NATO plans ‘northern Afghanistan offensive’

NATO plans ‘northern Afghanistan offensive’

BERLIN — The NATO military alliance is planning a large-scale offensive in northern Afghanistan this year against Taliban insurgents, a senior German general was quoted as saying on Thursday.

“There will definitely be an operation up there in Kunduz (province),” General Bruno Kasdorf, chief of staff in the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, told the German ARD public radio.

He declined to give details but said that it would be on a “similar” scale to the offensive currently underway in the southern province of Helmand involving 15,000 US, NATO and Afghan troops.

“I don’t want to say that it will be the same scale and size as what we are seeing now in Helmand. But definitely something similar,” he said.

Operation Mushtarak is the first operation in a 12-18-month campaign for which US President Barack Obama is sending another 30,000 troops, with 10,000 from NATO, aimed at taking the fight to the Taliban.

Operations to push the Taliban out of their iconic Afghan stronghold of Kandahar are also underway, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, said Wednesday.

Germany has around 4,300 troops in Afghanistan, the third-largest contingent after the US and Britain.

They are based mainly in the north, which has not seen the same level of violence as the south, but insurgent activity has picked up there in recent months.

German Brigadier General Frank Leidenberger said last month that Washington was sending around 2,000 troops to the north to help German soldiers there.

Amid strong popular opposition to the mission, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided in January to send up to 850 more troops, but in common with Obama, she wants to start bringing soldiers home in 2011.

Berlin also announced a doubling of aid to 430 million euros (590 million dollars) over 2010-2013 and wants to step up efforts to train the Afghan army and police.

How Does Hekmatyar Fit New Afghan Paradigm?

[SEE: Understanding the New Afghan Paradigm]

behind taliban lines

Interview: Gilles Dorronsoro

The north has long been considered a safe area. What’s driving these changes?

In the north you have two different areas. If you look west of Mazar-e-Sharif, it is mostly good, and if you look at the northeast proper — Kunduz, Baghlan — the security there is becoming really bad. Two things are going on: First, where there is no Taliban, you have more and more local commanders fighting each other for local power. [Second], in places like Kunduz and Baghlan, especially, you have a very strong Taliban movement. Just two years ago, Baghlan was very quiet.

Is there a parallel government there? Or is it still very disconnected in this area?

Where the Taliban are stronger, you have a so-called Taliban government in place. It’s not the case in Badakhshan [province], for example, but it is in Kunduz and Baghlan, where you have this very well-organized Taliban movement, and very aggressive concentrated groups of 100 to 150 fighters in one operation.

What strength, if any, do Afghan security forces, the police or the army, have outside of the main northern cities?

You have a lot of provinces where you have no Afghan National Army. In the provinces, the police are actually quite weak. In places like Kunduz, you have 1 million inhabitants but you have a police force that is less than a few thousand, and the army is not really effective. So yes, the security forces are extremely weak and not able to really control the territory they are trying to secure. The major roads are extremely difficult. That’s basically why the situation is not working, because there is no Afghan state.

The United States is sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 60,000 to 70,000 that are already there. There’s a big push now concentrated in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where the offensive is ongoing. Should there be more attention turned to the north right now?

Yes. But let’s first describe the general situation in Afghanistan. In a few months, we will have a coalition of 150,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, once all the reinforcements arrive. At the same time, you have to add 100,000 contractors. So altogether, the people fighting or supporting the fight will be 250,000. It’s much much more than during the Soviet [occupation]. That’s the first thing to understand.

The second point is that in Helmand province, you have this offensive that is consuming a quarter of the resources of the coalition and accounting for a quarter of the causalities. It’s huge for one province that has no strategic importance.

… What do you mean by that?

From 2006, the British, then the Americans, have been trying to do something in Helmand. In 2006, the first British offensive was a disaster. Since then, because the first offensive failed, every year you have a new offensive. I think you now have 20,000 troops in Helmand and a very high level of casualities for a place that is not a strategic place.

Securing Helmand is not going to stop the Taliban from infiltrating the West. This offensive is not going to stop the strategy of the Taliban. Helmand is a place where people have deteriorating options, that’s true, but most of the money [generated by the drug trade] is going to the networks that are connected with the government, not to the Taliban. So the idea that you could basically weaken the Taliban [support mechanism] by taking or securing part of Helmand I think is misguided.

So you are saying that the perception that Helmand is feeding drug money into the Taliban war chest is misguided? That Helmand is not, in fact, a strategic location for combating the Taliban?

That’s part of the answer. But I think the real answer is that the coalition did not accept the first failure, so every year we’re trying something new. Just because you’ve put resources into something doesn’t mean you have to go on. But you go on, because you have already paid for it. You don’t want to lose Musa Qala because people died in Musa Qala. So you want to stay in Musa Qala.

What’s going to happen now? Are they going to take the city of Marja? They are going to be in a few districts. But there is no Afghan state. So what are we going to do? Stay in Helmand, in Marja, in Musa Qala for five years, 10 years with a guerilla force that is everywhere? We’re going to lose five, 10, 15 men every month in this province. So here I don’t see a lot of solutions.

You say that the U.S. and NATO are not taking the north seriously enough. What if anything is being done to address this increased level of insecurity in the north? …

Since last summer, two things have happened — two things that are dangerous. First, there are more and more militias. The U.S. military has decided to pay a lot of local militias to fight the Taliban. And that’s what we are seeing now in Kunduz, and also across the north. But these militias are going to be out of control. They’re already out of control. Some of them are criminals; some are older fighters from the 1980s. And, they are not going to obey the minister of interior or even the Americans.

The second thing is the targeted elimination of local Taliban commanders. It’s a huge program started a few months ago. There are no official figures on this, but what we call the “black special ops” have killed hundreds of local Taliban commanders. It is disorganizing the Taliban movement. In the short term, it’s working. But I don’t think that long term it’s going to work. It’s the north that has become more disorganized and Kabul has basically less and less to say in what’s going to happen. You have local strongmen emerging here and there. And the Taliban are using and exploiting this disorder and disorganization.

And don’t forget what produced the Taliban in the ’90s: social disorder. It is the same situation today: a central government that is nonexistent or very weak and totally illegitimate because [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai was not re-elected last summer. As we know, the fraud was huge. People do not trust Karzai. You have local disorder because of these local militias. And you have the Taliban coming from the outside, saying “OK, we want to restore order; we want to protect the population.” And in some places it’s working.

The primary objective of the German forces based in the north has long been reconstruction. They’re trying to initiate development projects. … Now that they are being confronted more and more, they are having to fight. Are they prepared and able to keep security in the north?

I think it’s hopeless because these Germans have never fought a war. They don’t know what to do, basically. That’s a major problem with most of the armies in NATO today. They’ve no fighting experience. The Spanish, the Italians, the French learned quite quickly because they were under a lot of pressure in Kabul; they had to learn again what counterinsurgency war is. So I don’t think the Germans are going to make a lot of progress. I think a few thousand Marines would do a more efficient job.

Now, in the north, the Hezb-i-Islami is a prominent militant group that does have some sort of alliance with the Taliban, but it’s a little more complex than that. Can you elaborate a little on their agenda and their relationship with the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

Let’s say the Hezb-i-Islami is an old party in Afghanistan. It was established in the ’70s, the end of the ’70s. And it’s kind of traditional. [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar [the group’s leader] is an old player in Afghanistan. He’s been there ages, you know, and he has very different tradition from the Taliban. His ideology is very different from the Taliban

The way the Hezb-i-Islami is working is very special. Basically, Hekmatyar wants to make a coup in Afghanistan, he wants to take power, and he’s extremely violent and he’s been all the time exposure. In ’92 when the so-called communist regime failed, you know, the spoiler was Hekmatyar. So the start of this new phase of the civil war was due to Hekmatyar.

And today Heymatyar is playing a very ambiguous game. His family is in Iran; he has good contact with the Pakistani intelligence. At the same time, he has also contact in Kabul. And he’s the kind of player that is very difficult to understand what he’s doing right now. He’s careful in a way. He is a Pashtun from Kunduz. His family is from Kunduz. Historically, Hezb-i-Islami was strong in the north; then [Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah] Massoud and other parties became the major players. But now Hezb-i-Islami are back in places like Baghlan, Takhar to some extent, but more Kunduz and Baghlan, and they are trying to become the dominant party.

But it is correct that they do share, on the face of it, the same objective as the Taliban. They do want an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan that adheres to sharia law. So on the surface they are ideologically aligned. But you’re saying, then, that is more right now an alliance of convenience for the time being because they have a mutual enemy.

Obviously Mullah Omar [leader of the Afghan Taliban] doesn’t trust Hekmatyar, and Hekmatyar doesn’t trust Mullah Omar.

And they’ve been at odds in the past.

Don’t forget that the Taliban destroyed Hezb-i-Islami in ’95 near Kabul. I mean, it was extremely violent. So I don’t think there’s long-term relationship between the two, they just have one enemy. They’re under pressure from the coalition so they fight together.

And then Pakistan dropped its support of Hezb-i-Islami for the Taliban.

Absolutely. And that’s why Hekmatyar is extremely cautious with all the regional players. He is not a huge military force. But if there’s a political deal, he’s going to be there.

Where’s Hekmatyar now?

Most probably he’s on the Pakistani border but on the Pakistani side. Probably near the Northwest [Frontier] Province and more in the north.

And most of his funding for his operation, is that coming from within Pakistan?

Yes, but also from Afghanistan.

Local trade, smuggling, this sort of thing?

Yes, the usual thing, basically. And Heykmatyar was in drugs, much more than the Taliban. Especially in the ’80s and ’90s.

Is that something that is ongoing?

Yes, yes. He’s used to that sort of thing.

How much of the north would you estimate is under Hezb-i-Islami control now?

I don’t think they have real control of even the districts. Hezb-i-Islami is a small group. Their level of organization is much lower than the Taliban’s. The bigger question is whether the government has control of the north, and which parts. For example, Mazar-e-Sharif is a very quiet place. … But at the same time we know that the governor of Mazar-e-Sharif is not even really talking to Karzai. So we’re in a situation where local governors sometimes are quite independent from the central government. And if you go to the really local district level, in most of those places, people are rarely obeying the central government. They don’t even have a relationship with the central government.

The Taliban is largely composed of Pashtuns. But Hezb-i-Islami has a broader appeal. They have fighters who are Uzbek, who are Chechen who are Pashtun. How have they been able to extend their appeal and attract people of different ethnicities and background?

It’s not only the Hezb-i-Islami. You find Uzbeks also in the Taliban movement. But the structure is different from the Taliban. They are not Pashtun nationalists, but you still have a very strong Pashtun-based movement with a jihadist ideology. And they want to recruit other ethnicities. They want to recruit Uzbeks. Sometimes that works. But it has not been working with the Tajiks. Hezb-i-Islami was always more diverse from the beginning.

In the case of the Hezb-i-Islami, how much control today does Hekmatyar exert over the group?

There has been a shift. In the 1980s until the beginning of the ’90s, Hekmatyar was totally in charge. He was a total Stalinist. The guy was number one, and he was killing members of his own group if they went a little bit out of the official line. This guy was running jails in Pakistan with the support of the Pakistani intelligence. He was killing and torturing people in Peshawar. So his organization was totally in control. And in the middle of the 1990s, after his defeat by the Taliban, the organization became something much more free. Hekmatyar is the boss. But I wouldn’t say he’s in control of everything in the way he was.

With all this talk about a negotiated settlement to end the fighting, what kinds of requirements do you see Hezb-i-Islami making to enter any negotiations? And what kinds of requirements would the Taliban need? And would they complement each other?

I would say first, there are two Hezb-i-Islami. One is directed by Hekmatyar; that is the guerilla movement. The other is the political wing of Hezb-i-Islami in Kabul. But they talk to each other, because, historically, they are from the same party. So Hekmatyar is not in a bad position. If there’s a political deal, probably he could play a part in that.

One issue for the Taliban and for the Hezb-i-Islami that is not acceptable is the long-term presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. And I would say that, more and more, it’s not just the Hezb-i-Islami and the Taliban but also the Afghan population that are basically fed up with foreigners. That’s one issue where it would be difficult to compromise. Beyond that, they are not necessarily asking for a withdrawal in six months. But like in Iraq, any long-term presence of foreign troops is difficult to accept.

When you say long-term presence of foreign troops, do you mean large-scale presence? Or any presence?

No, I’m thinking large scale. I mean, if it’s 2,000 troops somewhere, it is not a big deal. But this kind of massive presence of foreigners operating militarily in Afghanistan is not sustainable. And I don’t think it is going to be possible, even for the Western countries, to continue like that. It’s costly, in terms of treasure, in terms of life, in terms of political prestige. I think it’s not worth it, basically.

But do you think it is likely that these militant groups would enter into a negotiated settlement if the United States and NATO maintained some sort of presence in Afghanistan? Whether it is Special Forces, or in a coordinating capacity to help Afghan security forces get on their feet. Do you think that’s going to happen?

That’s very difficult to say. The whole object of negotiation is to deal with these differences. What I’m seeing right now is that for the Western countries, the Taliban is not in itself a problem. We have no problem with the Taliban. That’s not the point.

US Displays Northern Alliance Smuggled Weapons From Kunduz Fighting

For several years, U.S. officials have alleged that “Iranian weapons” were being supplied to Taliban militants, mostly in Farah and Herat but also elsewhere in the country. Most often, the official would make the charge in the passive voice, leaving it open to interpretation whether the arms shipments—assuming they were even identified correctly—were official Iranian policy or merely origination from other groups in Iran.

I’ve been a consistent critic of these charges (and the casual assumption of “Iranian-backed” to describe Taliban leaders we don’t like)—sure they might happen on a small scale, but does it really make sense for Iran to arm an immediate enemy against a more distant one?

A major reason I disbelieve these charges is Iran has a tremendous amount to gain from a prosperous Afghanistan, and their investments in Hazara and Tajik communities has been among the more successful foreign aid projects of the last eight years… and the Taliban will destabilize and destroy those areas should they gain the upper hand in the war. If they fund the Taliban, who then destroys hundreds of millions of dollars of Iranian investment, the regime has managed to embarrass the United States, true, but at a ludicrous cost that would leave it in the weak and borderline-unwinnable position it found itself in when the Taliban massacred its diplomats in Mazar-i Sharif in 1998. (In 2002, Iranian special forces collaborated with American special forces in the West to drive out Taliban units.)

Channel 4, however, claims to have acquired hard evidence that Iran is, in fact, doing something so astoundingly counterproductive.

The exclusive images and documents show, for the first time, the full extent of Iranian support for the Taliban in the shape of tonnes of weapons of the type being used against UK troops in Helmand province.

Despite the millions of dollars being spent by the international community to ensure cross-border security between Iran and Afghanistan, Channel 4 News has been shown vast hauls of weaponry which Afghan security services have told us are just a fraction of hardware intercepted from Iran on their way to the Taliban.

They claim it shows the true extent of direct support from the Iranian government for the insurgency.

This is enormously damaging, if true. It brings into question the close ties between Hamid Karzai and the Iranian government, as well as the entire nature of the security posture of NATO forces in the South. However, 13 paragraphs in we see:

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which operates in Herat, said that they did believe there was “limited” Iranian support for the Taliban through weapons and training, however they did not believe that it was at a level that was “decisive” to the outcome of the anti-insurgency effort.

They go on to interview a Taliban commander in Kunduz who says the Iranian government is crucial support for his insurgency because of the pressure Pakistan has placed on militants. But even there, it doesn’t seem as open-and-closed: the commander, for example, says he and his men have to rely on “professional smugglers” to get weapons, money, and so on, which implies there probably isn’t widespread official endorsement of the activity. When they don’t use smugglers they personally carry these items. So where are they buying them in Iran?

Of course, just last month Frontline ran a high-larious story on the Taliban in Baghlan province, just south of Kunduz (they were really HiG, but whatever). Those guys were very obviously run and managed by Pashtuns and Arabs from Pakistan, not Iran.

So at least based on what they have posted online, it doesn’t seem like a slam-dunk case, to borrow a troubled phrase. It is a narrative that plays to American and British assumptions of Iranian perfidy, but despite the cache of weapons on display it doesn’t directly implicate the Iranian government in any of the smuggling—any more than the Taliban operating in Waziristan directly implicates the Pakistani government (that is to say: neither government is monolithic and certainly has factions that behave semi-autonomously). If, however, the Channel 4 documents actually involve official Iranian government in shipping arms to the Taliban as part of a deliberate strategy to “bog down” the U.S., then it would be the first time concrete evidence of their involvement has been shown. And if that actually happens, then we have a rather big deal on our hands.

Exclusive: Iran supplies weapons to Taliban

Exclusive: Iran supplies weapons to Taliban

By Nima Elbagir

Updated on 18 March 2010

Channel 4 News can reveal the Taliban insurgency against British and American forces is being supported by Iranian weapons smuggled over the border including mines, mortars and plastic explosives.

Afghan weapons (credit:Reuters)

The exclusive images and documents show, for the first time, the full extent of Iranian support for the Taliban in the shape of tonnes of weapons of thetype being used against UK troops in Helmand province.

Despite the millions of dollars being spent by the international community to ensure cross-border security between Iran and Afghanistan,Channel 4 News has been shown vast hauls of weaponry which Afghan security services have told us are just a fraction of hardware intercepted from Iran on their way to the Taliban.

They claim it shows the true extent of direct support from the Iranian government for the insurgency.

The Afghan border with Iran is almost 1000km long and is incredibly difficult to police. The border town of Eslam Ghalah, in the Western Afghanistan province of Herat, is a key checkpoint for goods and human traffic entering and leaving Afghanistan.

Yet less than 10km from this border town is one of the country’s most notorious smuggling routes. And Channel 4 News has learnt that it is also a major pipeline for Iranian support to the Taliban.

The range of weaponry shown to Channel 4 News includes mortars, plastic explosive, hand grenades, phone cards and Taliban propaganda booklets. There are also rows upon rows of mines – each with a Persian serial number. Proof, say the Afghan authorities, that they came from Iran’s state run weapons factories.

The Afghan authorities seem to be finding it harder and harder to keep a lid on their increasing frustration. Rahmutallah Safi, the head of Border Police for Herat, invited local journalists to view their most recent haul.

“In this place you can see, we have discovered five mines,” he said. “All the international monitors have seen it. You yourselves can check to see which country has made it. You can see the [Persian] marks on the weapons and the type and show it to the world.”

Persian writing on a mine. According to the Afghan government’s own internal records, seen by Channel 4 News, over the last Islamic year 10.5 tonnes of weaponry was intercepted in Herat province alone – 60 per cent of which they say comes directly from the Iranian government.

Just in the last week authorities here claim to have intercepted over a tonne and a half of weaponry- and there is no way of knowing exactly how many smugglers are slipping through the authorities net’s.

But it is not just the Afghan authorities who acknowledge that there’s Iranian support for the Taliban.

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which operates in Herat, said that they did believe there was “limited” Iranian support for the Taliban through weapons and training, however they did not believe that it was at a level that was “decisive” to the outcome of the anti-insurgency effort.

But, in a revealing interview with Channel 4 News, the Taliban have told us that Iranian backing is a major factor in their war against Nato troops.

Iran’s importance

In the Western border to Kunduz in the North East of Afghanistan a senior member of the Taliban gave us an interview. Commander “Noori” – who would only talk on condition of anonymity – told us that Iran’s importance to the Taliban was crucial especially as the West was pressuring Pakistan to close its borders to the Taliban.

“Day by day the Iranian border becomes more important for us,” he said. “Especially now in Pakistan there are many problems for the Taliban and many of the Taliban have been imprisoned and also they arrest any Taliban who comes out of the Madrasas [religious schools].”

He told us it was not just the Iranian government’s support that was crucial but also the continued ease of movement the Taliban were afforded over its border.

“The Mojahedin themselves bring the weapons and money in [over the border] although we do also use professional smugglers to bring in our shipments.”

And the United States seems finally to be waking up to the importance of Afghanistan’s Western border. A new US consulate is due to open in Herat soon. It is the closest US Consulate to Iran but even before its new residents have moved in – already it has been hit by rocket attacks.

But back in the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, we met with a Western Official who gave us his take on the situation we had witnessed in the western province. He said Iran was “trying not to tip the balance.

They judge dominance by neither side is in their interest”. In other words – Iran will provide just enough support to fuel the ongoing insurgency, bogging down the West, the Afghan government and the Taliban in this costly conflict.

In a statement to Channel 4 News the Iranian Embassy in London said: “The implementation and maintaining of security and peace in Afghanistan has always been stressed by the Islamic Republic of Iran as it has an impact on the security and peace in Iran too.

“Iran was the first country to recognize Afghanistan and there is …close cooperation and friendship between the two countries. The Taliban are enemies of Iran and have killed a number of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan.

“These allegations are fabricated to pervert attentions from the problems and damage created by foreign forces in that country.”

Weapons intercepted on the Afghan border.

Obama Stresses US Support of Israel, Condemns Palestinian “Riots”!

Obama Stresses US Support of Israel, Condemns

Palestinian “Riots”!

[What do these looks really mean?  Which one has a better hand?]

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Israeli plans to build more settler homes in occupied Jerusalem were not helpful for the Middle East peace process, but he said the issue had not led to a crisis with one of the United States’ closest allies.

“Israel’s one of our closest allies, and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that’s not going to go away,” Obama told Fox News Channel.
“But friends are going to disagree sometimes,” he added.

Amid suspicious Arab indifference and Palestinian anger, Israel announced during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden that it planned to build 1,600 more settler homesin Al-Quds, creating a spat with the Obama administration.

The Obama administration had previously described Israel’s decision as an “insult”.

“I specifically sent Vice President Biden to Israel to send a message of support and reassurance about my belief that Israel’s security is sacrosanct and that we have a host of shared interests,” Obama said
The American president defended the Israel government and only blamed one of its members, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, for the ‘disagreement’. ”The actions that were taken by the interior minister in Israel weren’t helpful to that process. Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged as much and apologized for it,” Obama explained.

Netanyahu on Wednesday called the timing of the move a “bureaucratic mishap”.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week demanded that Israel scrap the project and show commitment to U.S.-mediated peace talks with the Palestinians. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said late Wednesday said that Clinton was still awaiting Netanyahu’s answer to the demands.
“We’re still looking forward to a response. It hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “There hasn’t been a call yet.”

By the early hours of Thursday morning Netanyahu was still in talks with seven senior ministers over Israel’s reply to Clinton, Israel’s Haaretz daily said.

Obama described the Palestinian reaction to Israel’s opening of a synagogue near the holy Aqsa mosque as ‘riots’ and condemned them.
“Yesterday when there were riots by the Palestinians against a synagogue that had reopened, we condemned them in the same way because what we need right now is both sides to recognize that is in their interests to move this peace process forward,” he concluded.

U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell on Tuesday canceled a planned visit to Israel as a protest against Tel Aviv’s announcement but told Barak that he was now considering arriving in the country on Sunday, Haaretz said.

The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow … and too late.”

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command — or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged  in the region’s most troublesome conflict.

[UPDATE: A senior military officer denied Sunday that Petraeus sent a paper to the White House.

“CENTCOM did have a team brief the CJCS on concerns revolving around the Palestinian issue, and CENTCOM did propose a UCP change, but to CJCS, not to the WH,” the officer said via email. “GEN Petraeus was not certain what might have been conveyed to the WH (if anything) from that brief to CJCS.”

(UCP means “unified combatant command,” like CENTCOM; CJCS refers to Mullen; and WH is the White House.)]

The Mullen briefing and Petraeus’s request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus’s request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied (“it was dead on arrival,” a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama administration decided it would redouble its efforts — pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with the chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen’s trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had  to see its conflict with the Palestinians “in a larger, regional, context” — as having a direct impact on America’s status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.

Israel didn’t. When Vice President Joe Biden was embarrassed by an Israeli announcement that the Netanyahu government was building 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, the administration reacted. But no one was more outraged than Biden who, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, engaged in a private, and angry, exchange with the Israeli Prime Minister. Not surprisingly, what Biden told Netanyahu reflected the importance the administration attached to Petraeus’s Mullen briefing:  “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Yedioth Ahronothwent on to report: “The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.” The message couldn’t be plainer: Israel’s intransigence could cost American  lives.

There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers — and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden’s trip to Israel has forever shifted America’s relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers. Maybe Israel gets the message now.

Mark Perry’s newest book is Talking To Terrorists

[UPDATE 2–from Mark Perry: A senior military officer told Foreign Policy by email that one minor detail in my report, “The Petraeus Briefing” was incorrect: a request from General Petraeus for the Palestinian occupied territories (but, as I made clear, not Israel itself), be brought within CENTCOM’s region of operation was sent to JCS Chairman Mullen – and not directly to the White House. My information was based on conversations with CENTCOM officials, who believed they were giving me correct information. It is significant that the correction was made, not because it is an important detail, but because it is was inconsequential to the overall narrative. In effect, the U.S. military has clearly said there was nothing in this report that could be denied.]

We Stand on the Cusp of one of Humanity’s Most Dangerous Moments

We will have to resist the temptation to fold in on ourselves and to ignore the cruelty outside our door.

Aleksandr Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease.” All resistance must recognize that the body politic and global capitalism are dead. We should stop wasting energy trying to reform or appeal to it. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance. It means turning our energies toward building sustainable communities to weather the coming crisis, since we will be unable to survive and resist without a cooperative effort.

These communities, if they retreat into a pure survivalist mode without linking themselves to the concentric circles of the wider community, the state and the planet, will become as morally and spiritually bankrupt as the corporate forces arrayed against us. All infrastructures we build, like the monasteries in the Middle Ages, should seek to keep alive the intellectual and artistic traditions that make a civil society, humanism and the common good possible. Access to parcels of agricultural land will be paramount. We will have to grasp, as the medieval monks did, that we cannot alter the larger culture around us, at least in the short term, but we may be able to retain the moral codes and culture for generations beyond ours. Resistance will be reduced to small, often imperceptible acts of defiance, as those who retained their integrity discovered in the long night of 20th-century fascism and communism.

We stand on the cusp of one of the bleakest periods in human history when the bright lights of a civilization blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity. The elites have successfully convinced us that we no longer have the capacity to understand the revealed truths presented before us or to fight back against the chaos caused by economic and environmental catastrophe. As long as the mass of bewildered and frightened people, fed images that permit them to perpetually hallucinate, exist in this state of barbarism, they may periodically strike out with a blind fury against increased state repression, widespread poverty and food shortages. But they will lack the ability and self-confidence to challenge in big and small ways the structures of control. The fantasy of widespread popular revolts and mass movements breaking the hegemony of the corporate state is just that – a fantasy.

My analysis comes close to the analysis of many anarchists. But there is a crucial difference. The anarchists do not understand the nature of violence. They grasp the extent of the rot in our cultural and political institutions, they know they must sever the tentacles of consumerism, but they naïvely believe that it can be countered with physical forms of resistance and acts of violence. There are debates within the anarchist movement – such as those on the destruction of property – but once you start using plastic explosives, innocent people get killed. And when anarchic violence begins to disrupt the mechanisms of governance, the power elite will use these acts, however minor, as an excuse to employ disproportionate and ruthless amounts of force against real and suspected agitators, only fueling the rage of the dispossessed.

I am not a pacifist. I know there are times, and even concede that this may eventually be one of them, when human beings are forced to respond to mounting repression with violence. I was in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia. We knew precisely what the Serbian forces ringing the city would do to us if they broke through the defenses and trench system around the besieged city. We had the examples of the Drina Valley or the city of Vukovar, where about a third of the Muslim inhabitants had been killed and the rest herded into refugee or displacement camps. There are times when the only choice left is to pick up a weapon to defend your family, neighborhood and city. But those who proved most adept at defending Sarajevo invariably came from the criminal class. When they were not shooting at Serbian soldiers they were looting the apartments of ethnic Serbs in Sarajevo and often executing them, as well as terrorizing their fellow Muslims. When you ingest the poison of violence, even in a just cause, it corrupts, deforms and perverts you. Violence is a drug, indeed it is the most potent narcotic known to humankind. Those most addicted to violence are those who have access to weapons and a penchant for force. And these killers rise to the surface of any armed movement and contaminate it with the intoxicating and seductive power that comes with the ability to destroy. I have seen it in war after war. When you go down that road you end up pitting your monsters against their monsters. And the sensitive, the humane and the gentle, those who have a propensity to nurture and protect life, are marginalized and often killed. The romantic vision of war and violence is as prevalent among anarchists and the hard left as it is in the mainstream culture. Those who resist with force will not defeat the corporate state or sustain the cultural values that must be sustained if we are to have a future worth living. From my many years as a war correspondent in El Salvador, Guatemala, Gaza and Bosnia, I have seen that armed resistance movements are always mutations of the violence that spawned them. I am not naïve enough to think I could have avoided these armed movements had I been a landless Salvadoran or Guatemalan peasant, a Palestinian in Gaza or a Muslim in Sarajevo, but this violent response to repression is and always will be tragic. It must be avoided, although not at the expense of our own survival.

Democracy, a system ideally designed to challenge the status quo, has been corrupted and tamed to slavishly serve the status quo. We have undergone, as John Ralston Saul writes, a coup d’état in slow motion. And the coup is over. They won. We lost. The abject failure of activists to push corporate, industrialized states toward serious environmental reform, to thwart imperial adventurism or to build a humane policy toward the masses of the world’s poor stems from an inability to recognize the new realities of power. The paradigm of power has irrevocably altered and so must the paradigm of resistance alter.

Too many resistance movements continue to buy into the facade of electoral politics, parliaments, constitutions, bills of rights, lobbying and the appearance of a rational economy. The levers of power have become so contaminated that the needs and voices of citizens have become irrelevant. The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.

We live in a culture characterized by what Benjamin DeMott called “junk politics.” Junk politics does not demand justice or the reparation of rights. It always personalizes issues rather than clarifying them. It eschews real debate for manufactured scandals, celebrity gossip and spectacles. It trumpets eternal optimism, endlessly praises our moral strength and character, and communicates in a feel-your-pain language. The result of junk politics is that nothing changes, “meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that strengthen existing, interlocking systems of socioeconomic advantage.”

The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as “negative.” This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned. To question, to engage in criticism of the corporate collective, is to be obstructive and negative. And it has perverted the way we view ourselves, our nation and the natural world. The new paradigm of power, coupled with its bizarre ideology of limitless progress and impossible happiness, has turned whole nations, including the United States, into monsters.

We can march in Copenhagen. We can join Bill McKibben’s worldwide day of climate protests. We can compost in our backyards and hang our laundry out to dry. We can write letters to our elected officials and vote for Barack Obama, but the power elite is impervious to the charade of democratic participation. Power is in the hands of moral and intellectual trolls who are ruthlessly creating a system of neo-feudalism and killing the ecosystem that sustains the human species. And appealing to their better nature, or seeking to influence the internal levers of power, will no longer work.

We will not, especially in the United States, avoid our Götterdämmerung. Obama, like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the other heads of the industrialized nations, has proven as craven a tool of the corporate state as George W. Bush. Our democratic system has been transformed into what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin labels inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, a free press, parliamentary systems and constitutions while manipulating and corrupting internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens but are ruled by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington, Ottawa or other state capitals who author the legislation and get the legislators to pass it. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion. Mass culture, owned and disseminated by corporations, diverts us with trivia, spectacles and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. “Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics – and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.”

Inverted totalitarianism wields total power without resorting to cruder forms of control such as gulags, concentration camps or mass terror. It harnesses science and technology for its dark ends. It enforces ideological uniformity by using mass communication systems to instill profligate consumption as an inner compulsion and to substitute our illusions of ourselves for reality. It does not forcibly suppress dissidents, as long as those dissidents remain ineffectual. And as it diverts us it dismantles manufacturing bases, devastates communities, unleashes waves of human misery and ships jobs to countries where fascists and communists know how to keep workers in line. It does all this while waving the flag and mouthing patriotic slogans. “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed,” Wolin writes.

The practice and psychology of advertising, the rule of “market forces” in many arenas other than markets, the continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the saturation by mass media and propaganda of every household and the takeover of the universities have rendered most of us hostages. The rot of imperialism, which is always incompatible with democracy, has seen the military and arms manufacturers monopolize $1 trillion a year in defense-related spending in the United States even as the nation faces economic collapse. Imperialism always militarizes domestic politics. And this militarization, as Wolin notes, combines with the cultural fantasies of hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility to sever huge segments of the population from reality. Those who control the images control us. And while we have been entranced by the celluloid shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave, these corporate forces, extolling the benefits of privatization, have effectively dismantled the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services and public housing) and rolled back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. The proponents of globalization and unregulated capitalism do not waste time analyzing other ideologies. They have an ideology, or rather a plan of action that is defended by an ideology, and slavishly follow it. We on the left have dozens of analyses of competing ideologies without any coherent plan of our own. This has left us floundering while corporate forces ruthlessly dismantle civil society.

We are living through one of civilization’s great seismic reversals. The ideology of globalization, like all “inevitable” utopian visions, is being exposed as a fraud. The power elite, perplexed and confused, clings to the disastrous principles of globalization and its outdated language to mask the looming political and economic vacuum. The absurd idea that the marketplace alone should determine economic and political constructs led industrial nations to sacrifice other areas of human importance – from working conditions, to taxation, to child labor, to hunger, to health and pollution – on the altar of free trade. It left the world’s poor worse off and the United States with the largest deficits – which can never be repaid – in human history. The massive bailouts, stimulus packages, giveaways and short-term debt, along with imperial wars we can no longer afford, will leave the United States struggling to finance nearly $5 trillion in debt this year. This will require Washington to auction off about $96 billion in debt a week. Once China and the oil-rich states walk away from our debt, which one day has to happen, the Federal Reserve will become the buyer of last resort. The Fed has printed perhaps as much as two trillion new dollars in the last two years, and buying this much new debt will see it, in effect, print trillions more. This is when inflation, and most likely hyperinflation, will turn the dollar into junk. And at that point the entire system breaks down.

All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators walk away with millions. The elite will retreat, as Naomi Klein has written in The Shock Doctrine, into gated communities where they will have access to services, food, amenities and security denied to the rest of us. We will begin a period in human history when there will be only masters and serfs. The corporate forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the rage at the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to ruthlessly extinguish opposition movements. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order and clutching the Christian cross. Totalitarianism, George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith but an age of schizophrenia. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Our elites have used fraud. Force is all they have left.

Our mediocre and bankrupt elite is desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved. More importantly, they are trying to save themselves. All attempts to work within this decayed system and this class of power brokers will prove useless. And resistance must respond to the harsh new reality of a global, capitalist order that will cling to power through ever-mounting forms of brutal and overt repression. Once credit dries up for the average citizen, once massive joblessness creates a permanent and enraged underclass and the cheap manufactured goods that are the opiates of our commodity culture vanish, we will probably evolve into a system that more closely resembles classical totalitarianism. Cruder, more violent forms of repression will have to be employed as the softer mechanisms of control favored by inverted totalitarianism break down.

It is not accidental that the economic crisis will converge with the environmental crisis. In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi laid out the devastating consequences – the depressions, wars and totalitarianism – that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.” He warned that a financial system always devolves, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism – and a Mafia political system – which is a good description of our financial and political structure. A self-regulating market, Polanyi wrote, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The free market’s assumption that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market allows each to be exploited for profit until exhaustion or collapse. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing.

If we build self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can weather the coming collapse. This task will be accomplished through the existence of small, physical enclaves that have access to sustainable agriculture, are able to sever themselves as much as possible from commercial culture and can be largely self-sufficient. These communities will have to build walls against electronic propaganda and fear that will be pumped out over the airwaves. Canada will probably be a more hospitable place to do this than the United States, given America’s strong undercurrent of violence. But in any country, those who survive will need isolated areas of land as well as distance from urban areas, which will see the food deserts in the inner cities, as well as savage violence, leach out across the urban landscape as produce and goods become prohibitively expensive and state repression becomes harsher and harsher.

The increasingly overt uses of force by the elites to maintain control should not end acts of resistance. Acts of resistance are moral acts. They begin because people of conscience understand the moral imperative to challenge systems of abuse and despotism. They should be carried out not because they are effective but because they are right. Those who begin these acts are always few in number and dismissed by those who hide their cowardice behind their cynicism. But resistance, however marginal, continues to affirm life in a world awash in death. It is the supreme act of faith, the highest form of spirituality and alone makes hope possible. Those who carried out great acts of resistance often sacrificed their security and comfort, often spent time in jail and in some cases were killed. They understood that to live in the fullest sense of the word, to exist as free and independent human beings, even under the darkest night of state repression, meant to defy injustice.

When the dissident Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell in a Nazi prison to the gallows, his last words were: “This is for me the end, but also the beginning.” Bonhoeffer knew that most of the citizens in his nation were complicit through their silence in a vast enterprise of death. But however hopeless it appeared in the moment, he affirmed what we all must affirm. He did not avoid death. He did not, as a distinct individual, survive. But he understood that his resistance and even his death were acts of love. He fought and died for the sanctity of life. He gave, even to those who did not join him, another narrative, and his defiance ultimately condemned his executioners.

We must continue to resist, but do so now with the discomforting realization that significant change will probably never occur in our lifetime. This makes resistance harder. It shifts resistance from the tangible and the immediate to the amorphous and the indeterminate. But to give up acts of resistance is spiritual and intellectual death. It is to surrender to the dehumanizing ideology of totalitarian capitalism. Acts of resistance keep alive another narrative, sustain our integrity and empower others, who we may never meet, to stand up and carry the flame we pass to them. No act of resistance is useless, whether it is refusing to pay taxes, fighting for a Tobin tax, working to shift the neoclassical economics paradigm, revoking a corporate charter, holding global internet votes or using Twitter to catalyze a chain reaction of refusal against the neoliberal order. But we will have to resist and then find the faith that resistance is worthwhile, for we will not immediately alter the awful configuration of power. And in this long, long war a community to sustain us, emotionally and materially, will be the key to a life of defiance.

The philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote that the exclusive preoccupation with personal concerns and indifference to the suffering of others beyond the self-identified group is what ultimately made fascism and the Holocaust possible: “The inability to identify with others was unquestionably the most important psychological condition for the fact that something like Auschwitz could have occurred in the midst of more or less civilized and innocent people.”

The indifference to the plight of others and the supreme elevation of the self is what the corporate state seeks to instill in us. It uses fear, as well as hedonism, to thwart human compassion. We will have to continue to battle the mechanisms of the dominant culture, if for no other reason than to preserve through small, even tiny acts, our common humanity. We will have to resist the temptation to fold in on ourselves and to ignore the cruelty outside our door. Hope endures in these often imperceptible acts of defiance. This defiance, this capacity to say no, is what the psychopathic forces in control of our power systems seek to eradicate. As long as we are willing to defy these forces we have a chance, if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow. As long as we defy these forces we remain alive. And for now this is the only victory possible.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Jerusalem Under the Fire of Death Squads

Jerusalem Under the Fire of Death Squads

Kawther Salam

March 17, 2010

Today Wednesday, the Palestinian newspapers, especially the PA newspaper Al-Hayat Jadidahand Al-Quds in Jerusalem, came out with miserly and censored news about a day of bloody clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces in occupied Jerusalem, which was otherwise described as “the hardest clashes between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces in the years after the outbreak of the Aqsa Intifada”. The Palestinian Authority, under the orders of the corrupt minister of Salam Fayyad, issued censorship instructions to the media, telling them to not concentrate on the news about the daily confrontations between the Israeli occupation and the local Palestinians in East Jerusalem, citing as a pretext that allegedly the Hamas “illegal” government had issued a call to take part in the confrontation and demos.

Israeli soldiers and the so-called borderpolice chasing women in the streets.

The PA quisling regime also instructed its military and police to prevent Palestinian protests and solidarity with the citizens of Jerusalem in all the cities, villages and towns of the West Bank under nominal PA control. Many PA checkpoints were set up everywhere in order to prevent protesters from approaching the areas under Israeli control and expressing their anger.

Hatem Abd al-Qader, a leader of Fatah from Jerusalem and member of Palestinian legislative council, sharply criticized the “caretaker government” headed by Salam Fayyad. He said: “the PA government prevents the protests and denies the Palestinians access to the sites in the West Bank which are

under Israeli control in a manner which is not consistent with the seriousness of conditions in the West Bank and Jerusalem”.

Abed al-Qadir denounced the PA saying: “We must allow Palestinians to express their anger about what Israel is doing in Jerusalem, and to let them solidarize with the Jerusalemites who stand against the repressive measures of the Israeli occupation, the judaization of Jerusalem and the desecration of its holy sites with their bare chests”. He added: “The conditions which created by the Palestinian government does not allow them freedom of expression and protest, and if the tension and escalation continues, the situation is going to explode in the West Bank”.

An Israeli police officer chases a Palestinian (L) in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud. Pic.Credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

In response to the statement of Hatem Abed al-Qadir, the PA police spokesman Adnan al-Domiri, an employee under the command of American General Keith Dayton and the EU COPPS, said: “the battle between the Israelis and the Palestinians is in Jerusalem, and not in other sites in the West Bank where we are. If anybody wants to confront the Israeli occupation he should go to Jerusalem, but not here in areas under the rule of the PA”.

This dangerous statement made by Al-Domiri testifies to a conspiracy against the Palestinians and their holy land and national institutions which is being perpetrated by the weak and corrupt body of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its so-called “leaders”, who are working under the cover of the American military policy, the Europeans intelligence services and police, and the Israelis, in order to maintain Israel’s security at all costs and so keep receiving the financial “aid” which feeds their bank accounts and increases their own investment opportunities.

In spite of everything which the PA has tried in order to conceal the truth about the serious confrontations and crimes in East Jerusalem, and to whitewash the seriousness of the situation in the Holy city of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the situation has deteriorated seriously and directly after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the news from Jerusalem have spread widely so that the PA is now unable to hide them despite the totalitarian control which they have imposed on their newspaper, for example Al-Hayat al-Jadida, which is only read by PA elements and translated by the Israeli military administration.

In Jerusalem, all the shops were closed today, and a commercial has strike has spread everywhere in the city. Huge confrontations and clashes have broken out between hundreds of Palestinian protesters and the Israeli police and the border police in Jerusalem and many of the surrounding districts, towns, villages and areas. According to Palestinian sources in Jerusalem, over 100 Palestinians were injured, among them 49 by rubber bullets, of these seven were in the eyes. A foreign journalist, “Daniel”, was injured in his leg, and eight Israeli police were stoned by the demonstrators. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers opened fire on the leg of a boy of age 17 after his arrest, they then beat and left him bleeding in the street until an ambulance was able to transfer him to a hospital for treatment.

The medical sources from Jerusalem, Red Crescent, reported that 49 Arabs were injured around the Old City and in east Jerusalem on Tuesday noon, including 14 people who were injured by rubber bullets, 16 who suffered from teargas inhalation, and the rest who were being beaten. 31 demonstrators were arrested. It has become known that Israeli soldiers and Special Forces are infiltrating the demonstrators disguised with beards and wearing attires of religious Muslims. Many people have been shot, beaten and detained by these infiltrators.

In the al-Suwaneh and al-Tur neighborhoods in Jerusalem, a group of Palestinian demonstrators managed to reach the jewish squatter colony of “Beit Orot”, where they removed all the Israeli flags and smashed the surveillance cameras.

An undercover Israeli police death squad officer points a weapon toward Palestinian protestors. Pic. Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner.

:: Article nr. 64268 sent on 18-mar-2010 05:35 ECT


Israel’s Man Up the Tree, Mahmoud Abbas

Winds of a third intifada

Osama AbuKatta

March 17, 2010

For almost a year now, Israeli politicians accused President Mahmoud Abbas, repeatedly, of climbing a high tree by refusing to negotiate with Israel before Benjamin Netenyahu’s Government announces a full freeze of all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In recent days, Abbas found his way down the tree by climbing the Arab League’s ladder announcing his acceptance to resume peace talks with Israel. Just before Abbas’ feet and the negotiations hit the ground, he had to climb back up the tree to higher latitude and retreat from his decision to resume the proximity talks. Pressured by the U.S., The Arab League gave Netenyahu four months to prove that he is willing to move forward with the peace process; however, Netenyahu and his government killed this initiative in its crib.

The prevailing sentiment in Israeli media towards Netenyahu’s current foreign policy after the latest political blunder(announcing new settlements), reflects a great deal of dissatisfaction. The performance and attitude of Israel’s foreign policy is scrutinized by the international community even by Israelis themselves. Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was supposed to be Israel’s first diplomat but he quickly became his country’s number one diplo-mess. His critics accuse him of running the Israeli Foreign Ministry as if he was still “a bodyguard at a nightclub.”In recent days, some Israeli newspapers argued that the current Israeli government is being run by reckless thugs who continue to undermine Israel’s security and alliances around the world.

The announcement of building 1600 new housing units expanding Israeli settlements during the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is one in a series of Israeli gaffes in the last few months. The crisis with the Turks after insulting Turkey’s Ambassador in Israel, The Mossad’s use of European fake passports in the assassination of Hamas’ military official Mamoud Al Mabhooh in Dubai contributed to damaging Israel’s image around the world. Outrage in the Muslim street fueled by Israel’s plan to annex two Islamic holy sites located in the West Bank to the so-called heritage list and the show of disrespect towards Biden and the U.S.’ role in the area function as an excellent PR opportunity for the Palestinians.

Combined with their success in rebuilding the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) economic and civil institutions in the last three years, the PA proved its ability to control the security situation in the West Bank in compliance with the Road Map for Peace and the Quartet’s demands. After these achievements, the PA sent the message to the US and the international community that they (the PA) can’t maintain the security achievements anymore. The PA insinuated that if the Peace Process does not move forward soon, Hamas will pick it up from there and gain control over the West Bank.

The Europeans applied some pressure on Israel through talk about a Spanish-French proposal to recognize a Palestinian State, keeping the details of their vision vague enough to allow the Israelis an edge to the process. On the other hand, the Obama administration, which appears to be turned-off by the Israeli government’s policies, has yet to convert its dissatisfaction with Netenyahu’s government into action. The Obama Administration’s main priority continues to be Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran in addition to overwhelming domestic crises, such as the economy and health care. Therefore the peace process ranks low in Obama’s list of priorities.
Some argue that the US will address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before any military action is taken against Iran. However, most analysts believe that until Obama ends the war in Iraq and withdraws US troops from there, Israel will not be allowed to carry a military strike on Iran. It is true that such a withdrawal is expected to take place this summer but the ramifications and aftermath of the Iraqi elections may challenge the process.

Considering the actions of the current Israeli government and all other dynamic factors affecting the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process, one cannot be optimistic about the peace process in the near future. While the urgency of ending the Israeli occupation is a Palestinian priority, wasting time and prolonging the path to a peace deal seems to be the best strategy for the rest of the parties involved. Observers suggest that any progress in the Palestinian-Israeli peace track will only weaken Netenyahu’s coalition, but will definitely empower the PA and the Obama administration. Although peace with the Arabs is assumingly a strategic Israeli advantage, it is not necessarily in Nentenyahu government’s best interest to strike a peace deal, thus making it hard to imagine Israel investing in this path in the near future.

Meanwhile, a rose scenario of progress on the Palestinian-Israeli peace track will involve the weakening of Hamas, better chances of improvements in peace talks between Israel and Syria leading to a wider support for the Obama administration agendas’ in Iraq and Iran. Realistically, media reports from Palestine have been suggesting that the political scene in the West Bank and Jerusalem is ripe for a third Intifada. An uprising that is organized, peaceful and enjoys the support of both; local and international communities.

The continued unbearable pressure by the U.S. and Israel on the PA to maintain security, without any political progress, will ultimately make the PA loose legitimacy and support from the Palestinian street. This will also make a third Intifada the only option and best alternative to a negotiated agreement for Palestinians. Many Palestinians argue that even if a third Intifada means the end of the PA, it will hopefully end Palestinians internal rifts.

:: Article nr. 64276 sent on 18-mar-2010 08:49 ECT


Video: Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

Video: Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

By Anthony Lawson*


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba“, posted with vodpod

There can be absolutely no doubt that Israel has created an inhuman, illegal and utterly disgraceful Apartheid state, and the international community will never be able to excuse itself if it takes no action against this blatant, ongoing and in-plain-sight crime against humanity.

Please join the millions of decent people around the world who are crying out against Israel’s ongoing persecution of the Palestinians. Send the link to this video to your elected representative and make sure he or she does something about it. You have to ask yourself: If I keep quiet , will it ever end?

This video started life being loosely based on the YouTube video: ‘Press TV- Epilogue -Zionist Israel and Apartheid South Africa -02-24-2010’, and uses some of its imagery, and wording. It was expanded into its present form to take into account the U.S. vice president’s recent visit to Israel and the announcement that Israel was to build yet more structures on the illegally occupied settlement of Beitar Illit. I wrote to Press TV to tell them what I was doing, but received no reply. In any event, I think that the issues are too important for anyone to be concerned about drawing from research done by others, and anyone who would like to use extracts from this video is welcome to do so.

Planning for a Post-Israeli Warworld

Planning for a Post-Israeli Warworld

The relationship between the Pentagon and World Jewry is starkly simple: the Jews set up the wars – the Wars For The Jews – through their financial manipulation of American politics and their control of the media, and the Pentagon fights these wars. Since the Jews crave wars to build Anti Assimilation Land, and wars are what the generals and general wannabes want to build their careers and enrich the MI Complex, it works out for both the Jews and the Pentagon.

Folks in the Pentagon aren’t dumb. Withing ten years, Jewish Israel won’t exist. What then for the generals? How will the Pentagon transition to a world without Wars For The Jews?

We’re just beginning to see the thoughts of the Pentagon planners. Petraeus has formally presented the problem to the joint chiefs of staff – the guys who represent the interests of the MI Complex – in the disguised form you might expect, that America is being perceived as weak due to its enslavement by the Jews, a weakness which is actually starting to pose a danger to American troops and affecting American fighting success. The message has made it to the White House, which is why Biden phrased his anger at Netanyahu in exactly those terms (and why the Head Jew had Goldberg ask a treasonous anonymous Jew in the White House to deny Biden’s words). It was this base of thinking that created such a crisis in Washington when Netanyahu characteristically yet again spit in the eye of Biden and the United States.

This is extremely dangerous territory for World Jewry. While a few phone calls from the Jewish Billionaires will quickly bring the politicians into line, grovelling as usual (just watch them at the AIPAC conference!), Jews have no real control over the Pentagon, and the MI Complex is too powerful to push around through the ownership of the American political class. The idea, beloved of the Christian Zionists, that fighting Wars For The Jews is protecting the United States, is not only untrue, but preposterous, and World Jewry must realize that their control over the media can’t help them once the Pentagon decides to shift alliances. The Pentagon’s transition to a post-Israeli world will accelerate the end of the shitty little county.

Lebanese Bust Saudi National for Spying for Israel

Marjayoun Police Arrest Saudi Allegedly Spying for Israel

Police in Marjayoun have arrested a Saudi allegedly spying for the Israeli Mossad, An Nahar daily reported Thursday.
The newspaper said that on Wednesday a police patrol near the barbed wire that separates Lebanon from Israel noticed a man hiding behind a rock on the Lebanese side of the border and speaking with an Israeli army patrol.

When the suspect saw the Lebanese patrol, he tried to escape to the Israeli side. However, Marjayoun police seized the man, who was identified as Jawad bin Fahd al-Issa.

The suspect smashed his mobile phone before his arrest, An Nahar said.

Investigation revealed that al-Issa had arrived in Lebanon from Jordan a week ago. He told investigators that he was depressed and wanted to commit suicide. So he decided to head to southern Lebanon to lure Israelis into killing him.

Al-Issa was handed over to the Lebanese army because the military is responsible for the area where he was arrested.

The Saudi Okaz newspaper said the suspect is called Mohammed bin Jawad al-Issa. He was contacting the Israeli army to escape to the Palestinian territories, it reported.

The daily quoted security sources as saying that he was trying to provoke the Israeli army and denied he was attempting to escape to Israel. The sources also said that he threw a calling device on the other side of the border before his arrest.

The Saudi ambassador, Ali Awad al-Assiri, told Okaz that he was following up the issue closely with Lebanese authorities and stressed that the nationality of the suspect hasn’t been identified yet.

India rules out surgical strike on terror camps in Pak

India rules out surgical strike on terror camps in Pak



Pallam Raju

New Delhi India on Thursday ruled out the possibility of any surgical strike on terror camps inside Pakistan, but asserted that adequate measures would be taken to ensure its interests are protected.”No, no,” Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, said when asked about the possibility of surgical strikes on terror camps inside the neighbouring country.

He told reporters here, “We will take adequate measures to see to it that our nation is safe, our citizens are safe, and our interests are safeguarded.”

While expressing hope that Pakistan will act against terror camps operating from its soil, he said India will also ensure that its interests are protected and the nation is secure.

“The first responsibility is towards ensuring adequate security towards which we are leaving no stone unturned. Beyond that whatever information we have about these camps, we have brought it to the notice of our neighbour and we hope they will take action on that,” he said on the sidelines of a seminar at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses here.

“It is a stated policy that they (Pakistan) will do infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir. Across the borders, we are taking adequate safety measures and we are continuing to talk to that government. I am sure there will be results at the end of the day,” he said.

Defence Minister A K Antony had yesterday said there were 42 terror camps inside Pakistan and that the neighbour had not done enough yet to dismantle the terrorinfrastructure.

On the gaps in the Army’s anti-tank missile systems, Raju said the Defence Ministry would provide whatever capability the Services needed within the time frame that they sought.

Mumbai’s Anti-Terrorism Squad Blows Another Case (Who do these guys work for, anyway?)

Chavan raps ATS chief for revealing Pak terror links

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Following the Union Home Ministry rap, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan too on Wednesday chided the state Anti-Terrorism Squad’s chief for revealing too much to the media in connection with the recent arrest of two terror suspects.

Chavan said the revelation of the evidence of cross-border terror links of the arrested terror suspects at a press conference by ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi has affected the probe, as the trail to the suspects’ Pakistani handler has gone cold.

While agreeing that the ATS chief should have withheld the information till the probe was over, the CM said he will speak to Home Union Minister P Chidambaram over the action to be initiated against the ATS chief.

The ministry has already asked the Maharashtra government to initiate stern action against “erring” officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squad.

The state government has been asked to ensure that stern action is taken against the official so that such incidents can be avoided in future.

At the detailed press conference on Saturday, ATS chief Raghuvanshi had revealed that the arrested Mumbai residents, Abdul Latif and Riyaz Ali, were intouch with a Pakistan-based “Chacha”.

The revelation to the media prompted “Chacha” to go off the interception radar of the central intelligence agencies.
This episode prompted the Home Ministry to rap the Maharashtra police.

“We lost Uncle … Chachaji is no more,” said a senior Home Ministry official, who described the revelation as a “hit on the head for us”.

Latif and Riyaz Ali, residents of Bandra and Dahisar respectively, were arrested by ATS on March 13 near Matunga railway station.

They were allegedly preparing to carry out terror strikes at an Oil and Natural GasFacility (ONGC) facility in Mumbai, besides Thakkar Mall in Borivali and Mangaldas Market in south Mumbai.

The End of the Indo-American Delusion

India out of the loop on Af-Pak

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

The atmospherics are good but the ground realities are unfavourable. India is struggling to stay relevant and advance its geo-political equities with the United States at a time Washington is buffeted by domestic pressures and international crises that are undercutting its resolve to put ties with New Delhi on a higher plane.

Good intentions, broad agenda, and packed schedules notwithstanding, Indian diplomatic foray into Washington this week was notable for gripes and grievances than any significant advancement towards the stated goal of achieving a strategic relationship with the US, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had a series of meetings on Tuesday, including a drop-in by secretary of state Hillary Clinton at a state department meeting with her counterpart William Burns, but in the end there was no meeting of minds on the most fundamental security issue of the times.

India and US disagree on Afghanistan and Pakistan. That much became clear towards the end of the foreign secretary’s visit although elaboration on this issue was foiled by the cancellation of Rao’s wrap-up press meet (Indian Embassy said she was unwell).

At a time when Washington is searching for an exit strategy from the Af-Pak region, a statement released at the end of her visit (in lieu of the cancelled press conference) tersely noted that “she (Rao) reiterated India’s long-held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.” The international community on the other hand wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan — yesterday.

There were other unresolved issues. Rao’s engagement was also partly torpedoed by the withdrawal by the government of the nuclear liability bill in Parliament hours after her arrival here. As a result, there was little progress on tying up loose ends of the civilian nuclear deal including an agreement on reprocessing although there were brave words about the deal being on track and on schedule.

Most notably, on the issue of high-tech cooperation, the Indian side was still pleading for removal of some its organizations from the so-called Entities List, seven years after the establishment of the group. “The Indian side requested the US department of commerce to review US export controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize India-US strategic partnership today,” the concluding statement said.

To say India has become a mere sideshow in Washington would be overstating it (besides meeting Clinton, Rao also called on the NSA Jim Jones and two key lawmakers on a dayWashington was awash with the health care issue and the US-Israel spat). There were important advances in bilateral matters, including setting the stage for external affairs minister S M Krishna’s visit to Washington shortly leading in turn to President Obama’s visit to New Delhi later this year.

But on the Af-Pak issue, India is clearly out of the loop. Pakistan is again the new game in town. Even as the Indian foreign secretary made the rounds of a capital in political and legislative ferment (over the health care bill), diplomatic corridors were abuzz with Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s own outreach to the Taliban through his brothers and Pakistan’s effort to impose itself on that engagement.

Rao meanwhile was telling think-tankers that Taliban remained untouchables for New Delhi. India’s gripe about US arms to Pakistan also went largely unaddressed. In fact, even as Rao was complaining about the potential use by Pakistan of US-supplied weapons against India, Washington had delivered from its base in Jordan a squadron of 14 AH-1 Cobra advancedhelicopter gunships to Pakistan.

‘Govt to launch operation against banned outfits’

‘Govt to launch operation against banned outfits’

* Interior minister claims 90 percent of terrorist activities carried out by SSP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: A decisive operation will be launched against banned sectarian outfits if they do not refrain from carrying out terrorist attacks in the country, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.

Malik made these comments at a joint-press briefing along with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira after a special meeting of the federal cabinet, which was chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Responsible for attacks: Malik claimed that the defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were behind 90 percent of the terrorist attacks in Punjab.

“They are operating on the instructions of their foreign masters with the ulterior motive to destabilise Pakistan,” he said.

“We are fighting an ideological war and we have to unite to defeat these anti-state elements,” the minister said, adding that these elements had tried to create sectarian and ethnic strife.

The cabinet meeting was attended by the chief ministers of all four provinces, their secretaries, the inspector generals, the chief of general staff, the AJK PM and the Gilgit-Baltistan governor besides the federal and state ministers. The meeting reviewed the law and order situation in the country and decided that the federal government would provide all possible technical and financial resources to provinces to deal with the unabated wave of terrorism in the country.

It also decided to enhance cooperation between the federal government and provinces over ‘intelligence sharing’ and the training of law enforcement agencies to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country.

The PM directed Malik to carry out a ‘comprehensive exercise’ to assess the financial and equipment requirements of law enforcement agencies in consultation with the provincial governments and ministry of finance and come up with recommendations.

Speaking at the press briefing, Kaira informed reporters that the cabinet meeting discussed the draft of the proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) Law, and decided to consider the VAT Law as an ‘important part’ of efforts to rescue the country’s crisis-hit economy and to expand its ‘resource base’.

Kandahar campaign already underway, general says

Main Image

Kandahar campaign already underway, general says


(Reuters) – Preliminary U.S. efforts to gradually retake full control of the Taliban’s birthplace Kandahar are already underway, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday, offering few details.

The campaign in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, is seen as a crucial test of President Barack Obama’s strategy to reverse Taliban momentum after more than eight years of war.

General Stanley McChrystal says he envisions gradual operations to deliver security and governance, as opposed to one big military assault. That has raised questions about how to identify the new campaign in Kandahar and its surroundings, where NATO already has thousands of forces.

“Kandahar is already being shaped,” McChrystal said, briefing reporters in Washington via teleconference, adding that efforts will “ramp up” in the coming weeks and months.

“What you are going to see in the months ahead, without giving too much detail, is a number of activities to shape the political relationships in and around Kandahar,” he said.

McChrystal said there would also be a “series of activities” to boost security, like more partnering with Afghan police inside Kandahar city and boosting troop levels in the surrounding areas.

“If you control the environs around Kandahar, you go a long way to controlling Kandahar,” he said.

McChrystal has not given a timeline for the operation but told reporters last week in Kabul that troops would be at full force for Kandahar operations by the early summer.

Kandahar served as the spiritual seat of power for reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar before the militants were ousted from Afghanistan by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001. Militants have since made substantial gains in the area.

(Reporting by Phil StewartAdam Entous and Caren Bohan, editing by Vicki Allen)

Soaring IED attacks in Afghanistan stymie U.S. counteroffensive

Soaring IED attacks in Afghanistan stymie U.S. counteroffensive

Taliban fighters more than doubled the number of homemade bombs they used against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last year, relying on explosives that are often far more primitive than the ones used in Iraq. An Afghan Army engineer tries to photograph an IED they dug up after local residents reported it at Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters more than doubled the number of homemade bombs they used against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last year, relying on explosives that are often far more primitive than the ones used in Iraq. An Afghan Army engineer tries to photograph an IED they dug up after local residents reported it at Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. (John Moore – Getty Images)

By Craig Whitlock


Taliban fighters more than doubled the number of homemade bombs they used against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last year, relying on explosives that are often far more primitive than the ones used in Iraq.

The embrace of a low-tech approach by Taliban-trained bombmakers — they are building improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, out of fertilizer and diesel fuel — has stymied a $17 billion U.S. counteroffensive against the devices in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials say. Electronic scanners or jammers, which were commonly deployed in Iraq, can detect only bombs with metal parts or circuitry.

"Technology is not going to solve this problem," said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the military’s Joint IED Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO. "I don’t think you can defeat the IED as a weapon system. It is too easy to use."

U.S. military officials said they expected the number of IED attacks to climb further this year as 40,000 U.S. and NATO reinforcements pour into Afghanistan.

Oates said technological advances have enabled the military to save lives by providing better armor and other forms of protection for troops. But he said the high-tech approach — despite billions of dollars in research — has failed to produce an effective way to detect IEDs in the field. About four-fifths of the devices that are found before they explode are detected the old-fashioned way: by troops who notice telltale signs, such as a recently disturbed patch of dirt that might be covering up a bomb.

Despite the insurgents’ crude approach, the explosive power of their IEDs is growing. Each bombing in Afghanistan, on average, causes 50 percent more casualties than it did three years ago, Oates said Wednesday at a House committee hearing. U.S. officials say even armored troop-transport vehicles that were designed to protect against roadside bombs are now vulnerable.

All told, the U.S. military recorded 8,159 IED incidents in Afghanistan in 2009, compared with 3,867 in 2008 and 2,677 the year before.

Last month, 721 IEDs blew up or were defused in Afghanistan, slowing a major Marine-led offensive in Helmand province and killing 28 U.S. and allied troops. These bombs are the leading cause of U.S. casualties by a large margin.

The number of IED attacks in Iraq, meanwhile, has plummeted, mirroring the overall decrease in violence in that country. At their peak, in 2007, Iraqi insurgents employed 23,000 IEDs. Last year, that number fell to about 3,000, according to U.S. military figures.

Oates credited U.S. countermeasures — such as interrupting the flow of military-grade explosives and detonators from Iran — for some of the decrease. Other military officials said a bigger factor was the overall reduction in the intensity of the insurgency; as sectarian fighting faded, people simply stopped planting bombs.

Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the head of U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan, has said that the most effective way to combat the flood of IEDs is to embrace an overall counterinsurgency strategy. If U.S. and NATO forces can win the support of the local population, the thinking goes, the bombings will stop.

But with the number of IED attacks soaring in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates created a task force in November to devise more short-term solutions for responding to the threat. He gave the group six months to come up with recommendations.

"There’s no doubt the urgency has picked up," said Oates, who took over as director of JIEDDO in January and sits on the task force. "We don’t have years to wait to start changing the momentum in Afghanistan."

JIEDDO, which has a staff of about 3,500, was created in 2006 after U.S. commanders in Iraq said they needed a major research effort to come up with ways to fight IEDs. Some military officials likened the campaign to a modern-day Manhattan Project, the code name for the secret program that developed the first atomic bomb.

Congress has spent nearly $17 billion on IED research and training programs, not including money allocated for armored vehicles and other equipment to protect troops.

In Iraq, in addition to using electronic jammers, the U.S. military employed a range of tactics to detect IEDs. Unmanned aircraft and blimps armed with cameras roamed the skies to look for insurgents as they placed bombs along roadsides and under bridges.

But experts said those tactics are only marginally useful in Afghanistan. Because of the country’s mountainous terrain, surveillance drones have a harder time spotting bombers at work. Unlike in Iraq, most of the roads are unpaved, making it more difficult to detect bombs buried in the dirt.

"It’s just a tough environment," said Command Sgt. Maj. Todd M. Burnett, who oversees training programs for JIEDDO. "It’s the harshest conditions imaginable for a soldier."

Kenneth Comer, JIEDDO’s deputy director of intelligence, said insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq were constantly adapting their bombmaking tactics to stay a step ahead of U.S. technological advances. He said that it was unlikely that the U.S. military would ever catch up but that it needed to keep trying until broader counterinsurgency efforts take root. The alternative, he said, would result in higher U.S. casualties and more momentum for enemy forces.

"We will never win in that space," he said. "But we can lose in that space."

U.S. DOJ asked to regulate AIPAC as a foreign agent of the Israeli government‏

U.S. DOJ asked to regulate AIPAC as a foreign agent of the Israeli government‏

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (

WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The US Department of Justice has been formally asked to begin regulating the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A 392 page legal filing presented by a four person IRmep delegation in a two hour meeting with top officials of the Internal Security Section substantiated the following case for AIPAC’s immediate registration:

1. AIPAC is a spinoff of an organization already ordered by the DOJ to register as an Israeli foreign agent. In November of 1962 the American Zionist Council was ordered by the Attorney General to begin filing disclosures as an Israeli foreign agent under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. Six weeks later, former AZC employees incorporated the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, taking over the AZC’s lobbying.

2. AIPAC’s fog activities. AIPAC did not register as a foreign agent.under Isaiah L. Kenen was the chief information officer for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New York and for a time duly registered in that role. The Justice Department ordered Kenen to personally re-register after he formally left the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to head up private lobbying and publicity for the Israeli government at the nonprofit American Zionist Council. Kenen never complied with the order.

3. Espionage related FBI investigations in 1984 and 2005 reveal AIPAC’s ongoing stealth foreign agency activities. Declassified FBI files released on the Internet last week reveal that in 1984 AIPAC and the Israeli Ministry of Economics were investigated for jointly obtaining and circulating classified US economic data to obtain favorable trade benefits for Israel. In 2005 Pentagon Colonel Lawrence Franklin pled guilty and two AIPAC employees were indicted for obtaining and circulating classified US national defense information to Israeli government officials allegedly in the interest of fomenting US action against Iran.

4. AIPAC’s executive committee consists of the original member organizations of the AZC in addition to newer members. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the umbrella group of AIPAC’s executive committee, is housed in the same New York office as the World Zionist Organization – American Section, a registered foreign agent that is heavily involved in illegal settlement expansion according to Israeli prosecutor Thalia Sasson.

According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, the case for reregulating AIPAC as a foreign agent immediately is compelling. “AIPAC was designed to supplant the American Zionist Council as the arm of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States after the DOJ ordered the AZC to register as a foreign agent. As such, Americans should have full public access to biannual FARA registrations detailing AIPAC’s publicity campaigns, lobbying expenditures, funding flows, activities of its offices in Israel and internal consultations with its foreign principals – particularly over such controversial issues as illegal settlements and US foreign aid.”

Concerned organizations and individuals who wish to supplement the Department of Justice filing or participate in future negotiations with law enforcement officials should contact the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. at or 202-342-7325. IRmep is a private nonprofit that studies how warranted law enforcement and civil action can improve U.S. Middle East policy.

SOURCE: Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

Hitler Is Smiling–The Profitable Secret Sterilization of the Third World

“We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.”

[SEE: Indian Democracy and the Fight Against Insecticide In Food]

Bill Gates talks about `vaccines to reduce population`

Posted: 2010/03/11
From: Source
Microsoft founder and one of the world`s wealthiest men, Bill Gates, projects an image of a benign philanthropist using his billions via his (tax exempt) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to tackle diseases, solve food shortages in Africa and alleviate poverty.
By F. William Engdahl, Mar 6, (informationliberation) — In a recent conference in California, Gates reveals a less public agenda of his philanthropy–population reduction, otherwise known as eugenics.

Gates made his remarks to the invitation-only Long Beach, California TED2010 Conference, in a speech titled, “Innovating to Zero!.” Along with the scientifically absurd proposition of reducing manmade CO2 emissions worldwide to zero by 2050, approximately four and a half minutes into the talk, Gates declares, “First we got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”1 (author’s emphasis).

In plain English, one of the most powerful men in the world states clearly that he expects vaccines to be used to reduce population growth. When Bill Gates speaks about vaccines, he speaks with authority.

In January 2010 at the elite Davos World Economic Forum, Gates announced his foundation would give $10 billion (circa €7.5 billion) over the next decade to develop and deliver new vaccines to children in the developing world. 2

The primary focus of his multi-billion dollar Gates Foundation is vaccinations, especially in Africa and other underdeveloped countries.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a founding member of the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunization) in partnership with the World Bank, WHO and the vaccine industry.

The goal of GAVI is to vaccinate every newborn child in the developing world.

Now that sounds like noble philanthropic work.

The problem is that the vaccine industry has been repeatedly caught dumping dangerous—meaning unsafe because untested or proven harmful—vaccines onto unwitting Third World populations when they cannot get rid of the vaccines in the West.3

Some organizations have suggested that the true aim of the vaccinations is to make people sicker and even more susceptible to disease and premature death.4

Dumping toxins on the Third World

In the aftermath of the most recent unnecessary Pandemic declaration of a global H1N1 swine flu emergency, industrial countries were left sitting on hundreds of millions of doses of untested vaccines.

They decided to get rid of the embarrassing leftover drugs by handing them over to the WHO which in turn plans to dump them for free on select poor countries.

France has given 91 million of the 94 million doses the Sarkozy government bought from the pharma giants; Britain gave 55 million of its 60 million doses. The story for Germany and Norway is similar.5

As Dr. Thomas Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Research Center in Rome noted, “Why do they give the vaccines to the developing countries at all? The pandemic has been called off in most parts of the world. The greatest threat in poor countries right now is heart and circulatory diseases while the virus figures at the bottom of the list. What is the medical reason for donating 180 million doses?” 6 As well, flu is a minor problem in countries with abundant sunshine, and it turned out that the feared H1N1 Pandemic “new great plague” was the mildest flu on record.

The pharmaceutical vaccine makers do not speak about the enormous health damage from infant vaccination including autism and numerous neuro-muscular deformities that have been traced back to the toxic adjuvants and preservatives used in most vaccines.

Many vaccines, especially multi-dose vaccines that are made more cheaply for sale to the Third World, contain something called Thimerosal (Thiomersol in the EU), a compound (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate), containing some 50% mercury, used as a preservative.

In July 1999 the US’ National Vaccine Information Center declared in a press release that, “The cumulative effects of ingesting mercury can cause brain damage.” The same month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the public about the possible health effects associated with thimerosal-containing vaccines.

They strongly recommended that thimerosal be removed from vaccines as soon as possible. Under the directive of the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, the Food and Drug Administration also determined that infants who received several thimerosal-containing vaccines may be receiving mercury exposure over and above the recommended federal guidelines.7

A new form of eugenics?

Gates’ interest in inducing population reduction among black and other minority populations is not new unfortunately. As I document in my book, Seeds of Destruction,8since the 1920’s the Rockefeller Foundation had funded the eugenics research in Germany through the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institutes in Berlin and Munich, including well into the Third Reich.

They praised the forced sterilization of people by Hirtler Germany, and the Nazi ideas on race “purity.” It was John D. Rockefeller III, a life-long advocate of eugenics, who used his “tax free” foundation money to initiate the population reduction neo-Malthusian movement through his private Population Council in New York beginning in the 1950’s.

The idea of using vaccines to covertly reduce births in the Third World is also not new. Bill Gates’ good friend, David Rockefeller and his Rockefeller Foundation were involved as early as 1972 in a major project together with WHO and others to perfect another “new vaccine.”

The results of the WHO-Rockefeller project were put into mass application on human guinea pigs in the early 1990’s. The WHO oversaw massive vaccination campaigns against tetanus in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines.

Comite Pro Vida de Mexico, a Roman Catholic lay organization, became suspicious of the motives behind the WHO program and decided to test numerous vials of the vaccine and found them to contain human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, or hCG.

That was a curious component for a vaccine designed to protect people against lock-jaw arising from infection with rusty nail wounds or other contact with certain bacteria found in soil.

The tetanus disease was indeed, also rather rare. It was also curious because hCG was a natural hormone needed to maintain a pregnancy.

However, when combined with a tetanus toxoid carrier, it stimulated formation of antibodies against hCG, rendering a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy, a form of concealed abortion. Similar reports of vaccines laced with hCG hormones came from the Philippines and Nicaragua.9

Gates’ ‘Gene Revolution in Africa’

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with David Rockefeller’s Rockefeller Foundation, the creators of the GMO biotechnology, are also financing a project called The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) headed by former UN chief, Kofi Annan.

Accepting the role as AGRA head in June 2007 Annan expressed his “gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all others who support our African campaign.” The AGRA board is dominated by people from both the Gates’ and Rockefeller foundations. 10

Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta and other major GMO agribusiness giants are reported at the heart of AGRA, using it as a back-door to spread their patented GMO seeds across Africa under the deceptive label, ‘bio-technology,’ a euphemism for genetically engineered patented seeds.

The person from the Gates Foundation responsible for its work with AGRA is Dr. Robert Horsch, a 25-year Monsanto GMO veteran who was on the team that developed Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready GMO technologies.

His job is reportedly to use Gates’ money to introduce GMO into Africa.11

To date South Africa is the only African country permitting legal planting of GMO crops. In 2003 Burkina Faso authorized GMO trials.

In 2005 Kofi Annan’s Ghana drafted bio-safety legislation and key officials expressed their intentions to pursue research into GMO crops. AGRA is being used to create networks of “agro-dealers” across Africa, at first with no mention of GMO seeds or herbicides, in order to have the infrastructure in place to massively introduce GMO.12

GMO, glyphosate and population reduction

GMO crops have never been proven safe for human or animal consumption.

Moreover, they are inherently genetically ‘unstable’ as they are an unnatural product of introducing a foreign bacteria such as Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) or other material into the DNA of a given seed to change its traits.

Perhaps equally dangerous are the ‘paired’ chemical herbicides sold as a mandatory part of a GMO contract, such as Monsanto’s Roundup, the most widely used such herbicide in the world.

It contains highly toxic glyphosate compounds that have been independently tested and proven to exist in toxic concentrations in GMO applications far above that safe for humans or animals.

Tests show that tiny amounts of glyphosate compounds would do damage to a human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells in a pregnant woman drinking the ground water near a GMO field.13

One long-standing project of the US Government has been to perfect a genetically-modified variety of corn, the diet staple in Mexico and many other Latin American countries.

The corn has been field tested in tests financed by the US Department of Agriculture along with a small California bio-tech company named Epicyte.

Announcing his success at a 2001 press conference, the president of Epicyte, Mitch Hein, pointing to his GMO corn plants, announced, “We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.” 14

Hein explained that they had taken antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility, isolated the genes that regulated the manufacture of those infertility antibodies, and, using genetic engineering techniques, had inserted the genes into ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants.

In this manner, in reality they produced a concealed contraceptive embedded in corn meant for human consumption.

“Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,” said Hein. “They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.” 15 Hein claimed it was a possible solution to world “over-population.” The moral and ethical issues of feeding it to humans in Third World poor countries without their knowing it countries he left out of his remarks.

Spermicides hidden in GMO corn provided to starving Third World populations through the generosity of the Gates’ foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Kofi Annan’s AGRA or vaccines that contain undisclosed sterilization agents are just two documented cases of using vaccines or GMO seeds to “reduce population.”

And the ‘Good Club’

Gates’ TED2010 speech on zero emissions and population reduction is consistent with a report that appeared in New York City’s ethnic media, in May 2009.

According to the report, a secret meeting took place on May 5, 2009 at the home of Sir Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University, among some of the wealthiest people in America.

Investment guru Warren Buffett who in 2006 decided to pool his $30 billion Buffett Foundation into the Gates foundation to create the world’s largest private foundation with some $60 billions of tax-free dollars was present. Banker David Rockefeller was the host.

The exclusive letter of invitation was signed by Gates, Rockefeller and Buffett.

They decided to call themselves the “Good Club.” Also present was media czar Ted Turner, billionaire founder of CNN who stated in a 1996 interview for the Audubon nature magazine, where he said that a 95% reduction of world population to between 225-300 million would be “ideal.”

In a 2008 interview at Philadelphia’s Temple University, Turner fine-tuned the number to 2 billion, a cut of more than 70% from today’s population.

Even less elegantly than Gates, Turner stated, “we have too many people. That’s why we have global warming. We need less people using less stuff (sic).”16

Others attending this first meeting of the Good Club reportedly were: Eli Broad real estate billionaire, New York’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Wall Street billionaire and Council on Foreign Relations former head, Peter G. Peterson.

In addition, Julian H. Robertson, Jr., hedge-fund billionaire who worked with Soros attacking the currencies of Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and the Asian Tigen economies, precipitating the 1997-98 Asia Crisis.

Also present at the first session of the Good Club was Patty Stonesifer, former chief executive of the Gates foundation, and John Morgridge of Cisco Systems. The group represented a combined fortune of more than $125 billion. 17

According to reports apparently leaked by one of the attendees, the meeting was held in response to the global economic downturn and the numerous health and environmental crises that are plaguing the globe.

But the central theme and purpose of the secret Good Club meeting of the plutocrats was the priority concern posed by Bill Gates, namely, how to advance more effectively their agenda of birth control and global population reduction.

In the talks a consensus reportedly emerged that they would “back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat.” 18

Global Eugenics agenda

Gates and Buffett are major funders of global population reduction programs, as is Turner, whose UN Foundation was created to funnel $1 billion of his tax-free stock option earnings in AOL-Time-Warner into various birth reduction programs in the developing world.19

The programs in Africa and elsewhere are masked as philanthropy and providing health services for poor Africans. In reality they involve involuntary population sterilization via vaccination and other medicines that make women of child-bearing age infertile.

The Gates Foundation, where Buffett deposited the bulk of his wealth two years ago, is also backing introduction of GMO seeds into Africa under the cloak of the Kofi Annan-led ‘Second Green Revolution’ in Africa.

The introduction of GMO patented seeds in Africa to date has met with enormous indigenous resistance.

Health experts point out that were the intent of Gates really to improve the health and well-being of black Africans, the same hundreds of millions of dollars the Gates Foundation has invested in untested and unsafe vaccines could be used in providing minimal sanitary water and sewage systems.

Vaccinating a child who then goes to drink feces-polluted river water is hardly healthy in any respect.

But of course cleaning up the water and sewage systems of Africa would revolutionize the health conditions of the Continent.

Gates’ TED2010 comments about having new vaccines to reduce global population were obviously no off-the-cuff remark.

For those who doubt, the presentation Gates made at the TED2009 annual gathering said almost exactly the same thing about reducing population to cut global warming.

For the mighty and powerful of the Good Club, human beings seem to be a form of pollution equal to CO2.


1 Bill Gates, “Innovating to Zero!, speech to the TED2010 annual conference, Long Beach, California, February 18, 2010, accessed in

2, Bill Gates makes $10 billion vaccine pledge, London Telegraph, January 29, 2010, accessed in t:

3 Louise Voller, Kristian Villesen, WHO Donates Millions of Doses of Surplus Medical Supplies to Developing countries, Danish Information, 22 December 2009, accessed in〈=en

4 One is the Population Research Institute in Washington,

5 Louise Voller et al, op. cit.

6 Ibid.

7 Noted in Vaccinations and Autism, accessed in

8 F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, Global Research (, Montreal, 2007, pp. 79-84.

9 James A. Miller, Are New Vaccines Laced With Birth-Control Drugs?, HLI Reports, Human Life International, Gaithersburg, Maryland; June-July 1995.

10 Cited in F. William Engdahl, “Doomsday Seed Vault” in the Arctic: Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t, Global Research, December 4, 2007, accessed in

11 Mariam Mayet, Africa’s Green Revolution rolls out the Gene Revolution, African Centre for Biosafety, ACB Briefing Paper No. 6/2009, Melville, South Africa, April 2009.

12 Ibid.

13 Nora Benachour and Gilles-Eric Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chemical Research in Toxicology Journal, American Chemical Society, 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105.

14 Robin McKie, GMO Corn Set to Stop Man Spreading His Seed, London, The Observer, 9 September 2001.

15 Ibid. McKie writes, “The pregnancy prevention plants are the handiwork of the San Diego biotechnology company Epicyte, where researchers have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack sperm…the company has created tiny horticultural factories that make contraceptives…Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,” said Hein. “They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.”

16 Ted Turner, cited along with youTube video of Turner in Aaron Dykes, Ted Turner: World Needs a ‘Voluntary’ One-Child Policy for the Next Hundred Years,, April 29, 2008. Accessed in

17 John Harlow, Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation, London, The Sunday Times

May 24, 2009. Accessed online in

18 Ibid.

19 United Nations Foundation, Women and Population Program, accessed in


[Commentary on: Health Bill Broadens Unconstitutional Policing Power of IRS]


John Wallace

There was a time when I wouldn’t believe that members of congress would be so out of touch with the American people that they would have to resort to underhanded tactics to thwart the will of the people.

Well, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is thinking of doing just that. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) came up with what is now known as the “Slaughter Solution” or “Deem and Pass” that will let the House of Representatives deem the Senate Health Bill as passed in the House without any representative voting on it. Once they use this outrageous procedure, the house leadership can then have additional language inserted into the bill that will satisfy those House Democrats who oppose the bill in its original form.

Meanwhile, in order for Senate Democrats to be able to use the Reconciliation procedure – a procedure that circumvents the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster – the House must pass the Senate Bill ‘as is’, with the exact same wording, before changes can be made. However, the Democratic leadership in the House doesn’t have enough votes to do that and one of the biggest reasons is that the Senate Bill has a provision that allows for taxpayer funded abortions.

I believe that the Slaughter Solution is not only dishonest and smacks of dirty tricks, but I also believe that it is unconstitutional as is most of the legislation that congress has passed in recent years. Article I, Section VII, Clause II of the U.S. Constitution clearly states: “…the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively…” This newly invented “Slaughter Solution” clearly does not allow this type of procedure.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate has tried to assure the Democratic leadership in the House that if the House simply passes the bill as it is, the Senate will make changes amenable to the House after the fact. Pro-life House members, led by Bart Stupak (D-MI) are balking at this assurance and pointed to the hundreds of House bills that are currently still wallowing in the Senate. He also wants to see the changes in writing as he doesn’t trust his own party’s leaders.

If the Democratic leaderhip in the Senate imposes the ‘Reconciliation Rule’ to pass this bill, unfortunately for them, that alone will not be enough to get the bill passed. The reconciliation procedure, also known as the ‘Byrd Rule’ named after Senator Robert Byrd, is already extremely controversial. Senator Byrd is on the record in Congress saying his rule was “Never intended” to pass this kind of legislation, so the House leadership appears ready to adopt the Slaughter Solution instead. If the Slaughter Solution is instituted, the House of Representatives will actually pass the almost $875 billion bill without the members of the House actually voting on it. This is outrageous and smacks of something we would expect from the Russian politburo or a marxist dictatorship.

Although the “Slaughter Solution” or the “deem and pass” rule has been used in the past, it has never been used to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Nancy Pelosi said she is considering for a House vote, but she added that she prefers this method because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure. What an outrageous statement, particulalrly in view of constitutional requirements of Article I, Section VII, Clause II previously mentioned in this article.

There is also a 1998 Supreme Court ruling, CLINTON v. CITY OF NEW YORK (97-1374), that said each house of Congress must approve the exact same text of a bill before it can become law. A self-executing “deem and pass” rule would sidestep that requirement, former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell said in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed and it would be unconstitutional.

The American people have overwhelmingly rejected this bill, but the President and the Democrat leaders in both houses of congress seem intent on using misinformation, lies, deceit, bribery and any other questionable and unconstitutional procedure to ram this socialist legislation down the throats of the American people without a public discussion of the merits. Why?

We are fast approaching a point of no return in America. If our Marxist President and the Democratic-Socialist leadership in congress are successful in passing this Health Bill, they will be emboldened to pass other critical legislation on their agenda to bring a free America to its knees. If the Health Bill is passed, they will quickly move to pass an all-encompassing Amnesty Bill, followed by a massive Cap and Trade Bill, a National biometric ID Card Bill and then the takeover of America will be almost complete. All that will be left is for them to come for our guns.

Let us remember that at critical points in human history, only a few generations have been given the honor and privlege of defending ‘Freedom’ in its maximum hour of danger.

In 1776, our founders’ generation were given the honor and privlege of defending ‘Freedom’ in its maximum hour of danger, which resulted in the birth of this great nation that is still a beacon of hope to the freedom loving people of the world.

The generations of World War I and World War II were also given the honor and privlege of defending ‘Freedom’ in its maximun house of danger.

Today in America, we again find ourselves in a critical point in history, for ‘Freedom’ once again is in mortal danger, just as it was in 1776 and in WWI and WWII. Our generation is facing a different kind of mortal danger to our “Freedom’ because that danger is not coming from some foreign country, king, dictator or enemy combatants, but it is coming from our own federal government.

Our Founders told us that “Governments get their just powers from the consent of the governed and whenever the government becomes destructive of these ends, it is not only the people’s Right, but it is their sacred Duty to change the government. “

In 2010, we are now the generation that has been given the honor and privlege of defending ‘Freedom’ in its maximum hour of danger and this is our time to perform that sacred duty. We must stand up, speak up and be willing to actively resist the growing unconstitutional actions of the our federal government that puts the interests of government leaders and the oligarchy ahead of the interests of the people. By definition, this is tryanny.

Let us act before it’s too late, not just for ourselves, but for our children and our children’s children. I pray to God that we will be successful, for the free people of the world are depending on us.


Health Bill Broadens Unconstitutional Policing Power of IRS

By Phil Galewitz and Christopher Weaver, Kaiser Health News
Internal Revenue Service agents already try to catch tax cheats and moonshiners. Under the proposed health care legislation, they would get another assignment: checking to see whether Americans have health insurance.

The legislation would require most Americans to have health insurance and to prove it on their federal tax returns. Those who don’t would pay a penalty to the IRS.

That’s one of several key duties the IRS would assume under the bills that have been approved by the House of Representatives and Senate and will be merged by negotiators from both chambers.

The agency also would distribute as much as $140 billion a year in new government subsidies to help small employers and as many as 19 million lower-income people buy coverage.

In addition, the IRS would collect hundreds of billions of dollars in new fees on employers, drug companies and device makers, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Some critics of the health bill question whether the IRS, which has struggled in recent years with budget problems, staffing shortages and outdated computer systems, will be up to the job of enforcing the mandate and efficiently handling the subsidies.

“It’s hard to see how the IRS could take on the huge responsibility it would be given under pending health care legislation without some real glitches, or worse,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. He voted against the bill, as did every other Republican senator.

The CBO estimated the IRS would need $5 billion to $10 billion in the first decade to cover the costs of its expanded role. The IRS’ annual budget is currently $11.5 billion.

Neither the House nor Senate bill includes funding for the IRS, but money could be added by House and Senate negotiators.

The IRS already has trouble meeting its primary duty: collecting taxes. By the IRS’s own estimates, it failed to collect about $290 billion in taxes in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.

Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, an IRS watchdog group, says the IRS might be the “logical” agency to enforce the mandate, “but that doesn’t mean things will go smoothly.”

‘Social engineering’

Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute, an economics and social policy think tank, sees the IRS’ proposed new role as a part of a historical pattern. “We are always asking the IRS to do all kinds of social engineering,” he said, such as tax credits for new homeowners and renewable-energy companies.

In one of the biggest examples of using the tax code to achieve a social goal, Congress shifted much of its effort to help the poor in the 1990s from direct spending to the Earned Income Tax Credit, an IRS-run program that pays rebates to low-income working people to offset taxes.

In 2005, more than 22 million people claimed the credit, resulting in more than $40 billion in payments, a Treasury Department inspector general found last year. The audit found $11.4 billion in improper payments in 2005 — about 28 cents of every dollar paid out.

Grassley has called the program “rife with fraud and abuse.” John Dalrymple, a former IRS deputy commissioner, said the tax-credit program — despite its flaws — demonstrates that the IRS has the experience to handle the new subsidy program.

Under the health care legislation, the IRS would determine who qualifies for the insurance subsidies. Those subsidies would apply to people with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level, which is $43,320 for an individual and $88,200 for a family of four. The government would pay insurance companies to help individuals buy policies on the new exchanges. The exchanges, a central feature in both bills, would be a sort of marketplace where small businesses and individuals who don’t get employer-sponsored coverage could shop for health plans.

To meet the mandate, Americans would have to provide proof of insurance coverage with their annual tax returns. The mandate would begin in 2013 under the House bill; 2014 in the Senate bill.

The penalty in the Senate bill for not having coverage would start in 2014 at $95 or 0.5% of an individual’s income, whichever is greater. It would rise to $750 or 2% of annual income in 2016, up to the cost of the cheapest health plans. The House bill penalty would be up to 2.5% of an individual’s income up to the cost of the average health plan.

Massachusetts as a model

In 2007, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a health insurance mandate and lowered the percentage of uninsured residents from 7% to 4%.

State residents are required to report their health insurance status on a special form they attach to state income tax returns. Insurers provide statements to policyholders confirming coverage and report that data to the state Department of Revenue.

The state tax agency did not get extra staff or money for enforcement and has not had serious difficulties gathering the information, spokesman Robert Bliss said. In 2008, more than 96% of tax filers provided proof of coverage. Only 1.3% of filers, or about 45,000 residents, were assessed a no-coverage penalty of up to $1,068.

The “vast majority” of Massachusetts residents who pay the penalty are self-reported, Bliss said.

Bliss said the fact that the department had 18 months to get ready for the state’s insurance mandate was “enormously important” in making sure it was ready to handle the assignment. That bodes well for the IRS, which would have three to four years to get ready under the bills.

Despite concerns over whether IRS will be up to the job in the health bills, Gerard Anderson, health policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, said: “The IRS seems like the only logical enforcement mechanism.”

Galewitz and Weaver report for Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service and a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan health care policy research organization. Neither KFF nor KHN is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.