A futile balancing act

A futile balancing act

By Jalees Hazir | Published: April 17, 2011

Recent statements of senior US officials indicate very clearly that the global bully is least interested in addressing the concerns of its Pakistani partners in the so-called war on terror, and that it has no intention to rethink, or so much as even scale down, the dangerous murderous games it is playing in our country. It is obvious that the pleading and protesting of Pakistani authorities on drone strikes and activities of CIA operatives have failed to produce any results. In fact, this supine attitude has emboldened the rogue superpower to carry out its illegal and subversive activities with more impunity and more blatantly. Obviously, to bring an end to this oppressive one-sided relationship, the United States needs shock-therapy: an end to this no-good partnership. Only then can we hope that, at some point in the future, a relationship between the two countries based on mutual interests and respect could be established.
The CIA Director is reported to have told his ISI counterpart that his fundamental responsibility was to protect the lives of American citizens and that he would not halt operations that support that objective. He was talking about the covert subversive activities of his operatives on the Pakistani soil and, of course, to the drone strikes that have killed thousands of innocent Pakistani civilians in our tribal areas. But then, American governments are known to do things like that: killing millions of innocent non-Americans on the pretext of saving their own citizens. What is disturbing is the fact that such blatant aggression directed against Pakistani citizens does not prick the conscience of those running our affairs. Is it not their fundamental responsibility to protect Pakistanis? Or do the Pakistani taxpayers pay their salaries and afford them honourable high offices so that they could facilitate the protection of American lives, while those they are supposed to protect are butchered mercilessly?
In any case, there are numerous reasons to believe that all this death and destruction unleashed on Pakistan and various other countries has nothing to do with protecting the lives of American people, but is actually an excuse to grab the resources of targeted countries and to define the geographic and political contours in the targeted regions that would facilitate this criminal greed for the wealth of others. In the process, hundreds of billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money find their way to the arms industry, the shady intelligence operations, private security contractors and powerful construction firms. Fed by the perpetual media propaganda and intimidated by legislation like the Homeland Security Act, brainwashed to chase the illusion of the American dream and distracted by the worship of deranged celebrities, the American citizens that are supposed to be protected are led to believe this hogwash. The question remains: Why does the Pakistani leadership continue to play the role of a slave in this murderous farce?

Obama’s UnConstitutional Self-Created U.N. “Authority” Is Most Dangerous Precedent

[This is clearly grounds for impeachment.  Is Congress going to honor the commitments made to defend and protect the American people and their Constitution, or will We the People have to do this ourselves?  This is some deadly serious shit people.  We are witnessing a war of lawyers, who frame the crimes that they are committing on a daily basis as “humanitarian” actions to stop genocide, when it is a fact that what is happening on the ground is criminal, papered-over with a thin veneer of legality.  Barack Obama has corrupted the United Nations, turning it into an instrument of aggression, to be used for his own hidden agenda, which is characterized by a an aura of lawlessness and messianic delusions of grandeur.  It will get no clearer than this.  It is only a matter of time before the US military is called into action in the American homeland itself in the service of this megalomaniac obsession with total control.]

Obama’s U.N. Authority?

Only the elected representatives of Congress, not the U.N., can authorize the United States to use military force against another nation.

Louis Fisher All Articles

The National Law Journal

Libyans stand on the wreckage of a US F15 fighter jet.Libyans stand on the wreckage of a US F15 fighter jet. 
Photo: AP / Anja Niedringhaus

President Obama has yet to explain to Congress and the American people how he received authority from the United Nations Security Council to initiate military operations against Libya. On March 21, he informed Congress that “at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council.” An April 1 memo by the Office of Legal Counsel states that Security Council Resolution 1973 “imposed a no-fly zone and authorized the use of military force to protect civilians.” Because Libya did not comply with the resolution, the OLC concluded that President Obama was justified in using military force against Libya to maintain “the credibility of the United Nations Security Council and the effectiveness of its actions to promote international peace and security.”

May the U.N., rather than the elected representatives of Congress, authorize the United States to use military force against another nation? Is it possible to transfer the constitutional power of Congress to an international body? The answer to both questions: No. Authority under law and the Constitution must come from Congress. Statutory law, dating to 1945, speaks unambiguously about the use of American troops in a U.N. military operation: “The President is authorized to negotiate a special agreement or agreements with the Security Council which shall be subject to the approval of the Congress by appropriate Act or joint resolution.” 22 U.S.C. 287d.

What is the history of this law? Why was it ignored when President Harry Truman went to war against North Korea in 1950 without seeking or obtaining authority from Congress? The record plainly demonstrates that he violated the Constitution, the 1945 statute and his own public pledge to the Senate. The record also shows that members of Congress have failed to protect the Constitution, their own institutional powers and the rights of citizens who elected them to office.

During World War II, the United States and allied nations agreed to create an international body to act against military aggression. The result was the U.N. Charter of 1945. The drafters of that document appreciated the need to protect the war powers of Congress. They knew why the United States had failed to join the League of Nations. The Versailles Treaty was rejected by the Senate in 1919 and again in 1920 because President Woodrow Wilson refused to accept reservations offered by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge. A key amendment stated that the United States assumed no obligation to engage in wars authorized by the League unless “Congress, which, under the Constitution, has the sole power to declare war or authorize the employment of the military or naval forces of the United States, shall by act or joint resolution so provide.”

Wilson opposed the Lodge reservations, claiming that they “cut out the heart of this Covenant” and represented “nullification” of the treaty. Personal spite and rigidity caused Wilson to dig in his heels. As newspapers reported, “The President has strangled his own child.” Wilson had no principled objection to Lodge’s language on the war power. On March 8, 1920, Wilson wrote to Sen. Gilbert Hitchcock, acknowledging that whatever obligations the U.S. government undertook in a League military action “would of course have to be fulfilled by its usual and established constitutional methods of action.” The Constitution, Wilson said, requires that “Congress alone can declare war or determine the causes or occasions for war, and that it alone can authorize the use of the armed forces of the United States on land or on the sea.”

Those who drafted the U.N. Charter did not want a repeat of the Versailles Treaty. The charter provides that whenever member states agree to participate in a U.N. military operation, nations must act in accordance with their “constitutional processes.” During Senate debate on the charter, Truman from Potsdam wired this note to Sen. Kenneth McKellar on July 27, 1945, pledging: “When any such agreement or agreements are negotiated it will be my purpose to ask the Congress for appropriate legislation to approve them.”

To implement the charter, it was necessary for Congress to pass legislation that satisfied U.S. constitutional processes. The language in § 6 of the U.N. Participation Act of 1945 did precisely that. Agreements “shall be subject to the approval of the Congress by appropriate Act or joint resolution.” Statutory language could not be written more clearly. The legislative history of this provision, including hearings, committee reports and floor debate, all point to the same result: The president must seek congressional approval in advance.

With these safeguards in place to protect the Constitution and congressional powers, Truman on June 26, 1950, announced that the U.N. Security Council had acted to order a withdrawal of North Korean forces to positions north of the 38th parallel, and that “in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, the United States will vigorously support the effort of the Council to terminate this serious breach of the peace.” At that point he made no commitment of U.S. military forces.

On the following day, he informed the nation that the Security Council had called upon all U.N. members to provide assistance and that he had “ordered United States air and sea forces to give the [South] Korean Government troops cover and support.” The military commitment deepened. At no time did Truman seek authority from Congress. Secretary of State Dean Acheson claimed that Truman had done his “utmost to uphold the sanctity of the Charter of the United Nations and the rule of law.” In fact, Truman had violated the Constitution, the U.N. Participation Act and his own pledge to the Senate five years earlier.

Other presidents have built on Truman’s precedent. In November 1990, President George H.W. Bush obtained a U.N. resolution to act militarily against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait, claiming that he did not need congressional authority. Nevertheless, Congress passed authorizing legislation in January 1991. President Bill Clinton used U.N. resolutions to act militarily against Haiti and Bosnia. At no time did he seek authority from Congress.

Presidents have some discretion to use military force without advance congressional authorization, including repelling sudden attacks and rescuing American citizens. None of those justifications apply to Libya. America was not threatened or attacked by Libya. Obama has called the military operation a humanitarian intervention that serves the national interest. Yet launching hundreds of Tomahawk missiles and ordering air strikes against Libyan ground forces, for the purpose of helping rebels overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi, constitutes war. Under the U.S. Constitution, there is only one source for authorizing war. It is not the Security Council or NATO. It is Congress.

Louis Fisher is scholar in residence with the Constitution Project. He worked for Congress as professional staff from 1970 to 2010 and is the author of Presidential War Power (2004). His articles and congressional testimony are available at www.loufisher.org.

Dissent should be heard

Column: Dissent should be heard

Written by
REKHA BASU

Early this month in India’s capital, a retired Navy admiral, a newspaper columnist and an anti-nuclear activist from Maharashtra told the press of their concerns about plans for the construction of the world’s largest nuclear-power park, in Maharashtra. Six reactors of 1,650 megawatts each would be designed and built by a French nuclear energy company.

The press conference, which I attended, was nine days before disaster struck Japan’s nuclear reactors. Speakers warned of environmental and health disasters in a biodiverse coastal farming and fishing area. The plants’ design, they said, never has been tested or cleared by any country’s nuclear regulatory agency. They also decried the undermining of democracy in the Indian and state governments’ promotion of the plan, through heavy-handed tactics including forcing the reactors on a population that doesn’t want them and then trying to silence dissent through arrests. The retired admiral, L. Ramdas, and several high courts’ former justices were among opponents banned from the area. The group charged that environmental impact information has been withheld. “Anything to do with atomic energy is secret,” said Ramdas.

The remark soon would be echoed in Japan. “Everything is a secret. There’s not enough transparency in the industry,” the Associated Press quoted a Japanese former nuclear power plant engineer as saying of that country’s industry. The Japanese are frustrated their government has downplayed the severity of radiation discharged from the damaged plants, even as U.S. inspectors had far worse assessments. They have reason to be wary, given Japan’s history of cozy relationships between the energy industry and nuclear regulators, secrecy and cover-ups.

Secrecy and heavy-handedness seem to be hallmarks of the nuclear power industry, going back to the days of Karen Silkwood. The late employee of the Kerr-McGee Corp. in Oklahoma testified to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1974 about serious violations, alleging the company had falsified inspection records. She died under mysterious circumstances while going to meet a New York Times reporter.

We’ve had enough warnings now that to move ahead on nuclear power without taking a hard look at what dangers we could be inviting would just be reckless. Recently, President Obama said he will order the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to do a comprehensive safety review before proceeding with nuclear expansion. Yet some Iowa lawmakers are determined to proceed with legislation paving the way for MidAmerican Energy to build a 1,000- to 1,600-megawatt nuclear plant in Iowa. The bill says nuclear power “has a long-term proven record of providing a safe, reliable and secure source of electricity in the United States.”

Former Gov. Chet Culver in 2010 signed a law allowing MidAmerican to charge Iowa customers $15 million for a three-year nuclear feasibility study. Nine Democratic senators now want a vote delay. About 100 opponents gathered, hoping to speak at a Senate subcommittee meeting, where MidAmerican’s president spoke. They couldn’t.

The industry and lawmakers can marginalize opponents, thanks in part to the money imbalance between the sides. Anti-nuclear activist Jane Magers says her group has no funds to place ads. But shouldn’t consumers, who are paying for the study, at least be heard? This isn’t a partisan issue but a health and safety one, with key democratic principles at stake.

Basu can be reached at rbasu@dmreg. com.

Dept. Justice Claims Obama Can Kill Whoever He Wants, Waging War for the UN, Not Congress

[We owe it to the world to bring down the corrupted man who would appoint himself king.  Overthrow the budding monarchy and the would-be aristocrats.  What the hell are we waiting for?]

DEPT OF JUSTICE SAYS PRESIDENT OBAMA CAN SEND U.S. TROOPS TO DO THE UN’S BIDDING BY DECREE WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL

04-16-2011 5:37 am – Ben Johnson – FloydReports.com
The Justice Department has decided: it is perfectly acceptable for the president to send American troops into foreign military adventures without so much as consulting Congress, as long as he is carrying out the will of the United Nations.

Just before Barack Obama’s speech on the budget on Wednesday, the White House revealed that American jets have continued to bomb Libya, after giving the impression this would end. Since the “hand-off,” U.S. troops have operated under NATO command. And some figures are beginning to catch on that there is no evidence the Libyan intervention prevented genocide.

With the evidence piling up, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel weighed in on Obama’s war-by-decree in Libya. Although figures as diverse as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have declared the military adventure is grounds for impeachment, the OLC found that Obama acted within his “constitutional authority.” James M. Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations mentioned the report on the CFR’s blog last Friday. The OLC’s opinion states:

As we advised you prior to the commencement of military operations, we believe that, under these circumstances, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad, even without prior specific congressional approval.

It states “a variety or national interests…alone or in combination, may justify use of military force by a President.” Among them is “maintaining the credibility of United Nations Security Council mandates” or “enforcing UNSC mandates,” citing such national mistakes as Haiti, Bosnia, and Somalia. Libya involved “the combinations of at least two national interests…preserving regional stability and supporting the UNSC’s credibility and effectiveness,” and this “provided a sufficient basis for the President’s [sic. — government entities always capitalize their titles as though they were Oriental deities] exercise of his constitutional authority to to order the use of military force.”

This means two things:

1) Barack Obama had time to consult with the OLC, as well as the Arab League, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council before war, but not Congress; and

2) the OLC could not care less about the Founding Fathers’ interpretation of our founding document.

Indeed, the OLC says as much in its opinion. The president’s top legal advisers state their “understanding of the President’s constitutional authority reflects not only the express assignment of powers and responsibilities to the President and congress in the Constitution, but also, as noted, the ‘historical gloss’ placed on the Constitution by two centuries of practice.”

Under this scheme, violations of the Constitution become as important as the words of the Constitution.

The opinion cites legal precedents as hoary as…1941, offered by then-Attorney General Robert Jackson, later a New Deal judicial activist on the Supreme Court. To flesh out this “historical gloss,” the OLC refers its readers to Richard F. Grimmett’s “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2008,” a virtually comprehensive list of military incursions overseas.

Upon reading the list, one is struck by the reality that the overwhelming majority of instances are instant retaliation for some attack upon American citizens. Instances of attack without congressional authorization are underwhelming. Grimmett’s list includes, e.g., an instance in 1831-2 in which a captain “investigated the capture of three American sealing vessels.” That’s it. Investigated. Another case is Commodore David Porter 1824 attack upon a Puerto Rican town, following which he “was later court-martialed for overstepping his powers.”

Apparently, even instances worthy of the brig “prove” the acceptability of ignoring the U.S. Constitution’s clear wording on which branch of government possesses war-making powers.

To buoy its argument, the OLC states the War Powers Resolution of 1973 is “proof” Congress has no interest in overseeing “more limited engagements.” The War Powers Act — which stands on dubious constitutional grounds — specifically limits the president’s ability to send U.S. troops into “hostilities”:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to:

(1) a declaration of war,
(2) specific statutory authorization, or
(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces. (Emphasis added.)

Clearly, intervention in a Muslim civil war does not meet those grounds.

The DoJ is not completely averse to the Constitution. It acknowledges “one possible constitutionally-based limit on this presidential authority to employ military force in defense of important national interests — a planned military engagement that constitutes a ‘war’ within the meaning of the Declaration of War Clause may require prior congressional authorization.” Possible? May? Even these weak, shifting, murky grounds are “satisfied only by prolonged and substantial military engagements, typically involving exposure of U.S. military personnel to significant risk over a substantial period.” What if there is “substantial risk” for a short period? What if estimates are wrong and casualties force an escalation to full-blown war? We never get an answer to these questions.

Thus, the Attorney General’s boys find themselves in the odd position of arguing that the airborne destruction of an entire sovereign nation’s air force, the bombing of the leader’s compound, and a none-too-coded declaration from NATO leaders that they will push for regime change (“It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power”) is not a war.

How waging an undeclared, unauthorized war on behalf on North African Muslims advances American interests is anyone’s guess. But it clearly cements the president’s role as a king-like figure able tasked with carrying out the bidding of the United Nations, whether the people back home like it or not.

————————

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Libyan rebel’s story shows links to Taliban, Al Qaeda, NATO

Libyan rebel’s story shows links to Taliban, Al Qaeda, NATO

‘We are Libyans fighting for Libya,’ said the rebel fighter, whose life led him to all sides so he could continue his battle against Kadafi.

Libyan rebelsAbdul Monem Muktar Mohammed, left, seen with some of his men, was leading a convoy of 200 cars west of Ajdabiya, Libya, when a bullet struck him in the chest, his aides say. (Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times / April 16, 2011)

By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times

April 17, 2011

Reporting from Ajdabiya, Libya—

He once lived under theTaliban‘s protection, met with Osama bin Laden and helped found a group the U.S. has listed as a terrorist organization. He died in a secondhand U.S. military uniform, ambushed byMoammar Kadafi‘s men as he cleared a road after an airstrike by his new NATO allies.

Aides to Abdul Monem Muktar Mohammed say the Libyan rebel fighter was leading a convoy of 200 cars west of this hotly contested strategic city Friday when a bullet struck him on the right side of the chest. He opened his passenger door and jumped out. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby.

“Don’t wait, go,” he yelled to his men. Then he got to his feet, staggered a few steps and fell.

Mohammed’s final days were a mirror of his past, of a life that saw contradictions and intersections with U.S. policy, ones that could return to haunt the United States.

He arrived in Afghanistan in 1990 at the conclusion of the mujahedin’s silent partnership with the United States against the Soviet-backed Afghan regime. The following decades saw him become an international pariah, operating in an underground world of armed training camps and safe houses.

But with the revolt against Kadafi that started in February, he once again found himself in an uneasy alliance with the United States.

*

Five days before he died, with gray in his hair and bags under his eyes, Mohammed climbed a concrete tower on the outskirts of Ajdabiya and phoned in positions to the rebel government so NATO could drop bombs on Kadafi’s forces.

Putting down his Thuraya satellite phone, Mohammed waved a shiny black 9-millimeter pistol on a road filled with empty bullet casings and waited for the explosions.

A few hours later, Mohammed and his Omar Mukhtar brigade, one of the new military units officially sanctioned by the opposition government, rejoiced as blasts shook the city. A few started dancing and singing “God is great.”

“I have never been Al Qaeda now or in the future,” Mohammed said as he watched his men clap. “We are religious and ordinary people. We are Libyans fighting for Libya.”

The onetime holy warrior boasted that he even wanted a close battlefield relationship with NATO. But he also bristled at Western double standards. Why, he grumbled, does NATO so readily bomb the Taliban in Afghanistan but hesitates against Kadafi? Still, he would take any firepower he could get. He wished he had his own direct line to NATO rather than communicating through middlemen.

He laughed and said, “Give me their number.”

Rebel leaders are sensitive to criticism by some in the West that Al Qaeda “fellow travelers” are deeply involved in the fight against Kadafi. With some defensiveness, they say Afghan veterans such as Mohammed, 41, were pushed to extremes by Kadafi’s authoritarian rule, and that with freedom, the danger of a homegrown militant extremist threat has faded.

But there are many unanswered questions about Libya’s anti-Kadafi forces, with at least 20 former Islamic militant leaders in battlefield roles, according to the rebel army, and hundreds of Islamists participating or watching from the sidelines. All speak of unity and brotherhood, but in the new state, will they be tempted by a once-in-a-lifetime chance to overpower Libya with a conservative Islamist vision?

The fighters themselves might not even know their answer, caught up in the moment’s revolutionary fervor and vacillating between a longing for peace and their dreams of achieving an Islamic state.

*

Mohammed’s journey started at age 20, when he left his home in western Libya and traveled across the border to Algeria, flew to Frankfurt, Germany, then to Pakistan, and made his way with four Libyan friends to Afghanistan in early 1990. The year before, more than a 1,000 Islamists had been jailed in Libya, and Mohammed decided it was better to leave and try to follow a righteous path.

He fell in love with the mountains and the Afghans’ fighting prowess. With the fall of the old Soviet-backed Afghan regime in 1992, he and a group of other Libyan fighters decided to return home.

They slipped across the borders. The veteran mujahedin called themselves the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, and vowed to kill Kadafi, declaring their ambition to form an Islamic state. Mohammed lived in the southern city of Sabha under an assumed name. He didn’t dare contact his family. He hated Kadafi for detaining hundreds of Islamists and remembered the yearly public executions of political detainees and students.

“Hitler was a good man compared to Kadafi,” he said.

A first assassination plot, in 1994, involved planting bombs at a celebration for Kadafi, but the explosives failed to go off. Two years later, he was involved in another botched plot when a man hurled a dud grenade at Kadafi. Mohammed acknowledged without a hint of embarrassment that he picked the bomber and the weapon.

Mohammed escaped, first to Tunis, the Tunisian capital, and then to Turkey. He married an Algerian woman; they set up a home in Istanbul and had their first child. But when a colleague was detained and handed by the Turkish authorities to Libya, Mohammed fooled them with a fake Tunisian passport and fled.

On the run, he learned that his family was paying the price for his failed plot against Kadafi. One of his brothers, whom he had met secretly for 30 minutes in 1996, had been jailed and would be locked up for eight years.

There was only one place for Mohammed to go: back to Afghanistan, under the protection of the Taliban. He spent time studying in military camp, and in classes on politics and Islam. About 100 members of the LIFG congregated in Kabul, the capital, longing for the day when they could kill Kadafi and rule Libya in accordance with Islam.

Here Mohammed would have his encounter with the two men who shaped the future of radical Islam: Bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri.

In 2000, he said, he met the two men twice, once at a funeral and another time at a guesthouse. They exchanged pleasantries and nothing more, he said. Bin Laden later sent an emissary requesting that the LIFG join Al Qaeda, but Mohammed said the Libyan group refused.

“Before 9/11, Bin Laden wasn’t infamous. Everyone had their own projects and people. He was a wealthy man. Our project was to kill Kadafi. They offered for our group to join, but we were focused on Libya.”

Mohammed remembered a brief meeting when the group debated whether to join Al Qaeda. He said they disagreed with Bin Laden’s theory that if the United States was weakened, its Arab allies would fall.

“We were concerned with Libya and nothing else. We didn’t believe in killing civilians or fighting the United States,” he told The Times on Tuesday.

But there are disputes about whether the group ever did, in fact, pledge allegiance to Al Qaeda. In November 2007, Zawahiri and a senior Libyan Al Qaeda member with close ties to the LIFG said the group was joining the terrorist network. The LIFG followed with a strong denial.

Mohammed insisted that the Libyan insurgents knew Bin Laden’s 9/11 attack was a disaster for them. He was sure Kadafi would use the assault on the U.S. to hunt them down and woo Washington to his effort.

“Sept. 11 caused a big problem for us,” he said. “We rejected Sept. 11. It hurt our group. Kadafi was so happy.”

Within two days, the Libyans sent their wives to Pakistan and followed soon after. Mohammed left for Pakistan and then sneaked across the border to Iran. But instead of giving him a warm welcome, the Iranians imprisoned him for 7 1/2 years. At the time, Iranians were suspected of detaining Al Qaeda members for use as bargaining chips with the Americans.

Other leaders were captured by the Americans in Thailand, he said, and then sent to Kadafi’s jails in Libya. After his release, he lived quietly in Iran. The humiliation caused his voice to rise. “Don’t ask me about this period,” he said.

When the Libyan revolt started in February, Mohammed came back almost immediately.

After arriving in Benghazi, the rebels’ stronghold, he met with heads of the rebel council and was made the leader of his own fighting brigade. The council issued him an ID badge proclaiming him “a general of the revolutionaries” and head of the Omar Muktar brigade, which he said had 150 members.

Members of Mohammed’s group, the LIFG, are scattered throughout the new volunteer army. Its leaders keep a low profile but met shortly after the uprising began to rename themselves the Islamic Movement for Change.

On a recent day, Mohammed sat in an empty villa in Ajdabiya, on a residential street decorated with a pink flower hedge. He had just come back from manning battle positions. Three fighters slept on a couch, cradling their rifles. He fiddled with his phone and wolfed down some boiled chicken and pasta.

He said that, when the fighting is done, he dreamed of returning to his birthplace and being left alone.

“I want to hand in my gun and be with my children,” he said. Then he walked to his olive-green pickup, followed by his men.

ned.parker@latimes.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

The Planned Chaos of National Security Socialism

The Planned Chaos of National Security Socialism: Time to Give the Central Planners a Dishonorable Discharge

by Scott Lazarowitz

Recently by Scott Lazarowitz: The State vs. Christian Moral Values

With Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama’s new war of Orwellian peaceful violence in Libya, this is yet another reminder of why socialism and central planning in security is a bad idea. The conservatives who are the most outspoken opponents of “socialism” are the true socialists: It is they who cherish national security socialism, the public or State ownership of the means of production in national security, a central-planning monopoly in territorial protection.

Americans and foreign peoples have suffered time and again because of the moral hazard of any form of socialism, from what Ludwig von Mises would call socialism’s “planned chaos,” in this case the planned chaos of socialized national security. The State’s inherently immoral and counter-productive scheme of usurping a people’s right of self-defense has allowed the State to be responsible for the most egregious crimes against humanity, especially in the American “Civil War,” in two World Wars, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other parts of the world.

And now Libya. Some are already predicting that Obama’s war in Libya will backfire, with a possible Gaddafirevenge attack similar to the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Given that socialists and central planners tend to not learn from history, this Obama Libya war looks like another textbook study of planned chaos, similar to George W. Bush’s Iraq.

Former President Bush’s planned chaos in Iraq had effected in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, widespread destruction of the country, and the establishment of a repressive, pro-Iranian Islamic Sharia Law in Iraq.

Even further than merely a Gaddafi revenge attack against the U.S., Obama may possibly be arming Libyan rebels including members of al Qaeda, a stated enemy of the United States especially since 9/11.

And Syria and Mexico may be next on the list for the inept security socialists.

One only needs to step back and view the history of America’s security blunders in a broad sense. For example, if America did not have a centralized national security monopoly in Washington, and instead allowed open competition in the field of security and required that all individuals follow the rule of law, would President Wilson have risked entering the U.S. into World War I, especially knowing that the War was already ending with treaties already in the works? Would President Lincoln have waged war against the Southern States, targeted thousands of innocent civilians and destroyed entire cities, had there been actual legal and market-based financial consequences applied to Lincoln for such aggressions?

Government bureaucrats, holding a monopoly in territorial protection and lacking incentives to improve performance, do not tend to pay attention to past mistakes and are not held accountable for their transgressions.

Some further questions to ask include these: Would the U.S. government’s agents of the Pentagon or CIA have deliberately radicalized Muslims in Afghanistan during Afghanistan’s 1980s war with Russia, had the U.S. government actually paid attention to the consequences of its CIA-led coup in Iran in 1953? Those consequences were the decades of Iranian anti-Americanism, the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution and the taking of American hostages in Iran.

Also, would the U.S. government have initiated wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s had its monopolists learned from the consequences, throughout the 1990s, of their first war in Iraq of 1991?

Why do the Washington security monopolists repeatedly make Americans less safe with schemes of intrusions and provocations abroad? One possible explanation is the inherently flawed nature of any central planning monopoly.

The comparison of government provision of national security to a hypothetical private security provision may sound absurd to some people. However, it is necessary to point out that, instead of being an economically sound system, the current government monopoly is a political system, in which congressmen and senators’ reelection campaigns (and campaign finances and contributions) are a part of the equation, along with the federal government’s uncoordinated defense bureaucracy and the politically-connected private-sector military contractors.

The current centralized national security monopoly is without competition and profit/loss motives to genuinely provide the most efficient, high quality service at the lowest cost to the consumers. Under the current socialism, the real motive turns into a “breaking windows” scheme to justify an ever-increasing bureaucracy combined with its corporatist colluders.

To illustrate those points, one can study economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s comparison of America’s democratic public ownership of a centralized government to the monarchies of the past. Unlike a monarchy in which the king owns the country’s territory and has a long-term interest in its capital value, in democracies the rulers are “temporary caretakers”:

(The) temporary and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried out without regard for the value of the capital stock.

Hoppe further notes:

…a private government owner (a monarch) will want to avoid exploiting his subjects so heavily, for instance, as to reduce his future earnings potential to such an extent that the present value of his estate actually falls. Instead, in order to preserve or possibly even enhance the value of his personal property, he will systematically restrain himself in his exploitation policies….. In distinct contrast…. public government ownership will result in continual capital consumption. Instead of maintaining or even enhancing the value of the government estate, as a private owner would tend to do, a government’s temporary caretaker will quickly use up as much of the government resources as possible….

The system of government monopolies, funded largely by coercive taxation and a central bank’s creation of money without genuine value, inherently encourages the irresponsibility of deficit-spending and public debt. The scheme also does not impose punishments for the temporary caretakers’ domestic or foreign aggressions with their misuse of governmental apparatus.

In economic terms, because of government bureaucrats’ lack of competitive incentives and profit/loss motive, government’s central planners cannot take individual market factors into account, making economic calculations impossible. Government monopolists engage in political calculations rather than economic ones. And government’s central planners seem as incapable of understanding the morals and ethics of civil liberties and property rights in foreign relations as they do in domestic policy. Hence, the “planned chaos” and blowback of each and every fiasco of the U.S. government’s national security socialism scheme.

Because of this socialist government monopoly in territorial security and armed force, the bureaucrats act more in their own political self-interests and have tended to act more aggressively, because there are no punishments of their aggressions and short-sightedness. In contrast, there would be punishments, economic and legal, applied to private industries who engage in acts of fraud or deceit (e.g. going to war based on lies, fabricated information and propaganda), trespass on the property of others (e.g. placing military bases and stationing troops on other countries’ territories despite the objections of those territories’ populations), or cause deaths of civilians and destruction of property.

Last year’s Washington Post series, Top Secret America (Parts 123, and 4) on this scheme informed Americans about how the current national security socialism has turned into a tax-redistributive racket. (And it did so by the turn of the 20th Century, no less.) As more private industries became connected with the State, theirprofiting from other Americans’ labor and productivity via the redistributive apparatus of taxation has replaced the principles of private property rights, economic freedom and the rule of law. The U.S. government’s provocations abroad have become justifications for the continued expansion of the parasitic military-industrial-complex.

And in the past several decades especially, Washington’s “security experts” have repeatedly demonstrated that their schemes have more to do with the expansion of the State than with the protection of 300 million Americans. The central planners have turned to extremes – such as, in their TSA, their PATRIOT Act and other policies that have grossly damaged individuals’ rights to due process and presumption of innocence – rather than face the truth that it is the U.S. government’s intrusive and violentforeign policy that has provoked terrorism against the U.S.

The apparatus of the State’s socialization and monopoly of territorial protection has provided a structure of power over others. Unfortunately, that power seems to attract those with less moral character but with more desire for that power, and with a lack of inhibition to exercise that power. The system has encouraged the agents of the State to become increasingly aggressive in their use of governmental apparatus to wield that power, as they have zealously seized on opportunities to expand the size and power of the State especially through their demagogic manipulations of the public’s fears and anxieties. Private security firms could not do that, for they must act under the rule of law.

For example, in 1990, former President George H.W. Bush used the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as a means to further expand the U.S. government’s military and other government apparatus in the Middle East. There were also questionable corporate special interests, such as Henry Kissinger’sKuwait connection, involved in Bush’s 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, a country that was of no threat to the U.S. The propaganda campaign that was used to persuade the American people to support the war was extensive. 12 Years later, Bush’s son George W. Bush also employed a major propaganda campaign to convince the American people to start another war against Iraq.

Governments, with a monopoly over territorial security, have also employed false flag operations as a means of manipulating the fears and anxieties of their countries’ inhabitants, for the purpose of further expanding their State apparatus and power.

Even now, with President Obama’s continuation and expansion of the Bush wars overseas, the U.S. military bureaucrats have become even more zealous in their attempts to justify further expansions of the U.S. government abroad, despite their constant failures and ineptitude. Now, they have been illegally employing the use of psy-ops, or “psychological operations,” on U.S. senators to get congressional support to increase troops and funding for the failing wars.

Psy-ops are generally used on foreign government agents or diplomats to influence their emotions and decisions to become favorable to one’s own ends. Psy-ops are often used on the enemy during times of war; given that the senators being targeted in those operations represent the American people, it gives the appearance that the U.S. government perceives Americans as the enemy. This is usually what happens when a government – through its monopolistic power – grows in its size and power, and its existence becomes more self-serving.

The zeal of U.S. government officials has been exposed now in broad daylight, in their treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, the Army soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified documents exposing alleged U.S. war crimes and U.S. diplomatic incompetence and buffoonery. None of the leaks are said to have posed a threat to any U.S. soldier overseas or to Americans in the U.S. The military has been holding Manning for months in isolation, employing extreme psychological distress, as well as forced prolonged nudity. As I have mentioned, only sick degenerates would treat another human being that way. The officials are really using Manning as an example, a means of threatening others who may consider heroic whistleblowing acts.

Throughout the past century we have seen one example after another, one senseless war after another, millions of deaths and ruined lives, of how the socialist monopoly of national security and its planned chaos have gone against our security, as well as against our freedom and prosperity.

In 19th Century economist Gustave de Molinari’s comparison of government-monopolized security and the private production of security, Molinari noted,

Under the rule of free competition, war between the producers of security entirely loses its justification. Why would they make war? To conquer consumers? But the consumers would not allow themselves to be conquered. They would be careful not to allow themselves to be protected by men who would unscrupulously attack the persons and property of their rivals.

If private security firms used their armaments, coercion against others and deceit for the purpose of acting aggressively against neighbors or foreigners (for reasons other than “defense” of their clients or fellow territorial inhabitants), that would land them in jail. In fact, because of the invasiveness, enslavements and trespasses inherent in all forms of socialism – not just national security socialism – there logically could not be actual rule of law. Can anyone seriously claim that the U.S. government has been acting under the rule of law?

In fact, we have seen, time and again, how the central planning monopolists of the State are continuously rewarded for their failures, and for their crimes as well.

There need to be legal and competitive incentives to ensure the efficiency and productivity of any service to others. Why? Because of human nature. There need to be market-oriented punishments for failure to achieve, such as bankruptcy and termination of employment or contracts. And there need to be legal punishments applied to those who criminally misuse armed forces. Otherwise, if failures and crimes are allowed to continue without punishments, that is ipso-facto rewarding those failures and crimes, a consequence inherent in a compulsory monopoly in which the citizenry are forced to patronize the one provider of a service – in this case, that of territorial protection, or national security.

For further information on the private alternative to national security socialism, please read No More Military Socialism by Murray Rothbard,Foreign Aggression by Morris and Linda Tannehill, The Private Production of Defense (pdf) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Myth of National Defense (pdf) also by Hoppe, and The Myth of Efficient Government Service by Rothbard.

But for those who are still skeptical of the notion of privatization of security, and who are not as concerned as I am regarding the growing intrusiveness of the State and its hired guns into our lives and liberty, perhaps an acceptable alternative could be decentralization. Eliminate the U.S. federal government’s centralized monopoly in territorial security and allow each U.S. state to control its own self-protection. Doing so would reduce the possibility that any one state would aggress against others, or against foreigners, for such aggressions would be met with harsh punishments from surrounding states. Additionally, with renewed independence and sovereignty, each state’s inhabitants would be better able to “vote with their feet,” which, given the one monopolistic choice we currently have with Washington, most Americans are not able to do.

Finally, there are those who are concerned that without a centralized National Security monopoly in Washington, that it would be easier for foreign governments to invade the U.S. But those are unfounded fears. If, for example, China were to invade the U.S. with the goal of occupying and taking over America, a likely scenario given how indebted the U.S. is to China and increasingly less likely to pay what is owed, most Americans would readily take up arms to protect themselves, their families and their properties. This situation, however, can be easily avoided by ending the Federal Reserve’s compulsory monopoly in the production of money and allowing for competing currencies, and outlawing Congressional deficit-spending and public debts.

April 15, 2011

Scott Lazarowitz [send him mailis a commentator and cartoonist at Reasonandjest.com.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Dozens wounded as protesters clash in Jordan

Dozens wounded as protesters clash in Jordan

By JAMAL HALABY

Associated Press

A Salafi protester holds a sword during a demonstration for extremist Salafi Muslims in the town of Zarqa, east of Amman, Jordan, Friday, April 15, 2011. The Islamic hard-liners clashed with supporters of Jordan's king, wounding dozens, in the latest move by the extremist movement to assert itself amid the country's wave of anti-government demonstrations.
Hasan Tamimi
A Salafi protester holds a sword during a demonstration for extremist Salafi Muslims in the town of Zarqa, east of Amman, Jordan, Friday, April 15, 2011. The Islamic hard-liners clashed with supporters of Jordan’s king, wounding dozens, in the latest move by the extremist movement to assert itself amid the country’s wave of anti-government demonstrations.

Hundreds of protesting Islamic hard-liners clashed with supporters of Jordan’s king on Friday, wounding dozens, in the latest move by the extremist movement to assert itself amid the country’s wave of anti-government demonstrations.

A crowd of about 350 extremist Salafi Muslims faced off with a slightly smaller group of king loyalists in the town of Zarqa. Salafis beat the government supporters with clubs and fists, and the two sides hurled stones at each other, leaving people bloodied on the ground.

The Salafi movement – an ultraconservative version of Islam with an ideology similar to al-Qaida’s – is banned in Jordan, but it has grown in strength in recent years and Salafis have held a series of rallies in various parts of the country in recent weeks.

Their demonstrations are separate from the 14-week-old wave of anti-government protests by lefitsts and more moderate Islamists demanding democratic reforms in the Arab U.S. ally.

More than 2,000 Jordanians took to the streets throughout the country Friday to press their demands for a greater political voice. About half of them demonstrated outside Amman’s municipal building after Muslim prayers.

They held a huge Jordanian flag and chanted, “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Jordan. Reform the system now.”

Police separated them from a small group of government loyalists who shouted threats: “Those who fight us, beware! Our rocks will smash your heads.”

Unlike protests elsewhere in the region, Jordanians do not want their ruler, King Abdullah II, to step down. Activists are asking for some of his powers to be curbed.

The violence in Zarqa began when a crowd of Salafis rallied in front of the town’s Omar ibn Khattab Mosque, listening to speeches by Salafi leaders denouncing Jordan’s ties to the United States and calling for rule by Islamic Shariah law in Jordan. A crowd of government supporters gathered nearby to watch.

One of the government loyalists waved a framed portrait of Abdullah in the air and marched toward the Salafi crowd. The Salafis started to push him back, then beat him and he fell to the ground, his face bloodied. Other Salafis rushed to nearby cars, pulled out clubs and cables and attacked the rival group, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said.

Stone throwing and fistfights erupted, leaving many bloodied, until police intervened and convinced the government supporters to move farther away from the mosque.

Eighty-three policemen were wounded, including four who were stabbed by Salafis and are in critical condition, said police chief Lt. Gen. Hussein Majali.

He said the attacking Salafis were armed with barbed wire, swords, knives and clubs. The police were unarmed, he said, but used tear gas to disperse crowds. Officers arrested 17 Salafi protesters.

Zarqa, an industrial city north of the capital, Amman, is the birthplace of slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The pro-reform demonstrators in Jordan have been pressing for a series of changes to loosen the control of the king over the government, including popular elections for the prime minister, who is currently appointed by the king. Unlike in other Arab countries where protesters have sought the ouster of the leader, they have not demanded the removal of King Abdullah.

New laws on elections and political parties – key demands of the protesters – are expected to be presented to the government by month’s end, said Musa Barhouma, a national dialogue member, during the Amman demonstration.

“The road to reform is long,” said Muath Khawaldeh, spokesman for the youth movement demanding reform. “So far we have not seen serious steps taken by government. But this won’t stop us protesting until our demands are met,” he said.

The government has taken a relatively hands-off stance toward the protests, though some clashes have erupted in recent weeks. The Salafis have taken advantage of the lenient approach to hold rallies pressing their own agenda, including demands for the release of a 300 members of their movement serving prison terms for plotting al-Qaida-linked terror attacks in Jordan.

At the rally in Zarqa on Friday, one senior Salafi figure, Abed Shihadeh al-Tahawi, lashed out at the Jordanian government for its ties with the United States and for its crackdowns on the Salafis, as the crowd chanted, “down down with America, down down with democracy.”

“The Jordanian government has been chasing us everywhere for Americans’ sake. We’re not going anywhere. One day all the Arab world will be ours,” al-Tahawi said. “We will have Shariah law rule in Jordan. It’s only a matter of time, and all America and Israel’s efforts will go away.”

Associated Press writer Dale Gavlak in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.