US Army Resorts To Mafia-Style Terrorism, Calls It “Psy-Op”

“I’m going to put a black bag over your head and you’re never going to see your family again.”

Army uses mind games to win over last of the locals

Ben Farmer

Say cheese ... A US soldier captures the day-to-day moments of his work during a patrol in Kandahar City.Say cheese … A US soldier captures the day-to-day moments of his work during a patrol in Kandahar City.


ZHARI, Kandahar province: The biggest military operation of the year has driven the majority of Taliban fighters out of the organisation’s birthplace, according to US-led forces.

One month after Dragon Strike began, soldiers of the US 101st Airborne Division say attacks in Zhari district in Kandahar province are down by two-thirds and Taliban threats that kept residents wary of the Americans have largely ended.

Each day 350 men and children queue in the town of Senjaray to work for the US.

Residents have begun to tell the Americans where bombs are planted, and soldiers patrol unopposed where two months ago they faced certain ambush.

Most insurgent fighters have fled south or melted away during the joint US-Afghan operation.

But while their remnants may only be a handful of grenade-throwing teenagers, they are enough to jeopardise progress.

The soldiers and the district governor, Karim Jan, said they were frustrated with the reluctance of residents to turn in or drive out the culprits.

The governor decided to act after the Taliban mounted two grenade attacks against American patrols on consecutive days.

As helicopters buzzed overhead, Afghan policemen backed by US soldiers seized shopkeepers and passers-by at random and bound their hands.

A procession of captives trailed the patrol as it filed through Senjaray’s alleyways. A loud speaker used by a US psychological operations team blasted out the message: ”The people of Zhari will now be held responsible for the cowardly actions of the enemy.”

Women wailed as a family member was hauled off and children cried as their neighbours’ door was kicked in.

The governor then addressed the detainees: ”This is the last time,” he told the men, pacing before them smoking a cigarette. ”If I see anybody supporting those bastards, giving them food or water, I’m going to arrest everyone in the whole town.”

After Mr Jan’s lecture, Captain Nick Stout added his own warning: ”I don’t care who you are, if there’s a grenade goes off and I see you around, I’m going to put a black bag over your head and you’re never going to see your family again.”

Mr Jan questioned his captives then cut their bindings or sent them blindfolded to a police truck. Six strangers to the town were driven to the police station and 22 people were released.

That afternoon, at a meeting of village elders, Captain Stout repeated his plea to residents to stop sitting on the fence.

The elders appealed for another week to talk to the people. That afternoon, the Afghan army spotted a suspected grenade thrower and arrested him. The next day an informant directed the Americans to a shop where another suspected attacker was detained.

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Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela

[All of this is a continuation of Ollie North’s “Office of Public Diplomacy” efforts, albeit an updated, computerized version of the original “democratic” subversion process first tested in the jungle labs of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.  (SEE: The Subtle Seeds of the Terror War).]

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela

By Eva Golinger
The Chavez Code

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela
Millions of dollars are being channeled to opposition groups in Venezuela via USAID, while the Pentagon has established a new PSYOP program directed at Venezuela, including a “5-day a week television program in Spanish broadcast in Venezuela” during 2011

The 2010 annual report of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a division of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), regarding its operations in Venezuela, evidences that at least $9.29 million USD was invested this year in efforts to “support US foreign policy objectives…and promote democracy” in the South American nation. This amount represents an increase of almost $2 million over last year’s $7.45 million distributed through this office to fund anti-Chávez political activities in the country.

The OTI is a department of USAID dedicated to “supporting US foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance democracy in priority countries in crisis. OTI works on the ground to provide, fast, flexible short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs”.

Although OTI is traditionally used as a “short-term” strategy to filter millions of dollars in liquid funds to political groups and activities that promote US agenda in strategically important nations, the case of Venezuela has been different. OTI opened its office in 2002, right after the failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chavez – backed by Washington – and has remained ever since. The OTI in Venezuela is the longest standing office of this type in USAID’s history.

OTI’S CLANDESTINE OPS

In a confidencial memo dated January 22, 2002, Russell Porter, head of OTI, revealed how and why USAID set up shop in Venezuela. “OTI was asked to consider a program in Venezuela by the State Department’s Office of Andean Affairs on January 4…OTI was asked if it could offer programs and assistance in order to strengthen the democratic elements that are under increasing fire from the Chavez government”.

Porter visited Venezuela on January 18, 2002 and then commented, “For democracy to have any chance of being preserved, immediate support is needed for independent media and the civil society sector…One of the large weaknesses in Venezuela is the lack of a vibrant civil society…The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a $900,000 program in Venezuela that works with NDI, IRI and the Solidarity Center to strengthen political parties and the Unions…This program is useful, but not nearly sufficient. It is not flexible enough, nor does it work with enough new or non-traditional groups. It also lacks a media component”.

Since then OTI has been present in Venezuela, channeling millions of dollars each year to feed the political conflict in the country. According to the 2010 annual report, OTI is now operating “out of the US Embassy and is part of a larger US diplomatic effort to promote democracy in Venezuela”.

The principal investment of the $9.29 million in US taxpayer dollars in 2010 went to the opposition’s campaign for the legislative elections, held last September 26 in Venezuela. “USAID works with several implementing partners drawn from the spectrum of civil society…offering technical assistance to political parties…and supporting efforts to strengthen civil society”.

In Venezuela, it’s widely known that the term “civil society” refers to the anti-Chavez opposition.

A SECRET FLOW OF FUNDS

Despite revealing its overall budget, the actual flow of funds from USAID/OTI to groups in Venezuela remains secret. When OTI opened its offices in 2002, it contracted a private US company, Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), one of the State Department’s largest contractors worldwide. DAI ran an office out of El Rosal – the Wall Street of Caracas – distributing millions of dollars annually in “small grants of no more than $100,000” to hundreds of mainly unknown Venezuelan “organizations”.

From 2002 to 2010, more than 600 of these “small grants” were channeled out of DAI’s office to anti-Chavez groups, journalists and private, opposition media campaigns.

In December 2009, DAI began to have severe problems with its operations in Afghanistan, when five of its employees were killed by alleged Taliban militants during an attack on their office December 15 in Gardez. Just days earlier, another DAI “employee”, Alan Gross, had been detained in Cuba and accused of subversion for illegally distributing advanced satellite equipment to dissidents.

When an article written by this author titled “CIA Agents assassinated in Afghanistan worked for “contractor” active in Venezuela, Cuba”, published December 30, 2009 on the web, evidenced the link between DAI’s operations in Afghanistan, Cuba and Venezuela, and their suspicious nature, the CEO of DAI, Jim Boomgard, was alarmed. Days later, he attempted to coerce me into a private meeting in Washington to “discuss” my article. When I refused, he threatened me by claiming that my writing was “placing all DAI employees worldwide in danger”. In other words, if anything happened to DAI employees, I would be personalIy responsible.

But Boomgard, who claimed little knowledge of his company’s operations in Venezuela, understood that what DAI was doing in Venezuela was nowhere near as important (to his company) as what DAI was doing in Afghanistan and other countries in conflict. Weeks later, DAI abruptly closed its office in Caracas.

Nonetheless, OTI continues its operations in Venezuela, and although it has other US “partners” managing a portion of its annual multimillion-dollar budget, such as IRI, NDI, Freedom House and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), there is zero transparency regarding funding to Venezuelan groups.

A report published in May 2010 by the Spanish think tank FRIDE assessing “democracy assistance” to Venezuela revealed that a significant part of the more than $50 million annually in political funding from international agencies to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela was entering illicitly. According to the report, in order to avoid Venezuela’s strict “currency control laws”, US and European agencies bring the monies in dollars or euros into the country and then change them on the black market to increase value. This method also avoids leaving a financial record or trace of the funds coming in to illegally finance political activities.

If DAI is no longer operating in Venezuela and distributing “small grants” to Venezuelan groups, then how are USAID’s multimillion-dollar funds reaching their recipients? According to USAID, they now operate from the US Embassy. Is the US Embassy illegally dishing out funds directly to Venezuelans?

OTI’s 2010 report also reveals the agency’s ongoing intentions to continue supporting and funding Venezuelan counterparts. In the section marked “Upcoming Events”, OTI makes clear where energies will be directed, “December 2012 – Presidential elections”.

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS

USAID isn’t the only US agency intervening in Venezuela’s affairs. In the Pentagon’s 2011 budget, a new request for a “psychological operations program” for the Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), which coordinates all US military missions in Latin America, is included. Specifically, the request refers to the establishment of a “PSYOP voice program for USSOUTHCOM”.

PYSOP are, “planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals. The execution of PSYOP includes conducting research on various foreign audiences; developing, producing and disseminating products to influence these audiences; and conducting evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the PSYOP activities. These activities may include the management of various websites and monitoring print and electronic media”. Or, as the 2011 request indicates, running a radio or audio program into a foreign nation to promote US agenda.

USSOUTHCOM’s new PSYOP program in Latin America will complement a new State Department initiative run out of the Board of Broadcasting Governors (BBG), which manages US propaganda worldwide. BBG’s whopping 2011 budget of $768.8 million includes “a 30-minute, five-day-a-week VOA [Voice of America] Spanish television program for Venezuela”.

This increase in PSYOP and pro-US propaganda directed at Venezuela evidences an escalation in US aggression towards the region.

And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is still running a special intelligence “mission” on Venezuela and Cuba, set up in 2006. Only four of these country-specific “mission management teams” exist: Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Venezuela/Cuba. These “missions” receive an important part of DNI’s $80 billion annual budget and operate in complete secrecy.

Source: The Chavez Code

Indian Destabilization of Bangladesh, Looking for Special Transit Rights

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house

At least three people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Bangladesh, and over 100 protesters were injured as officials evicted the leader of the opposition from the house where she had lived for 40 years.

Suicide bomb in Bangladesh kills three as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia evicted from her house 

Violence erupted in more than 20 other towns and dozens of people were injured in clashes with police Photo: AFP/GETTY

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear demonstrators in Dhaka trying to prevent authorities from evicting former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia from her house.

At least 50 people were injured and more than 20 demonstrators detained in the capital of Bangladesh.

Violence erupted in more than 20 other towns and dozens of people were injured in clashes with police.

Around 50 people were injured in Serajganj, 95 miles northwest of Dhaka, local television channels reported.

At least three people were killed and five, including a lawmaker of the ruling party, injured in the suicide bomb attack near Khustia, 190 miles west of the capital Dhaka.

The bomb was detonated at the residence of Afaz Uddin, an Awami League member of parliament.

Police would not say whether they thought the attack was related to the widespread violence over Mrs Khaleda’s eviction from her home.

Police and witnesses said up to 4,000 protesters armed with sticks and stones set fire to vehicles and attacked officers near the headquarters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former Prime Minister Khaleda.

Several thousand protesters skirmished with police close to Mrs Khaleda’s residence in the garrison area, and the clashes intensified as security forces cordoned off the building shortly before a High Court deadline for her to vacate the house.

Mrs Khaleda later told a news conference she had been forcibly evicted from the house where she had lived for 40 years.

“They entered my bedroom and ransacked all the furniture. They even beat my personal staff,” said a tearful Mrs Khaleda, speaking at her party office at Gulshan.

“I am not only humiliated but ashamed at the behaviour of the government. Now I seek justice from the people,” she added.

Mrs Khaleda’s residence in a sprawling compound was leased to her by the government in 1982, after her husband, former president General Ziaur Rahman, was killed in an abortive coup. They had lived in the house for several years.

The current government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cancelled the lease last year, intending to put up multi-storey buildings for families of army officers killed in a mutiny at a paramilitary unit headquarters in Dhaka.

The BNP later called for a one-day strike.

“To protest the (eviction) order we have called for a countrywide dawn to dusk general strike on Sunday,” BNP secretary-general Khondaker Delwar Hossain said

US Raids in the Night Push Locals Into Arms of the Taliban

Karzai calls for fewer US raids

Afghan president appeals for reduction in “problem” night-time operations saying they help turn people to the Taliban.
Karzai has said that Afghan troops can take over security by 2014 [File: Reuters]

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has appealed to the United States to reduce the visibilty and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan.

In an interview with The Washington Post newspaper on Saturday, Karzai said that the long-term presence of foreign troops on Afghan soil could only worsen the security situation in the country and hit out at an increase in night-time raids by special forces.

“The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan … to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life,” he said.

Karzai said that US troops must cease the night raids, which violate Afghan homes and encourage more people to join the Taliban.

“The raids are a problem always. They were a problem then, they are a problem now. They have to go away,” he said.

“The Afghan people don’t like these raids, if there is any raid it has to be done by the Afghan government within the Afghan laws. This is a continuing disagreement between us.”

Karzai, who said during his inaugural speech last year that he would like to have full Afghan security control by 2014, said that the US military “should and could” draw down its forces next year.

Taliban attacks

The Afghan president made the remarks as suspected Taliban attacks killed at least one foreign soldier and two civilians.

The civilians were killed when a homemade bomb, attached to a parked motorcycle, exploded in the main market area of Spin Boldak, in the province of Kandahar on Sunday.

The Nato soldier, whose nationality was not released, was also killed by a blast in Spin Boldak. It was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related.

Meanwhile, at least 14 vehicles in a convoy of Nato fuel tankers were set on fire in eastern Afghanistan. Witnesses said armed men attacked the convoy in the Beshud district of Nangarhar and the drivers fled as the attack began.

“There were 16 fuel tankers in the convoy, 14 of them have been burned and two others have escaped,” Fazel Hadi, a police officer, said.

Pakistani Prosecutors’ Bravery or Cowardice Is Key to Fight Against Jihadis

Who will save Pakistani prosecutors from the joint wrath of the ISI and extremist Deobandis?

The ISI uses extremist Deobandis of the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba as footsoldiers in its pursuit of ‘strategic depth’.

Pakistani prosecutors decline cases against militants

By Awais Saleem, IANS
Source

Islamabad: Public prosecutors in Pakistan have refused to proceed with cases involving suspected militants on the pretext that the banned terror outfits are threatening them with dire consequences if they appeared in court.

Media reports Saturday said the anti-terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, could not try cases against arrested suspects belonging to militant outfits because no public prosecutor was present.

“Judge Anand Ram was scheduled to hear a case against arrested suspects of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, while Judge Hasan Bokhari was to hear a case against an accused linked with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,” Aaj TV reported.

“We are receiving constant threats from accomplices of these terrorists and can’t risk our lives anymore,” a public prosecutor were quoted as saying.

“We requested the police to provide us adequate security but it has failed to do so,” he said.

The anti-terrorism court has issued notices to the Sindh home secretary and the chief secretary to appear before it on the next date of hearing and explain why the public prosecutors – Muhammad Khan Bararo and Mubashir Mirza – who were to appear on behalf of the government, did not come to the court.

At least 19 people were killed and over 140 injured in a suicide bombing targeting a police station in Karachi Thursday night, just a day after six Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants were arrested carrying lethal weapons and other sensitive materials.

Last month, a shrine was attacked, while two Shia processions were targets of suicide bombings earlier this year.

“We have arrested 56 high-profile terrorists during the last couple of months and are being targeted for revenge,” Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza said after Thursday’s deadly attack on the police station where the arrested militants were being kept.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for all these attacks and is known to work in tandem with Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for terror strikes in urban areas.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at ians.pakistan@gmail.com)

Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent

The greatest factor in promoting and sustaining state-fascism is not any act of violence but simply this – the systematic and studied ignorance maintained by the mainstream intelligentsia on the state’s gravest atrocities.

In today’s world, it doesn’t take any kind of effort to be well-informed on any political issue that one can choose. You can, for example, go to news.google.com and enter in “Parachinar Blockade”. What will you see?

Not a lot of hits, but it’s a good start. Clicking on the first one, one can read a report about Colonel Tausif Akhtar’s announcement of the closure of the five border crossing points that previously served as the only exit points from Kurram Agency to the outside world. From a quote from a local inhabitant, one gets the opinion that this move by the security forces was an attempt to bring the Parachinari Shias “to their knees” and that for the last 4 years all local paths (within Pakistan) to Parachinar have been blocked and that the locals have had to use these border crossing to communicate with the outside world.

The second link provides a deeper analysis of the issue by Dr. Muhammad Taqi in the Daily Times. It is his view that this blockade is part of a strategic plan by the Pakistani military to safeguard it’s long-term assets, the Haqqanis and protect them from any possible military operation in North Waziristan that the Pakistani army may be forced into due to US pressure.

The third is a link from the BBC summarizing the facts in both the above articles.

One simple search, three links, and one is confronted with some extremely troubling information. For many, the information contained in these three links would shake the very foundations of their faith in the Pakistani army and its dedication to fighting terrorism within Pakistan. After all, an army that deliberately blockades its own citizens whose only crimes are that they a) belong to a minority religious sect and b) that they are unwilling to provide shelter to viciously sectarian and violent terrorists cannot be an army that is committed to ending terrorism within Pakistan’s boundaries, can it? So when confronted with this troubling and paradigm shaking bit of news, the average news-reading, mainstream intellectual Pakistan makes a very simple decision.

he chooses to ignore it

And so we have the collective decision to maintain a studied ignorance of the Pakistani state’s complicity in the persecution of its own citizens. And that is the way we perpetuate state tyranny from the comfort of our own computer desks. Not by taking up arms, or taking over someone’s house, or accusing someone of blasphemy, but by simply ignoring key events, shaping the public discourse of a national security state, and manufacturing consent for its greatest atrocities on its most helpless citizens.