Rights groups challenge Obama on targeted killings

Rights groups challenge Obama on targeted killings

* Groups seek disclosure of US criteria for targets

* Justice Dept says operations comply with U.S. law (Adds byline, Justice Department comment)

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Civil liberties groups sued the Obama administration on Monday over a program they said illegally tries to kill U.S. citizens believed to be militants living abroad, like the anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of the Muslim cleric, arguing targeted killings violate the U.S. Constitution and international law.

U.S. authorities have tied the cleric to the failed bombing attempt of a U.S. commercial jet on Christmas Day in 2009 and to an Army major who went on a shooting spree that killed 13 people last year at Fort Hood in Texas.

No charges have been publicly filed against al-Awlaki, who was born in the United States but left in late 2001. He is believed to be in Yemen, where al Qaeda has been growing.

“A program that authorizes killing U.S. citizens, without judicial oversight, due process or disclosed standards is unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama’s National Security Council gave the Central Intelligence Agency the green light earlier this year to kill al-Awlaki, officials have said.

White House officials have also said Americans who fight alongside groups like al Qaeda are “legitimate targets” for lethal strikes.

The Obama administration declined to comment specifically about the lawsuit filed by the two group, but said the government has the right to use force to defend the country and to defeat al Qaeda.

“The U.S. is careful to ensure that all its operations used to prosecute the armed conflict against those forces, including lethal operations, comply with all applicable laws, including the laws of war,” said Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

“This administration is using every legal measure available to defeat al Qaeda, and we will continue to do so as long as its forces pose a threat to this nation,” he said.

The civil liberties groups argued that Americans accused of wrongdoing should be tried in court under the Constitution and could be targeted for killing only if there were an imminent threat from a person and there were no other ways to stop it.

The groups said the people being targeted are far from any battlefield like in Iraq or Afghanistan, which they said undermines the administration’s justification.

They asked for a federal judge to issue an injunction preventing the Obama administration from killing al-Awlaki and forcing it to publicly reveal the criteria for determining who can be targeted.

CIA spokesman George Little said: “This agency acts in strict accord with American law.” Representatives of the Defense Department had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing byJohn O’Callaghan and Jackie Frank)

Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor

Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor

By Rangin Dadfar Spanta

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Afghanistan became a rare example of international consensus. The global community, amid competing regional and international interests, undertook a military intervention endorsed and legitimized by the U.N. Security Council. It was common knowledge that al-Qaeda had created a haven in Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan’s intelligence agency. Dismantling this regional terrorist infrastructure was considered vital to the international counterterrorism strategy.

Then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered a message to Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in November 2001: It could join the international coalition or be bombed “back to the stone age.” Across the border, the Afghan people persecuted by the brutal rule of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as by the lordship of Pakistani generals, welcomed the international community with open arms. We have made significant progress in recent years. But our achievements in education, health, development and civil rights have been overshadowed and eroded by terrorist attacks.

There is ongoing domestic and international confusion in identifying Afghanistan’s friends and foes. The Afghan people are wholeheartedly grateful to the international community for its sacrifices in blood and treasure. Unfortunately, the military-intelligence establishment of one of our neighbors still regards Afghanistan as its sphere of influence. While faced with a growing domestic terrorist threat, Pakistan continues to provide sanctuary and support to the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the Hekmatyar group and al-Qaeda. And while the documents recently disclosed by WikiLeaks contained information that was neither new nor surprising, they did make public further evidence of the close relations among the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence.

The international community is present in Afghanistan to dismantle these international terrorist networks. Yet the focus on this fundamental task has progressively eroded and has been compounded by another strategic failure: the mistaken embrace of “strategic partners” who have, in fact, been nurturing terrorism.

Much has been said about the political will of the Afghan government, governance in our country and corruption. These are mainly domestic variables. It is true that an exhausted and desperate political elite in Afghanistan, faced with predatory and opportunistic individuals in and outside the power structures, allowed the mafia to penetrate into politics. State institutions were undermined and the rule of law weakened. Undoubtedly the absence of transparency in contracts and the presence of private security companies clearly connected to certain officials — contributing ultimately to the privatization of security and thus insecurity in our country — are matters of grave concern. But the international terrorist presence in the region is not entrenched solely because of Afghan corruption. Britain, Spain, Turkey, China, Germany and India have all been victims not of Afghan corruption but of international terrorism — emanating from the region.

It is my firm conviction that securing our people, districts and towns from terrorists; institutionalizing the rule of law; and fighting corruption are necessary steps toward building a strong and responsive state. But that is not enough. No domestic measure will fully address the threat of international terrorism, its global totalitarian ideology or its regional support networks. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is a central component of our anti-terror strategy, and this requires confronting the state that still sees terrorism as a strategic asset and foreign policy tool.

To be clear, Afghanistan opposes the expansion of conflicts into other countries and opposes unwarranted military interventions in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. But global efforts to counter terrorism will not succeed until and unless there is clarity on who our friends and foes are.

The conflict we are engaged in is becoming a long and expensive war for us and our international partners. The Afghan people are rightly frustrated and exhausted by a war in which the line between friends and foes is blurred. Global opinion has also turned against us. Yet surely it is understandable that we have failed to mobilize people for a cause where the fighting is in one place and the enemy is in another. How can we persuade Afghans, or the parents of young soldiers from coalition countries, to support a war where our “partners” are involved in killing their sons and daughters? While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists’ main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified?

The Afghan people are no longer ready to pay the price for the international community’s miscalculation and naivety. The aggressor understands only one language: that of force and determination. Afghanistan, along with the United States and many other nations, is a victim of terrorism. The international community must establish a clear alliance among such victims. We cannot mobilize the Afghan people with uncertainty, confusion or appeasement of those who sponsor terrorism.

The writer is national security adviser of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He served previously as foreign minister.

Not talking to Haqqanis, our red lines are clear: Afghan NSA

Not talking to Haqqanis, our red lines are clear: Afghan NSA

2010-08-31 21:00:00
Afghanistan on Tuesday denied that Karzai-led government was in talks with Haqqanis and other Pakistan-backed terrorist groups under the reconciliation process.

Afghan National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who is on a short visit to New Delhi, said, “We never talked to Haqqani groups, our red line is very clear-all those afghan citizens who are not the part of Al Qaeda and other terrorists or intelligence networks, they are welcome.”

“This is not the reconciliation with terrorist groups it is not reconciliation with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, Afghan reconciliation process is with Afghan citizens; those citizens who are ready to put down the arms and accept Afghan constitution,” Spanta added.

There are deep concerns in New Delhi over Afghan reconciliation process in which Pakistan seems to be playing an assertive role and trying to thrust its backed Haqqanis and Hekmatyar into the mainstream to gain strategic depth in the war-torn nation over India that has made massive investment of more than a billion dollars, mainly in capacity building.

Earlier in the day, Spanta also discussed Afghan reconciliation process with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and also called on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Spanta said that terror outfits beyond Afghan borders are responsible for the attacks on Indian embassy and the recent attack on medical mission.

“Unfortunately we have two attacks on Indian embassies and also against a guest house which was used by Indian doctors. We know some terror groups with links beyond our borders are involved,” he said.

Spanta is in the eye of storm and has drawn the ire of Islamabad for his recent article titled “Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor” published in Washington Post in which he blamed Pakistan for aiding Quetta Shura, Hekmatyar and Haqqanis. In his fiery article, Spanta also urged that United States should use drones to target Afghan Taliban commanders living in Pakistani territory. He also called for imposing sanctions on Pakistan in his controversial writing piece in the US newspaper. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

More bad news for Baku


Given the excitement over domestic politics in Turkey, and the concentration on developments concerning Iran and Israel abroad, few Turks have had a chance to consider the meaning of some of the steps Moscow has been taking in the southern Caucasus. One such development was the protocol Moscow signed recently with Armenia, extending the bilateral defense treaty the two countries signed in 1995 through 2044.

Experts tell us that while the defense alliance between Armenia and Moscow is nothing new, the protocols signed by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian have important new features. We are told, for example, that with the new arrangement Russia undertakes to guarantee Armenia’s territorial integrity in its entirety, and not just its borders with Turkey and Iran, as before.

This amounts to leaving Armenia’s overall defense to Moscow, and also enhances further the partnership the two countries have within the context of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. Analysts who indicate that the CSTO is a NATO-like formation, underline that this alliance is rapidly gaining significance in the area covering the former Soviet Union, where Russia is increasing its military hold from Ukraine to Kyrgyzstan.

There is also some suggestion that Washington is not as averse to these developments as some may think, given that it shares some elemental concerns with Moscow, mostly to do with Afghanistan and the rise in Islamic terrorism. It is indicated in this context that the U.S. has a stake in seeing the republics of the former Soviet Union stabilized, something which clearly only Russia, if anyone, can do.

It is a fact that for all the angry noise out of Washington over Russia effectively invading and dividing Georgia two years ago, little was actually done to retaliate. Russia’s consolidation of its military position in the southern Caucasus appears to be accepted as a “fait accompli.”

It is also noticeable that there is more convergence on Iran between Russia and the U.S., as exemplified by Moscow’s support of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Security Council.

One country where the latest development between Moscow and Yerevan has caused deep frustration and anger, however, is Azerbaijan. The main reason is that Moscow has effectively told Baku, by means of the protocol it signed with Yerevan, that it will not stand for any attempt by the Azeri military to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue by military means.

This is a blow to Azeri prestige because the administration in Baku has been rattling its saber for quite some time now, indicating its readiness to use military force to regain lands occupied by Armenian forces, not just in Nagorno-Karabakh, but also in Azerbaijan proper. Baku has also been using its oil money to purchase advanced military systems and shore up its armed forces in order to give more credence to its saber rattling.

Moscow’s indirect notice to Baku, however, makes it more or less impossible for Azerbaijan to unleash a military campaign against Armenia and attain its objectives.

In the first instance Azerbaijan is not a member of the CSTO, while Armenia is and now has an even stronger protective umbrella as a result of this alliance.

The current situation also makes it very likely that if Baku should try, against all odds, to go for a military option, it will find itself isolated internationally. NATO member Turkey will also find it very difficult to get openly embroiled in such a war, even if Ankara will instinctively be on Baku’s side, and try to help Azerbaijan in covert ways.

It is also clear that in the event of such a war the Armenian military will have the freedom to concentrate exclusively on the Azeri onslaught given that Moscow has now guaranteed the safety of its other borders.

This overall situation perhaps explains why there is increasing frustration and nervousness in Baku, which also issued two high-level warnings to Turkey recently spelling out in so many words that if the Erdoğan government decides to open the closed Turkish-Armenian border for even a day and for any purpose, relations will be poisoned.

These warnings come on the heels of news reports in Turkey that the border closed by Ankara, in solidarity with Baku after Armenians overran Azeri territory outside Nagorno-Karabakh, may be opened for a day within the context of an international military exercise.

As matters stand the Azeri administration was livid with anger when news of the Turkish-Armenian normalization protocols broke last year, forcing the Erdoğan government to shelve these protocols because of domestic pressure Baku was able to generate among the Turkish public.

Since then it is an open secret that there is a crisis of confidence between Turkey and Azerbaijan, with the Azeri side overly alert to any suggestion that Turkey might embark on some gesture, such as the opening of the border with Armenia even if for a day, to reactivate its normalization efforts with Yerevan.

Baku knows of course there is significant pressure on Ankara from the West to actually start implementing the ”Geneva Protocols” with Armenia, as they have come to be known, and worries that the Erdoğan government may not be able to withstand this pressure in the long run.

But Foreign Minsiter Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was asked about reports concerning the border, said last week that there was no such plan and that the border would remain closed. Thus if there was any preparation on Ankara’s part for a mini-gesture to Armenia, one can say that Baku put a spanner in the works again.

What must also be frustrating for Azeri diplomats is that Russia provided a counter point to Turkey when Ankara announced its protocols with Armenian last year. Azeri President Ilham Aliev immediately went to Moscow, after the protocols were signed in Geneva, and made statements while there – especially in terms of energy cooperation with Russia – that were clearly aimed at ruffling feathers in Ankara.

But it was always an unrealistic expectation on the Azeri side that Russia would provide any advantage for Baku as it pursues its policies against Yerevan, especially those based on the military option. Now with the latest Russian-Armenian protocols, Baku seems to have painted itself even tighter into the corner.

We maintained at the time, and still do so today, that if Baku had not spoiled the implementation of the Turkish-Armenian protocols, it would have more options today vis-à-vis Nagorno-Karabakh. For one thing Turkey would also be playing an active role in the settlement of this seemingly intractable problem.

Today, however, there is no potential role for Turkey to play here, given that normalization with Armenia is at a standstill, and Azerbaijan’s zero sum game has landed Ankara in a situation that it cannot extract itself from.

As for the real power broker in the region, this is increasingly seen to be Russia, and it is more than likely that Azerbaijan will have to eventually settle for a “Pax Russicana” arrangement over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Whether that arrangement will provide Azerbaijan with what it wants today is highly questionable. Therefore one can say that the latest show of solidarity between Russia and Armenia, which has now been consummated by means of a security arrangement that will last till 2044, is more bad news for Azerbaijan.

General Ivashov: “International terrorism does not exist”

General Ivashov: “International terrorism does not exist”

by General Leonid Ivashov*

General Leonid Ivashov was the Chief of Staff of theRussian armed forces when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. This military man, who lived the events from the inside, offers an analysis which is very different to that of his American colleagues. As he did during the Axis for Peace 2005 conference, he now explains that international terrorism does not exist and that the September 11 attacks were the result of a set-up. What we are seeing is a manipulation by the big powers; thisterrorism would not exist without them. He affirms that, instead of faking a “world war on terror”, the best way to reduce that kind of attacks is through respect for international law and peaceful cooperation among countries and their citizens.

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General Leonid Ivashov (left) at the Axis for Peace Conference 2005 in Brussels, with Webster Tarpley

As the current international situation shows, terrorismemerges where contradiction aggravate, where there is a change of social relations or a change of regime, where there is political, economic or social instability, where there is moral decadence, where cynicism and nihilism triumph, where vice is legalized and where crime spreads.

It is globalization what creates the conditions for the emergence of these extremely dangerous phenomena. It is in this context that the new world geo-strategic map is being designed, that the resources of the planet are being re-distributed, that borders are disappearing, that international law is being torn into pieces, that cultural identities are being erased, that spiritual life becomes impoverished…

The analysis of the essence of the globalization process, the military and political doctrines of the United States and other countries, shows that terrorism contributes to a world dominance and the submissiveness of states to a global oligarchy. This means that terrorism is not something independent of world politics but simply an instrument, a means to install a unipolar world with a sole world headquarters, a pretext to erase national borders and to establish the rule of a new world elite. It is precisely this elite that constitutes the key element of world terrorism, its ideologist and its “godfather”. The main target of the world elite is the historical, cultural, traditional and natural reality; the existing system of relations among states; the world national and state order of human civilization and national identity.

Today’s international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people’s intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance inside power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries’ policies and the behavior of people.

Terrorism is the weapon used in a new type of war. At the same time, international terrorism, in complicity with the media, becomes the manager of global processes. It is precisely the symbiosis between media and terror, which allows modifying international politics and the exiting reality.

In this context, if we analyze what happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States, we can arrive at the following conclusions: 1. The organizers of those attacks were the political and business circles interested in destabilizing the world order and who had the means necessary to finance the operation. The political conception of this action matured there where tensions emerged in the administration of financial and other types of resources. We have to look for the reasons of the attacks in the coincidence of interests of the big capital at global and transnational levels, in the circles that were not satisfied with the rhythm of the globalization process or its direction.
Unlike traditional wars, whose conception is determined by generals and politicians, the oligarchs and politicians submitted to the former were the ones who did it this time.

2. Only secret services and their current chiefs – or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations – have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. Generally, secret services create, finance and control extremist organizations. Without the support of secret services, these organizations cannot exist – let alone carry out operations of such magnitude inside countries so well protected. Planning and carrying out an operation on this scale is extremely complex.

3. Osama bin Laden and “Al Qaeda” cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders. Thus, a team of professionals had to be created and the Arab kamikazes are just extras to mask the operation.
The September 11 operation modified the course of events in the world in the direction chosen by transnational mafias and international oligarchs; that is, those who hope to control the planet’s natural resources, the world information network and the financial flows. This operation also favored the US economic and political elite that also seeks world dominance.

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General Leonid Ivashov with journalist Christopher Bollyn from American Free Press

The use of the term “international terrorism” has the following goals:
- Hiding the real objectives of the forces deployed all over the world in the struggle for dominance and control;
- Turning the people’s demands to a struggle of undefined goals against an invisible enemy;
- Destroying basic international norms and changing concepts such as: aggression, state terror, dictatorship or movement of national liberation;
- Depriving peoples of their legitimate right to fight against aggressions and to reject the work of foreign intelligence services;
- Establishing the principle of renunciation to national interests, transforming objectives in the military field by giving priority to the war on terror, violating the logic of military alliances to the detriment of a joint defense and to favor the anti-terrorist coalition;
- Solving economic problems through a tough military rule using the war on terror as a pretext. In order to fight in an efficient way against international terrorism it is necessary to take the following steps:
- To confirm before the UN General Assembly the principles of the UN Charter and international law as principles that all states are obliged to respect;
- To create a geo-strategic organization (perhaps inspired in the Cooperation Organization of Shanghai comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) with a set of values different to that of the Atlantists; to design a strategy of development of states, a system of international security, another financial and economic model (which would mean that the world would again rest on two pillars);
- To associate (under the United Nations) the scientific elites in the design and promotion of the philosophical concepts of the Human Being of the 21st Century.
- To organize the interaction of all religious denominations in the world, on behalf of the stability of humanity’s development, security and mutual support.

19 dead in shootout in Chechnya

[The President’s bodyguards repelled a rebel assault.  They were going for the head man.   It is easy to see that that there is a war going on within Russia and the former USSR. This attempted hit on an ally of Putin, on the heels of the murder of Yuri Ivanov, one of Putin’s legitimate critics, is proof of that.  It may be as simple as Putin and Medvedev positioning themselves for the upcoming election, or it may also be connected to the murder of MI-6 operative Gareth Williams , in London.  The fact that the house the British agent was found in was owned by a Russian company, could confirm this theory.  The same site claimed that the actual hitman came from Slovenia.  These reports reflect the conflict playing-out underneath the rhetoric, but they are also evidence of bad spymanship.  It is very sloppy of the spooks on both sides to leave all these bodies lying around to alert the public of the alternative reality being shaped for us.  You have to wonder why.

Students of the conspiratorial view of history like myself, believe that history doesn’t just “unfold,” it is shaped by the most powerful, so that the outcome of events proves favorable to them in the end.

The fact that Russia is now cooperating with the US in Afghanistan and in the establishment of the Northern Distribution Network, even though both former enemies are in stiff competition for the same energy resources, creates a seeming contradiction.  The conflict is between Putin’s side, the powerful oligarchs (most of whom are Jewish), and the international banking cabal (the majority of the financiers are Zionists).  The Israeli-backed Russian oligarchs are going up against their backers, the Jewish international elite, who are in union with their American corporate counterparts.

Both sides want global government, but both sides plan to occupy the driver’s seat.  Maybe they will kill each other off and rid the planet of their unique brand of human pestilence.]

19 dead in shootout in Chechnya

TSENTOROI, Russia – The Associated Press
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. AFP photo.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. AFP photo.

A shootout between the Chechen president’s personal protection detail and suspected separatist insurgents left 19 people dead early Sunday, including five civilians, officials and media reports said.

At least 12 suspected insurgents and two security officers were killed when the rebels entered Tsentoroi, Ramzan Kadyrov’s home village, his spokesman Alvi Karimov said. TV reports said five civilians were killed in the crossfire.

Kadyrov, who is thought to regularly supervise security operations in the field, was in the village at the time and directed the counter-offensive, Karimov said. “We let them into the village so they couldn’t escape,” Kadyrov told Channel One television, which showed him examining the bodies of the suspected militants strewn across a road. “We forced them into a place where they could be eliminated,” he said.

An AP reporter at the scene saw fire-ravaged and bullet-ridden homes, with body parts lying among the rubble. Resident Vargan Edelgeriyeva, 48, said the gunbattle started at about 3 a.m. at a construction site about 150 meters away from Kadyrov’s residence.

Militants entered local homes but were quickly surrounded, Edelgeriyeva said. In one house an insurgent detonated explosives, perhaps a grenade, killing himself and a 30-year-old resident, she said.

Police in 2009 averted a possible assassination attempt on Kadyrov, shooting dead the driver of a car suspected of containing explosives before he could reach a construction site where Kadyrov was due to make an appearance.

In a separate incident Sunday, security forces in nearby Dagestan province shot dead four suspected militants traveling in two cars when they refused to stop at a police checkpoint, according to police spokesman Magomed Tagirov. He said weapons were later found in the cars.

Russia’s volatile North Caucasus suffers daily attacks by insurgents seeking independence from Moscow, but this weekend’s bloodshed has been especially fierce. On Saturday, nine suspected militants were killed in two separate shootouts with police in the Kabardino-Balkariya republic, while five suspected militants and two police officers were killed in another shootout in Dagestan.

Gangs Fire-Bombed Russian Embassy In Minsk, Belarus

Unknown “lit” from the Russian Embassy in Minsk

Plot: The incident in front of Russian Embassy in Minsk

MOSCOW, August 31 – RIA Novosti. The incident on Monday evening at the Embassy of Russia in Minsk, when someone left in the embassy building firebombs, has caused outrage in both countries, and Minsk police opened a criminal case under article “hooliganism.”

The severity of action hooligans install a consequence, but it remains to note that CP had a period of cooling of the Russian-Belarusian relations, and not a cause for speculation about his political background.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries believe that the initiators of this trick is to make a rift in bilateral relations. The diplomats also called for a thorough investigation of the incident.

Неизвестные бросили бутылки с зажигальной смесью в посольство РФ в Минске
Unknown threw bottles zazhigalnoy mixture Embassy of Russia in Minsk

At the moment it is known following details of the incident. On Monday around 22.50 (23.50 Moscow time) unknown threw the territory of the Russian Embassy in Minsk, two bottles of inflammable liquid. No one was injured, one bottle hit a parked car in the compound Mazda 3.

Security personnel equipped to deal with fire, rescue and assistance to them was not required.

During the inspection of crime scene investigative staff of the operational group of the Central District Internal Affairs Department have been detected and removed glass bottles of 0.33 liters of alcoholic drinks from under the remains of a combustible mixture, as well as fragments of glass bottles filled with the remnants of the wick.

Diplomats angry outburst, the police are improving protection

Diplomats from both countries united in their assessment of what happened.

Foreign Ministry in a statement circulated on Tuesday described the incident as “outrageous act, for which the visible desire of certain forces try to interfere with the normal work of the embassy and bring the bilateral relations elements of mistrust and tension. “

“The Russian side insists on prompt and thorough investigation into all circumstances of the incident, identify and punish the organizers and perpetrators of crime. We believe that by law enforcement authorities of the Republic of Belarus will take all necessary measures to prevent such an unconditional shares in the future – say the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry noted that this “criminal bullying is directed against common sense and the Belarusian-Russian relations. “

“We note with concern and indignation to learn about the incident at the Embassy of Russia”, – said a spokesman for Ministry Andrei Savinykh. According to him, the official Minsk hopes that “those guilty will be severely punished in accordance with the law.”

Simultaneously, Moscow police found more guards at the embassy of Belarus in Moscow in connection with the incident in Minsk, told reporters on Tuesday the police chief of Public Security (SSP) Internal Affairs in Moscow, Vyacheslav Kozlov.

“We have driven operational orders to the Embassy of Belarus in Moscow. We have a reserve, which may be involved,” – said Kozlov.

What’s next?

The threat of a repetition of such acts in the future remains, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Vladimir Zharikhin. In his view, the initiators of action were those who in the wake of cooling relations between the leadership of Russia and Belarus “aims to receive dividends during the election campaign.”

“The aggravation of relations between Belarus and Russia may be interested in different forces. We must not forget that there is approaching the election campaign”, – said Zharikhin RIA Novosti.

Judge sees no reason to claim that the incident could be carried out with the tacit consent of local authorities.

“To imagine that this action was happening on the formal structures of Belarus, I have no reason to. I do not see any benefits for the Belarusian official structures in this action,” – said Zharikhin.

He suggested that the action will not have negative consequences for relations between the two countries.

“I hope that the relations between the two countries deteriorate. But those who committed this act, are counting on the fact that they get worse,” – concluded Zharikhin.

TAP, TAP, TAPIing On Pipelineistan’s Door

[For some reason, the powers that be are allowing Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to pretend on their world stage that there is a chance in hell that the TAPI pipeline can be built.  It even serves American destabilization plans to allow the players to pretend that Iranian gas can be part of the solution, just as they pretend that Iran can help fill Nabucco.  As always, the pipeline will remain just a pipe dream until Afghanistan is tamed.

Perhaps an even greater obstacle than the Taliban is the Baloch insurgency.  Pakistan may be able to force some kind of deal with their clients, the Taliban, but it has so far been unable to demolish the tenacious Baloch resistance.  The Army has so been unable to protect Pakistan’s small gas transmission lines, let alone the dozens of large diameter pipes tied to Central Asia.

Balochistan can only be made safe for international pipelines in one of two possible methods, either by giving in completely to demands for an independent Baloch nation, or by bombing the areas that support the resistance back into the stone age (daily life for the Balochs is barely above that level now).  If Pakistan is willing to accept American B-52 and B-1 bombers over the country, repeating the tactics used at Tora Bora, or if all the players are willing to accept global condemnation for this criminal bombing campaign, then it could theoretically be done.  But have American leaders become so desperate that they are accelerating their plans to this, the final stage of no-holds-barred military action? Are they now willing to throw-off the cloak of respectability and openly make such a bold move for world conquest?

If the Beast has become this desperate,  then there will be no restraining force of popular opinion to prevent the alleged defender of “democracy” from using its entire arsenal to solve the equation, even tactical neutron bombs (you know, the neat little nukes that kill, but leave property intact?).

“Pipelineistan” will never succeed until America is ready to let the mask fall.]

Turkmens, Afghans struggle to realize pipeline dream

ASHGABAT – Agence France-Presse
The violence in Afghanistan, one of the world’s most opaque regimes in Turkmenistan and miserable Pakistan-India relations risk the decade-long pipeline plans to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. Analysts are skeptical that anyone can succeed in raising the pipeline off the desert floor

Plans for a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India are picking up steam but the decade-long dream still risks never leaving the drawing board.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, pipeline has featured prominently in recent talks among regional leaders eager to jumpstart the faltering project for reasons of economics or security.

But with spiraling violence in Afghanistan, one of the world’s most opaque regimes in Turkmenistan and miserable Pakistan-India relations, analysts remain skeptical that anyone can succeed in raising the pipeline off the desert floor.

Recent noises from Ashgabat, which may lack the volume to fill the pipeline, are at best wishful thinking, said Evan Feigenbaum, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and ex-assistant deputy U.S. secretary of state.

“Their roadshows periodically include every pipeline idea under the sun, so in theory they’d like to do lots of things. In reality, they probably can’t and almost certainly won’t,” he said. That, he added, is even before any discussion of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s increasingly-embattled government in Kabul or the thorny issue of India-Pakistan relations. “(I) sense that the U.S. puts this on the agenda with Karzai now and again to keep the Afghans happy,” he said. “I just don’t see this in the cards, even in Ashgabat.”

But with Turkmenistan desperate to diversify its export routes following a punishing gas row with Russia last year – and with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India hungry for energy – all cards appear to be on the table again.

“What is being done on this project fits into the framework strategy for getting Turkmen gas to world markets and in this sense, it is normal,” said Valery Nesterov, an energy analyst with Russian investment bank Troika Dialog.

TAPI was first floated by the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan in embryonic form as the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline in 1995 at the height of the Afghan civil war that followed the withdrawal of the Soviet Army in 1989.

A host of western energy firms spent the next six years negotiating with anyone they could find – including Afghanistan’s Taliban government – before NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Finally, in 2002 the concerned governments agreed to build a 1,700-kilometer pipeline to deliver Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan but the project stalled because of the raging Taliban insurgency.

The pipeline aims to transport over 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Dauletabad gas fields in southeast Turkmenistan, creating a potentially massive windfall for Afghanistan in the form of transit fees.

Despite receiving financing from the Asian Development Bank, or ADB, the project has been held up by a number of problems, not least of them the security along the proposed route inside Afghanistan.

The pipeline’s route would take it straight through the region’s most turbulent locales, including conflict-torn Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan as well as Quetta in Pakistan, where tribal unrest is common.

But there are growing signs that these governments are eager to push ahead with TAPI in the hopes the potentially enormous rewards outweigh the very real obstacles in its path.

Last week Turkmen President President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai agreed in telephone talks to meet at September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York to unstick the lagging project.

Days later Pakistan seemed to signal its willingness to move ahead during a meeting between the Turkmen and Pakistani foreign ministers, who agreed a meeting of the pipeline’s steering committee to be held in Ashgabat next month.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s presidential administration insisted Kabul was ready to guarantee the security of the pipeline, which he said would “yield enormous profits for Afghanistan.”

“We have a specific plan for security of this pipeline, if all sides involved in this project manage to strike a deal, we would do our utmost to ensure security of it in the best way possible,” spokesman Siamak Herawi said.

From their side, a senior official in the Turkmen ministry of oil and gas, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a consensus had been reached that the pipeline would bring security, not the other way round.

“Everyone is clear that the joint implementation of a gas pipeline that will connect the shared interests and goals of the four states will contribute to a better mutual understanding and trust between them,” he said. “And (it) will definitely improve the situation not only in the region, but also in Central Asia,” he added.

The accelerated pace of discussions leaves little doubt that the parties are interested in moving ahead, said Nesterov. Still, he warned that where Turkmenistan was involved, energy deals were best approached on a wait-and-see basis. “I think that this project, as often happens, will be used primarily as part of the negotiation process and political games of Turkmenistan,” he said.

Broken Laws, Broken Lives–Proof of American War Crimes

Broken Laws, Broken Lives – Full Report

Read the Report (click on title)

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba (USA-Ret.), preface toBroken Laws, Broken Lives

In PHR’s new report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives, we have for the first time medical evidence to confirm first-hand accounts of men who endured torture by US personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay. These men were never charged with any crime.

Bratislava Gunman Killed Roma (Gypsy) Family–He Was In Army

You know the identity of the attacker? Send us an web@sme.sk

Bishop of Devinska be legally held weapons

BRATISLAVA. Seven people on Monday became the victim of a gunman opened fire in a part of Bratislava Ves. The man eventually committed suicide. Six shot apparently came from one family, the seventh victim of the attacker is likely to accidentally hit when released to the balcony. Several people were injured, including a three-year-old boy. Sagittarius by police with submachine guns opened fire in the apartment, but later shot in the street after the accidental victims.

Bratislava Regional Directorate informed the police that the perpetrator came from Ves and was 48 years. Contrary to previous information indicated that the machine gun and other firearms be legally held. His motive is not yet known. According sme.sk attacker was a former soldier. Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic (ODS) indicated that an attacker could work in the armed forces.

The police initially informed of the six victims of the shooting, later in an apartment near the fire found a woman shot yet. “Maybe you went to the balcony when the killer shot at around everywhere,” said Lipšic. Shooter before he killed four women in the home and one man, the sixth person killed at the entrance. According to Lipšic family belonged to the Roma ethnic group.

Among the injured is a policeman and a Czech citizen

Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik (ODS) at a special press conference said that 15 people were injured, thirteen were hospitalized in various hospitals in Bratislava, two of the fire paramedics treated on the spot. Regional Police Directorate in the evening said that 13 people were injured, ten of which three were hospitalized and released from the hospital.

Among the seriously injured, according to University Hospital in Bratislava and a Cech, handled the three-year old boy, but at the request of the parents had already left hospital. Underwent operation and a policeman who intervened when shooting.

The doctors considered the most serious injury to the chest, back, abdomen or head.

author: Eugen Korda

Witness Matthew Urmín shooter photographed from the balcony of his apartment on the street, Paul Horova. Bishop was in middle age, he prešedivelé hair on the head headphones have noise. also shot at police who opätovali his shooting, “informs the Ves editor Richard SME Peťková.

The family knew the killer murdered

The gunfire took place at the Paul Street Shopping Centre near Horova before ten in the morning, the district then called the local radio people that do not rely on their homes. Place of entrance to the shootings and police closed the city. The field was assigned a team of psychologists to help families and relatives of the victims and wounded.

Evening Ves people burn candles in honor of the victims. The field in the local part has been gathered about 200 people.

The press conference from the ranks of media critics speak to address the police, who said the incident and police action under-informed. Residents of the city in a television interview TA3 said they did not know what is exactly happening. Police ohradila to criticism and emphasized that the priority was to save lives.

Lipšic also told reporters that he gave instructions to find the most dangerous criminals in the Slovakia. He added that it is necessary to rearm the police as soon as possible to be able to effectively intervene in residential areas.

One of the murdered was called Joseph dive into apartment buildings have reportedly gone to a son

One of the murdered, the perpetrator shot at the door of apartment buildings in Ves, watering hole named Joseph and lived in the apartment along with other victims. The AP said the victim’s brother Fero shebeen. “He had a wife there and went there for his son, which now can not find,” he told the AP that the entire incident is learned from television.

“He went there by chance and take the boy was here on earth in green overalls,” he said, adding that knows all of today’s murder victim. “We knew the rest of the family. These were the sister-in-law, her mother, daughter and son,” he said.

According to the Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Corps Silvia Jančovičová firefighters treated in cooperation with the rescuers hurt a child. The mother brought him to Bratislava Kramáre. “The conscious and immediate danger to life is out,” said spokeswoman Children’s University Hospital and Clinic Dana Kamenická.

Lipšic wants vytipovať dangerous place

“Our prayers are with the survivors and injured,” said Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic. “I have instructed the police presidium been identified highest-risk areas in Slovakia. We need to focus on places that are centers of crime and there hard and rapidly. This case shows that we need as soon as you join the rearmament of the police,” the head of the Ministry of Interior. Reasons for the offender, why the shots, not by Spišiak yet known and is under investigation.

Alexander Pikayev Death Now Murder Investigation–Maltastar.com

[Does the murder of two Russian diplomats and the intrigues unfolding in Britain, does this translate into some kind of international spy–vs–spy war?  Whatever it is, it looks like Russia–vs–England.]

Alexander Pikayev Death Now Murder Investigation

Pikayev had strong Iran ties but was no double-agent’ – friend of late Russian expert

Vodpod videos no longer available.

06 July 2010 19:03

In an exclusive interview with Maltastar.com, Nikolay Petrov, Alexander Pikayev’s colleague from the prestigious Carnegie Institute in Moscow, said that Pikayev had no personal enemies and that he does not believe his colleague was capable of being a double agent.

“I do exclude that Alexander was capable of doing any adventurous moves, he was no newcomer as he was working in the field for more than 15 years, that’s why I think that it’s hardly possible that he had personal enemies connected to his field of study” he said when contacted at his office in Moscow.

“I will not buy the version that Alexander was any kind of double agent… I don’t believe the claim that he was giving information to different sources” he adds.

Petrov stressed that his friend had what he describes as “a very balanced approach, and when dealing with such a fragile topics for so many years, a person should know what to say and how to say it”.

NIkolay Petrov however, did confirm that Pikayev could understand hidden details by looking at visible things, due to his deep knowledge of the subject. Petrov recalls speaking to Pikayev in Moscow, 3 weeks before his early demise in Malta, about Pikayev’s attending of an important nuclear energy conference in Tehran last May.

“He was never saying something that you could hear from anybody else”

The Scholar-in-Residence at the Society and Regions Program, at the Carnegie Moscow Centre went on to tell this e-newspaper about what the Nuclear Arms expert was like as a person and his own personal working relationship with him.

They had been collaborating on various initiatives with the Institute, one of them being a working group about “New Approaches to Russian Security”.

He admitted to being taken by surprise as we explained that the case is being treated as a homicide by the Maltese investigators.

Petrov said that Pikayev was a very nice person highlighting the fact that while he could be shrewd in his analysis he managed to make anyone interested in his subject, even if this could be quite technical and specific.

“He was never saying something that you could hear from anybody else”, claimed Petrov when speaking about his late friend.

Laptop with sensitive information in police possession

Petrov’s denial of dirty games from Pikayev’s side shifts the focus on the deep knowledge and possible sensitive information that Pikayev had about Iran’s nuclear programme.

One is reminded of the laptop containing sensitive information regarding nuclear weapons which was found switched on in the St. Paul’s Bay apartments where Pikayev was found dead. The police is still in possession of this laptop computer for further analysis.

Iran’s nuclear programme has been one of the major points of contention in recent international relations with Israel and the US actively seeking to control Tehran’s ambitions.

Yuri Ivanov, Putin’s Adversary for Exposing Beslan School Cover-Up

Gen. Yuri Ivanov

Dep. Director of Russian GRU

[When this story first broke, back on Aug. 13 (Russian diplomat’s body found on Hatay shore), it was being reported as a drowned diplomat.  In searching out the story, I kept coming over two types of references to the same man, as a diplomat, or a military officer.  I guess he was both.  His name came up in a story where someone beat the hell out of him Kyrgyzstan in 2002, the Beslan School incident in 2004 and in the “hijacked” Russian freighter, Arctic Sea, last year. ]

Ivanov, a Saratov region native, served in the Russian peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan from the end of the civil war there in 1997 until he was transferred to the North Caucasus military district in 2000 and to the General Staff in Moscow in 2006.

Russian Consul General attacked in Kyrgyzstan

Yuri Ivanov, Russia’s Consul General, was attacked in the Kyrgyz city of Osh. Ivanov told RIA by telephone that unidentified men stormed into his house around 3 a.m. They probably broke though a window into the private house where the diplomat lives. Threatening him with a knife, the bandits took the roughly 5,000 som (about USD 100) Ivanov had in the house and the wedding ring from the diplomat’s finger.
Ivanov was alone at the time because his family was in Moscow. He said the bandits did not injure him in any way.
According to available information, the Kyrgyz law-enforcement bodies are investigating the crime. Assistant to the Russian ambassador for security matters has speedily left Bishkek for the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan, Osh.


As for the Kyrgyz population’s attitude towards the possibility of
return of the Russian military, Russian Consul Yuri Ivanov says that
the locals do not object. “The officials and men in the streets I
talked to cannot wait to see the Russian military back,” the diplomat
said. “The widespread opinion is that it will only benefit the
republic.” There was a transit base in Osh not long ago used to ship
consignments to the Russian group of border guards and 201st
Motorized Infantry Division in Tajikistan.

Mystery surrounding Russian cargo ship grows

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced earlier that the Russian navy had reached the ship off West Africa on Monday and arrested eight suspected hijackers without a shot being fired. Further details were provided Wednesday by state news agencies, citing an unnamed ministry official.
“Crew members confirm that a ransom demand was made by the hijackers and if their demands were not met the hijackers threatened to blow up the vessel,” the ministry official reportedly said.
The crew said the hijackers were armed but threw their weapons overboard when the Russian naval frigate approached, the reports said.
Ministry spokesman Yuri Ivanov said he was unaware of the statements made to the state news agencies through other channels.
The timber-loaded Arctic Sea and its 15 Russian crew members left a Finnish port on July 21.
The Maltese-flagged freighter
Ministry spokesman Col. Yuri Ivanov

Beslan school siege inquiry ‘a cover-up’

heraldscotland staff

10 Feb 2007

MPs question official version of events
From Andrew Osborn in Moscow

The only two non-Kremlin-aligned MPs to take part in Russia’s parliamentary inquiry into the 2004 Beslan school siege have broken their silence to denounce the investigation as a cover-up that did little more than go through the motions.

According to nationalist Yuri Savelyev, and Communist Yuri Ivanov, Russia’s worst post-Soviet act of terrorism was deliberately investigated poorly, in order not to undermine the Kremlin’s official version of events, an account that both men believe was fabricated.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Vladimir Putin promised the relatives of those who were killed that a painstaking official investigation would establish what really happened on September 1-3, 2004.

Some 333 people died in the siege, more than half of them children, when pro-Chechen terrorists took more than 1000 people hostage in a small school in southern Russia. Many of those who survived felt the Kremlin’s handling of the crisis was negligent and demanded a proper explanation.

Yet to survivors’ disbelief, the parliamentary investigation into the tragedy was quietly wound up at the end of last year after almost two years of work without a murmur.

According to the two whistle-blowing MPs, that inquiry was little more than a stage-managed PR exercise.

“It was nonsensical, shameless, and betrayed a complete lack of conscience,” said Ivanov, who added he and Savelyev had refused to sign off on the report because of their misgivings.

Ivanov claimed the investigation was warned not to call Putin as a witness and that the report was rushed through parliament “within 20 minutes”.

While it did criticise the action of local authorities on the scene, it generally shied away from questioning the way in which the siege was handled and focused instead on the guilt of the Chechen hostage-takers.

Both MPs said their work on the inquiry had prompted them to seriously question the official version of events.

They alleged that the siege’s bloody climax was not triggered by Chechen terrorists detonating explosives inside the school as the Kremlin claims, but by rocket-propelled grenades being fired at the school from an area under the control of Russian special forces.

Ivanov further contended that the grenades were fired on the direct orders of President Putin as a prelude to the storming of the school.

Savelyev, a member of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, said his work on the panel had forced him to reassess what happened in Beslan.

“When I started work in October 2004 I sincerely believed that the terrorists had raped and killed hostages, blown up the school, and then shot fleeing women and children in the back.”

But he said now he had reached a very different conclusion. He said the panel did not turn up any substantive evidence to suggest that the terrorists had detonated explosives inside the school or that they had shot fleeing hostages in the back. Allegations of rape have also yet to be substantiated.

The two MPs also claimed that the authorities destroyed crucial evidence in the first few hours after the siege was broken. They accused the government of deliberately allowing a fire in the school to rage for almost two and a half hours before allowing the fire brigade to enter, in a calculated cover-up.

By the time the fire brigade did get access, the roof of the school gym had been totally destroyed and with it crucial evidence that the MPs believe would have shown that rocket-propelled grenades had been fired into the gym through the roof.

The Kremlin has dismissed the pair’s claims, insisting the parliamentary inquiry was “serious and unbiased.” However, local people in Beslan say they are more inclined to believe the two MPs than the Kremlin version.

“Evidently there are people keen to ensure that the truth about Beslan is never known,” said Ella Kesaeva of the Voice of Beslan pressure group, who lost her two nephews in the siege.

“But we will do everything we can to establish why our children and loved ones died and who was responsible for their deaths.”

Mysterious death of Russian military intelligence high-up in Syria

[That’s the second Russian diplomat to turn-up dead around the Mediterranean lately.  SEE: Top Russian Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament Expert Found Dead, Naked, Skull Crushed-In]

Mysterious death of Russian military intelligence high-up in Syria

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 30, 2010

Dep. Director of Russian GRU dies in Syria

Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military’s overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances described in a terse official Russian eulogy on Aug. 30 as a tragic swimming accident “several days ago.” No further details were provided such as where he died.
DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that Gen. Ivanov appears to have drowned in early August at the Syrian Mediterranean port town of Latakia. After he had been missing for ten days, his body was washed up on the shore of southern Turkey on Aug. 12.
Turkish sources revealed that his remains were recovered by Turkish fishermen from Cevlik village in the Hatay province near the Syrian border. According to unofficial sources, the body was too decomposed for identification. The Russian general was finally identified by the cross around its neck, but there was no word on the cause of his death.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East intelligence sources do not believe he accidentally drowned but find it more likely that was murdered and his body thrown into the sea. They say it is inconceivable that the deputy head of GRU would have gone swimming without bodyguards, especially at a Russian foreign base, and drowned without anyone noticing. Even if he did drown accidentally, his guards would not have rested until they recovered his body and not let drift for miles.  Furthermore, Latakia is a summer resort frequented by high-ranking Syrian and Gulf emirate officials with their families. Its bathing beaches are well guarded by security personnel as well as professional life-savers, who would have been instantly alerted to any mishap in the water.
Our sources surmise that Gen. Yuri Ivanov went missing from a private, secretive engagement from which his aides and guards were banished to wait outside, not swimming alone in the sea of Latakia. This would account for the delay in reporting his disappearance.
They recall in this regard his former position as head of the North Caucasus branch of Russian military intelligence, which he held until late 2006. In this capacity he played a leading role in clandestine operations against al Qaeda and the Chechen revolt.  Among the many terrorist groups present in Syria are al Qaeda cells from the Caucasian.

Body of Russian diplomat found on Turkish coast

Fishermen found the body of the Russian diplomat on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Most likely the Russian diplomat drowned while on vacation in Syria.

He arrived in Syria as a tourist and entered the country with diplomatic passport. He is not the officer of Russian Embassy in Syria, spokesman for the Embassy Andrey Zaytsev told RIA Novosti.

Earlier media spread information on death of Russian diplomat Yuri Ivanov whose body was found by fishermen on the coast of Cevlik in the border province of Hatay five days ago.

Officials said they managed to identify the body with the assistance of both domestic and international authorities, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The Russian diplomat’s body was found Çevlik’te!

The Russian diplomat's body was found Çevlik'te!
Russian diplomats in Syria who have drowned in the sea the bodies of 53-year-old Yuri Ivanov, was washed ashore on the coast of Samandag’s Çevlik.
Çevlik 4 days ago found by fishermen on the shore of the male body, the City Council of Forensic Medicine at the State Hospital where he was brought Samandağ after autopsy. Died by drowning and determined that the person who found the cross on her neck, in the Syrian city of Latakia, Russian diplomat, Yuri Ivanov is on holiday, respectively. Drowning in the sea to swim into Lazkiye’de Yuri Ivanov’s body was understood by the effect of waves and wind drift to shore Samandağ said.
The Russian diplomat’s corpse, the investigation was handed over to their relatives after arriving in Samandag.

Trend News (Azerbaijan) Admits Links to Neoconservative and Rockefeller Front Groups

[Anytime an “independent” news source openly admits ties to Rockefeller front group, Council on Foreign Relations, as well as neocon central Heritage Foundation, it should serve as a large blinking red light to anyone paying attention.


Delete Trend News from your list of links.]

Leading int’l experts join Trend International Advisory Council

30.08.2010 17:10
Leading int'l experts join Trend International Advisory Council
A number of leading experts and public figures worldwide have joined the International Expert Council (IEC) of theTrend News Agency.

An agreement was reached on the membership of:

Heritage Foundation Russia, Eurasia and International Energy Security expert Ariel Cohen;

Director of the Russia-Eurasia Center of the Council on Foreign Relations of Germany Alexander Rahr;

Johns Hopkins University Institute of Central Asia and Caucasus Director and Swedish Institute of Security Policy and Development Founder Svante Cornell;

-Professor at the University of Glasgow Reza Taghizadeh;

Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis (TURKSAM) President Sinan Ogan;

-Turkish Centre for International Relations and Strategic Analysis (USAD) Director Celal Cem Oguz;

-Former Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, MK General, Former Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, MK General Ephraim Sneh, Ephraim Sneh;

– Director of Damascus Institute of International Studies, former adviser to Syrian Prime Minister, Samir Al-Taqi;

– Senior fellow at the Center for International Security at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations of Russian Academy of Sciences,Vladimir Yevseyev;

-Russian expert on the CIS, Moscow State University Research Fellow Stanislav Pritchin;

-European Analyst on EU Eastern Neighbourhood, South Caucasus, Turkey & Energy Security Issues at European Policy Centre, Amanda Paul,

– İranian Press TV Television Channel Deputy Head, expert on the nuclear issue and the Caucasus Hassan Behishtipur;

– Kazakh Risk Assessment Group Director Dosym Satpayev.

– Russian State Humanitarian University Rector Efim Pivovar;

-Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) Research and Development Department Director Theodore Karasik;

-“Lider-TV” analytic group expert Tofig Abbasov

– TiMETURK Information Portal Director Turan Kislakci;

– Professor of international relations and international politics Barnard College at Columbia University Alexander Cooley and others

Previously, it was agreed upon membership of the International Advisory Council:

– Azerbaijani Banks Association (ABA) Head Eldar Ismaylov;

– Moscow State University History Faculty Deputy Dean, Internet portal “The Bulletin of the Caucasus” Chief Editor and Trend Expert Council Member,Alexei Vlasov,

Head of the Caucasian Centre under the Russian State Humanitarian University, Ismail Agakishiyev;

Azerbaijani Political Scientists Rasim Musabeyov and Fikret Sadikhov;

– Representative of the International Coalition to increase transparency in extractive industries, member of the EITI International Board of civil society in Azerbaijan Ingilab Ahmadov;

– New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) Political Council Member, MP Aydin Mirzazade;

– Writer and historian, expert on Iran, Yunus Oguz;

– Azerbaijani Social Development Foundation President Rashad Rzaguliyev;

– Deputy Director General of Information-Analytical Department at the Moscow State University Alexandra Karavayeva;

– Izvestia-Kazakhstan newspaper Chief-Editor Eduard Poletayev;

– Director of the Kazakh Social and Political Studies Institute Botagoz Rakishev and etc.

Trend Expert Council is considering a number of priorities targeted at active participation in the formation of an integrated expert opinion about the processes in the South Caucasus, the Caspian and Central Asian regions.
Trend will continue to work on the expansion of the International Expert Council and report on activities conducted under the IEC.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at trend@trend.az

Russia Will Boost Oil Exports to China With New Pipeline From East Siberia

Russia Will Boost Oil Exports to China With New Pipeline From East Siberia

By Jason Corcoran

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened the Russian section of an oil pipeline that will boost oil exports to China from East Siberia.

“This is an important project because we are beginning to diversify the delivery of our energy resources,” Putin said at today’s opening of the pipeline in Skovorodino in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur region, in comments posted on his official website. “Thus far, shipments were made to our European partners.”

Putin said Russia is currently pumping 120 million to 130 million tons of oil to Europe and only “a small amount to Asia Pacific,” according to comments on his site.

“The China-Pacific pipeline is the most important energy project in Russia since the opening of the gas pipeline to Europe,” said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp., in e-mailed comments today. “It means that Russia’s strategic importance to China has increased considerably.”

Construction of the 64-kilometer (40-mile) pipeline on the Russian side was launched by OAO Transneft, the oil pipeline monopoly, in April 2009, according to state-run Vesti-24 television. From the border, the pipeline will run a further 960 kilometers to the Chinese town of Daqing, located in the country’s northeast. China will begin testing after completion of its section of the pipeline in late September, Vesti added.

The pipeline will initially carry 30 million tons of oil a year, which may expand to 50 million tons, Vesti reported Putin as saying.

Igor Sechin, Putin’s deputy for energy, said Russia would also open 500 gas stations across China, Vesti added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Corcoran at Jcorcoran13@bloomberg.net

Slovakia move against Greek bailout “unusual”-Aug 12

Slovakia move against Greek bailout “unusual” -EU

BRUSSELS | Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:27am EDT

Aug 12 (Reuters) – The European Commission called Slovakia’s decision not to participate in a euro zone bailout of Greece “unusual” on Thursday, but said it would not speculate on any repercussions for the country at this stage.

Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said there were no indications any other members of the euro zone would follow Slovakia’s move, which will not have an impact on Greece receiving funds from the 110 billion euro aid fund.

“It’s quite an unusual decision but I will not speculate as to any any political consequences,” Altafaj said of the Slovakian parliament’s vote on Wednesday against Greek support.

“This has been approved by all the rest of the members of the euro area and I have no sign … at all that another episode of this kind could take place.”

Slovakia Shooting in Bratislava – Death Toll at 7

Slovakia Shooting in Bratislava – Death Toll at 7

Slovakia Shooting in Bratislava - Death Toll at 7
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (LALATE) – A Slovakia shooting in Bratislava has killed 7, injured 14. The Bratislava rampage was reportedly started by a 15 year oldwho eventually took his own life in Devinska Nova Ves, a northern section of town. The Slovakia shooting started on a busy street in the capital on Monday with the 15 year old randomly attacking persons near a kindergarten. He eventually went after a family living in an apartment above the school.

Police so far have no motive.

Local reports say the Slovakia shooting started at 10 AM local time with as many as 20 injured, 14 wounded, and 6 to 7 persons killed. The dead include two women and four men. Emergency services spokeswoman Dominika Sulkova and a local alert website are still unsure about the death toll, with some reports suggesting as many 9 persons could be dead.

Despite a scheduled early morning news press conference, few details about the shooting including the name of the attacker have been released to local media. Police spokeswoman Petra Kraskova said local authorities were not prepared to release any details, as of 5:30 AM PST today.

Israeli Planes Violate Lebanon Airspace for 17 Hours

Israeli Planes Violate Lebanon Airspace for 17 Hours

Readers Number : 237

30/08/2010 Israeli military jets have been observed patrolling the skies above southern parts of Lebanon for 17 hours, in a flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, namely Resolution 1701, the Lebanese army said according to the National News Agency.

The Lebanese military said in its statement that “at 7:10 a.m. (0410 GMT) Sunday, an Israeli reconnaissance plane violated the Lebanese airspace over al-Naqoura village in the south, where it conducted several unwarranted flights.”

“The spying plane later left at 12:00 p.m. (2100 GMT) from above Rmeish village,” it added.

According to the Lebanese military, four Israeli warplanes entered the Lebanese airspace over the southern border village of Kfar Kila at 10:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) and left an hour later while flying over Alma al-Shaab village.

Hasbarapocalypse–Israelis Explanations Only Make Everything Worse

Hasbarapocalypse — Leaked Frank Luntz Memo:

Israeli Public Diplomacy in US on Flotilla Failed Dismally

Frank Luntz

By: Didi Remez

The Israel Project (TIP), an American Hasbara outfit, commissioned Republican political consultant Frank Luntz to examine the effectiveness of Israel’s public diplomacy in the US on the Flotilla debacle. TIP gave the memo to the Prime Minister’s Office, where someone promptly leaked it to Chico Menashe, Channel Ten TV News diplomatic affairs correspondent.

Luntz’s findings are grim. Here’s a summary:

  1. 56% of Americans agree with the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza;
  2. 43% of Americans agree with the claim that people in Gaza are starving;
  3. [Only] 34% of Americans support the Israeli operation against the Flotilla;
  4. [Only] 20% of Americans “felt support” for Israel following announcement of easing of Gaza closure.

Menashe wraps:

The figures are troubling and worrisome. If that is the situation with our great friend the US, it is easy to imagine the situation in other, somewhat less sympathetic countries.

Below is the full translated transcript of the report. An embedded link to the video is appended at bottom.


Frank Luntz analyses Netanyahu’s media performance in the flotilla affair

The figures are troubling and worrisome. If that is the situation with our great friend the US, it is easy to imagine the situation in other, somewhat less sympathetic countries.

Channel Ten TV News, July 1 2010 20:38

Yaacov Eilon (host): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considered to make an extremely persuasive presentation in the world press. But a professional analysis by a US expert presented yesterday to his senior aides strongly criticizes him. Netanyahu’s messages on the flotilla caused more harm than good. Our political correspondent Chico Menashe has obtained the report.

Chico Menashe: Criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current PR messages and Israeli PR in general comes from the international elite of media consultants and pollsters and from the mouth of Frank Luntz, considered one of the leading American political consultants, a Republican pollster, a consultant to many governments throughout the world and to dozens of the biggest corporations in the US. He was asked by the Jewish organization The Israel Project to check the opinions of the American public on the messages Israel issued to the world during and after the flotilla events. The result is a harsh document that primarily criticizes the media strategy of the person considered Israel’s number one propagandist in the world, Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Netanyahu: Once again Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment.

Chico Menashe: Every time Israeli speakers begin with accusing the international community, writes Luntz, they lose their audience [emphasis mine]. For example, Netanyahu’s comments after the flotilla about the world hypocrisy were rejected by most of the American participants who listened to them. The findings were presented last night to senior members of Netanyahu’s Bureau. Luntz checked the opinions with focus groups, not a poll. He warns of a dangerous slide in the public opinion of the only country considered pro-Israeli, the U.S. Israel misses simple opportunities to change world public opinion, he writes, and the consequences are significant. The American public increasingly hesitates to accept arguments that support Israeli positions.

Ehud Barak: There is no hunger in Gaza and no humanitarian crisis.

Netanyahu: There’s no shortage of food, there’s no shortage of medicine, there’s no shortage of other goods.

Chico Menashe: Luntz says Israel must immediately stop using the argument that there is no hunger and no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He says this fatally destroys Israel’s credibility in light of the images on the television screens. Israel must admit that there is a problem, he says, to gain the listeners’ sympathy [emphasis mine].Luntz finds the troubling figure that 56% of participants agree with the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and no less astonishing is that 43% of participants from the American public agree with the claim that people in Gaza are starving. But even lifting the closure that was supposed to improve Israel’s image missed the opportunity, according to Luntz.

Netanyahu: Yesterday an important decision was made by the security cabinet. Its meaning is clear. On the one hand, allowing civilian goods into Gaza, and on the other hand maintaining the military blockade of Hamas.

Chico Menashe: The statement by Netanyahu’s bureau of lifting the closure missed the opportunity to gain support in international public opinion [emphasis mine]. Only 20% of the Americans polled felt support of Israel following the statement. According to Luntz, this is the summary of the flotilla damage in American public opinion: Only 34% of the American public support the Israeli operation against the flotilla, and he says that is a dangerously low percentage.

The Origins of the Overclass

(SEE: Who killed Steve Kangas? )

The Origins of the Overclass

By Steve Kangas

The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.

The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine’s creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA’s expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.

How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General “Wild Bill” Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that “OSS” stood for “Oh, so social!”

Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society’s elite.

By the 1950s, the CIA had riddled the nation’s businesses, media and universities with tens of thousands of part-time, on-call operatives. Their employment with the agency took a variety of forms, which included:

  • Leaving one’s profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity.
  • Staying in one’s profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call.
  • Staying in one’s profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
  • Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.

Historically, the CIA and society’s elite have been one and the same people. This means that their interests and goals are one and the same as well. Perhaps the most frequent description of the intelligence community is the “old boy network,” where members socialize, talk shop, conduct business and tap each other for favors well outside the formal halls of government.

Many common traits made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies. Both share an intense dislike of democracy, and feel they should be liberated from democratic regulations and oversight. Both share a culture of secrecy, either hiding their actions from the American public or lying about them to present the best public image. And both are in a perfect position to help each other.

How? International businesses give CIA agents cover, secret funding, top-quality resources and important contacts in foreign lands. In return, the CIA gives corporations billion-dollar federal contracts (for spy planes, satellites and other hi-tech spycraft). Businessmen also enjoy the romantic thrill of participating in spy operations. The CIA also gives businesses a certain amount of protection and privacy from the media and government watchdogs, under the guise of “national security.” Finally, the CIA helps American corporations remain dominant in foreign markets, by overthrowing governments hostile to unregulated capitalism and installing puppet regimes whose policies favor American corporations at the expense of their people.

The CIA’s alliance with the elite turned out to be an unholy one. Each enabled the other to rise above the law. Indeed, a review of the CIA’s history is one of such crime and atrocity that no one can reasonably defend it, even in the name of anticommunism. Before reviewing this alliance in detail, it is useful to know the CIA’s history of atrocity first.

The Crimes of the CIA

During World War II, the OSS actively engaged in propaganda, sabotage and countless other dirty tricks. After the war, and even after the CIA was created in 1947, the American intelligence community reverted to harmless information gathering and analysis, thinking that the danger to national security had passed. That changed in 1948 with the emergence of the Cold War. In that year, the CIA recreated its covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination. Its first director was Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities included

    propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.

By 1953, the dirty tricks department of the CIA had grown to 7,200 personnel and commanded 74 percent of the CIA’s total budget. The following quotes describe the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the CIA:

    Stanley Lovell, a CIA recruiter for “Wild Bill” Donovan: “What I have to do is to stimulate the Peck’s Bad Boy beneath the surface of every American scientist and say to him, ‘Throw all your normal law-abiding concepts out the window. Here’s a chance to raise merry hell. Come help me raise it.'” (1)George Hunter White, writing of his CIA escapades: “I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun… Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the all-highest?” (2)

    A retired CIA agency caseworker with twenty years experience: “I never gave a thought to legality or morality. Frankly, I did what worked.”

Blessed with secrecy and lack of congressional oversight, CIA operations became corrupt almost immediately. Using propaganda stations like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA felt justified in manipulating the public for its own good. The broadcasts were so patently false that for a time it was illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S. This was a classic case of a powerful organization deciding what was best for the people, and then abusing the powers it had helped itself to.

During the 40s and 50s, most of the public was unaware of what the CIA was doing. Those who knew thought they were fighting the good fight against communism, like James Bond. However, they could not keep their actions secret forever, and by the 60s and 70s, Americans began learning about the agency’s crimes and atrocities. (3) It turns out the CIA has:

  • Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other nations;
  • Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35 assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba (Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
  • Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953), Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963), Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno (Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 1965-67), Allende (Chile, 1973), and dozens of others.
  • Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and more;
  • Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile), the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Phillipines), “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko (Ziare), the “reign of the colonels” (Greece), and more;
  • Created, trained and supported death squads and secret police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
  • Helped run the “School of the Americas” at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin American military officers how to overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture, interrogation and murder;
  • Used Michigan State “professors” to train Diem’s secret police in torture;
  • Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops, disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
  • Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor, 500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
  • Launched secret or illegal military actions or wars in Nicaragua, Angola, Cuba, Laos and Indochina;
  • Planted false stories in the local media;
  • Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political statements and embarrassments that they did not commit;
  • Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional law;
  • Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
  • Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League, which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaaners, Latin American death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing militants;
  • Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
  • Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
  • Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the Mafia;
  • Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the iceberg –- other notorious examples include Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle and Noreiga’s Panama.
  • Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X. Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers;
  • And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (4) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”

We should note that the CIA gets away with this because it is not accountable to democratic government. Former CIA officer Philip Agee put it best: “The CIA is the President’s secret army.” Prior to 1975, the agency answered only to the President (creating all the usual problems of authoritarianism). And because the CIA’s activities were secret, the President rarely had to worry about public criticism and pressure. After the 1975 Church hearings, Congress tried to create congressional oversight of the CIA, but this has failed miserably. One reason is that the congressional oversight committee is a sham, filled with Cold Warriors, conservatives, businessmen, and even ex-CIA personnel.

The Business Origins of CIA Crimes

Although many people think that the CIA’s primary mission during the Cold War was to “deter communism,” Noam Chomksy correctly points out that its real mission was “deterring democracy.” From corrupting elections to overthrowing democratic governments, from assassinating elected leaders to installing murderous dictators, the CIA has virtually always replaced democracy with dictatorship. It didn’t help that the CIA was run by businessmen, whose hostility towards democracy is legendary. The reason they overthrew so many democracies is because the people usually voted for policies that multi-national corporations didn’t like: land reform, strong labor unions, nationalization of their industries, and greater regulation protecting workers, consumers and the environment.

So the CIA’s greatest “successes” were usually more pro-corporate than anti-communist. Citing a communist threat, the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mussadegh government in Iran in 1953. But there was no communist threat — the Soviets stood back and watched the coup from afar. What really happened was that Mussadegh threatened to nationalize British and American oil companies in Iran. Consequently, the CIA and MI6 toppled Mussadegh and replaced him with a puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran and his murderous secret police, SAVAK. The reason why the Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolutionaries took 52 Americans hostage in Tehran in 1979 was because the CIA had helped SAVAK torture and murder their people.

Another “success” was the CIA’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Again, there was no communist threat. The real threat was to Guatemala’s United Fruit Company, a Rockefeller-owned firm whose stockholders included CIA Director Allen Dulles. Arbenz threatened to nationalize the company, albeit with generous compensation. In response, the CIA initiated a coup that overthrew Arbenz and installed the murderous dictator Castillo Armas. For four decades, CIA-backed dicatators would torture and murder hundreds of thousands of leftists, union members and others who would fight for a more equitable distribution of the country’s resources.

Another “success” story was Chile. In 1973, the country’s democratically elected leader, Salvadore Allende, nationalized foreign-owned interests, like Chile’s lucrative copper mines and telephone system. International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) offered the CIA $1 million to overthrow Allende — which the CIA allegedly refused — but paid $350,000 to his political opponents. The CIA responded with a coup that murdered Allende and replaced him with a brutal tyrant, General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet tortured and murdered thousands of leftists, union members and political opponents as economists trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman installed a “free market” economy. Since then, income inequality has soared higher in Chile than anywhere else in Latin America.

Even when the communist threat was real, the CIA first and foremost took care of the elite. In testimony before Congress in the early 50s, it artificially inflated Soviet military capabilities. A notorious example was the “bomber gap” that later turned out to be grossly exaggerated. Another was “Team B,” a group of hawkish CIA analysts who seriously distorted Soviet military data. These scare tactics worked. Congress awarded giant defense contracts to the U.S. military-industrial complex.

And not even the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of American defense contracts have stopped the CIA from serving the elite. Journalist Robert Dreyfuss writes:

    Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has been abuzz with talk about using the CIA for economic espionage. Stripped of euphemism, economic espionage simply means that American spies would target foreign companies, such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda, and then covertly pass stolen trade secrets and technology to U.S. corporate executives. (5)

If this isn’t bad enough, a worse problem arises in that the CIA doesn’t hand over this technology to every American auto-related company, but only the Big Three: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

In a 1975 interview, Ex-CIA agent Philip Agee summed up his personal observations of the agency:

    To the people who work for it, the CIA is known as The Company. The Big Business mentality pervades everything. Agents, for instance, are called assets. The man in charge of the United Kingdom desk is said to have the “U.K. account”…American multinational corporations have built up colossal interests all over the world, and you can bet your ass that wherever you find U. S. business interests, you also find the CIA… The multinational corporations want a peaceful status quo in countries where they have investments, because that gives them undisturbed access to cheap raw materials, cheap labor and stable markets for their finished goods. The status quo suits bankers, because their money remains secure and multiplies. And, of course, the status quo suits the small ruling groups the CIA supports abroad, because all they want is to keep themselves on top of the socioeconomic pyramid and the majority of their people on the bottom. But do you realize what being on the bottom means in most parts of the world? Ignorance, poverty, often early death by starvation or disease…

    Remember, the CIA is an instrument of the President; it only carries out policy. And, like everyone else, the President has to respond to forces in the society he’s trying to lead, right? In America, the most powerful force is Big Business, and American Big Business has a vested interest in the Cold War. (6)

Domestic Recruitment

The CIA had no trouble recruiting elites who sought a more exciting life. Between 1948 and 1959, more than 40,000 American individuals and companies acted as sources for the U.S. intelligence community. (7) Let’s look at each area of recruitment, and see how they enabled the CIA to conduct its crimes:

Big Business

The CIA co-opted big business right from the start, beginning with the most famous billionaire of the time: Howard Hughes. Hughes had inherited his father’s million-dollar tool and die company at age 19. Anxious to expand his fortune, he made a conscientious decision “to go where the money is” — namely, government. With a few well-placed bribes, Hughes secured defense contracts to build military planes. The result was the Hughes Aircraft company. By 1940, he had also acquired a controlling interest in Trans World Airlines. His government connections and international airline soon caught the attention of the CIA, and the two began a lifelong relationship. Hughes, whom the CIA dubbed “The Stockbroker,” became the agency’s largest contractor. Not only did he let the CIA use his business firms as fronts, but he also funded countless CIA operations. Perhaps the most notorious was Operation Jennifer, an allegedly failed attempt to recover nuclear codes from a sunken Soviet submarine. Hughes’ right-hand security man, Robert Maheu, was a CIA agent who at one time represented the CIA in negotiations with the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro.

The CIA’s contacts with big business quickly spread. The agency showed a preference for international companies, public relations firms, media companies, law offices, banks, financiers and stockbrokers. The CIA didn’t limit its activities to recruiting businessmen; sometimes the CIA bought or created entire companies outright. One benefit of co-opting big business was that the CIA was able to create a secret source of funds other than from government. With stock portfolios multiplying their profits, it’s impossible now to say how flush the CIA really is. If Congress ever cut off funds for a mission, the business fraternity could easily replace them, either by donations or even setting up profitable businesses in the target country. In fact, this is precisely what happened during the Iran/Contra scandal.

By allying itself with the business community, the CIA received the funds and ability it needed to remove itself from democratic control.

The Media

Journalism is a perfect cover for CIA agents. People talk freely to journalists, and few think suspiciously of a journalist aggressively searching for information. Journalists also have power, influence and clout. Not surprisingly, the CIA began a mission in the late 1940s to recruit American journalists on a wide scale, a mission it dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD. The agency wanted these journalists not only to relay any sensitive information they discovered, but also to write anti-communist, pro-capitalist propaganda when needed.

The instigators of MOCKINGBIRD were Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham was the husband of Katherine Graham, today’s publisher of the Washington Post. In fact, it was the Post’s ties to the CIA that allowed it to grow so quickly after the war, both in readership and influence. (8)

MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA’s testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names of those recruited reads like a Who’s Who of journalism:

  • Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, Washington Post)
  • William Paley (President, CBS)
  • Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine)
  • Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times)
  • Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star)
  • Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News)
  • Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal)
  • James Copley (Copley News Services)
  • Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor)
  • C.D. Jackson (Fortune)
  • Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post)
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • Associated Press
  • United Press International
  • Reuters
  • Hearst Newspapers
  • Scripps-Howard
  • Newsweek magazine
  • Mutual Broadcasting System
  • Miami Herald
  • Old Saturday Evening Post
  • New York Herald-Tribune

Perhaps no newspaper is more important to the CIA than the Washington Post, one of the nation’s most right-wing dailies. Its location in the nation’s capitol enables the paper to maintain valuable personal contacts with leading intelligence, political and business figures. Unlike other newspapers, the Post operates its own bureaus around the world, rather than relying on AP wire services. Owner Philip Graham was a military intelligence officer in World War II, and later became close friends with CIA figures like Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Desmond FitzGerald and Richard Helms. He inherited the Post by marrying Katherine Graham, whose father owned it.

After Philip’s suicide in 1963, Katharine Graham took over the Post. Seduced by her husband’s world of government and espionage, she expanded her newspaper’s relationship with the CIA. In a 1988 speech before CIA officials at Langley, Virginia, she stated:

    We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things that the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.

This quote has since become a classic among CIA critics for its belittlement of democracy and its admission that there is a political agenda behind the Post’s headlines.

Ben Bradlee was the Post’s managing editor during most of the Cold War. He worked in the U.S. Paris embassy from 1951 to 1953, where he followed orders by the CIA station chief to place propaganda in the European press. (9) Most Americans incorrectly believe that Bradlee personifies the liberal slant of the Post, given his role in publishing the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate investigations. But neither of these two incidents are what they seem. The Post merely published the Pentagon Papers after The New York Times already had, because it wanted to appear competitive. As for Watergate, we’ll examine the CIA’s reasons for wanting to bring down Nixon in a moment. Someone once asked Bradlee: “Does it irk you when The Washington Post is made out to be a bastion of slanted liberal thinkers instead of champion journalists just because of Watergate?” Bradlee responded: “Damn right it does!” (10)

It would be impossible to elaborate in this short space even the most important examples of the CIA/media alliance. Sig Mickelson was a CIA asset the entire time he was president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961. Later he went on to become president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, two major outlets of CIA propaganda.

The CIA also secretly bought or created its own media companies. It owned 40 percent of the Rome Daily American at a time when communists were threatening to win the Italian elections. Worse, the CIA has bought many domestic media companies. A prime example is Capital Cities, created in 1954 by CIA businessman William Casey (who would later become Reagan’s CIA director). Another founder was Lowell Thomas, a close friend and business contact with CIA Director Allen Dulles. Another founder was CIA businessman Thomas Dewey. By 1985, Capital Cities had grown so powerful that it was able to buy an entire TV network: ABC.

For those who believe in “separation of press and state,” the very idea that the CIA has secret propaganda outlets throughout the media is appalling. The reason why America was so oblivious to CIA crimes in the 40s and 50s was because the media willingly complied with the agency. Even today, when the immorality of the CIA should be an open-and-shut case, “debate” about the issue rages in the media. Here is but one example:

In 1996, The San Jose Mercury News published an investigative report suggesting that the CIA had sold crack in Los Angeles to fund the Contra war in Central America. A month later, three of the CIA’s most important media allies — The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times — immediately leveled their guns at the Mercury report and blasted away in an attempt to discredit it. Who wrote the Post article? Walter Pincus, longtime CIA journalist. The dangers here are obvious.


By the early 50s, CIA Director Allen Dulles had staffed the CIA almost exclusively with Ivy League graduates, especially from Yale. (A disproportionate number of CIA figures, like George Bush, come from Yale’s “Skull and Crossbones” Society.) CIA recruiters also approached thousands of other professors to work in place at their universities on a part-time, contract basis. Not stopping at recruiting scholars, the agency would go on to create several departments at elite universities, including Harvard’s Russian Research Center and the Center for International Studies at MIT.

Although most academics were supportive of the CIA in the 50s, most were unaware of its abuses. In the 60s, academia would become outraged to learn that anti-communist organizations like the National Student Association were actually creations of the CIA. The most audacious CIA front was the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization that attracted liberal, freethinking artists and intellectuals who nonetheless deplored communism.

By the late 60s and 70s, growing reports of CIA crimes and atrocities had deeply alienated academia. Scholars were further troubled to learn that the CIA had penetrated and disrupted student antiwar groups. Unlike business and the media, academia overwhelmingly denounced the CIA after the Vietnam era. This eventually forced the CIA to turn to new places to find their analysts and scholars. The most important source was the conservative think-tank movement, which it helped to create. More on this later.

The Roman Catholic Church

Although the CIA began as a mostly Protestant organization, Roman Catholics quickly came to dominate the new covert-action wing in 1948. All were staunchly conservative, fiercely anti-communist and socially elite. Just a few of the many Catholic operatives included future CIA directors William Colby, William Casey, and John McCone. Another well-known personality from this period was William F. Buckley, Jr., editor of the National Review and gadfly host of TV’s Firing Line. Buckley, it turns out, served as a CIA agent in Mexico City, and his experiences there served as fodder for his Blackford Oakes spy novels.

There were several reasons for this influx of Catholic elites. First, Wisner (himself a Wall Street lawyer) had an extensive and glamorous circle of friends to recruit from. Second, Italy was in constant crisis in the 1940s, both during World War II and after. Throughout this troubled period, the American intelligence community’s greatest ally in Italy was the Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church, of course, is one of the most anti-communist organizations in the world. The Marxist doctrine of atheism threatens Catholic theology, and its equality threatens the Church’s strict tradition of hierarchy and authoritarianism. When Hitler invaded Communist Russia, the Vatican openly approved. Jesuit Michael Serafian wrote: “It cannot be denied that [Pope] Pius XII’s closest advisors for some time regarded Hitler’s armoured divisions as the right hand of God.” (11)

But Hitler persecuted Catholics as well, and ultimately drove the Church to the Americans. In 1943, the Vatican reached a secret agreement with OSS Chief Donovan — himself a devout Catholic — to let the Holy See become the center of Allied spy operations in Italy. Donovan considered the Church to be one of his prize intelligence assets, given its global power, membership and contacts. He cultivated this alliance by sending America’s most prestigious Catholics to the Vatican to establish rapport and forge an alliance.

After the war, half of Europe lay under Communist control, and the Italian communist party threatened to win the 1948 elections. The prospect of communism ruling over the heart of Catholicism terrified the Vatican. Once again, American intelligence gathered their most prestigious Catholics to strengthen ties with the Vatican. Because this was the first mission of the new covert action division, the American Catholic agents acquired positions of power early on, and would dominate covert operations for the rest of the Cold War.

At a public level, the U.S. government sunk $350 million in social and military aid into Italy to sway the vote. On a secret level, Wisner spent $10 million in black budget funds to steal the elections. This included disseminating propaganda, beating up left-wing politicians, intimidating voters and disrupting leftist parties. The dirty tricks worked — the Communists lost, and the Catholic Americans’ success permanently secured their power within the CIA.

The Knights of Malta (12)

The Roman Catholic Church did not forget the American agents who had saved them from both Nazism and Communism. It rewarded them by making them Knights of Malta, or members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).

SMOM is one of the oldest and most elite religious orders in the Catholic Church. Until recently, it limited its membership to Italians and foreign heads of state. In 1927, however, an exception was made for the United States, given its emerging status as a world power. SMOM opened an American branch, awarding knighthood or damehood to several American Catholic business tycoons. This group was so conservative that one, John Raskob, the Chairman of General Motors, actually became involved in an aborted military plot to remove Franklin Roosevelt from the White House. SMOM has also been embarrassed by knighting or giving awards to countless people who later turned out to be Nazi war criminals. This is the sort of culture that thrives within the leadership of SMOM.

Officially, the Knights of Malta are a global charity organization. But beginning in the 1940s, knighthood was granted to countless CIA agents, and the organization has become a front for intelligence operations. SMOM is ideal for this kind of activity, because it is recognized as the world’s only landless sovereignty, and members enjoy diplomatic immunity. This allows agents and supplies to pass through customs without interference from the host country. Such privileges enabled the Knights of Malta to become a major supplier of “humanitarian aid” to the Contras during their war in the 1980s.

A partial list of the Knights and Dames of Malta reads like a Who’s Who of American Catholicism:

  • William Casey – CIA Director.
  • John McCone – CIA Director.
  • William Colby – CIA Director.
  • William Donovan – OSS Director. Donovan was given an especially prestigious form of knighthood that has only been given to a hundred other men in history.
  • Frank Shakespeare – Director of such propaganda organizations as the U.S. Information Agency, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Also executive vice-president of CBS-TV and vice-chairman of RKO General Inc. He is currently chairman of the board of trustees at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.
  • William Simon – Treasury Secretary under President Nixon. In the private sector, he has become one of America’s 400 richest individuals by working in international finance. Today he is the President of the John M. Olin Foundation, a major funder of right-wing think tanks.
  • William F. Buckley, Jr. – CIA agent, conservative pundit and mass media personality.
  • James Buckley – William’s brother, head of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
  • Clare Boothe Luce – The grand dame of the Cold War was also a Dame of Malta. She was a popular playwright and the wife
  • of the publishing tycoon Henry Luce, who cofounded Time magazine.
  • Francis X Stankard – CEO of the international division of Chase Manhattan Bank, a Rockefeller institution. (Nelson Rockefeller was also a major CIA figure.)
  • John Farrell – President, U.S. Steel
  • Lee Iacocca – Chairman, General Motors
  • William S. Schreyer – Chairman, Merrill Lynch.
  • Richard R. Shinn – Chairman, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
  • Joseph Kennedy – Founder of the Kennedy empire.
  • Baron Hilton – Owner, Hilton Hotel chain.
  • Patrick J. Frawley Jr. – Heir, Schick razor fortune. Frawley is a famous funder of right-wing Catholic causes, such as the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.
  • Ralph Abplanalp – Aerosol magnate.
  • Martin F. Shea – Executive vice president of Morgan Guaranty Trust.
  • Joseph Brennan – Chairman of the executive committee of the Emigrant Savings Bank of New York.
  • J. Peter Grace – President, W.R. Grace Company. He
  • was a key figure in Operation Paperclip, which brought Nazi scientists and spies to the U.S. Many were war criminals whose atrocities were excused in their service to the CIA.
  • Thomas Bolan – Of Saxe, Bacon and Bolan, the law firm of Senator McCarthy’s deceased aide Roy Cohn.
  • Bowie Kuhn – Baseball Comissioner
  • Cardinal John O’Connor – Extreme right-wing leader among American Catholics, and fervent abortion opponent.
  • Cardinal Francis Spellman – The “American Pope” was at one time the most powerful Catholic in America, an arch-conservative and a rabid anti-communist.
  • Cardinal Bernard Law – One of the highest-ranking conservatives in the American church.
  • Alexander Haig – Secretary of State under President Reagan.
  • Admiral James D. Watkins – Hard-line chief of naval operations under President Reagan.
    Jeremy Denton – Senator (R–Al).
  • Pete Domenici – Senator (R-New Mexico).
  • Walter J. Hickel – Governor of Alaska and secretary of the interior.

When this group gets together, obviously, the topics are spying, business and politics.

The CIA has also used other religious and charity organizations as fronts. For example, John F. Kennedy — another anticommunist Roman Catholic who greatly expanded covert operations — created the U.S. Peace Corps to serve as cover for CIA operatives. The CIA has also made extensive use of missionaries, with the blessings of many right-wing, anticommunist Christian denominations.

But the World Grows Wise…

It was only a matter of time before other nations caught on to these fronts. They learned that when the CIA comes to their countries to commit their crimes and atrocities, they come disguised as American journalists, businessmen, missionaries and charity volunteers. Unfortunately, foreigners are now targeting these professions as hostile. In Lebanon, terrorists held U.S. journalist Terry Anderson hostage for nearly seven years, on the not unreasonable assumption that he was a spy. Whether or not this was true is beside the point. The CIA has put all Americans abroad at risk, whether they are CIA agents or not. In hearings before the Senate in 1996, many organizations urged Congress to stop using their professions as CIA cover. Don Argue of the National Association of Evangelicals testified: “Such use of missionary agents for covert activities by the CIA would be unethical and immoral.” (13)

From the Cold War to the Class War

As noted above, academia was the first major institution to denounce the crimes of the CIA. Why? One reason is that scholars conduct their own extensive research into world affairs, so naturally they were the first to learn the truth. This is the main reason why protest against the Vietnam War and the CIA erupted first among students on the nation’s campuses. By the end of the Vietnam War, the CIA had suffered a “brain drain” as its academic allies became its most articulate, passionate and eloquent critics.

The social revolutions of the 60s terrified the CIA. James Jesus Angleton, chief of counter-intelligence and a truly paranoid man, was convinced the Soviets had masterminded the entire antiwar movement. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover shared his conviction. The CIA had always spied on student groups throughout the 60s, but in 1968 President Johnson dramatically stepped up the effort with Operation CHAOS. This initially called for 50 CIA agents to go undercover as student radicals, penetrate their antiwar organizations and root out the Russian spies who were causing the rebellion. Tellingly, they never found a single spy. The agents also began a campaign of wire-tapping, mail-opening, burglary, deception, intimidation and disruption against thousands of protesting American civilians.

By the time Operation CHAOS wound down in 1973, the CIA had spied on 7,000 Americans, 1,000 organizations and traded information on more than 300,000 persons with various law agencies. (14) When academia learned of this, its outrage grew.

The loss of academia was only the first blow for the CIA. Other disasters quickly followed; in the early 70s, the CIA was trying desperately to stave off a growing number of scandals. The first was Watergate.

The CIA’s fingerprints were all over Watergate. First, we should note the CIA had clear motives for helping oust Nixon. He was the ultimate “outsider,” a poor California Quaker who grew up feeling bitter resentment towards the elite “Eastern establishment.” Nixon, for all his arch-conservatism, was surprisingly liberal on economic issues, enfuriating businessmen with statements like “We are all Keynesians now.” He created a whole host of new agencies to regulate business, like the FDA, EPA and OSHA. He signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, which forced businesses to clean up their toxic emissions. He imposed price controls to fight inflation, and took the nation fully off the gold standard. Nixon also strengthened affirmative action. Even his staffers were famously anti-elitist, like Kevin Philips, who would eventually write the bible on inequality during the 1980s, The Politics of Rich and Poor. Add to this Nixon’s withdrawal from Vietnam and Détente with China and the Soviet Union. Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had not only tried to remove control of foreign policy from the CIA, but had also taken measures to bring the CIA itself under control. Not surprisingly, Nixon and his CIA Director, Richard Helms, couldn’t stand each other. (Nixon fired him for failing to cover up for Watergate.) Clearly, Nixon was fighting at cross-purposes with the CIA and the nation’s elite.

As it turns out, the CIA had inside knowledge of Nixon’s dirty work. Nixon had created his own covert action team, “The Committee to Reelect the President,” more amusingly known by its acronym, CREEP. The team consisted of two CIA agents — E. Howard Hunt and James McCord — as well as former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy. They also employed four Cubans with long CIA histories. In fact, a CIA front called the Mullen Company funded their activities, which ranged from disrupting Democratic campaigns to laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions.

The CIA not only had intimate knowledge of Nixon’s crimes, but it also acted as though it wanted the world to know them. When the FBI began investigating Watergate, Nixon tried using the CIA to cover up for him. At first the CIA half-heartedly complied, telling the FBI that the investigation would endanger CIA operations in Mexico. But a few weeks later it gave the FBI a green light again to proceed again with their investigation.

Furthermore, Watergate was exposed by the CIA’s main newspaper in America, The Washington Post. One of the two journalists who investigated the scandal, Robert Woodward, had only recently become a journalist. Previously Woodward had worked as a Naval intelligence liaison to the White House, privy to some of the nation’s highest secrets. He would later write a sympathetic portrait of CIA Director Bill Casey in a book entitled Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. It was Woodward who personally knew and interviewed “Deep Throat,” the unnamed source who revealed inside information on Nixon’s activities. Many Watergate researchers consider one of Woodward’s old intelligence contacts to be a prime candidate for Deep Throat. (15)

Despite all the facts of CIA involvement, Woodward and Bernstein made virtually no mention of the CIA in their Watergate reporting. Even during Senate hearings on Watergate, the CIA somehow managed to stay out of the spotlight. In 1974, the House would clear the CIA of any involvement in Watergate.

The CIA was not as lucky in 1974, when the Senate held hearings on James Jesus Angleton’s illegal surveillance of American citizens. These disclosures resulted in his firing. But that was nothing compared to the 1975 Church Committee. This Senate investigation looked into virtually every type of CIA crime, from assassination to secret war to manipulating the domestic media. The “reforms” that resulted from these hearings were mostly cosmetic, but the details that emerged shattered the CIA’s reputation forever. Interestingly enough, the two Senators who held these hearings — Frank Church and Otis Pike — were both defeated for reelection, despite a 98 percent reelection rate for incumbents.

The CIA wasn’t the only conservative institution that found itself embattled in the early 70s. This was a bad time for conservatives everywhere. America had lost the war in Vietnam. U.S. corporations had to cope with the rise of OPEC. The anti-poverty programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society were causing a major redistribution of wealth. And Nixon was making things worse with his own anti-poverty and regulatory programs. Between 1960 and 1973, these efforts cut poverty in half, from 22 to 11 percent. Meanwhile, between 1965 and 1976, the richest 1 percent had gone from owning 37 percent of America’s wealth to only 22 percent. (16)

At a 1973 Conference Board meeting of top American business leaders, executives declared: “We are fighting for our lives,” “We are fighting a delaying action,” and “If we don’t take action now, we will see our own demise. We will evolve into another social democracy.” (17)

The CIA to the rescue

In the mid-1970s, at this historic low point in American conservatism, the CIA began a major campaign to turn corporate fortunes around.

They did this in several ways. First, they helped create numerous foundations to finance their domestic operations. Even before 1973, the CIA had co-opted the most famous ones, like the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations. But after 1973, they created more. One of their most notorious recruits was billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. During World War II, Scaife’s father served in the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. By his mid-twenties, both of Scaife’s parents had died, and he inherited a fortune under four foundations: the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundations and the Allegheny Foundation. In the early 1970s, Scaife was encouraged by CIA agent Frank Barnett to begin investing his fortune to fight the “Soviet menace.” (18) From 1973 to 1975, Scaife ran Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world. Shortly afterwards he began donating millions to fund the New Right.

Scaife’s CIA roots are typical of those who head the new conservative foundations. By 1994 the most active were:

  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  • Carthage Foundation
  • Earhart Foundation
  • Charles G. Koch
  • David H. Koch
  • Claude R. Lambe
  • Philip M. McKenna
  • J.M. Foundation
  • John M. Olin Foundation
  • Henry Salvatori Foundation
  • Sarah Scaife Foundation
  • Smith Richardson Foundation

Between 1992 and 1994, these foundations gave $210 million to conservative causes. Here is the breakdown of their donations:

  • $88.9 million for conservative scholarships;
  • $79.2 million to enhance a national infrastructure of think tanks and advocacy groups;
  • $16.3 million for alternative media outlets and watchdog groups;
  • $10.5 million for conservative pro-market law firms;
  • $9.3 million for regional and state think tanks and advocacy groups;
  • $5.4 million to “organizations working to transform the nations social views and giving practices of the nation’s religious and philanthropic leaders.” (19)

The political machine they built is broad and comprehensive, covering every aspect of the political fight. It includes right-wing departments and chairs in the nation’s top universities, think tanks, public relations firms, media companies, fake grassroots organizations that pressure Congress (irreverently known as “Astroturf” movements), “Roll-out-the-vote” machines, pollsters, fax networks, lobbyist organizations, economic seminars for the nation’s judges, and more. And because corporations are the richest sector of society, their greater financing overwhelms similar efforts by Democrats.

Besides creating foundations, the CIA helped organize the business community. There have always been special interest groups representing business, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, and the CIA has long been involved with them. However, after 1973, a spate of powerful new groups would come into existence, like the Business Roundtable and the Trilateral Commission. These organizations quickly became powerhouses in promoting the business agenda.

Their efforts clearly succeeded. With the 1975 SUN-PAC decision, corporations persuaded government to legalize corporate Political Action Committees (the lobbyist organizations that bribe our government). By 1992, corporations formed 67 percent of all PACs, and they donated 79 percent of all campaign contributions to political parties. (20) In two landmark elections — 1980 and 1994 — corporations gave heavily and one-sidedly to Republicans, turning one or both houses of Congress over to the GOP. Democratic incumbents were shocked by the threat of being rolled completely out of power, so they quietly shifted to the right on economic issues, even though they continued a public façade of liberalism. Corporations went ahead and donated to Democratic incumbents in all other elections, but only as long as they abandoned the interests of workers, consumers, minorities and the poor. As expected, the new pro-corporate Congress passed laws favoring the rich: between 1975 and 1992, the amount of national household wealth owned by the richest 1 percent soared from 22 to 42 percent. (21)

The CIA also helped create the conservative think tank movement. Prior to the 70s, think tanks spanned the political spectrum, with moderate think tanks receiving three times as much funding as conservative ones. At these early think tanks, scholars typically brainstormed for creative solutions to policy problems. This would all change after the rise of conservative foundations in the early 70s. The Heritage Foundation opened its doors in 1973, the recipient of $250,000 in seed money from the Coors Foundation. A flood of conservative think tanks followed shortly thereafter, and by 1980 they overwhelmed the scene. The new think tanks turned out to be little more than propaganda mills, rigging studies to “prove” that their corporate sponsors needed tax breaks, deregulation and other favors from government.

Of course, think-tank studies are useless without publicity, and here the CIA proved especially valuable. Using propaganda techniques it had perfected at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA and its allies turned American AM radio into a haven for conservative talk show hosts. Yes — Rush Limbaugh uses the same propaganda techniques that Muscovites once heard from Voice of America. The CIA has also developed countless other media outlets, like Capital Cities (which eventually bought ABC), major PR firms like Hill & Knowlton, and of course, all the Agency’s connections in the national news media. (22)

The following is a typical example of how the “New Media” operates. As most political observers know, the Republicans suffer from a “gender gap,” in which women prefer Democrats by huge majorities. This is, in fact, why Clinton has twice won the presidency. But, curiously enough, as the 90s progressed, conservative female pundits began popping up everywhere in the media. Hard-right pundits like Ann Coulter, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, Laura Ingraham, Barbara Olson, Melinda Sidak, Anita Blair and Whitney Adams conditioned us to the idea of the conservative woman. This phenomenon was no accident. It turns out that Richard Mellon Scaife donated $450,000 over three years to the Independent Women’s Forum, a booking agency that heavily seeds such female conservative pundits into the media. (23)


The most obvious criticism of the New Overclass is that their political machine is undemocratic. Using subversive techniques once aimed at communists, and with all the money they ever need to succeed, the Overclass undemocratically controls our government, our media, and even a growing part of academia. These institutions in turn allow the Overclass to control the supposedly “free” market. It doesn’t win all the time, of course — witness Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial — but it does score an endless string of other victories elsewhere, all to the detriment of workers, consumers, women, minorities and the poor. We need to fight it with everything we’ve got.

Related links:

Myth: There’s no “vast right wing conspiracy” to get Clinton.

Myth: Conservative think tanks are the answer to liberal academia.

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities.

Return to Liberalism Resurgent

1. Mind Manipulators, Scheflin and Opton. p.241.

2. Captain George White in a letter to Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.

3. All history concerning CIA intervention in foreign countries is summarized from William Blum’s encyclopedic work, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995). Sources for domestic CIA operations come from Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen’s The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1997). Information about CIA drug running can be found at http://www.magnet.ch/serendipity/cia/blum1.html and http://speech.csun.edu/ben/news/cia/index.html.

4. Coleman McCarthy, “The Consequences of Covert Tactics” Washington Post, December 13, 1987.

5. Robert Dreyfuss, “Company Spies,” Mother Jones. Website: http://www.mojones.com/mother_jones/MJ94/dreyfuss.html

6. Philip Agee: The Playboy Interview. Website: http://www.connix.com/~harry/agee.htm

7. Lara Shohet, “Intelligence, Academia and Industry,” The Final Report of the Snyder Commission, Edward Cheng and Diane C. Snyder, eds., (Princeton Unversity: The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, January 1997). Website: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/snyder/academia.htm.

8. Website: http://www.europa.com/~johnlf/cn/cn9-35.

9. Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great and the Washington Post, 2nd ed. (Bethesda MD: National Press, 1987)

10. “Forum for Ben Bradlee,” Watergate 25. Website: http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/zforum/97/bradlee.htm.

11. Lewy, Guenter, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (London and New York, 1964), pp. 249-250.

12. National Catholic Reporter, Jan 89, Mar 89, Apr 89, May 89, “Nazis, the Vatican and the CIA,” Covert Action Information Bulletin, Winter 1986, Number 25 Website: http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/knightsofmaltalist.html.

13. Anthony Collings, “Journalists tell Senate they want no CIA ties,” CNN, July 18, 1996. Website: http://www.cnn.com/US/9607/18/spies.journalists/.

14. Morton Halperin, et al, eds., The Lawless State (New York: Penguin, 1976), p. 153.

15. Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA.

16. Edward N. Wolff, “How the Pie is Sliced” The American Prospect no. 22 (Summer 1995), pp. 58-64. Website: http://epn.org/prospect/22/22wolf.html.

17. Quoted in Leonard Silk and David Vogel, Ethics and Profits (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), pp. 44-47.

18. Karen Rothmyer, “The man behind the mask,” Salon, April 7, 1998.

19. Study conducted by National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, July 1997, as reported by the National Education Association. Website: http://www.nea.org/publiced/paycheck/paychkf.html.

20. Center for Responsive Politics, Washington D.C., 1993.

21. Wolff.

22. For CIA involvement in Capital Cities/ABC, see Dennis Mazzocco, Networks of Power (Boston: South End Press, 1994). For CIA involvement in the PR industry, see John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good for You! (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), pp. 49-51,153,157,160-63.

23. Jonathon Broder and Murray Waas, [Untitled] Salon, April 20, 1998. Website: http://www.salonmag.com/news/1998/04/20news.html

Costa Rica: The lowest form of military aggression

Costa Rica: The lowest form of military aggression (Video)

On 1 July 2010, Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly authorized the U.S. military to undertake policing duties in Costa Rica, based on an expired “Cooperation Agreement.” There is only one small problem: Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 and since then has had no national military forces. Lawyer and Right to Peace advocate, Zamora Bolaños, analyses the situation playing out in his country and extended regional ramifications.

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Uncle Sam and members of the U.S. Marine Corps security detail at the U.S. Embassy were on hand to greet celebrants at the 2010 Fourth of July picnic organized by the American Colony Committee on the grounds of the Cervecería Costa Rica in Alajuela.

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its natural environment, its political and democratic stability in a region of conflict, it’s commitment to protecting human rights, and its peaceful and unarmed neutrality in foreign affairs.

Throughout the country’s history since independence, Costa Rica has distanced itself from the power struggles in the region, with only occasional exceptions, including the U.S. invasion in 1856. The country has grown alongside increasing indices of human development, which by the 1980s had nearly reached First World levels.

In 1949, after its last internal conflicts, Costa Rica established a new republic. The Constitution prohibited an army and delegated the power to “monitor and maintain public order” exclusively to civilian police forces. The country became a leader in promoting human rights and the American Convention on Human Rights was signed in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1969.

Later the Cold War turned hot in Central America and spread throughout the isthmus. In the middle of pressure from the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and the contras (counter-revolutionary forces) trained by the CIA, then-President Luis Alberto Monge proceeded in November of 1983 to declare the permanent, unarmed neutrality of Costa Rica vis a vis the violent conflicts of other nations. This enabled the country to maintain peace in the midst of the wars and conflicts of its neighbors, and to continue to develop within a region that was collapsing.

Recently, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to recognize and declare the Right to Peace. Remarkably, this happened in the midst of a process of destruction of the judicial apparatus that the government of Oscar Arias put into practice, for which Costa Rica has been reported to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights under charges of judicial bias in favor of former President Arias, his families and policies. The Right to Peace declaration was the result of two cases brought by the author before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

The first case challenged the Costa Rican government’s support for the coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003. In this case, the Court annulled the support, stating it violated the commitment to neutrality because it was a unilateral act. It also declared that support for the U.S. invasion violated the United Nations Charter and contradicted a fundamental principle of “the Costa Rican identity”, which is peace as a fundamental value. Never before had the court annulled the support of a government for an invasion.

The second case filed in October of 2008 concerns a decree issued by Oscar Arias–a Nobel Peace Prize recipient–that authorized the extraction of thorium and uranium, nuclear fuel development and the manufacture of nuclear reactors “for all purposes.” The Court annulled the contested decree, recognizing the existence of a Right to Peace, which had been violated by the decree due to the fact that it contained elements directly related to the “anti-value” of war.

The “Right to Peace” imposes both positive and negative obligations on the State. Positively, the State must promote international peace; negatively, the State must refrain from authorizing war-related activities, including entry, production, purchase, sale, storage, import, export, etc., of items, goods or services made or intended to be used in a war. The Constitutional Court of Costa Rica issued this decision.

Apart from the Costa Rican history, the world has been affected by multiple problems, among them drug trafficking. Unfortunately, in today’s world with today’s politicians and their way of conducting what Plato called “the art of governing,” drug trafficking has become a convenient “security excuse” for achieving their own economic or hegemonic imperialist purposes.

Despite its legal obligations to peace, Costa Rica has not been an exception to the rule. It simply needed a few servile puppet governments willing to do anything for their own interests and that of their boss, to trample and destroy the achievements of the sovereign people won through democratic struggles and within the institutional framework.

The permission granted by the legislature to the United States military is based on an agreement for joint maritime patrols between the U.S. and Costa Rica that expired in October 2009. This permit that ended in 2009 only allow for Coast Guard patrols and never authorized the entry of the United States military personnel and only covered coast guard missions.

However, the Legislature has now authorized the entry of 12,207 U.S. soldiers and 46 military vessels, 45 armed with artillery. Forty-three of these are warships similar to the “Oliver Hazard Perry.” The ships carry 180 Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters in the SH-60 and MH-60 categories designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, naval special warfare, combat search and rescue, among others.

In addition to the exorbitant sum of 180 helicopters, the entry of ten McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II aircraft carriers was authorized. These are land attack planes (for supposed sea operations?) that can carry on board 25 mm. Equalizer GAU-12 machine guns, four 70 mm. LAU-5003 rocket launchers with a capacity of 19 CRV7 rockets, and six AGM-65 Maverick missiles or two AGM-84 Harpoon or two AGM-88 HARM. These ships may also carry CDU-100 cluster bombs, Mark 80 unguided bombs, Paveway laser-guided bombs or Mark 77 napalm bombs.

The agreement also grants permission for aircraft carriers such as the “Wasp amphibious attack,” which are specifically assault ships.

Everything on the list of ships, aircraft, helicopters and troops detailed above is designed and intended to be used in a war. Therefore, they cannot be deployed in our country because the negative obligation requires the State to reject them as elements that are counter to and in violation of the Right to Peace.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica says there is no problem because the United States will not send all the equipment authorized. Two points are important here. First, I do not believe the U.S. ambassador’s word on this. Second, the problem is not what the U.S. sends; the problem is a domestic one, lying in what was authorized to enter and operate within the country.

Despite the legal limitations in the country, and despite a constitutional obligation to invest only civilian police with the duties of monitoring and enforcing our public order, the submissive legislative assembly–dominated by the ruling parties–is allowing the U.S. military to play war games on our sovereign land as if it were a game of chess.

As a Costa Rican, the saddest part of this situation, besides the destruction of our history, is that we’re going to militarize the country with foreign armies to protect the Colombian drugs and Venezuelan oil that the United States consumes. If the U.S. government’s purpose was really to eliminate the drug problem, it would attack the problem where drugs are grown or in countries closer to production. The “war on drugs” is nothing more than an excuse for ulterior motives. If there is a battle, the free soil of this country of peace—a nation with no army and a pledge to neutrality—will enable and facilitate the return of the Cold War that the United States so badly needs for its survival.

The whole situation is grotesque, to me the lowest form of military aggression in modern times.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Human Right to Peace

Spanish International Law Experts demand on Extension of the UN-Charter

The Spanish Society for the Advancement of the International Human Rights Law adopted in October 2006 the “Luarca Declaration on the Human Right to Peace”, which represents the result of many meetings of Spanish intellectuals and professors of international law and international relations in the years 2004-2006.

The Association is currently organizing regional meetings in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Europe and the Arab world. In March 2007 a consultation will take place at the Palais des Nations to coincide with the fourth session of the Human Rights Council. The purpose of these meetings is to take into account the approach of different cultures in relation to the human rights to peace, and to focus on the mutual relationship between peace and human rights.

The international prohibition of aggression contained in article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter may also be viewed from the aspect of a human right to peace. War as an instrument of national policy must be outlawed. Preventive or preemptive wars must never be allowed again. Among the so-called third generation rights, the right to peace is paramount, because, unless humanity enjoys peace, it cannot exercise its first and second generation rights, namely its civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

On 12 November 1984 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 39/11 annexing the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, which reaffirms “that the principal aim of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security” and the “aspirations of all peoples to eradicate war from the life of mankind and, above all, to avert a world-wide nuclear catastrophe”. By virtue of operative paragraph 2, the declaration proclaims “that the preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State.” In paragraph 3, the declaration “demands that the policies of States be directed towards the elimination of the threat of war, particularly nuclear war, the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.”

The General Assembly declaration has been reaffirmed in countless resolutions, including by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In its resolution 2002/71 of 25 April 2002, the Commission links the right to peace with the right to development, affirms “that all States should promote the establishment, maintenance and strengthening of international peace and security and, to that end, should do their utmost to achieve general and complete disarmament under effective international control, as well as to ensure that the resources released by effective disarmament measures are used for comprehensive development, in particular that of the developing countries” and urges “the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the widening gap between developed and developing countries.”

Below are some of the principal articles contained in the Luarca Declaration.

Prof. Dr. iur. et phil. Alfred de Zayas, www.alfreddezayas.com


Section A. Rights


Article 3
Right to human security

Everyone has the right to human security, which shall include inter alia:
a) The right to have the material instruments, means and resources which enable him fully to enjoy a life worthy of human dignity and, to that end, the right to have essential food and drinking water, primary health care, basic clothing and housing and a basic education;
b) The right to enjoy fair conditions of employment and trade union participation, and the right to the protection of the social services, on equal terms for persons having the same occupation or providing the same service.

Article 4
Right to live in safe and healthy environment

Human beings and peoples have the right to live in a private and public environment which is safe and healthy, and to receive protection against acts of unlawful violence, irrespective of whether they are perpetrated by state or non-state actors;

Article 5
Right to disobedience and conscientious objection

Everyone, individually or in a group, has the right to civil disobedience and conscientious objection for peace, which consists in:
a) The right to civil disobedience in respect of activities which involve threats against peace, including peaceful protest and peaceful non-compliance with laws which offend the conscience;
b) The right of the members of any military or security institution to disobey criminal or unjust orders during armed conflicts and to refrain from participating in armed operations, whether international or national, which infringe the principles and norms of International human rights law or International humanitarian law;
c) The right to refrain from participating in – and to denounce publicly – scientific research for the manufacture or development of arms of any kind;
d) The right to acquire the status of conscientious objector in respect of military obligations;
e) The right to object to paying taxes allocated to military expenditure and to object to taking part, in a working or professional capacity, in operations which support armed conflicts or which are contrary to International human rights law or International humanitarian law; […]

Article 11
Right to disarmament

Individuals and peoples have the right:
a) Not to be regarded as enemies by any State;
b) To the general and transparent disarmament of all States, together and in a coordinated manner, within a reasonable time and under efficient and comprehensive international supervision;
c) To the allocation of the resources freed by disarmament to the economic, social and cultural development of peoples and the fair redistribution of such resources, responding especially to the needs of the poorest countries and to vulnerable groups, in such a way as to put an end to inequality, social exclusion and poverty. […]

Article 15
Requirements of peace and truthful information

Individuals and peoples have the right to demand that peace actually be achieved, and they may therefore:
a) Require the States to undertake the effective implementation of the joint security system established in the United Nations Charter, and to settle disputes pacifically and, in any event, in full compliance with the rules of International human rights law and International humanitarian law;
b) Denounce any act which threatens or infringes the Human Right to Peace and, to that end, receive objective information related to conflicts;
c) Participate freely and by any peaceful means in political and social activities and initiatives to protect and promote the Human Right to Peace, without disproportionate interference from the public authorities, at local, national and international level.

Section B. Obligations

Article 16
Obligations for the realisation of the Human Right to Peace

1. The effective and practical realisation of the Human Right to Peace necessarily involves duties and obligations for States, international organisations, civil society, peoples, men and women, corporations and other elements of society and, in general, the whole international community.
2. The fundamental responsibility for preserving peace and protecting the Human Right to Peace lies with the States and also with the United Nations Organisation as a centre which harmonises the concerted efforts of the nations to fulfil the purposes and principles proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
3. States have the obligation to protect human rights, to prevent and cooperate in the prevention of catastrophes, to respond to catastrophes when they occur and to repair the damage caused. They are also required to adopt measures to build and consolidate peace.
4. The United Nations Organisation should be further enabled to prevent violations and protect human rights and human dignity, including the Human Right to Peace, in cases of serious or systematic violations. In particular, it is for the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other competent bodies to take effective measures to protect human rights from violations which may constitute a danger or threat to international peace and security.
5. Any unilateral military intervention by one or more States, without the authorisation of the Security Council within the framework of the United Nations Charter, is unacceptable, constitutes a serious infringement of the principles and proposals of the Charter and is contrary to the Human Right to Peace.
6. The composition and procedures of the Security Council shall be reviewed so as to ensure the proper representation of the present international community and transparent working methods which recognise the participation of civil society and other elements of the international community.
7. The United Nations system must be fully and effectively involved, through the Peacebuilding Commission, in the preparation of integral strategies for this purpose and in the recovery of the countries concerned once the armed conflicts have ended, ensuring stable sources of financing and effective coordination within the system.


Article 17
Establishment of the Working Group on the Human Right to Peace

1. A Working Group on the Human Right to Peace (hereinafter called „the Working Group“) will be established. It will be composed of ten members who will have the duties set forth in Article 19.
2. The Working Group will be composed of experts from the Member States of the United Nations who will carry out their duties with complete independence and in a personal capacity.
3. The following criteria will be taken into account for their election:
a) The experts shall be of high moral standing, impartiality and integrity, and show evidence of long and appropriate experience in any of the spheres stated in Part I of this Declaration;
b) Equitable geographical distribution and representation of the different forms of civilisation and of the main legal systems of the world;
c) There shall be a balanced gender representation; andd) There may not be two experts from the same State.
4. The members of the Working Group will be chosen by secret ballot at a session of the United Nations General Assembly from a list of candidates proposed by the Member States. The ten candidates who obtain the highest number of votes and a two thirds majority of the States present and voting will be elected. The initial election will take place at the latest three months after the date of adoption of this Declaration.
5. The experts will be elected for four years and may be re-elected only once.6. Half of the Working Group will be renewed every two years.

Article 18
Functions of the Working Group

1. The main function of the Working Group is to promote the observance and implementation of this Declaration. In the exercise of its mandate it has the following powers:
a) To promote worldwide observance and awareness of the Human Right to Peace, acting with discretion, objectivity and independence and adopting an integral approach which takes account of the universality, interdependence and indivisibility of human rights and the overriding need to achieve international social justice;
b) To gather, assemble and respond effectively to any relevant information from States, international organisations and their bodies, civil society organisations, concerned individuals and any other reliable source;
c) To address, when it considers it appropriate, recommendations and appeals to the Member States of the United Nations to adopt appropriate measures for the effective realisation of the Human Right to Peace, in accordance with Part I of this Declaration. The States shall give due consideration to those recommendations and requests;
d) To draw up, on its own initiative or at the request of the General Assembly, the Security Council or the Human Rights Council, the reports it deems necessary in the event of an imminent threat to or serious infringement of the Human Right to Peace, as defined in Part I of this Declaration;
e) To present an annual report of its activities to the General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council, in which it will include the recommendations and conclusions itconsiders necessary to the effective promotion and protection of the Human Right to Peace, paying special attention to armed conflicts;
f) To prepare, for the attention of the General Assembly, a proposal for an international convention which will include the Human Right to Peace as well as a mechanism for controlling and monitoring its effective implementation. Both the mechanism to be established in the convention and the Working Group will coordinate their mandates and avoid duplicating their activities;
g) To submit to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court or other competent international criminal court or tribunal any reliable information about any situation in which it appears that crimes which fall within the jurisdiction of the Court or of the international criminal court or tribunal concerned have been committed;
h) To approve by an absolute majority of its members the working methods for the ordinary functioning of the Working Group, which shall include, inter alia, rules governing the appointment of the Bureau and the adoption of its decisions and recommendations.2. The Working Group will have its seat in New York and will hold three ordinary sessions per year, as well as any extraordinary sessions to be determined in accordance with its working methods. The Working Group will have a permanent Secretariat which will be provided by the Secretary General of the United Nations. […]

The Drafting Committee

Missiles To Protect Major Indian Cities

Missiles To Protect Major Indian Cities

India is planning to establish Joint Command Analysis Centres (JCACs) near airports in major cities across India and weaponise them with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that will be able to bring down rogue aircraft.

The move is being seen as a necessary measure to foil 9/11-type attacks from the skies. Currently, only Delhi has a JCAC (near New Delhi’s IGI airport) but it is not weaponised with SAMs. The government is considering a proposal to establish JCACs at more cities and weaponise these centres, well-placed government sources said.
A high-level committee of secretaries (CoS) will meet on September 7 on the issue of “establishment and weaponisation” of JCACs and will discuss a proposal from the ministry of defence (MoD) in this regard, government sources said. The JCAC at Delhi is headed by an Indian Air Force officer and is an establishment comprising both IAF and civilian functionaries.
Sources said that currently, in case a threat is detected from any civilian aircraft over Delhi, the JCAC meets and decides issues such as authorisation to scramble IAF aircraft to neutralise the threat, if any. But the weaponisation of JCACs with SAMs will add a whole new dimension. It will mean that once a civilian aircraft is identified as a rogue aircraft posing a terror threat, it can be knocked out of the sky with SAMs.
In any case, the anti-hijacking policy of the government — formulated in 2005 — permits shooting down of a civilian aircraft if the aircraft is being used as a “missile” in a 9/11-type attack.
New Delhi has some prohibited airspace (no-fly zone) over it on account of the presence of important national and government buildings like Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan and North and South Blocks.
But, as was seen during the Mumbai terror attacks, even high-profile private buildings can be attacked by terrorists to cause maximum damage. Following the Mumbai terror attacks, intelligence agencies had received inputs that terror groups may now attempt to strike at high-profile targets using small aircraft or attempt to hijack aircraft and use them as missiles in an operation similar to the 9/11 attacks in the US.
Sources said the objective is to integrate airspace so that the JCACs can identify all aircraft flying in Indian airspace at any given time. The proposed induction of the satellite-based navigation system “Gagan” will help immensely, sources added. Government sources, however, said extreme caution has to be exercised during any attempt to ascertain whether a civilian aircraft is indeed a rogue aircraft on a terror attack to ensure that a civilian aircraft is not shot down by mistake.

Why the US needs the Taliban

Why the US needs the Taliban

Jul 30, 2003

By Ramtanu Maitra

Since Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf made his much-acclaimed visit to Camp David and met US President George W Bush on June 24, new elements have begun to emerge in the Afghan theater. US troops in Afghanistan are now encountering more enemy attacks than ever before, and clashes between Pakistani and Afghan troops along the tribal borders have been reported regularly.

On July 16, speaking to Electronic Telegraph of the United Kingdom, US troop commander General Frank “Buster” Hagenbeck, based at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, reported increased attacks over recent weeks on US and Afghan forces by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other anti-US groups that have joined hands. He also revealed some other very interesting information: the Taliban and its allies have regrouped in Pakistan and are recruiting fighters from religious schools in Quetta in a campaign funded by drug trafficking. Hagenbeck also said that these enemies of US and Afghan forces have been joined by Al-Qaeda commanders who are establishing new cells and sponsoring the attempted capture of American troops. One other piece of news of import from Hagenbeck is that the Taliban have seized whole swathes of the country.

Reliable intelligence
Hagenbeck’s statements were virtually ignored in Washington. Also ignored were a number of similar statements issued from Kabul by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet colleagues. On July 17, presidential spokesman Jawed Ludin spoke to the Pakistani newspaper The News of the Afghan government’s concern over the volatile situation on its border with Pakistan. Ludin urged Pakistan to “take steps” to prevent the Taliban fighters from crossing over to launch terrorist attacks against Kabul. “We will take it seriously to confront it,” he warned. “So our expectation is for all those involved in the war against terror to take serious steps,” Ludin added, clearly addressing the Bush administration.

A week later, on July 24, in an article for The Nation, a Pakistani news daily, Ahmed Rashid, the well known expert on the Taliban and Afghanistan, quoted President Hamid Karzai, during an interview at Kabul, as saying: “As much as we want good relations with Pakistan and other neighbors, we also oppose extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism coming into Afghanistan from outside. We have one page where there is a tremendous desire for friendship and the need for each other. But there is the other page, of the consequences if intervention continues, cross-border terrorism continues, violence and extremism continue. Afghans will have no choice but to stand up and stop it.”

Among Americans, only the special envoy of the US president to Afghanistan and a good friend of President Karzai, Zalmay Khalilzad, has shown any concern about the recent developments. Khalilzad has little choice but to keep up a bold front to the Afghans, telling them how his bosses in Washington are doing their best to rebuild Afghanistan, and attributes the present crisis to the security situation. Like everyone else, Khalilzad has little in reality to offer and, given the opportunity, falls back on what “must be done” and “should be done”. At a July 15 press conference at Kabul, Khalilzad said every effort has to be made by Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used by the Taliban elements. This “should not be allowed”, he said. “We need 100 percent assurances [from Pakistan] on this, not 50 percent assurances, and we know the Taliban are planning in Quetta.”

What is happening? Both Hagenbeck, who boasts to the media about the high quality of his intelligence, and Khalilzad, who is unquestionably in a position to know, have stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are being nurtured, not in some inaccessible terrain along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province where the Pakistan Army and the ISI have a major presence. Yet, President Bush and his neo-conservative henchmen have remained strangely quiet, allowing Pakistan to strengthen the Taliban in Quetta, and, as a consequence, re-energize al-Qaeda – the killers of thousands of Americans in the fall of 2001.

Recall for a moment: Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, no other terrorist was portrayed by the United States as more dangerous than al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and no other Islamic fundamentalist group was presented to the American people as more despicable than the Taliban. Within a month the United States invaded Afghanistan to “take out” the Taliban, al-Qaeda and bin Laden, while the world lined up behind the new anti-terrorist messiahs from Washington, providing it the necessary moral and vocal support. Why, then, is Washington now weakening President Karzai and allowing the strengthening and re-emergence of the Taliban?

Karzai shared with Ahmed Rashid his belief, like that of the average Afghan today, that the answer to that question lies in an understanding reached between the United States and Pakistan during Musharraf’s visit to Camp David, that Afghanistan could be, in effect, “sub-contracted” to Pakistan. Karzai also told Rashid that Musharraf’s critical remarks about the Karzai regime during his visit to the United States reminded him of the pre-September 11 days when Pakistan was fully backing the Taliban and exercising ever-more-strident control over Afghanistan. Musharraf had said, among other things, that the Afghan president does not have much control over Afghanistan beyond Kabul. But, Karzai added in the interview with Rashid, no matter what the outsiders are planning or plotting, as of now, “I want nobody to be under any illusion that Afghanistan will allow any other country to control it.” Is Karzai overreacting? Most likely, he is not. He has seen the writing on the wall. It is arguable whether the Taliban’s return to power is inevitable, but there is little doubt that under the circumstances it is very convenient for the US.

Bowing to realities
To begin with, it was clear from the outset that the United States never really wanted to be in Afghanistan. It was basically a jumping-off point for the “big enchilada”, the re-shaping of the Middle East’s politics and regimes. The Afghan reconstruction talk was mostly wishful thinking. For anyone familiar with present-day Afghanistan – its security situation, the drug production and trafficking, its destroyed infrastructure, its rampant illiteracy and poverty – its reconstruction by foreigners is either a dream or a string of motivated lies.

Now, after a half-hearted effort that lasted for almost 18 months, the Bush administration has come to realize that it is impossible to keep Pakistan as a friend and simultaneously keep the Northern Alliance-backed government in power in Kabul. The “puppet” Pashtun leader in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, does not have the approval of Pakistan and the majority of the rest of the Pashtun community straddling both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. So, either one has Pakistan as a friend with an Islamabad-backed Pashtun group in power in Kabul, or one gets Pakistan as an enemy. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind how the Bush administration would act when confronted with such a choice.

Secondly, look at the Northern Alliance (NA) allies. The best ally of the NA is Russia, the Bush administration’s key contestant for supremacy in Central Asia. In the 1980s, the United States spent billions of dollars to get Afghanistan out of the Russian orbit. It is ridiculous to believe that the Bush administration would act differently now to protect the NA and Karzai. Much better is to have Afghanistan sub-contracted to Pakistan and keep the Russians at bay, than to yield ground to Moscow, who is hardly friendly to Pakistan.

Thirdly, the NA, and particularly the Shi’ites of the Hazara region of Afghanistan, are close to Iran. Iran is building a road which will connect the Iranian port of Chahbahar to the city of Herat in central Afghanistan and link up with Kandahar in the southeast. While this is going on, some neo-conservatives in Washington are screaming for Iranian blood. Even if the Bush administration is not quite willing right now to spill that blood, it is nonetheless a certainty that Washington will be more than eager to see the Iranian influence in Afghanistan curbed. If the NA-backed Karzai government stays in power for long, Iran would most definitely enhance its influence. The Taliban do not want that and they have sent a message recently by slaughtering the Shi’ites in Quetta with the full knowledge of the Pakistani authorities. Besides being anti-Russia, the Taliban are also anti-Shi’ite, or anti-Iran. This added “virtue” of the Taliban has not gone unnoticed in the corridors of intrigue-makers in Washington.

Finally, there is the India factor. A minor factor, it does, however, come into play in calculating the pluses and minuses of the resurgent Taliban option. The Bush administration wants closer relations with India – not on New Delhi’s terms, but on Washington’s terms. Indian activity in Afghanistan has increased multifold since the Karzai government came to power in the winter of 2001. These developments are being eyed suspiciously by Islamabad. While Washington would not make a federal case out of it, it surely does not like to see India forming a strategic alliance with Russia and Iran in Afghanistan. Washington would rather like to break such an alliance quickly, particularly if its ally, in this case Pakistan, wants such an alliance broken. Significantly, a well-connected relative of Musharraf, Brigadier Feroz Hassan Khan, formerly at the Wilson Center and now a fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, addressed these issues directly in a recent publication.

Not just whistling in the dark
In the January issue of Strategic Insight, a publication for the Center for Contemporary Conflict, Khan observed: “In Iran, President Khatami is moving in tandem and cooperation with Pakistan in supporting the Karzai government as manifest in the recent visit to Pakistan. However there are hardliners in Iran who would want to continue with the old game of supporting warlords and factions and consider Pakistan as rival vis-a-vis Afghanistan, and who are still suspicious of the Saudi role. Iran is pitching its bid, by constructing a road from Chahbahar Port in the Persian Gulf through Iran’s Balochistan area to link up eventually with Kandahar in the hope of ‘breaking the monopoly of Pakistan’. Afghanistan is currently sustained primarily through the Karachi-Quetta/Peshawar routes – Bolan and Khyber passes respectively – which has provided Afghanistan with trade and transit with the outside world for centuries.”

Furthermore, Khan pointed out, “Russia remains involved with the major warlords [of Afghanistan]. One such warlord, Rashid Dostum, was recently on a shopping spree for arms and equipment from Moscow. Russia believes it has its own experience and expertise in Afghanistan and must reestablish its interests. Given the history, Pakistan is very uncomfortable with this development.”

Of course, the Khan’s treatise would not have been complete without pointing to the devious role of the Indians in Afghanistan. He said: “India is a major proactive player now. It is providing well-coordinated military supplies to the Northern Alliance thorough the air base in Tajikistan. This includes weapons, equipment and spare parts aimed at strengthening those elements that had become the sworn enemies of Pakistan during the Taliban’s rule. Fear in Pakistan is that despite Afghanistan’s changed policies, some elements still hold a grudge against Pakistan and would be willing to do India’s bidding. This would bring the India-Pakistan rivalry into the Afghan imbroglio.”

It is safe to assume that Khan, who has an extensive background in arms control, disarmament and international treaties, and who formulated Pakistan’s security policy on nuclear war, arms control and strategic stability in South Asia, is not merely whistling in the dark.

The terms of convenience
Now the question remains, what might Pakistan be expected to deliver in return for the Bush administration granting it control over Afghanistan once more? In the real world, Pakistan can help the United States significantly. It has already agreed not to provide nuclear technology to Islamic nations. Musharraf may have to give the United States control of its nuclear research facility, among other things. More important will be to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States and send two brigades of Pakistani troops to Iraq to help out the beleaguered US troops there. The arrest of Osama would surely justify the US mission to Afghanistan, and could set the stage for America’s eventual withdrawal from that country. Another likely item on the agenda is Pakistani recognition of Israel.

Would this new arrangement of “sub-contracting” (to use Karzai’s apt term) Afghanistan to the Pakistan-Taliban combination complicate the already complex situation any further? Probably not. It was evident in October 2001, when the United States went pell-mell into Afghanistan with the help of the Northern Alliance, that America’s hastily-organized arrangement there was unsustainable. It was clear that no matter what Islamabad says, or how much pressure is brought to bear on it, Pakistan has absolutely no reason whatsoever to agree to such an arrangement.

Washington came to appreciate the non-sustainability of this arrangement when Musharraf, in a sleight of hand, brought the Muttahida Majlis-e Amal – the MMA, also known as “Musharraf, Mullahs and the Army” – to power in the two provinces bordering Afghanistan. At that point, Karzai’s tenure as president of Afghanistan shrank abruptly, and Washington deemed it time to give up the “Marshall Plan for Afghanistan” and settle for next best – Taliban rule in Afghanistan under Pakistani control, once again.

(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd.

ISI and MI-6, Marriage Made In Hell

The British Plan To Recolonize
The Subcontinent Is Gaining Ground

by Ramtanu Maitra

[PDF version of this article]

The massive suicide bomb attack on July 7, which killed 41 people at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, including the Indian military attaché and counsellor, indicates the ruthlessness of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-British MI6-aided Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, to break up Pakistan, and create a new, and unstable, nation bordering the resource-rich Central Asia and Iran. Although the Western media is keen to blame the “Taliban,” it is clear that the Afghan Taliban was not involved, and that it was the handiwork of the TTP.

A day earlier, on the first anniversary of the Pakistani Army’s raid of Lal Masjid at the heart of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing at least 19 people, mostly police officers. On the same day the Indian Embassy was attacked, terror struck Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, six times within an hour, as unknown terrorists triggered a series of blasts that wounded over 50 people, including children and policemen. Karachi, the largest Pakistani port, is the main disembarkation station of nearly 70% of the supplies that go to Afghanistan by road to the battling U.S./NATO troops. The supplies pass through the famed Khyber Pass—a 30-mile stretch between the Khyber Hills. At the time of this writing, the Khyber Pass, and a part of Peshawar city, 22 miles east of the Pass, remain infested with militant local tribes working hand-in-glove with the TTP.

The only way to comprehend what is happening is to first step back, and look at the key geostrategic puppet-master in the region: the British Empire.

British Geostrategy for the Subcontinent

The British policy toward South Asia, and the Middle East as well, is uniformly colonial, and vastly different from that of the United States. Even today, when Washington is powered by people with tunnel vision, at best, the U.S. policy is not to break up nations, but to control the regime, or, as has become more prevalent in recent years, under the influence of the arrogant neocons, to force regime change. While this often creates a messy situation—for example, in Iraq—the U.S. would prefer to avoid such outcomes.

Britain, on the other hand, built its geostrategic vision in the post-colonial days through the creation of a mess, and furthering the mess, to break up a country. This policy results in a long-drawn process of violent disintegration. That is the process now in display in Pakistan, as well as in many other nations, including Zimbabwe and Kenya—where the British colonial forces had hunted before, and still pull significant strings.

When the British left the Indian subcontinent in 1947, it was divided into India and Pakistan. The British colonial geostrategists, coming out of World War II, realized the importance of controlling the oil and gas fields. If possession could not be maintained, the strategists argued, Britain and its allies must remain at a striking distance, to ensure their control of these raw material reserves, and deny them to others.

At the end of British rule, Pakistan consisted of East Pakistan (which since has been liberated to form Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. West Pakistan’s western wing (west of River Indus) bordering Afghanistan and Iran, consisted of Baluchistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Tribal areas. North of all these, was the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was a princely state under the Maharaja of Kashmir. Of the three areas, Baluchistan and the Tribal areas had not been brought under the British occupation and were kept instead as British protectorates. This was because the Tribals were ferocious, and made it clear they would not accept British troops within their territories. Moreover, the British crown figured that these areas would act as a buffer with Afghanistan, where the British were worried the Russians would show up.

Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), however, is a different story. The NWFP, inhabited by Pushtun Muslims, was under the Indian National Congress, and led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a close associate of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Ghaffar Khan had no intention of joining Pakistan, but when the British called for a referendum to decide which way the NWFP would go, Ghaffar Khan decided not to let his party participate, ostensibly because he feared violence. Because of this, the referendum won by only 50.49% in favor of joining with Pakistan.

It is evident that Britain did not want India to have any direct land link either to Afghanistan, or Russia, or Iran. In the North, when the dispute over the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) arose, India’s access to the North was blocked as well. The Kashmir dispute, the handiwork of London, showed what the British were looking for. Using a large number of Mirpuris (Mirpur is a part of J&K) who had migrated to Britain soon after the partition of the subcontinent, the MI6 built up a very strong anti-India lobby in J&K and encouraged the demand for an independent Kashmir. At the same time, MI6 lent a hand to the Pakistani ISI, to implement terrorist acts within the India-held part of J&K which would undermine India’s efforts to stabilize the area. The policy has not worked so far, but a royal mess has been made, thanks partly to India’s misguided, and often ruthless, policies.

The MI6 mouthpiece, and a link to the British colonial establishment, was Eric Lubbock (Lord Avebury). He was the first British Member of Parliament to publicly support the Kashmiri secessionist movement, which he did in an address to a secessionist group, JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front), at a conference in London, in 1991. There, he also announced his support for an armed struggle, according to The Dawn of Karachi. In a March 1995 issue of the JKLF’s Kashmir Report, Lubbock condemned Indian policy in Kashmir as equivalent to what would have occurred if “Britain had been invaded in 1940,” and suffered Nazi occupation. He demanded that Indian troops be withdrawn. “New Delhi fails to understand that if peaceful initiatives are thwarted, the inevitable result will be further violence,” he threatened. Lubbock is still around pushing the colonial policies.

Who Are the Afghan Taliban?

For the uninitiated, it is important to realize that there exists a distinction between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. The Afghan Taliban, along with many other Afghans, are engaged in a war against the occupying U.S. and NATO troops, with the objective of driving them away so they can gain control of their land. In other words, these Afghans are ready to fight any foreign troops, be they are American, British, Canadian, or German. But they have no intention of doing harm to others who have not lent troops to the occupying forces. At the same time, the Afghan Taliban would accept help from anyone, including the Pakistani Taliban, or any jihadi group functioning along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, including the much-vaunted al-Qaeda. It must be noted that no Afghan Taliban has ever been spotted, either in Iraq, or Palestine, where the Western, or pro-Western troops are engaged in battling the local Islamic groups.

On the other hand, while it is true that the Afghan Taliban have no love for the Indians, nonetheless they would not risk setting up a large operation of the kind that must have preceded the attack on the Indian Embassy. Moreover, the Afghan Taliban control large swathes of land in southern and eastern Afghanistan, but ground information suggests that they still are not in a position to carry out major attacks inside Kabul. Last April, an elaborate operation was put in place to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. Initially, the operation was attributed to the Afghan Taliban, but later the Afghan authorities charged that it was the Pakistani ISI behind the failed attempt.

The Pakistani Taliban, however, are an altogether different kettle of fish, and are presently involved in breaking up Pakistan on behalf the geostrategic interests of the British colonials. This outfit, besides having a large number of tribes representing Pakistan’s virtually ungoverned Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Northern Areas bordering Afghanistan and the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, is guided by the Pakistani ISI and British MI6. The Pakistani tribal groups, who have never formally accepted Islamabad’s authority, see, in the present situation, an opportunity to carve out a separate nation bordering Afghanistan in the West and River Indus in the East. This objective, however far-fetched it may have seemed just months ago, is now a distinct possibility, not only because the ISI and MI6 have chalked out a design for achieving it, but also because of Washington’s reckless approach to taming the Taliban and al-Qaeda at any cost, including undermining of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The increasing disintegration of Pakistan’s political establishment has added to the threat. The ISI has been deeply infiltrated by MI6, and the Pakistani Army does not have the will to engage in a bloody civil war to prevent yet another break-up, nor does Pakistan’s weak political elite have a clue as to how to integrate the increasingly militant tribal areas with Pakistan.

ISI-MI6 Link-Up

On the other hand, there exists a policy agreement between the ISI and MI6. Following the withdrawal of the defeated Soviet Army in 1989, the ISI moved in to arm and train the Taliban. The intelligence agency also brought in al-Qaeda, and was in the process of developing what is called “strategic depth,” which, it argued, was necessary to protect the country from its “mortal enemy,” India. The civilian governments in Islamabad, under the late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, had little choice but to allow the Pakistani Army and the ISI to pursue this objective.

After 9/11, the scene changed rapidly. The Bush Administration identified Afghanistan, which was under Taliban rule, as the staging ground of al-Qaeda, and invaded the country with the intent of eliminating both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, in one fell swoop. Neither the ISI, and by extension, a section of the Pakistani Army, nor the British colonial operatives, wanted these assets, set up over years with the intent of controlling Central Asia, and undermining Russia, China, and India, to be sacrificed. Pakistan’s ungoverned FATA immediately became the shelter of many who were facing Washington’s wrath. In December 2001, Asia Times reported that the former ISI chief and a close collaborator of the MI6, “Hamid Gul, nicknamed the ‘Godfather of the Taliban,’ is believed to be behind moves to help the Taliban establish a base in Pakistan’s autonomous Pushtun tribal belt.”

The added irony, is that Washington’s foolhardy approach involves two of its “best allies”—Britain and Pakistan—who had built up these assets, and were keen to protect them from Washington’s missiles and rockets. The outcome of Washington’s policy is now plain for everyone to see: Having routed the Taliban, and driven them from power within weeks following the invasion, almost six and a half years later, Washington is now facing an enemy which is surely much stronger than it ever was before. The credit for this, of course, goes to the ISI and MI6. Both have now come to realize that not only can the assets be protected, they can be “officially” lodged in a country carved out of Pakistan.

What Drives the ISI?

The question is, why would the Pakistani ISI want the separation? Putting aside the British control over the ISI for the moment, what must be recognized, is that the ISI was the brainchild of an Australian-born British intelligence officer, Maj. Gen. R. Cawthorn, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Pakistan Army in 1948, who later served in Australia as head of their Secret Intelligence Service. The ISI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, and to specialize in the collection, analysis, and assessment of external intelligence, either military or non-military. At the time, as it exists even today, the ISI considered India its “mortal enemy,” and the key to hurting India was to wrest control of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, where Muslims are in majority.

There is yet another “meeting of minds” between MI6 and the ISI in recent days: their mutual hatred of Afghan President Karzai. The ISI rejected Karzai out of hand because the Afghan President is close to India, and even Russia—but cool toward Pakistan. So, the ISI feels it necessary to replace Karzai with someone who will be pro-Pakistan and anti-India.

Nor does MI6 like Karzai, and has joined with the ISI to remove him, because he is controlled from Washington, and has become openly anti-British: Last December, when Karzai learned that two British MI6 agentswere working under cover of the United Nations and the European Union, and behind his back, to finance and negotiate with the Taliban, he expelled them from Afghanistan. One of them, a Briton, Michael Semple, was working as the acting head of the EU mission in Afghanistan, and is widely known as a close confidant of Britain’s ambassador, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles. The second, an Irishman, Mervin Patterson, is the third-ranking UN official in Afghanistan.

These MI6 agents were entrusted by London with the task of using Britain’s 7,700 troops in the opium-infested, Pushtun-dominated southern Afghanistan province of Helmand to train 2,000 Afghan militants, ostensibly to “infiltrate” the enemy and “seek intelligence” about the lethal arms of the real Taliban. Karzai rightly saw it as Britain’s efforts to develop a lethal group within Afghanistan.

In addition, around the same time, Karzai was under pressure from Britain, the U.S., and the UN, to appoint Lord Paddy Ashdown, a British Liberal Democrat, as the UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan. Ashdown had left his “viceregal” mark while serving as the High Representative of the United Nations for Bosnia a few years ago.

Anticipating that Ashdown, true to his reputation in the Balkans, would function like a colonial viceroy under orders from London, Karzai summarily called off the appointment. This decision raised quite a few hackles in London, and elsewhere.

MI6-ISI’s Anti-Russia Ties

During the Cold War, the Pakistani ISI was not only training and infiltrating armed militants inside the India-held part of Jammu and Kashmir, but was utilized by the British to create security problems on Russia’s southern flank. When the Soviets bumbled into Afghanistan with thousands of troops and tanks, ISI and MI6, along with the CIA, joined forces in the early 1980s to recruit mujahideen to fight the Red Army. MI6 turned over to the ISI some of their assests in the London-based organization known as al-Muhajiroun, or The Emigrants. This became the recruiting arm of al-Qaeda in London, and was used for terrorist work. The first groups were Pakistanis; they were followed by Somalis and Eritreans, among others. Al-Muhajiroun operated at the time under the armless Omar Bakri Muhammad, known as “Captain Hook,” who was the Imam of Finsbury Mosque in London.

Coincidentally, in 1983, the British-based World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), headed by Prince Philip, which often provides the staging grounds for operations of MI6 and other British intelligence outfits, suggested that two national parks be created in Pakistan’s Northwest, and although rather thin in natural wildlife, the preserves have proved to be excellent for growing poppy, and for training and staging mujahideen incursions into Afghanistan.

But, in the post-Cold War days, and particularly after 9/11, Washington moved closer to India, which went from being a “Soviet puppet,” as it was labeled by some American analysts, into becoming a U.S. ally. Following 9/11, Washington made it a point to seek India’s help in fighting the war on terror. Although India never supplied Washington with troops, New Delhi strongly supported Washington’s war on terror policy. At the same time, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf embraced this Washington-led policy, putting the ISI in limbo. With the anti-India angle suddenly removed, the ISI became vulnerable to the British plan to create a separate Islamic state, carved out of Pakistan, located on the threshold of Central Asia. MI6 succeeded in reigniting the the ISI’s aspiration to liberate the state of Jammu and Kashmir as its prime mission. The attack on the Indian Embassy on July 7 was a statement of that objective.

Musharraf on the MI6 Role

The interweaving of British MI6 and the Pakistani ISI is too elaborate to fully describe here. But, to get an idea of it, consider this example: Pakistani President Musharraf, in his book, In the Line of Fire, stated that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a Britain-born Pakistani who has been accused of kidnapping and killing Wall Street Journalcorrespondent Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, in 2002, was originally recruited by MI6, while studying at the London School of Economics. He alleged that Omar Sheikh was sent to the Balkans by MI6 to engage in jihadi operations. Musharraf added that, “at some point, he [Omar Sheikh] probably became a rogue or double agent.”

On Oct. 6, 2001, a senior U.S. government official told CNN that U.S. investigators had discovered that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, using the alias “Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad,” had sent about $100,000 from the United Arab Emirates to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers. “Investigators said Atta then distributed the funds to conspirators in Florida in the weeks before the deadliest acts of terrorism on U.S. soil that destroyed the World Trade Center, heavily damaged the Pentagon and left thousands dead.”

Beyond that, the Saeed Sheikh affair shines a bright light on the MI6-ISI links. More than a month after the money transfer was discovered, the head of the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, resigned from his position. It was reported that the FBI was investigating the possibility that it had been General Ahmed who ordered Saeed Sheikh to send the $100,000 to Atta. There were reports that Indian intelligence had already produced proof for the Pakistani administration that this was so.

Even more important are the joint operations between the MI6 and the ISI. The export of jihad to the Central Asian republics to pressure the countries of the former U.S.S.R. was a joint venture of the ISI, Pakistan’s Jamaati Islam (JI), and Hezbe Islami Afghanistan. It is also documented that the MI6 directly deposited money into an account in the name of Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed of Pakistan’s JI, name, which Qazi used to pump Islamic literature and money into the Central Asian republics to incite the local Naqshbandi circles (a Sufi group) to rebel against the governments.

Khalistan and the Assassination of Indira Gandhi

Britain’s other gross interference to undermine Indian sovereignty with the help of the ISI became evident during the Khalistani movement in India’s Punjab in the 1980s. A number of militant Sikh-led organizations, such as the Dal Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa, Council of Khalistan, the Khalistan Government-in-Exile, and the Sikh Federation were headquartered in Britain. The Sikh Federation was formed after the 2001 proscription by the British government of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), while the Babbar Khalsa cadres started working under the aegis of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha (AKJ), another militant group, after the ban imposed by the British government. Moreover, the top leaders of the Khalistani movement, Jagjit Singh Chauhan and Gurmej Singh of the Khalistan Government-in-Exile, used Britain to call for an independent Punjab (Khalistan), yanked out of India.

Although the Khalistani movement, which helped in fomenting the plots to assassinate two Indian prime ministers—Indira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv Gandhi—in addition to the deaths of scores of innocent Indians, is no longer visible, London still carries the Khalistani flag. In a highly significant development for the internationalization of the Sikh freedom struggle, representatives from a range of leading Sikh organizations met with high-ranking officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Aug. 15, 2007, in London, in order to seek British support for the Sikh nation’s right to self-determination.

Goaded and helped by MI6 and Britain’s colonial geostrategists, the ISI did its best to create chaos within Punjab during that period. At the time that the Khalistani movement had grown dangerous following the Indian Army’s raid of the Golden Temple, the holiest of holy Sikh shrine in Amritsar, and of the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Pakistani ISI chief was Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, who is now leading the charge on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.

According to an Indian intelligence analyst, in 1988, when Benazir Bhutto became prime minister, Gul justified backing the Khalistani terrorists as the only way to preempt a fresh Indian threat to Pakistan’s territorial integrity. When Mrs. Bhutto asked Gul to stop playing that card, he reportedly told her: “Madam, keeping Punjab destabilized is equivalent to the Pakistan Army having an extra division at no cost to the taxpayers.” Gul strongly advocated supporting indigenous Kashmiri groups, but was against infiltrating Pakistani and Afghan mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir. He believed Pakistan would play into India’s hands by doing so, the analyst pointed out.

The Kingpin

This brings us to the leading collaborator of the British MI6 within Pakistan, Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul. Driven by his anti-India zeal, and now, with an equally zealous Islamic fervor, Gul is perhaps the most dangerous individual in Pakistan today. As his support for the Pakistani Taliban is expected to unleash more violence in the coming days, Gul will become even more powerful.

It is widely acknowledged, even by the CIA, that Gul played a key role in helping to train and arm the Afghan Taliban in the 1990s. He had extensive liaison with Osama bin Laden, now hated, but liked immensely earlier by the CIA-MI6-ISI trio, while that Yemeni-Saudi was in Afghanistan.

Since the Lal Masjid raid by the Pakistani Army at the behest of President Musharraf last July, to free the mosque of jihadis and Pakistani Taliban, Gul has become violently anti-Musharraf. The July 15, 2007 London Times reported comments by Gul following the Lal Masjid conflict: “The government is trying to hide the number of young girls killed. As the truth comes out that young girls were gassed and burnt, riddled with bullets and killed, it’ll be bad for Musharraf.”

BBC reported Gul’s views on jihad, criticizing Musharraf for seeking to stop jihadists, and challenging: “Who is Pervez Musharraf to say we should stop Jihad, when the Koran says it and when the United Nations Charter backs it up? Musharraf says: ‘Stop the jihad, do this, that and the other.’ No, no, no. He cannot. There is a clear-cut Koranic injunction.”

UPI and the Washington Times have quoted Gul’s interview in Pakistan’s Urdu newspaper Nawa-e-Waqt where he stated: “The leadership vacuum created by the sad demise of [Palestinian] President [Yasser] Arafat can only be filled by Osama bin Laden and [Taliban leader] Mullah [Mohammad] Omar, the real leaders that are the only dedicated individuals with the mass support of the Muslim world.”

It is likely that Gul was directly involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto had contended that the rise of extremism in Pakistan could not have happened without support from government agencies, including the military and the powerful ISI. She added that, though Baitullah Mahsud, the frontman of the MI6 and the ISI in the TTP, had reportedly threatened to send suicide bombers against her if she returned to Pakistan, the real danger came from extremist elements within the government that were opposed to her return.

“I’m not worried about Mahsud, I’m worried about the threat within the government,” she told the London Guardian. “People like Mahsud are just pawns. It is the forces behind them that have presided over the rise of extremism and militancy in my country.”

Despite his inciting speeches and his role on behalf of the terrorists masquerading as jihadis, Gul remains virtually untouchable. Following the imposition of a state of emergency by President Musharraf on Nov. 3, 2007, Gul had demonstrated against the Presidential order. He was arrested, but Musharraf had to release him within two weeks. It is evident that Hamid Gul has become too powerful and that he enjoys high-level protection. Cui bono?

GCHQ: Cracking the Code

GCHQ: Cracking the Code

Episode image for GCHQ: Cracking the Code

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The BBC’s Security Correspondent Gordon Corera gains unprecedented access to Britain’s ultra secret listening station where super computers monitor the world’s communications traffic and Britain’s global eavesdropping and electronic surveillance operations are conducted.

The layers of secrecy which have surrounded GCHQ’s work are peeled away – what exactly does it do and who is it listening to?

The programme explores the wide area covered by signals intelligence – from looking for terrorists planning attacks against the United Kingdom to supporting military operations of the type underway in Afghanistan.

A team from the Counter terrorism section describes what it is like to listen in on terrorists’ conversations and the constant battle to predict where the next attack will come from: “I don’t think you would be human if you didn’t go home at night and couldn’t switch off and thought ‘Oh my God. What happens if . . .?'” What about the ethics of eavesdropping and how does their work compare to the way it is portrayed on television in series like ‘Spooks’?

Code-breakers talk about their work, attempting to find a chink in the armour of a carefully encrypted message sent by a terrorist or a foreign government. “It just feels amazing really,” when there is a breakthrough, says one. “I mean you feel like you’ve won”.

The programme looks at the technological challenges posed by the internet and the threat of cyber warfare, which has led to the establishment of a new cyber operations centre at Cheltenham. It also explores the scientific and mathematical breakthroughs which have been achieved at GCHQ, including the discovery of public key encryption, used when we shop on the internet.

There’s a tour of the building’s four great computer halls, containing racks and racks of IT equipment and covering around ten thousand square metres. “I could actually fit Wembley football pitch into three of the halls quite comfortably,’ says the man in charge of making sure that the equipment doesn’t crash.

Gordon Corera challenges the director Iain Lobban. There has been considerable speculation about whether the government is planning huge databases at GCHQ to keep track of all communications and internet traffic. Do they really spy on us? And how accountable are they?
Producer: Mark Savage.

Bringing Down the International Criminal Syndicates–Drug Pipelines

[The biggest international drug cartels operate from Wall St., where they orchestrate the flow of the real drug hauls, which are measured in hundreds of billions, even trillions.  In this complex network of drug pipelines, the drugs flow one way and money or drugs the other.]

Drugs, guns and money

August 30, 2010
nick mckenzie story    hakan ayik supplied pixGym junkie Hakan Ayik.

Who is Hakan Ayik? In the first of a two-part series, Nick McKenzie looks at the target of one of Australia’s biggest investigations into organised crime.

THERE comes a time when a police target senses he is under suspicion. For 32-year-old businessman and gym junkie Hakan Ayik, the realisation came over two years ago with a series of short, sharp beeps from his mobile phone while he was waiting for a flight at Sydney airport.

The beeping was a remote alarm alerting Ayik that he had some unwanted visitors at his Sydney apartment. His phone was connected to a surveillance system at the apartment, which had just began filming a small group of New South Wales police who, acting on a tip-off about the purchase of a money-counting machine, had decided to make some inquiries.

Ayik didn’t waste any time in sending his own team of investigators to the scene – several bulky and tattooed members of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang. Their appearance brought a premature end to the the police operation.

But authorities would soon find other ways to take a close look at Hakan Ayik, and before long he was a major target of one of the most significant investigations into organised crime in this country. Codenamed Hoffman, it has spent the last two years probing an entire drug dealing network whose tentacles reach throughout Australia, in the NSW police force and prison system, on the nation’s docks, and overseas.

The inquiry- detailed on the ABC’s Four Corners tonight – has been led by the Australian Crime Commission, but includes crucial contributions from the NSW and West Australian police, the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Crime Commission and the nation’s anti-money laundering agency Austrac.

It is significant for several reasons: not only does it reveal with unprecedented clarity the extent of the threat posed by organised crime in Australia, but it highlights the difficulty authorities face in fighting a new breed of borderless criminals.

The old-school gangsters who stay in their local patch and deal only with family members or those who speak their own language are dying out. John Lawler, who heads the Australian Crime Commission, the elite body that fights organised crime, describes ”networked groups of organised criminals, across cultural divides, across national and international boundaries … absolutely focused on profit [and] power”.

Ayik’s story is important because it opens a window into the changing battle against organised crime and the technologically savvy and highly mobile modern Australian underworld that is much harder to police and is capable of amassing great wealth with relative ease.

It only takes a quick internet search to realise that Ayik is a vain man. A few keystrokes and here he is, grinning and shirtless, draping his gym-sculpted arms over the shoulders of two lingerie-clad Asian women. A photo on a business networking site shows the graduate of Sydney’s James Cook High School as an entrepreneur (and director of ”multi-capital trading”), wearing a white shirt, dark jacket, and sunglasses, one arm raised and a fist clenched in a pose of unbridled confidence.

Then there are the travel video clips, available only to Ayik’s Facebook friends (a mere 300 or so of them), depicting him in Dubai, Turkey and Hong Kong, either enjoying a helicopter ride, watching the formula one grand prix or firing a semi-automatic pistol at a shooting range.

Perhaps the most telling video clip is the one that shows Ayik travelling to Hong Kong with Daux Ngukuru, the sergeant-at-arms of Sydney’s notorious Comanchero bikie gang. Ayik has also posted a photograph of himself on this trip with Mark Ho, a Chinese gangster linked to the triads. Ho served a prison stint in Australia in 2001 for heroin trafficking before moving back to China.

As well as being a tribute to Ayik’s self-regard, these online images demonstrate the breadth of the connections of those who operate in today’s criminal underworld. Compare this to a decade ago when Australian bikies would have viewed a trip interstate as a major journey.

Having a relationship with the triads opens up a wide range of business possibilities, including access to the Chinese factories (legal or otherwise) that manufacture huge amounts of the precursor chemicals needed to make illicit drugs.

Former NSW Police assistant commissioner Clive Small says the increasing ease with which underworld figures conduct business offshore – where they are extremely difficult to monitor – shows ”how organised crime is maturing in Australia and how it’s becoming an increasing threat that we have to deal with”.

In another Facebook clip Ayik features his $300,000 sports car and his jewel-encrusted watches. The soundtrack is by rap star Akon and is titled Trouble Maker. It includes the line: ”I’m that type of guy your daddy won’t let you go out [with] cos he thinks I sell drugs …”

The first hint that the choice of this song was no coincidence came with a bump and a screech when a light plane landed on Perth’s wind-swept Janadakot airport in March 2008. Waiting on the tarmac were several grim-faced local police detectives who were about to give the passengers from NSW a welcome they would never forget.

Several hours later, the plane’s cargo – 22 kilograms of methamphetamine and about 35,000 ecstasy tablets – was on display at a press conference called by police to announce the arrest of the plane’s two passengers. The bust was a record seizure for the state police, and it also raised questions about where the drugs had been sourced and by whom.

A later submission by the WA Police to the federal parliamentary committee that oversees the Australian Crime Commission was of the view that ”Perth’s domestic security barriers rarely detect” drug runners who do the bidding of ”authoritarian” traffickers.

The statement was not without merit; authorities had confirmed that the light plane in question had made the journey several times before, presumably laden with a similar cargo. NSW authorities also discovered that one of the men arrested at the airport allegedly worked for Ayik.

After the bust, several policing agencies developed a strong interest in Hakan Ayik: police intelligence in NSW noted his unexplained wealth and the view that the Comancheros regarded him as a man who could enrich the club’s coffers.

But investigating Ayik would not be easy, partly because of the frequency with which he moved interstate and overseas, effectively hopping from one police jurisdiction to the next and using an array of mobile phones as he went. Was there another way of keeping track of him?

Making money means moving money, be it to bank accounts in Australia or, as is often the case with crime figures, to accounts offshore. In other words, it means creating a trail that, with the right tools, can be followed.

As police interest in Ayik began to grow in 2008, the task of ”following the money” was being carried out by the Australian Crime Commission, the relatively small but powerful agency formed in 2002 to co-ordinate the nation’s often poorly managed fight against organised crime.

By mid 2008, the ACC was wrapping up a three-year operation that had uncovered at least 300 million narco-dollars being moved offshore, mainly by Vietnamese and Chinese drug syndicates, via four small money-remitting agencies in Sydney and Melbourne.

The ACC had employed its ”High Risk Funds Strategy”. This involves watching suspicious flows of money – moved via the formal and informal banking sector – to uncover the business structures that connect lower-end drug distributors to the higher-end, and mostly offshore-based, importers. The strategy also allows the ACC to reach a better estimate of the size of the nation’s dirty-money trade, which, in turn, leads to better estimates of the size of the criminal economy.

A confidential federal government report based on the results of the High Risk Funds Strategy between 2005 and 2008 concluded that drug importations ”may have previously been underestimated by a significant margin” and that ”most organised crime-related activities” in Australia go undetected. In 2008, then then ACC boss, Alastair Milroy, revealed that by employing the strategy the ACC had tracked up to $12 billion in drug dollars flowing offshore every year.

Understanding exactly how Operation Hoffman operated is difficult, because much of the operation is still under wraps. But it is believed that critical to the probe was the formation of a policing coalition of the willing. If Ayik disregarded state and national boundaries (on one online posting, Ayik describes his location as Sydney, Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, and Seoul, South Korea) state and federal agencies needed to work together – no easy task, given the deep mistrust between certain policing agencies in Australia.

Under the quiet direction of the ACC, police across the country hatched a plan to dismantle parts of the alleged crime network linked to Ayik. Under this plan Ayik was seen as a sort of fixer who utilised his associates, be they Chinese criminals or bikies, to import and move drugs.

The plan’s first public manifestation took place in May 2009, when the NSW police stormed an apartment in Kogarah in Sydney’s south. They discovered five automatic pistols, a Thompson submachinegun, a Kalashnikov, a military issue automatic shotgun and three assault rifles. They also found explosives and what appeared to be police-issue bullet-resistant jackets, helmets and uniforms.

The media reported the discovery of the weapons stash as a development in the war between the Comancheros and the Hells Angels that earlier had led to a man being bashed to death at Sydney Airport. But there were other connections: the man arrested and charged with weapons offences in connection to the raid was Ayik’s nephew.

Operation Hoffman reared its head again in September, this time on the Pacific island of Tonga, when Tongan and New Zealand police announced the discovery of 40 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, or ice, during a raid on the home of a corrupt local customs officer. The local media described the drugs bust as Tonga’s biggest ever and that the drugs had been bound for another country.

What was not revealed was Australian authorities suspected that Ayik had planned to import the drugs to this country. Exactly how he would do this is unclear. But it is believed that within his network is a host of maritime industry insiders capable of helping smuggle contraband past customs.

Operation Hoffman is just one of several major police probes in the past five years that has discovered serious corruption on the waterfront. For example, a federal police investigation into a massive shipment of ecstasy in 2008 discovered at least three figures working in the maritime sector in Melbourne who where aiding a major drug syndicate. NSW authorities believe a crew of dock workers in Sydney has facilitated drug importations for at least six years.

IN LATE 2009, the breadth of Ayik’s connections was again revealed when NSW police charged one of their civilian employees – who had access to sensitive police intelligence detailing the work of several agencies, including those working on Operation Hoffman – with stealing files that were later leaked to Comanchero associates of Ayik.

NSW Police sources regard the leaks as one of the most serious alleged corruption cases in the past five years, partly because of the risk they posed to the safety of undercover police operatives.

Ayik’s online postings reveal a man apparently unfazed by these arrests, planning his 31st birthday party in Hong Kong and posting a new photo on his Facebook profile – a shot of his muscular, gym-buffed chest.

In February this year, it was the turn of police in Western Australia, who arrested another of Ayik’s contacts, the new president of Perth’s Comancheros, Steven Milenkovski, over his alleged role in trafficking about seven kilograms of ice from NSW to Perth.

Two months later, NSW police raided drug labs in Sydney, seized 10 kilograms of ice and several weapons, and arrested four men, including two of Ayik’s Facebook friends. By now, police had Ayik clearly marked as a key Australian figure in a crime syndicate that had imported, and was still capable of importing, large quantities of ice, heroin, ecstasy and amphetamines. The net was closing.

Three weeks ago, NSW police pulled over a car in central Sydney and seized 24 kilograms of heroin. Arrested were Ayik’s brother and his business partner, another Chinese national. Crucially, NSW detectives believed they now had enough to charge Ayik. But he was nowhere to be found; his Facebook site shut down, his MySpace page became temporarily unavailable. Around a fortnight ago, NSW police finally issued an arrest warrant for Ayik for alleged drug trafficking. At the time of writing, Ayik was on the run.

The heroin bust in Sydney was the last in a long list of operations, including at least seven multimillion-dollar drug busts, that brought Operation Hoffman to an end. But those in law enforcement aware of its impact are not celebrating.

As a single operation, it is an extraordinary success, not least because it has extended the usual ”make a bust and move on” mentality of traditional policing and harnessed the resources of several agencies to uncover an entire crime network. But it also provides a measure of the reach of a typical modern crime network and serves as a reminder that the demand for drugs in Australia is fuelling a thriving, multibillion-dollar illicit market, especially in amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine.

In frank comments, Labor Senator Steve Hutchins, who chairs the ACC’s parliamentary committee, tells Four Corners tonight that the fact that major drug busts have little impact on the supply and price of drugs should serve as a wake-up call for the nation.

He said that if all the drug hauls had no effect on supply and the street price, ”then clearly we are not winning that war [on drug trafficking].”

This view is backed by many experienced organised crime investigators, who say that Australian police remain the Davids in a battle against the drug importing and trafficking Goliaths.

”You’d have to be kidding yourself if you thought you were getting any more than probably 10 or 15 per cent [of drugs] off the street,” says former detective inspector Jim O’Brien, who once headed Victoria’s drug squad and the elite Victoria Police Purana Taskforce.

Privately, many senior police concede that in the nation’s resource-constrained law enforcement environment, long-term multi-agency probes with the scope and reach of Hoffman remain exceptions to the rule. Among senior police across Australia, there is a consensus that the Australian Crime Commission is badly under-resourced given the challenges it faces.

Hakan Ayik’s syndicate is just one of many similar outfits in Australia. Policing agencies in Sydney have recently updated a list of about 150 active, and often overlapping, crime figures they believe need targeting. And that is in NSW alone.

Four Corners, tonight, 8.30pm on ABC1.

Source: The Age

Will US Invade Pakistan to Protect Christian Aid Workers?

Three Christian humanitarian workers killed by Taliban

Three humanitarian workers operating in the Swat Valley, in the northern part of the country, have been killed by Pakistani Taliban while working to bring aid to flood victims. The attack of the fundamentalists, which has also caused several injuries in two villages, took place between August 24 and 25. The tragic news was communicated to Fides by Fr. Robert McCulloch, a priest of the Columban Fathers, a missionary in Pakistan for over 32 years, and was confirmed by local humanitarian organizations. The news of the attack and the death of the three workers – Fides sources say – was withheld by Pakistani military and civilian officials, who tried to prevent the news from leaking into the mass media (given its delicate and serious nature), for fear that word of such incidents could discourage aid agencies working in the area.
The attack by the Taliban on two villages in the Swat Valley,  left several seriously injured. Also, the fundamentalist groups looted the homes and shops of the two villages.
“The purpose of these attacks is an attempt to maintain absolute control of the territory in the Swat Valley, where even prior to the flooding there were clashes between the Pakistani army and the fundamentalist militia,” Fr. Robert told Fides. The priest works with eight of his confrères in assisting flood victims.

Authorities on Wednesday (Aug. 25) recovered the bodies of three Christian relief workers who had been kidnapped and killed by members of the Pakistani Taliban in the flood-ravaged country, area officials said.

Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman told media that the Pakistan Army recovered the bodies of the three foreign flood-relief workers at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday. An official at the international humanitarian organization that employed the workers withheld their names and requested that the agency remain unnamed for security reasons.

“The foreign aid workers have been working in Mingora and the surrounding areas,” Rehman said. “On Aug. 23 they were returning to their base at around 5:35 p.m. when a group of Taliban attacked their vehicle. They injured around five-six people and kidnapped three foreign humanitarian workers.”

Pakistan has been hit by its worst flooding in decades, with the United Nations now estimating more than 21.8 million people have been affected. Foreign aid workers are involved in relief activities across the country, including Swat district in Khyber-Paktunkhwa Province in northern Pakistan. At least 8 million people require emergency relief, with hundreds of thousands reportedly isolated from aid supplies.

“The Taliban had warned about attacks on foreigner aid workers and Christian organizations,” the ISPR source said. “All the international humanitarian organizations have been notified, and their security has also been increased.”

Rehman noted that the Taliban also has been trying to bring relief to flood victims.

“The Taliban are also trying to support the flood victims, and many other banned organizations have set up camps in southern Punjab to support the victims,” he said. “They intend to sympathize with the affected and gain their support.”

The president of advocacy organization Life for All, Rizwan Paul, said the bodies of the three relief workers had been sent to Islamabad under the supervision of the Pakistan Army.

“We strongly condemn the killing of the three humanitarian workers,” Paul said. “These aid workers came to support us, and we are thankful to the humanitarian organizations that came to help us in a time of need.”

Pointing to alleged discrimination against minorities in distribution of humanitarian aid, Paul added that Christians in severely flood-damaged areas in Punjab Province have been neglected. The majority of the effected Christians in Punjab are in Narowal, Shakargarh, Muzzafargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Layyah, he said.

“The Christians living around Maralla, Narowal, and Shakargarh were shifted to the U.N.- administered camps, but they are facing problems in the camps,” he said. “There are reports that the Christians are not given tents, clean water and food. In most of the camps the Christians have totally been ignored.”

Life for All complained to U.N. agencies and the government of Pakistan regarding the discrimination, but no one has responded yet, he said.

“There have been reports from Muzzaffargarh and Layyah that the Christians are living on the damaged roads in temporary tents, as they were not allowed in the government camps,” he said.

In Sindh Province Thatta has been flooded, and around 300 Christian families who tried to move from there to Punjab were forbidden from doing so, a source said. Meteorologists are predicting more rains in coming days, with the already catastrophic flooding expected to get worse.

Kashif Mazhar, vice president of Life for All, said that in the northern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa conditions for Christians are better as there are Christian camps established, and Garrison Church in Risalpur is also providing aid to victims.

“It is discouraging to see that the Christian organizations are wholeheartedly supporting the victims regardless of the religion or race, but in most of the areas the Christians are totally ignored and not even allowed to stay,” Mazhar said.

Foreign targets are rarely attacked directly in Pakistan, despite chronic insecurity in the nuclear-armed state, which is a key ally in the U.S.-led war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. On March 10, however, suspected Islamic militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the offices of a Christian relief and development organization in northwest Pakistan, killing six aid workers and wounding seven others.

The gunmen besieged the offices of international humanitarian organization World Vision near Oghi, in Mansehra district, of the North West Frontier Province. Suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan have killed more than 3,000 people since 2007. Blame has fallen on Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants bitterly opposed to the alliance with the United States.

The U.N. decided last year to relocate a limited number of its international staff from Pakistan because of security concerns. Its World Food Program office in Islamabad was attacked in October last year, with five aid workers killed in a suicide bombing. Then on Feb. 3, a bomb attack in the NWFP district of Lower Dir killed three U.S. soldiers and five other people at the opening of a school just rebuilt with Western funding after an Islamist attack.

We strongly condemn the killing of the three Christian humanitarian workers. These volunteers come from abroad to help Pakistan in this moment of absolute necessity: for that we thank them.

If Mexico Has ‘Lost Control’ of Entire regions, Is US Invasion Far Away?

[These are the fruits of the Bush/Cheney plan to destabilize Mexico in the name of fighting narcotics trafficking.  The “Merida Initiative” is a three-year, $1.4 billion aid program which has been implemented in Mexico since June 30, 2008.  It is a destabilization program in that it is the exact opposite strategy now being used to pacify Afghanistan and Pakistan, in that it wages war against the troops of the drug cartels and not the leadership itself.  In Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we are allegedly trying to pacify the region, American Special Forces are hunting the militant leaders to kill or capture them in their beds, seeking to decapitate the serpent.
In Mexico, they are hacking away at the tail, knowing that a tail can be easily regenerated.  By waging war against the cartel’s peon armies, they have entered formerly safe enclaves and escalated the acceptable level of violence to unprecedented heights.  In their defense, the cartels have waged war just like the Army, using many of the same weapons.  The cartels have adopted the strategies and tactics used in Africa and Asia.  The fight has been enlarged into a massive dogfight to determine “top dog,” while hunting spies within their own ranks and in the communities under their thumbs.  This accounts for a large portion of the killings.  That’s the problem with this approach.
From this US Army analysis (Mexico’s Narco-Insurgency and U.S. Counterdrug Policy), you can easily see that our military leaders understood that this approach was destined to fail from its inception.  They understood that Mexican violence would spin out of the Army’s ability to quell it.  Even though the military knew that the violence would one day force military intervention, they allowed the plan to go forward anyway.  This can only be understood as the military abdicating its responsibility to not allow American servicemen to be used for immoral purposes, or to support actions that will endanger the homeland.  Giving the Mexican Army the training and capability to bring war to Juarez and the other drug-running regions is clearly crossing both of these red lines.]

MEXICO CITY, AUG 28 (Reuters) – The current levels of violence in Mexico, with at least 28 000 murders in three and a half years in a country whose government hangs a fight against drug trafficking, show that “the state has lost control entire regions to the crime, “local experts concluded today.

“The core of organized crime are daily and are seeing that the state is in serious difficulties to retain control in certain areas,” he said Elena Azaola of the Center for Investigations and Superior Studies in Social Anthropology (CIES).

An investigation of the body Evalue Mexico on the level of citizen insecurity and violence has put the state of Chihuahua, which borders the United States, as the entity most insecure in the country. It is there that is located in Ciudad Juárez, regarded as one of the most dangerous places in the world.

“Four years ago, has the highest number of homicides in the country and also has the highest number of murders linked to organized criminal activity,” said Azaola, speaking of the state, which borders the U.S. and Texas accounted for a level of violence of 68.5%.

The report says that there are others in intense conflicts regarding illegal organizations are Baja California, Durango, Sinaloa, Michoacan and Guerrero, with rates of insecurity of 54.6%, 54.08%, 50.6%, 46.95% and 44% respectively.

An analysis of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) reported that the increase in violence shown by the ‘loss of control “in areas of different states, and military strategy to fight drug trafficking, adopted by President Felipe Calderon takes office, in December 2006, “is wrong.”

The report notes that “the problem is not confined to the northern border, because in Michoacan and Guerrero [the Pacific] there are entire regions in which neither the army nor the police have access, and are under the control of organized crime that operates in full impunity. It is a fact, the state has lost territories for these groups. ”

Researchers from the UNAM said that after years of operations promoted by federal troops in order to recover the controlled areas and decrease the grassroots support of illegal organizations, the results are “weak and partial.”

The discovery of the corpses of 72 Latin American immigrants killed on Tuesday in Tamaulipas – including at least one Brazilian – “confirms what we knew: that drug traffickers are embedded in other crimes such as trafficking in persons , kidnapping, extortion, but what is not said is that it also expanded the legal activities of trade, industry and services. ”

The Collective Security Analysis with Democracy, based on figures from the U.S. think-tank Brookings Institution, reported that “in Mexico is the total bid to control the drug market and, in consequence, large areas of territory and routes land and sea. ”

“To have a size of the territories lost by the state over the past ten years between 20 000 and 25 000 hectares were planted with poppy from which opium is obtained, which matches the country of Burma [Myanmar] and overcomes the most cultivated in Thailand in the 1970s, “the study said, adding that in the case of marijuana,” the numbers are higher, from 30 000 to 40 000 hectares a year. ”

The Executive Secretary of the National System of Public Security, Juan Miguel Alcantara, said yesterday that the crimes of kidnapping, extortion and robbery with violence in Mexico increased by 400% in recent years. Between January and June last year and the same period of 2010, the rate of kidnappings rose 14.7%, and grew 200% compared with the last four years.

China announces navy drill ahead of U.S. show of force

China announces navy drill ahead of U.S. show of force

BEIJING | Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:35pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Chinese navy will hold a live-ammunition exercise in the Yellow Sea, where Washington and Seoul announced their own plan for a military exercise that has riled Beijing, China’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.

The Ministry said a naval fleet will stage the drill this week from Wednesday to Saturday in the sea between China and the Korean peninsula, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“This is an annual routine training exercise, mainly involving the firing of shipboard artillery,” the Ministry said, according to Xinhua.

The announcement, nonetheless, follows a pattern of China publicizing its own military exercises in parallel to those held by Washington and Seoul, which Beijing has criticized as destabilizing at a time of tensions over North Korea.

China said its naval exercise will be held off its coastal city of Qingdao, meaning they will be well away from the U.S.-South Korea exercises in waters closer to the Korean coast.

The North’s secretive leader Kim Jong-il appears to be now visiting China, his country’s only major ally, Chinese and South Korean sources have said.

Friction between Beijing and Washington over Chinese maritime claims and U.S. naval activities has added to irritants between the two countries, which have also sparred this year over Taiwan, Tibet, the Internet and Chinese exchange rate policy.

The United States has criticized Chinese claims to swathes of the South China Sea, where Taiwan and several Southeast Asian states also assert sovereignty.

The United States has said it will conduct an anti-submarine warfare exercise with South Korea in the Yellow Sea in early September. That is intended to send a warning to North Korea that Washington is committed to defending its ally, South Korea, the Pentagon said this month.

Last month, the United States and South Korea held a naval drill in the Sea of Japan off the Korean peninsula, prompting condemnation from China, which answered with its own heavily publicized military exercises.

The July drill was initially scheduled to take place in the Yellow Sea, but was moved to the other side of the Korean peninsula after objections from Beijing.

The United States and South Korea accuse North Korea of torpedoing a South Korean naval ship in March, killing 46 sailors.

Chinese military newspapers have said the U.S.-led military exercises in the Yellow Sea would be unduly provocative at a time of volatile tensions over North Korea.

Chinese Rear Admiral Yang Yi also said that those exercises would be provocatively close to north China’s political and economic heartland.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Volcano erupts on Indonesia’s Sumatra after 400 years


Volcano erupts on Indonesia’s Sumatra after 400 years

Main Image

JAKARTA | Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:54am EDT

(Reuters) – A volcano erupted on the Indonesia island of Sumatra on Sunday for the first time in four centuries, sending smoke 1,500 meters (about 5,000 feet) into the air and prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents, officials said.

There were no reports of casualties so far and aviation in the area was unaffected.

Mount Sinabung in the north of Sumatra began erupting around midnight after rumbling for several days and lava was overflowing its crater, Surono, head of Indonesia’s vulcanology center, told Reuters. The volcano had been placed on red level, the highest alert.

“Despite decreasing activities since the eruption, we haven’t downgraded the status level,” said Surono, who goes by one name, like many Indonesians.

“This is the first time since 1600 that Sinabung erupted and we have little knowledge in terms on its eruptive patterns and general forms.”

Authorities evacuated at least 12,000 people from high risk areas on the slopes of the 2,460-meter volcano to temporary shelters. The area around the volcano is largely agricultural.

The Health Ministry put health posts on standby and distributed face masks, though there were no reports of casualties, according to Mudjiarto, head of the health ministry’s crisis center.

The nearest big city to the volcano is Medan and there were no disruptions to flights.

Indonesia is located on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and geological fault lines surrounding the Pacific Basin.

(Reporting by Karima Anjani, editing by Ron Popeski)

Russian Veteran of the Afghan War Speculates About U.S. Prospects

Ветеран афганской войны Владимир Костюченко активно поддерживает военные действия США в Афганистане. (Фото Александра Осиповича)

Ветеран афганской войны Владимир Костюченко активно поддерживает военные действия США в Афганистане. (Фото Александра Осиповича)

Vladimir Kostyuchenko, a former helicopter pilot, who served in the eighties, three term soldiers in the limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, led a small museum dedicated to the ten-year Soviet war in Afghanistan. 54-year-old retired colonel and deputy of the State Duma has actively supported the military action that led the U.S. in Afghanistan, as well as the decision to send additional troops to combat Taliban and al-Qaeda. (Photo by Alexander Osipovich)

Russian veterans of the Afghan people speculate about the prospects of the U.S. in the war against Taliban

In a country that is not discounted museum of military glory, the museum of Vladimir Kostyuchenko is perhaps one of the most modest in size.

"The government does not particularly help us," – says the 54-year-old retired colonel, showing a visitor his consisting of one room museum dedicated to the bitter and painful war, waged by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in 1979-1989, respectively, and which paved the way for today’s armed conflict between US-led coalition forces and the Taliban.

Pointing to the hanging on the wall in black and white photographs of Moscow officers and soldiers who have died in Afghanistan, Kostyuchenko said: Many of them died in the same places where the Taliban are now fighting the U.S. military.

Despite the high price of conflict, carries away more and more lives of American soldiers, President Barack Obama did the right thing that threw tens of thousands of additional troops to battle Taliban and al-Qaida, "according to Kostyuchenko, a former helicopter pilot, who served in the eighties three-term soldiers in the limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. "Withdraw the troops would be a mistake – he said. – If the troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan to the normalization of the situation there, it would be a step back, and a hotbed of terrorism only grows."

"The next time they will not destroy the buildings in the U.S. – he adds. – They blow up the bomb may be in the U.S., and perhaps in Russia. And it will be a tragedy."

In the eighties on Afghan soil turned the final stage of confrontation between Moscow and Washington during the Cold War: the CIA funded the mujahideen fighting the Soviet troops, supplying the Afghan resistance fighters MANPADS Stinger, of whom were killed, many of which served with Kostyuchenko helicopter pilots.

Today, veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan were in a strange position, welcoming their former enemies, the Americans in their current battle against Islamic extremism – a common enemy that threatens both Russia and the United States.

But, given their own difficult experiences of engagement with the Mujahideen in an attempt to support the weak regime in Kabul, veterans, of which Russia is called "Afghans" are extremely pessimistic about the prospects for the U.S. in Afghanistan. "As a military man, I understand why the Americans had to send troops to fight the Taliban and support them in this, – said Franz Klintsevich, the head of the Russian Union of Afghan Veterans, which brings together more than 400 thousand people across the country.

Yet the U.S. seems to be doomed to defeat in Afghanistan, said Franz Klintsevich, which is a State Duma deputy from the ruling party, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia. "This is a hopeless situation – he says, sitting in a leather armchair in his office in the State Duma building in central Moscow. – It is a fact. Efforts Obama steps are absolutely correct, but the situation is still hopeless."

53-year-old Franz Klintsevich served in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1988. and made an unusual career for a Soviet officer. Before the service in the army, he studied at the military academy Dari – the language spoken by many Afghans. While in Afghanistan, he was negotiating with groups of mujahidin, often risking his life met with leaders of the Afghan resistance in adobe houses, to agree on temporary truce.

It was then he realized with extraordinary clarity of the Afghan society and the enormous difficulties encountered Soviets. "After six months I realized that we are there to accomplish anything," – says Klintsevich.

The Obama administration has the country additional troops and pledged a massive offensive on the Taliban, before starting in July 2011 to withdraw the troops. While at home strategy Barack Obama attacked both the right and the left wing, according to Klintsevich, he shares its underlying logic. "We need to seriously, disarming strike. And then, gradually, by strengthening local authorities, to leave" – he says.

According Klintsevich, the U.S. and Russia have a shared responsibility for the tragedy of Afghanistan, where since the Soviet invasion in 1979 practically ceased hostilities. Although that war and started the USSR, the Americans contributed to its escalation, actively financing the mujahideen, among whom were future terrorists like Osama bin Laden, he said.

Now the two former Cold War adversaries have to deal with the monster, which they also produced. "For ten years we have had in Afghanistan, increased military generation. This is a generation who could not do except carry a weapon, shoot and get paid for it. And they got the money primarily from abroad", – Klintsevich said.

"In 1979, we jointly released the genie from the bottle, and get him back is not possible. We can only deal with them. And we need to fight it together."

In the museum, Vladimir Kostyuchenko, located on the first floor in the south-east of Moscow, virtually nothing is said about geopolitics. Sometimes a group of children come here to look at the exhibits, among which are made of papier-mache mannequin of Soviet soldiers and Mujahideen. The rest of the veterans gathered here to talk and remember the past.

Many Afghans have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and had difficulty adapting to civilian life, especially in the chaos that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union. "Many of them are addicted to drinking and cut down … Others went to the crime. They knew how to shoot and fight, that’s become killers," – says Kostyuchenko.

Sitting Museum Kostyuchenko very helpful to veterans. "We are one family, – he said. – Let’s gather together and talk, and feel better."

From the Editor:

Alexander Osipovich is a Moscow journalist specializing in coverage of regional events.

Another Fake Encounter Kill By Indian Police?

[Naxal (Communist Party) spokesman rejects government claims as cover-up.]

‘It Is A Cold Blooded Murder By AP Police’

The Maoists issue a press-statement vowing to “take vengeance” for the killings of “Azad (Cherukuri Rajkumar) and com. Hem Pandey”.

Azad was arrested at Nagpur on June 1st along with com. Hem Pandey

On June 1st, the notorious Andhra Pradesh Special Branch Police for its abductions and cold blooded murders, have arrested com. Azad, Polite Bureau member and Spokesperson of CPI (Maoist), and com. Hem Pandey, a zonal committee level comrade in Nagpur city around 11’o clock when they went to meet a comrade who was supposed to receive them from Dandakarnaya zone. Com. Azad reached Nagpur around 10 am on the fateful day along with com. Hem Pandey, after travelling from long distance. With specific information, the lawless goons of AP SIB abducted them, perhaps flown them in a helicopter, to Adilabad jungles near Maharashtra border and killed them point block and in cold blood.

We pay our red homage to our beloved comrades and vow to take vengeance of these killers.

Azad killed in ‘real’ gunfight, says Andhra police chief

2010-08-28 21:10:00
Last Updated: 2010-08-28 22:08:03
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh police chief R.R. Girish Kumar on Saturday denied that the top Maoist leader Azad was killed in a stage-managed gunfight and termed it as a ‘real and genuine’ one.

The director general of police said a section of vested interest groups at the behest of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) were making false and baseless allegations against the police by misquoting the contents of the post-mortem examination (PME) report and the first information report (FIR).

Mamata finds ally in Left on Azad killing

‘There are absolutely no contradictions either in PME report or in the FIR. The PME report is being falsely misinterpreted by Naxal-(Maoist) backed civil rights activists. There is absolutely nothing in the post mortem report to indicate that the firing was resorted to at point blank range,’ the police chief said in a statement.

An exchange of fire took place between police and armed Maoists in the jungles of Adilabad district on the intervening night of July 1 and 2 in which Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Hema Chandra Pandey alias Jitender died.

WB Minister questions Azad’s killing

Girish Kumar said the police have followed the National Human Rights Commission guidelines in letter and spirit. The PME report and all the other evidence will be subjected to scrutiny by competent judicial and quasi-judicial authorities, he added.

‘The Maoists having lost their most important cadre Azad, whom the Maoists themselves termed as mind and soul of the party, are unable to digest the loss and started resorting to Goebbelsian campaign by propagating utter falsehood repeatedly through their frontal organisations like APCLC (Andhra Pradesh Committee for Civil Liberties) etc.’

The police chief said such frontal organisations were defending Maoists, who have killed thousands of innocent civilians. He alleged that Azad had masterminded killings of thousands of people including women and children.

Maoist No. 3 Azad killed in Andhra

G Arun Kumar & Raghu Paithari, TNN

HYDERABAD/ADILABAD: Maoists might be striking with impunity in Chhattisgarh and neighbouring states, but the group suffered a massive blow when its third-ranking leader and chief spokesman Cherukuri Rajkumar, better known as Azad, was gunned down early Friday in an `encounter’ in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

Another Maoist, Sahdev, north Bastar district committe member, was also killed in the alleged exchange of fire in the Jogarpur forest area, 220km from Adilabad. The killing of Azad, 55, a politburo and central committee member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), is the biggest success the security agencies have notched up since the Naxals ramped up their offensive more than a year ago.

Police officers who saw the bodies said Azad was dressed casually and there were no injury marks on his face. The Naxal leader, last seen alive in 1980, carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head and had 16 cases pending against him. An AK-47, a 9mm pistol and two kit bags were found at the encounter site, police said.

Azad was touted as No. 3 after general secretary Ganapathi and second-in-command Kishenji in the Maoist party. He was a native of Pedasanagallu village in Movva mandal in Krishna district. His widow Seetakka is an underground cadre leader.

Police warned of relatiatory attacks, specially ahead of the July 27 by-elections for the 12 assembly seats in Telangana region. “The candidates should be wary of the areas where they plan to campaign,” a police officer said. A high alert has also been sounded in five states — Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand — as security forces fear large-scale counter-attacks by Maoists.

Although the official line was that Azad was killed in an encounter, highly-placed sources told TOI that a plan to nab him was executed by the Andhra State Intelligence Branch (SIB). Azad was reportedly picked up by SIB sleuths at Sitabardhi locality in Nagpur on Thursday around 11am when he came to meet a courier. “Azad was supposed to go with the courier to Dandakaranya region where he was to take classes for the cadre from Friday,” Katta Ramachandra Reddy alias Gudsa Usendi, Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee official spokesman said.

The district police version was simple. “Acting on a tip-off that a group of 20-25 Maoists were heading to Adilabad from Maharashtra, we sent a police team for search operations in Wankhidi area. They came across the Reds around 10.30pm on Thursday,” Adilabad SP P Pramod Kumar said.

The rebels fired at the police party, which retaliated. The exchange of fire continued till 2am. “It was early in the morning we recovered two bodies. A surrendered Maoist Sakkubai identified one of the two killed as Azad,” Kagaznagar DSP Sashidhar said.

Meanwhile, the AP High Court dismissed a writ plea filed by Maoist sympathizer and Virasam leader Varavara Rao who demanded Azad’s body be brought to Hyderabad and a postmortem done at Osmania hospital. Alleging that Azad was killed in a fake encounter, Varavara Rao said: “After tracking Azad in Nagpur, the police took him to the forests in Adilabad and killed him.”

Azad’s mother Cherukuri Karuna, in her 80s, was allowed by the court to see the body before the autopsy, which would be conducted at Mancherial area hospital on Saturday morning.

Azad was allegedly involved in the killing of Congress MLA Narsi Reddy in Narayanpet in Mahbubnagar on Aug 15, 2005, which led to re-imposition of the ban on the Maoists in AP. Talks with the Maoists, which were initiated by late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy when he was the CM, had broken down a few months before. AP first imposed a ban on Naxals in 1992. It was relaxed by N T Rama Rao, but Chandrababu Naidu re-imposed it in 1996. It was relaxed again by YSR in 2004.

Rumor Control Needed for the American and Hindu Press

[This report deals with a rumor starter by the NY Times, with an article by anti-Pakistan American writer, Selig Harrison (SEE: China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands).  No matter how I have searched the Web to find Harrison’s source for his report, I can find no info on Pakistan allowing  “7,000 to 11,000 soldiers” from the People’s Liberation Army to establish “de facto control of Gilgit region.”  Maybe Mr. Harrison has an inside source for this information on his “Friends of Pakistan” committee, which are reportedly no friends of Pakistan.  “Friends of Pakistan” seems to be a loud public advocate for the Balochistan Liberation Army, which has been identified as an American/Indian/Israeli/Russian front by researchers at News Central Asia.  (SEE: The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army)  This report from the Hindu press, based on the original Harrison report, Pak handing over de-facto control of Gilgit region to China, highlights the claim that China is constructing “22 secret tunnels,” either for a pipeline or to hide nuclear missiles.  The American and Indian presses want to break the Chinese/Pakistani friendship.]

China denies reports of rift with India

Agence France Presse

Beijing: China on Saturday denied reports that defence exchanges with India had been suspended by New Delhi in retaliation for Beijing refusing a visa to a top general from its neighbour.

‘China has not halted defence exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries,’ said a statement by China’s defence ministry.

The faxed statement was a response to an AFP request for comment on Indian press reports that New Delhi had cancelled defence exchanges and sent an ‘angry’ letter to Beijing.

The reports said New Delhi’s angry reaction came after China refused a visa for an Indian general responsible for the disputed region of Kashmir.

An atmosphere of suspicion surrounds relations between the two giants amid border disputes over Kashmir and the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

American Nation Building–Turning Homelands Into Slaughterhouses

[I struggled to find the words that convey the emotional disgust that filled me, as I read Layla’s post, but I realized that there were no human words for what we have done in Iraq.  “Brutal, monstrous, torture chambers, sadistic murder, demonic”….These are just words that have been used in the past to describe the sort of people we have employed and empowered in Iraq and elsewhere.  Mass-murderers, Nazis, fascists,…have earned these tags  before, but they don’t describe what has been done in Iraq.

In Iraq, the leader of the “free world” turned lives inside-out, made the use of torture acceptable to the world, instigated religious warfare, through terror attacks and assassinations by death squads, poisoned the very ground underneath their feet and the water they drink with deadly radioactive isotopes, and we have done all of this while remaining the leader of the “free world.”

In short, we have committed a campaign of murder and terror in Iraq while hiding behind a curtain of legitimacy, that would have made Adolph Hitler envious.

In spite of all of this, the world still follows our lead and accepts our crimes as we export this policy throughout the Muslim world.

That is the part that would have made the Devil himself smile, as we destroyed what was left humanity and human compassion and firmly established Hell on earth.]


Layla Anwar

August 27, 2010

I am devastated…I learned that my relative K. has been taken away again…

Every cell in my body is in revolt, enraged, and terribly sad…Mom said this time K.will not make out alive.

He was sitting with his family, breaking the fast, when the “Iraqi” forces, the shiite fascists barged in and arrested him…

It took 5 years for him to be released from his dirty cell, American cell, then Iraqi shiite sectarian cell, I did write about him and his torture, the man is over 65 years old, I am not sure we will see him again this time…

I don’t even know in which cell, in which dungeon he is lingering away…I don’t even know how much money they are going to extort again…

During his previous prison stay, no charges were pressed against him, he was tortured and rotted away for 5 years, his only crime he is an Arab Sunni, who said that Iraqis must rise against the American occupation…he said it…

How dare he say such a thing ?! One should never rise against the dumb fuck of an occupier, against the psychopaths from America, against the rapists and torturers of the new world order from North America, against the killers and the thieves from that shit hole of a country and that shit of a culture called America.

K.is gone again…my cells are red, bright red, burning with fire…that nothing will extinguish…

A whole wave of arrests is being carried by the Shiite sectarian shits, mainly in Adamiya – the Sunni area, arrests and arbitrary killings.

The whole of Baghdad knows, on the other hand that the latest spate of explosions is the work of none other but Maliki and his Shiite shits of
parties…He, that murderous clown said it not long ago – he said : I will never hand it over (it meaning power).

Well, I don’t really care about Maliki, or his Shiite shits, nor about that dumb British agent called Allawi, nor about the garbage in power who call themselves Iraqis, they are rot, they are vermin…each single one of them…all I care about is K. And I just have a feeling that last time I saw K. is indeed the last time…

I pray to be wrong…please Dear God make me wrong.

:: Article nr. 69238 sent on 27-aug-2010 23:54 ECT

Link: arabwomanblues.blogspot.com/2010/08/cells.html

Threatened USAID chief makes hasty exit from Pakistan

Threatened USAID chief makes hasty exit from Pakistan

In this photo taken on Aug. 26, 2010 an aerial view shows heavy flooding in…

Washington: USAID chief Rajiv Shah who was in Pakistan to oversee flood relief had to make a hasty exit from the country following a terrorist threat, a media report said on Saturday.

Shah was asked to immediately leave a relief camp in Pakistan’s Sukkur city on Wednesday by his security staff as he faced an ‘imminent threat’ from militants, Dawn reported on its website.

‘Within a few minutes of being there, our diplomatic security informed me that there were some suspicious individuals in the area and we needed to leave. So we tried to make as graceful and appropriate an exit as possible,’ Shah told reporters after returning to Washington.

UN: 1 million more displaced by Pakistan floods

Shah, who is administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said he had been speaking to flood victims who told him they had lost all their belongings, including shoes and their children were ‘malnourished and ill’.

‘I really did want to listen to people standing in line and learn about how we, together with our partners, can mount the most effective response on their behalf,’ Shah said.

Shah believed the militants went to the camp because he was there. He said it was ‘deeply saddening that others would choose to use these environments to propagate themselves’.

But he insisted the US was committed to a ‘strong and effective response in cooperation with the people of Pakistan’, including helping with reconstruction once floodwaters recede.

Shortly after Shah’s visit, a group linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group said in a statement that it was in charge of the camp and hence Shah was endorsing its activities.

Shah, however, denied the claim and said it is run by UN World Food Programme.

US officials have warned of threats by extremists against foreign workers helping in flood relief. Some 17 million Pakistanis are affected in the floods.

The US has mobilised over $200 million for flood relief, hoping its helping hand will dent anti-US sentiments in the country.

What is Russia’s Place in the Middle East?

What is Russia’s Place in the Middle East?

by Thierry Meyssan*

Caught up in a smoldering feud between its President and Prime Minister, Russia is not making the most of the historic opportunity to deploy in the Middle East. Russian elites were unable to draw up a strategy for that region when they had the chance and, now, they are no longer capable of it. In Thierry Meyssan’s view, Moscow is paralyzed, having failed both to take full advantage of the botched US “remodeling” of the Middle East and to fulfill the hopes raised by Vladimir Putin.

JPEG - 18.7 kb
President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. The understanding between the “30-year” friends has abruptly turned into an open war. Under these conditions, how could Moscow nurture any major ambition in the Middle East?

The Israeli defeat in the Summer of 2006 against the Lebanese resistance spelled the end of US supremacy in the Middle East. In only four years, the military, economic and diplomatic situation in that region underwent a complete change.

At present, the Turkey-Syria-Iran triangle has emerged as the leading pole while Russia and China expand their influence as that of the United States is fading. However, Moscow is reluctant to seize the opportunities it has at hand. First of all, its priority is not the Middle East; secondly because no project related to this region has the consensus of the Russian elites, finally because Middle East conflicts have sensitive implications for Russia’s own domestic problems. Let’s take stock of the situation.

2001-2006 and the myth of the remodeling of the “Great Middle East”

The Bush administration was able to rally the oil lobby, the military industrial complex and the Zionist movement around a huge project: securing control of the oil fields running from the Caspian Sea to the Horn of Africa by redesigning the political map based on small ethnic states. The zone, demarcated not according to its population but to the riches under its soil, was first called “Crescent Crisis” by University professor Bernard Lewis and later “Greater Middle East” by George W. Bush.

Washington did not skimp on its Middle East “remodeling” project. Huge sums of money were invested in buying local elites so that their personal interests would come before national interests in the context of a globalized economy. Most important was the deployment of a strong military force to Afghanistan and Iraq to hem in Iran, the main actor in the region that stands up to the empire. Maps of the new region were drawn up and circulated by the Chiefs of Staff. All countries in the region, including Washington’s allies, would be broken up into various emirates incapable of defending themselves, while vanquished Iraq would be divided into three federate states (a Kurdish, a Sunni and a Shiite).

When it seemed that nothing could prevent that domination process from going ahead, the Pentagon handed Israel the task of destroying all secondary fronts before attacking Iran. The aim was to wipe out the Lebanese Hezbollah and to overthrow the Syrian government. However, after submitting one third of the Lebanese territory to a bombing campaign the likes of which hadn’t seen since the Vietnam War, Israel was forced to retreat without having attained any of its goals. That defeat marked a strategic shift in the balance of forces.

Over the next months, US generals rebelled against the White House. They had lost control of the situation in Iraq and anticipated with apprehension the difficulties of a war against a well-armed and organized state—Iran—potentially setting the entire region ablaze. The generals, gathered around Admiral William Fallon and senior general Brent Scowcroft, forged an alliance with several realistic politicians who opposed the danger inherent in the excessive military deployment.

They used the Baker-Hamilton Commission to influence American voters until obtaining the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his replacement with one of their allies: Robert Gates. Subsequently, these same individuals hoisted Obama to the White House, on condition that Robert Gates would remain the Pentagon.

In fact, the US General Staff has lacked an alternative strategy ever since the “remodeling” failed. Its only concern is to stabilize its positions. US soldiers withdrew from large Iraqi cities and retreated to their bases. They left the management of Iraq’s Kurdish areas in the hands of the Israelis while the Arab zones were left to the Iranians. The US State Department has stopped handing out sumptuous gifts to regional leaders and has become increasingly avaricious in these times of economic crisis. Yesterday’s beholden are looking for new masters to feed them.

Tel Aviv is the only one to still believe that the US withdrawal is but an eclipse and that the “remodelling” will resume once the economic crisis is over.

Formation of the Turkey-Syria-Iran Triangle

Washington thought that the dismantlement of Iraq would be contagious. The Sunni-Shiite civil war (the Fitna, in Arabic) was supposed to pit Iran against Saudi Arabia and split the whole Arab-Muslim world. The virtual independence of Iraqi Kurdistan was expected to cause a Kurdish secession in Turkey, Syria and Iran.

But the opposite happened. The easing of US pressure on Iraq sealed the alliance among the enemy brothers of Turkey, Syria and Iran. All three realized that in order to survive they had to unite and that once united they could exert regional leadership. In fact, Turkey, Syria and Iran, together, cover all crucial aspects of the regional political spectrum. As the heir to the Ottoman empire, Turkey incarnates political Sunni Islam. As the only remaining Baathist state after the destruction of Iraq, Syria embodies secularism. And, finally, since the Khomeiny Revolution, Iran represents political Shi’ism.

In just a few months, Ankara, Damascus and Teheran opened their common borders, lowered customs tariffs and paved the way for a common market. This opening provided them with a breath of fresh air and a sudden economic growth which, despite the memories of prior disputes, has also garnered genuine grassroots support.

However, each of these three states has its own Achilles’ heel which the United States and Israel, as well as some of their neighbors, will attempt to exploit.

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Like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin has become an obstacle for Washington, which must be eliminated.
© Mehdi Ghasemi, Agencia ISNA

Iran’s Nuclear Program

For years, Tel Aviv and Washington have accused Iran of violating its obligations as signatory of the [nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty and of developing a secret military nuclear program. In the times of Shah Reza Pahlevi, both capitals – plus Paris – had set up a large program designed to provide Iran with the atomic bomb. In view of its history, it was generally accepted that Iran had no expansionit ambitions and that the great powers could safely provide it with such technology. A propaganda campaign based on deliberately fabricated information was later organized, painting current Iranian leaders as fanatic and capable of using the atomic bomb – if they had it – in an irrational manner, therefore posing a great threat to world peace.

Nevertheless, Iranian leaders affirm they have renounced to building, storing or using the atomic bomb, precisely due to ideological reasons. And their assertion to totally reliable. Let us simply recall what happened during the war led by the Iraq of Sadam Husein against the Iran of Imam Khomeiny.

When Baghdad unleashed a stream of missiles against Iranian cities, Teheran retaliated in the same way. But they were unguided missiles that were launched in any given direction and fell indicriminately. Imam Khomeiny intervened to denounce the use of such weapons by his own armed forces. Khomeiny stressed that good Muslims should refrain from shooting at the military if it entailed the risk of killing a large number of civilians. Khomeiny then prohibited the use of missiles against cities, which had an impact on the balance of forces, prolonged the war and brought new suffering to the Iranian people. At present, the successor of Khomeiny, Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Revolution, defends the same ethics in respect of nuclear weapons and it is unthinkable that any faction of the Iranian state would dare to violate the authority of the Supreme Leader and secretly build the atomic bomb.

The fact is that after the Iraqi offensive, Iran anticipated the eventual depletion of its hydrocarbon reserves and wanted to have a civil nuclear industry to guarantee its own long-term development and that of the rest of Third World nations. To this end, the Revolutionary Guards set up a special team of officials dedicated to scientific and technical research, which was organized in secret cities, according to the soviet model. These researchers are also working on other programs, such as those linked to conventional weapons. Iran has opened all its nuclear facilities for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but it refuses to give them access to research facilities dedicated to conventional weapons. We therefore find ourselves in a déjà vu situation : IAEA inspectors assure there is nothing to accuse Iran of, while the CIA and the Mossad insist—without any evidence—that Iran hides its illegal activities within its vast scientific research sector.This situation is reminiscent of the intoxication campaign previously carried out by the Bush administration, accusing the UN inspectors of not doing their job properly and of overlooking the WMD programs supposedly developed by Sadam Husein.

No country in the world has been the object of so many IAEA inspections and it is not serious to keep accusing Iran, but it hasn’t made a dent in the bad faith displayed by Washington and Tel Aviv. The fallacy about the alleged threat is crucial for the military industrial complex, which has for years implemented the Israeli program known as “antimissile shield” with US taxperyers’ money. Without the Iranian threat, there is no budget!

Teheran has undertaken two operations to get out of the trap which was set against it. First, it organized an international conference for a nuclear-free world, during which Iran finally expounded its position to its principal partners (on April 17). Iran also accepted the mediation by Brazil, a country whose president Lula da Silva aspires to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. President Lula had asked his US counterpart Barack Obama what kind of measures would be likely to reestablish confidence. Obama replied in writing that the compromise concluded in November 2009, but never ratified, would suffice. President Lula travelled to Moscow to make sure Russian President Dimitri Medvedev had the same opinion. President Medvedev publicly confirmed his view that the November 2009 compromise would be enough to solve the crisis. The next day, May 18, President Lula co-signed with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a document that, from all perspectives, met the demands made by the United States and Russia. But the White House and the Kremlin did an about-face, going back on their position, and denounced the guarantees offered by the new document as insufficient.

However, there is no significant difference between the document negotiated in November 2009 and the one ratified [by Iran, Brazil and Turkey] in May 2010.

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) is striving to restore his country’s independence in the face of US tutelage. By opening his country to Russian trade, the Turkish PM intends to balance international relations. His foreing minister Ahmet Davutoglu (right) is trying to solve, one by one, the conflicts inherited from the past, which hinder Ankara’s scope of action.
© Kremlin Press Service

Turkey’s liabilities

Turkey inherited from its past a large number of problems with its minorities and neighbors; the United States has been fueling these problems for decades to keep Turkey under its thumb. Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, a theorist of neo-ottomanism and new Turkish foreign minister, has drawn up a foreign policy aimed, in the first place, at freeing Turkey from the endless conflicts bogging it down, as well as at multiplying its alliances with various intergovernmental institutions.

The dispute with Syria was the first to be solved. Damascus stopped using the Kurds and abandoned its claim over the Hatay province. In return, Ankara yielded on the division of river waters and helped Damascus to come out of its diplomatic isolation; it even organized direct negotiations with Tel Aviv, which occupies the Syrian Golan. Syrian President Bachar el-Assad was received in Turkey (in 2004) and the Turkish President Abdullah Gull was welcomed in Syria (in 2009). A Strategic Cooperation Council was set up by the two countries.

As for Iraq, Ankara had opposed an invasion of this country by the Anglo-Americans (in 2003). It banned the United States from using the NATO bases on Turkish territory to attack Bagdad, thus upsetting Washington and delaying the start of the war. When the Anglo-Americans formally transferred power to the Iraqis, Ankara favored the electoral process and encouraged the Turkmen minority to take part in the vote. Later, Turkey relaxed border controls and boosted bilateral trade. There is only one aspect marring this panorama: relations between Ankara and the Bagdad national government are excellent, but they are chaotic with the Kurdish regional government of Erbil. The Turkish army even took the liberty of persecuting the PKK separatists inside Iraqi territory—needless to say, with the support of the Pentagon and under its control. Be that as it may, an accord was signed to guarantee the export of Iraqi oil through the Turkish harbor of Ceyhan.

Ankara took a series of initiatives to put an end to the secular conflict with the Armenians. Resorting to “football diplomacy”, Ankara acknowledged the 1915 massacre (but refused the term ‘genocide’), and managed to establish diplomatic relations with Erevan, while it seeks a solution to the High Karabaj conflict. Nevertheless, Armenia suspended the ratification of the Zurich bi-party accord.

Turkey’s liability in relation to Greece and Cyprus is also very significant. The division of the Aegean Sea has not yet been clarified and the Turkish army is still occupying Northern Cyprus. Ankara has proposed different measures to reestablish confidence, particularly the mutual reopening of harbors and airports. But relations are far from being normalized and, for the time being, Ankara does not appear willing to abandon the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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Russian President Medvedev travelled to Syria to negotiate the renovation and expansion of facilities offered to the Russian fleet. As a result, the Syrian port of Tartus could host, over the next three years, Russian submarines and destroyers. At the service of which strategy?
© Kremlin Press Service

Syria’s diplomatic isolation

Washington has accused Syria of continuing its war against Israel through various intermediaries: Iran’s secret services, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas. The United States thus falsely blamed Syrian President Bachar el Assad of having ordered the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and had a Special Penal Court set up to judge the Syrian President.

With astonishing ability, Bachar el-Assad, who had been depicted as a conceited and totally incompetent “daddy’s boy”, managed to wiggle out of that corner without making concessions or firing a single shot. The testimonies of his accusers wilted one after the other, and Saad Hariri, the son of the late Hariri, stopped demanding his arrest and even paid him a friendly visit in Damascus. Nobody wants to finance the Special Court any more and it is possible that the UN might decide to dismantle it even before it convenes, unless it will be used as a forum to accuse Hezbollah.

Finally, in response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s injunctions to break relations with Iran and with Hezbollah, Bachar el-Assad organized a surprise Summit meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and with the top Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

What about Russia?

The consolidation of the Turkey-Syria-Iran triangle is a consequence of US and Israeli military power decline. The vacuum created is being filled by others.

China has become Iran’s first commercial partner and draws on the expertise of the Revolutionary Guards to overcome the hurdles set up by the CIA in Africa. It also gives military back-up, as discreet as it is effective, to Hezbollah (which it probably equipped with land-to-air missiles and guiding systems to counter interference) and to Hamas (which opened a representation office in Pekin). However, China is advancing very slowly and cautiously on the Middle East stage where it has no intention of playing a decisive role.

All expectations point in Moscow’s direction, which has been absent from the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia wants to recover its former position of world power, but is reluctant to make a move before having solved the problems it currently faces in the former Warsaw Pact zone. The main drawback is that the Russian elites have no alternative policy to replace the US “remodeling” project and are stuck on precisely the same problem as the United Sates: in view of the shift in the regional power correlation, it is no longer possible to implement a balanced policy between Israel and the Arab countries. Any involvement in the region implies, sooner or later, a rupture with the Zionist regime.

Moscow’s clock stopped in 1991, at the moment when the Madrid Conference took place. Moscow has not yet registered the failure of the Oslo (signed in 1993) and the Wabi Araba (1994) accords in terms of implementing the so-called “Two-State Solution”, which is no longer viable. The only peaceful option is the one implemented by South Africa: the abandonment of Apartheid and the recognition of a single nationality for all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike; and the reinstatement of a real democracy based on the principle of “one man, one vote.” That is already the official position adopted by Syria and Iran, which will soon be embraced also by Turkey.

The great diplomatic conference on the Middle East that the Kremlin wanted to organize in Moscow in 2009, and which was both announced at the Annapolis Summit and confirmed by several UN resolutions, never took place. Russia passed up its opportunity to act.

Those Russian elites which still enjoy great prestige in the Middle East, no longer frequent the region; they fantasize about it more than they understand it. In the 1990s, they were enthusiastic over the romantic theories of anthropologist Lev Gumilev and were in tune with Turkey, the only nation which, similar to Russia, is both European and Asian. Then, they fell for the geo-political charisma of Alexander Dugin, who detested western materialism, thought that Turkey was contaminated by western values, and was mesmerized by the asceticism of the Iranian Revolution.

However, that momentum evaporated in Chechnya before it began to materialize. Russia was brutally confronted with a form of religious extremism that received undercover support from the United States and was fueled by the Turkish and Saudi secret services. As a consequence, any alliance with a Muslim state seemed risky and dangerous. And when peace was reestablished in Grozny, Russia was unable, or did not want, to play on its colonial heritage. According to the President of the Islamic Committee of Russia, Gaidar Zhemal, Russia cannot aspire to become an euro-Asian nation and at the same time pretend that nothing happened nor can it continue to view itself as an orthodox state which is protecting its turbulent Muslim brothers. Russia had—and still has—to define itself by considering orthodox and Muslims as equals.

Rather than leaving for tomorrow the solution to the problems concerning minorities, and postponing for the day after tomorrow its involvement in the Middle East, Russia could consider interacting with Muslim partners abroad, as reliable third-party players, with a view to establishing an internal dialogue. The Syria of Bachar el-Assad constitutes a model of a post-socialist state on its way to democratization that has been able to preserve its lay institutions, has allowed the flourishing of major religions and their various ramifications, including hardcore Wahhabism, while also managing to preserve social peace.

The economic attraction

For the time being, the Russian elites are ignoring the warning issued by former Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces, General Leonid Ivashov, about the need to establish alliances in Asia and in the Middle East, in the face of US imperialism. As noted by political analyst Gleb Pavlovski, they prefer to think that geo-political antagonism will dissipate thanks to economic globalization. They also regard the Middle East primarily as a market.

President Dimitri Medvedev has recently concluded a tour that took him to Damascus and Ankara. He lifted visa requirements and opened the doors of the burgeoning common market (Turkey, Syria, Iran + Lebanon) for Russian companies. He also favored the sale of a large arsenal to all these countries. In particular, he negotiated the ten-year construction of nuclear power plants. Finally, he took advantage of Turkey’s strategic evolution to obtain support for the transit of Russia’s hydrocarbons. A Russian land oil pipeline would connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and Ankara might be attracted to the transnational South Stream gas pipeline project.

The limits of Russia’s involvement

Outside of the economic sphere, it is hard for Moscow to consolidate its position. Former Soviet naval bases in Syria have been reactivated and opened to the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean, all the more since naval deployment in the Black Sea is expected to be reduced. It is all happening as if Moscow were trying to gain time and postpone the Israeli issue.

The fact is that any condemnation [by Russia] of Jewish colonialism may revive internal problems. In the first place because, to express it in a caricatural and unflattering manner, Israeli apartheid is reminiscent of Russia’s treatment of the Chechnyans; and also because Russia is acting under the burden of a historical complex: that of anti-Semitism. Vladimir Putin has tried on several occasions to turn the page through symbolic gestures such as appointing a rabbi to the army, but Russia keeps feeling uncomfortable with this issue.

However, Russia ought to stop playing the waiting game; the dice have been tossed and Russia must face the consequences once and for all. Israel played a crucial role in arming and training the Georgian troops that attacked and killed Russian citizens in Southern Ossetia. In response, Georgia’s Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili, a double Israeli-Georgian national, rented two military air bases to the Israeli Tsahal enabling it to attack Iran from a closer distance. Moscow stood stoically by without lifting a finger against Israel.

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President of the Russian Federation Dimitri Medvedev discusses the possible reception of former Soviet refugees returning from Israel with the governor of the Jewish autonomous Oblast of Birodiyan, Alexander Vinnikov (2 July 2010).
© Kremlin Press Service

The Middle East looked upon this lack of reaction with surprise. It is true that Tel Aviv has numerous relations with the Russian elites, networking with them by offering to some of the most influential people material privileges in Israel. But, Moscow has comparatively many more contacts in Israel, considering the presence of some one million Soviets immigrants. Conceivably, Moscow could bring to the fore some personality capable of playing in occupied Palestine the role played by Frederik de Klerk in South Africa: to abolish Apartheid and establish democracy in the heart of one single state. With this scenario in mind, Dimitri Medvedev anticipates a possible exodus of Israeli Jews who would not tolerate the new situation. Therefore, he blocked the formerly announced merger between the Krai of Jabarovsk with the autonomous Jewish Oblast of Birobidyan. The Russian president, who comes from a Jewish family and converted to the Russian Orthodox religion, plans to reactivate that administrative entity founded by Stalin in 1934 as an alternative to the creation of the State of Israel. What used to be a Jewish republic within the former Soviet Union could become the future home to refugees, who would certainly be welcomed since Russia is experiencing a plummeting demographic decline.

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6. Inspired on the steps given by his ancestors, Russian president Medvedev travelled to Birobidyan to reactivate the traditions of the autonomous Jewish Oblast. Mehdi Ghasemi, ISNA Agency
© Kremlin Press Service

Ultimately, it is Russia’s procrastinations with respect to Iran’s nuclear program that surprise the most. It is a fact that Iranian businessmen have constantly questioned the bills submitted for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant. It is also true that the Persians have become sensitive after years of Anglo-American interference. But the Kremlim hasn’t stopped blowing hot and cold. President Medvedev speaks with the West and pledges Russia’s support in favor of the UN sanctions voted by the Security Council. Meanwhile, Putin assures the Iranians that Russia will not leave them unshielded if they accept to play the game of transparency. On the ground, officials are wondering whether the two leaders have split their roles according to the interlocutors in order to jack up the bids. Or, whether Russia has been paralysed by a conflict brewing at the apex of power? In reality, this is what appears to be happening: the Medvedev-Putin duo has gradually deteriorated and their relationship has abruptly turned into a fratricidal war.

Russian diplomacy had led the Non-Aligned countries to believe that a fourth resolution adopted by the UN Security Council condemning Iran would be preferable to the adoption of unilateral measures by the United States or the European Union. It was wrong since Washington and Brussels would automatically use the UN resolution to justify their own unilateral and additional sanctions.

During a joint press Conference, held on May 14, with his Brazilian counterpart, President Medvedev indicated that he had reached a common position with President Obama during a phone conversation: If Iran accepted the proposal made [in November 2009] to enrich uranium abroad, there would be no reason to adopt sanctions at the Security Council. But when Iran unexpectedly signed the Teheran Protocol with Brazil and Turkey, Washington withdrew and Moscow hurriedly followed suit, breaching its commitment.

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On 14 May 2010, Russian president Medvedev publicly vowed his support for the initiative by his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva to solve the Iranian crisis. Some days later, Medvedev aligned with the United States and ordered his ambassador at the UN to vote in favor of Resolution 1929, thus reneging on his previous promise.
© Kremlin Press Service

It is a fact that Russia’s permanent representative at the Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, drained resolution 1929 of much of its substance by preventing a total energy embargo … but he nevertheless voted in favor. Short of being effective, the resolution is altogether an outrage for Iran, for Brazil, for Turkey as well as for all the Non-Aligned states that support Teheran’s position. The resolution is all the more shocking since it violates the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which guarantee to all signatory countries the right to enrich uranium. Resolution 1929 of the UN Security Council denies Iran that right. Up to now Russia seemed to be the defender of international law. But it is not any longer. The Non-Aligned countries in general, and Iran in particular, have interpreted the Russian vote as the will on the part of a great power to prevent emerging powers from attaining the energy independence they need for their economic development. And it will be difficult to make them forget this Russian faux pas.

 Thierry Meyssan
French political analyst, founder and chairman of the Voltaire 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.
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Obama’s US Assassination Program? Part 1

Sound too conspiratorial to be true? Like the cover-up ops of spy novels? Well, it’s reality. And it is possibly the most bizarre, inhumane and abusive way that the White House is expanding its power over the American people.

It’s not an extremist belief or theory of the far right. It’s a fact that has been confirmed by The New York Times, The Washington Post and MSNBC and even documented by the far-left online magazine Salon.com.

And it’s the gravest nightmare of U.S. citizens and abandonment of our Constitution to date: a presidential assassination program in which U.S. citizens are in the literal scopes of the executive branch based upon nothing more than allegations of terrorism involvement as the branch defines it.
Of course, the CIA has executed covert assassinations of foreigners for decades. But tragically, Obama is expanding this program to include American, non-Islamic, stateside, homegrown terrorists.

It all started in January, when The Washington Post reported: “As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a (Yemeni) compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture.”

“A shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing”?

That’s right. No arrest. No Miranda rights. No due process. No trial. Just a bullet.

While the Obama administration continues its Bush-blaming for the economy, it is mega-morphing Bush policy in covert ops overseas, which was, according to the Post, “to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests.”

Well, in recent weeks, the Obama administration has taken this overseas killing op to a new low: stateside assassinations.

A former director of national intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, confessed before Congress: “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community. If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

If you are wondering who the “we” are to whom Adm. Blair refers, they are Smith, Wesson and the White House.

Now we know what deputy national security adviser John Brennan meant when he admitted in May, “And under President Obama, we have built upon the work of the previous administration and have accelerated efforts in many areas.” (Remember when Bush’s eavesdropping on U.S. citizens seemed harsh?)

Brennan further explained then that the problem of homegrown terrorists ranks as a top priority because of the increasing number of U.S. individuals who have become “captivated by extremist ideology or causes.” He went on to say, “There are … dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world and … are very concerning to us.”

Do you think “different parts of the world” doesn’t include their country of origin?

Conveniently, the Obama administration also is integrating a pervasive plan to ensure the termination of radicals as the feds deem them abroad and domestic, too, with the resurrection of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. Also known as H.R. 1955, it was passed in the House by the Democratic majority but was rejected by the Senate.

Everyone thought that legislation was dead until the Obama administration resurrected its tenets in its 52-page “National Security Strategy,” released in May. So alarming is the feds’ potential abuse of power that officials from London to the Kremlin are recognizing the threat to U.S. citizens.

The European Union Times reported, “Foreign Ministry reports circulating in the Kremlin today are warning that an already explosive situation in the United States is about to get a whole lot worse as a new law put forth by President Obama is said capable of seeing up to 500,000 American citizens jailed for the crime of opposing their government.”

Woodrow Wilson, during his reign as president, incarcerated more than 2,000 U.S. citizens for speaking out against the government. And now for the first time since, a U.S. president is highlighting the threats of homegrown terror and literally hunting U.S. citizens as terrorists. One senior administration official said, “For the first time since 9/11, the (national security strategy) integrates homeland security and national security.”

And what type of “integration” does that entail?

President Obama explained in an often overlooked statement within the “National Security Strategy”: “We are now moving beyond traditional distinctions between homeland and national security. … This includes a determination to prevent terrorist attacks against the American people by fully coordinating the actions that we take abroad with the actions and precautions that we take at home.”

Could it be any clearer? Right out of the horse’s mouth. Or do I need to spell out what “fully coordinating the actions that we take abroad with the actions and precautions that we take at home” means?

Remember the words “a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing”?

That’s right. No arrest. No Miranda rights. No due process. No trial. Just a bullet.

In Part 2 next week, I will give further evidence of “Obama’s U.S. assassination program” and explain why I say the administration is going after non-Islamic stateside radicals. Check out other reasons I oppose the Obama administration in my new PSA (“patriot service announcement”) at http://www.BlackBeltPatriotism.com.

Mr. Norris is a Martial arts master, actor, and concerned citizen.

BP Gulf Oil Spill Photos Show What BP Doesn’t Want You To See,

BP Gulf Oil Spill Photos Show What BP Doesn’t Want You To See,

The Real Reason Constitution Has Been Suspended

Posted by Alexander Higgins – July 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm – Permalink – Source www.sott.net

BP Gulf Oil Spill Fish Kill

Washington’s blog points us to the the photos below showing just why BP and the Federal Government have suspended the constitution and has made it a felony crime punishable by jail time and a $40,000 fine for anyone that approaches boom, spill, workers or clean up vessels.

The pure devastation in the photos clearly show what BP doesn’t want you to see which is also the reason for the BP ran No-Fly zone over the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

The Bottom line the Federal Government and BP has decided it is not in their best interests to allow too many people keep seeing a steady stream of photos like the ones below.

Until the no-fly zone and the ban on boom, spill, workers and clean up vessels is lifted we just may not see too many more photos like these.

A pod of Bottlenose dolphins swim under the oily water Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana, Thursday, May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This is a photo of a dolphin pulled from the gulf….

Below you will find a picture of millions of dead fish. These are small fish, possible baby fish. They are slowly washing ashore and towards the ports. Over 9,000 species of animals will be under threat of extinction in this region, we might not ever see again on the planet. Click the image to enlarge it.

No that’s not asphalt… its millions of dead fish.

A Greenpeace activist steps through oil on a beach along the Gulf of Mexico on May 20, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A Brown Pelican sits in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A pair of Brown Pelicans, covered in oil, sit on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast, Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A dead turtle floats on a pool of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in Barataria Bay off the coast of Louisiana Monday, June, 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A sea bird soaked in oil sits in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A Brown Pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A bird covered in oil flails in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A Brown Pelican is mired in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A Brown Pelican covered in oil sits on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A ship’s wake cuts through a pattern of oil near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill pools against the Louisiana coast along Barataria Bay Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

APTN photographer Rich Matthews dives into the water to take a closer look at oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on June 7, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico south of Venice, Louisiana. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A dead Northern Gannet covered in oil lies along Grand Isle Beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana May 21, 2010. A member of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research tagged the spot of the location of the incident. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

Collected oil burns on the water in this aerial view seven miles northeast of the Deepwater Horizon site over the Gulf of Mexico, May 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

Oil is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico about six miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana May 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

A sea turtle is mired in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Grand Terre Island, Louisiana June 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Lee Celano)

Oil floats around booms and through marshlands of the Mississippi Delta on May 23, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

Maura Wood, Senior Program Manager of Coastal Louisiana Restoration for the National Wildlife Federation takes a sample of water in a heavily oiled marsh near Pass a Loutre, Louisiana on May 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Lee Celano)

A suction hose is used to remove oil washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon spill, Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in Belle Terre, Louisiana. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) #

An oil-soaked pelican takes flight after Louisiana Fish and Wildlife employees tried to corral him on an island in Barataria Bay on Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Oil is scooped out of a marsh impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Redfish Bay along the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A sheen of oil sits on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico close to the site of the BP oil spill as a boat uses a containment boom to gather the oil to be burned off approximately 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana May 18, 2010 (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

Crews try to clean an island covered in oil on the south part of East Bay May 23, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

A ship maneuvers and sprays water near a rig in heavy surface oil in this aerial view over the Gulf of Mexico May 18, 2010, as oil continues to leak from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

An outboard boat motor breaks up a thick layer of oil as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser toured the oil-impacted marsh of Pass a Loutre on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill coats marsh grass at the Louisiana coast along Barataria Bay Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A brown pelican coated in heavy oil wallows in the surf June 4, 2010 on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A shrimp boat is used to collect oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana on May 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A helicopter flies over surface oil in this aerial view over the Gulf of Mexico, May 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace)

A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, along the the coast of Louisiana on Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Seawater covered with thick black oil splashes up in brown-stained whitecaps off the side of the supply vessel Joe Griffin at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A tugboat moves through the oil slick on May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. (Michael B. Watkins/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Oil burns during a controlled fire May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing oil burns after the sinking, and subsequent massive oil leak, from the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform off the coast of Louisiana. (Justin E. Stumberg/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico, May 6, 2010. The U.S. Coast Guard working in partnership with BP PLC, local residents, and other federal agencies conducted the “in situ burn” to aid in preventing the spread of oil. (REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg-US Navy)

The crew of a Basler BT-67 fixed wing aircraft releases oil dispersant over parts of the oil spill off the shore of Louisiana in this May 5, 2010 photograph. (REUTERS/Stephen Lehmann/U.S. Coast Guard)

A man holds a plastic bag with seawater and oil from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill south of Freemason Island, Louisiana May 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Oily water is seen off the side of the Joe Griffin supply vessel at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

One of the New harbor Islands is protected by two oil booms against the oil slick that has passed inside of the protective barrier formed by the Chandeleur Islands, as cleanup operations continue for the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster off Louisiana, on May 10, 2010. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Blobs of oil from the massive spill float on the surface of the water on May 5, 2010 in Breton and Chandeleur sounds off the coast of Louisiana. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mississippi River water (left) meets sea water and an oil slick that has passed inside of the protective barrier formed by the Chandeleur Islands, off the coast of Louisiana, on May 7, 2010. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill makes its way to shore on Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana on May 7, 2010. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Vernon Bryant)

This image provided by NASA shows the Mississippi Delta (top right) and the growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on May 5, 2010. Photo was taken by International Space Station Expedition 23 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi. (AP Photo/NASA – Soichi Noguchi)

Oil and oil sheen are seen moving past an oil rig, top right, in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana, Wednesday, May 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

An oil soaked bird struggles against the oil slicked side of the HOS Iron Horse supply vessel at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, May 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra)

Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico May 7, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg/Released)

Bruce Padilla, left, and Adam Shaw, Louisiana oilfield divers, return through blackened seawater from watching a controlled oil burn in the Gulf of Mexico May 7, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg/Released)

Oil, scooped up with a bucket from the Gulf of Mexico off the side of the supply vessel Joe Griffin, coats the hands of an AP reporter at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, May 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Shrimp boats are used to collect oil with booms in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana, Wednesday, May 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)





By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

I am not against war.  I am a combat veteran.  I sit on my tail, watch TV, go to restaurants and have fond delusional memories about Vietnam.  In my bedroom closet, I have a trash bag.  It is never opened, it has been there for years.  It has, along with other “military mementos,”  a small green “government issued” address book.  Marines, long ago, scrawled their names in it.  Half of them never came back from Vietnam, never had children, grandchildren, got to finish college or even high school.  Many, maybe most,  had never had sex, owned a car  or travelled more than 50 miles from home.

Their lives were stolen, stolen then and we are doing it every day, maybe not the numbers, not on such a grand scale, but the lessons of Vietnam have more than been forgotten.  The brightest time in American history, another “greatest generation” may well have been the one that stopped an evil and corrupt war.  That generation saw the cost.  Only the young, the young and the parents of those the war destroyed knew Vietnam.  America simply turned away, a nation of, do we call them, do we call us, cowards?  Is there another term?

Of the two to three million that survived, a hundred thousand were seriously physically disabled and a million more suffered lifelong Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Not long after coming home, another 50,000 would die, some of mysterious illnesses, many by suicide.  50,000 or more went to prison, some for a few years, some are still there.  One of my closest friends, LCpl. Daniel K. Staggs, winner of the Silver Star, would die in prison.  A stabbing.

By 1972, only a few troops were in Vietnam, fighting a “rear guard” holding action while America pretended it had won “peace with honor” at the bargaining table in Paris.  A monster named Henry Kissinger won a Nobel Prize for that farce.  Have we no shame?

The vast majority of Americans didn’t have 30 seconds a day to watch news about the war, not a minute a month to think about it, much less do something, take a stand for what was right.  These are the people that love to hear about hippies and airport spitters.  These people love Ollie North and John McCain, cartoon heroes for a nation too dead inside to care.  Scary terrorists and endless wars are bread and butter for the “drugstore Marine” and “Hanoi John.”  You don’t know them by these names, the monikers they were tagged with by their fellow officers after Vietnam?

Carefully hear what they say, that pair of bloated peddlers of death.  Are they continually undermining America through the fear and mistrust their every word sews while they rake in millions?  Why are men like this whose pasts reek of the worst abuses imaginable, allowed to dishonor our dead while strutting around playing hero?  Why has their real history been buried though the stench remains?

Vietnam had real heroes.  They aren’t flying in private jets, eating at the finest restaurants, 58,000 of them came home dead, many in pieces, some burned to cinders.

It wasn’t just the 58,000 dead or the 50,000 soon to die or the maimed or damaged, the imprisoned or the endless thousands poisoned with Agent Orange.  Oh, did we tell you that Agent Orange may have killed more Vietnam veterans than total combat deaths in World War II?

According to Israeli officials, there are more holocaust survivors than living Vietnam veterans.

This isn’t news, no more than dozens dying each day from Gulf War Illness,no more than the Iraq/Afghanistan vet than commits suicide every 36 hours.

Vietnam was a scam.  The South Vietnamese government was brutal and corrupt, hated by all.  North Vietnam was never part of a communist conspiracy to infiltrate America and force the evils of communism on our children.

When more documents are declassified and the lying slows down, I am absolutely certain that the first Gulf War is going to turn out to be a scam also.  It is out there, the reason Saddam invaded Kuwait, and when it comes out, the Americans responsible for misleading us into war after war after war will will die of old age, honored and respected with their offshore bank accounts brimming with blood money.

The countless dead were forgotten long ago being the “un-newsworthy” lot they were.

We already know, we and our gutless British cousins, that Bush and Blair and their cronies sent hundreds of thousands to war in 2003 based on, not only lies, but a plot to undermine the democratic freedoms of both governments and prestage the western world in their own image, totalitarian, interventionist and totally owned and operated by an international cabal of financial criminals.

Take a look at politics.  The same criminal empire controls, not only each party but they “throw the bums out” gang as well.  Billionaire Bush crony David Koch, a shadowy Israeli-American is underwriting the “grass roots” movement to restore our constitution.  He is also the same person who funded those who tore it apart.

Those who think they are electing “Tea Party” candidates will have a rude awakening.  When the bill comes due, they will be dancing to the same tune.

Recent as it was, few Americans realize what the Gulf War really brought us.  We got that “New World Order” that “Pappy” Bush promised us in his “points of light” speech.

”How do you like it so far?”

What we got was an end to America as we know it, a government taking orders from Tel Aviv and a “New World Order” economy now openly looting the world, eating away even America’s standard of living and flushing it down the toilet, turning the United States into a debt-ridden third world hell hole.

The Romans gave away bread and amused the public with blood drenched spectacles in the arena.  Our “bread and circuses” game is Islamophobia, phony “self induced” terrorism and exploitation of sub-human racial hatreds thinly veiled under the childish misnomer of “conservatism.”  Anyone who isn’t suspicious of 9/11, the TV spectacular whose original cast of “19″ now includes thousands, as years


of credible research and investigation has proven, will gladly send others to die in their name around the world.  Ignorance is complicity.  Anyone who doesn’t realize that the Bush cover story, now being resold under the “Ground Zero Mosque” label, is the most outlandish “conspiracy theory” in history is capable of cheerleading for any sociopathic political clown from Caligula to Hitler to Cheney.

We have to end our war because America can no longer trust itself.  With all of Americas media outlets owned by defense firms, lets call them “war profiteers” and be honest about it or citizens of the State of Israel, a “huckster” nation, smaller than Vermont that is the third largest weapons exporter in the world, no American can be certain about anything, what is true or false, what is fact, what is myth.  Every day every American is told two things.  Don’t trust your government.  Don’t trust your press.  Both things are correct.

The problem, of course, is that those that control the message control both the government and the press.  The “new” government they continually offer is always the “old government” and the new lies are always the old lies, enemies, new plots, new fears.

If what you believe is based on what you hear and see, whether it is an airplane crashing into a building or someone telling you that ending years of corrupt tax abatements for billionaires is going to end the world, something is always being kept from you.  That something is what is true, what is real.  “But I saw it!”  Yes, you saw something then someone explained it all.  What you want to do is ask yourself, who made money from this?  Who can control the news?

Where do the real conspirators live, caves in Afghanistan or inside the Beltway in Washington or the coffee shops of Tel Aviv.  Did I forget London?

A few months ago, we learned that 824,000 Americans have top secret security clearances.  How much do you think those nearly one million people know that would shock or sicken you?   Are only 10,000 involved in illegal conspiracies?  What if every Israeli spy flushed at the same time, would the Great Lakes suddenly disappear?

I hope this isn’t news to you, but most of history’s wars were started with a “false flag” attack.  A government attacks its own people to justify what it, out of delusion, tells itself is going to be best for everyone in the long run.  The fact that billions, even trillions is made, not made, really stolen, is never spoken of.

Nobody attacks a nation with 70% of the world’s military might.  It would only attack itself, “with a little help from its friends.”

How is America dealing with Afghanistan?  Though a few lunatics are still running around talking about poor dead Osama bin Laden and imaginary Al Qaeda, the mysterious worldwide conspiracy of cab drivers, waiters and dishwashers, most Americans have forgotten Afghanistan.

Wasn’t there a Brad Pitt movie about Al Qaeda?  Think about the terrorist masterminds we manage to catch.  Doesn’t this remind you of something?

Didn’t we see this in the movie Fight Club?  What is the first rule of Fight Club?  I am not allowed to tell you.


Whenever Al Qaeda, the mythical “Fight Club” clone steps onto the scene, after the phony press reads their scripts, “Building 7 has just collapsed even though nothing hit it…..no wait a minute….oh…Building 7 is going to mysteriously collapse in two hours they are telling me now….(parody of BBC 9/11 “error”)

Many years ago, there was a popular TV series called Dallas.  The underlying story was about competition between two brothers one evil but fun and one good but boring as hell.  After a couple of seasons, one brother, Bobby Ewing, the boring one, tragically died.  The actor playing the part, Patrick Duffy, wanted to leave the show, thus his character was killed off.

The next season, Duffy reconsidered his decision.  The network simply raised him from the dead, begining an episode where he is suddenly alive again, taking a shower.


The BBC coverage of Building 7 at the World Trade Center is another “Bobby Ewing returns from the dead” thing.  Two episodes later, viewers will forget.  More Americans remember the shock of seeing Bobby Ewing alive in the shower than “accidentally” hearing the report of a major disaster than hadn’t happened yet.

What do you say of a generation of Americans who can’t say Palestinian without adding “terrorist” but watch cluster bombs being dropped on playgrounds in Gaza and are willing to accept it as “poor frightened Israel” protecting herself.  This is the kind of ignorance that begged 9/11 and was amply rewarded.  This is the kind of ignorance that will burn an American city to the ground with a “terrorist nuke” simply to remove Iran from competition in the oil and gas pipeline business.

Oh, newspapers don’t report such things, not on the sports pages anyway.

Millions of Americans are in a rage about an Islamic center being built in lower Manhattan because of sabre rattling by an Israeli run news organization commonly known as Fox.  Hundreds of hours have been spent railing at terrorists funding the project.  This week, a competing network, on a very popular news program, the genuinely humorous Daily Show with Jon Stewart, pointed out that the primary funding for what Fox News calls “the terrorist mosque” is one of the primary owners of Fox News.

I keep seeing Bobby Ewing in the shower and the lame BBC reporter telling about the building withering to the ground, as CBS News anchor, Dan Rather described it, “as though someone had planted dynamite.”

Over 40 years ago, Americans of conscience went to the streets to end a war.  They saved more than just the lives of American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians, they restored Americas honor.

Control of American education and media, whether by Zionists, right wing fanatics, thieving banksters or a coalition of “evildoers” combining all three, has attempted to rewrite history.  We are told mobs in airports attacked returning soldiers.  We are told thousands of Americans died because of protests, not because of Kissinger’s lies.

Those who know better are still alive, some still awake and too many silent.

A generation of soldiers, now men and women, return from war, maimed, crushed and thrown away.  21st century America sees nothing, not the corruption, the narcotics, the lies, the evil in what has gone on so long in the name of the people of the United States.

What is war?  All war is class struggle.  If we still had more communists around, they would remind us.  Rich people start wars, poor people die and resources are stolen, banks emptied and all of it hidden behind flag waving and childish scare tactics.  War is part of the grander plan.  Is war politics or is it economics?

At one point in the last 2 years, it was estimated there there were as few as 12 “potential Al Qaeda suspects” in Afghanistan.

The person reading my water meter is a “potential suspect.”  To a paranoid or law enforcement officer, anything that moves is a “person of interest.”  A “suspect” is a person of interest who isn’t sleeping or dead.

Thousands of such “suspects” have been kidnapped and tortured by the United States over the last decade.  The vast majority were released, some with millions in cash to shut them up, some died and a few were railroaded to criminal convictions based on false testimony and phony evidence.

Who would want to protest against that?  Would you want to die to defend that?  Your children already have.

Chinese chill sets in again, Kashmir the hot button

Chinese chill sets in again, Kashmir the hot button

New Delhi:

With Beijing declining a visa last month to Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal since he looks after Kashmir, a diplomatic row has broken out. New Delhi today said J&K is as sensitive a matter to India as Tibet is to China.New Delhi, sources said, has decided it will be firm-footed on the issue and will not let it go by without proper redressal. For now, New Delhi has decided to put all defence exchanges, including training exercises, between the two countries “on hold”.

China’s Ambassador to India Zhang Yang met officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in South Block today and the matter is understood to have come up for discussion. Yang is learnt to have assured the Indian side that he will convey their sentiments to the Chinese government. India already has issued a demarche on the matter.

On August 11, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, drawing strong protests from Beijing.

Acknowledging that the visa denial matter had raised concerns in the Indian government, sources today said the issue had “introduced further complexity” in India’s relationship with China. “The Chinese side was solely responsible for it. They have tied the knot and they have to untie it,” a source said.

“This incident is certainly tied to China’s position on J&K. They are regarding J&K as an issue which is yet to be sorted out between India and Pakistan and are questioning the status of the state. This issue concerns our sovereignty and is as sensitive to us as Tibet is to them,” government sources said.

Lt Gen Jaswal was slated to visit China in July this year. Sometime in the middle of July, the Indian authorities were told by their Chinese counterparts that it would be difficult to allow Jaswal’s visit since he looked after an area which was a cause of “difficulty” to the Chinese establishment.

In a letter dated July 21, the Chinese government told the Indian authorities that Jaswal’s command extends to sensitive areas and that the Chinese government issues different visas for those areas. The fact that China has been issuing stapled visas to Indian nationals from J&K has already generated some heat in the past and Beijing’s response implied a stapled visa for Jaswal.

By early August, New Delhi registered its protest and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao called Ambassador Zhang Yang to her office to discuss the matter. India’s Ambassador to China S Jaishankar, too, met the Chinese Vice-Minister and lodged a protest. New Delhi made it clear that this was not acceptable and consequences affecting defence ties between the two nations would follow if China did not redress the situation.

Beijing, however, responded by sticking to its original position on the matter. As per government sources, since reiteration of its stance was a “strong message” from China, it became important for New Delhi to signal to China in no uncertain terms that it was not “business as usual”. The Indian government then conveyed to China that it will halt all defence exchanges till the situation was redressed.

As an immediate fallout, India has declined permission to a senior Chinese Colonel and two Captains who were slated to visit India this month. While the Captains were to attend a course at an Indian Army centre in Pachmarhi, the Colonel, who has been a guest lecturer at the National Defence College in New Delhi earlier, was slated to attend a reunion.

The meetings of army personnel posted on the borders, however, will go on since they were “part of the structure evolved to maintain peace and tranquility”, sources said. Adding that the issue of stapled visas had been discussed previously with the Chinese authorities, sources said that the Indian side had conveyed its views on the subject.

Dalai Lama’s meeting with PM Manmohan Singh was nothing unusual: Aide

Dalai Lama’s meeting with PM Manmohan Singh was nothing unusual: Aide

Published: Saturday, Aug 21, 2010, 16:48 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS

The Dalai Lama’s top aide, Tempa Tsering, Saturday said the Tibetan spiritual leader made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week to thank him for the hospitality shown in the last five decades.

He said that there was nothing unusual about the meeting.

“He has been living in India for the past 50 years. There was nothing special about the meeting. He thanked the prime minister for the good care that India has taken of him during this period,” Kalon Tempa Tsering, the Dalai Lama’s representative in Delhi, said.

He, however, pointed out that the meeting was part of the Dalai Lama’s regular interaction with Indian leaders from time to time.

“What’s so unusual about the meeting? He keeps meeting Indian leaders,” Tsering said while alluding to the meeting between the prime minister and the Dalai Lama Aug 11.

This was the first meeting between the two since the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) returned to power over a year ago.

“He met Vice President Hamid Ansari a year ago. Foreign secretaries have visited Dharamsala to meet Dalai Lama,” he said.

Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao visited Dharamsala and met the Dalai Lama and his senior aides last month.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama flew to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, which also houses the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Beijing, which regards the Dalai Lama a ‘splittist’, has objected to the meeting through diplomatic channels, sources said.

Tsering said there was nothing new in China’s criticism. “The moment he opens his mouth, they start criticising him,” he said.

China had vigorously opposed the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, over which Beijing claims sovereignty, in November last year and protested Manmohan Singh’s visit to the state last October.

Manmohan Singh had defended the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal saying he was India’s “honoured guest” and has the right to visit any part of the country.

China plans Karakoram rail link to Pakistan and the Arabian Sea

China plans Karakoram rail link to Pakistan and the Arabian Sea

After bringing a rail line close to the Indian border with Tibet, China is gearing to push a rail link across the Karakoram into Pakistan through the Gilgit-Baltistan region that is part of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to reports from Pakistan, Beijing and Islamabad are likely to sign an MoU for a feasibility study on building the trans-Karakoram railway line during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to China starting Tuesday.

As the first train track across the Great Himalayas, the line running nearly 700 km from Kashgar in Xinjiang province to Havelian near Rawalpindi in northern Pakistan through the Khunjerab Pass, will transform the geopolitics of western China and the subcontinent.

Given its claim to sovereignty over the entire state of J&K, India has naturally objected to the Chinese economic and infrastructure projects, including the Karakoram highway, in parts of the state under Pakistan’s control.

Over the longer term though, India will have to think more strategically about the consequences of the emerging connectivity between western China and the subcontinent through projects sponsored by Beijing.

For, China has a plan to expand its Tibet rail road into Nepal. It is expanding roadways between its Yunnan province and northern Myanmar and exploring the prospects for a rail link. Afghanistan too has been pressing Beijing to develop transportation routes between the two nations through the Wakhan corridor. Meanwhile, there is growing support in the region and beyond for trans-Asian road and rail networks.

The proposal for a rail link between landlocked Xinjiang in China’s far west and the Arabian Sea through Pakistan has been under discussion for some years. Chinese companies have apparently completed a pre-feasibility study on a rail project that must cross one of the most challenging terrains in the world.

If the two sides take the political decision to go ahead with the project during Zardari’s visit, a consortium of Chinese companies is likely to be constituted to explore in detail the engineering and financial aspects of the project.

While the technical aspects of the trans-Karakoram rail link are daunting, there is no denying the Chinese audacity in embracing projects that are grand in conception, challenging in their execution, and consequential in their impact.

During the 1970s, long before China had become rich, the People’s Liberation Army had built at great cost the Karakoram highway between Xinjiang and northern Pakistan. The self-assurance of Chinese engineers and the geopolitical ambition of Beijing’s security establishment have grown manifold since.

While India’s objections have not had much impact on either China or Pakistan, other developments have cast a shadow over some of the trans-Karakoram projects. The unstable terrain of the Karakorams demands costly upkeep of the highway, repeatedly damaged by landslides and formation of temporary lakes.

At the political level, China has been concerned about growing links between Islamist and separatist movements in the Xinjiang province on the one hand and the terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the other.

As a result, China had to often shut down the Karakoram highway. In recent months, Beijing has been pressing Islamabad to crack down hard on anti-Chinese extremist groups taking shelter on Pakistani soil.

Chinese rail plan in PoK worries India

NEW DELHI: India has expressed concern over China’s plans to build a rail link through the Karakoram ranges in Pakistan. The trans-Karakoram rail link will go through the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The Indian government reacted with concern to the rail-link plan, but also said that it was taking counter measures. “It is definitely a matter of concern. But we are taking our counter measures and we are doing our own preparation,” minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said. The rail link will give China access through PoK and comes on the heels of the Tibet rail link, which comes close to the Indian border.

Noting the many areas where China and Pakistan are collaborating, Mr Raju said that both China and Pakistan had made it “very apparent” that they were “working closely together and cooperating closely” on defence and strategic issues.

The Chinese plans, according to reports, is to build the rail link to Pakistan and reach the Arabian sea through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pak-occupied Kashmir. The MoU for a feasibility study on building the Karakoram railway line is expected to be signed between Beijing and Islamabad during President Asif Ali Zardari’s current, ongoing visit to China. According to reports in the Pakistani media, Pakistan’s General Manager Railways (operation) Ishfaq Khattak has joined Mr Zardari’s delegation.

Reports also said that a pre-feasibility study has already been completed by two international consulting companies. The railway track is expected to be 682 km and would connect all major cities on the Pakistani side. The plan to build the railway has been around since 2004, but there now seems to be some movement on going ahead with the project. Reports said that an international consortium would be set up for the feasibility study once the MoU is signed between the two sides.

Indian concerns also centre around the fact that the rail link is envisaged to go through PoK. The Indian position continues to be that PoK is an integral part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. India in the past has expressed concern and lodged strong protests over projects in PoK. Last year, New Delhi had lodged a strong protest over Pakistan’s plans to build the Bunji hydroelectric project, which is also coming up with Chinese assistance. Pakistan and China had signed an MoU for the construction of the dam last year.

There seems to be renewed cooperation between China and Pakistan. The plan to build the rail link follows the revelation that China has agreed to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan. India is concerned by this development considering Pakistan’s proliferation record.

Putting the Squeeze On Motorcycle Riders In Quetta

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: It seems that the government considers riding a private vehicle, particularly two wheelers, as a “serious offence” for which the security forces are harassing thousands of people everyday on the roads and public places.

For the past many days, it had become an established practice to stop the motorcyclists for snap checking and detained them for hours without asking them to produce their papers.

Millions of working hours of the nation are wasted almost daily as the motorists and two wheelers are detained in hundreds at every intersection of this Provincial Capital.

Why the people are detained and harassed? There is no Government spokesman to respond to this question of the common people nothing to do with politics.

Interestingly, no commissioned officer was seen on the spot and all the operations against the innocent and law abiding people had been assigned to the foot constables who refused to listen.

There is a law that only the gazetted officer and not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector of Police can search a person at the public place. If nothing offending was found from his possess, the aggrieved person had the right to sue the official for insulting him at a public place. The official must be sure that the man searched is not a law abiding citizen.

However, the recent massive and indiscriminate search and security check had brought the prestige of the law enforcing agencies to a zero as the people are deeply offended on such tactics.

Hostage crisis in Pakistan military compound after militant attack

Hostage crisis in Pakistan military compound after militant attack

ISLAMABAD: Captured militants, who were being interrogated at a Pakistani military intelligence compound near the US consulate in Peshawar, overpowered their guards today, sparking a hostage crisis in the northwestern city.

The militants overpowered guards at the army detention centre located within Peshawar cantonment and took two sentries hostage, said chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas.

The militants, who were being investigated by a law enforcement agency, also took control of the building located a short distance from the US Consulate and an office of the Intelligence Bureau.

Earlier reports had suggested that a group of militants had entered the high security area and engaged security forces in a gun battle.

However, Abbas clarified that no terror attack had occurred and that no militants had entered the area.

“No terrorists came to the area from outside. Security forces have cordoned off the building and all-out efforts are being made to free the hostages,” he told reporters.

“We are hopeful of resolving this problem soon,” Abbas said.

He refused to give details due to security reasons. The number of militants in the building too could not be immediately ascertained.

Local residents said they heard gunshots in the area near the US consulate at 6 am local time.

Large contingents of soldiers and policemen quickly moved into the area and sealed it off. Key roads were blocked and traffic was diverted to other routes.

“All resources are being put in place to deal with the situation,” General Abbas told media.

He avoided giving additional details and said that more information will be provided to the media later.

Peshawar’s military airbase and the city’s international airport are located a few kilometres from the building occupied by the militants.

Witnesses said the militants and security personnel had exchanged fire several times but there were no reports of casualties.

Security forces conducted a search operation in the area to check if any persons were helping the militants, sources said.

On April 5, militants armed with automatic weapons and suicide car bombs tried to storm the consulate, killing three persons. At least six attackers were gunned down or blew themselves up in that incident.

Govt. On Lookout for Motorcycle-Riding Assassins in Balochistan

[Finally, we see the beginning of movement on the pressing issue of the motorcycle hit teams roaming the highways and roads of Balochistan and Karachi.  (SEE: The Motorcycle Assassins of Pakistan Strike Again and Again, With Impugnity ;

ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani ]


Govt harassing motorcyclists in Balochistan

Staff Report

QUETTA: The Balochistan government and security agencies are reportedly harassing motorcyclists in the insurgency-hit province, which has caused a sense of insecurity amongst the citizens.

For the past couple of days, police and other law enforcement agencies had made it a common practice to detain motorcyclists for hours without asking them to show the documents of their vehicles. The citizens’ time was being wasted as nearly all motorists had been stopped at many intersections of Quetta. The Balochistan government and the law enforcement agencies had failed to explain their action of stopping the motorcyclists at every intersection while the citizens had also failed to sort out this strange behaviour of the law enforcement agencies. No government spokesman or official was available to answer this recent move of the government despite the fact that common citizens and motorcyclists had nothing to with the functioning of the government and its subordinate agencies.

Ironically, no senior police official had been seen on the intersections, while low-ranking constables had been involved in this action, which had been irking the motorcyclists of the provincial capital of the insurgency-hit province. According to law, only a sub-inspector could search a person at a public place, but the law enforcement agencies had turned a blind eye to this rule.

Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to Ban Lead Shot, Bullets, and Fishing Sinkers Under the Toxic Substances Control Act

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Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to Ban Lead Shot, Bullets, and Fishing Sinkers Under the Toxic Substances Control Act


Petition for Rulemaking under TSCA submitted by Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarians, Project Gutpile and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

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August 03 2010, at 12:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Why and How to Shut Down a Nuclear Weapons Facility

Why and How to Shut Down a Nuclear Weapons Facility

eileen fleming

“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased…to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946

[Kansas City] Close to one-hundred concerned, thoughtful citizens attended the premier showing of Countdown to Zero, at the Tivoli theater August 13th, and many of them also attended the weekend long conference that culminated on August 16, 2010, when 14 nonviolent anti-nuke activists were arrested for blocking a Caterpillar bulldozer from clearing land at the site of a new WMD Facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more…

Jane Stoever
is a wife, mother, organizer, activist, writer, editor, and for eleven years had been a Sister of Loretto. The Catholic nuns are committed “to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity” and are famous for their opposition to nuclear weapons and also the Caterpillar company, which is one of many that enable the ongoing military occupation of Palestinians.

Jane of PeaceWorks Kansas City and her colleague, Ann Suellenthorp, also of Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC, organized the weekend of nonviolent training and Jane said, “Our next civil resistance event will be September 7th and 8th. The official groundbreaking is on Wednesday, September 8th and the good news is we have made them nervous. Jason Klumb, the regional administrator of the GSA,has called us to a meeting, which has been rescheduled twice and is now set for August 30, 2010.”

Ann added, “He wants to appease us. The only way to appease us is to do shut down the new plant and clean up the old one.”

Commenting on the movie, Countdown to Zero, Jane said she
“was horrified to learn how many times we have come too close to a nuclear catastrophe; as close as a pinch of salt. Furthermore, billions of our tax dollars have been poured into our nuclear arsenal that our government uses to threaten the world with.”

Jay Coghlan, the Director of Nuclear Watch, New Mexico spoke with the crowd that had remained after Countdown to Zero ended to discuss the planned and current Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Facility. He warned, “Don’t build it up, clean it up. This is the place to stop the egregious intersection of the industrial military security complex and special deals. Unless the citizens of Kansas City organize and demand it, many will walk away from their moral responsibilities to clean up the old plant.

“The intent of the movie was to make this issue mainstream, to get people to talk about nuclear weapons, radiation, contamination, and that is a good thing. But some people claim the movie may be used for fear mongering among racists. I am no pacifist. There are real threats out there and Al Qaeda wants to kill us. I don’t want brown people to have the bomb. I don’t want white people to have the bomb. I don’t want anyone to have the bomb, but who has it are the greed-heads and weaponeers. We need to have START ratified, but not the Republicans’ congressional deal.”

When President Obama submitted the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty/START to the Senate for ratification, he also submitted a congressionally mandated classified report outlining the Administration’s plan to maintain and modernize the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal.  According to a White House fact sheet, “The plan includes investments of over $80 billion to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex [new factories are in New Mexico, Tenn. and Mo.] – well over $100 billion in nuclear delivery systems to sustain existing capabilities and modernize some strategic systems” is planned to be spent by 2020.

Jay also explained that the GSA is the federal government’s business manager and often acts as the landlord of federal properties for other government agencies. In the case of the new Kansas City nuclear weapons production plant, the money trail begins and also ends with Zimmer Real Estate Services, a KC mogul that has pocketed five million dollars for selling 186 acres to the City that the feds just “happened” to pick for the new plant. Using Missouri state tax codes designed to fight urban blight, the City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) declared the site that was actively producing soybeans “blighted” so that it could raise bond money via the municipal Industrial Development Authority(IDA) and fourteen private bondholders who will reap a government guarantee that their $687 million  investment in 2010 will yield at a minimum  $1.2 billion in rent over 20 years. That’s a solid 5% annual return rate. The PIEA then gives the money to the new limited liability corporation CenterPoint Zimmer (CPZ) so it can build the new plant, and also grants the LLC a lease-to-purchase in which CPZ pays back the bonds over 20 years and thereby gains title to the plant. Until then, a municipal government owns a federal nuclear weapons components production plant! During all this time the GSA will act as the pass through agency for the funds for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons components at the new KCP.

Countdown to Zero begins with the focus on renegade terrorists getting their hands on weapons-grade nuclear material.

That fear had already rooted by 1951, as exemplified by the CIA who told President Harry S. Truman that the United States faced an enemy with “no scruples about employing any weapon or tactic” and that “nuclear weapons smuggled across porous borders threatened to devastate American cities. Sleeper cells…might already be inside the country.” [1]

In 1953, The New York Times reported that, “Officials regard the possibility of atomic sabotage as the gravest threat of subversion that this country, with its virtually unpatrolled borders, has ever faced” and that the Eisenhower administration was preparing to alert the public to the danger from “valise bombs.” [Ibid]

Declassified documents from the 1950s, obtained by The New York Times from the FBI, read like today, except Al Qaeda replaces the communist agents. During the Cold War, communism caused “Intelligence officials [to] fear that bomb parts might be delivered in diplomatic mail pouches, carried by international air travelers in their luggage or delivered by boat or submarine to an isolated beach. Communist agents already in the country might then assemble, plant and detonate the weapons.” [Ibid]

After the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian agents at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, American officials shifted focus to terrorists, which increased immeasurably after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as it had been reported that Al Qaeda had actively sought a nuclear weapon since the early 1990s. We know that Al Qaeda leaders have said they would use a nuclear weapon, but they aren’t even close to building a bomb.

President Obama’s negotiations with Russia are a new start, but if that day we call 9/11 taught us anything, it should be that America’s nuclear arsenal cannot defeat ‘terrorism’ or provide security from the actions of a few violent madmen who target and murder innocent people.

American money is imprinted with “IN GOD WE TRUST” but reality is we have become a nation of hypocrites, for by our foreign policy we expose that we live by the sword.

America has a nuclear arsenal of over 10,000 weapons and nearly 2,000 remain on hair-trigger alert ever since the end of the Cold War and American taxpayers provide over $54 billion annually to maintain a nuclear arsenal that would be immoral to use.

An estimated 150 – 240 tactical nuclear weapons remain based in 5 NATO countries and the United States is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil.

The NPT/Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was created in 1968, and maintains that nuclear weapons proliferation can only be curtailed if nuclear countries move toward disarmament while the rest of the world is allowed to access civilian nuclear technology.

Over 185 non-nuclear states have agreed to give up the right to have nuclear weapons and the five nuclear powers that signed the NPT agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.

President Obama promised in Prague, “Words must mean something and violence and injustice must be confronted by standing together as free nations, as free people…Human destiny will be what we make of it.”

William Fulbright warned us, “The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership….a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.” 

Leaders such as that will be in Kansas City, September 7, 2010 at All Souls Church to plan for a day of resistance at the Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Facility on September 8th during the official groundbreaking at Mo. Hwy. 150 and Botts Road, in Kansas City, Mo.

Contact Jane to learn more @ janepstoever@yahoo.com about why and how to shut down a new nuclear weapons facility and clean up the old one from the heartland of America.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/world/16memo.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Eileen Fleming, Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Staff Member of Salem-news.com
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com and Dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR:Some of my Experiences of Mordechai Vanunuand the Holy Land: 2005-2010

Baku–Armenia sets conditions to Turkey

Baku: Armenia sets conditions to Turkey

In indirect ways, the western nations are trying to take up an opportunity for reopening the Armenian-Turkish border and force Ankara into making the step, Novruz Mammedov, Head of the International Relations Department, Azerbaijani presidential administration, speaking of the possibility of reopening of the Armenian-Turkish border for transporting equipment for NATO military maneuvers scheduled for this September.

“The point is that Armenia has not closely cooperated with NATO. So the maneuvers with the participation of both Turkey and Armenia were planned in advance. They are thus trying to set Azerbaijan against Turkey – they are fraternal nations and strategic partners,” Mammedov said.

According to him, the western nations have been pursuing this policy for a while thereby testing Turkey. “After Azerbaijan gained independence, Turkey’s position on occupant Armenia has been the pivot of the Baku-Ankara relations. This policy is being pursued now as well. However, certain circles that do not want it are weighing Azerbaijan against Armenia in front of Turkey. No matter what we call it, but the reopening the border for even a day – in any form or content – may affect our relations with Turkey,” Mammedov said. According to him, Baku wants Turkey to pass the test.

“Armenia is not overtly setting conditions to Turkey. I believe Turkey will give an adequate response and will not allow the border to be opened even for an hour,” Mammedov said.

Azerbaijani servicemen not to take part in NATO exercise in Armenia

Azerbaijani servicemen not to take part in NATO exercise in Armenia


Azerbaijani side will not take part in the upcoming September 11-17 NATO exercise in Armenia.

‘We categorically declare that our servicemen will not participate in NATO military exercises in Armenia’,  said spokesman for the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan commenting on the statement of Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu that the Azerbaijani side will be presented in the NATO trainings in Armenia.

‘The reasons for this step of the Azerbaijani side are clear, we cannot be represented in the activities in the country that occupied Azerbaijani lands’, said the news service for the Defense Ministry.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister A.Davutoglu said in an interview with Azerbaijan’s ANS that Azerbaijani side will also take part in the NATO exercise in Armenia to a certain extent.


Turkey Caves–Joining NATO Exercise In Armenia

Turkey to Join NATO Exercise in Armenia

ANKARA (Trend.az)—Turkey will join other NATO alliance countries in September for a six day disaster response exercise in Armenia, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday in an interview with the Azeri ANS TV station.

The exercise, organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center, is part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiative.

It will be held on September 11-17 and will including a command post element, and training and demonstration day. It will be based on a fictitious scenario in which a serious civil emergency erupts in the town of Arzni in Armenia’s Kotayk Province.

Davutoglu sought to play down his government’s involvement in the exercises, denying it was a signal that Ankara would soon be dropping its blockade on Armenia. “Many people are exaggerating this issue,” he said. “First, these exercises are not military; they are just related to action to be taken during earthquakes. As far as I know, Azerbaijan is joining this too. Our participation is related to the organization of field hospitals and we take part in these events only because Turkey is a NATO member.”

“As you know, we have sent field hospitals to Pakistan as humanitarian aid,” he added. “We take part in this training on humanitarian grounds, while the issue of opening borders is not on the agenda or subject to discussion.”

Armenia criticizes new UN resolution

YEREVAN – Daily News with wires
Foreign minister Edward Nalbandian leaves his office in Yerevan.
Foreign minister Edward Nalbandian leaves his office in Yerevan.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has warned Azerbaijan against trying to push a fresh resolution accusing Yerevan of occupying Azerbaijani lands through the United Nations General Assembly, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, or RFE/RL, reported Thursday on its website.

The ministry said such a move would hamper a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh issue.

The draft resolution, which the General Assembly is expected to discuss on Sept. 9, upholds the right of Azerbaijanis “expelled” from Karabakh and the Armenian-controlled territories surrounding it to return to their homes. It also urges the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, to send a fact-finding mission to the conflict zone to investigate the conflict parties’ compliance with “international humanitarian law.”

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said the document, if adopted, would cause “serious damage” to international efforts to end the Nagorno Karabakh dispute. Armenian diplomats are now trying to prevent its passage, Balayan said, adding that Yerevan continues to believe that no international bodies except the OSCE Minsk Group should be involved in the search for a solution to the conflict.

“There is no way it won’t pass,” predicted Aleksandr Arzumanian, an opposition leader who headed the Armenian mission at the UN in the early 1990s. “The General Assembly statutes are such that even if five countries vote for and all others abstain, a resolution is deemed adopted. In such cases, most countries usually abstain.”

US Advisor Says Israel Can Destroy Lebanon Army within 4 Hours: Al-Liwa’a

US Advisor Says Israel Can Destroy Lebanon Army within 4 Hours: Al-Liwa’a

Readers Number : 118

27/08/2010 A senior advisor to US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has threatened Lebanese army commander, Jean Qahwaji that should his army initiate additional fire exchanges with Israel, the Israeli occupation army would annihilate his military within four hours, Lebanese newspaper al-Liwa’a reported Friday.

According to the report, Frederick Hof spoke to Qahwaji on August 9, following the deadly border skirmish between Israel and Lebanon and informed him of the Israeli army contingency plan.

The report further quotes Mitchell’s aide as telling the Lebanese commander that Israel had decided to carry out a plan “which would completely destroy the Lebanese army’s bases, centers and offices within four hours.”

Three Lebanese were martyred during the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian-Lebanese borders, two Lebanese soldiers and one journalist. An Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel was killed and another officer was seriously injured. Firing began when occupation army forces entered a border enclave in order to uproot a tree. Lebanon later blamed Israel for violating UN Resolution 1701.

Hof advised the Lebanese army chief to show restraint in any future border conflict with the Zionist entity.

UNIFIL’s report on investigations into the border clash, which was issued on Wednesday, reconfirmed previous conclusions reached by them.

The report reiterated that trees cut by the Israeli Army were located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side.

It said UNIFIL sent the investigation report with findings, conclusions and recommendations to the UN Headquarters and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations on Tuesday and to other concerned parties on Wednesday.

The report also said that both the Lebanese Army and the Israeli Army “fully cooperated with the UNIFIL team during the investigation.”

US Special Forces–Killing Taliban Leaders In Their Sleep

Special Forces Ratchet Up Fight Against Taliban

By Matthias Gebauer in Kabul, Afghanistan


US Army Special Operations Forces: Progress reported in fight against Taliban

Through nighttime attacks and drone strikes, special forces led by the United States have massively ratcheted up their hunt for Taliban. In the past three months alone, the highly secretive forces have eliminated 365 insurgent commanders.

The international troops in Afghanistan this year, under the command of the United States, have massively stepped up the hunt for top Taliban by special forces. The units, which operate secretly and are kept apart from the normal troops, have conducted hundreds of operations in recent months in an intensity not seen before in an effort to breakdown the Taliban’s resistance, weaken its leadership ranks and to eliminate networks of bomb planters.

Insiders have long known about the increased deployment of the special forces, but for the first time in the history of the nine-year war in Afghanistan, concrete figures about the deployments — which neither NATO nor the US military speaks about publicly — have been named. During the second week of August, leaders of the NATO troops under ISAF Commander David Petraeus were given a classified briefing on the massive anti-Taliban offensive, which began at the end of 2009, and progress that has been made.

SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned from reliable sources that the four-star general and his staff informed diplomats and top military officials that in the past three months alone, at least 365 high-ranking and mid-level insurgent commanders have been killed — mostly through targeted operations by the special forces, comprised of heavily armed elite soldiers from all branches of the US military. In addition, 1,395 people, including many Taliban foot soldiers, have been arrested.

The briefing on the latest progress in the war, which covered the period between May 8 and August 8, provides a rare glimpse into an aspect of the Afghanistan war that up until know has only been known by the US government and a few top politicians from other NATO member states. The military officials reported that the commanders and those arrested had been “taken out of the game.”

Special Forces Mostly Strike at Night

Since the briefing, the details have driven internal discussions about the future of the mission within the international community present in Kabul. Although the military leadership is speaking in a conspicuously cautious manner about its first small successes in the fight against the Taliban, the special forces’ actions could complicate cooperation with the Afghan government. Diplomats are concerned that the elimination of the Taliban hierarchy could conflict with the declared goal of reintegrating some members of these groups.

Above all, the spectacular statistics show one thing: The will of the military leadership to reach a turning point in Afghanstan in the coming months. The sheer number of the operations strikingly underscores that General Petraeus, like his predecessor Stanley McChrystal, wants to use the special forces to gain the upper hand in Afghanistan.

It’s the first time in the US military-led invasion of the country in which Taliban leaders have been sought in such a targeted manner. It’s also the first time so many insurgents have been arrested or assassinated in targeted killings. Western diplomats who have been briefed in recent days say that the current force of 145,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan is acting “with maximum force” right now.

For their part, military officials are taking a more sober view of the progress. Since US President Barack Obama approved an increase of 30,000 troops and announced a new strategy for the Afghanistan war in December 2009, the number of clandestine troops in the special forces has increased massively. By the summer of 2010, the number of special forces soldiers had tripled, according to the military progress report. Other details in the briefing included:

  • the fact that, in almost all instances, 82 percent, the elite soldiers struck at night
  • the special forces’ main target were Taliban structures in the southern part of the country, Jalaluddin Haqqani’s terror network in the east and foreign fighters with connections to al-Qaida
  • regional Taliban commanders, heads of so-called IED-cells (who attack alliance troops with explosives) and al-Qaida contact persons, have been the subject of targeted air strikes or they have been killed during arrest attempts.
  • the special forces, including the successor to the US military’s notorious Task Force 373, always act together with Afghan soldiers they had trained.

There are differences of opinion over the success of the special forces’ offensive. High-ranking US officers and NATO commanders are cautiously stating that they have had their first successes in limiting the freedom of movement of the Taliban leadership ranks. But it is still too early to draw any qualitative conclusions, an intelligence officer on Petreaus’ staff said.

In the district of Baghlan in northern Afghanistan, intelligence workers say, no one has been willing to step up into the role of at least one Taliban shadow governor who was targeted and eliminated by the special forces. “The leaders of the Taliban shura had appointed a successor, but the man is remaining in Pakistan,” one officer reported.

Karzai Criticizes Hunting of Taliban

But diplomats have expressed doubts over whether the robust military strategy can be reconciled with the one agreed to at a number of international conferences to find a solution through negotiating politically with the Taliban. “In the military leadership, people like to say that the best way to negotiate with the Taliban is when they are at rock bottom,” one European diplomat said after a meeting with the ISAF leadership. “But perhaps the operations have the effect of providing additional motivation for the insurgency movement.”

Most operations take place in southern and eastern Afghanistan, Taliban strongholds. But another important battleground is the Kunduz area in the north where Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are in command. In Kunduz, where Germany has a base with 1,400 soldiers, and in Baghlan, the special forces were and continue to be deployed on missions almost every night. Dozens of insurgents have been captured or killed in targeted killings. Military officials recently reported that a senior member of al-Qaida had also been eliminated.

So far, German troops have not taken part in the deadly hunt against top Taliban. Germany’s own special elite force, the KSK, has also stayed out of the operations by the American units. But that doesn’t mean the Germans aren’t aware of what is going on. In Mazar-i-Sharif, an American serves as the deputy head of the regional command for the north. He informs his boss, Brigadier General Hans-Werner Fritz of the Bundeswehr, of his plans and the execution of the missions. German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has also been briefed in detail. So far, the German troops have merely looked on as the US forces have gone into battle.

The aggressive approach has already stirred up resentment at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. In talks with European politicians in recent days, President Hamid Karzai has regularly criticized the robust hunt for Taliban. Karzai has warned that the battle against the Taliban must not be waged in the villages and he claims that he regularly receives reports of dishonorable behavior amongst the units.

But military officials say they are doing everything they can to prevent civilian casualties. According the progress briefing, civilians in the period observed only died in 1 percent of the special forces actions. But that is the kind of collateral damage the Karzai likes to use as an opportunity to criticize the foreign troops and win public support.

The bloody progress made by the special forces could trigger similar reflexes in Karzai.

Karzai wagers on Obama’s audacity

Karzai wagers on Obama’s audacity

By M K Bhadrakumar Asia Time Online - Daily News

Public corruption in Afghanistan is taking curiouser and curiouser turns. A vexatious choice arises: Betraying your country to a foreign intelligence agency – is it an act of corruption? By moral and ethical standards, it appears so. By legal standards, no doubt, it is the highest form of corruption and deserves the maximum punishment.

Those accused usually perish in long, interminable solitary confinement – or fade into oblivion after a spy exchange. In the latter category, they often go on to become alcoholics as they walk into the sunset of life and the guilt of corruption begins to eat into the vitals of their conscience, which can be regarded as the highest form of God’s wrath.

However, in Afghanistan, where the bizarre can become the order of the day, the United States holds the supreme power to both spawn corruption and, then, well, go through the motions of punishing it. Arguably, this must be one of the highest forms of self-flagellation known to mankind – outside of Shi’ism, that is.

Karzai spurns tough love
Take the burnt-out case of Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council in the governmentheaded by President Hamid Karzai.

The New York Times has made the sensational revelation that Salehi was almost nabbed by the Afghan agency tasked with an anti-corruption drive a month ago, but had to be summarily allowed to go scot-free at the personal intervention of the president. Salehi, quite expectedly, had been trained by the Americans with the noble objective of what has come to be known as “capacity-building” of Afghan state organs.

Salehi has apparently been working as a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent for donkey’s years, either betraying the functioning of the presidential office or corrupting Karzai’s policies by injecting careful doses of American thinking into them from time to time, thus rendering invaluable service to the US-led war and Washington’s regional strategies. Not only that – the CIA used him also as a sort of cashier to disburse its payments to its other agents in Afghanistan.

Salehi’s case file has now become a celebrated instance of the battle of wits between Karzai and the Barack Obama administration as it approaches a qualitatively new level of ferocity. To such an extent that at one point Karzai threatened to disband the entire US-trained anti-corruption task force and the standoff threatened to knock the bottom out of the Obama administration’s AfPak strategy. It even prompted Washington to post-haste dispatch to Kabul one of the key figures in the highest echelons of the US foreign and security policy establishment,John Kerry, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the senate.

Washington let it be known through media leaks that Kerry’s mission to Kabul was to do some “tough-talking” to Karzai, which indeed has been happening with an alarming frequency in recent years as part of the US’s “tough-love” approach to the indomitable Afghan leader who has begun holding his political ground with an increasing tenacity that threatens to dilute American overlordship of the war itself.

But tough love is a highly complicated act to perform. We do not know what transpired between Karzai and Kerry in the presidentialpalace last week. There could be more than one version of the rendezvous as the two also, according to American media reports, are great friends and get along splendidly.

At any rate, no sooner had Kerry left Kabul at the conclusion of his mission, Karzai took to the media and virtually tore into the American case file on Salehi and the entire sordid business of what constitutes corruption in Afghanistan.

Karzai made three points. First, Salehi was treated shabbily by the US-trained task force, that its acts were completely out of proportion to the charge against him, namely, that he allegedly accepted a gift of a US$10,000 car for his son for some services rendered. Surely, it was a modest gift as it could only have been a basic model of a very small car, which the status-conscious Afghan elites do not usually use. A reconditioned Nissan Micra imported from Dubai, perhaps?

It’s a proxy war
But that was not the point. Karzai was finger-pointing that when there are probably much bigger sharks in the Afghan pond, the US-led drive chose to make a horrible example of Salehi because the idea was not so much as to crack down on corruption as to discredit the presidential palace itself.

It seems anti-corruption officials last month charged into Salehi’s house in the wee hours of the morning, handcuffed him and tried to take him away. The worst part was that he was treated like a petty criminal in front of his family members and neighbors, which is an abominable thing of humiliation to happen to any Afghan with high social standing.

Two, Karzai challenged the US-led anti-corruption agency and ordered that it must work within Afghan laws and that it should be a “sovereign” Afghan body. In short, Karzai showed the Americans the door and said he intended to exercise his presidential prerogatives as the elected leader of a sovereign country and the US cannot behave as if Afghanistan were a vassal state.

Karzai has meanwhile issued a decree that the Afghan private militias that masquerade as “security agencies” and which are funded and engaged by the US and other Western countries by way of outsourcing aspects of the war are to be disbanded and merged with the Afghan security forces under the Interior Ministry within this year. These agencies provide guards or escort duties, gather field intelligence or even undertake controversial errands that are beyond the pale of the law.

Karzai in effect hit the Americans below the belt. The fact remains that the Americans have been engaging in a quaint form of warring in the Hindu Kush by increasingly subcontracting the war to American contractors. No one speaks about it, but this has inevitably led to massive corruption as the Pentagon patronizes its favorite American contractors, and evidently, it is all pork.

Like in the case of the Iraq war, the Afghan war also stinks and the US Congress is finally examining how billions of dollars have been spent by the US in the Hindu Kush since the invasion in late 2001.

Karzai understands perfectly well that the current “anti-corruption” drive by the US’s AfPak officials is a clever move to pass the buck to the Afghan side and blame the latter for all the colossal wastage of financial resources for the war provided by American taxpayers when congress comes up with its report and the fur starts to fly.

Unsurprisingly, Karzai is not willing to be made the fall guy. A third point he made, therefore, is that he is not even in charge of the gravy train running through the Hindu Kush. Afghan officials have pointed out that only a small portion – less than 20% – of the international aid flow into Afghanistan is routed through the Kabul government, whereas the remaining 80% is handled directly by the donor countries.

This acrimony as to who holds the aid strings is actually as ancient as the hills. The Americans have never questioned the veracity of Karzai’s claim, which is backed by UN officials, too. But why has it erupted with such ferocity?

The heart of the matter is that Karzai seems to suspect that an invidious US attempt is on to replace him. He would have certainly noted that the New York Times devoted a full-page article on the Afghan war recently, a key portion of which virtually demanded the Obama administration to have a rethink over Karzai’s continuance in office.

Karzai is a sophisticated politician and knows what the US did in Vietnam when if faced defeat in the war. The US simply kept replacing its South Vietnamese ally in Saigon’s presidential palace. Karzai has indeed become a political hurdle for the US. He is far too assertive to be a faithful ally and there is no certainty that he would mature into a Nuri al-Maliki, the premier in Iraq.

Most important, he insists on piloting the search for a political settlement and is increasingly showing a propensity to build a regional consensus involving Iran, Russia, India, and others. He threatens the US’s monopoly of the war and the peace process.

In essence, Karzai has concluded that the US and Pakistan have worked together to throttle his initiative to open a line to the moderate Taliban who are open to reconciliation.

The recent disclosures by the New York Times regarding the “capture” of Mullah Baradar in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in January testify to the fact that it was a joint CIA-Inter-Service Intelligence operation. And the best claim the Americans can put forth on their performance is a preposterous explanation that they are dumb creatures and the smart Pakistanis used them as a doormat and that they were really not quite clued in on what was afoot when they swooped down on the No 2 in the Quetta shura and nabbed him in his hideout.

Karzai doesn’t think the CIA comprises such imbeciles as not to know who they are dealing with when they collaborate with Pakistan’s formidable ISI in a major field operation.

What is more ominous than all this is the secret meeting held by US officials in Bonn last month with some of Karzai’s allies from the erstwhile Northern Alliance, with the duplicitous intent of prising them away from their political tie-ups with the Afghan leader. In short, to tear apart the spider-like web of political deals that Karzai has been astutely making to broaden and deepen his support base in anticipation of the time when he will sit down face-to-face with the Taliban.

The supreme irony is that the US has been instigating Karzai’s Northern Alliance allies belonging to non-Pashtun ethnic groups by portraying the Afghan leader as an appeaser of the Taliban and tapping into their visceral fears of a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Karzai has reason to suspect that the game played by the US’s AfPak officials is extremely devious as it happens just before the Afghan parliamentary elections due on September 8. Karzai is pinning his hopes on getting a parliament elected with which he can work in harmony, unlike the previous legislative body that was under the influence of the American Embassy in Kabul.

Can Obama rein in the Pentagon?
Karzai estimates that he would have to carry the parliament along as representing the collective opinion of the Afghan people in any political settlement. If Karzai’s plan for the parliamentary elections succeeds, thanks to his broad-ranging alliance with non-Pashtun groups, and he gets a parliament with which he can work so as to evolve a national consensus, it would lethally damage the US’s entire strategy to control and prescribe the contours of any Afghan settlement.

The core issue is, as reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post last week pointed out, that all indications are that the US has no intention of vacating its military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia in the foreseeable future. And it is only through a pliant regime in Kabul that the Pentagon can hope to negotiate a favorable status of forces agreement. The issue is of fundamental importance to the US’s regional strategy of “containment” of China, Iran and Russia and doesn’t allow any scope for compromise.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Selig Harrison, a renowned scholar and author of Out of Afghanistan, touched on the huge political dilemma facing Obama – how to leave Afghanistan without “losing”. He pointed out that it was only by the US agreeing to a “neutral” Afghanistan that the war could be brought to a conclusive end.

But Harrison foresees that Obama will have a tough fight on his hands within his own camp in Washington as he inches toward a political settlement in Afghanistan. He wrote:

The biggest obstacle to the accord is not likely to come from Pakistan, but from a Pentagon mindset in which the projection of US power is viewed as a desirable end in of itself. Some of the 74 US bases in Afghanistan, including the airfields, are designed solely for counter-insurgency operations and might be expendable in a neutralization accord.

But the mammoth airfields at Bagram and Kandahar are projected to grow in the years ahead – ambitious new construction projects continue at both bases, despite Obama’s pledge to begin withdrawing troops from the country in the summer of 2011. Furthermore, congress is considering funding requests, totaling $300 million, to establish new bases at Camp Dwyer and Shindand, close to the Iranian border, and Mazar-i-Sharif, near Central Asia and Russia. Aware of Afghan opposition to “permanent bases”, Pentagon and White House officials now speak of “permanent access”, which would guarantee the use of these bases for intelligence surveillance operations.

Conceivably, the benefit of the doubt could be given to Obama that he is either not in the loop about Pentagon thinking or that he is “yet to address” the future of US bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Harrison is inclined to feel that the latter is the case.

In either case, it is Obama who will finally call the shots and decide whether the Pentagon will still use Afghanistan to “further its global power projection goals long after the Taliban and al-Qaeda are a distant memory”, Harrison estimates with a profound sense of the history of the 30-year Afghan conflict.

In sum, Karzai has an epic fight on his hands. He either pulls back his Afghan instincts of pride, self-respect and fierce independence and strikes a Faustian deal, or he treads on the Pentagon’s global strategy. It could be a fatal choice either way for him.

Ironically, Karzai’s best hope is that Obama refuses to be an “establishment president” and lives up to the promise he held out at the time of his election campaign. But the rhetoric of 2008 is now history. What matters in the hurly burly of politics is the “here” and the “now”.

The outcome of the US Congressional elections in November could prove to be a watershed event in Karzai’s tumultuous political career as much as it could be for Obama’s meteoric appearance on the world stage as a man of peace.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

Red alert! The Russians are coming!

Red alert! The Russians are coming!

By Pepe Escobar Asia Time Online - Daily News

Hollywood executives and Washington policymakers are suckers for Russophobia. Considering the appalling level of political discourse in both these capitals of mass entertainment, certainly one cannot expect their “opinion leaders” to have read Professor Paul Kennedy’s recent expose of European history packaged as a crash course to Americans about the inevitable downsizing of the US in the emerging, multipolar new world order.

Hollywood Russophobia always emerges as caricature, as in the current, irrepressible humorless Angelina Jolie vehicle Salt – complete with the former KGB kidnapping babies to be turned into super-agents infiltrated into the US as sleeper cells, following a career path and patiently waiting to raise hell and sabotage

Western democracy in the form of killing the president of theUnited States. Jolie is as believable as one of those Slavic super-moles as Central Intelligence Agency-scripted videos of Osama bin Laden.

For its part, Washington Russophobia usually emerges as a US-built Iron Curtain in reverse, which according to the Pentagon’s full spectrum dominance doctrine rules that US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military bases will encircle Russia from the Baltic to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

So what’s the Russian response? In both Afghanistan and Iran, it carries the mark of the good chess player; discreet, silent, getting down to business, and aiming to hit the jackpot.

All jihads lead to Sheberghan
In Afghanistan, the leadership in Moscow always knew this was all about the US and NATO trying to establish a new hegemony inCentral Asia – full spectrum dominance all over again. But then Moscow found out – following the Chinese example of investing US$3 billion in mines south of Kabul – that the best of possible worlds would be to make money while the West got bogged down in a winless quagmire. Call it the Shanghai Cooperation Organization way of running rings around NATO.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has just been to Moscow to be greeted by President Dmitry Medvedev with a slew of projects to the tune of US$1 billion – from a hydroelectric dam to exploitation of minerals, those same minerals that led the Pentagon to recently re-excavate its hyperbolic predictions of Afghanistan as the Saudi Arabia of lithium.

History has a way to sometimes render reality curioser and curioser. The Afghan mining industry, based in Sheberghan, in remote Jowzjan province, today controlled by General Abdul Rashid Dostum’s militias, was no less than a Soviet creation. The Uzbek warrior Dostum, currently a minister in Karzai’s government, made his career in the late 1970s pro-Soviet Afghan army before he opportunistically migrated to the mujahideen during the jihad in the 1980s, when he became one of former US president Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters”.

Legend has it that when Dostum visited Texas in the late 1990s he was carrying the treasure map – all the prospection done by the Soviets of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. Talk about perennial positioning; now Dostum is in the exact right place to profit from Russia’s largesse. Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski may have dealt the Soviet Union a crucial blow – or Vietnam – in the form of the 1980s jihad.

But it’s the Russians who may have the last laugh. Afghanistan will always be considered by Moscow as under its sphere of influence. Russia is not only well connected to the Uzbek faction as with the Panjshir faction of the Karzai administration – via General Mohammed Fahim, Afghanistan’s vice president and uber-lord of local espionage.

New US Afghan War supremo General David “I’m always positioning myself to 2012” Petraeus’ current overdrive to rewrite the AfPak war as the US turning the tide over the Taliban may elicit subdued roars of laughter in Moscow (not to mention in Quetta, where al-Qaeda’s leaders sit). But now Moscow can even afford to be magnanimous and let NATO supplies transit in Russian territory. The Russians know that where it matters – where the good business is, in northern Afghanistan – their future couldn’t be brighter.

All that is nuclear turns into gold
The Bushehr nuclear power plant – the first in the Middle East – launched jointly last Saturday by Russia and Iran, unmistakably establishes Iran as one of the world’s 29 nuclear power generating nations. But it’s also a major coup for the Russian nuclear industry, in this case represented by state-run Rosatom.

Six months ago, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Rosatom would be able to build 25% of the world’s nuclear plants (it currently stands at 16%). Atomstroiexport, Rosatom’s civilian construction arm, will build a major plant in Turkey, and has also set sights on Bangladesh and Vietnam. Bushehr, which has cost more than $1 billion, will generate 2% of Iran’s electricity. Of the four reactors to be built in Turkey, to the cost of $20 billion, each will produce 20% more energy than Bushehr.

Rosatom’s chief executive Sergei Kiriyenko has been spinning that Bushehr is a “big international project” which involved more than 10 European Union (EU) and Asia-Pacific countries. What no one really knows is why this has taken so long, since Russia agreed to take over in 1992 (Bushehr actually started way back in 1974 by German Kraftwerk Union, a merger of Siemens and AEG. Siemens pulled out of Iran in 1980).

Everything has been invoked to justify the non-stop delays – US and UN sanctions, Tehran’s suspicions of Moscow, Tehran actually not paying its bills on time. Now this is all water under the bridge. Kiriyenko also has made a point to stress that Bushehr “coincides with Russia’s position that any country in the world has the right to nuclear energy for peaceful use” – as long as it is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
According to the Tehran-Moscow agreement, Russia supplies the nuclear fuel for Bushehr and disposes of the spent rods (so Iran cannot use them to extract plutonium), with everything monitored by the IAEA. Hundreds of Russian engineers will remain working at Bushehr until 2013 before Tehran takes over completely.

In early August, even the US State Department via chief spokesman Philip Crowley, was forced to admit, “Bushehr is designed to provide electricity to Iran. It is not viewed as a proliferation risk because Russia is providing the needed fuel and taking back the spent nuclear fuel, which is the principal source of potential proliferation”. What Washington has focused on like a laser is the Natanz uranium-enrichment plant; a second one, under construction, in Qom; and the heavy-water reactor in Arak, also under construction.

The notion that Tehran might build a “secret” bomb factory underneath Bushehr is ludicrous; it would be tracked by multiplespy satellites in a flash. So while strident, armchair warrior US neo-cons parade their ignorance equating an internationally monitored nuclear power plant with a nuclear bomb factory, the Russians merrily use it to cash in on further businessopportunities.

Moscow knows that what’s really at stake in the whole Iran nuclear dossier is that the US – with its huge nuclear arsenal – and both Britain and France – with their small nuclear arsenals – simply don’t want to have yet another country from the developing world (like India and Pakistan) crash into their cozy nuclear weapon club. And neither is Russia interested in contending with an extra strategic challenge, a possibly nuclear-armed Iran (thus Moscow playing a constant game of geopolitical chess). What both the West and Moscow really want is to maintain the current status quo.

And that leads us to the heart of the matter; as long as the US, as well as Britain and France, don’t accept Iranian uranium enrichment, there’s simply no possibility whatsoever of extracting Iranian cooperation on a global, non-proliferation nuclear agenda. Meanwhile, the Russian nuclear industry will merrily keep cashing in.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.