year, the government did not renew the book contract.

The university has defended the center. Terry Hynes, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, called it “a superb asset” to the school.

These days, the center leads a Department of Defense-funded literacy training program for the Afghan army. It also hosts a program for social scientists who are being trained to accompany U.S. military teams in Afghanistan to help facilitate cultural understanding. Eighteen such groups, known as “human terrain teams,” have come to Omaha over two years before shipping overseas. [The so-called “human terrain teams” have been linked to the Pentagon’s secret Taliban hunting program (SEE:The Other Side of the Taliban-Hunter Story), which maps local social networks to facilitate the hunting of Taliban leaders and their subordinates.]

Gouttierre stood before a cramped class of trainees one morning this winter. In a lecture that lasted several hours, he talked about the history of Afghanistan and about U.S. involvement there since Sept. 11.

“We under-sourced the military and we outsourced redevelopment,” Gouttierre said, his voice rising. What Afghanistan needs, he said, is rebuilding. And the stakes could not be higher.

“If we succeed, it’s going to be seen as an American success,” Gouttierre said. “And if we fail, it’s going to be an American failure.”

kate.linthicum@ latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times



March 27, 2010 by Gordon Duff · 8 Comments


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER, Senior Editor

America’s recent attack, augmented by top line Afghan army troops,  against the massive Taliban enclave in the city of Marjah, population 80,000, a city that has been an enemy stronghold for years may not have happened at all.  Can anyone prove it?  Nobody had ever heard of Marjah before or even knew a city was there.  Nobody knew it was a Taliban stronghold either.  One thing we can easily figure out from the total lack of reporting, other than our “screw ups,” killing the usual civilians, using our over reliance on technology, is that the sham of the operation was simply to give the mercenary army of the Northern Alliance, an army no American soldier would turn its back on, a casual airing.

A trip to Vegas would have been cheaper and we would have found just as many Taliban.  What we did find is drugs, drugs everywhere, the embarrassment of our deceitful policy to build narcotics production from nothing to massive levels.  The further risk of peppering the internet with more photos of American, Afghan, British or Canadian troops tiptoeing through the poppies had to be avoided at all cost.  Thus a tissue thin cover story about poor farmers and their reliance on opium for a living was spun to the public, a story based on lies.


We have turned Afghanistan from a haven for a few foreign fighters, bin Laden included, given safe haven under strict parole, no training facilities, monitored daily under threat of expulsion, a country with a strict Islamic government actively rejecting opium production, western technology and the human rights of its women, into a sewer of drug dealers, crooked contractors, terrorist training camps and spies.  We originally handed the country over to warlord drug barons and criminals and eventually melded Hamid Karzai, a know moderate and very well know weak leader into the dupe of a defacto dictatorship built around the city of Kabul.  For years, America ignored an entire nation, an error of massive proportions that has exploded in our faces.  Other than Bush era stupidity and hubris, what was our rationale?


Bush settled into the poorly managed war in Afghanistan at the behest of Israel and India.  Israel was chasing gas pipeline revenue and India needed a base of operations to train guerrillas to attack Pakistan.  In the process, absolutely everyone involved was going to get rich peddling heroin into Russia by mule and running it by the ton into Western Europe and America in through every means possible including, we are told, using rendition flights as drug couriers.

Since day one of the American war, the primary goal has been to push opium production to maximum levels, restructure it as the number one agricultural crop of Afghanistan and to build a permanent tribal war to cover open involvement in this massive multi-billion dollar initiative through purposeful mismanagement, misjudgment and sheer idiocy.


We have recently learned, again, that our military leadership in Iraq had become corrupted in every imaginable way.  The current round of investigations will end the careers of hundreds of officers and only proves that the new “privatized model” being used by the Pentagon to artificially suppress the actual number of troops involved in a conflict by supplanting the majority of military functions, including military intelligence, transport and logistics, administration and even some combat operations with private contractors and mercenaries, is a ruse.  We don’t fool enemies anymore.  It is always assumed the enemy is Congress, the American People and our allies.

Some of the contracting firms, notably KBR, Haliburton and Blackwater, but others also, performed dismally, over billed by billions and led to a culture of corruption that tore at the core of our Army, reducing effectiveness massively instead of supplementing and supporting.  This “deconstructionism” cost billions and left us in a shambles, a shambles that has moved onto Afghanistan where things have only gotten worse.

Iraq had only Shiites and Sunnis.  Afghanistan is filled with warlords, Islamic insurgents, Israeli and Indian spies, the scum of the earth packaged as United Nations workers, American mercenaries, India diplomats and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of gun toting criminals who will kill their own mothers for 5 dollars.  War attracts this kind of crowd but it took America’s decision to build drug trafficking to unprecedented levels to make the environment totally unviable for any military operations.  Was it planned?  It couldn’t have happened this way otherwise.

Did the US plan it alone?  Not hardly.  India was involved from day one, pushing to keep Pakistan drowning, facing enemies on both sides, and Karzai was a leader India knew it had in its pocket.  His own family is rumored to run much of the nation’s drug business and Karzai himself went to university in India and has always hated Pakistan, suspecting them of killing his father.  India has been given free rein of the country and is arming and training terrorists at war against Pakistan or so we like to tell ourselves.  Actually, we don’t know who they are arming or what they are doing.  The only information we get is from “private intelligence contractors” who are likely involved in the drug trade themselves.  Everyone knows this but turns a blind eye, that many people are getting paid out of this.


What does it take to build a massive drug operation like this with thousands of hectares under production?  Now that heroin production has been established inside Afghanistan, massive profits can be realized but the farmers themselves, the ones we are worrying about so much receive almost nothing for their poppies.  They are actually paid better for growing wheat?  Where does the money come from?  There was never an infrastructure in place that could organize production on a national scale, process heroin, ship it around the world and bank the billions of dollars in a world where strict money laundering procedures are in effect.


The only way money can keep flowing, drug money, massive contractor payoffs, money to rig elections and the Fog of War to make it all possible, the only way chaos can be maintained is by keeping a war going with phony victories every so often and the appearance of building a nation, a nation with no economy, no cohesive institutions and no leadership.  Karzai is perfect for this, a classic “asset.”

As there never was a real enemy, no major leader of the Taliban, no “big kahuna” so to speak, especially since the death of bin Laden, not even Mullah Omar, defining an enemy or a victory would be impossible anyway.  It gets worse when you have indefensible border on both sides, Pakistan and Iran and are fighting an enemy that can melt into the civilian population for 2 years to reemerge victorious while we are away playing tennis.  We have some experience with such things.

The current plans, military, political and economic are ill advised, impossible to execute and blatantly dishonest in measure and application.  They are a sham.


Nobody is going to survive the worldwide flood of narcotics from Afghanistan.  When some of the most powerful nations on earth send their most corrupt elements into a  region, allow them to establish a narco-kingdom defended by the most powerful military on earth with the world’s most skilled intelligence agencies either complicit in operations or “stood down” by their “private sector” surrogates, expect the worst.  Killing is a kindness compared to narcotics addiction.  One addict can murder an entire extended family.  Several addicts can turn any community into a sea of misery and despair.

Imagine that much of the destruction being done, not only to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the world at large is being done in the name of democracy and religion.


Farmers and herdsmen don’t need anti-aircraft weapons, RPGs and automatic rifles.  An Afghan herdsman can kill a predator at 600 meters with a hundred year old rifle.  Anyone that can’t make a living without growing opium poppies, anyone given the opportunity to live otherwise, is an enemy and must be destroyed.  As it looks now, the root of the problem and the leadership of the threat to world civilization is drugs, not insurrection.  Perhaps we might want to see if we might be the enemy ourselves.

Who Killed Karkare? The Real Face of Terrorism in India

The Real Face of Terrorism in India


Preface 7

I: Hindu-Muslim riots 13

A new-age strategy of Brahminists to subjugate common Hindus (Bahujans)

II: Switching gears 31

From Communalism to the bogey of  “Muslim terrorism”

III: Bomb blast investigations . 55

IB’s uncalled for and deliberate interference to save Brahminists and implicate Muslims

i) Mumbai Train bomb blast case of 2006 (11 July 2006) 59

ii) Malegaon bomb blast case (8 September 2006 74

iii) Ahmedabad bomb blasts & Surat unexploded bombs (26 July 2008) 79

iv) Delhi bomb blast 2008 (13 September 2008) 100

v) Samjhauta Express bomb blast case (19 February 2007) 118

vi) Hyderabad Mecca Masjid Blast (18 May 2007) 122

vii) Ajmer Sharif Dargah Blast (11 October 2007) 128

viii) Serial Blasts in U.P. courts (23 November 2007) 136

ix) Jaipur Blasts (13 May 2008) 143

IV: Nanded bomb blast (5 April 2006) 153

A providential self detection of the case

V: Malegaon Bomb Blast 2008 169

(Pre-Mumbai attack investigation)

The first true and honest investigation of the case

Hemant Karkare showed the way

VI: Who Killed Karkare? 181

Mumbai Terror Attack is a reality but its CST-CAMA-
Rangabhavan Lane episode is shrouded in mystery

Part I: The Brahminist elements in the IB and in the Naval
Intelligence Directorate deliberately blocked the hot intelligence
given by the U.S. and the RAW

    Part II: 16 CCTVs at the CST were tampered with 187
    Part III: The “terrorists” at CST used SIM cards which had
    Satara connections
    Part IV: Out of the 284 calls received by the terrorists from their handlers
    in Pakistan by using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol Technology), not a single call was received by Kasab and Ismail Khan
    Part V: The Terrorists spoke fluent Marathi 192
    Part VI: Out of 46 persons killed at CST, 22 were Muslims 194
    Part VII: Karkare led to the trap 195
    Part VIII: Ajmal Kasab was arrested in Kathmandu (Nepal)
    before 2006 by Indian agencies
    Part IX: Much-publicised photograph of Ajmal Kasab 199
    Part X: A woman witness forcibly taken to the U.S. for interrogation
    and recording her statement, but she did not budge
    Part XI: Holes galore in the Mumbai Crime Branch story 208
    A) The timing of firing at CST-CAMA 208
    B) The number of terrorists at CST 209
    C) The exit of the terrorists from the CST  211
    D) The “Skoda” theory  212
    E) The number of terrorists killed in the Girgaum Chowpatty  215
    An alternative theory of Mumbai terror attack 217
    I) The mystery of taxi blasts at Vile Parle and Wadi Bundar  222
    II) An offence under the Official Secrets Act  224
    III) The government’s anxiety to keep the Pradhan Panel report
    under wraps — the selective leakage of the report is a
    red herring   226
    Perfect case for reinvestigation 228

VII: The Investigation of the Mumbai Attack case 229

IB & FBI de facto investigators, Mumbai Crime Branch merely a puppet

VIII: Malegaon blast case of 2008 — Post-Mumbai attack investigation 245

Undoing of Hemant Karkare’s Investigation

The protégé of the main conspirator heading the investigation team

Many serious omissions and commissions

IX: Dubious role of Maharashtrian Brahminists 267

X: The Chargesheet against the IB 275

XI: Urgent measures needed to save country & society 285

Annexure A: Important points in respect of the specific intelligence about

the Mumbai terror attack published in some important newspapers 311

Annexure B: The transcript of some parts of the wireless conversation 317

Map: A sketch of the area which witnessed major terror incidents in CST-

CAMA area including Hemant Karkare’s murder 183

Headley Saga: Mumbai attack was a joint IB-CIA-Mossad-RSS project

Headley Saga: Mumbai attack was a joint IB-CIA-Mossad-RSS project

By Amaresh Misra

The Milli Gazette

With the row over India getting access to David Headley growing acrimonious each day, the CIA’s double agent saga seems all set to open up a can of incredible worms.

First, the case unmasks the pro-US face of the Indian English media. When the Headley saga first came to light, Vir Sanghavi of the Hindustan Times carried an editorial piece claiming that if ‘Headley is CIA, and knew about 26/11, the CIA knew about the attack.’ In other words, Sanghavi accepted the ‘conspiracy theory’–which in the eyes of the English media was ‘peddled’ by Aziz Burney and this author during the terrible aftermath of 26/11–that the event was a CIA/Mossad/RSS/ISI plot.

In November-December 2008, Vir Sanghavi and his cohorts in the English media attacked both Aziz Burney and this author for spelling forth the ‘conspiracy theory’. Then after Headley’s name surfaced, they changed tune, without of course admitting their debt to Mr. Burney or this author.

The fact of the matter is that in the 2009 Parliamentary elections, the English media was all set to project Lal Krishna Advani as India’s next Prime Minister. It was the feverish anti-RSS, anti-Mossad work done by Aziz Burney and this author that went a long way in ensuring the victory of Congress and secular forces.

Now when the CIA hand behind 26/11 is slowly being unraveled, the English media is seeing red. It is again trying to portray Headley merely as a Lashkar operative, severing thus his links with the CIA.

This highlights the second point, that basically Headley and the CIA cannot be de-linked. Thank God the government of India put into place the NIA, a new National Investigative Agency. The NIA was set up, as the IB and other Indian agencies, especially the IB, had not only gone anti-Muslim-they had gone anti-India. This was proved in the case of Azamgarh boys picked up in and around the Batla House encounter on various bomb blasts charges. Most of the boys were products not of madarsas, but modern schools. They were youngsters in their teens; they had made a mark for themselves in professional courses and were holding jobs in the new, professional sector of the economy.

When Shri Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary AICC and the most secular leader of the India, went to Sanjarpur (under the banner of Anti-Communal Front) in Azamgarh to find out the facts for himself, he was shocked to find that Zeeshan, a boy from Azamgarh who on the fateful day of the Batala House encounter was giving his exams, had more than 50 cases slapped over him in more than three states–which meant that his parents could go on fighting cases for more than 100 years and yet Zeeshan would be in jail.

There are dozens and hundreds of Zeeshans from Azamgarh and other districts of UP, Gujarat and Maharashtra languishing in various Indian jails on unsubstantiated charges. This in fact is India’s Guantanamo Bay story–that right here in the world’s largest democracy the Indian security services like the IB have secret detention and torture centres where innocent Muslim youths are tortured and put to death. The IB today has been infiltrated heavily by RSS, Mossad and CIA. In fact, this one agency is an anti-national agency—it is obstructing the work of NIA and secular Indians like Shri Digvijay Singh. Soon, in India’s interest, the IB will have to be closed down. All its communal officers will be hunted down and tried in a court of just law.

The IB knew about Headley—this is proved by the fact that the SIM cards used by the ten 26/11 terrorists were purchased by an Intelligence Bureau (India) (IB) informer. Till date, the investigations into the 26/11 case, which the IB is handling, have been unable to state as to how the ten terrorists got hold of the SIM cards.

The State IB chief of Maharashtra told a very senior Mumbai Police Officer just after 26/11 that he was ‘entirely in the dark about 26/11 investigations as Delhi (meaning the chief IB office) was handling it’. Basic information about 26/11 was not shared with secular Indian officers. The Headley lead would never have come to the fore had the NIA not stepped in.

IB training criminals [read here Charge-sheet against IB]
Now comes the news that the IB has set-up training camps in Gorakhpur, where it trains criminals–and then uses them to kill Muslim under-trials. The name of Chota Rajan is used as a convenient scapegoat. It is in this manner that dozens of accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, several other such accused in other cases, Muslim businessmen and men of influence have been eliminated on a systematic basis in Maharashtra. The latest in the long list of victims killed allegedly by IB is Shahid Azmi, the lawyer defending the accused of the 2006 Mumbai train blasts. Shahid had hit upon evidence which proved the innocence of the accused-and that is why he was bumped off, again by criminals with Nepal–Gorakhpur links!

In fact, the state of Maharashtra holds the dubious distinction of almost institutionalizing the extra-judicial killing of Muslim youth and personalities. Headley was in India months and years before the 26/11 attack; he even surveyed Pune where a blast took place as late as February 2010. It beats one’s imagination as to how the IB did not know about Headley and his movements. There can only be two scenarios: that the IB is totally incompetent–or that the IB is heavily infiltrated by CIA and Mossad: the agency knew about 26/11 and did nothing to stop it.

This places the IB at par with Headley, as executioners of 26/11 and mass murderers. There can be no other honest conclusion.

Headley holds the key to the fact that 26/11 was not just a mere Lashkar operation–that it was a joint Mossad-CIA operation, conducted with possible ISI and RSS help.If the charge-sheet against Raj Kumar Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya, accused in the Malegaon and other blasts, is read, it is clear that there was always some sort of collusion between the RSS and the ISI. The so-called nationalists, theHindutva forces, took money to the tune of crores of rupees from the ISI! The IB knows about this transaction but is keeping quiet!

The Headley saga has links to Abhinav Bharat and pro-Hindutva terror groups. The pro-Hindutva terror groups are widely believed to be behind the Pune blasts where a combination of RDX and Ammonium Nitrate was used. Right after the visit of Shri Digvijay Singh to Maharashtra in February 2010, the state home secretary spoke of the possibility of the involvement of Hindutva groups in the Pune blasts. Other officers, including the ATS chief Raghuvanshi, purported to be an RSS/opportunist also spoke of this possibility. But then RR Patil, the Maharashtra Home Minister whose role during 26/11 was disastrous and who was removed from his post in the wake of the attack on Mumbai (but who was restored after the 2009 assembly elections), made amazing statements ‘that those who take the name of Hindu organizations in the Pune blasts will be punished’!

How can a Home Minister make such a statement? Now we hear that Rakesh Maria, a notorious anti-Muslim officer, with pro-Israeli links, a man who has killed and tortured innocents, has been made the new ATS chief and Raguvanshi has been promoted! Secular organizations in Maharashtra were demanding that Raghuvanshi be removed and that an honest, secular officer be made the ATS chief so that Hemant Karkare’s seminal work in cracking the shell of Hindutva communalism could be promoted!.

But Rakesh Maria is even worse than Raghuvanshi. It seems that the NCP in Maharashtra has taken a clear anti-Congress, anti-national line. RR Patil, who is a third grade, uncouth, thoroughly communal, NCP leader should be removed from his post. The Maharashtra chief minister should act, because if the NIA gets access to Headley, the latter’s links with Hindutva organizations–and the whole RSS-Mossad-CIA-ISI-IB nexus–will be exposed. This nexus is working overtime to destabilize the Congress government and undo the commendable work done by the party under the secular leadership of Sonia Gandhi.

Amaresh Misra is a famed historian and chief of the Anti-Communal Front of the All India Congress Committee (AICC)

Mumbai Attack, 26/11, Terrorism, Politics, Communalism, Minorities, Human Rights, Minority Rights, Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte, Batala House encounter, fake

US Alone, Enables Continued Israeli Mockery of International Justice

UN Human Rights Council adopts five resolutions against Israel

compiled by Cem Ertür
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad

The UN Human Rights Council has roundly condemned Israel in resolutions tabled under the agenda item 7, “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories”.

Five resolutions have been adopted against Israel, amounting to the greatest number of condemnatory resolutions on a single country:

  • Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan
  • The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
  • Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan
  • The grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
  • Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict


1) Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan
(voted on 24/03/2010: 31 in favour, 1 against, 15 abstentions)

In a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.2) on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted with thirty-one in favour, one against, and fifteen abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel to desist from its continuous building of settlements and from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their property; further calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against them and from all other practices that obstruct the enjoyment of their fundamental rights and their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; calls upon Israel to allow the Syrian population of the occupied Syrian Golan to visit their families and relatives in the Syrian motherland through the Quneitra checkpoint and under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and to rescind its decision to prohibit these visits, as it is in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; also calls upon Israel to release immediately the Syrian detainees in Israeli prisons, some of whom have been detained for more than 24 years; further calls upon Israel to allow delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Syrian prisoners of conscience and detainees in Israeli prisons accompanied by specialized physicians to assess the state of their physical and mental health and to protect their lives; determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying Power, that seek to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan are null and void, constitute a flagrant violation of international law and of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and have no legal effect; again calls upon States Members of the United Nations not to recognize any of the above-mentioned legislative or administrative measures; and requests the Secretary-General to report on this matter to the Council at its sixteenth session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

in favour (31): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay and Zambia.

against (1): United States of America.

abstentions (15): Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, France, Gabon, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


2) The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
(voted on 24/03/2010: 45 in favour, 1 against)

In a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.27) on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted with forty-five in favour, one against, and no abstentions, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State; also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security; stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.

The result of the vote was as follows:

in favour (45): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay and Zambia.

against (1): United States of America.

abstentions (0):


3) Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan
(voted on 24/03/2010: 46 in favour, 1 against)

In a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.28) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted with forty-six in favour, one against, and no abstentions, the Council condemns the new Israeli announcement on the construction of 120 new housing units in the Bitar Elite settlement, and 1,600 new housing units for new settlers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, and calls upon the Government of Israel to immediately reverse its decision which would further undermine and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final settlement compliant with international legitimacy, including the relevant United Nations resolutions; urges the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of Rafah and Karni crossings, which is crucial to ensuring the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, as well as the access of the United Nations agencies to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory; calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians and Palestinian properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the Advisory Opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice; and urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process.

The result of the vote was as follows:

in favour (46): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay and Zambia .

against (1): United States of America.

abstentions (0):


4) The grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
(voted on 24/03/2010: 31 in favour, 9 against, 7 abstentions)

In a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.29) on the grave human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted with thirty-one in favour, nine against, and seven abstentions, the Council demands that the occupying Power, Israel, end its occupation of the Palestinian land occupied since 1967, and that it respect its commitments within the peace process towards the establishment of the independent sovereign Palestinian State; strongly condemns the Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; demands that the occupying Power, Israel, stop the targeting of civilians and the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people; condemns the disrespect for religious and cultural rights provided for in core human rights instruments and humanitarian law by Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; demands that Israel immediately cease all diggings and excavation works beneath and around Al-Aqsa mosque compound and other religious sites in the old city of Jerusalem; calls for the immediate cessation of all Israeli military attacks and operations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory; demands that the occupying Power, Israel, immediately stop its illegal decision to demolish a large number of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem; demands that Israel, release Palestinian prisoners and detainees including women, children and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council; calls upon Israel to lift checkpoints and open all crossing points and borders according to relevant international agreements; and demands that Israel immediately lift the siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip.

The result of the vote was as follows:

in favour (31): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay and Zambia.

against (9):Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.

abstentions (7):Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and Ukraine.


5) Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
(voted on 25/03/2010: 29 in favour, 6 against, 11 abstentions)

In a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.30) on follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, adopted with twenty-nine in favour, six against, and eleven abstentions, as orally amended, the Council reiterates the call by the General Assembly upon the Government of Israel to conduct investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the Fact-Finding Mission, with a view to ensuring accountability and justice; reiterates the urging by the General Assembly for the conduct by the Palestinian side of investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the Fact-Finding Mission, with a view to ensuring accountability and justice; calls upon the High Commissioner to explore and determine the appropriate modalities for the establishment of an escrow fund for the provision of reparations to the Palestinians who suffered loss and damage as a result of unlawful acts attributable to the State of Israel during the military operations conducted from December 2008 to January 2009; decides to establish a committee of independent experts in international humanitarian and human rights laws to monitor and assess any domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side, in the light of General Assembly resolution 64/254, including the independence, effectiveness, genuineness of these investigations and their conformity with international standards; and invites the International Committee of the Red Cross and interested parties and stakeholders to consider the launching of an urgent discussion on the legality of the use of certain munitions, as recommended by the Fact-Finding Mission. Draft resolution L.30 was presented by Pakistan at the end of yesterday’s meeting (please see separate release, HRC/10/045E).

The result of the vote was as follows:

in favour (29): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Uruguay and Zambia.

against (6): Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine, and United States of America.

abstentions (11): Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, France, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.



[1]  Human Rights Council renews mandates on right to food and on elaboration of optional protocol to children’s rights convention

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website, 24 March 2010


[2]  Council establishes committee on experts in context of follow-up of Goldstone report, renews mandate on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website, 25 March 2010


Obama tells Pak to catch 26/11 brain

Obama tells Pak to catch 26/11 brain


Ashfaq Kayani, Barack Obama

Washington, March 26: Securely hidden from public view, belying the head-butting, handshakes and the toasts between Americans and Pakistanis taking part in their first ministerial-level “strategic dialogue” this week, US president Barack Obama asked for the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, one of the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

Although the top-level Pakistani delegation to the talks, including chief of army staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has been in Washington since Monday, Obama has not met any member of the delegation till the time of writing.

According to sources at the heart of the bilateral dialogue, however, during pre-talks, inter-agency discussions among US officials and key members of his cabinet at the White House, Obama made it clear that the US-Pakistan strategic partnership cannot be a partnership of hearts and minds unless the Pakistani government firmly targets Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Toiba, which has acquired the image here of the next al Qaeda.

In taking a tough line on Saeed’s arrest, which has been demanded by India, Obama disagreed with the views of the Pentagon, US intelligence agencies and sections of the state department led by special envoy for Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, all of whom are for treating Pakistan with kid gloves on anything to do with India, including the Mumbai terror attacks.

The President appears to have been somewhat cornered into his hardline stand after a key hearing last fortnight of the South Asia sub-committee of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, at which every member of the panel — except one — called for heavy-handed action against the Lashkar by the Pakistanis.

“This group of savages needs to be crushed,” the highly respected chairman of the committee, Gary Ackerman, said at the hearing without mincing words.

Such was the strength of opinion against Islamabad’s double-dealing over Lashkar that even Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistani-American scholar whom Pakistani lobbyists had planted at the hearing as a witness, was forced to put the gloss that “the former trainers and associates from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) perhaps now have an opportunity of independently working with the LeT”.

This week’s strategic dialogue made absolutely no progress on the issue of a nuclear deal for Pakistan, similar to the one the US signed with India. The subject does not find even a passing mention in a joint statement released at the end of the talks.

In fact, an American source privy to the entire proceedings blamed the sudden brouhaha over a nuclear deal for Pakistan on a section of the Indian media that thought up the issue as a headline-grabbing curtain raiser for the talks.

“The issue has been injected periodically by the Pakistanis into our talks directly and through third parties since 2006,” conceded the source. “This time the media asked about it at press conferences. If we are asked in public, we are not going to sour the mood by saying that Pakistan cannot have a nuclear deal. We have been diplomatic in public but very clear in private on this issue.”

The Americans are understood to have told Qureshi and Kayani that Pakistan must first put in place proper export control laws which will give the US Congress some confidence that there is at least a fig leaf of rationale behind Islamabad’s request for a nuclear deal.In 1999, as talks between then Planning Commission deputy chairman Jaswant Singh and the US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott got under way on India’s nuclear programme, the Americans similarly asked for new, water tight export control laws on Indian statutes as a guarantee against nuclear proliferation.

An expert on such laws was then posted to the US embassy in New Delhi for six months and she worked with Rakesh Sood, then joint secretary in South Block for disarmament, on new laws. That was six years before the US announced a nuclear deal with India.

This experience offers a road map for any such deal with Pakistan, if at all. Besides, an American source involved in the talks with Pakistan pointed out that “if this president had been in power in 2005, there would have been no nuclear deal even with India. So where is the question of him initiating any such deal for Pakistan?”

A $1.2 trillion timebomb ticks in China

A $1.2 trillion timebomb ticks in China

Venkatesan Vembu / DNA

Hong Kong: A major fiscal shock looms over China, arising from local governments’ shadowy finances and banks’ reckless lending to them as part of the frantic rush to boost GDP growth in China following the global economic slowdown in 2008.

The fiscal crisis represents “the biggest risk to China’s economic and financial stability over the next two years” and has the potential to more than completely wipe out Chinese banks’ equity base, and trigger an equity market panic when it bursts, says Credit Suisse chief regional economist Dong Tao.

At the heart of the crisis are about 8,800 investment vehicles set up at the local government level to take up massive infrastructure projects to prop up GDP growth to make up for the export slowdown owing to the global economic recession.

These vehicles —- called urban development investment corporations (UDICs) —- were set up “in part to circumvent rules prohibiting local governments from borrowing,” notes Louis Kuijs, senior economist in the World Bank’s China office. Local governments injected land and cash into these UDICs as equity, and the land was used as collateral to get bank loans for infrastructure projects.

“UDICs share many common characteristics with the investment vehicles that caused the financial crisis in the US,” adds Tao. “They lack transparency, are high on leverage, rely on short-term funding and land-based valuation, and their assets are illiquid.”

And although it’s very hard to determine how much bank lending has been channelled to the UDICs, Tao estimates outstanding loans to be about 8 trillion yuan (about $1.2 trillion), which is about 24% of China’s GDP, 83% of overall new lending in 2009, and a whopping 180% of the equity base of all Chinese banks.

Estimates by other economists paint a grimmer picture.

Victor Shih of Northwestern University, who has studied local governments’ debt, estimates total bank lending to UDICs (including further lendings) to balloon to 24.2 trillion yuan ($3.5 trillion).

“If large portions of the debt end up being taken over by the central government, that will add significantly to the official government debt,” says Kuijs. In Tao’s estimation, if the central government absorbed 8 trillion yuan of UDICs’ liabilities, China’s debt-to-GDP ratio would explode from an estimated 19.1 in 2010 to an estimated 50.3 in 2010.

The key problem with the UDIC financing model is its use of land as collateral, points out Tao. “If there is a change in the assessment of the value of the land that UDICs pledge to banks as collateral, we may have a serious problem.”

In particular, when property prices in China fall —- as Tao expects them to in the second half of this year, owing to an oversupply of finished apartments and expected interest rate hikes to fight inflation —- “banks will review the value of the land they have as collateral, become risk-averse, and initiate a loan call-back.”
If even one or two UDICs fail as a result, Tao reckons, “it will trigger a wider loan call-back and trigger an equity market panic.”

Flagging the risk of policy errors, he adds that Beijing is “too complacent about how a property market correction could aggravate the UDIC problem.”

Zhu Min, deputy governor of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, however, dismisses concerns about the stability of Chinese banks arising from local governments’ debt as exaggerated. Greater economic activity from China’s enhanced infrastructure would offer sufficient payback on loans for these projects, he observed in a speech at the 13th Credit Suisse Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Thursday. “In 1998, following the Asian financial crisis, China unveiled a 400 billion yuan stimulus package, almost all of which went into building highways,” he recalled.

And although the highways remained empty for a while, the roads catalysed economic activity, and today they are packed, he added. “So long as China keeps growing and these loans have gone into real infrastructure projects, things will be okay.”

The problem with UDICs can be solved right away if the central government cracks the whip and asks the central finance ministry, the local governments and the banks to absorb the losses, Tao believes. But Beijing perhaps lacks a sense of urgency, and it may be difficult for the three parties to agree on who should bear how much of the losses.

The UDICs’ financial problems would affect future local government investment spending and could lead to a rise in banks’ non-performing loans, points out Kuijs. “Problems would emerge if the infrastructure projects do not generate enough growth and revenues to pay the operating and interest costs and repay the loans.”

The time duration of the crisis, when it blows up, could determine the severity of the crisis, reasons Tao. “If the crisis lasts just two weeks, there will only be short-lived market panic. If it lasts two months, fixed asset investments could be affected. And if it lasts two years, China may go down the path of Japan in the 1990s —- but without a property safety net.” However, he expects any crisis to be an “abrupt but short one” —- for three reasons.

In China, the government owns all banks, “and once Beijing realises the magnitude of the risks, it will order banks to keep lending.” Of course, banks’ shareholders would lose out.

Secondly, although local governments are low on cash, the central government is cash-rich, and “we could see another 4 trillion yuan or even 8 trillion yuan fiscal spending program to boost growth and stabilise the banking sector.” And thirdly, China is, in the global context, “too big to fail” —- and in any case it has a roadmap in the form of the US bailout of banks.

“You have a Western recipe —- and you have lots of fresh materials (in the form of China’s fiscal strengths)… Even a mediocre chef can cook a reasonably good meal,” says Tao.
But even as he sounds the alarm over local governments’ debt, Tao puts it in perspective. “What’s happening in China is not very different from what’s happening elsewhere: the government leveraging up during a global financial crisis to stimulate the economy.” The critical difference is that China’s starts with a low debt-to-GDP ratio, about 19% currently.

“It’s a hiccup, and a big hiccup at that,” he acknowledges. “But nevertheless, this is not something that will derail my fundamental view of China over the next decade… We remain bullish on China’s long-term outlook.”