The secret behind Guantánamo

The secret behind Guantánamo

by Thierry Meyssan*

You think that you are informed about what happened at Guantánamo and you are astonished that President Obama is reluctant to close this torture centre. You are wrong. You don’t know the underlying purpose of this “facility” and why it is vital for the current administration.
Thierry Meyssan reveals the horrifying facts in this article first written in November 2009. Subsequent developments have proven him right: plans to close Guantánamo have been put on hold indefinitely.

We all remember the torture pictures that circulated on the Internet. They were purported to have been taken by a few soldiers as war trophies. Even so, unable to verify their authenticity, the mainstream media did not take the risk of publishing them. It was not until April 2004 that CBS broadcast a story on the abuses. It was the spark that triggered a big campaign denouncing the ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees. Abu Ghraib prison showed that the alleged war against the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein was in fact a war of occupation just like the rest, with the same litany of crimes. Not surprisingly, Washington attributed the abuses to a few unrepresentative individuals, labelled as “bad apples”, acting without the knowledge of their military command. Some soldiers were arrested and tried for the example. The case was closed until the next round of revelations.

Meanwhile, the CIA and the Pentagon were getting U.S. and western public opinion into gear for a shift in moral values. The Agency had appointed an agent to liaise with Hollywood, Colonel Brandon Chase (Tommy Lee Jones’ coursin) and hired famous writers (like Tom Clancy) and scriptwriters to write new films and television series. The aim was to stigmatise Muslim culture and trivialise torture in the name of fighting terrorism.

For instance, the adventures of agent Jack Bauer in the 24H series, were copiously subsidised by the CIA to make sure that with each new season the threshold of tolerance would be pushed a little farther. In the early episodes, the hero intimidates suspects in order to extract information. In successive episodes, all characters suspect each other, and then torture each other, with progressively fewer qualms and the ever stronger conviction they are complying with their patriotic duty. In the collective imagination, centuries of humanism were being swept away and a new form barbarism was setting in. Thus, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, (who is also a psychiatrist) countenanced the use of torture as a “moral imperative” (sic) in these troubled times of war against terrorism.

In 2006, a Council of Europe investigation headed by Swiss Senator Dick Marty was released, establishing that the CIA had kidnapped thousands of people worldwide, including dozens or even hundreds within the boundaries of the European Union. Then came an avalanche of evidence of crimes committed inside the prisons at Guantanámo Bay (Caribbean) and Baghram (Afghanistan). Already thoroughly conditioned, public opinion in NATO member states had no problem accepting the official explanation, which was perfectly in line with the fictional intrigues it had been ingurgitating: to save innocent lives, Washington had to resort to secret practices; suspects were taken away and forced to talk through methods which were morally reprehensible but made necessary in view of their effectiveness.

On this simplistic narrative, candidate Barack Obama stood up against the outgoing Bush administration, pledging to make the prohibition of torture and the closure of secret prisons the overriding measures of his mandate. During the transition period following his election, he surrounded himself with top-level lawyers with the task of elaborating a strategy that would put an end to this black episode. Once in the White House, he dedicated his first executive orders to the implementation of his commitments. His eagerness enthralled international public opinion, generated enormous sympathy for the new president and renovated the image of the U.S. worldwide.

Except that more than one year after Barack Obama’s election, if it’s true that several hundred individual cases have been resolved, nothing has changed in substance. Guantanamo is still there and will not be closed in the foreseeable future. The associations for the defence of human rights are categoric: violence against detainees has worsened.

Asked to comment on this, Vice-President Joe Biden said that the more he delved into the matter, the more he discovered aspects which were previously unknown to him. Then, enigmatically, he warned the press against opening this Pandora’s box. For his part, White House legal adviser Greg Craig handed in his resignation, not because he deemed to have failed in his mission to close the center, but because he believed that afterwards his task would have proved impossible.

Why can’t the President of the United States get his entourage to obey him? If everything has been said about the abuses of the Bush era, why talk about a Pandora’s box; what is there to fear?

In reality, the system is more pervasive. It is not just limited to some abductions and a prison. Most of all, its function is radically different from what the CIA and the Pentagon have given us to understand. But before we begin our descent into hell, there is one confusion that needs to be clarified.

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Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld participated in meetings with the Group of Six, tasked with identifying the torture practices to be executed by U.S. forces. The photo was taken during his visit to Abu Ghraib prison (Iraq).

Counter-insurgency

What was done by the U.S. Army in Abu Ghraib, at least initially, bears no comparison with what is being experimented by the Navy in Guantánamo and in its other secret prisons. The Army did what all armies do when acting like a police force and faced with a hostile population. They subdue and terrorise it. In this case, the Coalition Forces replicated the crimes committed by the French during the Battle of Algiers against the Algerians, while at the same time referring to them as “compatriots”. The Pentagon called upon retired French Army General Paul Aussaresses, a specialist in “counter-insurgency”, to brief senior U.S. officers.

During his lengthy career, Aussaresses attended the United States wherever they were waging “low intensity wars”, mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

At the end of the Second World War, the United States set up two training centers specialised in these techniques, the Political Warfare Executive Academy (Taiwan) and the School of the Americas (Panama). Torture courses were dispensed to those in charge of the repressive apparatus in Asian and Latin American dictatorships. In the years 60-70, the setup functioned within the World Anti-Communist League, of which the Heads of State [1] involved were members. This policy was widely implemented in operations such as Phoenix in Vietnam (neutralisation of 80,000 people suspected of belonging to the Viet Cong) [2] and Condor in Latin America (elimination of political opponents across the continent) [3]. The same scheme, which coupled cleanup of insurgent areas with death squad activities, has been applied in Iraq, especially duringOperation Iron Hammer [4].

The only novelty is that the GI’s are provided with a classic of colonial literature, “The Arab Mind”, written by anthropologist Raphael Patai, with a foreword by Colonel Norvell B. Atkins, owner of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, the new name of the infamous School of the Americas since its relocation to Fort Bragg (North Carolina) [5]. The book, which proffers ridiculous stereotypes about “Arabs” in general under a pseudo-scientific sheen, includes a famous chapter on sexual taboos that inspired the scenes staged at Abu Ghraib.

The torture practices in Iraq do not constitute an isolated case, as the Bush administration would have us believe; they form part of a counter-insurgency strategy. The only way of stopping it is not to condemn them on moral grounds but to eradicate their political causes. However, Barack Obama keeps on pushing to a later date the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.

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Best-selling author, the father of Positive Psychology, Professor at Pennsylvania University and former President of the American Psychological Association, he supervised the torture experiments on Guantánamo prisoners.

The experiments of Professor Biderman

From a different perspective, Air Force psychiatrist Dr. Albert D. Biderman had investigated the brainwashing of U.S. POWs in North Korea on behalf of the Rand Corportation.

Long before Mao and communism, the Chinese had developed sophisticated methods to break the will of detainees to drill confessions into them. They were used during the Korean War with promising results: U.S. prisoners of war convincingly confessed before the press to crimes they had probably not committed. Biderman presented his initial findings at a Senate hearing on 19 June 1956, and before the Academy of Medicine in New York the following year (See documents downloaded below). He diagnosed the five distinct stages the “subjects” go through, as follows:

- 1. At first the prisoner refuses to cooperate and recedes into silence.
- 2. Through a mixture of brutality and kindness, he is taken through the second stage where he denies the charges against him.
- 3. Then, the prisoner starts to cooperate. He continues to proclaim his innocence, while trying to appease his interrogators by acknowledging that he might have made a mistake unintentionally, by accident or inadvertently.
- 4. By the fourth stage, the prisoner has lost all self-esteem. He continues to deny the accusations, but concedes they are of a criminal nature.
- 5. At the end of the process, the prisoner confesses his guilt. He even invents additional details to further incriminate himself and finally demands to be punished.

In addition, Biderman examined each of the techniques used by Chinese torturers to manipulate prisoners: isolation, control of their sensory perception, fatigue, threats, rewards, display of power by the jailers, deteriorating living conditions, stress. Physical abuse is of secondary importance while emotional abuse is all-encompassing and permanent.

Biderman’s works on “brainwashing” have acquired a legendary dimension. The U.S. military feared that their men could be subverted by the enemy, and conditioned to say and, even worse, do anything. Consequently, they devised a training programme for their fighter pilots that would render them impervious to this form of torture and unyielding to the enemy, if captured. This training is known as SERE, which stands for Survival, Evation, Resistance, Escape. Though the course was originally organised at the School of the Americas, it has now been extended to other categories of military personnel and is conducted on several bases. Furthermore, training programmes of this nature have been set up in every NATO country.

After the invasion of Afghanistan, the Bush administration decided to apply these techniques to implant confessions in the prisoners which would prove, post facto, Afghanistan’s involvement in the attacks of September 11, thereby Washington’s version of those attacks.

New facilities were built on the Guantánamo naval base where experiments have been carried out. Albert Biderman’s theory was complemented by a civilian psychologist, Professor Martin Seligman, a high-profile figure who is the former President of the American Psychological Association.

Seligman exploited a weakness in Ivan Pavlov’s theory of conditioned reflexes. A dog is placed in a cage where the floor is split into two parts. One of the two sides is electrified at random. The animal jumps from one to the other trying to protect itself – so far, nothing surprising. Then, the momentum picks up and the entire cage is electrified. The animal realizes that it can not escape and that his efforts are futile. Soon, he gives up; he lies on the ground and enters into an altered state of consciousness that enables it to passively endure the suffering. The cage is then reopened. Surprise: the animal does not run away. The mental state it was in suppressed the dog’s resistance. He stays lying down to endure the pain.

The Navy formed a high-powered medical team. In particular, it invited Professor Seligman to Guantánamo. This practitioner is a celebrity, renowned for his works on depression. His books on optimism and confidence are international bestsellers. It was he who oversaw the experiments on human guinea pigs. Just like the dog, certain prisoners who are subjected to terrible torture drift spontaneously into a psychological state that allows them to endure pain while draining them of all resistance. Through such manipulations, the prisoners quickly accede to stage 3 of the Biderman method.

While still relying on Biderman’s teachings, U.S. torturers, under Professor Seligman’s supervision, experimented and perfected every single coercitive technique. To do this, a scientific protocol was developed involving the measurement of hormonal fluctuations. To this end, a medical laboratory was installed at Guantánamo, where saliva and blood samples are taken at regular intervals on guinea pigs to assess their reactions.

The torturers have elevated their crimes to a new level of sophistication. For example, within the SERE programme, control of prisoners’ sensorial perception was achieved by way of sleep prevention using stressful music. Much better results were obtained by broadcasting the despairing cries of babies for days on end. Or again, brandishing the supremacy of the jailers by subjecting the prisoners to beatings. In Guantánamo, they created the Immediate Reaction Force, a group in charge of punishing prisoners. When in action, its members wear Robocop-style body armor protection. They extract the prisoner from his cage and put him in a room with padded and upholstered plywood walls. They fling the human guinea pig against the wall as if to smash him, but the plywood partially absorbs shocks so that the victim is dazed but his bones are not broken.

The main progress achieved was on the waterboarding technique. Ages ago, the Holy Inquisition used to plunge the head of a prisoner in a bathtub, pulling it out just before complete drowning. The sensation of imminent death provokes maximum anxiety. But the practice was primitive and accidents were frequent. Now, the prisoner is no longer immersed in a full bathtub; he is attached lying down in an empty tub. Water is poured over his head to induce sufffocation; the procedure can be instantly interrupted as necessary. In this way, accidents are rare. Each session was codified to determine the limits of endurance. Auxiliaries are there to measure the amount of water used, the timing and duration of suffocation. At this stage, they recover any vomit, then weigh and analyze it to evaluate the amount of energy spent and the ensuing state of exhaustion.

As summed up by the CIA Deputy-Director before a congressional committee: “This has got nothing to do with the practices of the Inquisition, except for the water” (sic).

The experiments of U.S. doctors were not conducted in secrecy like those of Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, but under the direct and exclusive control of the White House. Everything was reported to a decision-making group of six people: Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, John Ashcroft and George Tenet, who attested to having participated in roughly a dozen of these meetings.

The outcome of these experiments is nevertheless disappointing. Rare are the guinea pigs who turned out to be receptive. Although it proved possible to inculcate a confession in them, their condition remained unstable and exposing them to public interrogation would have been too risky.

The best known case is that of pseudo-Khalil Sheikh Mohammed. He was arrested in Pakistan and accused of being an Islamist Kuwaiti, although it was clearly a case of mistaken identity. After being tortured at length and, in particular, subjected to waterboarding 183 times during the single month of March 2003, the individual finally confessed to being Khalil Sheikh Mohammed and to having organized 31 different attacks in the four corners of the earth, including the one at the World Trade Center in New York in 1993, as well as the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl and, last but not least, the attacks of September 11, 2001. Pseudo-Sheikh Mohammed maintained his confession before a military commission, but it was not possible for the lawyers and military judges to question him in public, for fear that once outside his cage he might renege on his confession.

To conceal the covert activities of the doctors at Guantanamo, the Navy organized media tours for the benefit of complacent journalists. Thus, French essayist Bernard Henry Levy volunteered to play witness by visiting what was safe for him to see. In his book American Vertigo, he assures that the prison is no different from other U.S. penitentiaries and that the reports on the alleged abuses being perpetrated “were rather exagerated” (sic) [6].

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The USS Ashland, one of the U.S. Navy’s off-shore prisons. The ship’s flat-hold bottom has been redesigned to accommodate several tiers of prisoner cages.

Navy prisons offshore

In sum, the Bush administration considered that very few people could be manipulated to the point of believing that they had perpetrated the attacks of September 11. It concluded that it was necessary to test a large number of prisoners to be able to identify the most responsive.

Given the controversy around Guantánamo and in order to avoid indictment, the Navy developed other secret prisons which it set up in international waters beyond the reach of any international jurisdiction.

17 flat-bottomed ships – the kind used for troop disembarkment – have been converted into floating prisonsfitted with cages like those used at the Guantanamo center. Three were identified by the U.K.-based association Reprive: USS Ashland, USS Bataan and USS Peleliu.

If one adds up all the people who over the past eight years have been taken prisoner in war zones or abducted anywhere in the world, a total of 80,000 persons are likely to have transited through the system, of whom less than one thousand have been pushed to the final stages of the Biderman process.

Consequently, the dilemma faced by the Obama administration is the following: it will not be possible to close Guantanamo without disclosing what was being done there. And it will be impossible to do that without also acknowledging that all the confessions obtained are false and were deliberately inculcated under torture, with the political consequences that it entails.

At the conclusion of the Second World War, twelve trials were held by a military tribunal at Nuremberg. One was devoted to 23 Nazi doctors. Seven were acquitted, nine were sentenced to prison and seven were sentenced to death. Since then, a Code of Medical Ethics was adopted, establishing the ethical rules of medicine worldwide. It prohibits precisely what U.S. doctors have done at Guantanamo and in other secret prisons.

Attached documents

« Communist attempts to elicit false confessions from Air Force prisoners of war », by Albert D. Biderman

Bulletin New York Academy of Medecine 1957 Sep ;33(9):616-25.
(PDF – 964 kb)

« Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay »

United Nations, Commission of Human Rights, February 15, 2006.
(PDF – 336 kb)

« The Manipulation of Human Behavior », edited by Albert D. Biderman and Herbert Zimmer

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York (1961).
(PDF – 2.4 Mb)

« The Origins of Aggresive Interrogation Techniques (Documents) »

U. S. The Senate Armed Services Committee, June 17, 2008.
(PDF – 3 Mb)

 Thierry Meyssan
French political analyst, founder and chairman of theVoltaire Network and the Axis for Peace conference. He publishes columns dealing with international relations in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. Last books published in English :9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
This author’s articles
To send a message

[1La Ligue anti-communiste mondiale, une internationale du crime, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 12 May 2004.

[2] [Opération Phénix, by Arthur Lepic, Voltaire Network, 16 November 2004.

[3] Read the book of reference Operación Cóndor, Pacto criminal by Stella Calloni. « Stella Calloni presentó en Cuba su libro “Operación Cóndor, Pacto criminal” », 16 February 2006. See also on Voltaire Network: « Berríos y los turbios coletazos del Plan Cóndor », by Gustavo González, 26 April 2006; « Los militares latinoamericanos no saben hacer otra cosa que espiar », por Noelia Leiva, 1 April 2008; «El Plan Cóndor universitario », by Martín Almada, 11 March 2008.

[4Operation “Iron Hammer” in the War of Iraq, by Paul Labarique,Voltaire Network, 11 December 2003.

[5The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai, foreword by Norvell B. De Atkine, Hatherleigh Press, 2002.

[6American vertigo, by Bernard-Henry Lévy, Grasset & Fasquelle 2006.

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Pyongyang sees US role in Cheonan sinking

[SEE: South Korea vows caution over ship but North sees war]

Pyongyang sees US role in Cheonan sinking

By Kim Myong Chol

Despite its strong denial of any involvement and expressions of sympathy for lost fellow Koreans, fingers are being pointed atNorth Korea over the tragic sinking of the 1,200-ton South Korean corvette Cheonan in the West Sea or Yellow Sea on the night of March 26.

“A North Korean torpedo attack was the most likely cause for the sinking of a South Korean warship last month,” an unnamed US military official told CNN on April 26. Up to 46 of the ship’s 104 sailors were killed in the sinking.

Apparently, North Korea is being set up as the fall guy in an incident that is so mysterious that a Los Angeles Times April 26 story datelined Seoul was headlined, “James Bond Theories Arise in Korean Ship Sinking”.

So far, no hard evidence has been produced linking North Korea

to the disaster. However, this has not stopped media and experts from holding the North responsible. The South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo wrote on April 29, “It is difficult to imagine a country other than North Korea launching a torpedo attack against a South Korean warship.”

Revealing circumstantial evidence
Is it possible that North Korea carried out the daring act of torpedoing a South Korean corvette participating in a US-South Korean war exercise? The answer is a categorical no. The circumstantial evidence is quite revealing, showing who is the more likely culprit.

Mission impossible
There are four important points that make it clear that a North Korean submarine did not sink the South Korean corvette.

Fact 1.North Korean submarines are not stealthy enough to penetrate heavily guarded South Korean waters at night and remain undetected by the highly touted anti-submarine warfare units of the American and South Korean forces. A North Korean submarine would be unable to outmaneuver an awesome array of high-tech Aegis warships, identify the corvette Cheonan and then slice it in two with a torpedo before escaping unscathed, leaving no trace of its identity.

Fact 2. The sinking took place not in North Korean waters but well inside tightly guarded South Korean waters, where a slow-moving North Korean submarine would have great difficulty operating covertly and safely, unless it was equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion) technology.

Fact 2: The disaster took place precisely in the waters where what the Pentagon has called “one of the world’s largest simulated exercises” was underway. This war exercise, known as “Key Resolve/Foal Eagle” did not end on March 18 as was reported but actually ran from March 18 to April 30.

Fact 3: The Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise on the West Sea near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) was aimed at keeping a more watchful eye on North Korea as well as training for the destruction of weapons of mass destruction in the North. It involved scores of shiny, ultra-modern US and South Korean warships equipped with the latest technology.

Among the fleet were four Aegis ships: the USS Shiloh (CG-67), a 9,600-ton Ticonderoga class cruiser, the USS Curtis Wilbur(DDG-54), a 6,800-ton Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Lassen, a 9,200-ton Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer and Sejong the Great, a 8,500-ton South Korean guided-missile destroyer.

The four surface ships are the most important assets of the two navies, and have multi-mission platforms capable of conducting various tasks, such as anti-submarine warfare. There is every likelihood that they were supported by nuclear-powered US submarines and a South Korean “Type 214” submarine that uses AIP technology.

The sinking of the Cheonan has made headlines around the world. If indeed it was a US accident, it is an embarrassing indictment of the accuracy of the expensive weapons systems of the US, the world’s leading arms exporter. It has also cost the Americans credibility as the South’s superpower guardian. Ironically, this has made North Korean-made weapons more attractive on the international market.

The South Koreans and the Americans charging the North Koreans with the sinking of the naval vessel in South Korean waters only highlights the poor performance of their expensive Aegis warships, as well as the futility of the US-South Korean joint war games and the US military presence in Korea.

Fact 4: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said on March 30 that he doubted there was North Korean involvement in the sinking: “Obviously the full investigation needs to go forward. But to my knowledge, there’s no reason to believe or to be concerned that that may have been the cause.”

General Walter Sharp, US Forces Korea (USFK) commander, also saw no link between North Korea and the sinking. In an April 6 press conference, he said: “We, as Combined Forces Command and the ROK [Republic of Korea] Joint Chief of Staff, watch North Korea very closely every single day of the year and we continue to do that right now. And again, as this has been said, we see no unusual activity at this time.”

No motivation for vengeance
There have been misplaced reports that the sinking was an act of retaliation for a naval skirmish in November last year “in which the North came off worse”, as reported by the Times of London on April 22.

As a North Korean navy officer, Kim Gwang-il, recalled on North Korean television on Armed Forces Day, April 25: “[In that incident] a warship of our navy single-handedly faced up to several enemy warships, to guard the NLL … [The North’s warship] inflicted merciless blows on them in a show of the might of the heroic Korean People’s Army (KPA) Navy.”

The first duty of the KPA is to prevent war while jealously safeguarding the territorial air, sea and land of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as this safeguards the peace andsecurity of the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean People’s Army Navy would not attack South Korean or American warships unless provoked, since these vessels carry innocent soldiers on the high seas. True, the KPA Navy would be justified in torpedoing a US Aegis ship or a nuclear-powered submarine if one were caught red-handed. But the KPA Navy would not stoop to infringing on South Korean waters to attack a South Korean ship at random, unless it had returned there after committing hostile acts against North Korea.

Friendly fire
Seven facts indicate friendly fire as the most likely cause of the naval disaster. It may be no exaggeration to say that the South Korean president and his military leaders have shed crocodile tears over the dead South Korean sailors.

A torpedo could have been launched from any of the American or South Korean warships or warplanes taking part in the Foal Eagle exercise alongside the hapless Cheonan.

The four Aegis ships and most South Korean warships carry Mark 46 torpedoes, which have improved shallow-water performance for anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship operations.

General Sharp had issued on March 4 a five-point safety message warning that “a single accident can undermine the training benefits you will receive during KR/FE ’10. Remain vigilant and engaged.”

It appears that Sharp’s warning came true, and the US repeated the kind of friendly fire incident for which it is notorious in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the ship disaster happened on the night of March 26, Sharp promptly cut a visit to Washington to testify at congress to fly back to Seoul, according to the March 30 edition of Kyonggi Ilbo.

President Barack Obama then called his South Korean counterpart on April 1, ostensibly to express condolences over the ship disaster, but also to offer him the privilege of hosting the next nuclear security summit in 2012, as was reported by Joong Ang Ilbo on April 14.

Obama made this offer one week before he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty in Prague, and two weeks before the 2010 nuclear security summit took place in Washington.

When Obama announced his decision to select South Korea as host of the next major nuclear security summit in 2012, Agence France-Presse reported that “the announcement surprised many”. Most observers presumed that Russia would lead the next meeting.

The most plausible explanation is that Obama offered South Korea the summit due to an overriding need to mollify otherwise possible South Korean resentment at the friendly fire sinking, while covering up the US’s involvement in a friendly fire torpedo attack. Most probably, Sharp reported to Obama the potentially disastrous consequences of the public discovering the true nature of the incident. This would likely lead to a massive wave of anti-American sentiment and put Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in an extremely awkward situation.

Obama must have felt relieved at the South Korean president’s ready acceptance of his offer of compensation. One article carried in the April 14 edition of Joong Ang Ilbo was headlined “Veep Biden Says LMB [Lee Myung-bak] Is Obama’s Favorite Man”. The comment was made by Biden on April 12, one day before the nuclear summit.

Sharp unexpectedly attended the April 3 funeral of a South Korean rescue diver, Han Ju Ho, who died while participating in the search for missing sailors from the corvette. Sharp was seen consoling the bereaved family in an unprecedented expression of sympathy.

Joong Ang Ilbo reported on April 27 that the South Korean government would deal strictly with rumors rampant on theInternet that a collision with a US nuclear submarine had caused the sinking.

The best solution is for the South Korean government team investigating the ship disaster to find an old mine responsible. It is easy to falsely accuse North Korea, but public pressure will mount for military reprisals against North Korea, which will promptly react by turning Seoul into a sea of fire in less than five minutes. North Korea would not flinch from using nuclear arms in the event of US involvement.

Kim Myong Chol is author of a number of books and papers in Korean, Japanese and English on North Korea, including Kim Jong-il’s Strategy for Reunification. He has a PhD from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Academy of Social Sciences and is often called an “unofficial” spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea.

(Copyright 2010 Kim Myong Chol.)

Azerbaijani opposition members to visit U.S

[Both Azerbaijan and Georgia have recently seen leaders of opposition parties making pilgrimages to the American Congress.  It signals some kind of wind change in the American position, but what?]

Azerbaijani opposition members to visit U.S

Azerbaijani opposition members to visit U.S

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 22 / Trend A. Huseynbala /

MPs, who are chairmen of Azerbaijani three opposition parties, will visit the U.S May 29.

“Chairman of the Justice Party Ilyas Ismayilov, head of Great Establishment Party Fazil Mustafa and chairman of Azerbaijani Popular Front Party Gudrat Hasanguliyev will participate in an event organized by the U.S. Department of Justice on “Legislative practice related to admission of guilt”, the Azerbaijani Parliament said.

Several meetings of our MPs are scheduled during the visit, which will last until June 6

Foundation for International Tolerance In Batken

The Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI) was established in 1998 for the prevention and resolution of inter-ethnic and international conflicts in the Fergana valley. Since then the organisation has become an important NGO in Central Asia. FTI co-operates with a range of local, national and international partners. Hivos supports FTI since 2003. FTI has its head office in Bishkek and five field offices in Batken, Leilek, Kyzyl-Liya, Osh and Kerben (resp. in Batken, Osh and Jalalabad provinces), all regions with high conflict potential. FTI has a staff of 40.
FTI’s mission is prevention and resolution of inter-ethnic and international conflicts in the Fergana valley, by stabilising the social, economic and political situation in the region. Its goals are (1) to promote peace and tolerance among various communities and ethnic groups living in the region, (2) to build up a strong network of organisations specialising in conflict prevention and resolution in the Fergana valley, (3) to attract the attention of the public and the international community to the latent interethnic conflicts in this region, and (4) to contribute to the development of conflictology and practical usage of the world’s experience in conflict prevention and resolution in the context of Kyrgyzstan. To reach these goals FTI (a) attracts public attention to the problems in the Fergana valley and to non-violent methods of conflict resolution, (b) supports a network of local mediators, which it helped to establish, and (c) contributes to consensus-building among stakeholders and a culture of good neighbourhood.
In different regions with high conflict potential, FTI manages to build up and maintain a constructive dialogue between conflicting parties: between groups of different ethnic backgrounds, between local authorities and interest groups from the community, between communities on both sides of the border, etc. It manages to create an atmosphere, in which mutual understanding and confidence can be built up. FTI is a neutral outsider in that process, although it has offices in the conflict regions itself. Well aware of the need to create a feeling of ownership among local people for the initiative and to increase the chances for sustainability, FTI also mobilizes local people with a good reputation and with authority to be involved as goodwill ambassadors and as facilitators.
Hivos supports FTI because it is a very professional organisation, with a highly relevant programme and a strategic role in the regions, where it works.

Type of organisation

Service organization /non-profit

Sector

Human Rights & Democratisation

Country

Kyrgyzstan

Founded

1996

Hivos partner since

2003

Website

http://www.fti.org.kg

ABM
Foundation For International Tolerance

Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI) is an NGO   working in the field of conflict prevention and peace-building and justice in Central Asia. The Fund was established within the framework of UNHCR’s “Conflict Transformation and tolerance education”, implemented in March 1996 to southern Kyrgyzstan. In 1998 , the FTI has been transformed into   an independent NGO.

Today, FTI – one of the   largest and most experienced local NGOs in   the region, working to prevent and resolve conflicts .FTI team has more than   25 officers of different nationalities, ages and qualifications.   FTI has five offices: the   head office in   Bishkek and four regional offices in Osh , Batken, Aqsa Leylek.

About FMT works   primarily with communities and for communities. Long-term experience of the Fund for the intensive   work with the  conflict   is unique in   its kind throughout Central Asia. The potential of the organization   is growing thanks to years of experience in implementing projects in their targeted areas. This   allows FTI to establish strong relations with   local communities, to identify sources of potential conflict and to find optimal solutions.

FTI has experience working with government officials and law enforcement. Fund involves    representatives of state   structures in their  projects to   build trust between   civil society and government.

Projects Completed

Ferghana Brawl Between Kyrgyz and Tajik Diaspora Brings UN NGO Mediator–Foundation For International Tolerance

[SEE: Foundation for International Tolerance In Batken]

In the Kyrgyz Batken mass brawl between Kyrgyz and Tajiks

In the Kyrgyz Batken was a mass brawl between the Kyrgyz and Tajik

Ferghana Valley is a real mosaic of various ethnic groups, tribal clans, each of which in addition to common interests, there are also personal. It is noteworthy that in some cases, the so-called individual interests of those Subgroup contradict each other, which ultimately leads to conflict on ethnic grounds.

And if such processes occur in a particular subject in the region, the capacity of the authorities of this country is determined by the ability to find a compromise that satisfies a mutually agreed solution.

Recently in Kyrgyzstan sharply deteriorated relations between the inhabitants of the country from among the titular nation and the Tajiks.

One such case occurred recently. April 29 at the rural council of the village Uchkurgan Kadamzhai district of Batken region of Kyrgyzstan, where over 1,000 citizens of the Tajik ethnic group, led by the leader of the Tajik diaspora Ahmadjon Abdukarimova villages.

gatherings essence boiled down to one thing – the Tajiks, Kyrgyz required displacement of the village administration head of the Kyrgyz Turgunboev Nishanov and the appointment in his place representative of the Tajik community.

At this time, on the other side of the village to village council arrived at about 200 of the Kyrgyz, who, unlike their Tajik citizens have begun to speak in support of the candidature T. Nishanov.

As a result of verbal fights between representatives of the Kyrgyz and Tajik fight broke out in which affected over 70 people.

Ironically, arrived on the scene of battle after 40 minutes, Deputy Chief Kadamzhai police department and the chief of the District Kadamzhai UGSNB Z. Turgunbaev seeing what is happening, quickly leaving the scene of conflict.

A couple of days, namely, on May 2, similar The situation between the villagers and the staff of the Tajik ethnic Kadamzhai police department. As a result, two law enforcement officers were admitted to the CRH Kadamzhai district.

reacted to the events, leadership Kadamzhai police department sent to the scene of the incident response team for the detention of the Tajik diaspora.

Also on the scene arrived, local authorities and MPs, who solved the problem by imposing a fine on Representatives of the Tajik diaspora, followed by compensation for moral damage to staff the police department.

“Probability of recurrence of inter-ethnic violence is very high, given the history of recent conflicts in the region,” – says Robert Avazbek, director of the

Batken Branch Foundation for Tolerance International,

a local nongovernmental organization dedicated to conflict prevention.

Experts say the increasing trend in recent years in Kyrgyzstan, inter-ethnic incidents threaten to lead to ethnic conflict.

Recall that, in 1989, it is here that there were bloody inter-ethnic events that led to a huge number of casualties on both sides. Then only the direct intervention of the Communist Party managed to stifle ethnic war.

By the way, T. Nishanov nevertheless retained the top position in the village administration.

Sherali Kamarzoda [kamarzoda@list.ru>
22.05.2010

Source – tajmigrant.com

Two FC personnel gunned down in Gwadar

The Baloch Hal News

GWADAR: Two Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were killed and four others sustained injuries on Friday when unknown assailants ambushed their vehicle near Jewani, a bordering area with Iran, in Gawadar district.

According to reports reaching here, FC vehicle was on patrol in Zaharan area of Gevani Tehsil when unknown assailants opened indiscriminate firing on the vehicle. As result of firing, two personnel died on the spot and four others received bullet wounds.

Official sources confirmed that two FC men were killed in an incident of firing, however they said that both personnel at lost their lives in an attack at a check post near Nagour area of Gwadar. Officials further said that there no person was injured in the attack.

They said that oil smugglers could be involved in this attack.

FC and Levies force reached to the site soon after the incident and took the dead bodies to hospital. The attackers managed to escape from the scene. Security forces have launched a search in the area for the arrest of accused.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of band outfit Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) claimed the responsibility of attack on FC personnel.

Spokesman of the organization, Colonel Duda, calling from an unknown location, claimed that seven FC men were killed in the attack and attackers also took the arms of the FC men away.

Afghanistan’s Poppy Blight Could Mean Trouble for War Effort

Afghanistan’s Poppy Blight Could Mean Trouble for War Effort

MATTHEW C. DUPEE | 21 MAY 2010
WORLD POLITICS REVIEW
A mysterious crop disease has torn through the poppy fields of southern Afghanistan, leading Antonia Maria Costa, head of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, to decrease the projection for the 2010 opium harvest by an astonishing 2,600 metric tons, or one-third of the national output. Scores of Afghan farmers have supported Costa’s claim, indicating that the opium harvest currently taking place in Afghanistan’s five main opium producing provinces will result in meager yields. The socioeconomic impact of the failed harvest comes at a precarious time, as thousands of international and Afghan troops are preparing to pacify the restless and unstable southern provinces in a massive military operation this summer.

Taliban insurgents have already issued statements to the local population blaming international forces for spraying unknown chemicals over southern Afghanistan, damaging crops and sickening livestock. Some Afghan farmers are claiming their legal food crops, like apricot trees and wheat, have also suffered. Even livestock such as cows and goats are rumored to be sick. Although the UNODC is currently testing samples from the badly damaged opium crop, anecdotal evidence points to fungi — possibly macrosporium papaverus, which causes root and capsule rot, resulting in little-to-no extractable opium latex being available to farmers. Aphids, small plant-eating insects, are often infected by bacteria, viruses and fungi, and could also bear responsibility for the wide destruction of poppy crops. But with Taliban propaganda mechanisms working at full capacity, the rumor mill is in full swing. Conspiracy-minded communities of southern Afghanistan are increasingly convinced that international forces are responsible for the “mysterious” destruction of their poppy crops. For their part, NATO and U.S. officials have vehemently denied any participation in a chemical or bio-agent dispersal operation against Afghan poppies.

Despite the denials, there is plenty of history to feed the Taliban’s accusations and the beleaguered Afghan farmers’ suspicions. Beginning in 1997, the United States funded a UNDCP project that sought to test a bio-engineered fungus, fusarium oxysporum, capable of destroying Central Asia’s opium crops. A similar project to engineer fusarium for use against illicit marijuana farms in the state of Florida and against the coca fields of Colombia was also pursued by the U.S. government in the late-1990s. The government terminated the program after scientists raised concerns over the fungus strain’s ability to mutate into a variety capable of attacking and destroying non-targeted crops and wildlife. Research and development for the Central Asia poppy project concluded in 2002, although the bio-agent was never overtly deployed against the Central Asian poppy fields.

Furthermore, in late-2004 and again in 2005, four districts in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province were badly hit by a mysterious outbreak of blight, which severely damaged and destroyed scores of licit and illicit crop fields. At the time, farmers reported airplanes spraying streams of red fertilizer-type pellets over the afflicted districts, and described how the bizarre red substance sickened livestock, humans and destroyed crops shortly thereafter. NATO and U.S. officials have officially denied conducting aerial spraying operations in eastern Afghanistan during 2004 and 2005.

In the situation currently unfolding in southern Afghanistan, a less-nefarious culprit may bare the ultimate responsibility for the wide-scale destruction of the opium poppies: Mother Nature. All of the highly destructive fungal and viral diseases as well as other forms of blight that affect poppy plants thrive on excessive moisture, high humidity and overly watered poppy crops. For example, Pleospora calvescens, a type of leaf blight harmful to poppy varieties, is exacerbated in times of heavy rainfall or high humidity. In early February and again in May, Afghanistan suffered from a rash of torrential rains and heavy flooding in both the north and south. So the “unexplained” outbreak of fungal infections in late-May could very well be the result of the flooding that washed through the southern poppy fields between May 5-10.

The reduced yield, however, is not necessarily good news for the international community, whose forces in Afghanistan have adopted a less-aggressive eradication campaign in favor of an increased focus on interdiction and disrupting drug-processing workshops. The wide-scale destruction of poppy crops will create a new cycle of indebtedness for farmers, raise tensions between rural communities and the Afghan government, and drastically drive up the market prices for opium, which have already surged from a stable $50 per kilo to nearly $120 per kilo in some areas. The trend is expected to rise in the coming weeks, following the official end of the Afghan opium season.

The UNODC had previously predicted a stable opium output for 2010, after a meager three-year decline. But while it now appears certain that this year’s opium output will be the lowest in the past five years, the price spike in raw and dry opium will almost certainly encourage even more farmers to plant opium next year. It could also threaten the success of the Poppy-Free Province initiative sponsored by the UNODC, which offers incentives to provinces that succeed in wiping out their illicit production of opium.

Above all, the unexpected, dramatic drop in Afghanistan’s 2010 poppy harvest will certainly complicate the complex and challenging narcotics conundrum facing the region and the international community. The destabilizing economic effects coupled with successful Taliban-proposed conspiracy theories could help further alienate the rural communities of southern Afghanistan at a time when the largest U.S. and NATO offensive to date, in Kandahar, is only weeks away. Once again, Afghanistan’s illicit narcotics industry has proven to be not only resilient, but a critical component in deciding the international community’s overall success or failure in Afghanistan.

Matthew DuPee is a research associate and Afghan specialist at the Naval Postgraduate School who focuses on the Southwest Asian narcotics industry.

Photo: Afghan villagers sit beside a poppy field, Markhanai, Afghanistan, May 2002 (Defense Department photo by USAF Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock).