[HI, GUYS…I AM SORTA BACK.
Still recovering from some pretty major surgery…8hrs. Things will return to normal shortly.==Peter.]
TAKING A BREAK IN POSTING—————
things will return to normal as soon as I am able.–Peter
Still recovering from some pretty major surgery…8hrs. Things will return to normal shortly.==Peter.]
things will return to normal as soon as I am able.–Peter
According to CSR, in a society growing distrust of the Russian president Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin
Russia is waiting for a heavy political crisis, which is comparable with the end of 1980, according to a report of the Center for Strategic Studies, “The political crisis in Russia and possible mechanisms for its development.”
According to analysts of CSR, the political crisis in the society has already begun, but so far resides in latent form and may soon move into the open.CSR experts say the growing legitimacy of the decline of Russian power in general and the general mistrust of its two key figures – President Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin.
This thesis is the report’s authors – the president of the fund CSR Mikhail Dmitriev and Director of Economic and Social Research CSR Sergei Belanovsky – underpin sociological research center, as well as an analysis of survey results of leading Russian sociological companies – VTsIOM, Levada Center and FOM.
In CSR, referring to its own case studies, notes that recently “a growing trend growth rate” Vote for some third party, not for Dmitry Medvedev or Vladimir Putin. ”
“If the trends of confidence in the authorities to maintain the stability at least over the next 10-15 months, Russia will face a political crisis. It is possible that, by its intensity, this crisis will exceed the period of the late 1990’s and came close to the era of the late 1980’s. “
Even in the official data of the leading sociological services, the report says, is decreasing ratings of various branches of government.
Thus, according to research by Public Opinion Foundation, from May 2009 to March 2011 balance (minus rating of confidence rating of mistrust) for Dmitry Medvedev, was minus 12 points for Vladimir Putin – minus 21, and for the party “United Russia” – minus 18.
“Dynamics of the ratings is virtually the same and for the president and prime minister, and for United Russia.” This means that the emerging trend applies not to a particular person, and the political regime as a whole, indicating that during its delegitimizing ” – the report says.
In this case, the authors say, if the “trend of confidence in the authorities to maintain the stability” at least over the next 10-15 months, “in its intensity, this crisis will exceed the period of the late 1990’s and came close to the era of the late 1980’s. ”
To prevent the development of the crisis, experts suggest to the structural reform of higher echelons of power.
Among the proposed measures – the rejection of attempts at any price to achieve a parliamentary majority for United Russia and the formation of a coalition government after the elections. ”
In addition, CSR doubted the possibility of a democratic election of any of the ‘ruling tandem, “and the use of administrative resources, according to the authors of the document, will lead to more emergency deligitimizatsii power.
True, specific advice and guidance in this part of the report does not contain.Noted only that “as a result of the process of delegitimizing authorities receive additional acceleration, and the new Russian president would actually be unable to effectively perform their functions objectively very difficult situation.”
Report of the Center for Strategic Studies released a couple of weeks after a similar publication of the Institute of Contemporary Development ” PressUncovering the future. Strategy 2012. Abstract .
In the analytical paper INSOR addressed to the future president, offered to return the elections at all levels of the political system, including the election of governors, to discontinue the practice of “management of democracy, free outdoor activity and abolition of censorship on the federal TV channels.
The authors do not hide that would like to see the provisions of this document became the basis of pre-election program of Dmitry Medvedev, if he would run for the next election.
In the leadership of the Party “United Russia” offers the institute, the board of trustees which is headed by Medvedev himself, Presscalled a provocation . EP seen in “an artificial model, which has no relation to real life.”
Immediately after the publication of the report INSOR with big political statement was made first vice-premier of Russia Igor Shuvalov.
Speaking at the forum “Russia and the world: in search of innovative strategies in Moscow, he said that Russia should take place a considerable transformation of the society, but the Press, without any political upheavals , these events in Egypt and other Arab countries, and especially more without a change of government.
Plumes of Cesium 137, Iodine 131, and Xenon 133, have reached the United States as of March 23, 2011.Higher plumes, reaching 5000 meters (15,000 feet) are forecast to reach Portugal, Spain, and central europe.All animations are from professional forecasting services. Links are below.
The radiation flow, forecast and shown by these several models… tells the tale of the isotopes coming our way… .. it will be up to you to decide if you should go outside during the time these clouds are over the USA, Canada, and Mexico…radiation forecasting links:
…thanks to youtube user androdameia for the below EUROPE radiation monitoring link:
spain radiation link:
http://www.blackcatsystems.com/RadMap/map.htmlhttp://www.epa.gov (click on radiation update)
dutch radiation monitoring:
swiss radiation monitoring:
Finland radiation monitoring:
French radiation monitoring: (thanks to youtube user: RehKurts ! )
jet stream forecasting:
“The presence of two such high-ranking Guantanamo graduates in the new Yemen-based al Qaeda is certainly ground for questioning.”
by F. William Engdahl*
On December 25 US authorities arrested a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on charges of having tried to blow up the plane with smuggled explosives. Since then reports have been broadcast from CNN, the New York Times and other sources that he was “suspected” of having been trained in Yemen for his terror mission. What the world has been subjected to since is the emergence of a new target for the US ‘War on Terror,’ namely a desolate state on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen. A closer look at the background suggests the Pentagon and US intelligence have a hidden agenda in Yemen.
For some months the world has seen a steady escalation of US military involvement in Yemen, a dismally poor land adjacent to Saudi Arabia on its north, the Red Sea on its west, the Gulf of Aden on its south, opening to the Arabian Sea, overlooking another desolate land that has been in the headlines of late, Somalia. The evidence suggests that the Pentagon and US intelligence are moving to militarize a strategic chokepoint for the world’s oil flows, Bab el-Mandab, and using the Somalia piracy incident, together with claims of a new Al Qaeda threat arising from Yemen, to militarize one of the world’s most important oil transport routes. In addition, undeveloped petroleum reserves in the territory between Yemen and Saudi Arabia are reportedly among the world’s largest.
The 23-year-old Nigerian man charged with the failed bomb attempt, Abdulmutallab, reportedly has been talking, claiming he was sent on his mission by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. This has conveniently turned the world’s attention on Yemen as a new center of the alleged Al Qaeda terror organization.
Notably, Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran who advised President Obama on the policy leading to the Afghan troop surge, wrote in his blog of the alleged ties of the Detroit bomber to Yemen, “The attempt to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day underscores the growing ambition of al Qaeda’s Yemen franchise, which has grown from a largely Yemeni agenda to become a player in the global Islamic jihad in the last year…The weak Yemeni government of President Ali Abdallah Salih, which has never fully controlled the country and now faces a host of growing problems, will need significant American support to defeat AQAP.” 
Some basic Yemen geopolitics
Before we can say much about the latest incident, it is useful to look more closely at the Yemen situation. Here several things stand out as peculiar when stacked against Washington’s claims about a resurgent Al Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula.
In early 2009 the chess pieces on the Yemeni board began to move. Tariq al-Fadhli, a former jihadist leader originally from South Yemen, broke a 15 year alliance with the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced he was joining the broad-based opposition coalition known as the Southern Movement (SM). Al-Fadhli had been a member of the Mujahideen movement in Afghanistan in the late 1980’s. His break with the government was reported in Arab and Yemeni media in April 2009. Al-Fadhli’s break with the Yemen dictatorship gave new power to the Southern Movement (SM). He has since become a leading figure in the alliance.
Yemen itself is a synthetic amalgam created after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, when the southern Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) lost its main foreign sponsor. Unification of the northern Yemen Arab Republic and the southern PDRY state led to a short-lived optimism that ended in a brief civil war in 1994, as southern army factions organized a revolt against what they saw as the corrupt crony state rule of northern President Ali Abdullah Saleh. President Saleh has held a one-man rule since 1978, first as President of North Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic) and since 1990 as President of the unified new Yemen. The southern army revolt failed as Saleh enlisted al-Fadhli and other Yemeni Salafists, followers of a conservative interpretation of Islam, and jihadists to fight the formerly Marxist forces of the Yemen Socialist Party in the south.
Before 1990 Washington and the Saudi Kingdom backed and supported Saleh and his policy of Islamization as a bid to contain the communist south.  Since then Saleh has relied on a strong Salafist-jihadi movement to retain a one-man dictatorial rule. The break with Saleh by al-Fadhli and his joining the southern opposition group with his former socialist foes marked a major setback for Saleh.
Soon after al-Fadhli joined the Southern Movement coalition, on April 28, 2009 protests in the southern Yemeni provinces of Lahj, Dalea and Hadramout intensified. There were demonstrations by tens of thousands of dismissed military personnel and civil servants demanding better pay and benefits, demonstrations that had been taking place in growing numbers since 2006. The April demonstrations included for the first time a public appearance by al-Fadhli. His appearance served to change a long moribund southern socialist movement into a broader nationalist campaign. It also galvanized President Saleh, who then called on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states for help, warning that the entire Arabian Peninsula would suffer the consequences.
Complicating the picture in what some call a failed state, in the north Saleh faces an al-Houthi Zaydi Shi’ite rebellion. On September 11, 2009, in an Al-Jazeera TV interview, Saleh accused Iraq’s Shi’ite opposition leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, and also Iran, of backing the north Yemen Shi’ite Houthist rebels in an Al-Jazeera TV interview. Yemen’s Saleh declared, “We cannot accuse the Iranian official side, but the Iranians are contacting us, saying that they are prepared for a mediation. This means that the Iranians have contacts with them [the Houthists], given that they want to mediate between the Yemeni government and them. Also, Muqtada al-Sadr in al-Najaf in Iraq is asking that he be accepted as a mediator. This means they have a link.” 
Yemen authorities claim they have seized caches of weapons made in Iran, while the Houthists claim to have captured Yemeni equipment with Saudi Arabian markings, accusing Sana’a (the capital of Yemen and site of the US Embassy) of acting as a Saudi proxy. Iran has rejected claims that Iranian weapons were found in north Yemen, calling claims of support to the rebels as baseless. 
What about al-Qaeda?
The picture that emerges is one of a desperate US-backed dictator, Yemen’s President Saleh, increasingly losing control after two decades as despotic ruler of the unified Yemen. Economic conditions in the country took a drastic downward slide in 2008 when world oil prices collapsed. Some 70% of the state revenues derive from Yemen’s oil sales. The central government of Saleh sits in former North Yemen in Sana’a, while the oil is in former South Yemen. Yet Saleh controls the oil revenue flows. Lack of oil revenue has made Saleh’s usual option of buying off opposition groups all but impossible.
Into this chaotic domestic picture comes the January 2009 announcement, prominently featured in select Internet websites, that al-Qaeda, the alleged global terrorist organization created by the late CIA-trained Saudi, Osama bin Laden, has opened a major new branch in Yemen for both Yemen and Saudi operations.
Al Qaeda in Yemen released a statement through online jihadist forums Jan. 20, 2009 from the group’s leader Nasir al-Wahayshi, announcing formation of a single al Qaeda group for the Arabian Peninsula under his command. According to al-Wahayshi, the new group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, would consist of his former al Qaeda in Yemen, as well as members of the defunct Saudi al Qaeda group. The press release claimed, interestingly enough, that a Saudi national, a former Guantanamo detainee (Number 372), Abu-Sayyaf al-Shihri, would serve as al-Wahayshi’s deputy.
Days later an online video from al-Wahayshi appeared under the alarming title, “We Start from Here and We Will Meet at al-Aqsa.” Al-Aqsa refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that Jews know as Temple Mount, the site of the destroyed Temple of Solomon, which Muslims call Al Haram Al Sharif. The video threatens Muslim leaders — including Yemeni’s President Saleh, the Saudi royal family, and Egyptian President Mubarak — and promises to take the jihad from Yemen to Israel to “liberate” Muslim holy sites and Gaza, something that would likely detonate World War III if anyone were mad enough to do it.
Also in that video, in addition to former Guantanamo inmate al-Shihri, is a statement from Abu-al-Harith Muhammad al-Awfi, identified as a field commander in the video, and allegedly former Guantanamo detainee 333. As it is well-established that torture methods are worthless to obtain truthful confessions, some have speculated that the real goal of CIA and Pentagon interrogators at Guantanamo prison since September 2001, has been to use brutal techniques to train or recruit sleeper terrorists who can be activated on command by US intelligence, a charge difficult to prove or disprove. The presence of two such high-ranking Guantanamo graduates in the new Yemen-based al Qaeda is certainly ground for questioning.
Al Qaeda in Yemen is apparently anathema to al-Fadhli and the enlarged mass-based Southern Movement. In an interview, al-Fadhli declared, “I have strong relations with all of the jihadists in the north and the south and everywhere, but not with al-Qaeda.”  That has not hindered Saleh from claiming the Southern Movement and al Qaeda are one and the same, a convenient way to insure backing from Washington.
According to US intelligence reports, there are a grand total of perhaps 200 al Qaeda members in southern Yemen. 
Al-Fadhli gave an interview distancing himself from al Qaeda in May 2009, declaring, “We [in South Yemen] have been invaded 15 years ago and we are under a vicious occupation. So we are busy with our cause and we do not look at any other cause in the world. We want our independence and to put an end to this occupation.”  Conveniently, the same day, al Qaeda made a large profile declaring its support for southern Yemen’s cause.
On May 14, in an audiotape released on the internet, al-Wahayshi, leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, expressed sympathy with the people of the southern provinces and their attempt to defend themselves against their “oppression,” declaring, “What is happening in Lahaj, Dhali, Abyan and Hadramaut and the other southern provinces cannot be approved. We have to support and help [the southerners].” He promised retaliation: “The oppression against you will not pass without punishment… the killing of Muslims in the streets is an unjustified major crime.” 
The curious emergence of a tiny but well-publicized al Qaeda in southern Yemen amid what observers call a broad-based popular-based Southern Movement front that eschews the radical global agenda of al Qaeda, serves to give the Pentagon a kind of casus belli to escalate US military operations in the strategic region.
Indeed, after declaring that the Yemen internal strife was Yemen’s own affair, President Obama ordered air strikes in Yemen. The Pentagon claimed its attacks on December 17 and 24 killed three key al Qaeda leaders but no evidence has yet proven this. Now the Christmas Day Detroit bomber drama gives new life to Washington’s “War on Terror” campaign in Yemen. Obama has now offered military assistance to the Saleh Yemen government.
Somali Pirates escalate as if on cue
As if on cue, at the same time CNN headlines broadcast new terror threats from Yemen, the long-running Somalia pirate attacks on commercial shipping in the same Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea across from southern Yemen escalated dramatically after having been reduced by multinational ship patrols.
On December 29, Moscow’s RAI Novosti reported that Somali pirates seized a Greek cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s coast. Earlier the same day a British-flagged chemical tanker and its 26 crew were also seized in the Gulf of Aden. In a sign of sophisticated skills in using western media, pirate commander Mohamed Shakir told the British newspaper The Times by phone, “We have hijacked a ship with [a] British flag in the Gulf of Aden late yesterday.” The US intelligence brief,Stratfor, reports that The Times, owned by neo-conservative financial backer, Rupert Murdoch, is sometimes used by Israeli intelligence to plant useful stories.
The two latest events brought a record number of attacks and hijackings for 2009. As of December 22, attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia numbered 174, with 35 vessels hijacked and 587 crew taken hostage so far in 2009, almost all successful pirate activity, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center. The open question is, who is providing the Somali “pirates” with arms and logistics sufficient to elude international patrols from numerous nations?
Notably, on January 3, President Saleh got a phone call from Somali president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in which he briefed president Saleh on latest developments in Somalia. Sheikh Sharif, whose own base in Mogadishu is so weak he is sometimes referred to as President of Mogadishu Airport, told Saleh he would share information with Saleh about any terror activities that might be launched from Somali territories targeting stability and security of Yemen and the region.
The Oil chokepoint and other oily affairs
The strategic significance of the region between Yemen and Somalia becomes the point of geopolitical interest. It is the site of Bab el-Mandab, one of what the US Government lists as seven strategic world oil shipping chokepoints. The US Government Energy Information Agency states that “closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.” 
Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el -Mandab before entering the Suez Canal. In 2006, the Energy Department in Washington reported that an estimated 3.3 million barrels a day of oil flowed through this narrow waterway to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Most oil, or some 2.1 million barrels a day, goes north through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex into the Mediterranean.
An excuse for a US or NATO militarization of the waters around Bab el-Mandab would give Washington another major link in its pursuit of control of the seven most critical oil chokepoints around the world, a major part of any future US strategy aimed at denying oil flows to China, the EU or any region or country that opposes US policy. Given that significant flows of Saudi oil pass through Bab el-Mandab, a US military control there would serve to deter the Saudi Kingdom from becoming serious about transacting future oil sales with China or others no longer in dollars, as was recently reported by UK Independent journalist Robert Fisk.
It would also be in a position to threaten China’s oil transport from Port Sudan on the Red Sea just north of Bab el-Mandab, a major lifeline in China’s national energy needs.
In addition to its geopolitical position as a major global oil transit chokepoint, Yemen is reported to hold some of the world’s greatest untapped oil reserves. Yemen’s Masila Basin and Shabwa Basin are reported by international oil companies to contain “world class discoveries.”  France’s Total and several smaller international oil companies are engaged in developing Yemen’s oil production. Some fifteen years ago I was told in a private meeting with a well-informed Washington insider that Yemen contained “enough undeveloped oil to fill the oil demand of the entire world for the next fifty years.” Perhaps there is more to Washington’s recent Yemen concern than a rag-tag al Qaeda whose very existence as a global terror organization has been doubted by seasoned Islamic experts.
Tokyo : A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Miyagi prefecture and its vicinity in northeastern Japan Monday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The agency issued a tsunami alert for the Pacific coast of the prefecture following the quake, which occurred at 7. 24 a.m. (local time) However, the tsunami alert was lifted at 9.05 a.m., Xinhua reported.
The quake’s focus was 80 km east of Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake’s epicentre was some 161 km east- northeast of Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, located in the Tohoku region on the island of Honshu, and 368 km northeast of Tokyo. It occurred at 7.23 a.m. local time Monday (2223 GMT Sunday), at a depth of 5.9 kilometres
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the Monday’s quake.
On March 11, the Miyagi prefecture and other neighbouring regions were struck by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the coast and ensuing tsunami, which killed over 10,000 people and caused severe damage and huge property loss.
The toll from the March 11 quake and ensuing tsunami stood at 10,489 Sunday, while 16,621 people were listed as missing, DPA reported police as saying.
[If they were any kind of real military threat, they would have organized such a defensive investigative unit, months, or years ago.]
Lashkar-e-Khorasan will identify and execute those suspected of working for the CIA.
Known as Lashkar-e-Khorasan (LeKh), the group’s only purpose is to identify, capture and execute people allegedly working for what is described as a web of local spies created by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The Lashkar draws it strength from both the Haqqani network and the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group — two militias that control the regions along the Afghan border, which the US describes as the most dangerous place on Earth.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Hakimullah Mehsud also has its sympathies and what is described as occasional “active cooperation” with the Lashkar.
Though the exact number of members in LeKh is unknown, one source in the tribal areas said it was more than 300.
The regions where the cell works are Datta Khel, Miramshah and Mir Ali town of North Waziristan, as well as surrounding areas where US drone strikes have been frequent.
The vigilance cell was set up for the first time last year by top commanders of the groups, both having a tacit peace understanding with the Pakistan military operating in nearby South Waziristan. The military operation in South Waziristan aims to root out homegrown Taliban striking inside the country.
“In the beginning, it was a loose network with members casually going out and trying to find out who is providing information to the US,” an associate of one of the groups explained to The Express Tribune. “It is more organised now and they are working scientifically on the counter-intelligence line.”
An intelligence official at Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and several local sources from Mir Ali and Miramshah also confirmed the existence and activities of the Lashkar, but appeared unaware of its structure.
In 2010, the US stepped up its drone campaign in the mountainous border regions to eliminate what officials in Washington called high-value targets including top leadership of al Qaeda and their local facilitators.
The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by the US military stationed in Afghanistan to eradicate Taliban militants struck inside Pakistani border areas more than 100 times in 2010 alone, killing some al Qaeda fugitives, but mostly targeting civilians.
Though American officials do not comment on the drone campaign publicly, it is commonly known that the predator hits a mechanical chip on the ground that spies allegedly place at Taliban hideouts. [SEE: Paramilitary Pretense, Who Controls the Predators?–ed.]
“The LeKh is working to find out who exactly does that and how Americans are able to find out where the mujahideen (militants) are holding a meeting or which vehicle they are travelling on,” the affiliate of Bahadur group added.
Once a suspect is caught “spying” he is taken to a Taliban court or Darul Qaza where judges or Qazis ask him to explain his position. If proved guilty, the person is executed immediately.
Two months ago, the LeKh was behind the beheading of almost half a dozen motor mechanics in Mir Ali after US officials changed their policy of hitting compounds and instead started targeting moving target or vehicles with Taliban leaders on board.
The mechanics, mostly from nearby Bannu district, became a prey of LeKh’s outrage after they were blamed for placing chips in a Taliban Hilux car to make them a target for US drone strikes.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2011.
Doha : Qatar has declined reports that the Gulf Arab emirate had seized two Iranian ships loaded with weapons.
Qatar News Agency in a statement from the interior ministry said reports on stopping two Iranian ships with weapons on board in the territorial waters of Qatar were baseless, Xinhua reported.
A Kuwaiti newspaper said Sunday two boats from Iran were stopped in Qatar’s territorial waters, but provided no further details.
Tensions in the oil-rich Gulf region were mounting as opposition protesters who staged month-long rallies in the tiny island nation of Bahrain.
By TCN Special Correspondent,
New Delhi: University students held demonstration in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi today, in solidarity with Arab uprising, and against Saudi brutal invasion in Bahrain on Friday. The protest was organized under the banner of Indian People’s Solidarity with Arab Uprising
“We hail the people’s upsurge against US/Saudi puppet dictatorships in Bahrain. The Hamad AL Khalifa’s dictatorial regime is facing an unprecedented challenge from the people of Bahrain and we condemn such type of regimes,” said one of the protesters from JNU.
Protest before Saudi Embassy Against Bahrain Invasion
“This is a historic moment, and all progressive and democratic voices across the world join the protesters in solidarity with not just Bahrain, but several other countries like Libya, Yemen and Saudi Arabia where people are now revolting against anti-people puppet regimes supported by the US,” said Saira Mujtaba, a student of MCRC Jamia Millia Islamia.
After protest a delegation of the students met Saudi officials and submitted their resolution demanding complete withdrawal of Saudi forces from Bahrain and Yemen.
It is to be noted that the Hamad AL Khalifa regime, which has consistently been backed by the US, Israel and Saudi Arab, is facing an unprecedented challenge from the people of Bahrain. People are braving tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and truncheons every single day. The regime has also tried to quell the movement by shutting down internet services, a key organizing tool of the protests.
[Later that day, or the next, the factory blew up, killing at least 40 people, who were scavenging through for weapons and ammunition.]
Yemenis anti-government protesters demonstrating in Sanaa yesterday as embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he does not want to cling on to power. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP
Islamic militants seized control of a weapons factory, a strategic mountain and a nearby town in the southern Yemen province of Abyan yesterday as a political stalemate in the capital causes security to unravel around the country.
The fragile nation has been rocked by weeks of mass protests against the long-serving president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who refuses to step down.
Mr Saleh’s fate is of deep concern to the US as he is a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda, but with his attention on massive anti-government protests in the capital, security has declined in the provinces.
Residents of the southern Abyan province said police reduced their presence in towns weeks ago. Elsewhere, residents have pushed out police and soldiers and set up their own local militias for self defence.
In the areas they took over, the militants set up checkpoints around the small factory and in the town of al-Husn, patrolling the streets and searching cars.
They also seized control of a nearby Khanfar mountain that holds a radio station and a presidential guest house, said Ali Dahmash, an expert on Islamic militant groups who lives nearby.
Residents in the nearby town of Jaar, which was seized by the militants yesterday, said they heard gunfire, but the scope of the battle wasn’t immediately clear.
The area lies close to the southern port town of Aden.
In another province of Yemen, security officials say suspected al Qaeda gunmen killed seven soldiers and wounded seven others in an attack on a military post. The attack took place at Ubaida area in the central Marib province, another province where the militant group is active and only under nominal government control.
Al Qaeda has seized control of towns in southern Yemen before, but in the past was vigorously confronted by security forces loyal to Mr Saleh.
The instability highlights the unraveling security situation throughout Yemen as a stalemate ensues between the country’s president of 32 years and hundreds of thousands of citizens who want him to leave power.
They have camped in cities and towns for weeks, demanding his removal, inspired by the wave of people power sweeping the Middle East. After forces to Mr Saleh opened fire on demonstrators last week, killing over 40, the protesters’ ranks were bolstered by a series of high-level officials from the country’s military, diplomatic corps and civil servants, including the president’s former chief adviser, Ali Mohsen.
But Mr Saleh refuses to step down immediately, saying it would draw the country into a long civil war. He has offered to resign at the end of the year after setting new elections.
BOSTON—Radiation from the crippled nuclear plant in Japan is showing up in rain in the United States.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Sunday that very low concentrations of radioiodine-131 that were likely from the Japanese power plant severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month have been detected in a sample of rainwater. Officials did not say where the sample was taken.
The agency said the sample was taken in the past week and is one of more than 100 around the country. It is part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency network that monitors for radioactivity.
State officials say similar testing was done in other states, including California, Pennsylvania and Washington, and showed comparable levels of I-131 in rain.
Officials also say there is no health impact to drinking water supplies, but will continue to monitor
“The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term, slight elevation in radiation,” said John Auerbach, commissioner of public health.
I-131 has a short duration, lasting eight days, officials said. In addition, finding concentrations of I-131 in rainwater samples is significantly higher than in a lake or pond because falling water is diluted, officials said. As a result, health officials do not expect health concerns.
Testing last week of samples from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs showed no detectable levels of I-131, health officials said.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. directed the Department of Environmental Protection to collect additional samples for testing from several water bodies across Massachusetts Sunday. Results will be available over the next several days.
Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they struggled to bring Japan’s nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster. Workers were trying to remove the radioactive water from the nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.
Company officials initially reported that radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal, but they later said the huge number was miscalculated.
Nevada and other western states have reported minuscule amounts of radiation are showing up, but scientists say there is no health risk.
Air raid on territory kills two members of Islamic Jihad, group vows retaliation
BEERSHEBA, Israel: Israel deployed a long-anticipated rocket shield outside the Gaza Strip Sunday, shortly after an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinians, but stressed the initial deployment was experimental.
The positioning of Iron Dome just north of Beersheba, a southern city twice hit by rockets during this month’s flare-up of cross-border violence, was described by the military as an “acceleration” of the system’s scheduled field evaluations.
But officials were quick to point out the system could not yet provide complete protection against the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza.
“Israel has been under missile threat for 20 years, since the  Gulf War. I do not want to foster the illusion that Iron Dome, which we are deploying today for the first time, will provide a complete or comprehensive answer,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet.
“Iron Dome is still in the experimental stage and we do not have the possibility of deploying batteries to protect every home, school, base and installation,” he added.
The Israeli airstrike on Gaza Sunday threatened to prompt more tit-for-tat attacks a day after fighters committed to calm if Israel reciprocated.
“Two Palestinians were killed and another wounded Sunday morning in an Israeli air raid on targets east of Jabaliya,” said Gaza emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya.
Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, claimed the men as its own and said it would respond to the “crime” against them.
“The lives of our martyrs will not be wasted,” a statement said. “We will answer this crime against our mujahedeen in the right time and place.”
An army spokeswoman said “an air force plane attacked … a terrorist cell that was preparing to fire a rocket at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.”
Hamas later issued a statement that made no mention of the incident, but repeated a call for calm agreed with Islamic Jihad and other factions at a meeting Saturday.
“We appreciate the agreement of the Palestinians factions committing to calm and call on all the fighters in the field to implement the agreement without any violations,” the statement said of the deal, reached after a week of attacks on Israel and Israeli airstrikes that killed eight Palestinians.
At Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “Israel won’t accept this [rocket] fire and will continue to act to foil it with whatever means are needed … This morning, too, we hit a cell that was preparing a launch against Israel. We have no interest in escalating the incidents and it is important to allow [Israeli citizens] to live their normal lives.”
Before the Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel “will not tolerate an attack on its civilians.”
“In the past two weeks there have been elements that have been trying to violate the calm and security. We have no interest in escalating the situation, but will not hesitate employing the [army] against anyone who attacks our people,” he said.
Following Saturday’s meeting, Khader Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader, told AFP that “everybody confirmed they respect the national consensus by calming things with the Zionist enemy.”
But he said this “depends on the nature of Israeli behavior, and we insist on the need to respond immediately to each escalation by the occupiers.”
Firing radar-guided missiles from a truck-sized launcher, Iron Dome is designed to track and blow up incoming threats in mid-air. Its development was stepped up after the 2006 Lebanon war and defense officials say it has aced several live trials. So far, Israel has acquired just two batteries and no decision has been made yet on where to deploy the second unit.
Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, Israel’s air defense chief, said whatever lull ensued was irrelevant to Iron Dome planning. “We will carry out our evaluations regardless,” he told reporters.
“Regrettably, the way things look now, we will be required to provide our services for a long time hence.”
He would not comment on the protective radius provided by the Beersheba battery. But its positioning suggested it could cover Sderot, an Israeli town on the Gaza border that has borne the brunt of almost a decade of mortar bomb and rocket attacks.
According to Gavish, each unit can be dismantled and ferried out “within hours,” allowing for mobile responses over a large swathe of territory.
Elsewhere, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held positive talks Saturday in the West Bank with Hamas officials to discuss efforts to reconcile his Fatah party with Hamas, sources on both sides said. –Agencies
Peter Dale Scott’s Libyan Notebook
Updated March 27, 2011
The world is facing a very unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation in North Africa and the Middle East. What began as a memorable, promising, relatively nonviolent achievement of New Politics – the Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt – has morphed very swiftly into a recrudescence of old habits: America, already mired in two decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sporadic air attacks in Yemen and Somalia, now bombing yet another Third World Country, in this case Libya.
USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in the Mediterranean Sea, March 19, 2011. US government handout
The initially stated aim of this bombing was to diminish Libyan civilian casualties. But many senior figures in Washington, including President Obama, have indicated that the US is gearing up for a quite different war for regime change, one that may well be protracted and could also easily expand beyond Libya.1 If it does expand, the hope for a nonviolent transition to civilian government in Tunisia and Egypt and other Middle East nations experiencing political unrest, may be lost to a hard-edged militarization of government, especially in Egypt. All of us, not just Egyptians, have a major stake in seeing that that does not happen.
The present article does not attempt to propose solutions or a course of action for the United States and its allies, or for the people of the Middle East. It attempts rather to examine the nature of the forces that have emerged in Libya over the last four decades that are presently being played out.
To this end I have begun to compile what I call my Libyan Notebook, a collection of relevant facts that underlie the present crisis. This Notebook will be judgmental, in that I am biased towards collecting facts that the US media tend to ignore, facts that are the product in many instances of investigative reporting that cuts to the heart of power relations, deep structures, and economic interests in the region including the US, Israel, and the Arab States as these have played out over the last two decades and more. But I hope that it will be usefully objective and open-ended, permitting others to draw diverse conclusions from the same set of facts.2
I wish to begin with two ill-understood topics: I. Who Are the Libyan Opposition, and II. Where Are the Libyan Rebel Arms Coming From?
I. Who Are the Libyan Opposition
“If Muammar Al Gaddafi behaved paranoid, it was for good reason. It wasn’t long after he reached the age of 27 and led a small group of junior military officers in a bloodless coup d’état against Libyan King Idris on September 1, 1969, that threats to his power and life emerged – from monarchists, Israeli Mossad, Palestinian disaffections, Saudi security, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO), British intelligence, United States antagonism and, in 1995, the most serious of all, Al Qaeda-like Libyan Islamic fighting group, known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya. The Colonel reacted brutally, by either expelling or killing those he feared were against him.”3
Gaddafi and Nasser in a 1969 Photo.Getty image
2) National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL)
“With the aim of overthrowing Libyan strongman Muammar Khadafy, Israel and the U.S. trained anti-Libyan rebels in a number of West and Central African countries. The Paris-based African Confidential newsletter reported on January 5th, 1989, that the US and Israel had set up a series of bases in Chad and other neighboring countries to train 2000 Libyan rebels captured by the Chad army. The group, called The National Front for the Salvation of Libya, was based in Chad.”4
“US official records indicate that funding for the Chad-based secret war against Libya also came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Israel and Iraq. The Saudis, for instance, donated $7m to an opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (also backed by French intelligence and the CIA). But a plan to assassinate Gadafi and take over the government on 8 May 1984 was crushed. In the following year, the US asked Egypt to invade Libya and overthrow Gadafi but President Mubarak refused. By the end of 1985, the Washington Post had exposed the plan after congressional leaders opposing it wrote in protest to President Reagan.”5
“The FNSL [National Front for the Salvation of Libya] was part of the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition held in London in 2005, and British resources are being used to support the FNSL and other ‘opposition’ in Libya…. The FNSL held its national congress in the USA in July 2007. Reports of ‘atrocities’ and civilian deaths are being channeled into the western press from operations in Washington DC, and the opposition FNSL is reportedly organizing resistance and military attacks from both inside and outside Libya.”6
3) National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO),
“The main group leading the insurrection is the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition which includes the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The NFSL, which is leading the violence, is a U.S.-sponsored armed militia of mostly Libyan expatriates and tribes opposed to al-Qaddafi.”7
4) Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, LIFG)
“The LIFG was founded in 1995 by a group of mujahideen veterans who had fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Upon their return to Libya they grew angry about what they viewed as the corruption and impiety of the Libyan regime and formed the LIFG to create a state that would show what they believed to be the true character of the Libyan people.
The most significant LIFG attack was a 1996 attempt to assassinate Gadhafi; LIFG members led by Wadi al-Shateh threw a bomb underneath his motorcade. The group also stages guerilla-style attacks against government security forces from its mountain bases. Although most LIFG members are strictly dedicated to toppling Gadhafi, intelligence reportedly indicates that some have joined forces with al-Qaida to wage jihad against Libyan and Western interests worldwide. ….
As recently as February 2004, then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that “one of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaida links. They include … the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.”8
“In recent days Libyan officials have distributed security documents giving the details of Sufiyan al-Koumi, said to be a driver for Osama bin Laden, and of another militant allegedly involved in an “Islamic emirate” in Derna, in now-liberated eastern Libya. Koumi, the documents show, was freed in September 2010 as part of a “reform and repent” initiative organised by Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son….
The LIFG, established in Afghanistan in the 1990s, has assassinated dozens of Libyan soldiers and policemen. In 2009, to mark Gaddafi’s 40 years in power, it apologised for trying to kill him and agreed to lay down its arms. MI6 [British Intelligence] has been accused in the past of supporting it. Six LIFG leaders, still in prison, disavowed their old ways and explained why fighting Gaddafi no longer constituted “legitimate” jihad. Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, another freed LIFG member, denied the official claims. “Gaddafi is trying to divide the people,” he told al-Jazeera. “He claims that there is an Islamist emirate in Derna and that I am its emir. He is taking advantage of the fact that I am a former political prisoner.”
Derna is famous as the home of a large number of suicide bombers in Iraq. It is also deeply hostile to Gaddafi. “Residents of eastern Libya in general, and Derna in particular, view the Gaddadfa (Gaddafi’s tribe) as uneducated, uncouth interlopers from an inconsequential part of the country who have ‘stolen’ the right to rule in Libya,” US diplomats were told in 2008, in a cable since released by WikiLeaks.
The last 110 members of the LIFG were freed on 16 February, the day after the Libyan uprising began. One of those released, Abdulwahab Mohammed Kayed, is the brother of Abu Yahya Al Libi, one of al Qaida’s top propagandists. Koumi fled Libya and is said to have ended up in Afghanistan working for Bin Laden. Captured in Pakistan, he was handed over to the US and sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2002. In 2009 he was sent back to Libya.9 US counter-terrorist experts have expressed concern that al-Qaida could take advantage of a political vacuum if Gaddafi is overthrown. But most analysts say that, although the Islamists’ ideology has strong resonance in eastern Libya, there is no sign that the protests are going to be hijacked by them.10
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Members released
“Fierce clashes between [Qadhafi’s] security forces and Islamist guerrillas erupted in Benghazi in September 1995, leaving dozens killed on both sides. After weeks of intense fighting, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) formally declared its existence in a communiqué calling Qadhafi’s government “an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty” and declaring its overthrow to be “the foremost duty after faith in God.”  This and future LIFG communiqués were issued by Libyan Afghans who had been granted political asylum in Britain…. The involvement of the British government in the LIFG campaign against Qadhafi remains the subject of immense controversy. LIFG’s next big operation, a failed attempt to assassinate Qadhafi in February 1996 that killed several of his bodyguards, was later said to have been financed by British intelligence to the tune of $160,000, according to ex-MI5 officer David Shayler.  While Shayler’s allegations have not been independently confirmed, it is clear that Britain allowed LIFG to develop a base of logistical support and fundraising on its soil. At any rate, financing by bin Laden appears to have been much more important. According to one report, LIFG received up to $50,000 from the Saudi terrorist mastermind for each of its militants killed on the battlefield.” 11
“Americans, Britons and the French are finding themselves as comrades in arms with the rebel Islamic Fighting Group, the most radical element in the Al Qaeda network [to bring down Gaddhafi]. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted the risks of the unholy alliance in a congressional hearing, saying that the Libyan opposition is probably more anti-American than Muammar Gaddhafi. A decade ago, this very same delusion of a Western-Islamist partnership in Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechnya ended abruptly in the 9/11 attacks.”12
5) Transitional National Council
“A RIVAL transitional government to the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi looks set to win US and other international support as momentum builds to oust the longtime dictator.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed yesterday that the Obama administration was reaching out to opponents of Colonel Gaddafi. She said the US was willing to offer ‘any kind of assistance’ to remove him from power.
Protest leaders who have taken control in Libya’s eastern cities claim to have established a transitional “national council” that amounts to rival rule. They have called on the country’s army to join them as they prepare for an attack on the capital, Tripoli, where the Libyan leader retains control.
Confident the Libyan leader’s 42-year rule was coming to an end, Mrs Clinton said yesterday: ‘We are just at the beginning of what will follow Gaddafi.'”13
“He [Omar El- Hariri, Chief of Armed Forces for the Transitional National Council] remained under close surveillance by the security forces until Feb. 17, when the revolution started. It was not initiated by prominent figures of the older generation, he said, but began spontaneously when Tunisia and Egypt inspired the youth. ‘Children of Facebook!’ he declared, in English, with a broad smile.”14
“Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Qaddafi whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.
The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a March 19 meeting to establish the ‘Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.
The Council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”15
Peter Dale Scott’s Libyan Notebook
II. Where Are the Libyan Rebel Arms Coming From?
Robert Fisk, “Libya in turmoil: America’s secret plan to arm Libya’s rebels;
Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi,” Independent, March 7, 2011:
“Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a “day of rage” from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.
Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 ….
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.
The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi’s armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.
Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi’s strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato – not least from Republican members of Congress – to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced.
US military planners have already made it clear that a zone of this kind would necessitate US air attacks on Libya’s functioning, if seriously depleted, anti-aircraft missile bases, thus bringing Washington directly into the war on the side of Gaddafi’s opponents.
For several days now, US Awacs surveillance aircraft have been flying around Libya, making constant contact with Malta air traffic control and requesting details of Libyan flight patterns, including journeys made in the past 48 hours by Gaddafi’s private jet which flew to Jordan and back to Libya just before the weekend.
Officially, Nato will only describe the presence of American Awacs planes as part of its post-9/11 Operation Active Endeavour, which has broad reach to undertake aerial counter-terrorism measures in the Middle East region.
US Awacs monitor Libya
The data from the Awacs is streamed to all Nato countries under the mission’s existing mandate. Now that Gaddafi has been reinstated as a super-terrorist in the West’s lexicon, however, the Nato mission can easily be used to search for targets of opportunity in Libya if active military operations are undertaken.
Al Jazeera English television channel last night broadcast recordings made by American aircraft to Maltese air traffic control, requesting information about Libyan flights, especially that of Gaddafi’s jet.
An American Awacs aircraft, tail number LX-N90442 could be heard contacting the Malta control tower on Saturday for information about a Libyan Dassault-Falcon 900 jet 5A-DCN on its way from Amman to Mitiga, Gaddafi’s own VIP airport.
Nato Awacs 07 is heard to say: “Do you have information on an aircraft with the Squawk 2017 position about 85 miles east of our [sic]?”
Malta air traffic control replies: “Seven, that sounds to be Falcon 900- at flight level 340, with a destination Mitiga, according to flight plan.”
But Saudi Arabia is already facing dangers from a co-ordinated day of protest by its own Shia Muslim citizens who, emboldened by the Shia uprising in the neighbouring island of Bahrain, have called for street protests against the ruling family of al-Saud on Friday.
After pouring troops and security police into the province of Qatif last week, the Saudis announced a nationwide ban on all public demonstrations.
Shia organisers claim that up to 20,000 protesters plan to demonstrate with women in the front rows to prevent the Saudi army from opening fire.
If the Saudi government accedes to America’s request to send guns and missiles to Libyan rebels, however, it would be almost impossible for President Barack Obama to condemn the kingdom for any violence against the Shias of the north-east provinces.
Thus has the Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US military priorities in the region. “16
“Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011
“Reports from the region suggest that the Saudis and Egyptians have been providing arms. Though U.S. officials could not confirm that, they say it is plausible.”17
“Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2011:
“CAIRO-Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said.
The shipments-mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition-appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mr. Gadhafi in Libya. Washington and other Western countries have long voiced frustration with Arab states’ unwillingness to help resolve crises in their own region, even as they criticized Western powers for attempting to do so.
The shipments also follow an unusually robust diplomatic response from Arab states. There have been rare public calls for foreign military intervention in an Arab country, including a vote by the 23-member Arab League last week urging the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
The vote provided critical political cover to Western powers wary of intervening militarily without a broad regional and international mandate. On Thursday evening, the U.N. Security Council voted on a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone in Libya and authorizing military action in support of the rebels.
Within the council, Lebanon took a lead role drafting and circulating the draft of the resolution, which calls for “all necessary measures” to enforce a ban on flights over Libya. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have taken the lead in offering to participate in enforcing a no-fly zone, according to U.N. diplomats.
Libyan rebel officials in Benghazi, meanwhile, have praised Qatar from the first days of the uprising, calling the small Gulf state their staunchest ally. Qatar has consistently pressed behind the scenes for tough and urgent international action behind the scenes, these officials said.
Qatari flags fly prominently in rebel-held Benghazi. After pro-Gadhafi forces retook the town of Ras Lanuf last week, Libyan state TV broadcast images of food-aid packages bearing the Qatari flag.
Anti-Gadhafi fighters in Benghazi
The White House has been reluctant to back calls from leaders in Congress for arming Libya’s rebels directly, arguing that the U.S. must first fully assess who the fighters are and what policies they will pursue if they succeeded in toppling Col. Gadhafi. U.S. officials believe the opposition includes some Islamist elements. They fear that Islamist groups hostile to the U.S. could try to hijack the opposition and take any arms that are provided.
The Egyptian weapons transfers began ‘a few days ago’ and are ongoing, according to a senior U.S. official. ‘There’s no formal U.S. policy or acknowledgement that this is going on,’ said the senior official. But ‘this is something we have knowledge of.’
Calls to Egypt’s foreign ministry and the spokesman for the prime minister seeking comment went unanswered. There is no means of reaching Egypt’s military for comment. An Egyptian official in Washington said he had no knowledge of weapon shipments.
The U.S. official also noted that the shipments appeared to come “too little, too late” to tip the military balance in favor of the rebels, who have faced an onslaught from Libyan forces backed by tanks, artillery and aircraft.
“We know the Egyptian military council is helping us, but they can’t be so visible,” said Hani Souflakis, a Libyan businessman in Cairo who has been acting as a rebel liaison with the Egyptian government since the uprising began.
“Weapons are getting through,” said Mr. Souflakis, who says he has regular contacts with Egyptian officials in Cairo and the rebel leadership in Libya. “Americans have given the green light to the Egyptians to help. The Americans don’t want to be involved in a direct level, but the Egyptians wouldn’t do it if they didn’t get the green light.”
Western officials and rebel leaders in Libya said the U.S. has wanted to avoid being seen as taking a leadership role in any military action against Mr. Gadhafi after its invasions of Iraq and Afganistan fueled anger and mistrust with Washington throughout the region.
But the U.S. stated clearly it wants Mr. Gadhafi out of power and has signaled it would support those offering help to the rebels militarily or otherwise.
A spokesman for the rebel government in Benghazi said arms shipments have begun arriving to the rebels but declined to specify where they came from.
“Our military committee is purchasing arms and arming our people. The weapons are coming, but the nature of the weapons, the amount, where it’s coming from, that has been classified,” said the spokesman, Mustafa al-Gherryani.
The U.S. official said Egypt wanted to keep the shipments covert. In public, Egypt has sought to maintain a neutral stance toward the rebel uprising in Libya. Egypt abstained during the Arab League’s vote calling for the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone on Mr. Gadhafi, according to people familiar with the internal Arab League deliberations.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian laborers are believed to still be in Libya.
On the other hand, the Egyptian military’s covert support for the rebels suggests that it has calculated that Mr. Gadhafi is unlikely to remain in power, at least in the eastern half of the country, and therefore Egypt is eager to begin to build good relations with the rebels.
Rebel forces in the past 24 hours appeared to make some progress fending off pro-Gadhafi forces’ assaults and have rolled out new weapons for the first time since the uprising began last month. Among them are rebel tanks that have taken up positions on the front lines in recent days. Rebels also launched fighter-jet attacks on government positions on Wednesday for the first time so far.
The tanks and fighter jets are believed to have been among the weapons seized by rebels from defected units of the Libyan army in the eastern half of the country, but they have received spare parts or trained mechanics from outside the country to help them deploy them, some rebel officials have speculated.
-Sam Dagher and Adam Entous contributed to this article.18
Benjamin Gottlieb, “Egypt Arms Libyan Rebels As Gaddafi’s Conquest Continues,” NeonTommy Annenberg Digital News, March 17, 2011:
Arms shipments from Egypt’s military have begun flowing across the border into Libya with U.S. knowledge, Libyan rebels and U.S. officials said Thursday.
Made up mostly of small arms, such as assault rifles and ammunition, the shipments are the first confirmed reports of an outside government supporting rebel fighters with weapons. Rebels have been loosing ground for days against pro-Gaddafi forces aiming to end the conflict before foreign intervention plans are finalized.
Although the U.N. approved a “no-fly zone” over Libya late Thursday, rebel forces fear that any planned foreign intervention would be too little to late.
The shipment of arms indicated an unusually bold response by an Arab nation intervening in a conflict outside its borders. There have also been rare public decrees for the West to intervene in the conflict – the Arab League voted 23-0 last week encouraging the U.N. to impose the “no-fly zone” over Libya.
In spite of reports of arms flowing across the Egyptian boarder, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum told Reuters that Egypt would not be involved in any military intervention in neighboring Libya.
“Egypt will not be among those Arab states. We will not be involved in any military intervention. No intervention period,” Bakhoum said.
Bakhoum was responding to comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said Thursday that discussions were on the table regarding Arab involvement in U.S. and European intervention in the conflict.
Clinton has said repeatedly that the U.S. desires involvement from a neighboring Arab nation in any planned intervention.
A Libyan rebel government spokesman in Benghazi, Mustafa al-Gherryani, said rebels have begun receiving arms shipments from neighboring nations, however he declined to reveal their origin.
“Our military committee is purchasing arms and arming our people. The weapons are coming, but the nature of the weapons, the amount, where it’s coming from, that has been classified,” he said.19
Yoichi Shimatsu, “Mideast Revolutions and 9-11 Intrigues Created in Qatar,” New America Media, March 1, 2011
“It may puzzle and perhaps dismay young protesters in Benghazi, Cairo and Tunisia that their democratic hopes are being manipulated by an ultra-conservative Arab elite which has underhandedly backed a surge of militant Islamist radicals across North Africa. Credible U.S. intelligence reports have cited evidence pointing to Qatar’s long-running support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and jihadist fighters returning from Afghanistan.
The links to Qatar uncovered by anti-terrorism investigators in the wake of 9-11 need to be reexamined now that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an on-and-off affiliate of Al Qaeda, has seized armories across half of the North African country. Libya’s well-stocked arsenals contain high-power explosives, rocket launchers and chemical weapons. LIFG is on the State Department’s terrorist list.
Most worrying, according to a U.S. intelligence official cited by CNN, is the probable loss of chemical weapons. The Federation of American Scientists reports that, as of 2008, only 40 percent of Libya’s mustard gas was destroyed in the second round of decommissioning. Chemical canisters along the Egyptian border were yet to be retrieved and are now presumably in the hands of armed militants.
After initially letting slip that the earliest Libyan protests were organized by the LIFG, Al Jazeera quickly changed its line to present a heavily filtered account portraying the events as ‘peaceful protests’. To explain away the gunshot deaths of Libyan soldiers during the uprising, the Qatar-based network presented a bizarre scenario of 150 dead soldiers in Libya having been executed by their officers for ‘refusing to fight’. The mysterious officers then miraculously vacated their base disappearing into thin air while surrounded by angry protesters! Off the record, one American intelligence analyst called these media claims an ‘absurdity’ and suggested instead the obvious: that the soldiers were gunned down in an armed assault by war-hardened returned militants from Iraq and Afghanistan….
According to a Congressional Research Service report of January 2008, ‘Some observers have raised questions about possible support for Al Qaeda by some Qatari citizens, including members of Qatar’s large ruling family. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Qatar’s Interior Minister provided a safe haven to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed during the mid-1990s, and press reports indicate other terrorists may have received financial support or safe haven in Qatar after September 11, 2001.’
The national security chief, Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, is further mentioned as paying for a 1995 trip by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed ‘to join the Bosnia jihad.’ The report recalls how after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, FBI officials “narrowly missed an opportunity to capture” the suspect in Qatar. ‘Former U.S. officials have since stated their belief that a high-ranking member of the Qatari government alerted him to the impending raid, allowing him to flee the country.'”20
Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011:
“Reporting from Washington-
Despite fears that Islamic extremists may be playing a hidden role in the rebellion against Moammar Kadafi, the U.S. intelligence community has found no organized presence of Al Qaeda or its allies among the Libyan opposition, American officials say.
A U.S. intelligence-gathering effort that began shortly after anti-Kadafi forces started seizing towns in eastern Libya last month has not uncovered a significant presence of Islamic militants among the insurgents.
‘We’re keeping an eye out for extremist activity in Libya, but we haven’t seen much, if any, to date,’ said a U.S. counter-terrorism official. A Defense official added that the U.S. had not seen a direct link between the opposition and extremists.”21
New York Times, March 7, 2011:
This fiercely independent port city on the Mediterranean coast, once the center of a simmering Islamist insurgency in the 1990s, is now branded by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi as an Islamic emirate infiltrating his embattled country….
But Darnah offers a more complex reality: a mélange where secular currents are intersecting with religious ones, drawn together by nationalist opposition to Colonel Qaddafi’s four decades of often bizarre rule. This old Barbary port, with a reputation as one of Libya’s most pious cities and, in the words of a WikiLeaks cable, a “wellspring for foreign fighters in Iraq,” suggests a more nuanced picture of what role militant Islam may play in a city and country fumbling to forge a body politic in a land without one….
Here, leaders of tribes like the Obeidat, Zliten, Tajjoura and Misratah already exercise authority, along with judges and a three-member council: Mr. Abu Rashed, a judge and a former diplomat, all secular figures.
Other than them, only the Muslim Brotherhood and more militant strands thought to number in the hundreds show signs of organization, many having forged bonds in prison or fighting the government in the 1990s. One of those men is Abdul-Hakim al-Hasidi, who fought for five years in Afghanistan, ended up in Colonel Qaddafi’s jails for four years and now, with hundreds of armed men, runs the defenses of Darnah and its hinterland.
He helps run much of the city’s rump bureaucracy as well, drawing on a formidable talent for logistics recognized by many in the town.22
Daily Telegraph [London] March 25, 2011:
“In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited ‘around 25′ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are ‘today are on the front lines in Adjabiya.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters ‘are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,’ but added that the ‘members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader’.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, ‘including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries’.
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against ‘the foreign invasion’ in Afghanistan, before being ‘captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan’. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.”23
Wikileaks Cable extract “Die Hard in Derna,” June 2, 2008:
“Rejecting the idea that Derna was uniformly extremist, xxxxxxxxxxxx and his business partner described the town as being divided between religiously conservative and secular residents. A “large number” of Derna’s citizens were not happy about the increasingly conservative religious atmosphere that had prevailed since the 1980’s, he claimed. Elaborating, al-Mansuri attributed adherence to more extreme iterations of Islam to “unnatural foreign influences” on religious practices in Derna. A number of Libyans who had fought and in some cases undergone “religious and ideological training” in Afghanistan, Lebanon and the West Bank in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s had returned to eastern Libya, including Derna, in the mid to late 1980’s. Claiming their return was “not coincidental”, he described a deliberate, coordinated campaign to propagate more conservative iterations of Islam, in part to prepare the ground for the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime, which is “hated” by conservative Islamists. (Note: After taking pains to curry favor with the ‘ulema’ in Libya in the years immediately after the 1969 revolution, Qadhafi broke with them in the late 1970’s, criticizing aspects of Islam as “un-revolutionary”. Although he renewed efforts to cultivate Muslim leaders in the 1990’s, deep suspicions remain….)…. Most young men watched a mix of al-Jazeera news, religious sermons and western action films on English language satellite channels broadcast from the Gulf. The result was a heady mixture of violence, religious conservatism and hatred of U.S. policy in Iraq and Palestine. The consensus view in Derna is that the U.S. blindly supports Israel and has invaded Iraq to secure oil reserves and position itself to attack Iran, he said. He dismissed P/E Chief’s attempts to clarify U.S. policy, stressing that most people base their judgments on information they receive from satellite television and at the mosque. PRIDE IN DERNA’S HISTORY AS A TOWN OF FIGHTERS 11. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx attributed the flow of foreign fighters from Derna in part to local pride in the town’s reputation as a historical locus of resistance to occupation. While many of the town’s citizens were uncomfortable with the town’s increasingly conservative Islamist bent, the fact that young men from Derna traveled to Iraq in disproportionate numbers to fight against coalition forces was viewed through a different lens. Not everyone liked the “bearded ones” (a reference to conservative imams) or their message, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, but the duty of a Muslim in general – and of a son of Derna in particular – was to resist occupation of Muslim lands through jihad. “It’s jihad – it’s our duty, and you’re talking about people who don’t have much else to be proud of.” Derna’s residents might take issue with attempts to ban smoking or restrict social activities, but there was consensus on “basic issues” like jihad. Depictions on al-Jazeera of events in Iraq and Palestine fueled the widely-held view in Derna that resistance to coalition forces was “correct and necessary”.24
Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan.
His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here.
Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, “Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?,” The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 13 No 3, March 28, 2011.
1 “Defense Secretary Gates, who recently warned against any further protracted US ground war, said on March 23 that the end of military action in Libya is unknown and could last longer than a few weeks. ‘I think there are any number of possible outcomes here and no one is in a position to predict them,’ Gates told reporters in Egypt” (C-Span, March 24, 2011).
2 Interested readers may wish to consult my first exploration, “Googling ‘Revolution’ in North Africa.”
3 Dan Lieberman, “Muammar Al Gaddafi Meets His Own Rebels,”CounterCurrents.org, March 9, 2011.
4 Joel Bainerman, Inside the Covert Operations of the CIA & Israel’s Mossad(New York: S.P.I. Books, 1994), 14.
5 Richard Keeble, “The Secret War Against Libya,” MediaLens, 2002.
6 “Petroleum and Empire in North Africa. NATO Invasion of Libya Underway,” By Keith Harmon Snow, 2 March 2011.
7 Ghali Hassan, “U.S. Love Affair with Murderous Dictators and Hate for Democracy.” Axis of Logic, Mar 17, 2011.
8 Center for Defense Information, “In the Spotlight: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),” January 18, 2005
9 Qadhafi was concerned about Al Qaeda terrorism in Libya, and in 1996 Libya became the first government to place Osama bin Laden on Interpol’s Wanted List (Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror [New York: Columbia UP, 2002], 142). Thereafter American and Libyan intelligence collaborated closely for some years against Al Qaeda. Beginning when?
10 Ian Black, “Libya rebels rejects Gaddafi’s al-Qaida spin,” Guardian, March 1, 2011.
11 Gary Gambill, “The Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Jamestown Foundation,”Terrorism Monitor, May 5, 2005,; citing Al-Hayat (London), 20 October 1995 [“communiqué”]; “The Shayler affair: The spooks, the Colonel and the jailed whistle-blower,” The Observer (London), 9 August 1998; Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, Ben Laden: La Verite interdite (Bin Ladin: The Forbidden Truth). Cf. also Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair (Book Guild Publishing, 2005) [Shayler].
12 Yoichi Shimatsu, “Attack on Libya: Why Odyssey Dawn Is Doomed,” New America Media, March 20, 2011.
13 “US reaches out to Libyan insurgents,” The Australian, March 1, 2011,
14 “How a onetime friend to Gadhafi became his rival,” Globe and Mail [Toronto], March 4, 2011.
15 Libyan Rebel Council in Benghazi Forms Oil Company to Replace Qaddafi’s,”Bloomberg, March 22, 2011.
16 Robert Fisk, “America’s secret plan to arm Libya’s rebels,” Independent, March 7, 2011.
17 “Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011.
18 “Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2011,
19 Benjamin Gottlieb, “Egypt Arms Libyan Rebels As Gaddafi’s Conquest Continues,” NeonTommy Annenberg Digital News, March 17, 2011.
20 Yoichi Shimatsu, “Mideast Revolutions and 9-11 Intrigues Created in Qatar,”New America Media, March 1, 2011. The al-Thani family’s protection of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is confirmed by former CIA officer Robert Baer (Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2003). Cf. Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003); Peter Lance, Triple Cross (New York: Regan/HarperCollins, 2006), 234-37.
21 Ken Dilanian, “U.S. finds no organized Al Qaeda presence in Libya opposition, officials say,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 1011
22 Anthony Shadid, “Diverse Character in City Qaddafi Calls Islamist,” New York Times, March 7, 2011.
23 “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links,” Daily Telegraph [London], March 25, 2011.
Our political map, with its constant shift to the right, reflects precisely this colonial logic, which has become the logic of our lives: The West is allowed what the natives are not.
Two other Arab uprisings are going on aside from the civil war in Libya. But no one in Washington has called on Bahrain’s government to step down, and Saudi Arabia, which cuts off the hands of thieves, has been allowed to invade the emirate to take part in the suppression there. Protesters are being slaughtered daily in Yemen, and the West is helping. As always, Arab blood, high octane, is on sale.
To claim that this is a double standard is like complaining that a missile has a warhead and a tail. For two decades now, states have been taken apart in the name of “human rights”: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and now Libya, using human-rights missiles deployed against humans. Western media outlets are already producing a global discourse about “a war with values” and “contradictions between values and strategy,” as if strategy didn’t include “values.”
Once again the West is quoting Homer and dropping business and partnership with Muammar Gadhafi in favor of ratings, oil and especially the use of the machinery of war. The public likes this, until it has to pay in blood and money. After the graves are covered, the mood can change. In general, indifference – the progeny of the malls, reality TV and beach vacations – takes control.
Something is rotten there. Not only the corruption of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi or French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Not only the dismantling of the welfare state, the disappearance of the left, but – in place of all this – the return of colonial theology. It begins at home with the great hostility toward Arabs and Muslims, and now, with the help of Gadhafi’s drugged image, another “no-fly zone,” which has turned, with a great global wink, into a tremendous, high-tech shooting gallery.
The destruction of Iraq – a crime with the scope of genocide – began with aerial attacks and a siege that went on for more than a decade. No one planned the moves at the time. So there’s no point asking what the goal of the attack on Libya is. Saving human lives? As in Iraq? Maybe democracy? As in Saudi Arabia? Those who possess giant war machines with funding for research and development prefer trial and error. There are no goals. Will Al-Qaida also get there quickly? Well, there’s a huge arsenal that needs refreshing, once in the name of “human rights,” once in the name of “the war on terror.” Something will come out of this. Ratings, oil, a peace conference, photo-ops, Sarkozy next to Angela Merkel, Berlusconi next to David Cameron and Barack Obama. A smile. Speeches.
The rush in Israel doesn’t come from concerns about the lives of Libyan opposition fighters, and even the “values” have received no warm words. Since the Sinai Campaign, Israel has learned to get excited only as long as Arabs are getting killed by Western intervention. And what about Operation Cast Lead, a naive person might ask. What did the West have against Cast Lead? Well, the fact is, they didn’t get in our way, a cynical person from the silent majority might respond. That’s Israel’s loss, historically speaking.
How many generations can recognize truth along the lines of “the main thing is that the killing benefits us” and not be damaged? Can humanism really be built on disgust over one racist rabbi from Safed or over Avigdor Lieberman and wax enthusiastic about wars like those in Iraq or Libya? Our political map, with its constant shift to the right, reflects precisely this colonial logic, which has become the logic of our lives: The West is allowed what the natives are not.
For the blink of an eye, we thought Obama would change our lives, but the U.S. presidential election – the author Gore Vidal once said – is like vying to become manager at a big bank. The customers don’t care who’s in charge. And from the Middle East, it’s easy to see how right he was.
By Yitzhak Laor
Yoichi Shimatsu, Senior Advisor to the 4th Media, based in Hong Kong, covered the rise of Islamic militancy in North Africa in the 1990s for the Japan Times group.
In the 2005 political thriller “Syriana”, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, Qatar is at the heart of an international intrigue. The title was based on the concept of “Pax Syriana”, a secret arrangement between two mutually hostile powers to divide a region into their respective spheres of dominance.
Washington think-tanks use this term to describe a reshaping of the Middle East to suit American interests, but in the knowledge that this goal is attainable only through covert cooperation with the enemy, namely the elite financial sponsors of Al Qaeda and the Islamic Brotherhood.
The thinly veiled fiction was based on the political reality of that thumb of desert that juts out of the Arabian Peninsula into the Gulf – the emirate of Qatar. Home of the state-owned Al Jazeera network, Qatar is on the surface the pro-Western host of the U.S. Central Command and an active supporter of “democratic revolutions” now sweeping the Mideast. It is also accused of being a state sponsor of terrorism.
Chemical weapons looted
It may puzzle and perhaps dismay young protesters in Benghazi, Cairo and Tunis that their democratic hopes are being manipulated by an ultra-conservative Arab elite, which has underhandedly backed a surge of militant Islamist radicals across North Africa. Credible U.S. intelligence reports have cited evidence pointing to the emirate’s long-running support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and jihadist fighters returning from Afghanistan
The links to Qatar uncovered by anti-terrorism investigators in the wake of 9-11 need to be reexamined now that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an on-and-off affiliate of Al Qaeda, has seized armories across half of the North African country. Libya’s well-stocked arsenals contain high-power explosives, rocket launchers and chemical weapons. LIFG is on the State Department’s terrorist list.
Most worrying, according to a U.S. intelligence official cited by CNN, is the probable loss of chemical weapons. The Federation of American Scientists reports that, as of 2008, only 40 percent of Libya’s mustard gas was destroyed in the second round of decommissioning. Chemical canisters along the Egyptian border were yet to be retrieved and are now presumably in the hands of armed militants.
After letting slip that the earliest Libyan protests were organize d by the LIFG, Al Jazeera quickly changed its line to present a heavily filtered account of “peaceful protests”. To explain away the gunshot deaths of Libya soldiers during the uprising, the Qatar-based network presented a bizarre scenario of150 dead soldiers in Sirte having been executed by their officers for “refusing to fight”. The mysterious officers then miraculously vacated their base disappearing into thin air while surrounded by angry protesters! Off the record, one American intelligence analyst called these media claims an “absurdity” and suggested instead the obvious:-that the soldiers were gunned down in an armed assault by war-hardened returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many Libyan Army units have “defected” to the opposition if for no other purpose than to try to recover the troves of weapons seized by the militants. Al Jazeera’s role in erasing the fingerprints of the armed militants vindicates the earlier conclusion of Western anti-terrorism experts of Qatar’s sponsorship of terrorism.
Payments for terror
According to a Congressional Research Service report of January 2008, “Some observers have raised questions about possible support for Al Qaeda by some Qatari citizens, including members of Qatar’s large ruling family. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Qatar’s Interior Minister provided safe haven to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed during the mid-1990s, and press reports indicate other terrorists may have received financial support or safe haven in Qatar after September 11, 2001.”
The national security chief, Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani, is further mentioned as paying for a 1995 trip by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed “to join the Bosnia jihad.” The report recalls how after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, FBI officials “narrowly missed an opportunity to capture” the suspect in Qatar. “Former U.S. officials have since stated their belief that a high-ranking member of the Qatari government alerted him to the impending raid, allowing him to flee the country.”
Qatar’s spymaster also “welcomed dozens of so-called ‘Afghan Arab’ veterans of the anti-Soviet conflict in Afghanistan to Qatar in the early 1990s. These ties go back to the late 1980s, when “the United States and Qatar engaged in a prolonged diplomatic dispute regarding Qatar’s black-market procurement of U.S.-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.The dispute froze planned economic and military cooperation, and Congress approved a ban on arms sales to Qatar until the months leading up to the 1991 Gulf War, when Qatar allowed coalition forces to operate from Qatari territory.”
The hidden connections to the terrorist network broke out into public view when an Egyptian suicide bomber attacked a Doha movie theater in 2003. Foreign Minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, reacted in haste and anger calling it an “act of unpardonable treachery by Bin Laden.” His slip of tongue led to the discovery that from the start of the first Gulf War Qatar had been paying millions of dollars to Al Qaeda as compensation for its hosting of the U.S. Central Command during the Iraq War. .Anti-terrorism experts allege that Doha upped its payments following the theater bombing.
More worrisome is the February 9, 2000 cable from the American Embassy in Doha, issuing a security alert on Qatari resident in the U.S. named Mohamed Ali Dahham Mansoori, who guided a three-man team that allegedly scouted the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty and the White House for the upcoming 9-11 attack. The three suspects traveled under aliases with Qatar passports. Their air tickets to Los Angeles and hotel rooms were paid for by a “convicted terrorist,” according to the FBI asserted. The trio’s role in 9-11 was subsequently tomb-stoned with all evidence suppressed, probably due to the warming US diplomatic relationship with Qatar’s royal family.
Mirage or Reality?
Doha, a cluster of shiny towers and fountains in a peninsula that is otherwise barren,seems the unlikeliest spot for financial and institutional support for Islamist terrorists. In Qatar, however, mirages are real, and reality is a mirage. Hailed as a model of political reform by Western diplomats and think tanks like the Brookings Institution, which has a Doha center, Qatar’s legal code is nonetheless firmly based on sharia law. Its education system , with links to dozens of American and British universities, is also the academic platform for the Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the intellectual champion of the Muslim Brotherhood and advocate of suicide bombings.
The emirate’s insistence on preserving Gulf Arab traditions stands in contrast to Qatar’s business-savvy role as the region’s biggest supplier of natural gas. Per-capita GDP is estimated at about $90,000 a year; and average income around $65,000. Excluding small tax-haven countries, its population is the richest in the world. Qataris, then, are the Swiss of the Arab world, and their small nation, like Switzerland, is a haven for arms trafficking, illicit money transfers and other skullduggery.Even something as innocuous as TGI Fridays, a struggling fast-food chain in America, is in Doha an upscale retreat for off-duty Marine officers, petroleum engineers, international weapons dealers and their incognito clients from across the Mideast.
Despite the many connections with terrorism, Qatar got back into the good graces of the Obama administration with donations to the Clinton Foundation, including one of up to $5 million in 2008. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reciprocated with a February 2010 visit to inaugurate the Carnegie Mellon University in Doha’s Education City complex, which also houses Qaradawai’s Islamist institute. In early January, just before the Tunis and Cairo protests, she took a longer sojourn for the Forum for the Future, co-hosted by the royal family.
The relations between Washington and Doha has been sold to the public as a partnership for democracy and human rights, but beneath the smiles and photo ops is the hard fact of a Syriana-type arrangement to carve up the “future Mideast” between the Anglo-American energy industry and an ultraconservative elite set on imposing sharia law. For this “enemy of my enemy” alliance, the common foes are the secular governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and next Algeria.
Blowback in Libya
Covert cooperation between the West and sponsors of Islamic extremism is not new . In the 1950s, the CIA provided money and weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood for their battle against Egyptian independence leaderAbdul Gamal Nasser. US. intelligence operatives trained and armed mujahideen insurgents in the anti-Soviet Afghan war, including Osama bin Laden, then known by his cover name Tim Osman. According to former UK counterintelligence officer David Shayler, the British MI-6 hired Libyan militant Anas al-Liby, from the Al Qaeda-friendly Al-Muqtaliya group and later linked to the bombing of US embassies in East Africa, to assassinate Colonel Muammar Qadhafi in 1996.
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, under the leadership of Abu al-Laith al-Libi, formally merged into Al Qaida in 2007. Two years later, Libi disowned armed violence and negotiated with Qadhafi for acceptance of LIFG as an above-ground political association. The sudden rejection of violence coincided with the Muslim Brotherhood’s makeover as a democratic force and Qatar’s advocacy of political reform across the Mideast. As a legal entity, it incited the first protests in Benghazi in mid-February. Within days of the uprising’s start, however, the LIFG reverted to its old ways, brandishing automatic weapons. What it plans to do with chemical weapons and advanced explosives is anyone’s guess, while one psychological point remains clear: The militants are eager to pay back Americans and Europeans for10 years of bombing, maiming and torture.
The constant temptation in a partnership between enemies is betrayal. The White House had counted on the protests to nudge Saif al-Islam Gadhafi to replace his father in a relatively smooth transition to democracy. The Gadhafi clan, however, united against the threat of an Islamist resurgence. Washington also miscalculated the potential for Al Qaeda elements and Brotherhood acting independently of high-level deals made in Doha.
Possible outcomes – from the collapse of the Qadhafi regime to the partition of Libya – could easily prompt Al Qaeda allies and the militant arm of the Brotherhood to establish the Libyan-Egyptian border as the next global training center for jihadists, now that the Afghan-Pakistan tribal regions no longer provide a safe platform for jihad operations. Any US or NATO intervention will only lead to a third front in the endless war. The more easily grasped alternative to a Syriana duopoly is an even older political formula: The winner takes all.
On this 10th anniversary year of the 9-11 attacks, Washington is staggering under a huge “blowback” from an out-of-control North Africa, self-inflicted by its own greed for oil and uranium, fears of declining influence, deceitful ambition and misplaced trust.
My wife kept pushing me to find the answer to this question, so I did. You will find the answer at the end.
Because of the “China Syndrome” movie, something like this is hard to research, but I did manage to find this interesting article from the Mar 1, 1962 issue of New Scientist:
Russian scientist, M. A. Lavrentiev, VP Academy of Sciences, USSR–
I also found the following research paper abstract, which discusses Dr. Lavrentiev’s work with explosive hardening and welding:
In addition to Soviet research, we have the following from UK:
The temperature reached at the core of a nuclear meltdown is estimated to reach 3000C., according to the following research into reactor meltdowns from plinius.eu.
|General ® Mirza Aslam Beg
|The Nobel Peace prize winner, Obama now has a war of his own making in Libya, because he was not at all satisfied with the wars he inherited from Bush. Now from his imperial presidency, he is hell-bent on taking this war to greater heights than even Bush could do in Afghanistan and Iraq. From the Eastern Room of the White House, he gave his toughest speech saying: “Libya was central to the whole wave of challenges in the Middle East and now is the opportunity to realign our interests, in pursuit of the UN resolution and all steps will be taken, short of the boots, to get Qaddafi.” It appears Obama is looking for another Kosovo or Kuwait, although Libya is altogether a different ballgame. In such great haste, the Operation Odessy Dawn was launched, killing hundreds of civilians, damaging Qaddafi’s air defence and military command and control systems. Hundreds of targets have been engaged by Tomahawk missiles, while the allied air forces of Great Britain, France, Italy and Canada, have engaged military targets around Benghazi and Tripoli. In fact a massive air attack has been launched without a clear-cut strategy, trying to restrain the “murderous madness of Qaddafi, and if necessary targeted actions will be taken,” (meaning assassination) as Sarkozy, the French President has declared. The Prime Minster of Great Britain, has warned “Qaddafi has lied to the international community. He must go, by whatever means possible.” Thus Qaddafi has become an end in itself for the West, making the war personal and that is where, this war launched in such haste, by this ‘Unholy Alliance,’ is likely to go haywire. Let us count the pit-falls: The war has no clear-cut objective. Is it to get Qaddafi dead or alive; or protect the civilians being killed by Qaddafi; or despite such display of ‘Shock and Awe’ can the airpower alone eliminate Qaddafi? The NATO airpower bombed Serbia for 78 days to get Milosevic, how many days the coalition air power will take to get Qaddafi? And suppose, Qaddafi gets eliminated, who can stop his son or some one else to carry the banner forward? And if the main objective is to gain control over the strategic oil producing regions of the country, that would be possible only by physically invading the land. Who amongst the allies would be willing to land troops and bell the cat? The air operations “would fast be sliding down the slippery slope into a full blown campaign of regime-change” and that won’t be fine with the State Department, without the troops on land. The air assault is not likely to produce even short-term gains. The conflict will prolong, with serious consequences. The Arab World opinion in particular and the Muslim World in general, will turn against the invasion of a Muslim country, which posed no threat to any of the countries of the ‘Unholy Alliance’. For sure, Qaddafi would emerge as the champion of the Arab cause. And the worst that will happen is that, very soon the Jehadis from Iraq, Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries, particularly the Takfeeris from Iraq will start pouring-in to liberate the Muslim land, as it happened in Afghanistan in 2001. The rebels in Libya are joining Qaddafi’s loyalists, to face the external threat, the same as the armed forces of Shah of Iran, joined the Islamic revolutionaries, to defeat the Iraqi invaders, in 1980-88. The powerful Salafi leader, Abu Masab, now has joined the Jehad against the ‘Crusaders’. In 1996, the CIA had bribed Abu Masab to assassinate Qaddafi, but failed. Now, he is getting arms and ammunition from Qaddafi. In fact, Libya is another Afghanistan in the making. Obama ignored Pentagon advice and also failed to consult the Congress for waging the war. Reportedly, in taking this decision, “Obama bowed to pressure from a triumvirate of women in his administration – Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice.” In fact Obama acted Pervez Musharraf, who in 2001, agreed to all the ‘Seven Conditionalities of Pentagon’ without consulting his cabinet or the military command and joined the immoral American war on Afghanistan – a neighbourly Muslim country, that had done no harm to Pakistan. Pakistan continues to suffer the consequences of this fatal decision. The Arab League and the OIC feel cheated, because the UN resolution was to impose a no-fly-zone over Libya, followed by sanctions, but it turned into a full-fledged attack by the Western Alliance. The distrust so created, will have serious consequences. The invasion will also arouse Arab nationalism, that will assert itself, despite the divisions and dissentions within. The war by the international coalition will also dampen the democratic awakening in the Middle East and particularly risks changing that narrative in Libya. By accepting the demand of the UN resolution, for a ceasefire, Qaddafi “in one move has reversed the most powerful argument behind the UN revolution,” and has prevented the massacre in Benghazi. Qaddafi would thus retain control over most of the land, and the rebels will lose popular support. The Russians and the Chinese did not veto the UN resolution, because they wanted the West to be militarily drawn into Libya, the same as in 2001, the Americans blundered into Afghanistan, with Russia and China supporting the UN resolution. The West expects to win the war quickly, but that is a pipe-dream and no victory is in sight and the expected military glory in Libya, is elusive as in Iraq and Afghanistan. No doubt, this war is Obama’s Kargil into Libya. The fact of the matter is that, another Muslim country has been invaded with such arrogance of power, which is seen as continuation of the last 30 years of state-sponsored terrorism against the World of Islam: such as, the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1978-80; the eight years war of liberation by the Afghans, from 1980 to 88; the eight years Iran-Iraq war from 1980-88; the first Gulf War of 1991; the nine years civil war in Afghanistan from 1992-2001; invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the US and allies, 2001; invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US since 2003; Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 and the on-going brutal wars in Palestine and Kashmir, together have caused the death of over six million Muslims and many more seriously wounded and maimed. And the crime continues, with new ferocity. What will be the outcome of this war on Libya – the “mediaeval call for crusades” as described by the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, explains the very hollowness of the civilized behaviour of the very civilized world. It is the Muslim World that would suffer with more death and destruction and pillage of yet another country, while, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Kashmir, continue to burn and bleed. The oppressors of the world have to give a chance to peace but that is not to be, because the New Great Game has just begun – the Saudi and GCC armed forces have entered Bahrain, under the watchful eyes of the West. The fire so lit, will spread far and beyond. (The writer is former Chief of Army Staff)|
|[This helps to confirm that Pakistan is moving against the BLA and its supporter, especially its leadership of the Marri and the Bugti tribes. SEE: Afghanistan: Pakistani suicide bomber kills two Bugti Baloch refugees and injured three girls]|
|on 2011/3/27 1:00:00 (17 reads)|
|Occupied Balochistan: Pakistani Para-Military forces at 3 o’clock midnight raided a Baloch house in Faizabad area of Quetta city, the capital of Balochistan. One man had been killed and four members of the family including two women and a girl have been wounded.
According to details Pakistan Para-Military forces have attacked the house of Mir Habib-ul-Rehman Marri in the early hours of Saturday (26/03/2011). The occupying forces threw hand grenades and fired rocket launchers indiscriminate. Resultantly, the head of the house, Mr, Habib Marri has been killed and all members of his family including his nephew Gul Mir Marri, two women and a girl have been badly been wounded.
The raid lasted around 4 O clock in the early morning. According to close relatives’ and eye-witnesses account Mir Habib Marri was instantly shot dead as he open the gate of his house to talk to the officers that were shelling his house. Seven hand grenades were hurled at the house immediately after his brutal killing, as a result of grenades attacks all members of the family have been fatally injured among them are children and elderly women and men. His nephew, Gul Mir’s, condition is very critical and he has been admitted in the Quetta Civil Hospital. He has received three bullets wounded in the upper torso.
This naked aggression of Pakistani military has infuriated entire Baloch nation. Soon after this blatant attack angry youth took to streets and violent protests have been observed in several localities of Quetta.
Meanwhile the BNV (Baloch National Voice) has strongly condemned the unprovoked attack on the house of Mir Habib Marri, his subsequent killing and wounding other members of his family. The statement of the BNV further read that the defeated and hesitant Pakistani army considers every Baloch even children and elderly women as Sarmachaars and attack their houses indiscriminately.
They said that the state [Pakistan] should know that its days are numbered and Baloch struggle for their National Liberation cannot be stopped by such brutal and broad daylight killings.
They paid rich tributes to Shaheed Habib Marri and other Martyrs of Balochistan. The BNV has strongly criticized Pakistani media for ignoring the state atrocities against the people of Balochistan.
|[The ISI must finally be making its move against the BLA terrorist training camps in Afghanistan as reported by News Central Asia’s excellent investigative reporting series on the troubles of Balochistan and Pakistan, in general. SEE: The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army–Mar 1, 2005 ; Final Solution Frenzy (NCA), Parts 1-4 ]|
|on 2011/3/26 2:00:00 (170 reads)|
|Spin Boldak: A Pakistani suicide bomber was apprehended in seriously injured condition by Afghan Police after he tried to blow himself up near the house of a Bugti Baloch refugee in the bordering town of Spin Bolkak in Afghanistan.
According to detail two Bugti Baloch were killed and three girls of the same family have been seriously wounded when a Pakistani suicide bomber attack their home in Afghanistan. One of the deceased has been named has Dur Khan S/O Gul Bahar Bugti.
The attacker has been arrested by Afghan police in critically injured condition. According to Afghan state media the bomber has admitted that he and several other suicide bombers have been tasked [by Pakistan] to attack Baloch refugees in Afghanistan. It must be noted that several Baloch families, mainly from Marri and Bugti tribes, have fled to Afghanistan after Pakistan (army) have attacked and destroyed their home in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 military offensives. The military incursions are still ongoing in the several areas of Balochistan.
It is also pertinent to mention that in August 2010 the ISI sponsored death squad (Sepah-e-Shohada-e-Balochistan) had also threatened to attack Baloch activists in Afghanistan and other foreign countries.
Meanwhile Sher Mohammad Bugti, the central spokesperson, of BRP (Baloch Republican Party) while strongly condemning the attack on the house of Gul Bahar Bugti has said that the attack was carried out with the help of Pakistani agencies. Mr Bugti further said that he had informed the International Humanitarian groups and International Media that Pakistan was planning to target Baloch refugees living in Afghanistan. “The attack in Spin Boldak just confirmed our concerns that Pakistan is behind the attack”.
Sher Mohammad Bugti said that the Baloch had time and time again informed the International Human Rights Organisation about Pakistan’s atrocities against Baloch people but the International Community seems to have given a free hand to Pakistan. He warned the International Community that the existence this country [Pakistan] is not a threat only to Baloch Nation but also to the peace and security of entire world.
He said Pakistan was using fighter jets to bomb Baloch villages, using chemical weapons against Baloch civilian and mutilated and decomposed bodies of Baloch youth are being recovered on regular basis but the media is silent on such heinous crimes of Pakistan. He urged the International Community to take serous note of Balochistan issue and play their due role to help the Baloch Nation.
Here in Turkey, we’re consumed by the hunt for the forbidden manuscripts of The Imam’s Army. The police have arrested the author, Ahmet Şık, on suspicion of membership in the Ergenekon conspiracy, and they’re hunting down every copy of the draft of his book.
What’s in that book? Who knows? Supposedly it blows the lid on Fethullah Gülen’s control of the Turkish police, or supposedly it contains the organizational blueprint for overthrowing Turkey’s democratically-elected government. I stress supposedly: I haven’t read it, and Turkey is conspiracy-theory central.
The effort to silence Şık is inherently doomed. Here’s a site thatclaims to have the manuscript–and to be counting down to releasing it. Do they really have it? No idea. But there’s probably nothing the authorities could have done to publicize this book–or any crackpot claiming to have this book–better than to pitch up at the offices of a large newspaper to wipe the draft off someone’s computer. These developments have enraged quite some number of journalists, even ones who until this point had been quite friendly to the government.
The growth of this Facebook group is interesting: Ahmet Şık’ın Kitabı Bende de Var, which means, “I’ve got Ahmet Şık’s book too.” About 500 people are joining every hour; right now it has 54,125 members. This is striking in a country not characterized by “political self-organization.” To give you a sense of numbers, this AKP Facebook page has 38,753 members and has been around, I think, for years.
I don’t think you can or should draw firm conclusions from the size of a Facebook page, but “rapidly growing groups” do offer hints, not only about public sentiment, but about who is trying to influence it and the influence they’re trying to have. This brings me to the depressing part. Among others, the organizers of the group are the Yayın Kolektifi. The photos on their website won’t fill you with hope:
Now, does this mean the 54,125 people who have thus far added their names to that list are communists? Of course not. Is there widespread support for communism in Turkey? Not at all. The TKP–the communist party–took 0.22 percent of the vote in the last general election, which can pretty much be chalked up to a sampling error. There are about a dozen other miniscule communist parties, so small that the social sense of the word “party” is more apt to describe them than the political one. This is not at all to say that there has never been a serious communist movement in Turkey; to understand anything about modern Turkey, you have to appreciate that it was a key Cold War playing field. But the country is not now laboring under the Red Menace.
All the same, the comparative political energy of organizers who are keen to advance the thought of Marx and Lenin is an ominous sign about the state of Turkish civil society. I’m sure some will say, “It’s just a bit of salon Marxism, nothing to worry about.” Even if that’s true–which I doubt–it’s a sign of deep political immaturity. I mean, come on. We all know full well that wherever the posters of Marx and Lenin have gone up, the word Samizdat has not been far behind.
I say “we all know,” but most young people in Turkey, or at least the ones I’ve spoken to, have no idea. How would they? If so few in the West really know or care what communism meant–and the literature is widely available to consult, in English–how would people who only read Turkish grasp this? From Bukovsky’s archives: December 1970 report by KGB regarding “alarming political tendencies”in Samizdat and Preventive measures. Not translated, as far as I know, into English. Certainly not translated into Turkish.
In an advanced democracy, you can buy all the copies of Ahmet Şık’s book you like, as well as all the books by Marx and Lenin, and you can keep them and read them and talk about them without fear. But this isn’t an advanced democracy, it’s a fragile, new democracy; and the Leftists and the Islamists occupy a political space much greater than their real numbers. This is not a symptom of Red-Green alliance–they hate each other. But it’s a symptom of something, and it’s not robust political health.
So where are the normal people who are outraged by this? They’re not starting Facebook groups. Not like this one, anyway, not yet. They’re not taking to the streets in large numbers. I very much doubt it’s because they’re thrilled about having a government that seizes books. It’s because they don’t want trouble, the whole thing scares them, and they think there’s no point in protesting–that’s something only crazy Americans and communists do. They figure they don’t know what’s really going on. They think everything in Turkey’s a complicated, opaque game controlled by someone else and nothing’s what it seems. (This is not an entirely crazy conclusion to draw in a country whose fate has been determined by real conspiracy after real conspiracy.) Besides, they have jobs and they have families, so they don’t have the time. There’s a Turkish proverb that’s relevant here: Bana dokunmayan yılan bin yaşasın–let the snake that doesn’t bite me live a thousand years. (If you want to explain all of Turkish foreign policy in two proverbs, by the way, go with that one and Türk’ün Türk’ten başka dostu yoktur: A Turk has no friend but a Turk.)
Turkey is in fact a democracy–a new, struggling one, not an advanced one–so normal people actually have much more power than they realize. Certainly, no other group has more power in Turkey than voters–not the AKP, not Gülen, not the United States, not Soros, not the Jews, not the communists, not international capital, not the military. But I suspect this realization would be as terrifying to many people here as it is liberating. They would feel, if this really dawned on them, the way little kids feel when their parents lose them in the supermarket.
On the bright side, 54,125 people joined that group in the space of about 48 hours. They’re definitely not all communists.
A police officer (L) takes digital copies of the draft book ‘The Imam’s Army’ before erasing the originals from Ertuğrul Mavioğlu’s (2nd L) computer at the Radikal daily’s newsroom on Thursday. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Police raids Thursday in search of digital copies of an unpublished manuscript, which were deleted from computers at a printing house and an Istanbul newspaper, were criticized by experts Friday on both legal and practical grounds.
“This is not confiscating a book; this is not banning a book either. It is impossible to describe such a police action according to the current laws. This is indescribable,” Bülent Utku, a lawyer for arrested journalist Ahmet Şık, the author of the unpublished book, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Şık was arrested two weeks ago as a suspect in the Ergenekon case, an investigation into an alleged coup plot.
According to Utku, the police operations against copies of the draft of Şık’s “İmamın Ordusu” (The Imam’s Army) – seized and deleted from the offices of the İthaki Publishing House, which owns the rights to the book, and daily Radikal based on a court order – had no legal grounds in the Turkish judicial system.
Under the country’s Press Law, only three copies of any publication may be confiscated, though there can be exceptions in certain conditions, including charges related to terrorism propaganda, law professor Ersan Şen told the Daily News.
“I would not go into the details of this in terms of whether this is censorship or not, it has its definition in the law,” Şen said. The academic added, however, that the “book” has not been published and there has been no court decision determining that the alleged Ergenekon gang as a terrorist organization.
The Press Law does not allow legal interference before publication “and it certainly does not allow elimination [of the digital file],” he said, explaining that this was why the prosecution used the Turkish Penal Law or the Law of Criminal Procedure on the grounds that the unpublished work was not a book but material to be used in criminal activity.
“Even in that case, the Law of Criminal Procedure does not allow the elimination of evidence” Şen said, calling the police action illegal.
Indestructible once online
In addition to its questionable legality, the move to destroy digital copies of the manuscript was also impractical, technology experts said.
“If a file is on the Internet, especially if it is exchanging hands on the sharing sites, it is not possible to erase it completely,” said Recep Baltaş, the editor of the monthly computer magazine CHIP. He explained that it is not possible to know how many users have downloaded a file to their computers and from where they could upload it after online versions were deleted.
“One of the reasons for this is that one user may share the file in PDF format and another as a ZIP file,” he said.
Even if the manuscript file had not been uploaded to a website or online file-sharing service, but only distributed through e-mail, “all e-mail servers in the world keep copies of sent mail on their servers,” Baltaş said. He added that it would only be possible to destroy a digital file completely if it was created on a single computer and not distributed anywhere electronically.
So far it is known that Şık emailed the document to at least two people. It is not certain whether the file is available at another online location or not.
Background of the arrest and raids
The unpublished book was found in digital form on a computer at the office of the dissident online news portal OdaTV; Şık has stated he did not know how it got there, calling the staff of the website people he would not stand together with under any circumstances.
Şık’s arrest has been already criticized in legal circles since the evidence against him was not revealed to his lawyers.
The manuscript deals with the alleged organization founded within the Turkish police by the Fethullah Gülen religious community, a fact that has led to suspicions that Şık was arrested due to the book’s contents, rather than his involvement in the alleged Ergenekon gang, which he has worked as a journalist to expose. Ergenekon Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has said Şık was not arrested due to his book, which led to more questions when the raids were made Thursday.
Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup, initially by spreading chaos and mayhem. Some believe it to be an extension of the “deep state,” an alleged shadow organization of bureaucracy and military within the state whose existence has been voiced by people including presidents but for which an exact definition has never been made.
Şık’s arrest created confusion on these grounds also, since he is known as a journalist who has tried throughout his career to uncover the deep state.
The decision by the 12th Court for Serious Crimes authorizing the raids read: “It was understood that directives and notes written by the organization’s prominent name Soner Yalçın [the founder of OdaTV] were inserted into the drafts of a book being written by Ahmet Şık. It was pointed out that the drafts contained propaganda for the Ergenekon terror organization, and aimed at affecting a fair trial and causing disinformation and sensation among the public, thus giving organization members moral support and motivation.”
WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) — Members of Congress began rediscovering the War Powers Act, that battered relic from 1973, almost immediately after U.S. warplanes began introducing modern firepower to Moammar Gadhafi’s forces little more than a week ago.Gadhafi’s mercenaries and militia were slaughtering outgunned civilian rebels when the U.N. Security Council authorized a “no-fly zone” over Libya. The United States, Britain, France and others used the authorization largely to destroy Gadhafi’s antiaircraft defenses and some of his forces on the ground, giving the rebels breathing room.
But the question for many in Congress is whether President Barack Obama had the authority to order such military action.
Article 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war. However, the last time Congress declared war was after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Since then presidents have used the military as a regular extension of U.S. foreign policy, so much so that Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution, commonly referred to as the War Powers Act, in 1973. President Richard Nixon’s veto of the resolution was massively overridden: 284–135 in the House, and 75–18 in the Senate, more than the two-thirds needed, and the resolution became law.
The War Powers Resolution says the president, as commander in chief, can put U.S. forces in harm’s way only after a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States or its military.
The resolution also requires the president “in every possible instance to consult with Congress before introducing U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities unless there has been a declaration of war or other specific congressional authorization,” the Congressional Research Service says. “It also requires the president to report to Congress any introduction of forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities … or in numbers which substantially enlarge U.S. forces equipped for combat already in a foreign nation.”
The law says once the president submits a report, “Congress must authorize the use of forces within 60 to 90 days or the forces must be withdrawn.”
To say that presidents have viewed the War Powers Resolution with a jaundiced eye is an understatement.
Every president since 1973 has taken the position that the resolution is an unconstitutional infringement on presidential authority, the CRS says — though the U.S. Supreme Court and the other federal courts have never directly ruled on the issue. The one foray into legally trying to hold a president accountable to the War Powers Resolution did not turn out well for members of Congress.
Obama’s use of force in Libya has raised congressional hackles. Predictably, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, brought up impeachment in an interview with The Raw Story weblog, as reported by clevelandleader.com.
Kucinich said the fact Obama acted on his own without congressional approval “would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense,” though he doubted Congress had the nerve to follow through.
Other congressional criticism was more muted. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, supported the no-fly zone, but said, “Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission,” The Huffington Post reported.
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also called for Obama to explain the Libyan operation to the U.S. public.
The Huffington Post interviewed other members of Congress with sharper views who questioned whether there was a threat to the United States as required by the War Powers Resolution.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said: “I think (Obama) has a duty and an obligation to come to Congress. I see no clear and present danger to the United States of America. I just don’t. We’re in a bit of the fog at the moment as to what the president is trying to ultimately do.”
“In the absence of a credible, direct threat to the United States and its allies or to our valuable national interests, what excuse is there for not seeking congressional approval of military action?” liberal Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asked. “I think it is wrong and a usurpation of power and the fact that prior presidents have done it is not an excuse.”
Another liberal, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., was supportive but cautious, CBS News reported.
“I think it is important that we show that we’re a powerful country who is willing to step in and protect those who are not able to protect themselves,” he said. “I do believe though that the president should have and should still come to Congress for authorization.”
Obama has in fact “consulted” with Congress in a way, calling in representatives of congressional leaders to the White House before his South American trip, not to ask for permission but to explain to them what he was doing.
And last week, while the president was abroad, the White House released a letter from the president to Boehner and the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. In the letter, dated March 21, Obama said he was informing Congress of the Libyan operation “consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”
Obama told the congressional leaders “at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations (on March 19) to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe … ”
The president added: “U.S. military forces, under … U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone. These strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope. … These limited U.S. actions will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.”
The resolution authorizes U.N. member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a ‘no-fly zone’ in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.”
Obama said Gadhafi was sent “a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately,” but though Libya’s foreign ministry announced an immediate cease-fire Gadhafi’s forces continued to advance.
“Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States,” Obama contended.
“The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya,” the president said. “United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.”
Obama said he ordered the Libyan actions, “which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as commander in chief and chief executive.
“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”
Significantly, Obama used the phrase “consistent” with the resolution, as have presidents before him, rather than “pursuant” to the resolution, which would indicate the resolution was accepted law that had to be obeyed.
Presidential use of military force without specifically meeting the provisions of the War Powers Resolution was challenged in court in March 1999 by 18 Republican members of Congress led by Rep. Tom Campbell of Texas.
President Bill Clinton had ordered U.S. forces to participate in the NATO bombing operation over Kosovo to stop the “ethnic cleansing” and massacres of ethnic Albanian Muslims.
A series of House and Senate votes supporting or opposing the war left the issue up in the air though Congress eventually passed emergency funding that underwrote the operation.
On April 30, 1999, Campbell and 17 other House members filed suit in federal court asking for a ruling that would require the president to get authorization from Congress for the Kosovo bombings or discontinue military operations.
On May 25, 1999, the 60th day of military operations passed. The congressional group at that time told the federal court that Clinton was in violation of the War Powers Resolution, which required hostilities to cease after 60 days in the absence of congressional approval or a presidential request for an extra 30 days to safely withdraw from combat.
However, Clinton did not ask for the extension, instead maintaining the War Powers Resolution was constitutionally defective.
All the congressional and presidential Sturm und Drang turned out to be moot. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman dismissed the suit, saying Campbell and the others had no standing to bring it in the first place. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, sometimes called the second-most powerful court in the country, agreed.
The appeals court panel said the U.S. Supreme Court — as recently as 1997 — had refused to recognize the right of members of Congress to sue the executive branch. Besides, the panel’s prevailing opinion said, the case essentially presented a political, not a legal, controversy.
Citing its own precedent, the appeals court said: “It is uncontested that the Congress could terminate the (contested program) were a sufficient number in (the U.S. House and Senate) so inclined. Because the parties’ dispute is therefore fully susceptible to political resolution, we would (under circuit precedent) dismiss the complaint to avoid ‘meddling’ in the internal affairs of the legislative branch.”
The congressional group then asked the U.S. Supreme Court for review. The high court declined without comment.
[Malalai is a very special representative of the terror war’s forgotten
victims human beings, the women of Afghanistan. Before we empowered the brutal Taliban to dominate the Afghan people, before we empowered the Mujahedeen to introduce militarized “Islam” to the Hindu Kush mountains, there was an era in Afghanistan’s bloody history when women could live their lives out in the open, just like real human beings. The “burkha” was not yet required to hide the natural beauty of the Afghan women from the Afghan men. Things were normal. Malalai and the few others like her, who dare to risk their lives to talk about normal things, or the lack thereof, must be protected and allowed to thrive, in order to really, someday, give Peace a chance.]
The U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan should be brought to a halt because it has solidified, rather than weakened, oppression against women in her home country, Afghan human rights activist Malalai Joya said Saturday.
“Taliban leaders and the administration of Hamid Karzai are carbon copies of each other; both are misogynist. The Taliban are fascists, and Karzai is supported by the warlords,” said the 32-year-old author and former member of the Afghan parliament, speaking by phone from Boston.
Both factions gain support as a result of U.S. and NATO-inflicted civilian casualties, and both are benefiting from the influx of foreign aid — at the expense of progressive-minded Afghans, she said.
“We’re trapped between three enemies: the Taliban, the provincial warlords and foreign soldiers,” she said. “They need each other. They’re playing ‘Tom and Jerry.’ It’s like a family fighting with itself.”
Joya will elaborate on power struggles in Afghanistan (and women’s roles in tempering them) at a talk at 5 p.m. today at University of Vermont’s Billings Lecture Hall.
Her monthlong speaking tour of this country was delayed last week by U.S. visa authorities because, she was told, she was “unemployed and “living underground.”
Joya, a self-described “freedom-loving fighter,” said she has survived five attempts on her life for speaking out against the Taliban, the Karzai regime and what she terms the “U.S.-NATO occupation.”
But Saturday, she placed that danger in perspective.
“Millions of people face the same risk, day by day, in Afghanistan. The only difference between me and them is that I am speaking out,” Joya said. “The reason they want to eliminate me? I never show silence. I use my voice for the benefit of my people. I will never drop my watch.”
Moderates in Afghanistan discreetly refer to their Western-trained soldiers and police as “the Dollar Army,” because of what they say is a thin, mercenary allegiance to human rights, Joya said.
“‘The rabbit has responsibility for the carrot,’ as we say. We have the same gender-crimes now that we had during Taliban (rule): death by stoning, rape, poisoning girls at school, domestic violence and forced marriages,” she said.
“The only difference now, it is done under the name of democracy, with the mask of democracy,” she added. “These crimes are increasing rapidly, even by historical standards.”
And when the foreign troops pull out? Their absence would weaken the power now enjoyed by the Taliban and warlords, Joya answered.
“Nobody says it will be like heaven in my country,” she said. “But I know people will come into the streets. We will unite more. Hundreds of people already join protests against occupation.
“History reveals that this nation can liberate itself,” she continued. “We have a powerful history. We gave the British a lesson and the Russians. If the U.S. and NATO do not go out voluntarily, we will give them, with the passage of time, a very good lesson.
“People ask what will happen to our women? I ask them now: ‘What’s happening to the women while we argue?’ War crimes are being committed. We don’t want this kind of so-called helping hand that’s helping the enemies of my people,” she said.
“We know what to do, we know our destiny. I’m sure the progressive Afghan men will help us; they’ll unite with us to bring women’s rights and human rights to our country. But this presence of the troops in our country: It doubles our misery. They create more obstacles. They’ve made progressive, democratic-minded men and women in our country move ‘underground.’ But there are plenty of us.”
“The so-called war on terror is a war on civilians,” Joya said. “When cluster bombs kill civilians, for each dead body, America gives $2,000 to the family. It’s just blood money. It insults my people.
Yet Afghan moderates welcome American help — without “top-down justice” and military interference, she said.
“Education is the key to emancipation. No question we need a helping hand, with moral support, with financial support. You must not leave us alone — we have been forgotten,” she said. “The silence of good people is worse than the actions of bad people.”
How, specifically, can Americans help? Joya said a good start would be to increase pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to speed the exit of U.S. troops.
“We want the end of this occupation,” she said. “The blood of my people is not water.”
All three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation signed a letter dated March 18 to the U.S. Consulate in Afghanistan in support of Joya’s visa. The letter described Joya as “a rare symbol of hope for Afghanistan’s future.”
Joya extended credit for her visa approval to grassroots petitions and phone-ins.
“I want to thank all my supporters who put pressure on the government to give me a visa. Their support gave me more courage and more determination for me and my people to spread our message,” she said.
Joya’s Vermont appearance is sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition, the International Socialist Organization, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Peace and Justice Center, Students for Justice in Palestine, Vermont Woman Newspaper, Veterans for Peace, Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Her talk Friday night in Boston drew 1,200 people (among them, Noam Chomsky), Mass Peace Action organizer Cole Harrison said.
Joya’s subsequent venues, listed by the nonprofit Afghan Women’s Mission website, include: Amherst, Mass., Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Copies of Joya’s autobiography, “A Woman Among Warlords,” will be for sale at tonight’s talk at UVM.
Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 email@example.com. Baird’s blog:http://bit.ly/BairdsEye. Become a fan of the Burlington Free Press page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bfpnews.
|Demonstrators hold placards to protest against the U.S. military intervention in Libya outside the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, March 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)|
by Xiong Ping
BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) — Doubts, queries and criticisms from the international community are emerging as the West-led military action against Libya continues.
The military intervention has upset the world and triggered angry reaction in many parts of the world.
MILITARY ACTION ALLEGEDLY EXCEEDS UN MANDATE
On March 17, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The resolution authorized the use of force to protect Libyan civilians. However, going far beyond the creation of a no-fly zone, Western forces struck the Libyan forces on the ground.
Ted Carpenter, an expert with the Washington-based Cato Research Institute, has said the real goal of the initial U.S.-led military mission is to unseat Libya’s long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Carpenter believed that the current military action by the United States and its NATO allies have already gone beyond the Security Council resolution and what the Arab League had expected.
“If the coalition comes out openly about overthrowing Gaddafi, then the coalition is well beyond these mandates,” Carpenter told Xinhua on Tuesday.
The Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday adopted a statement, calling on Western countries to stop their military action in Libya to help bring “an immediate cease-fire and stop deaths and suffering among civilians.”
The military action has revealed the desire of several states to use the UN mandate as a pretext for achieving objectives “other than the declared protection of civilian population” in Libya, said the Duma statement.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday that Resolution 1973 had a clear framework, and that any action that goes beyond the framework “is illegal.”
Li Baodong, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, on Thursday called upon all parties concerned “to cease fire immediately in order to avoid escalating the conflict and worsening the already tense situation in the region.”
“The relevant Security Council resolution is aimed at humanitarian protection, rather than creating more civilian casualties and a bigger humanitarian catastrophe,” Li said when speaking at the consultations of the UN Security Council on Libya.
African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Jean Ping reiterated in France on Thursday that the AU opposed foreign military intervention in Libya. He added that Western forces did not conduct sufficient consultations with the AU before launching the military attacks on Libya.
South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday warned the West against abusing the UN resolution on Libya, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and no violation of Libya’s sovereignty.
Editor: Xiong Tong
|THERE seems to be an anxiety in some circles in the West to somehow link Al Qaeda to the anti-regime revolt in Libya despite indications that Osama Bin Laden’s associates have not really made any inroads into Muammar Qadhafi’s tightly controlled country.
While it is highly unlikely that Al Qaeda does have any significant role in the Libyan rebellion, the militant group appears to be a major beneficiary of the crisis. It is reported to have acquired weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, from Libyan military warehouses in areas overrun by the anti-Qadhafi forces. That should indeed be worrying.
In an interview appearing in an Italian publication, a man described as a leader of Libyan dissidents claims that “international jihadists” who fought the US-led coalition troops in Iraq are now fighting Qadhafi’s regime in Libya.
The Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore quotes Abdul Hakim Al Hasidi, the presumed Al Qaeda leader in Libya, as saying that a small number of his people are “today in the front lines” in eastern Libya fighting Qadhafi’s forces.
Hasidi is described as a key anti-Qadhafi leader and a “jihadist” who fought against US-led “invaders” in Afghanistan and recruited Libyans to go to Iraq to fight against the allied forces there. He was captured in Pakistan in 2002, handed over to the US, then detained in Libya until he was released in 2008.
Hasidi reportedly “admitted” in the Italian newspaper interview that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya” in Libya.
Hasidi insists that his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” and that “members of Al Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.” According to US and British government sources, Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996. He subsequently joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
In February, Al Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan revolt, which it said would lead to the imposition of Islamic law in the country. The LIFG is not believed to be part of the Al Qaeda organisation. However, according to the United States military’s West Point Academy, the two groups “increasingly co-operative relationship.”
Britain’s Daily Telegraph says that in 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinja showed LIFG members accounting for the second-largest group of foreign fighters in Iraq. Saudi were the largest contingent.
The Qadhafi regime, long known for its intolerance of dissent, kept the LIFG — and indeed all other anti-Qadhafi groups — well under check, cracking down with a harsh hand whenever the strongman felt the slightest challenge to his rule. His intelligence and informant networks were very effective in pinpointing sources of dissent, and hence Al Qaeda could not plug in any of its roots in Qadhafi’s Libya.
There is no indication whatsoever that LIFG or Al Qaeda initiated the anti-Qadhafi revolt but it is possible that they joined the rebellion after it was well under way. They do have an advantage though — they have good fighting experience in Iraq. Their number will be very limited, as admitted by Hasidi himself.
However, that did not prevent Qadhafi from claiming from day one that Al Qaeda had corrupted his youths with drugs and turned them against him. Qadhafi was seeking to project himself as the victim of Al Qaeda’s ire and wrath for Libya’s support for the US-led “war on terror.” He equated his country as any other partner in the US effort to fight groups like Al Qaeda around the world.
That was indeed a turnaround for someone who, for at least three decades, supported militant groups in the region and beyond and played them against governments he deemed to be hostile to him. But the claim of being targeted by Al Qaeda did not achieve him anything since it was rejected outright by the US and allies.
The interim National Council formed in Benghazi, the eastern town in the hands of Libyan dissidents, appears to be largely independent and free of any specific political orientation. There is no indication that hard-line Islamist tendencies in the group, which is certified to have had a good start in governance by the former US ambassador to Libya.
Obviously, Hasidi and his likes would like to claim some credit for the anti-Qadhafi revolt. They are backed by media outlets which are eager to get “something new” on crises around the world.
An (unlikely) Al Qaeda domination of a post-Qadhafi Libya would be a worst-case scenario for the Libyan people. In any event, the US-led West would not permit that to happen.
Much more alarming is an assertion by Chadian President Idriss Deby Itn that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has taken advantage of the strife in Libya to steal military weapons, including an unspecified number of surface-to-air missiles.
In an interview with an African magazine, Deby says that the weapons were stolen from areas controlled by Libyan rebels and then smuggled into an Al Qaeda sanctuary. He is not clear on numbers of weapons but insists that he is “100 per cent sure” of his information.
“The Islamists of Al Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” he told the African weekly Jeune Afrique.
Tenere is a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from north-east Niger to western Chad. Sources in Mali and Nigeria have confirmed Deby’s account. Saddam Hussein’s (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the likes of Al Qaeda was one of the fears and reasons cited for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The fears appear to have come true in Libya, eight years later. Al Qaeda’s reported possession of surface-to-air missiles should indeed be a cause for great concern since they could be used to shoot down passenger aircraft, something the group would not hesitate to do if it found such action serving its sinister purposes.
[refresh to update map]
Nuclear Site Alert Level = 100 CPM
How the Map Works:
A growing number of Radiation Monitoring Stations across the country, using various models of GeigerCounters, upload their Radiation Count data in real time to their computer using a Data Cable, and then over the Internet to this web site, all of this accomplished through GeigerGraph for Networks software.
How to Read the Map:
Referring to the Map Legend at the bottom left corner of the map, locate Monitoring Stations around the country that are contributing radiation data to this map as you read this, and watch the numbers on those monitoring stations update as frequently as every minute (your browser will automatically refresh). The numbers represent radiation Counts per Minute, abbreviated CPM, and under normal conditions, quantify the level of background radiation, i.e. environmental radiation from outer space as well as from the earth’s crust and air. Depending on your location within the US, your elevation or altitude, and your model of Geiger counter, this background radiation level might average anywhere from 5 to 60 CPM, and while background radiation levels are random, it would be unusual for those levels to exceed 100 CPM. Thus, the “Alert Level” for the National Radiation Map is 100 CPM, so if you see any Monitoring Stations with CPM value above 100, further indicated by an Alert symbolover those stations, it probably means that some radioactive source above and beyond background radiation is responsible.
Notice the Time and Date Stamp at the bottom center of the Map. That is Arizona Time, from where we service the Network, and your indication of how recently the Radiation Levels have been updated to the Map.
[Is the Zardari govt really uncovering all the perpetrators of the Benazir Bhutto assassination, no matter how high the plot might go? Is Musharraf being prosecuted simply for not preventing the murder? That is a slap on the hands, if his involvement goes deeper. The apparent rush to wrap all of this up is likely to leave the former dictator, as well as the entire military staff blameless for the actual hit.]
* Interior minister says probe into BB’s assassination has been completed, report will be presented before Central Executive Committee of PPP
A Pakistani court last week gave prosecutors until April 2 to serve a warrant granted in February on Musharraf, who was president when Bhutto was killed in December 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack in Rawalpindi.
Musharraf, who lives in self-imposed exile in London, is accused of failing to provide her with adequate security.
“We presented three letters in the court which have been sent to the British government for the execution of the warrants,” prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told Agence France Presse.
“We have not yet received any report from the British home department and now we will write to Interpol to help execute the warrants,” Ali said.
Bhutto was killed after addressing an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
Musharraf is alleged to have been part of a “broad conspiracy” to have his political rival killed before elections, though the exact nature of the charges against him is not clear.
Bhutto, who served two terms as prime minister, returned from exile two months before she was assassinated. Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, led her Pakistan People’s Party to election victory in 2008 and is now president.
At the time of Bhutto’s death, Musharraf’s government blamed the assassination on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was subsequently killed in a U.S. drone attack.(AFP)
Obama has launched an unconstitutional war that serves no discernible American interest. This wastes military resources on a conflict that poses no threat to the U.S. at a time when U.S. forces are stretched in two other wars, and it commits U.S. forces to the enforcement of a U.N. resolution without any meaningful debate here at home. The public was not clamoring for this. This is the epitome of policy made by establishment figures without regard for American public opinion. If ever there were a time for populist American nationalists who can’t stand Obama and claim to venerate and narrowly interpret the Constitution to protest, this would be it. Of course, this is not what’s happening. Weigel explains:
There are individual Tea Party leaders, like Williams or Rand Paul, who wince at a military intervention undertaken like this. The Tea Party is libertarian in plenty of ways. But if it has one defining characteristic, it’s that it’s nationalist. If there’s a way to remove Qaddafi decades after he aided the Lockerbie bombers, then that’s more important than a debate over the deep thoughts of the founders. In a Saturday interview with Fox News, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., one of the most popular politicians to win the support of the Tea Party, explained that his problem with the intervention was about grit, not the Constitution.
If there is a war that American nationalists ought to find undesirable, it would have to be one undertaken for the sake of something called “the responsibility to protect,” which is a doctrine premised on the ability of international institutions to overrule national sovereignty in certain cases. Back in the ’90s, anti-Clinton conservatives didn’t have much in the way of a consistent foreign policy critique, but one thing most of them could agree on was that they couldn’t stand the idea of sending U.S. forces on missions for the U.N. Evidently, as long as the U.S. military gets to fire missiles at a dictatorship, many of them seem to have overcome their aversion to globalism.
The standard attack on many of Clinton’s interventions back then was that they seemed to be chosen on the basis of how little they had to do with U.S. security interests. This was actually reasonably accurate. Conservatives were hardly non-interventionists in the ’90s, but they would at least object to many of Clinton’s interventions as distractions from “real” threats. They may not have been any less hawkish and usually complained that Clinton was too “weak” on Iraq and Iran, but most could agree that Clinton used the military in conflicts in which the U.S. had no stake.
I didn’t expect a great outpouring of antiwar sentiment from Tea Party-aligned Republicans in Congress, but opposing the Libyan war is a fairly easy call. It doesn’t require a full embrace of Ron Paul’s foreign policy views. It just requires some minimal adherence to their professed beliefs. The Libyan war represents everything Tea Partiers are supposed to dislike about Obama and Washington, and it should offend their nationalist and constitutionalist sensibilities. The first real test to see what a “Tea Party foreign policy” might be is here, and with some honorable exceptions Tea Partiers and the members of Congress they have supported have proved that they are indistinguishable from the hawkish interventionists that have dominated the GOP’s foreign policy thinking for the last decade and more.
Update: Sen. Mike Lee has criticized the Libyan war as unconstitutional, and has questioned the underlying policy as well, so we can add him to the small (but growing?) group of Tea Partier critics of the war.
Will the American government ever learn? Not only is it a big mistake getting involved in a third war (Libya) while being stuck in two other unwinnable wars, eliminating a dictator doesn’t guarantee a country becoming a peace-loving democracy. It could turn into another Afghanistan or Iraq.
After America helped to get rid of the Russians in Afghanistan a few decades ago, the same “freedom” fighters we supported became the most viral anti-American terrorists. After we got rid of Saddam Hussein, the country of Iraq is now a terrorist haven, ungovernable, and with Americans still dying there.
Moammar Gadhafi might be no good, but he kept Libya under control. Once we get rid of him, America will most likely have to send troops there to help whatever government there will be to fight the extremists. Sound familiar?
Stjepan Balog, Warren
TOKYO, March 26, Kyodo
Japan is stepping up its efforts to restore power and enhance cooling efficiency at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Saturday, but fears of contamination intensify as levels of radioactive materials are skyrocketing in the sea near the station.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has turned on the lights in the control room for the No. 2 reactor at the plant on the same day, while analyzing the water containing radioactive materials detected in the turbine building of the reactors and trying to remove the pools of water.
Meanwhile, abnormally high levels of radioactive materials have been found in the sea near the troubled plant, the government said, fanning concerns over fishery products in northeastern Japan.
The utility, known as TEPCO, said the radiation level at the No. 1 reactor of the plant has reached 200 microsieverts per hour, suspending work to pour seawater into its spent fuel pool. But its Fukushima office corrected the announcement later, saying no such high radiation level was detected.
Japan’s top government spokesman Yukio Edano said at a press conference Saturday he finds it difficult to predict when the ongoing crisis at plant would end.
Asked about the prospects of the crisis, Edano said, ”the current situation is that we are preventing it from worsening,” adding that the situation still requires ”an enormous amount of work” before it settles down.
Earlier in the day, radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration 1,250.8 times the legal limit was detected Friday morning in a seawater sample taken around 330 meters south of the plant, near the drain outlets of its troubled four reactors, the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
The level rose to its highest so far in the survey begun this week, after staying around levels 100 times over the legal limit. It is highly likely that radioactive water in the plant has disembogued into the sea, the utility said.
Radioactive materials ”will significantly dilute” by the time they are consumed by marine species, the agency said, adding that it will not have a significant impact on fishery products as fishing is not conducted in the area within 20 kilometers of the plant because the government has issued a directive for residents in the area to evacuate.
If people ingest 500 milliliters of water containing the same level of radioactive iodine, the radiation levels would reach the 1 millisievert limit which people can be safely exposed to in one year, the agency said.
TEPCO is planning to inject fresh water into pools storing the spent nuclear fuel at the plant to prevent crystallized salt from seawater already injected from forming a crust on the fuel rods and hampering the smooth circulation of water, thus diminishing the cooling effect. It has begun injecting fresh water into reactor containers of the No. 1 and No. 3 as well as No. 2.
At the same time, the firm is trying to remove the pools of water containing highly concentrated radioactive substances that may have seeped from either the reactor cores or the spent fuel pools.
On Thursday, three workers were exposed to water containing radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level at the turbine building connected to the No. 3 reactor building. On Friday, a pool of water with similar high concentration of radioactive materials was found in the No. 1 reactor’s turbine building, causing some restoration work to be suspended.
Similar pools of water were also found in the turbine buildings of the No. 2 and No. 4 reactors, measuring up to 1 meter and 80 centimeters deep, respectively. Those near the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors were up to 40 cm and 1.5 meters deep.
While it will try to analyze the radioactivity levels of the pools from the water found in the No. 2 and No. 4 reactors, TEPCO will remove such water in all four reactor units to reduce the risk of more workers being exposed to radioactive substances, said.
The risk hinders their efforts to restore the plant’s crippled cooling functions, which are crucial to overcoming the crisis, the government’s nuclear safety agency said.
WASHINGTON | Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:32pm EDT
(Reuters) – A NATO decision to take charge of a no-fly zone over Libya does not include conducting air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s ground forces, a mission that will remain in U.S. hands until a new command deal is reached, Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said on Friday.
Gortney, chief of the U.S. military’s Joint Staff, said the U.N.-backed operation against Gaddafi’s forces involved three different missions — an arms embargo, a no-fly zone and protecting Libyan civilians.
He said the U.S. military initially assumed command of all three missions in order to quickly implement the U.N. resolution authorizing the action. But President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials made it clear the United States would hand off control of the operation as soon as feasible.
The Western alliance already has assumed control of the arms embargo, led by an Italian vice admiral, and has agreed to take over the no-fly zone in coming days, Gortney said. But there is disagreement over the third mission, which includes air strikes to stop Gaddafi from attacking his opponents.
“This mission will remain in U.S. hands until such time as the coalition is ready to assume it,” Gortney told a briefing at the Pentagon. “My expectation is that it, too, could fall under NATO. But … these are decisions and discussions ongoing at the political level and I just would not speculate right now where it will end up.”
Gortney said the coalition had fired 16 Tomahawk missiles and flown 153 air sorties in the past 24 hours, 96 of which were attack-related and not exclusively patrolling the no-fly zone.
“Most of these strikes were not pre-planned but rather targets of opportunity, meaning that we responded to threats as they were occurring or that a new target presented itself as vulnerable and important to hit at that time,” he said.
The strikes were directed at command and control facilities and Scud missile garrisons around Tripoli as well as air defense systems in the south. They also targeted Libyan tanks preparing to fire on the city of Ajdabiya, he said.
Coalition forces were mainly using precision weapons — Tomahawk cruise missiles or laser-guided or GPS-guided bombs. Responding to a question, Gortney said he was unaware of any use of depleted uranium munitions in Libya.
Depleted uranium munitions are effective at penetrating armor because of their high density, but they are controversial because they raise long-term health concerns.
Gortney noted reports that Gaddafi was arming civilian volunteers to fight his opponents and said coalition attacks were eroding his ability to exercise command of his forces.
“Gaddafi has virtually no air defense left to him and a diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground,” Gortney said.
“His air force cannot fly. His warships are staying in port. His ammunition stores are being destroyed. Communication towers are being toppled and his command bunkers are being rendered useless.”
(Editing by Christopher Wilson)
[In typical lawyerly fashion, Obama offers a “defense” of his mission that explains nothing, but merely deflects the blame to someone else. He never once explains how training Egyptian, Libyan, Tunisian intellectuals and activists in the United States, to foment rebellion in their homelands and supporting terrorist groups who have killed American soldiers in both Iraq and in Afghanistan is “humanitarian.” Every lying word he utters to the press is intended to mislead the American people and to promote a global war of aggression. The intellectual/activist from Chicago is a dictator who has not yet taken off the gloves.]
ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama defends the decision to intervene in Libya in his weekly address and declares that they are succeeding in the mission thus far.
“I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives—then it’s in our national interest to act,” President Obama says, “And it’s our responsibility. This is one of those times.”
Hoping to assure Americans about the mission, the president says that the military mission in Libya is “clear and focused” and with allies and partners is already making progress, avoiding a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
“We’re succeeding in our mission. We’ve taken out Libya’s air defenses. Qaddafi’s forces are no longer advancing across Libya. In places like Benghazi, a city of some 700,000 that Qaddafi threatened to show ‘no mercy,’ his forces have been pushed back.”
The president says that as he pledged before the “role of American forces has been limited,” referencing the agreement made this week for the operation to be transferred from the US to NATO.
“We are not putting any ground forces into Libya. Our military has provided unique capabilities at the beginning, but this is now a broad, international effort. Our allies and partners are enforcing the no fly zone over Libya and the arms embargo at sea. Key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed aircraft.”
The president explains that the military effort is part of a larger strategy to hold the Qadhafi regime accountable.
“Qaddafi’s attacks against civilians must stop. His forces must pull back. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach those in need. Those responsible for violence must be held accountable. Moammar Qaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people must be realized.”
The White House has announced that on Monday evening Mr. Obama will deliver a speech to the nation on Libya at National Defense University in Washington, DC.
As the Japanese authorities order a wider evacuation area around the stricken Fukushima reactor complex to as far out as 19 miles, three health and environmental groups in the United States announced that they were seeking further information about why American officials recommended that its citizens keep at least 50 miles away.
Gregory B. Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, recommended the 50-mile radius in congressional testimony 10 days ago. He based his opinion on information he had at the time that the water in the spent fuel pond for one of the reactors had boiled away and that a wide release of radiation was possible.
His testimony was quickly contradicted by Japanese officials, who inspected the pool using a helicopter and a worker at the site and found there was still some water in it.
The status of the cooling reservoir is not certain, but Japanese officials have been critical of the United States government for spreading unverified information about the levels of radiation in the vicinity of the plant.
The American groups — Friends of the Earth, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and Physicians for Social Responsibility — said on Friday that they were filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy. They are seeking access to all information about radiation levels gathered by American radiological monitoring equipment and helicopter overflights.
The groups noted that United States regulations call for evacuation plans only to a radius of 10 miles and want an explanation for the more cautious recommendation in Japan.
“The radiation monitoring information being collected by the U.S. government in Japan is of urgent interest to the public in the U.S. and internationally, and we expect an expedited response to the F.O.I.A. request,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth.
“If the full data set is not immediately released, the government can rightly be accused of attempting to cover up the radiation threat posed by the disaster,” he said. “This would severely undermine regulators’ credibility.”
The activists said that the Department of Energy was taking radiation measurements from the air but had not published the complete data from the flights. The latest D.O.E. data is here.
“By recommending a 50-mile evacuation zone for U.S. residents, N.R.C. Chairman Jaczko gave a strong signal that the Fukushima accident was much worse than reported by the Japanese government and the utility,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Takoma Park, Md. “We believe that he was getting information about the severity of the accident from airborne radiation measurements taken by U.S. Department of Energy aircraft. But neither D.O.E. nor the N.R.C. has published those measurements in full.”
American officials said that in addition to recommending a 50-mile evacuation zone around the plants, the government was offering “voluntary departure” to diplomats and military personnel serving at a military post as far away as 250 miles from Fukushima. The American ambassador to Japan, John Roos, said he was taking the step “out of an abundance of caution.”
[The fact that EVERY militant “Islamist” group involved in the US terror war is being led by local terrorists, who have spent several years being broken and then reconditioned at either Guantanamo or Bagram, should not be taken lightly. Like I have been saying for a long time, the established pattern of American-supported terrorism in the Middle East/AfPak regional war front is proof of far greater crimes than the CIA bombing of the American homeland on 911. (I say “CIA bombing,” because EVERY murderous act by CIA created “Al-Qaeda” terrorist groups, is an act committed on behalf of the agency.)
Every anti-Imperialist patriot, who currently devotes his or her efforts towards prosecuting the 911 conspirators, is spinning his wheels, looking for proof of crimes years after the fact, from evidence which has all been turned to dust, or melted-down for scrap. The real criminal conspiracy preceded that attack by several decades, extending all over the world, leaving bits and pieces of real evidence wherever the tentacles of the secret overlords has reached. The history of each reconditioned leader, like this al-Hasidi fellow, is part of our international tapestry of terror. Unraveling each thread is the path to exposing the grand design. This is our proof of exactly who, or what we are dealing with, sitting in the seats of power in Washington and London.
This Libyan Manchurian candidate, al-Hasidi has a well-known history that is spread-out too far for the Internet sweepers to eliminate…This is where we find the real evidence of fascist crimes against humanity. Obama’s plan to take America’s secret guerrilla armies out into the open and to embrace them publicly (more or less) proves to the world who he really is and exactly the type of “change” that he had in mind. It also exposes the secret network that connects the CIA/US military to “al CIAda” and the sordid history of military efforts to assist the “al-Qaeda” penetration of multiple countries, moving huge quantities of men and materiel into each terror zone, usually under the cover of darkness (SEE: The Tuzla Airlift–Sometimes History Refuses to Be Silent). More and more often, the military operations take place under the cover of “private security” companies, composed mostly of both “retired” and active Special Forces and Delta Force soldiers.
The military is accustomed to lying to the public about everything that they are doing, under cover of “the greater good.” The key to deniability has been solved by “contracting out” the work that is criminal or too dirty for the real military to be associated with to a network of secret private armies, composed of hardened military experts who are eager to kill, earning ten times the military’s salary for the same murder. Working far beyond the scope of these private security companies, you find the terrorist outfits, like the ones now destroying Libya and Pakistan and a dozen other countries, run by brainwashed former “Islamists,” who also earn enormous amounts of money, far beyond their wildest dreams, killing the Libyans, Pakistanis, Afghans, or whoever stands in the Empire’s way. ]
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”. In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.
British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”.
“Just maybe!” hints the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)
An experienced Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, to his credit not among the most biased Israeli Hasbara spewers from the Zionist daily, dropped by our Hezbollah neighborhood known as Dahiyeh the other day. During a hour meeting with Hezbollah Foreign Relations Officer Ammar Mousawi and his brilliant assistant, and friend to many Americans, English Literature scholar Hussein Haider, the WP reporter came away apparently impressed with the quality of the discussion with the Lebanese political party that Israeli President Shimon Peres claims “is now Lebanon!” Visiting Westerners are regularly surprised to learn firsthand that Hezbollah, the new majority party in Lebanon whose imprimatur will be stamped on all major Lebanese government decisions, including, enshallah (God willing), without any more nonsense, the internationally mandated civil right to work and to own a home for Lebanon’s quarter million Palestinian refugees, bears no resemblance to the past quarter century of Zionist Fox News- US Main Stream Media portrayal.
But then, western epiphanies in Dahiyeh are old news.
Like many observers of Lebanon’s new majority, Ignatius apparently wondered about the possibility of some sort of high level direct dialogue between Hezbollah and the Obama administration given the continuing US skid and waning influence in the region and the dramatic rise of Hezbollah and its allies against the backdrop of the Islamic-Arab Awakening that may be in just its early stages. So, as seems to happen every couple of years recently, an alert journalist makes contact with the US Intelligence Community and grist is offered for an intriguing column that the US might anoint for dialogue the ”political wing” of Hezbollah as distinct from the “military wing” since the Party does not act much like a “terrorist organization” should.
The “separate wings” concept is a fiction of course as there is no totally separate political-military command division within Hezbollah. There are many departments and units that do specialized work on health care, education, urban and environmental planning, post war reconstruction and fourteen other social service focused tasks. Specialized units keep an eye on the blue line and prepare to confront Israeli aggression against Lebanon. The party is generally unified in its decision making following sometimes freewheeling “best expert argument wins” debates as part of its almost Leninist ‘democratic centralism’ model with the buck stopping with the 7 member Shura or Executive Council. The Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah has significant power but he acts for and answers to the Shura and lacks the typical absolute authority of collapsing Arab despots.
The “good wing-bad wing” pretense is favored by some in the US Intelligence Community as it allows political cover for desired engagement much as was the case for other ‘terrorist’ groups such as the PLO, the ANC and the IRA. For that reason John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser recently discussed the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Hezbollah that is nearing completion, with ‘draft ideas’ being circulated to key Members of Congress and AIPAC.
According to Congressional sources, the White House, has zero interest in attacking Iran and believes that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is someone the US “can do business with.” Given Nasrallah’s admirers in Tehran, and his mass popular appeal in this region, some of the NIE drafters and White House staffers think Nasrallah could help with at least some US-Iranian antagonisms.
As Israel and its Arab collaborators quake as Iran ascends in the region, the future determinate of Middle East Peace will be US Iranian relations”, according to a US Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, who added: “Many in Washington think we can work with Iran and Nasrallah could perhaps help both of us immeasurably.”
The same source opined that the White House appears split down the middle whether to seek direct contact with Hezbollah with some close Obama aides arguing that times are changing in the Middle East and maybe US policy should too following a decade of trillion dollar a year wars with nothing but carnage and US economy ruining deficits to show for them. Obama aids are said to favor a regional approach that has already led to two U.S.-sponsored meetings on Afghanistan that included Iranian representatives – one in Rome last year and one in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 3/3/11.
Opposed to this view is the Foreign Policy establishment which, committed to Israel, does not care much who is president as they always stay in power and exist in the form of the Council on Foreign Relations and other non-elected, self-appointed and auto-replenished guardians of American foreign policy. Their view, expressed this week byTommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, is still mired in: “on the political level, there can be no dialogue with Hezbollah because it is a terrorist organization creating instability in the Middle East.”
Dialogue with political adversaries is a well-known hallmark of Hezbollah and some have suggested that Hassan Nasrralah and Barack Obama might have a fascinating private tete a tete given many shared life experiences and outlooks including work as community organizers, inclusive outreach advocates, multiculturalists, bright and broad minded progressive thinkers not much attracted to acceptance of stereotyping or political shibboleths.
Truth claimed, Congressional sources report that Obama, and his friend US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerrey (D-Mass.) are fascinated with Nassrallah. On the other hand, having been publically humiliated three times by Israel’s Netanyahu, Obama reportedly finds the latter intransigent, lacking any interest in a just peace in Palestine and fixated only in building illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. At the same time finding Netanyahu personally obnoxious. Nasrallah might agree.
Some of the 16 Intelligence Agencies that comprise the US Intelligence Community are discussing the prospects, in the context of the expanding Middle East uprising, that the single obstacle to normalizing relations between the US and the Middle East, the continued occupation of Palestine by the 19th Century Zionist Colonial Enterprise, may be resolved, perhaps sooner than later. Some Israeli leaders reportedly concede privately that with the rising youth fuelled rebellions toppling US-Israeli backed despots the freedom tsunami might not ebb until Palestine is restored.
There remains some heavy baggage around potential “let bygones be bygones” discussion between Dahiyeh and Washington. During its 29 year history Hezbollah has had multiple indirect contacts with US administrations via Lebanese politicians, PLO figures, and European diplomats and even today, with Western countries queuing for dialogue with Hezbollah, understanding mutual US-Lebanese resistance problems is no mystery. The issues are clear.
While conceding that White House-Dahiyeh talks, based on mutual respect, could be historic, nevertheless neighborhood contacts suggest that there is a de facto condition precedent to meaningful dialogue. It includes a political ceasefire from Washington.
Since the 1992 Lebanese elections when Hezbollah decided to participate in governing Lebanon, but even before, the American administration has waged with Israel, a continual campaign against the Lebanese resistance for one reason. Hezbollah’s opposition to the theft of Palestine and the movements pledge to help return Palestine to its rightful inhabitants. The same pledge millions of American and Western human rights advocates have taken and continue to pursue with increased solidarity during this Arab Spring.
Hezbollah has been incessantly targeted by Washington accusing it, without proof of “terrorism” and sometimes, even conceding US errors such as the admitted March 8, 1985 CIA ordered assassination of the erroneously identified “Hezbollah leader”, the late humanist, Mohammad Hussein Fadallah. Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah escaped death, but more than 60 Lebanese civilians were slaughtered and more than 250 wounded outside his Hussayneyeh (Mosque) near my current home.
After more than half the past decade of launching various anti-Hezbollah schemes, the Jeffrey Feltman team has made clear that its pressure on Lebanon’s new majority is just getting started. Analyst’s across the political spectrum in Lebanon claim they have never witnessed such intense sectarian strife and vitriol as has been unleashed since the collapsed of the pro-US March 14 government last January.
Last week the US Treasury Departments reminded Lebanon of its skill at interfering with international banking and sent a warning that Lebanon’s banks were “on limits for scrutiny.” It hinted that a run on the banks from Gulf money could be expected. Among those it seeks to intimidate is Lebanon’s richest businessman, Nijab Miqati who Hezbollah helped choose for Prime Minister. Washington claims that some Lebanese banks laundry money for Hezbollah and allow Iran to avoid US sanctions while helping to fund the Resistance. Current US Ambassador Maury Connelly told the media that the US actions “were part of the U.S. Treasury’s global effort, under Section 311 of the Patriot Act to protect the U.S. financial sector from illicit activities. Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh Central Bank fired back that Lebanon’s banks abide by all national and international regulations and that the US should offer proof otherwise if it has any.
The Feltman teams: “It’s us or Nasrallah-it’s the US or Iran running Lebanon!” attitude has been exposed yet again by the publication of a bundle of Wilklikeaks Beirut Embassy cables, this past week.
The diplomatic cables confirm is that the US Embassy functioned as a virtual Israeli operations center during the July 2006 war and has saturated Lebanon with more intelligence and political penetrations than perhaps any country in the region, except Iraq.
During the July 2006 war, US embassy staff, led by Feltman who functioned as a kind of ‘godfather’ for Hezbollah’s detractors, received countless pro-Israeli consigliere as they executed plans how to best manage the war for Israel while protecting their own business and sectarian interests.
On the degree to which some Arab leaders, in this case Bahrain, and its ambassador, Houda Ezra Nonoo, are collaborating with Israel while publicly pledging brotherly support for the Arabs “ central cause”, Palestine, a recent report is instructive http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=7636.
Feltman, the cables make plain, personally instructed Washington to tell Israel not to bomb bridges in what he derisively called “Maronistan areas” because that would weaken Christian support for Israel and affect logistics for US Embassy “staff” in Awkar. Embassy Beirut apparently had no problem with Israel carpeting bombing south Beirut, with American weapons, endangering Shatila and Burj al Barajneh Palestinian Camps around the Bir Hassan neighborhood which includes the ‘little Tehran’ neighborhood with Iranian media outlets and the Iranian Embassy.
Five days after the July 2006 war was launched Embassy cables to Washington which were immediately passed to Israel document: “The Ambassador asked Jumblatt what Israel should do to cause serious damage to Hezbollah. Jumblatt replied that Israel is still in the mindset of fighting classic battles with Arab armies. “You can’t win this kind of war with zero dead,” he said. Jumblatt finally said what he meant; Israel will have to invade southern Lebanon. Israel must be careful to avoid massacres, but it should clear Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon”. (July 17, 2006)
On August 5, Assistant Secretary David Welch and Ambassador Feltman met with a more than a dozen Christian leaders from the anti-Syria March 14 movement, The Embassy cable read: “While claiming to be fully supportive of Prime Minister Siniora’s call for a ceasefire, they are troubled that the current conflict might leave Hezbollah in a stronger position within Lebanon than at the beginning. The Lebanese government will need to be in a position of strength to deal with Hezbollah once the conflict is over, the leaders argued. To this end, they would support a continuation of the Israeli bombing campaign for a week or two if this were to diminish seriously Hezbollah’s strength on the ground….Claiming to reflect PM Siniora’s private thoughts, several of the assembled leaders urged that Hezbollah be given a “real pounding” by the Israelis to the point that the group would be “soft enough to listen to reason.” According to Boutros Harb, ( Ed: one of the anti-Palestinian Cabinet Ministers who prevented Palestinians from obtaining the internationally mandated Right to Work and Home Ownership on August 17, 2010) “if we are convinced that Israel can finish the job, then we can allow a few more weeks,”( Ed: of slaughter) though the consensus seemed to rest between seven to ten days. If on the other hand Hezbollah were to emerge emboldened with a perceived sense of victory, “that would be a disaster.” (August 7, 2006)
Another leaked Embassy Beirut cable: “Asking that his comments be kept close-hold, Saad Hariri whispered that, “We need to remove Lahoud, (LAF commander Michel) Sleiman, and (Head of the G2 army intelligence) George Khoury. They are in bed with Syria. They are in bed with Hezbollah.” While Hariri hopes to eventually recruit Nabih Berri’s critical support to achieve this, he asked that international pressure on Iran and Syria continues unabated.” (August 12, 2006)
This close coordination with Israel during its July 2006 War on Lebanon which slaughtered more than 1,400 and wounded thousands, represented a rogue US government view of “noninterference in the internal affairs of Lebanon.” These strategy sessions, and a long list of other actions by some claiming to represent the American people in Lebanon has raised serious questions about the diplomatic status of Embassy Beirut and whether Embassy Beirut serves the American people or Israel. According to Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil, “Israel has an Embassy in Lebanon representing its interests. The American people do not.”
Yet another serious allegation that the Feltman team corrupted the Special Tribunal of Lebanon has been leveled by As Safir a Lebanese daily in its 3/23/11 edition. According to its investigative report, the US sought to use the indictment of the STL to back Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri after his government was toppled by the Hezbollah-led alliance, and to bring Hariri back to power while sidelining Hezbollah. The US plan was to have the STL issue the indictment after STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare filed an amended indictment earlier in the month for confirmation by pre-trial judge Danial Fransen. But developments in the Arab world, including the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime “thwarted the US plan to issue the indictment as a prelude to a change in the political balance of power in Lebanon with Feltman’s team concluding that the release of the indictment at this stage would have made it ineffective amid the ongoing Arab Awakening turmoil. Moreover, western diplomats informed March 14 officials that any STL indictment and Lebanon are currently at the bottom of their priority list, hinting that the release of the charges could be delayed for several months.
If true, this latest US action alone would destroy any remaining STL credibility as such a political corruption fundamentally violates UNSCR 1757.
Perhaps it is the above described US government campaign that is one of the reasons that Hezbollah contacts, in principle, genuinely interested in dialogue, feel the timing is not yet quite right.
Hassan Nassrallah, speaking on 3/19/11 to our neighborhood gathering in support of the Arab Spring Awakening, repeated Hezbollah’s position: “We will have something constructive to talk about and call for normalizing relations with the Americans once the US administration changes its policy on Palestine. We will reevaluate our stance on the United States’ policies when it changes its stance on Palestine.”
One neighbor, a fan of Kenny Rodgers as Jeffrey Feltman is said to be, put it this way to me: “We in Hezbollah know when to hold em and when to fold em. For now Hezbollah best hold our cards. There will be time enough for talking when the dealings done.”
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Three reactors at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant remain “precarious”, a state that could last for “weeks or even months”, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) says.
It said on Friday it remains “greatly concerned” by the situation in the No 1, 2 and 3 reactor units, which have been hit by a series of blasts and fires since the plant was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The IRSN said it was running through scenarios for potential impacts for the environment in the hypothesis that there had been a breach of the pressure vessel — a steel container that encloses the reactor core — in the No 3 unit.
On Thursday the agency noted there had been black smoke rising from the No 3 unit this week.
Among the theories to explain the cause of the smoke is a chemical reaction between a molten radioactive slag called corium and the concrete of the containment vessel that provides a protective shell for the pressure vessel, it said.
If the corium burns through the containment vessel’s concrete floor or other protections, that boosts the risk that radioactivity can enter the environment through the soil.
A spokesman for the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), told AFP on Friday “it is possible” that the pressure vessel in the No 3 unit has been damaged. There were no further details.
“Radioactive substances have leaked to places far from the (No 3) reactor,” a spokesman for the nuclear safety agency, Hideyuki Nishiyama, said.
“As far as the data show, we believe there is a certain level of containment ability but it’s highly possible that the reactor is damaged.”
Two workers at the plant were hospitalised on Thursday with radiation burns after stepping in highly radioactive water in the basement of the No 3 unit’s turbine building.
TOKYO — Radioactive iodine detected in Tokyo’s water supply prompted Japanese authorities on Wednesday to warn that infants in Tokyo and surrounding areas should not be given tap water to drink, adding to the anxiety about public safety posed by Japan’s unfolding nuclear crisis.
Ei Yoshida, head of water purification for the Tokyo water department, said at a televised news conference thatiodine 131 had been detected in water samples at a level of 210 becquerels per liter, about a quart. The recommended limit for infants is 100 becquerels per liter. For adults, the recommended limit is 300 becquerels. (The unit is named for Henri Becquerel, one of the discoverers of radioactivity.)
The announcement prompted a run on bottled water at stores in Tokyo and a pledge from the authorities to distribute bottled water to families with infants. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said earlier Wednesday that the public should avoid additional farm produce from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, severely damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to the Japanese news media.
The Health Ministry said that it was unlikely that there would be negative consequences for infants who were given the water, but that it should be avoided if possible and not be used to make infant formula. There was some confusion about the public health advice, with experts saying it should also apply to pregnant women, since they and fetuses were vulnerable.
“It’s unfortunate, but the radiation is clearly being carried on the air from the Fukushima plant,” Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, said Wednesday. “Because it’s raining, it’s possible that a lot of places will be affected. Even if people consume the water a few times, there should be no long-term ill effects.”
As authorities tried to maintain calm in Tokyo, residents were racing to buy as much bottled water as they could, clearing the shelves of the city’s stores. Mr. Edano said Thursday that officials were considering a plan to import water from overseas, to supplement the bottles they planned to begin distributing across the city.
Despite the frequent rain in recent days, it was not entirely clear why the levels of iodine were so high, said a senior Western nuclear executive, noting that the prevailing breezes seemed to be pushing radiation out to sea. “The contamination levels are well beyond what you’d expect from what is in the public domain,” said the executive, who insisted on anonymity and has broad contacts in Japan.
It was possible that the levels were an indirect indication that the problems at the plant were deeper than had been publicly acknowledged.
The daily Asahi Shimbun cited the Health Ministry as saying that drinking the water would hurt neither a pregnant woman nor her fetus, and that it was safe for bathing and other everyday activities.
But experts say that pregnant women, nursing mothersand fetuses, as well as children, face the greatest danger from radioactive iodine, which is taken in by the thyroid gland and can cause thyroid cancer. Children are at much higher risk than adults because they are growing, and their thyroid glands are more active and in need of iodine. In addition, the gland is smaller in children than in adults, so a given amount of iodine 131 will deliver a higher dose of radiation to a child’s thyroid and potentially do more harm.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if an adult and a child ingest the same amount of radioactive iodine, the thyroid dose will be 16 times higher to a newborn than to an adult; for a child under 1 year old, eight times the adult dose; for a 5-year-old, four times the adult dose.
Pregnant women also take up more iodine 131 in the thyroid, especially in the first trimester. The iodine crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus, and the fetal thyroid takes up more iodine as pregnancy progresses. During the first week after birth a baby’s thyroid activity increases up to fourfold and stays at that level for a few days, so newborns are especially vulnerable.
Potassium iodide can protect the thyroid by saturating it with normal iodine. People in Japan have been advised to take it.
The 1986 accident at Chernobyl caused an epidemic of thyroid cancer — 6,000 cases so far — in people who were exposed as children. The culprit was milk produced by cows that had grazed on grass heavily carpeted by fallout. The epidemic could probably have been prevented if people in the region had been told not to drink milk and if they had been given potassium iodide.
The warning Wednesday applied to Tokyo’s 23 wards, as well as to the towns of Mitaka, Tama, Musashino, Machida and Inagi to the west. At a press briefing on Thursday, Mr. Edano said radiation had also shown up in tests of water supplies for two of Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures, Chiba and Saitama, in levels above the maximum recommended limits for infants, but below levels considered dangerous to adults.
At a Lawson convenience store in the Tsukiji neighborhood of central Tokyo, the shelves were about half-stocked with water. A clerk said he had restocked them just an hour before.
David Jolly reported from Tokyo, and Denise Grady from New York. Chika Ohshima contributed reporting from Tokyo, and Keith Bradsher and Kevin Drew from Hong Kong.
Hamsayeh.Net – World leaders are pressing the Nobel Prize Committee to immediately rebuke its increasingly tainted honorary award that back in 2009 was given to US President Barack Obama.
The so-called Nobel Peace Prize was handed to Obama too early during his political career; in fact he had not spent time enough pondering over the notion of peace for all intents and purposes. Although once in a while the US President delivered speeches, he practically had nothing to show on his resume as a solid proof of his actions remotely contributing to peace, or that his inner philosophies somehow helped elevate our understanding of peace.
The strange inconsistency became more evident last week when Obama ordered US warplanes bomb Libya in what’s practically a domestic dispute between tribal factions in that oil-rich country.
Evo Morales the popular President of Bolivia and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader and Vice Chairman of the State Duma Vladmir Zhirinovsky supported the request for taking back Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize right away.
The Russian politician said,’ attacks were another outrageous act of aggression by NATO forces and the United States. Zhirinovsky further added,’ the attacks demonstrated a colonial policy with one goal: to establish control over Libyan oil and the Libyan regime.’
The Bolivian President Evo Morales supported the call by saying,’ How is it possible that a Nobel Peace Prize winner leads a gang to attack and invade? This is not a defense of human rights or self-determination.’
Let’s show them what the revolution is about. Let’s all go out and protest against repression: Egyptian protester.
Hamsayeh.Net -Egyptians now face a full-fledged junta government backed by the United States desperately trying to implement an anti-revolutionary decree that criminalizes all demonstrations.
Analysts say if Egyptians really expect changes happening under this US-supported junta regime, they might wake up to a surprise call and see a pseudo-Mubarak regime is once again ruling the country.
The debate over a new law that strictly forbids any kind of strike or demonstration, is ongoing, however the current military junta wants it enacted right away by claiming such popular uprisings undermine economic activities!
Ali Fotouh, a driver in the public transportation sector complained, ‘…we really had hopes that the new government will support us and look into our demands. We expected them to say we have all of your legal demands on our desks and there is a timeline of a month or two within which they will be achieved.’
He added, ‘I don’t understand what they mean by protests that affect the traffic and the business. This is not fair, why don’t you solve our demands so that we don’t go on strikes. This tone reminds me of the old days of Mubarak, threats and oppression used by the regime. This is no longer valid after January 25 Revolution.’
Egypt – a key Middle Eastern country – fell into another US-concocted deception following last week’s visit by US Secretary of State who pushed for a calm but orderly transition of power from the former dictatorial regime of Mubarak to a new one.
According to some experts during this so-called transition period a large group of skilled Egypt-born, Western-rooted technocrats including Mohammad El-Baradei or Amr Moussa would be preparing themselves for Egyptian presidency in the coming months. These Western educated status-quo time stretchers will do their best placing Egypt fully at the service of the West and the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
Many Egyptians are calling for a fresh round of demonstrations as way of clarifying their legitimate demands are heard. ‘Let’s show them what the revolution is about. Let’s all go out and protest against repression,’ wrote an Egyptian activist by the Facebook name of Reham on the Internet.
‘this is exactly what I feared would happen if the vote was in favour of the military’s recommendations. They have achieved the division, gained a majority and feel safe to conquer. We need millions on the streets again. The revolution has been hijacked!’ He added.
[In the atmosphere of Imperial desperation, the Zionist alliance has big plans for Israel’s neighbors that even Bush would not dare to try. The same Road Map, minus Gaza. “Palestine (West Bank) will get full state’s rights,” is the bait which is being offered this time, to finesse the situation, until it is time to dissolve the Palestinian state. At that time, the “Palestinian state” will not really be dissolved, it will simply have been relocated to the opposite shore of the Jordan River (SEE: The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan) The deception will never end, until we put an end to the deceivers. Obama’s plans for a regional war will bring “hell on earth.”]
In meet with U.S. defense chief in Ramallah, the Palestinian PM said Israeli restrictions obstruct Palestinian efforts to build state institutions and criticized West bank settlement expansion.
Israel should end the occupation of the West Bank by September, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told visiting United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Friday.
Gates, who also met with Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, visited Fayyad in Ramallah to speak about a return to peace negotiations with Israel.
|Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (L) welcoming U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates upon his arrival for a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 25, 2011.|
|Photo by: AFP|
Fayyad stressed to Gates the importance of meeting the September deadline set in what he called the “Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State” program, a statement issued by the premier’s office said.
According to this two year program, by the end of August the Palestinians would have completed building their state institutions and enforced security on the ground, to allow them to establish their independent state.
Fayyad told Gates that Israeli restrictions are obstructing Palestinian efforts to build their state institutions. He also said that Israel’s settlement expansion and military incursions into Palestinian Authority-run cities in the West Bank caused problems.
The military incursions undermine Palestinian efforts to stabilize the area and enforce security, Fayyad told Gates.
Gates, according to the statement, said that he valued the efforts of Palestinian Authority, stressing his country’s commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a statement by the Palestinian mission in Washington Friday, they said that the “recent cycle of violence in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem indicates the urgent need to end the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian people.”
The statement condemned acts of violence against both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, urging the U.S. administration to condemn the killings on both sides “in equal and unequivocal terms.”
It then called on the United States and the international community to pressure Israel to cease settlement building and “numerous other acts of aggression which remain in flagrant violation of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.”
By Hugh SchofieldBBC News, Paris
If the art of politics is about seizing the moment, then the French president Nicolas Sarkozy has certainly grabbed this one.
First of all, he went out on a limb in officially recognising the Libyan opposition.
Then he corralled the international coalition, pushed through the no-fly UN resolution, and bombed Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks outside Benghazi.
A week later, though, military leadership of the alliance has now passed to the US and Nato – France still carries a kind of moral aura thanks to its early championing of the cause.
It’s the sort of moment that makes the French people feel good about themselves.
This is a country with a very high view of its own mission in the world. But the opportunities for gunboat humanitarianism are not frequent, and up to now it has been Washington that has led the way.
This time it is France doing what the French believe France is supposed to do, thanks to a president who may be impetuous – but at least knows how to act.
So is this, as some are saying, Mr Sarkozy’s De Gaulle moment?
A chance for him to transcend the petty bickering of domestic politicians, and place France back where it belongs among the pantheon of nations?
And if it is, does that mean that his own political fortunes are saved, and that he can start planning for next year’s presidentials with a renewed sense of hope?
The initial omens are good.
French intervention in Libya is supported by all the main political parties, with the exception of the Communists and the National Front.
In the nation as a whole, some 66% are in favour, according to a poll published on 23 March. Two weeks ago – before Mr Sarkozy moved into top gear – the same proportion was actually against French policy.
Even the president’s enemies have been forced to admit that he has been impressive.
In advance of all the rest, he launched a war of the just”
Bernard-Henri Levy, the Socialist-voting celebrity philosopher whose trip to Benghazi sparked Mr Sarkozy into action, described the president as “clear-sighted and courageous”.
The left-wing press believes Mr Sarkozy is exploiting the occasion in order to “re-presidentialise” himself and distract opinion from domestic problems. But it does not question that his decisions were the right ones.
And others are outright fulsome.
Will the euphoria last?
According to Christophe Barbier, editor of the centre-right L’Express magazine and no fawning mouthpiece, Mr Sarkozy will be remembered “as the leader of the G8 who at the last minute managed to manoeuvre western democracies into action against Gaddafi’s madness.
“If the end result is a victory – in other words if the Gaddafi regime collapses without giving way to trivial chaos, then Nicolas Sarkozy, in Benghazi as well as Paris, will be hailed as the liberator.
“In advance of all the rest, he launched a war of the just.”
Such praise is rare indeed for the president, and it would be churlish not to let him enjoy it.
Because, let’s face it, the euphoria is unlikely to last.
The initial phase of the Libyan campaign has been dramatic, exciting and effective. But looking ahead, what guarantee is there that the news will stay as good?
If past experience is anything to go by, the campaign will be punctuated by frustrations, reverses and the occasional blunder.
A neat conclusion, with Gaddafi toppled by a palace coup and the Libyan nation uniting behind a new democratic government, cannot be ruled out. But it is not exactly the most likely outcome.
As the political sage Jacques Attali put it this week: “The only way to play chess is to look several moves ahead, and that’s not what those who launched this conflict appear to have done.”
Public opinion is fickle. Some may recall that it was a noble instinct that prompted the call to action. Most won’t.
But there is another reason the president is unlikely to reap many dividends from the Libya episode.
Sarkozy may be trying to act in a De Gaullian manner, but he is quite evidently not De Gaulle.
The main reason Sarkozy has been so low in the opinion polls is not so much what he has or has not done, but the simple fact that many French people do not like him.
That is not going to change – however decisive the president’s actions.
The French nation had a bond with Charles de Gaulle, as it also did – albeit to a lesser extent — with subsequent presidents like Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac.
It is hard to detect any such bond with Nicolas Sarkozy.
Right now many people admire what he is doing, and they are grateful that he has made France stand tall.
But, it seems, they are not about to take him to their hearts.
De Gaulle was a French general and statesman. In 1940, as under-secretary of national defence and war, he refused to accept the French government’s truce with the Germans. He became leader of the Free French and left Paris for London. In June, he broadcast an impassioned call for resistance to the Nazi occupation of France from the BBC’s headquarters. The rallying cry was to become known as ‘l’Appel du 18 Juin’.
Now Saudi occupying forces surrounded Bouri, Nuwayderat, Karzakan, Hamad city and Manama.
It is said that jet fighters are in the sky of Bahrain to terrify demonstrators.
Now Saudi tanks surrounded Sitra and al Duraz and closed all roads.
Today Hundreds of thousands Bahrainis to hold huge anti government march after performing Friday prayer, but Saudi and Bahraini military forces are trying to crackdown protesters.
Now Troops blocked Buri exits to prevent peopel to go for protests and performing friday prayers.
According to informed sources in Manama, Bahrain riot police entered the village of Sanabis to crackdown protesters from different areas.
Saudi occupying military and Bahraini riot police spread all the region.
[Where do we, the anti-Imperialists, stand, when, for the purposes of the next phase in the never-ending war, the world is being divided into into two spheres, in the Middle East–the Iranian alliance, or the US alliance (US, UK, Israel, Saudi, France and the whole stinking “civilized world”)? If your country’s leaders have sold their souls to the devil and are pushing Armageddon, the only moral choice is to fight what they are doing with every fiber of your being. Every one of us, committed to the struggle for human freedom, have always known somewhere down deep inside that the day would come when we would have to risk our lives and our freedom to stand-up for what is Right. Today is that day. If you fail to stand in American and British streets today, to stop these murderous bastards on their bloodthirsty rampage across the face of the earth, then there will be no opportunity to correct your mistakes, your failure to do what is right, tomorrow. If they succeed in igniting a full-blown regional war between the two alliances, then all of us will have so very serious decisions to make.]
The leadership of Hizbullah has informed its officials not to travel to Syria after the recent violent events in the southern city of Daraa, according to An Nahar daily on Friday.
The newspaper said that the Shiite party’s advisory on Thursday night came because Hizbullah organizes weekly trips to Damascus to visit the Sayyeda Zainab shrine.
Human rights activists called for demonstrations around Syria on Friday in response to a crackdown that protesters say killed dozens of anti-government marchers in Daraa.
The coming days will be a crucial test of the surge of popular discontent that has unseated autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt and threatens to push several others from power.
2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
March 24, 2011
Washington DC, March 24, 2011 — The current military attack on Libya has been motivated by UN Security Council resolution 1973 with the need to protect civilians. Statements by President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy, and other leaders have stressed the humanitarian nature of the intervention, which is said to aim at preventing a massacre of pro-democracy forces and human rights advocates by the Qaddafi regime.
But at the same time, many commentators have voiced anxiety because of the mystery which surrounds the anti-Qaddafi transitional government which emerged at the beginning of March in the city of Benghazi, located in the Cyrenaica district of north-eastern Libya. This government has already been recognized by France and Portugal as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The rebel council seems to be composed of just over 30 delegates, many of whom are enveloped in obscurity. In addition, the names of more than a dozen members of the rebel council are being kept secret, allegedly to protect them from the vengeance of Qaddafi. But there may be other reasons for the anonymity of these figures. Despite much uncertainty, the United Nations and its several key NATO countries, including the United States, have rushed forward to assist the armed forces of this rebel regime with air strikes, leading to the loss of one or two coalition aircraft and the prospect of heavier losses to come, especially if there should be an invasion. It is high time that American and European publics learned something more about this rebel regime which is supposed to represent a democratic and humanitarian alternative to Gaddafi.
The rebels are clearly not civilians, but an armed force. What kind of an armed force?
Since many of the rebel leaders are so difficult to research from afar, and since a sociological profile of the rebels cannot be done on the ground in the midst of warfare, perhaps the typical methods of social history can be called on for help. Is there a way for us to gain deeper insight into the climate of opinion which prevails in such northeastern Libyan cities as Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah, the main population centers of the rebellion?
It turns out that there is, in the form of a December 2007 West Point study examining the background of foreign guerrilla fighters — jihadis or mujahedin, including suicide bombers — crossing the Syrian border into Iraq during the 2006-2007 timeframe, under the auspices of the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda. This study is based on a mass of about 600 Al Qaeda personnel files which were captured by US forces in the fall of 2007, and analyzed at West Point using a methodology which we will discuss after having presented the main findings. The resulting study1 permits us to make important findings about the mentality and belief structures of the northeastern Libyan population that is furnishing the basis for the rebellion, permitting important conclusions about the political nature of the anti-Qaddafi revolt in these areas.
The most striking finding which emerges from the West Point study is that the corridor which goes from Benghazi to Tobruk, passing through the city of Darnah (also transliterated as Derna) them represents one of the greatest concentrations of jihadi terrorists to be found anywhere in the world, and by some measures can be regarded as the leading source of suicide bombers anywhere on the planet. Darnah, with one terrorist fighter sent into Iraq to kill Americans for every 1,000 to 1,500 persons of population, emerges as suicide bomber heaven, easily surpassing the closest competitor, which was Riyad, Saudi Arabia.
According to West Point authors Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, Saudi Arabia took first place as regards absolute numbers of jihadis sent to combat the United States and other coalition members in Iraq during the time frame in question. Libya, a country less than one fourth as populous, took second place. Saudi Arabia sent 41% of the fighters. According to Felter and Fishman, “Libya was the next most common country of origin, with 18.8% (112) of the fighters listing their nationality stating they hailed from Libya.” Other much larger countries were far behind: “Syria, Yemen, and Algeria were the next most common origin countries with 8.2% (49), 8.1% (48), and 7.2% (43), respectively. Moroccans accounted for 6.1% (36) of the records and Jordanians 1.9% (11).”2
This means that almost one fifth of the foreign fighters entering Iraq across the Syrian border came from Libya, a country of just over 6 million people. A higher proportion of Libyans were interested in fighting in Iraq than any other country contributing mujahedin. Felter and Fishman point out: “Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia.” (See the chart from the West Point report, page 9)3
But since the Al Qaeda personnel files contain the residence or hometown of the foreign fighters in question, we can determine that the desire to travel to Iraq to kill Americans was not evenly distributed across Libya, but was highly concentrated precisely in those areas around Benghazi which are today the epicenters of the revolt against Colonel Gaddafi which the US, Britain, France, and others are so eagerly supporting.
As Daya Gamage of the Asia Tribune comments in a recent article on the West Point study, “…alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi. The eastern Libyan city of Darnah sent more fighters to Iraq than any other single city or town, according to the West Point report. It noted that 52 militants came to Iraq from Darnah, a city of just 80,000 people (the second-largest source of fighters was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has a population of more than 4 million). Benghazi, the capital of Libya’s provisional government declared by the anti-Qaddafi rebels, sent in 21 fighters, again a disproportionate number of the whole.”4 Obscure Darnah edged out metropolitan Riyadh by 52 fighters to 51. Qaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli, by contrast, barely shows up in the statistics at all. (See chart from West Point report, page 12)
What explains this extraordinary concentration of anti-American fighters in Benghazi and Darnah? The answer seems related to extremist schools of theology and politics which flourished in these areas. As the West Point report notes: “Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya.” These areas are in theological and tribal conflict with the central government of Colonel Gaddafi, in addition to being politically opposed to him. Whether such a theological conflict is worth the deaths of still more American and European soldiers is a question which needs urgently to be answered.
Felter and Fishman remark that “The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (52) and Benghazi 23.9% (21). Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid-1990s. The Libyan government blamed the uprising on ‘infiltrators from the Sudan and Egypt’ and one group—the Libyan Fighting Group (jama-ah al-libiyah al-muqatilah)—claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks. The Libyan uprisings became extraordinarily violent.”5
Another remarkable feature of the Libyan contribution to the war against US forces inside Iraq is the marked propensity of the northeastern Libyans to choose the role of suicide bomber as their preferred method of struggle. As the West Point study states, “Of the 112 Libyans in the Records, 54.4% (61) listed their ‘work.’ Fully 85.2% (51) of these Libyan fighters listed “suicide bomber” as their work in Iraq.”6 This means that the northeastern Libyans were far more apt to choose the role of suicide bomber than those from any other country: “Libyan fighters were much more likely than other nationalities to be listed as suicide bombers (85% for Libyans, 56% for all others).”7
The specific institutional basis for the recruitment of guerrilla fighters in northeastern Libya is associated with an organization which previously called itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). During the course of 2007, the LIFG declared itself an official subsidiary of al Qaeda, later assuming the name of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). As a result of this 2007 merger, an increased number of guerrilla fighters arrived in Iraq from Libya. According to Felter and Fishman, “The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda on November 3, 2007.”8 This merger is confirmed by other sources: A 2008 statement attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has joined al-Qaeda.9
The West Point study makes clear that the main bulwarks of the LIFG and of the later AQIM were the twin cities of Benghazi and Darnah. This is documented in a statement by Abu Layth al-Libi, the self-styled “Emir” of the LIFG, who later became a top official of al Qaeda. At the time of the 2007 merger, “Abu Layth al-Libi, LIFG’s Emir, reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al-Qa’ida, saying: ‘It is with the grace of God that we were hoisting the banner of jihad against this apostate regime under the leadership of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which sacrificed the elite of its sons and commanders in combating this regime whose blood was spilled on the mountains of Darnah, the streets of Benghazi, the outskirts of Tripoli, the desert of Sabha, and the sands of the beach.’”10
This 2007 merger meant that the Libyan recruits for Al Qaeda became an increasingly important part of the activity of this organization as a whole, shifting the center of gravity to some degree away from the Saudis and Egyptians who had previously been most conspicuous. As Felter and Fishman comment, “Libyan factions (primarily the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) are increasingly important in al-Qa’ida. The Sinjar Records offer some evidence that Libyans began surging into Iraq in larger numbers beginning in May 2007. Most of the Libyan recruits came from cities in northeast Libya, an area long known for jihadi-linked militancy.”11
The December 2007 West Point study concludes by formulating some policy options for the United States government. One approach, the authors suggest, would be for the United States to cooperate with existing Arab governments against the terrorists. As Felter and Fishman write, “The Syrian and Libyan governments share the United States’ concerns about violent salafi-jihadi ideology and the violence perpetrated by its adherents. These governments, like others in the Middle East, fear violence inside their borders and would much rather radical elements go to Iraq rather than cause unrest at home. U.S. and Coalition efforts to stem the flow of fighters into Iraq will be enhanced if they address the entire logistical chain that supports the movement of these individuals—beginning in their home countries — rather than just their Syrian entry points. The U.S. may be able to increase cooperation from governments to stem the flow of fighters into Iraq by addressing their concerns about domestic jihadi violence.”12 Given the course of subsequent events, we are on firm ground in concluding that this option was not the one selected, neither in the closing years of the Bush administration nor during the first half of the Obama administration.
The West Point study also offers another, more sinister perspective. Felter and Fishman hint that it might be possible to use the former LIFG components of Al Qaeda against the government of Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, in essence creating a de facto alliance between the United States and a segment of the terrorist organization. The West Point report notes: “The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s unification with al-Qa’ida and its apparent decision to prioritize providing logistical support to the Islamic State of Iraq is likely controversial within the organization. It is likely that some LIFG factions still want to prioritize the fight against the Libyan regime, rather than the fight in Iraq. It may be possible to exacerbate schisms within LIFG, and between LIFG’s leaders and al-Qa’ida’s traditional Egyptian and Saudi power-base.”13 This suggests the US policy we see today, that of allying with the obscurantist and reactionary al Qaeda fanatics in Libya against the Nasserist modernizer Qaddafi.
Looking back at the tragic experience of US efforts to incite the population of Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation in the years after 1979, it should be clear that the policy of the Reagan White House to arm the Afghan mujahedin with Stinger missiles and other modern weapons turned out to be highly destructive for the United States. As current Defense Secretary Robert Gates comes close to admitting in his memoirs, Al Qaeda was created during those years by the United States as a form of Arab Legion against the Soviet presence, with long-term results which have been highly lamented.
Today, it is clear that the United States is providing modern weapons for the Libyan rebels through Saudi Arabia and across the Egyptian border with the active assistance of the Egyptian army and of the newly installed pro-US Egyptian military junta.14 This is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolution 1973, which calls for a complete arms embargo on Libya. The assumption is that these weapons will be used against Gaddafi in the coming weeks. But, given the violently anti-American nature of the population of northeast Libya that is now being armed, there is no certainty that these weapons will not be soon turned against those who have provided them.
A broader problem is represented by the conduct of the future Libyan government dominated by the current rebel council with its large current majority of northeastern Islamists, or of a similar government of a future Cyrenaica rump state. To the extent that such regimes will have access to oil revenues, obvious problems of international security are posed. Gamage wonders: “If the rebellion succeeds in toppling the Qaddafi regime it will have direct access to the tens of billions of dollars that Qaddafi is believed to have squirreled away in overseas accounts during his four-decade rule.”15 Given the northeast Libyan mentality, we can imagine what such revenues might be used for.
Al Qaeda is not a centralized organization, but rather a gaggle or congeries of fanatics, dupes, psychotics, misfits, double agents, provocateurs, mercenaries, and other elements. As noted, Al Qaeda was founded by the United States and the British during the struggle against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Many of its leaders, such as the reputed second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri and the current rising star Anwar Awlaki, are evidently double agents of MI-6 and/or the CIA. The basic belief structure of Al Qaeda is that all existing Arab and Moslem governments are illegitimate and should be destroyed, because they do not represent the caliphate which Al Qaeda asserts is described by the Koran. This means that the Al Qaeda ideology offers a ready and easy way for the Anglo-American secret intelligence agencies to attack and destabilize existing Arab and Muslim governments as part of the ceaseless need of imperialism and colonialism to loot and attack the developing nations. This is precisely what is happening in Libya today.
Al Qaeda emerged from the cultural and political milieu of the Moslem Brotherhood or Ikhwan, itself a creation of British intelligence in Egypt in the late 1920s. The US and the British used the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to oppose the successful anti-imperialist policies of Egyptian President Nasser, who scored immense victories for his country by nationalizing the Suez Canal and building the Aswan High Dam, without which modern Egypt would be simply unthinkable. The Muslim brotherhood provided an active and capable fifth column of foreign agents against Nasser, in the same way that the official website of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is trumpeting its support for the rebellion against Colonel Qaddafi.
I have discussed the nature of Al Qaeda at some length in my recent book entitled 9/11 Synthetic Terrorism: Made in USA, and that analysis cannot be repeated here. It is enough to say that we do not need to believe in all the fantastic mythology which the United States government has spun around the name of Al Qaeda in order to recognize the basic fact that militants or patsies who spontaneously join al Qaeda are often sincerely motivated by a deep hatred of the United States and a burning desire to kill Americans, as well as Europeans. The Bush administration policy used the alleged presence of Al Qaeda as a pretext for direct military attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama administration is now doing something different, intervening on the side of a rebellion in which Al Qaeda and its co-thinkers are heavily represented while attacking the secular authoritarian government of Colonel Gaddafi. Both of these policies are bankrupt and must be abandoned.
The result of the present inquiry is that the Libyan branch of Al Qaeda represents a continuum with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group centered in Darnah and Benghazi. The ethnic base of the Libyan Islamic fighting group is apparently to be found in the anti-Qaddafi Harabi tribe, the tribe which makes up the vast majority of the rebel council including the two dominant rebel leaders, Abdul Fatah Younis and Mustafa Abdul Jalil. The evidence thus suggests that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the elite of the Harabi tribe, and the rebel council supported by Obama all overlap for all practical purposes. As the late Foreign Minister of Guyana Fred Wills, a real fighter against imperialism and neo-colonialism, taught me many years ago, political formations in developing countries (and not just there) are often a mask for ethnic and religious rivalries; so it is in Libya. The rebellion against Qaddafi is a toxic brew compounded of fanatical hatred of Qaddafi, Islamism, tribalism, and localism. From this point of view, Obama has foolishly chosen to take sides in a tribal war.
When Hillary Clinton went to Paris to be introduced to the Libyan rebels by French President Sarkozy, she met the US-educated Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril, already known to readers of Wikileaks document dumps as a favorite of the US.16
While Jibril might be considered presentable in Paris, the real leaders of the Libyan insurrection would appear to be Jalil and Younis, both former ministers under Qaddafi. Jalil seems to be the primus inter pares, at least for the moment: “Mustafa Abdul Jalil or Abdul-Jalil (Arabic: مصطفى عبد الجليل, also transcribed Abdul-Jelil, Abd-al-Jalil, Abdel-Jalil or Abdeljalil; and frequently but erroneously as Abud Al Jeleil) (born 1952) is a Libyan politician. He was the Minister of Justice (unofficially, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee) under Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi…. Abdul Jalil has been identified as the Chairman of the National Transitional Council based in Benghazi… although this position is contested by others in the uprising due to his past connections to Gaddafi’s regime.”17
As for Younis, he has been closely associated with Qaddafi since the 1968-9 seizure of power: “Abdul Fatah Younis (Arabic: عبد الفتاح يونس) is a senior military officer in Libya. He held the rank of General and the post of Minister of Interior, but resigned on 22 February 2011….”18
What should concern us most is that both Jalil and Younis come from the Haribi tribe, the dominant one in northeast Libya, and the one that overlaps with al Qaeda. According to Stratfor, the “…Harabi tribe is a historically powerful umbrella tribe in eastern Libya that saw their influence wane under Col. Gadhafi. The Libyan leader confiscated swaths of tribal members’ land and redistributed it to weaker and more loyal tribes…. Many of the leaders now emerging in eastern Libya hail from the Harabi tribe, including the head of the provisional government set up in Benghazi, Abdel Mustafa Jalil, and Abdel Fatah Younis, who assumed a key leadership role over the defected military ranks early in the uprising.”19 This is like a presidential ticket where both candidates are from the same state, except that Libya’s ferocious tribal rivalries make the problem infinitely worse.
This picture of a narrow, sectarian tribal and regional base does not improve when we look at the rebel council as a whole. According to one recent version, the rebel council is “chaired by the well-spoken former justice minister for Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, [and] consists of 31 members, ostensibly representatives from across Libya, of whom many cannot be named for “security reasons”…. “The key players on the council, at least those who we know about, all hail from the north-eastern Harabi confederation of tribes. These tribes have strong affiliations with Benghazi that date back to before the 1969 revolution which brought Gaddafi to power.”20 Other accounts agree about the number of representatives: “The council has 31 members; the identities of several members has not been made public to protect their own safety.”21 Given what we know about the extraordinary density of LIFG and all Qaeda fanatics in northeast Libya, we are authorized to wonder as to whether so many members of the council are being kept secret in order to protect them from Qaddafi, or whether the goal is to prevent them from being recognized in the west as al Qaeda terrorists or sympathizers. The latter seems to be a more accurate summary of the real state of affairs.
Names released so far include: Mustafa Abduljaleel; Ashour Hamed Bourashed of Darna city; Othman Suleiman El-Megyrahi of the Batnan area; Al Butnan of the Egypt border and Tobruk; Ahmed Abduraba Al-Abaar of Benghazi city; Fathi Mohamed Baja of Benghazi city; Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga of Benghazi city; Mr. Omar El-Hariri for Military Affairs; and Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, Ibrahim El-Werfali and Dr. Ali Aziz Al-Eisawi for foreign affairs.22
The State Department needs to interrogate these figures, starting perhaps with Ashour Hamed Bourashed, the delegate from the terrorist and suicide bomber stronghold of Darnah.
Seeing as clearly as we can in the fog of war, it looks like slightly more than a dozen of the members of the rebel council have had their names officially published — in any case, not more than half of the reported 31 members. The US and European media have not taken the lead in identifying for us the names that are now known, and they above all have not called attention to the majority of the rebel council who are still lurking in the shadows of total secrecy. We must therefore demand to know how many LIFG and/or al Qaeda members, veterans, or sympathizers currently hold seats on the rebel council.
We are thus witnessing an attempt by the Harabi tribe to seize dominance over the 140 tribes of Libya. The Harabi are already practically hegemonic among the tribes of Cyrenaica. At the center of the Harabi Confederation is the Obeidat tribe, which is divided into 15 sub-tribes.23 All of this might be of purely academic ethnographic interest, were it not for the fact of the striking overlap between the Harabi tribe and the LIFG and al Qaeda.
The political-religious tradition of northeast Libya makes this area such fertile ground for the more extreme Muslim sects and also predisposes it to monarchism rather than to the more modern forms of government favored by Qaddafi. The relevant regional tradition is that of the Senussi or Sanussi order, an anti-western Moslem sect. In Libya the Senussi order is closely associated with monarchism, since King Idris I, the ruler installed by the British in 1951 who was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969, was also the leader of the Senussi order. The Senussi directed the rebellion against Italian colonialism in the person of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani and his army in the 1930s. Today, the rebels use the monarchist flag, and may advocate the return to the throne of one of the two pretenders to the Idris line. They are far closer to monarchism than to democracy
Here is the Stratfor view of King Idris and the Senussi: “King Idris came from a line of rulers of the Sanussi order, a Sufi religious order founded in 1842 in Al Bayda, that practices a conservative and austere form of Islam. The Sanussiyah represented a political force in Cyrenaica that preceded the creation of the modern state of Libya, and whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day. It is no coincidence that this region is the home of Libyan jihadism, with groups like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The Gadhafi family has thus been calling the current uprising an elaborate Islamist plot….”24 Under the monarchy, Libya was by some estimates absolutely the poorest country in the world. Today, Libya ranks 53 on the UN Human Development Index and qualifies as the most developed country in Africa, ahead of Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Qaddafi’s stewardship has objective merits which cannot be seriously denied.
Glen Ford’s Black Agenda Report has correctly sought to show the racist and reactionary character of the Libyan insurrection. The tribes of southern Libya, known as the Fezzan, are dark skinned. The tribal underpinning of the Gaddafi regime has been an alliance of the tribes of the West, the center, and the southern Fezzan, against the Harabi and the Obeidat, who identify with the former monarchist ruling class. The Harabi and Obeidat are known to nurture a deep racist hatred against the Fezzan. This was expressed in frequent news reports from the pro-imperialist media at the beginning of the rebellion evidently inspired by Harabi accounts, according to which black people in Libya had to be treated as mercenaries working for Gaddafi — with the clear implication that they were to be exterminated. These racist inventions are still being repeated by quackademics like Dean Slaughter of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. And in fact, large numbers of black Africans from Chad and other countries working in Libyan have been systematically lynched and massacred by the anti-Gaddafi forces. The Obama White House, for all its empty talk of not wanting to repeat the massacre in Rwanda, has conveniently ignored this shocking story of real genocide at the hands of its new racist friends in Cyrenaica.
Against the obscurantism of the Senussi, Qaddafi has advanced the Moslem equivalent of the priesthood of all believers, arguing that no caliphate is necessary in order to discover the meaning of the Koran. He has supplemented this with a pan African perspective. Gerald A. Perreira of the Black Agenda Report writes the following about the theological division between Gaddafi and the neo-Senussi of northeast Libya, as well as other obscuranitsts: “Al Qaeda is in the Sahara on his borders and the International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling for [Qaddafi] to be tried in a court…. [Qaddafi] has questioned the Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda from a Quranic/theological perspective and is one of the few political leaders equipped to do so…. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists. It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.”25 And what would be for example the status of women under the neo-Senussi of the Benghazi rebel council?
For those who attempt to follow the ins and outs of the CIA’s management of its various patsy organizations inside the realm of presumed Islamic terrorism, it may be useful to trace the transformation of the LIFG-AQIM from deadly enemy to close ally. This phenomenon is closely linked to the general reversal of the ideological fronts of US imperialism that marks the divide between the Bush-Cheney-neocon administrations and the current Obama-Brzezinski-International Crisis Group regime. The Bush approach was to use the alleged presence of Al Qaeda as a reason for direct military attack. The Obama method is to use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran. This approach implies a more or less open fraternization with terrorist groups, which was signaled in a general way in Obamas famous Cairo speech of 2009. The links of the Obama campaign to the terrorist organizations deployed by the CIA against Russia were already a matter of public record three years ago.26
But such a reversal of field cannot be improvised overnight; it took several years of preparation. On July 10, 2009, The London Daily Telegraph reported that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group had split with Al Qaeda. This was when the United States had decided to de-emphasize the Iraq war, and also to prepare to use the Sunni Moslem Brotherhood and its Sunni Al Qaeda offshoot for the destabilization of the leading Arab states preparatory to turning them against Shiite Iran. Paul Cruikshank wrote at that time in the New York Daily News about one top LIFG honcho who wanted to dial back the relation to al Qaeda and the infamous Osama Bin Laden; this was “Noman Benotman, a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. While mainstream Muslim leaders have long criticized Al Qaeda, these critics have the jihadist credentials to make their criticisms bite.”27 But by this time some LIFG bosses had moved up into al Qaeda: the London Daily Telegraph reported that senior Al Qaeda members Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Laith al-Libi were LIFG members. Around this time, Qaddafi released some LIFG fighters in an ill-advsided humanitarian gesture.
One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.
In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government. According to this account, a top Al Qaeda commander in northwest Pakistan was killed by US action as recently as October 2010: “A senior al Qaeda leader who serves as al Qaeda’s ambassador to Iran, and is wanted by the US, is reported to have been killed in a Predator air strike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan two days ago…. [This was] Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a Libyan national who has been based in Iran and served as Osama bin Laden’s ambassador to the mullahs. Unconfirmed press reports indicate that Rahman was killed in an airstrike….”28 The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice page for Atiyah Abd al Rahman notes that he was al Qaeda’s “emissary in Iran as appointed by Osama bin Ladin.” Atiyah “recruited and facilitated talks with other Islamic groups to operate under” al Qaeda and was “also a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar al Sunna.”29 Rahman was ranked high enough in al Qaeda to be able to give orders to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al Qeada in Iraq, in 2005.
Also killed in Pakistan was another apparent northeast Libyan going by the name of Khalid al Harabi, whose choice of a nom de guerre may well link him to the jihadi farm among the Harabi tribe in Cyrenaica. According to one account, “Khalid al Harabi is an alias for Khalid Habib, al Qaeda’s former military commander who was killed in a US Predator strike in October 2008.”30
In 1995, David Shayler, an official of the British counterintelligence organization MI-5, became aware that his counterpart at the British foreign espionage organization MI-6 had paid the sum of £100,000 to an Al Qaeda affiliate in exchange for the attempt to assassinate Qaddafi. The assassination attempt did occur, and killed several innocent bystanders, but failed to eliminate the Libyan ruler. As Shayler understood the MI-6 scenario, it included the liquidation of Gaddafi, followed by the descent of Libya into chaos and tribal warfare, with a possible option for a direct seizure of power by al Qaeda itself. This situation would then provide a pretext for Britain, probably but not necessarily acting together with the United States or other countries, to invade Libya and seize control of the oil fields, probably establishing a permanent protectorate over the oil regions, the pipelines, and the coast.31 This remains the goal today.
Timed to coincide with the attempt to assassinate Qaddafi, MI-6 and other Western secret intelligence agencies fomented a considerable insurrection in northeast Libya, almost precisely in the same areas which are in rebellion today. Its insurrection was successfully crushed by Qaddafi’s forces by the end of 1996. The events of 2011 are simply a reprise of the imperialist attack on Libya 15 years ago, with the addition of outside intervention..
Today’s attack on Libya comes in the context of a broad attack on the institution of the sovereign nation state itself, as it has existed since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The United States and the British are deeply concerned by the large number of nations which are seeking to escape from Anglo-American hegemony by actively pursuing large-scale cooperation with Russia on security, with China on economic questions, and with Iran for geopolitical considerations. The CIA/MI-6 response has been a wild orgy of destabilizations, people power coups, color revolutions, and palace putsches, signaled by the document dumps by the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks, which has targeted names of the CIA hit mist from Ben Ali to Qaddafi. The Obama strategy would have preferred an exclusive reliance and the illusion that the Arab Spring was really a matter of youthful visionary idealists gathering in the public square to praise democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. This was never the reality: the actual decisions were being made by brutal cliques of generals and top officials bribed or blackmailed by the CIA who were moving behind the scenes to oust such figures as Ben Ali or Mubarak. Whatever else Qaddafi has done, he has undoubtedly forced the CIA and NATO to drop the pleasant mask of youthful idealism and human rights, revealing a hideous visage of Predator drones, terror bombing, widespread slaughter, and colonialist arrogance underneath. Qaddafi has also ripped the mask of “Yes We Can” off Obama, revealing a cynical warmonger intent on the continuation of Bush’s infamous “Dead or Alive” and “Bring it on” policies, although by other means.
Modern imperialists eager to rush into Libya should ponder Lucan’s Pharsalia, which treats of warfare in the Libyan desert during the contest between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great at the end of the Roman Republic. A critical passage in this Latin epic is the speech by Cato of Utica, a follower of Pompey, who urges his soldiers to undertake a suicide mission into Libya, saying: “Serpents, thirst, heat, and sand … Libya alone can present a multitude of woes that it would beseem men to fly from.” Cato goes forward, and finds “a little tomb to enclose [his] hallowed name, Libya secured the death of Cato….”32
Let us not imitate this folly.
The West Point study, as noted, was conducted on the basis of almost 700 Al Qaeda personnel files captured by coalition forces in Iraq.33 The authors of the study have promised to keep available online the documentary basis of this investigation, both in the form of the raw Arabic language al Qaeda personnel files34, and also of the same file cards in English translation.35 Assuming that this material remains available, it might be possible for researchers and reporters, and especially those with capabilities in Arabic not possessed by the present writer, to investigate the Libyan fighters who went into Iraq with a view to determining whether any of them are family members, neighbors, or even political associates of the known members of the Benghazi rebel council or of other anti-Qaddafi forces. Such a procedure could contribute to allowing the European and American public as well as others around the world to better understand the nature of the military adventure currently unfolding in Libya by gaining a more specific knowledge of who the Libyan rebels actually are, as distinct from the hollow panegyrics purveyed by the controlled Western media.
|WRITTEN BY GERALD A. PERREIRA|
|A coalition of Crusaders, as Qaddafi described them, including the US, Britain, France, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Spain and Canada, have begun an all out military assault against Libya. Using what Libya claims is an invalid and illegal UN resolution as a pretext, the coalition is pounding the Libyan defense forces with a military might that has not been seen since the Gulf war.
The real and illegal goal of what has been called Operation ‘Odyssey Dawn’ is ‘regime change’. A replay of the nightmarish Gulf war scenario, the plan is clear: to disable Libya’s defense ability, and to arm and strengthen the reactionary conglomerate of rebel forces in Benghazi, in the hope that this rag tag bunch will roll back, once and for all, the Libyan revolution.
This is not the first imperialist attempt to lynch Qaddafi and bring Libya to its knees. In 1986, the US falsely accused Libya of the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin and Reagan attempted to assassinate Qaddafi, by bombing the Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli where he was housed, killing Qaddafi’s daughter and over one hundred Libyans. Next, Libya was falsely accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as an excuse for initiating sanctions, in order to economically cripple the revolution.
Not the first time Britain and al Qaeda have collaborated on Libya
In 1996, British intelligence employed the services of an al Qaeda cell inside Libya, paying them a huge fee to assassinate Muammar Qaddafi. A grenade was lobbed at Qaddafi as he walked among a crowd in his hometown, Sirte. He was saved by one of his bodyguards, who threw herself on the grenade.
Former MI5 operative, David Shayler revealed that while he was working on the Libya desk in the mid 90s, British secret service personnel were collaborating with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which is connected to one of Osama bin Laden’s trusted lieutenants.
Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan revolutionary forces were the first to issue an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden. They have spent years trying to warn the world about the very serious threat posed by these Islamic deviants. According to Shayler, western intelligence turned a deaf ear to Libya’s warnings because they were actually working with the al Qaeda group inside Libya, to bring down Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution.
Anas al Libi was a member of the Libyan al-Qaeda cell. He remains on the US government’s most wanted list, with a reward of $25 million for his capture, and is wanted for his involvement in the African embassy bombings. al Libi was with bin Laden in Sudan before the al Qaeda leader returned to Afghanistan in 1996.
Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, despite being a high-level al Qaeda operative, al Libi
was given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
The claims by Qaddafi and the Libyan revolutionary forces that the rebels in Benghazi are inspired by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the serious threat this poses, not only to Libya but to the entire region, are once again falling on deaf ears, just as David Shayler said they did back in the mid 90s. Why? Because once again, British intelligence forces, among others, are clearly in collaboration with the rebels in Benghazi – those referred to all over Libya as the ‘bearded ones’, who have close ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The evidence for this is overwhelming. As revealed by Shayler, the British have a long standing relationship with the al Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, based inside Libya. The British also have an historical relationship with the Wahhabi/Salafi brand of Islam, espoused today by Ikhwan al Muslimeen (Mulsim Brotherhood) and their offshoots, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
A Battle with a Long History
In 1744, an alliance was formed between the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab and the ruthless tribal leader, Muhammad ibn Saud, whose descendants rule Saudi Arabia up to today. This reactionary brand of Islam was the perfect theological foundation for the colonial creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Wahhabism remains the official Islamic tendency in Saudi Arabia up till today. In 1915, the British entered into a treaty with the murderous House of Saud, protecting their lands and supplying them with weaponry, as part of the colonial project to establish the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the British did every thing they could to help the Wahhabist doctrine to flourish, recognizing it as the perfect ideological tool to further their imperialist objectives. Some scholars have argued that the British actually helped to create Wahhabism.
Imagine, today, the British are calling on the descendants of Muhammad ibn Saud, the current Saudi regime, and their present day army of Wahhabis in the form of al Qaeda, to join in a medieval crusade to crush a bastion of revolutionary Islam, which is present day Libya. And the contradictions verify this. We have to wonder why a Saudi government official can say on BBC that “to allow the people to choose their own government is a very bad thing”, and why, with all the Western outcry about women’s rights in the Muslim world, the Saudi regime, which does not even allow women to vote or drive motorcars, is never questioned. Instead they are the ones that the Americans, British, and French are calling on to join them in the destruction of Libya which has liberated women and struggled to bring real democracy to its people.
As early as the mid 19th century, Wahhabi fundamentalism was imported into Benghazi by the reactionary and feudal Senussi fraternity. The influence of this tendency has been passed on from generation to generation, and Benghazi has been the center for those who have consistently opposed the liberatory Islam articulated by Qaddafi and implemented by the Libyan revolution.
The Muslims of Benghazi, who embrace the same ideology as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and have done for the last hundred years or more, have been reinvigorated in the last few years by AQIM’s presence on Libya’s borders. There is a renewed interest in the possibility of achieving the stated goal of AQIM, which is the establishment of an Wahhabi Islamic Emirate in the Maghreb, stretching over the entire North African region. When we understand the history of this region, we realize why the the imperialists have not gone out of their way to find Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri and how and why these reactionary forces and doctrines are actually encouraged by western powers.
To understand Qaddafi’s current claims about al Qaeda in the Maghreb, we have to understand both the history of this current battle and also the present day chapter: how al Qaeda affiliated organizations operate in the region in 2011. There is a deliberate attempt to misguide the uninformed with the suggestion that Qaddafi is throwing up a simplistic image of Osama bin Laden directing the rebellion in Benghazi from a cave somewhere, as a scare tactic. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Qaddafi is well aware of the reactionary aims of Wahhabism and understands only too well their modus operandi in the region. Being affiliated to al Qaeda does not mean that each cell refers to an al Qaeda central command. Rather, al Qaeda is a Wahhabi/Salafi ideological movement and it has reinvigorated Salafi movements and cells worldwide. The term Salafi simply refers to a contemporary strain of Wahhabism.
If there remains any skepticism regarding Qaddafi’s claims, let us turn to the Washington based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, which gives us a description of AQIM’s operations in the region.
On their official website they state:
“Terrorist activity in North Africa has been reinvigorated in the last few years by a local Algerian Islamist group turned pan-Maghreb jihadi organization: al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). A Sunni group that previously called itself the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), the organization has taken responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks in the region, declared its intention to attack Western targets, and sent a squad of jihadis to Iraq. Experts believe these actions suggest widening ambitions within the group’s leadership, now pursuing a more global, sophisticated, and better-financed direction. Long categorized as part of a strictly domestic insurgency against Algeria’s military government, AQIM claims to be the local franchise operation for al Qaeda, a worrying development for a region that has been relatively peaceful since the bloody Algerian civil war of the 1990s drew to a close. European officials are taking AQIM’s international threats seriously and are worried about the growing number of Europe-based cells.”
The Struggle Continues
This current battle in Benghazi is not new in Libya. For many years, the revolutionary forces have been struggling to keep this feudal, reactionary brand of Islam in check.
On February 24th, 2011, at the very outset of the Benghazi rebellion, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb posted the following statement on the al Qaeda affiliated al Fajr website: “We declare our support for the legitimate demands of the Libyan revolution. We assert to our people in Libya that we are with you and will not let you down, God willing. We will give everything we have to support you, with God’s grace.”
A few days after this statement was issued by AQIM, al Libi resurfaced. The same al Libi exposed by David Shayler as an al Qaeda operative working inside Libya back in the 90s. Now a top al Qaeda commander based in Afghanistan, he urged his countrymen to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi’s regime and establish Islamic rule. Al Libi, a pseudonym that means ‘the Libyan’ in Arabic, said in a video, produced by As-Sahab, the media wing of al Qaeda, that “it would bring shame to the Libyan people if the strongman (Qaddafi) were allowed to die a peaceful death”.
Al Qaeda and Drugs in the Maghreb
Libya’s revolutionary forces have also made continual references to the fact that there are drug problems in the region and that many of the young people are affected. Once again, this claim was scoffed at by Western media and analysts, who are ill informed about what is actually taking place on the ground.
As recently as November 2010, Moroccan police detained 34 people with ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, attempting to move 1,300 pounds of cocaine through the country.
Moroccan Interior Minister, Taieb Cherquaoui said “We are dealing with an apparent coordination and collaboration between drug traffickers and terrorists linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”
He added that the leader of AQIM’s drug ring was detained in Mali, and he stated that the international drug peddling ring involved local Moroccan drug traffickers, who were collaborating with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, as well as cartels in Latin America.
Until recently, Moroccan authorities have been able to keep the actions of al Qaeda inside Morocco at bay. The drug activity, however, has now revealed the extremist organization’s growing network, and the interior minister expressed “the urgent need for the Sahel countries to collaborate to secure their territories and to fight the group’s expansion.”
Tragically, the ‘coalition of crusaders’ has seen fit to pound Qaddafi’s defense installations, thereby preventing Libya from being able to challenge AQIM’s expansion into their sovereign territory.
In a further development on this front, the Wahhabi spiritual leader of Ikhwan al Muslimeen, Egyptian cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, issued a fatwa stating that any Libyan soldier who can shoot dead embattled leader Muammar Qaddafi should do so “to rid Libya of him.”
Qaradawi is a neo-feudalist, who has defended the practice of female genital mutilation, called for the death penalty to be applied to those who leave Islam and advocates separate systems of law for different classes of citizens. Such are the views of those who are opposing Muammar Qaddafi.
In a letter to Barak al Hussein Obama and in a separate letter to Sarkozy, Cameron and Banki Moon hours before the coalition launched its first military strikes, Qaddafi stated clearly that the destabilization of Libya’s eastern cities was being inspired and assisted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, and he invited member states of the coalition to come to
Libya and confirm this reality for themselves.
Of course, just as the war in Iraq was not about establishing the truth regarding weapons of mass destruction, this war against Libya was not about discovering the truth of events on the ground or verifying Qaddafi’s claims. When we understand the historical and present day facts, we realize that the crusader coalition is well aware of exactly who they are fighting and who they are supporting. In fact, that is why they were in such a hurry to act – to prevent any international fact finding mission which would verify Qaddafi’s claims for the world to see.
In the letter to Obama, Qaddafi asked him if al Qaeda was occupying American cities what Obama would do so that he (Qaddafi) could follow his lead. All to no avail, because Qaddafi has been demonised to the point of being inhuman and therefore not requiring even the courtesy of a response. Named by US media as the Castro of the Middle East there is only one aim – remove him by any means necessary.
In contrast to the Wahhabis and the neo-colonial regimes in the region, Qaddafi is a revolutionary leader who has consistently opposed western hegemony in the Arab and African World. Libya’s revolution has, for the past three decades, assisted liberation movements all over the world struggling against neo-colonialism and imperialism.
Libya’s oil resources are of course a factor. We know for sure that control of oil resources is a top priority for the the US and Europe. but even more worrying for the imperialists is Qaddafi’s call for a United States of Africa – with one government, one army and one currency.
Not surprisingly, the actions taken against Qaddafi and Libya are in stark contrast to western inaction with regard to events on the ground in other countries in the region such as Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, where protesters are being shot in the streets. In the case of Bahrain, protesters are being brutally suppressed with the assistance of invading Saudi ground forces and in Saudi Arabia itself, the regime has told its people that “anyone who raises a finger against the Saudi monarchy will have their finger cut off!.”
The so-called international community can barely name their long time partner in crime, Saudi Arabia, in their pronouncements, such is their support for this most undemocratic of regimes. In fact, far from condemning the actions of these governments, the Crusading coalition is frantically trying to get some of these same Arab countries to actively join the military operation against Libya so that this whole thing does not look like another US and European led aggression.
Are we going to hear impassioned pleas regarding the aspirations of the people of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia? Are the US, Britain and France going to launch attacks on Yemen and Bahrain to assist the uprisings there to achieve regime change. I don’t think so.
Arab League legitimizes Crusade
The Arab League endorsed this imperialist attack on Libyan soil despite the nightmare of Iraq, where the number of civilian deaths has now reached one and a half million. It is an honor for Qaddafi to have no support among this league of bloated imperialist surrogates. At a recent meeting, he told them, prophetically it now seems, that they should be ashamed of themselves, having sat by and watched the US hang the entire leadership of the Iraqi Arab Ba’ath regime. It should be noted that although there were serious ideological and political differences between Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein, Libya took a principled position regarding hostile external aggression against Iraq. A few days ago, the National Leadership of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party issued a statement expressing solidarity with the revolutionary forces of Libya.
The Arab League has been consistently embarrassed by Qaddafi’s outspoken criticism of their double standards and hypocrisy with regard to Palestine, Iraq and a host of other issues, they are terrified by Qaddafi’s revolutionary Islam, and are contemptuous of Black Africa and Qaddafi’s attempts to bring about African-Arab unity.
Recently, when Qaddafi urged Libyans to intermarry with Africans, following the example of Prophet Muhammad himself, who encouraged intermarriage between races, Libyan and Arab contempt for Black Africans re-surfaced. Extremely few fair skinned Arabs would sanction the marriage of their daughters to a Black African. Rarely do fair skinned Libyans marry Black Libyans. Their disdain for Black people runs deep.
In fact, across other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the Gulf States, the horror stories emerging regarding the mistreatment of African domestic servants is reminiscent of the kind of treatment meted out to Black people during the days of chattel slavery. So a project for the development and unification of all of Africa, uniting, on equal terms, the ‘Arab’ north with Black Africa, is not close to the hearts of many fair skinned Arabs. Qaddafi is an exception to the rule.
In his book ‘Islam and the Third Universal Theory: The Religious Thought of Muammar Qaddafi’ ,the respected Muslim scholar, Mahmoud Ayoub, states that:
“he (Qaddafi) wishes to follow the example of the Prophet who fought with such determination against oppression and inequality in society that Bilal, the Black slave, became equal with his master Umayyah. He sees his own mission and the task of the
Libyan revolution as having the same motivations and goal for modern Muslim society. The basic aim of the Green Book is to present in general and contemporary terms the ideals of justice and equality which Qaddafi sees in the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet and his community.”
And what of Libya’s African neighbors?
‘A Million Man March’
Already an estimated 16,000 African freedom fighters (not mercenaries as the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera would have us believe) have poured into Libya from the Congo, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Southern Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso to fight to the death for the Libyan revolution and Brother Muammar Al Qaddafi.
According to an official in northern Mali, hundreds of young Tuaregs from Mali and Niger are also among the African fighters, “We’re very worried”, said Assalat Ag Abdou Salam, president of the Regional Assembly of Kidal, “These young people are moving in droves to Libya. It’s very dangerous for us because whether Qaddafi wins or falls the impact will be felt in our region.”
We are witnessing a Pan-African unity on the ground that we have never seen before. Who is this man and this revolution that has the moral authority and power to draw an army of Africans from every corner of the continent?
One Tripoli resident answered with the following statement: “Qaddafi is our Che Guevara, and for Libyans and many people around the world, he is a symbol of freedom and democracy.”
He explained that the West does not understand Libya and the age old tribal and religious battles that are being waged, and pointed out, that even if Qaddafi was to leave Libya, these armed gangs and tribes would fight till judgment day. He added that it is Qaddafi who has tried for the last 40 years to overcome these age old conflicts and the backwardness that accompanies them, and build real democracy, through a system of people’s congresses and popular committees.
He finished by saying that “the West does not know this man but that they would surely come to know who he is now.”
The Pan-Africanism we are finally witnessing is not the ivory tower academic brand, which has been viewed as relatively harmless and ineffective by the imperialists, but a grassroots Pan-Africanism – bottom up – which has given birth to the continent’s first Pan-African army, willing to lay down their lives for a revolution and a leader that they love and to whom they owe a great deal.
Many of these fighters and liberation movements have received education, military training and assistance from Libya when they were battling imperialist backed despotic regimes in their own countries, and now they are determined to defend the man and country who stood by them in their darkest hour. This attack on Libya has serious repercussions for the entire African continent.
The Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa) travelled to Libya to meet with Qaddafi face to face and express their support and solidarity. They issued a statement expressing “their support to Qaddafi, who had been crucial to the PAC during the days of apartheid in South Africa.”
“We have a long cooperation with Qaddafi himself and Libya. Our cadres were trained in Libya by Qaddafi and a friend is a friend no matter what,” said the party’s spokesman,
Qaddafi has been a friend to all oppressed peoples throughout the world. There is hardly a liberation movement that has not been helped in some way by Qaddafi and Libya over the past three decades. He is our friend and brother and let’s hope everyone is clear on who our enemies are.
The Emperor is naked – what’s new?
Of course, imperialist maneuvers and crusades similar to this current one have been on going for centuries. In more recent times, from Vietnam to Iraq, we have seen the same scenario played out based on a litany of lies. So what is different this time around?
Certainly not the lying part – they are still weaving their usual web of lies. The African freedom fighter Kwame Ture, who had close ties with the Libyan revolution, warned us that “the imperialists don’t just lie sometimes, they lie all the time.”
What is different is that things are changing for the imperialists as the world plunges deeper and deeper into chaos, and their ability to influence affairs worldwide is diminishing rapidly. In the midst of rebellions all over the Arab world, what is clear is that fewer and fewer people give a damn what the US and Europe thinks. So they saw fit to take desperate measures in an attempt to regain some political hegemony and limit the demise of their strategic influence in the region.
Even as Mussa Kussa, the Libyan Foreign Minister, announced a cease fire and the Libyan authorities determination to accept the UN resolution and utilize it in a positive way, the French and British were in a frenzy, trying to get international support for military strikes against the Libyan forces. We have witnessed their war mongering before, however, they were quite literally foaming at the bit this time.
Such a frenzy can only be understood against a backdrop of their dwindling ability to dominate. Even in the economic sphere, their power is decreasing, as China, India and Brazil emerge as vital new trading partners in Africa and South America. In the words of Kwame Nkrumah, “Neo-colonialism is not a sign of imperialism’s strength, but rather of its last hideous gasp”.
In 2011, the imperialists have brought the world to the brink of disaster. At an economic summit, at the outset of the current ongoing global capitalist crisis, former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, publicly told the gathering that “the credit crunch was the fault of white, blue-eyed people”.
As the capitalist crisis worsens, and the world plunges deeper and deeper into chaos, the imperialists will become more and more desperate in their attempts to regain their influence and direct events worldwide as they are used to doing. Events which they are increasingly incapable of comprehending – not only because of the speed at which these events are occurring, but also because of the complexity of the events and the paradigm shifts taking place, that are, quite simply, far outside their western imagination.
Furthermore, they have lost all credibility as the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles continue. The Emperor is naked, and the hypocrisy of the Empire has become so transparent, that even the least informed observers are finally realizing that something is horribly wrong.
A Last Hideous Gasp?
Imperialism is experiencing its ‘last hideous gasp’ and it is imperative for progressive and revolutionary movements worldwide to seize this moment and to oppose this current assault with all of our collective strength. Those who still struggle to see the wood from the trees remain enablers of the continued enslavement of our people. As Pan-Africanists we need to come together as never before to defend this brother and the Libyan Al Fateh revolution.
Sadly, the African Union has become another impotent international body with a neo-colonial mindset, due to the fact that unfortunately, a number of member states are still imperialist facilitators. The Pan-Africanist scholar, Chinweizu, calls these facilitaors of imperialism ‘leaders in Africa’, because, as he points out, they are not ‘African leaders’.
Despite this, the African Union, under the guidance of progressive members, have managed to take a principled stand on Libya. In a statement issued by the AU Peace and Security Council, headed by Zimbabwe, they unanimously opposed any foreign military intervention and recognised the unity and territorial sovereignty of the North African State of Libya. The statement went on to call for “an urgent African action for the immediate cessation of all hostilities”.
How good and how pleasant it would be, before God and man…
Control over Africa’s affairs has always been a priority for the imperialist project. As Minister Louis Farrakhan pointed out many years ago at a conference in Libya, “Europe and the US cannot go forward into the new century without unfettered access to the vast natural resources of Africa” and he added that “Qaddafi is one who stands in their way.”
If they cannot maintain control, then at least they must try to maintain Africa’s divisions, thereby ensuring it is always in a position of weakness. African unity and true independence is something white supremacy, in all of its manifestations – capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism – will oppose with all its might.
When Sarkozy the clown, to quote Saif Qaddafi, made his ridiculous pronouncement recognizing the rag tag conglomerate of reactionaries in Benghazi as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, and Hillarity rushed to meet with the ‘Libyan opposition’, the sinister imperialist plot began to unfold. Their mission was certainly not to ‘protect innocent civilians’. They had from the outset, very clearly chosen a side and now, as they bombard the Libyan revolutionary forces we know without any doubt, whose side they are on.
Their plot further unraveled, when a Dutch helicopter, carrying Dutch marines on some kind of sabotage/espionage mission was captured right inside Libyan territory. The Dutch government finally acknowledged that its warship, the Tromp, was offshore in the sea off Sirte and the captured helicopter had lifted-off from there. If the rebellion in Benghazi was, as the media has reported, ‘a spontaneous rebellion, like others in the region’, then the Dutch were surprisingly well prepared. Actually, it would have been impossible for them to arrive so swiftly at the scene, and so they had to have had prior knowledge of what was taking place. It is now crystal clear that this rebellion in Benghazi was an orchestrated attempt, supported by foreign sources, to use the events taking place across North Africa as a cover for the overthrow of the Libyan revolution.
And then there was William Hague’s brazen landing of the British SAS personnel inside Libyan territory to make contact with the al Qaeda inspired rebels. Of course it is no surprise that the British and al Qaeda are on the same side – as noted above they have been collaborating to destroy Libya for a very long time. Reactionaries inevitably end up dovetailing, and a partnership with the imperialists is after all where al Qaeda had its beginnings: as a US instrument in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. George Bush Senior had close ties with the Taliban, and Ronald Reagan poured millions of dollars into assisting the Jihadists in Afghanistan, the forerunners of al Qaeda, which means ‘the base’, and refers to a data base of Mujahideen from numerous countries, compiled with the help of the CIA.
In addition to the battle between ‘true religion and false religion’ to paraphrase the Muslim revolutionary thinker, Ali Shariati, there is another major battlefront in Libya. It is the battle between Black Africans and those fair skinned ‘Arab settlers’, who embrace a ‘separatist’ stance, refusing to acknowledge their African heritage, and who want little to do with the Pan-African project although they are on the African continent. As noted above, these ‘Arabs’ look upon black people with utter contempt and disdain. They definitely do not share Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa and resent the resources of Libya being used to assist projects towards this end throughout the continent.
It has been well documented that the Libyan rebels are committing crimes against humanity. There have been ‘African hunts’ in rebel held territory. Black workers, students and refugees have been detained, raped and executed – some of them were led into the desert and stabbed to death. Even Black Libyans have been targeted, and many of them have been abducted by armed rebels and are being held in secret locations. These are the forces that the imperialists are racing to support. There has been a deafening silence from the so-called international community and western media regarding these well documented ‘African Hunts’ and the massacre of Black Africans by the rebels.
From Washington, France and London, they continue their attempts to demonise Muammar Qaddafi with their lies. But the truth is that he is a revolutionary and a freedom fighter, who has assisted almost every struggle for liberation over the past three decades, and worked tirelessly, day and night, to facilitate African advancement and unification. At the same time, the revolution he has led, has taken Libya from the status of being the poorest country in the world to a country that has attained the highest standard of living in Africa. The ‘weapons of mass deception’ assembled by the Crusaders can never succeed in portraying him as a ruthless dictator – an enemy of humanity? Let us heed the warning of the great revolutionary, Al Hajj Malik Al Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X:
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power because they control the minds of the masses.”
As I write this article, Qaddafi is addressing the world. He is defiant, preparing Libyans for a long war and assuring the crusaders that they will never get their hands on Libya and its resources. Meanwhile, the coalition of Crusaders and their Arab enablers are starting to show some signs of strain.
I am reminded of Qaddafi’s words in 1986, when Reagan bombed his residence,
“They may hit us with long range missiles and aircrafts – this is expected, but they will never stay. This land is too hot for their feet.”
Gerald A. Perreira has lived in Libya for many years. He served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Libyan revolution and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli.
by gregg brazel
Peace and kindness to you, my brothers and sisters of all the lands and seas of this turbulent world. I hope you and yours are managing to maintain your sanity and lives in these dreary days. I wish with all my being for nothing other than the madness to end, RIGHT NOW!
Some new posts are up for your perusal ― news and editorial from around this smoking globe.
You’ll note I’m a bit peeved. You see, the Peace Laureate has launched one more little war of aggression to seize yet another cache of valuable resources coveted by his financiers, that is, the ruthless but highly organized global crime syndicate that he fronts. This despite the fact that while politicking in 2007 and 2008, the Peace Laureate and constitutional lawyer repeatedly proclaimed, thereby demonstrating that he knew, the truth: only Congress has the power to make war; waging it unilaterally is illegal and unconstitutional, and smacks of dictatorship. But as we all know, what a candidate says is much different from what s/he actually intends, and dictators don’t rule “democracies”.
Yes, another “humanitarian” war has been conjured up through the blessing of the UN, this time in oil-rich Libya. So it goes. The apologists and enablers who continue to provide cover for this wanton slaughter and the unaccountable miscreant who solely brings it forth should knock it off already. Seriously, if you believe in God or karma or fate or just being on the right side of reality, you would condemn this madman with equal vigor as you might have the psychopaths and mass murderers who came before him, from whatever nation they came.
Dead children and their families care not a whit if their murderer is Republican or Democrat. To allege it is impossible for Obama to quit launching his lethal bombing raids on defenseless, innocent villagers ―that somehow the Republicans are forcing him to commit these atrocities― is a terrible lie.
There is no conceivably legitimate reason to continue and expand this wholesale destruction and irradiation of an entire region. Not national security, nor “humanitarian intervention”, nor even barbaric vengeance for some previous act can explain it away. No, Obama could stop his savage slaughter campaign this very minute if he wanted to. Why doesn’t he? Because he doesn’t want to. That’s all there is to it, people. To say or believe otherwise is fallacy, political rhetoric, and rationalization of totally unnecessary killing on a grand scale.
What does this deliberate terror campaign say of the man? What sort of creature is this? How much longer will we as a nation permit and condone such crimes against humanity? Will you fall for the “lesser evil” ruse and vote for one of these heinous villains again in 2012? Or will you put your foot down and show that they have no consent to rule you or deliver your children’s futures into the hands of their demonic backers?
In related news, a bit of poking ‘round the nuke power industry reveals that ―surprise!― big biz has been in bed with big gov for decades, conspiring to conceal the obvious dangers of nuclear plants and the resultant waste. There’s big money (as in, your money) in them thar silos, folks. Gotta get them time bombs built, even if they do kill off legions of plebes who pay for them!
The greatest propaganda coup of the last century must be the successful propagation of the meme: “there’s no such thing as conspiracy”. Average people are convicted of “conspiracy to” this or that every day in this nation. They are then sent off to rot in the world’s largest, and for-profit, corporate gulag, along with 2,297,400 of their country -men, -women and -children.
But law only applies to the commoners. The elites, almost invariably, skate on by. Their crimes are so unconscionable, so grotesque, odious and unfathomable, that the mind boggles at the audacity to such a degree that these serial killers are actually congratulated, richly rewarded, and finally celebrated as heroes at their funeral pageants.
Dear lord, insanity does rule this world.
I think we are each given only so many free passes in this life, so many “that’s the way it is”-es, a limited supply of “it’s out of my control”-s, before we are officially “with them”. I believe that, yes, God —however you define that being or concept— really is watching.
Fight the good fight, brothers and sisters.
Ukrainian former president Leonid Kuchma was formally charged on Thursday over the 2000 murder of opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze and could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.
The Ukraine general prosecutor’s office on Tuesday opened a criminal case against Kuchma, president of independent Ukraine from 1994 to 2005, on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Gongadze, one of his sharpest public critics.
The murder of the popular journalist, who was also well-known on TV talk shows, became emblematic of the sleaze and violence of post-Soviet Ukraine under Kuchma and led to street clashes in Kiev between protesters and riot police.
Emerging from questioning in the prosecutor’s office, Kuchma, 72, told reporters: “I have been charged. On Monday we will meet here again and we’ll see how things develop further.”
The general prosecutor’s spokesman, Yuri Boichenko, confirmed that Kuchma had been charged with abuse of office, leading to the death of the journalist, which carries a jail sentence of between 5-12 years.
Kuchma on Wednesday denied any role in the grisly murder of the 31-year-old campaigning editor. It turned into post-Soviet Ukraine’s most notorious crime case and was a turning point in Kuchma’s 10-year rule.
He repeated his denial on Thursday. “I categorically disagree with every charge, except the part which says that I am Leonid Danilovich Kuchma. This is beyond question.”
SLEAZE AND VIOLENCE
Gongadze, founding editor of the Internet newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, which was sharply critical of Kuchma’s rule, was abducted in September 2000 in the capital Kiev. His headless body was found one and a half months later in woods. He had been strangled and his body partly burned.
Outlining the case, the prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday Kuchma was suspected of having given illegal orders to senior interior ministry officials leading to Gongadze’s murder.”
Two police officers are already in jail for their part in the killing, while a third man, police general Oleksiy Pukach, is awaiting trial.
Last September, the state prosecutor named Yuri Kravchenko, interior minister at the time, as the person who had instigated and ordered Gongadze’s killing.
In 2005, Kravchenko was found dead at home from gunshot wounds which were officially said to be self-inflicted.
But Gongadze’s family and the political opposition still maintained that the murder was the subject of a cover-up to protect people in high places.
Despite the charges, some analysts doubt Kuchma’s case will go to trial and, with 10 years having passed since the murder, some suggested he could benefit from the statute of limitations.
“This is for the court to decide — invoke or not to invoke the statute of limitations,” Boichenko was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
The stage had been set for an intriguing face-to-face at the prosecutor’s office between Kuchma and one of his principal accusers — his former bodyguard, Mykola Melnychenko.
Melnychenko was behind the publication of secret tape recordings taken between 1998 and 2000, one of which appeared to indicate that Kuchma had told officials to “deal with” Gongadze. The authenticity of the tapes has never been confirmed.
Though Melnychenko turned up at the prosecutor’s office on Thursday, he later said that Kuchma’s health had precluded a face-to-face encounter in front of investigators.
Other details of the decade-long murder mystery appeared to be unfolding. Kuchma said police general Pukach, who was arrested last year after six years on the run, continued to insist that Kravchenko was behind the murder.
“Pukach, it seems, is operating according to the principle of ‘no person, no problem’. There’s no Kravchenko any more so he can dump the blame on him … All he is saying is ‘Kravchenko, Kravchenko …”, Kuchma told reporters.
The opening of the case against Kuchma, once a patron of President Viktor Yanukovich who was his prime minister for two years, has surprised many observers.
Critics of Yanukovich and the opposition have consistently accused him of covering up misdeeds of his political and business associates since he came to power in February 2010, while at the same time persecuting opposition rivals.
Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Yanukovich’s fiercest rival, has said that she sees the whole affair as “bluff and window-dressing” aimed at projecting the impression that the Yanukovich leadership is abiding by the rule of law. She said Kuchma’s prosecution would come to nothing.
Watch: Japan government official explains what happened to the two hospitalised workers
Two workers at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been taken to hospital after being exposed to high levels of radiation.
The pair had been attempting to restore the cooling system in reactor 3, which was damaged by the quake on 11 March.
Several workers have now been hurt on the site, an indication of the scale of the task facing them.
Radiation levels in Tokyo’s water supply have now fallen, but remain high in other areas of northern Japan.
The official death toll from the magnitude 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami has now risen to 9,523. Another 16,094 people are listed as missing.
Japan’s nuclear safety agency said three workers had been injured when their feet came into contact with radiation-contaminated water while laying cables in the turbine area of reactor 3.
They were exposed to radiation levels of 170-180 millisieverts, he said, which is lower than the maximum level permitted for workers on the site of 250 millisieverts. Two of the workers were taken to hospital.
“Although they wore protective clothing, the contaminated water seeped in and their legs were exposed to radiation,” said a spokesman.
“Direct exposure to radiation usually leads to inflammation and so that’s why they were sent to the hospital to be treated.”
Most people are exposed to 2 millisieverts over the average year, while 100 millisieverts is considered the lowest level at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident.
The condition of the injured workers was not immediately known.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said the situation was “very regrettable”.
The power plant’s cooling systems failed after the quake and tsunami, leading to the reactors overheating.
Power has now been restored to the site, but work to restart the coolers in reactor 3 was briefly suspended on Wednesday after a plume of black smoke was seen coming from it.
Tokyo Electric Power Co, which operates the plant, later allowed workers to re-enter after establishing there was no fire and that radiation level in the area had not risen.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there had been some “positive developments” at the site but that the situation was still “of serious concern”.
The plant is 250km (155 miles) north-east of the capital, Tokyo. The government has declared a 20km exclusion zone and evacuated tens of thousands of people. Those living up to 30km away have been told to stay indoors to minimise exposure.
People in Fukushima prefecture have been told not to eat 11 types of green leafy vegetables grown locally because of contamination worries. Local producers have been ordered not to send the goods to market.
Tokyo residents were warned on Wednesday not to give tap water to babies less than a year old because levels of radioactive iodine – which can cause thyroid cancer – are twice the recommended safe level in some areas of the city.
Officials stressed that children would have to drink a lot of it before it harmed them and urged people not to panic-buy. But supermarket shelves were reported to have been cleared of bottled water by Thursday morning.
“Customers ask us for water. But there’s nothing we can do,” Masayoshi Kasahara, a supermarket worker in Tokyo told Reuters.
“We are asking for more deliveries but we don’t know when the next shipment will come.”
Radiation readings on Thursday showed levels in water in Tokyo had fallen back below the danger level, but the municipal authorities are distributing thousands of bottles of water to households with infants.
The authorities in the nearby city of Kawaguchi, Saitama prefecture, also reported radiation levels above safety norms in its water supply on Thursday.
Concern is also growing among Japan’s neighbours. Australia has become the latest country to ban food imports from the affected region.
Police believe the final death toll from Japan’s twin disaster may be more than 18,000.
Most of the deaths – 5,700 – have been reported in the prefecture of Miyagi. Three thousand bodies have been found in Iwate prefecture, and 776 in Fukushima.
At least 18,000 houses were destroyed and 130,000 damaged, and more than 200,000 people are living in emergency shelters.
The Japanese government has said it will cost as much as 25 trillion yen ($309bn; £189bn) to rebuild the country after the disaster.
[This is our time of great testing, folks. If we fail to confront Obama with the full weight of his criminal actions, now that he is back on home turf, we will become full partners to his crimes. If 40-60% of the duped American populace actually embraces America’s fourth running war, then it is because the principle of “majority rule” has been usurped by a wealthy, powerful minority. To reclaim our democracy from this powerful minority, we must awaken and arouse the hypnotized minds from their slumber. The American people, at least the sane majority, would have never willingly endorsed the idea of intervening in any country where civil war erupted, yet this is exactly the principle that has been established, Obama’s equivalent to Bush’s “preemptive war.” By working his “magic” (threats?, bribes?, economic warfare?, weather warfare?) our wonder president has managed to persuade the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, Indians and Brazilians to abstain from their responsibility to veto this coup d’etat of the international body. It is highly unlikely that any of these 5 powerful nations will correct their mistakes by coming out against the war of aggression disguised as “humanitarianism” against Libya.
If any of these world leaders, or any other govt had an ounce of morality left in them, then they would introduce a resolution to halt this aggression, to be voted on by the entire UN.]
After his trip to Latin America, President Obama is back in the White House — and right in the middle of a political storm over Libya.
Obama and aides are no doubt working the phones today, seeking to hand off primary responsibility for the mission to NATO allies.
They are also seeking to answer Congressional criticism over the operation, including a list of written questions from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The United States would like to have NATO play a major role in command of the operation, maintaining the no-fly zone created after U.S. missiles targeted Libyan air defenses.
France has proposed a special committee for the job, noting that NATO is unpopular in the Arab world because it is seen as run by the U.S. Turkey, the only Muslim majority nation in NATO, has also objected to a lead role in the alliance.
Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said the White House is confident it will be able to hand over the mission within days.
Once that happens, “we can now share the burden with other people’s taxpayers, to make sure that we can hand off to our allies to run this no-fly zone in the days ahead,” McDonough said on MSNBC. “So we think there’s a good story to tell, and we’re going to tell it.”
McDonough and staff members are also reviewing the letter from Boehner, who asked a series of questions about the organization of the allies, what happens if Gadhafi stays in the power, and the prospect of this becoming a protracted conflict.
In an interview with CNN, McDonough said Boehner’s letter contains “a very legitimate set of questions, and we think it’s a good opportunity to continue the conversation with Congress.” McDonough noted that Obama briefed Boehner and other members of Congress on Friday, before he left for Brazil to start his Latin America trip.
“We’ve been briefing Congress this week,” McDonough said. “You’ll remember, of course, that the discussion of a no-fly zone started up on Capitol Hill. So we, obviously, were able to take that idea and expand it to ensure that we are degrading Gadhafi’s forces so we can turn them back from key cities like Benghazi and Misrata.”
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the White House “informed” members of Congress on Friday, when “the plan was already in motion and the use of U.S. military assets had already been committed to other nations.” Buck also noted that Congress has a variety of views on the wisdom of establishing a no-fly zone, and that Obama could have benefited from consultations.
“The Speaker’s letter was not an attack on the President,” Buck said. “It was an attempt to get answers to questions many Americans are asking.”
William John Cox
The failures of the General Electric nuclear reactors in Japan to safely shut down during the 9.0 Tahoku earthquake, following in the wake of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the deadly methane gas explosion in Massey’s West Virginia coal mine, conclusively demonstrate the grave dangers to human society posed by current energy production methods.
The radiation plume from melting reactor cores and the smoke of burning spent fuel rods threaten the lives of the unborn; yet, they point in the direction of the only logical alternative to these failed policies – the generation of an inexhaustible, safe, pollution-free supply of energy from outer space.
Presently, only the top industrialized nations have the technological, industrial and economic power to compete in the race for space solar energy. In spite of, and perhaps because of, the current disaster, Japan occupies the inside track, as it is the only nation that has a dedicated space solar energy program and which is highly motivated to change directions. China, which has launched astronauts into an earth orbit and is rapidly become the world’s leader in the production of wind and solar generation products, will undoubtedly become a strong competitor. However, the United States, which should have every advantage in the race, is most likely to stumble out of the gate and waste the best chance it has to solve its economic, energy, political and military problems.
A Miraculous Source of Abundant Energy
Space-solar energy is the greatest source of untapped energy which could, potentially, completely solve the world’s energy and greenhouse gas emission problems.
The technology currently exists to launch solar-collector satellites into geostationary orbits around the Earth to convert the Sun’s radiant energy into electricity 24 hours a day and to safely transmit the electricity by microwave beams to rectifying antennas on Earth.
Following its proposal by Dr. Peter Glaser in 1968, the concept of solar power satellites was extensively studied by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). By 1981, the organizations determined that the idea was a high-risk venture; however, they recommended further study.
With increases in electricity demand and costs, NASA took a “fresh look” at the concept between 1995 and 1997. The NASA study envisioned a trillion-dollar project to place several dozen solar-power satellites in geostationary orbits by 2050, sending between two gigawatts and five gigawatts of power to Earth.
The NASA effort successfully demonstrated the ability to transmit electrical energy by microwaves through the atmosphere; however, the study’s leader, John Mankins, now says the program “has fallen through the cracks because no organization is responsible for both space programs and energy security.”
The project may have remained shelved except for the military’s need for sources of energy in its campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the cost of gasoline and diesel exceeds $400 a gallon. A report by the Department of Defense’s National Security Space Office in 2007 recommended that the U.S. “begin a coordinated national program” to develop space-based solar power.
There are three basic engineering problems presented in the deployment of a space-based solar power system: the size, weight and capacity of solar collectors to absorb energy; the ability of robots to assemble solar collectors in outer space; and the cost and reliability of lifting collectors and robots into space.
Two of these problems have been substantially solved since space-solar power was originally proposed. New thin-film advances in the design of solar collectors have steadily improved, allowing for increases in the efficiency of energy conversion and decreases in size and weight. At the same time, industrial robots have been greatly improved and are now used extensively in heavy manufacturing to perform complex tasks.
The remaining problem is the expense of lifting equipment and materials into space. The last few flights of the space shuttle this year will cost $20,000 per kilogram of payload to move satellites into orbit and resupply the space station.
It has been estimated that economic viability of space solar energy would require a reduction in the payload cost to less than $200 per kilogram and the total expense, including delivery and assembly in orbit, to less than $3,500 per kilogram.
Although there are substantial costs associated with the development of space-solar power, it makes far more sense to invest precious public resources in the development of an efficient and reliable power supply for the future, rather than to waste U.S. tax dollars on an ineffective missile defense system, an ego trip to Mars, or $36 billion in risky loan guarantees by the DOE to the nuclear power industry.
With funding for the space shuttle ending next year and for the space station in 2017, the United States must decide upon a realistic policy for space exploration, or else it will be left on the ground by other nations, which are rapidly developing futuristic space projects.
China is currently investing $35 billion of its hard-currency reserves in the development of energy-efficient green technology, and has become the world’s leading producer of solar panels. In addition, China has aggressively moved into space by orbiting astronauts and by demonstrating a capability to destroy the satellites of other nations.
Over the past two years, Japan has committed $21 billion to secure space-solar energy. By 2030, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to “put into geostationary orbit a solar-power generator that will transmit one gigawatt of energy to Earth, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant.” Japanese officials estimate that, ultimately, they will be able to deliver electricity at a cost of $0.09 per kilowatt-hour, which will be competitive with all other sources.
A Consortium for Peace
President Kennedy once said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” The United States readily achieved that objective and, effectively, won the Cold War. A similar challenge is now presented in the race for space solar energy. What, if anything, will President Obama say or do?
Rather than a competition, however, the United States, China, Japan, and perhaps Russia, should organize a public service consortium to cooperatively produce energy from outer space.
Such a consortium could take advantage of the unique abilities of each nation to collectively produce space-solar energy, and it would avoid private corporate domination over the distribution of a product that is essential to human civilization.
A Space-Solar Energy Consortium would be a giant step toward world peace and a small leap into the universe of unlimited and unimaginable futures that surround and await us.
William John Cox is a retired prosecutor and public interest lawyer, author and political activist. His efforts to promote a peaceful political evolution can be found at VotersEvolt.com, his writings are collected at WilliamJohnCox.com, and he can be contacted at email@example.com.
LONDON, March 24 | Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:39am EDT
(Reuters) – The cost of insuring Portuguese government debt against default rose on Thursday after the country’s parliament rejected the government’s austerity measures, leading to Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ resignation.
Five-year credit default swaps (CDS) on five-year Portuguese government debt rose by 11 basis points to 540 bps, according to data monitor Markit. This means it costs 540,000 euros to protect 10 million euros of exposure to Portuguese bonds.
“Pressure will be mounting on Portugal to accept a bailout before its large refinancing requirements in April and June. But politically this will be difficult as the current minority government has effectively lost its mandate,” said Markit analyst Gavan Nolan.
Irish, Spanish and Greek CDS also rose.
(Reporting by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
[The fact that a Deep State guy has spoken publicly about the possibility that the American-organized Libyan rebels might be “Al-Qaeda,” is another indicator of how much effect we are having here in the blogosphere. They are feeling the heat of our Truth, and they are starting to run scared. The Al-Qaeda/US Symbiosis has been revealed in Libya for all the discerning people of the world to see. Al-Qaeda is America’s secret paramilitary army–always have been. Pretending that American support for bin Laden’s gang is a thing of the past, will no longer wash. Too many people now realize just exactly what AQ really is–the CIA with beards.]
Eastern Libya, the rebels’ base, has a history as a breeding ground for Islamic militants, but an intelligence-gathering effort has not uncovered a significant number of extremists, officials say.
|Libyan rebel soldiers take cover during the siege of the eastern city of Ajdabiya. U.S. officials say there is no evidence of an organized Al Qaeda presence among the Libyan rebels. (Manu Brabo / European Pressphoto Agency / March 23, 2011)|
Despite fears that Islamic extremists may be playing a hidden role in the rebellion against Moammar Kadafi, the U.S. intelligence community has found no organized presence of Al Qaeda or its allies among the Libyan opposition, American officials say.
A U.S. intelligence-gathering effort that began shortly after anti-Kadafi forces started seizing towns in eastern Libya last month has not uncovered a significant presence of Islamic militants among the insurgents.
“We’re keeping an eye out for extremist activity in Libya, but we haven’t seen much, if any, to date,” said a U.S. counter-terrorism official. A Defense official added that the U.S. had not seen a direct link between the opposition and extremists.
A congressional staffer who receives intelligence briefings did not dispute those assessments. But the aide added: “There ought to be a concern and recognition that there may be such a linkage. There should also be an appreciation that the opposition is not a uniform, monolithic movement.”
Eastern Libya has a history as a breeding ground for Islamic militants. U.S. officials say more than 100 Libyans entered Iraq to fight in the anti-U.S. insurgency between August 2006 and August 2007. The vast majority came from Benghazi, the rebels’ de facto capital, and nearby Derna.
The Obama administration is concerned about long-term instability that could allow extremism to take root, and is sensitive to any suggestion that Al Qaeda, which has long opposed Kadafi, could somehow benefit from the U.S.-led international military effort in Libya.
On Feb. 24, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a North African affiliate of the group, vowed to “do whatever we can” to help the Libyan rebels, according to a statement translated by SITE Intelligence Group, a Washington-based company that tracks militant websites.
Kadafi has repeatedly claimed that the insurgents are dominated by Al Qaeda, a charge strongly denied by opposition leaders in eastern Libya, an area that has long opposed Kadafi.
Islamic fundamentalists clearly are among the rebels, but no organized segment is pursuing a Taliban-style government or an Al Qaeda agenda, Libya experts say.
“Who is behind the revolution? It’s not the Islamists or the jihadists,” said Noman Benotman, a former Libyan militant now with the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based group staffed by former Islamic radicals. “It’s ordinary people, moderates, liberals, lawyers and writers.”
“There’s no evidence that any of the leaders are extremists, and to the extent that we know anything, they seem to be secular professionals,” said Robert Pape, a terrorism expert at the University of Chicago who has traveled to Libya.
Charles Faddis, who led a CIA team in northern Iraq before the 2003 invasion, and who retired in 2008, questioned whether the U.S. intelligence community really understands who the rebels are.
“Everyone wants to believe the opposition consists of individuals dedicated to a democratic revolution,” Faddis said. “Is that true?”
“Is this a political movement or a tribal one? What we need is solid intelligence on the nature of the opposition, who the key figures are, who is going to emerge on top. I suspect we do not have that, because our collection inside Libya, a denied area, has probably been very weak for a very long time.”
A Libyan journalist in Derna said in an interview last week that Islamic militants were seeking influence in that city. “In the beginning I was very optimistic about the possibility of reform and change, but there has been a violent takeover and now we are seeing foreign fighters, Islamists, from the Gulf and other Arab countries,” said Milad Hassani.
The large number of Libyans who went to fight in Iraq is less an indication of a large extremist community than a social network that could be activated in a short period of time, said Brian Fishman, a terrorism expert who analyzed captured documents about the Libyan fighters for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at a Senate committee hearing on March 2 that the U.S. should not let Libya slide into Somalia-like chaos and possibly create fertile ground for extremist ideologies to spread.
Special correspondent Meris Lutz in Beirut contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
A higher-than-normal level of gamma-radiation was discovered in the engine room of a vessel sailing under a Panamanian flag at the Vanino marine checkpoint in the Khabarovsk territory on March 23
Moscow – A higher-than-normal level of gamma-radiation was discovered in the engine room of a vessel sailing under a Panamanian flag at the Vanino marine checkpoint in the Khabarovsk territory on March 23, Russian consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor head Gennady Onishchenko said.
The vessel had delivered timber from Russia to the Japanese port of Kawasaki and was passing not far from the accident-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant on its way back, Onishchenko said.
“The gamma levels on the deck and in the cabins were normal but those in the engine room three times higher than normal. Preliminary findings indicate that this could have been because of a fan pumping air into the engine room,” he said.
“The vessel has been put on quarantine anchorage. Nineteen crewmembers, including 18 citizens of Russia and one citizen of Ukraine, have been put under medical supervision. No changes in their health status have been found,” Onishchenko said.
Radiation levels in all regions of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District are normal, he said.
Rospotrebnadzor specialists checked 895 shipments of cargo from Japan weighing 410 tonnes at the Korsakov port. “Thirteen of these shipments weighing 5.9 tonnes are food products, including chocolate, soups, refreshment drinks, chewing gum, and green tea. We have also examined samples of fish in Kamchatka,” Onishchenko said.