William John Cox
The latest flap over Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem has caused me to reflect upon the very deep and complicated feelings I have about the city.
I first passed through Jerusalem in December 1979 in an attempt to sneak into Tehran shortly after the American embassy hostages were taken. I returned two years later following the favorable verdict in the Holocaust Denial case and shared morning tea with Prime Minister Begin. In 1992, I testified in a trial there about the publication of the suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls and refused to identify my secret client. My last visit was in 2000 when my wife and I were married at Christ Church in the Old City on Valentine’s Day.
The political issue is not who has the greatest property rights in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nor, is it whether the Palestinian people are more genetically related to the ancient Israelis who occupied Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, than are the Ashkenazi Jews who now control the Israeli government and who exercise great influence over U.S. policy.
The critical question is: “what can be done to peacefully resolve the dispute in a way that protects the political rights and ensures the operational and economic security of the Israeli and Palestinian people and which removes the United States as a target for terrorists?”
Rather than answering with a complicated policy paper, let me share a simple vision I have experienced over the years.
First, accept that the nation of Israel is politically, economically, and militarily capable of defending its own interests on the world stage and that it has the right to be free of internal terrorists attacks.
Second, imagine that the United Nations imposes a 50-year protectorate over the land of Palestine, including Gaza, as it existed prior to the 1967 war and declared the area to be a duty-free economic zone, with security and freedom of access guaranteed by the U.N.
This is the vision:
Instead of the existing concrete wall, I imagine a modern freeway extending from Gaza through Hebron, Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Jericho and north along the 1967 West Bank border through the Golan Heights to the Syrian and Lebanese borders and terminating at the Mediterranean Sea.
Like all freeways, I imagine that the highway (border) is fenced and that it is patrolled and controlled by three-person motorized teams consisting of a non-Arab UN police supervisor, an Israeli police officer and a Palestinian police officer.
I imagine that the protectorate police force is only armed with non-military weapons, that all members are highly trained professionals, and that the protectorate provides economic and physical security to all of its inhabitants, both Palestinians and Jews, from its administrative headquarters in East Jerusalem.
I imagine that the highway serves as a conduit for free trade and tourism and that it promotes the economic interests of both Israel and Palestine.
I imagine that after living in peace for 50 years, the right of Israel to exist will be accepted by all nations in the Middle East, that the United States and the United Nations are perceived to have acted even-handedly in the matter, and that the “War on Terrorism” will have become a footnote in history.
William John Cox is a retired supervising prosecutor for the State Bar of California. As a police officer he wrote the Policy Manual of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Role of the Police in America for a national advisory commission. Acting as a public interest, pro bono lawyer, he filed a class action lawsuit in 1979 on behalf of every citizen of the United States petitioning the Supreme Court to order the other two branches of the federal government to conduct a National Policy Referendum; he investigated and successfully sued a group of radical right-wing organizations in 1981 that denied the Holocaust; and he arranged in 1991 for publication of the suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls. His 2004 book, You’re Not Stupid! Get the Truth: A Brief on the Bush Presidency is reviewed athttp://www.yourenotstupid.com, and he is currently working on a fact-based fictional political philosophy. His writings are collected at http://www.thevoters.org, and he can be contacted email@example.com.
Iceland, the Mouse that Roared
The Icelanders have grown a pair, so to speak. They are doing something I wish Americans would have done, or will do in the future. They are standing up to the privately owned banks that seem to think they are above the law, that they can change the rules at their whim, and that they alone know what’s best for the world, which of course happens to empower them and help their profits. I may not agree with all the politics of Iceland. It might not be the bastion of freedom one looking to get away from intrusive government might run to, but I do admire their stance against the banksters.
Let’s examine the situation a little closer. The Icelanders claim that private banks owe the money to other private banks, not taxpayers. The people who own the private banks should be responsible for paying back the creditor banks, not the people of Iceland. I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. Furthermore, I would take it a step further and make the assertion that any government official voting for any public borrowing that requires payment of public funds for interest be held responsible, or their family be held responsible, should the loans go into default. In other words, these public officials should not be allowed to maintain their fortunes while the common folk are expected to pay for the mistakes they made. Perhaps that would help stop the corruption.
It seems that Iceland was fooled into the same ponzi scheme the rest of the world finds itself in. This all revolves around the fact that money in and of itself has no intrinsic value. It is just paper, for the most part, and in the modern world it is just data floating around in cyberspace. Even metal coins are made from cheap and common metals anymore. The fiat system devised by the central banks are designed to collapse at some point, and it’s designed to collapse in such a way that the very few, very rich, very powerful end up with all the marbles. It’s not enough to them, it seems, to be at the top of the heap, they have to be so high up and keep the common folk down so low as to be untouchable.
Those that own the banks now hope that they can swoop in and buy up the nation’s infrastructure for pennies on the dollar, or in this case aurar on the krona. This is how they operate. They print money based on nothing but debt at negligible cost to themselves, then charge interest on that debt, interest that is never created by the way, and then when the debt can’t be repaid they end up acquiring all the real wealth that’s been created. It’s a brilliant scheme in its simplicity. They end up with all the real wealth and they risk nothing of any real value. I could be wrong, but I think it’s safe to say that the Icelanders figured this out when their creditor banks started demanding things like their geothermal power stations and other such publicly owned infrastructure as payment for their defaulted loans. They cried “foul!” – as well they should having played by the rules all this time – and charged that they had been defrauded. They may well have shocked the establishment with their refusal to pay the extortion.
One may well ask, “Is this the fate that awaits all nations?” How many nations in the world today are in the same boat as Iceland? How many are having problems just servicing the interest on their debt? I dare say it would be easier to count the nations that weren’t experiencing debt trouble. And one could rightly ask where all the money has gone. Certainly the debt hasn’t been put back into the economy to create more wealth. Indeed, I would venture a guess that there’s trillions of dollars, euros, yens, pounds, francs, marks, you name it, stashed away in vaults somewhere just waiting for the day when they can be used again, money that should no longer exist that somehow found its way into secret vaults that also shouldn’t exist.
It is interesting to note that the biggest banks, the ones that managed to get bailed out by US tax dollars rather than made to liquidate, are intimately connected to the same international bankers who own the central banks across the globe. Indeed, Goldman Sachs seems to have become a “bank of the world,” so to speak, as it has its fingers in a little bit of everyone’s pies these days. It is also interesting to note that their largest competitors were allowed to fail, effectively setting them up with monopoly privileges. That’s how the power banking elite want it, all the money in their hands and all the corporations under their thumb as they monopolize the issuance of currency and credit. Everyone will have to do as they say or they will quickly become bankrupt and destitute. Such is the power of monopoly.
It is once again time to set up a system of money based on labor instead of debt. We should have a system where free people are able to own property outright, not have to borrow to afford it and then worry that an uncaring bank may come and claim it should one find one´s self in financial trouble. Similarly, it is very disturbing that government can claim private property via eminent domain and non payment of property taxes as if they feel they already own the land you pay for. These wrongs have needed correction for a long time now and hopefully the actions of the Icelanders will help start the ball rolling.
While the Greeks are rioting because they worry their entitlements will be taken away, the Icelanders have been able to take a more direct roll in the political process. The Greeks may well feel they have been left out of the political process, much like many Americans feel at this point in time as we watch the congress blatantly ignore the wishes of the common folk time and again. The bailouts, the wars, the passing of laws violating our rights and the health care bills are all examples of the minority political class ignoring the wishes of the majority to the detriment of society. The Icelanders may have to pay a price for their bravery, but they are finding their way back to freedom and self reliance.
We have been dependent on these banks for far too long and they have taken advantage of it. They have threatened our lawmakers with martial law and economic destruction. They have refused to honor the will of the people and answer questions involving how they´ve spent our money. As I write this, a very few senators, Bob Corker (R-TN), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Judd Gregg (R-NH), are working to strip the Audit the Fed amendment from the Financial Reform Bill and give the Federal Reserveeven more power. This will assure they will never be held accountable for the wrongs they have done. These senators need to be shown in no uncertain terms that we the people have had enough and will not obey their dictates and whims any longer.
We as a society need to start producing again. We need to start competing with others who wish to produce. This is how wealth is created. The more wealth we create, the more prosperous we all become. For a few decades now, we have tried to maintain our lifestyles with a service economy. It didn´t work. Now the economy is collapsing worldwide. Now the banks are hoarding that which they created and are trying to claim the real wealth that should be owned by private sovereigns. We need to ask ourselves, can we be proactive and stop this before we wake up and find ourselves in the same boat as Iceland? If not, will we simply say no and refuse to pay as they did, or will we allow our society to break down and resort to violence as the Greeks? Don´t let a few politicians on the bankster´s payroll dictate what needs to be done. Demand action now. Roar louder than the Icelanders. Hopefully, we will find justice later. Hopefully, we can avoid the fate of nations that remain on the central banker´s preferred course.
The greed and selfishness that the free market capitalist economy inspires impact just about every area of social and commercial interaction in consenting societies, it seems. It’s not just Wall Street and government leaders caught in the trap. It’s the entire system in terms of the way that it’s set to run, which moves the money ever more to the top economic tier by siphoning it from the bottom and middle ones.
Since there is a relatively fixed supply of money, it stands to reason that the more that one sector of society gets of it (often through economic disaster schemes in the patterns that Naomi Klein describes) — the less that exists for other sections. So in the end, the country increasingly becomes a banana republic with a huge lower class, a greatly affluent upper class and not much in between.
Years ago, the founder of central MA’s food bank told me of the obscenely high salaries that the directors of a major, well known Massachusetts charity providing funds for hungry Americans received every year, an amount that was purposefully not readily made public. The reason is that all of the volunteers for this charity, that raises millions of dollars each year, would be greatly dismayed that around a fourth of them were, actually, working to enrich upper management.
Granted, the charity’s directors who we were discussing were talented in terms of advertising and, in other ways, promoting the aid organization. However, can’t competent executives and other upper tier staff be found that are willing to work for much less than this bunch due to a devotion to the causes that they are advancing?
In the end, is it really just about the money that’s a primary motivator for the people who plot, scheme, climb and claw their way into the top positions in organizations in an outright self-enrichment gambit? If so, what a sad state of affairs even if they have the skills and understandings to be greatly adept in their jobs!
In addition, what does such a situation imply about the underlying social values, ethics and principles that guide all manners of social affairs in countries whose public condones such a pattern? Would you want to venture a guess?
Perhaps the general situation is somewhat best summed up by John Berger as follows:
“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”
Of course, the drift of this overall discourse begs several other questions. They are: Do we really imagine that executives of businesses like the aforementioned Massachusetts charity and Boys & Girls Clubs(“Senators question $1 million pay for charity’s CEO”) want to self-police to avoid blatant financial abuse when it is potentially so personally lucrative not to do so? Do government representatives want to provide this service when they, indirectly, benefit in myriad ways from lack of corporate regulation?
In relation, does free market enterprise without tight controls really represent the best way to serve societies as a whole? Does the prevailing model of capitalism in general create benefits for the majority of people and preserve an intact natural world despite that gain of maximal profits derive from taking advantage of both? Lastly, on what patterns relative to eco-systems and working populations is economic growth founded?
Emily Spence is an author living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved in human rights, environmental and social services efforts.
Pakistan’s ISI, which considers Lashkar-e-Taiba as an “asset”, is believed to be not only sharing intelligence inputs, but also providing protection to the banned outfit, a top US lawmaker has said.
“Despite the government’s ban on LeT, Pakistan’s ISI continues to consider the organisation an asset. The ISI is believed to share intelligence and provide protection to LeT,” Congressman Marvin Weinbaum said at a Congressional hearing last week.
When Pakistan, in 2002, curtailed its assistance to insurgents after a US brokered cease-fire that year in Kashmir, the group, with the knowledge of the ISI, shifted most of its training camps and militant operations to the western border with Afghanistan, he said.
Referring to the frequent public appearance and anti-India rhetoric of LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Weinbaum said he has got virtual impunity. “Let me say that there has been reciprocation on the part of LeT and that is refraining from involvement in attacks against the Pakistan Army and against Pakistan civilians,” he said.
“In fact, although it is very definitely part of the terrorist network, which includes the Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, it is viewed by some of the jihadi groups as being too soft on the state of Pakistan. And other extremist groups are sceptical of its linkages with ISI,” Weinbaum said.
“The current leadership in Pakistan may recognise, as it turns out better than any previous government, the dangers that LeT and these groups pose to the state. But the organisation’s deep penetration of the country’s social fabric makes any attempts to rein it in by the beleaguered Peoples Party impossible without the military’s full commitment,” the lawmaker said.
“Moreover, party and provincial politics in Pakistan adds a further obstacle. The major opposition, Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League, resists a challenge to the feared LeT that could put at risk the party’s ascendant position in the Punjab,” he said.
“LeT is determined to use violent means to inflict damage on American and Western interests internationally. Despite its transnational views that envision the emergence of a caliphate across the Islamic world, the organisation champions militant Pakistani nationalism and thrives on its association with domestic charitable activities,” he said.
“LeT was principally designed to provide Pakistan’s military with a proxy force of recruited fighters to augment the Islamic insurgency in Indian Kashmir. But by the late 1990s, LeT was engaged as well in training Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, militants coming from countries ranging from Egypt to the Philippines,” Weinbaum said.
“The group receives funding from mosque collections, expatriate Pakistanis in the Gulf and Britain, Islamic NGOs and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. It also draws money from drugs and smuggling. There are suspicions that it gets direct financial assistance from Pakistan military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency as well,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, a top Pentagon official has told the US lawmakers that Lashkar-e-Taiba is trying to trigger Indo-Pak conflict by carrying out major attacks inside India. “The one that probably keeps me awake most is Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, which of course was responsible for the Mumbai bombings,” Daniel Benjamin, Co-coordinator for counter-terrorism at the State Department, told Senators at a Congressional hearing last week.
“The Mumbai bombings did attack and kill a number of Americans. And this is a designated group and one we take very seriously. But I think we need to build even greater concern and greater programming to target this group, because its target set looked very much like an al Qaeda target,” he said. “And if it decides that it wants to wage the global terrorist effort, then that will be a real challenge for us. It has a lot more men under arms than al-Qaeda has. So those, I would say are the two big concerns,” he said.
“As we are looking at defending the homeland as one of our key pillars, that something spurs up as a result of a Lashkar-e-Taiba. You know, as they continue to try and trigger some kind of impact between Pakistan and India in the region. So it’s keeping an eye on the ball forward as we protect the ball here at home,” said Lt. Gen. Francis Kearney, Deputy Commander of US Operations Command.
Appearing before the same committee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism Garry Reid said this terrorist outfit is not only agile and adaptive, but has also maximised the use of global technology and global information tools.
American Police Training and Political Violence: From the Philippines Conquest to the Killing Fields of Afghanistan and Iraq)
“It’s the Police We Worry About:” The Violence Comes Full Circle in Af-Pak and Iraq
The violent history of U.S. imperial intervention is being played out today in Afghanistan and Iraq, where police training programs are central to American-backed political repression and terror. Management of the programs has been especially poor given cultural and language barriers, deeply entrenched hostility towards foreign intervention among the population, and administrative incompetence. In addition, the problems have been exacerbated by the increasing reliance on private mercenary corporations such as DynCorp and Blackwater (renamed Xe), and on tainted police advisors linked to human rights violations and malfeasance.
In Afghanistan, after almost nine years and seven billion dollars spent on training and salaries, an internal report concluded that “nepotism, financial improprieties and unethical recruitment practices were commonplace” among the American-backed forces, which engaged in widespread criminal activity and bribery and were “overmatched in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations.” American police advisors, whose background as small town cops did little to prepare them for policing in a war zone, made six figure salaries, 50 times more than their Afghan counterparts, who resented their presence. According to a recent poll, less than 20 percent of the population in the eastern and southern provinces trusted the police, who are poorly motivated and whose poor performance has contributed to political instability and the resurgence of the Taliban. A taxi driver interviewed by RAND Corporation analyst Seth G. Jones tellingly commented, “Forget about the Taliban, it is the police we worry about.”39
Despised and feared, the Afghan national police have been continuously controlled by ethnic warlords paid off by the CIA and are central to what Ambassador Ron Neumann characterized as the pattern of “repression and oppression” gripping the country. They have routinely engaged in shakedowns at impromptu checkpoints, shot at and killed stone-throwing or unarmed demonstrators, stolen farmers’ land, and terrorized the civilian population while undertaking house-to-house raids in military-assisted sweep operations. They have further intimidated voters during fraudulent elections, including the one that brought Hamid Karzai back to power in 2009. According to village elders in Babaji, police bent on taking revenge against clan rivals carried out the abduction and rape of pre-teen girls and boys.40 These kinds of abuses fit with a larger historical pattern, and are a product of the ethnic antagonisms and social polarizations bred by the United States intervention, and the mobilization of police for military and political ends.
Afghan Police in 2006 photo
The open support by the Bush administration for torture and other harsh methods strengthened the proclivity towards indiscriminate violence. The International Red Cross reported massive overcrowding in Afghan prisons, “harsh” conditions, a lack of clarity about the legal basis for detention, and people being held “incommunicado” in isolation cells where they were “subjected to cruel treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions.” An undisclosed number have died in custody, including several thousand who were transported under the oversight of CIA-backed warlord Rashid Dostum in unventilated containers, where they suffocated to death or were shot.41
Corruption has been a major problem as police routinely accept kickbacks from black-market activities. Fitting a historical pattern, the State Department and CIA have maintained close ties with top officials who are directly involved in the narcotics trade, causing production to rise to over 8,000 tons per annum. The president’s own brother, Ahmed Wali, a CIA “asset” who heads a paramilitary group used for raids on suspected Taliban enclaves has used drug proceeds to fund state terror operations, including the intimidation of opponents in the rigged election of 2009. Karzai’s 2007 appointment as anticorruption chief, Izzatullah Wasifi, meanwhile, spent almost four years in a Nevada prison for trying to sell heroin to an undercover police officer. A CIA officer commented that during the U.S.-NATO occupation, “Virtually every significant Afghan figure has had brushes with the drug trade. If you are looking for Mother Theresa, she doesn’t live in Afghanistan.”42
Cheryl Bernard, a RAND analyst and husband of Zalmay Khalilzad, UN Ambassador of the George W. Bush administration, explained one of the key reasons for the lack of good governance: “To defeat the Soviets we threw the worst crazies against them. Then we allowed them to get rid of, just kill all the moderate leaders. The reason we don’t have moderate leaders in Afghanistan today is because we let the nuts kill them all. They killed all the leftists, the moderates, the middle of the roaders. They were just eliminated, during the 1980s and afterwards.”43 The United States continues to tolerate high-levels of corruption out of perceived geo-political expediency, claiming that it is engrained within the political culture of Afghanistan and other “backward nations” in which it intervenes. In reality, however, it is a product of historical contingencies, the breakdown of social mores caused by the war-climate and the need of elite officials lacking popular legitimacy to obtain money for counter-insurgency operations.
Similar factors were at play in the 1960s when Vietnam and Laos were at the center of the world drug trade, benefiting from American backing of corrupt officials who controlled the traffic, with the CIA overseeing the production and sale of opium by Hmong guerrillas in order to finance the secret war against the Pathet Lao.44 History is thus coming full circle in Afghanistan, which now produces 93 percent of the world’s heroin and has been characterized by even Fox News, a major champion of American intervention, as a “narco-state.”45 Drug money has corrupted all facets of society, crippled the legal economy and made it nearly impossible to carry out the simplest development projects while most of the population lives in crushing poverty. As in South Vietnam under U.S. occupation, the main airport has become a major transshipment point for heroin and positions for police chief in many provinces are auctioned off to the highest bidder due to their enormous graft value. Securing a job as chief of police on the border is rumored to cost upwards of $150,000.46
In another parallel to Vietnam, rampant human rights violations have driven many people into the arms of the insurgency. A 2009 report by Commanding General Stanley A. McChrystal describes Afghan prisons as a particularly important recruiting base and “sanctuary [for Islamic militants] to conduct lethal operations” against government and coalition forces, including the 2008 bombing of the Serena hotel in Kabul which was allegedly planned without interference from prison personnel. McChrystal, a former Special Forces assassin, notes that “there are more insurgents per square foot in corrections facilities than anywhere else in Afghanistan.”47 These comments suggest that the recent Obama “surge” represents a costly and futile escalation of a conflict in which the U.S. has no prospects of victory.
Beginning in 2004, as war increasingly spilled over into Pakistan, the State Department provided tens of millions of dollars in technical aid, training and equipment to the Pakistani police. The central aim was to fight the Taliban and consolidate the power of military dictator Pervez Musharraf and his successor Ali Asaf Zhardari. American advisors introduced a computerized security and evaluation system to monitor all movement across the border, created special counter-narcotics units and a police air wing which was supplied with three caravan spotter planes and eight Huey helicopters to aid in counter-insurgency operations. Police play a vital role alongside mercenary firms such as Xe operations in identifying targets for CIA predator drone attacks which have killed hundreds of civilians, including over 100 during an errant strike on the village of Bola Baluk.48 As in Afghanistan, militarization has enhanced the already repressive character of the police and contributed to the intensification of a vicious civil war in which over two million people have been rendered refugees. The Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) meanwhile is deeply caught up in the heroin traffic, with the usual CIA collusion, and has been infiltrated by pro-Taliban elements, revealing the futility of American training programs and intervention.49 (read HERE)
AfPax Insider Part of Pakistani Taliban?
Videos posted on Afpax Insider website had to have been filmed openly, many scenes were documentaries, filmed using tripod cameras. This begs the question–Who were they? The following videos lend credence to local Pakistani “conspiracy” theories, which hold that the TTP are sponsored by the CIA, probably “Blackwater” types.