Bahrain Bans Rights To Assembly and Protest After Bahraini Activist Allegedly Dies from Denial of Treatment

 source

[Shia activist Muhammad Ali Ahmed Mushaima dies in captivity from govt. denial of his most basic human right to proper medical care.  The ensuing rioting and protests against his treatment.  

MEANWHILE, one of the Bahraini princes is traveling to Gaza to stir-up shit on Israel’s behalf.]

Bahrain: Tens of Thousands in Mushaima’s Funeral, 6 Medics Rearrested

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis poured into streets Tuesday in participation of the funeral of the martyr Mohammed Ali Ahmed Mushaima.

Bahrain’s Information Authority said he had been in hospital since August, and died of complications from sickle cell disease.
But opposition activists accused the authorities of causing the 23-year-old’s death by denying him proper treatment.

“Due to his medical condition, his lawyer had tried more than once … to ensure adequate medical attention for him, but the prison authorities failed to provide such attention,” said Mohammed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

Mushaima was jailed for seven years in March 2011 for “vandalism, rioting, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest”, one of hundreds of people who were arrested in weeks of mass protests.
Meanwhile, news agencies reported that clashes erupted afterwards when police stopped hundreds of people trying to participate in the funeral.
Separately, activists said six Bahraini medics had been re-arrested on Tuesday, a day after losing appeals against jail terms ranging from one month to five years for their role in the pro-democracy protests.
The medics were freed from detention last year after an outcry over allegations of torture.
Ali al-Ekry, former senior surgeon at the Salmaniya hospital in Manama, was sentenced in June to five years in jail. Eight other medics received prison sentences ranging from one month to three years, and nine people were acquitted.

The World Medical Association, a confederation of 100 national medical associations, said the verdicts were “unacceptable” and urged Bahrain to drop the sentences.

Amnesty said it considered the jailed medics prisoners of conscience.
“Despite the government’s claims that the medics committed a criminal offence, Amnesty International believes they have been jailed solely for peacefully exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly,” said Ann Harrison, program director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

 

Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org 

[

Elitists Use Personal Positions of Power To Bring About the “Culling” of the Human Herd

Saving Humanity

Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show

Dave Hodges

The Common Sense Show

Do you remember when your mother asked you if you would jump off a cliff if everyone else was doing it? It turns out that all of us would have been wise to heed the advice from our mothers as the globalists aren’t just encouraging us to jump off a cliff, they are, in fact, pushing us off of the proverbial cliff in a deliberate attempt to fulfill the their mandate which is to eliminate a substantial portion of humanity. Meanwhile, the globalists will be safely tucked away in some underground structure free from the harm that they are perpetrating upon humanity. Sadly, many of our friends and family members are willingly going to their demise without so much as a whimper.

Heretofore, the topic of intentional depopulation was the perceived product of paranoid delusional conspiracy theorists who had too much time on their hands. The most frequent refrain from the unaware is that “they” would never do that. However, the globalists have left an unmistakable paper trail in which their true agenda is exposed.

I have collected a sample of quotes from the global elite, both past and present. And even people who cannot find the courage to abandon their normalcy bias, will have a difficult time denying the disturbing quotes which follow. .

Officials in the United Nations Want You Dead

Surely, the peace loving United Nations, complete with its expressed desire to save the world from any and all evil would stand in line to thwart any expressed threat to inhabitants of this planet, right?  Well, not exactly. The United Nations is permeated with individuals who are Satanically inspired and have repeatedly, on many fronts, have expressed their intent to reduce the world’s population by dramatic means, if necessary. Please consider the following quotes:

“No one will enter the New World Order unless he or she will make a pledge to worship Lucifer. No one will enter the New Age unless he will take a Luciferian Initiation.”
David Spangler, Director of Planetary Initiative, United Nations

The present vast overpopulation, now far beyond the world carrying capacity, cannot be answered by future reductions in the birth rate due to contraception, sterilization and abortion, but must be met in the present by the reduction of numbers presently existing. This must be done by whatever means necessary.

Initiative for the United Nations ECO-92 EARTH CHARTER

 

“One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say in order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.         

 Jacques Cousteau, UNESCO Courier

“A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion. At the more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible”.

United Nations, Global Biodiversity Assessment

                     “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline would  be ideal”                                                                                      

Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major United Nations contributor

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that this pack of Eugenicists are overseeing our elections?  Perhaps the officials at the United Nations stand alone among elite leaders on the planet.

 

 What About Our Educated Elite?

Although it is painfully obvious that the United Nations elite have a high level of contempt for the average person, surely those people responsible for educating our children will teach the time honored virtues of the United States Constitution. Surely, they will teach their students to develop a healthy respect for American sovereignty so that the genocidal lunatics running the United Nations are unable to put their genocidal schemes into motion. Upon further review, this is not the case as I bring to you the words of those who educate and mold the minds of our young people.

War and famine would not do. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved. AIDS is not an efficient killer because it is too slow. My favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population is airborne Ebola (Ebola Reston), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years. “We’ve got airborne diseases with 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that. “You know, the bird flu’s good, too. For everyone who survives, he will have to bury nine”

Dr. Eric Pianka University of Texas speaking on the topic of reducing the world’s population to an audience on population control.

A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells, the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions”.                                                                            

  Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb

“We have to take away from humans in the long run their reproductive autonomy as the only way to guarantee the advancement of mankind.”

Francis Crick, The discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA

It strongly appears that the Eugenicists patrolling corridors of educational institutions possess the same disdain for mankind as do the lunatic officials from the United Nations.

 

What About the Environmental Elites?

It is apparent that humanity cannot look to the sociopathic leaders of the United Nations and America’s top academic leaders for salvation.  But certainly the eco-friendly environmentalists, with their penchant for saving the whales and the spotted owl will ride to the rescue of mankind.  Regrettably, this is also not the case. It seems that the humanitarian spirit of the environmentalists does not apply to any species which possess a collapsible thumb, the power of speech and has a well-developed cerebral cortex. Again, the words of the elite exposes their depopulation agenda.

“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”

 Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Leader of the World Wildlife Fund

Malthus has been vindicated; reality is finally catching up with Malthus. The Third World is overpopulated, it’s an economic mess, and there’s no way they could get out of it with this fast-growing population. Our philosophy is: back to the village.”                  

 Dr. Arne Schiotz, World Wildlife Fund Director of Conservation

 

What About Our Government Leaders?

Historically, many Americans believe that they can look to the government to protect them from the evils of the world.  It is clear that our blind trust in our public officials misplaced. Our leaders are not our friends, and have not been for a very long time as evidenced by the following quotes:

“Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind”
Theodore Roosevelt

“There is a single theme behind all our work–we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it….” “Our program in El Salvador didn’t work. The infrastructure was not there to support it. There were just too goddamned many people…. To really reduce population, quickly, you have to pull all the males into the fighting and you have to kill significant numbers of fertile age females….” The quickest way to reduce population is through famine, like in Africa, or through disease like the Black Death….
Thomas Ferguson, State Department Office of Population Affairs

“Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries”.
Dr. Henry Kissinger

“The world’s population needs to be reduced by 50%,” and “The elderly are useless eaters”
Dr. Henry Kissinger

The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.”
Obama’s science czar John P. Holdren: From Ecoscience

One percent of the population is sociopathic. Here are two clear markers for Sociopaths, discoverable in their behavior patterns: 1) Sociopaths have no conscience. Hence, 2) Sociopaths cannot feel guilt nor remorse, like  ordinary people can.

These are evil people, very evil people. Superficially charming, they are selfish, greedy, unemphathetic, manipulative, and prone to violence and abuse. They steal, cheat, vandalize others property, swindle, and they are pathological liars. They are unconcerned with the feelings of other humans, who are mere objects to be used, and have little or no conscience

A recent book, authored by Martha Stout, in which the material came from released government documents CEO’s are three times more likely to be a sociopath than the general population. Politicians are four times more likely to be sociopathic than you and I.  These are the people who seek power and once they obtain that power, the see absolute power, much to detriment of the soon-to-be extinct members of human race.

 

What Is Humanity To Do?

If humanity is to preserve itself in its present form, it will be necessary to educate the masses as to the planned perils which lie ahead. The pro-human preservation movement needs bodies, billions and billions of bodies. Yet, the very victims of the coming planned genocide are dumbed down by the schools and propagandized into a false sense of security by the mainstream media which is owned by six global elite corporations who also want you gone.

For humanity to survive, we need to collectively rise from our knees and seize control of the planet’s institutions and permanently banish these dangerous sociopaths from their self-anointed positions of planetary leadership. The first step in gathering the numbers of people which we will need to accomplish this goal, is to educate the human race in as great as numbers as possible. My suggestion would be to forward these quotes to everyone you know and then follow up with one question. Do you think that your status in life is so significant that you and your family will be spared the coming holocaust?  If not, then you better roll up your sleeves and convince as many people as possible that we are in a great deal of danger.

OK Welfare Applicants Surrender To Drug Screening, When Will Social Security and All Fed Aid Follow Suit?

[The Police State begins in small steps, so as not to arouse the ire of the general public.  The seizing of blood or urine samples against our consent can be done under any “emergency” pretext, even when government-created flu vaccines turn normal people into infected zombies (NOT MY SCENARIO, this one originated with the CDC (Center for Disease Control).]

New Drug Screening Law In Oklahoma Takes Effect On Thursday

By Deanne Stein, News 9 – bio | email
File PhotoFile Photo
OKLAHOMA CITY -A new law allowing drug testing for certain welfare applicants goes into effect on Thursday.

Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2388 into law back in May.

5/16/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Governor Signs Drug Screening Bill Into Law

Under the new law, the Department of Human Services is required to screen adults who apply to the “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” program. Anyone who fails or refuses the drug test will be denied benefits.

Applicants who test positive for illegal drug use and undergo substance abuse treatment can reapply for benefits six months after the date of their denial. Child-only cases and underage parents would be exempt from drug screenings.

5/17/2012 Related Story: DHS Spokesperson Explains New Drug Screening Law

The bill also allows for an alternative payee to be named when a parent has been denied benefits.

Deja Vu–Saudi Women Prevented from Escaping Wedding Tent Fire–25 Dead

[This is obviously a repeat of the infamous March 2002 girls’ school fire in Mecca, where Saudi religious police physically prevented hundreds of girls trapped inside from escaping, because the girls were not dressed appropriately to be seen by men.  Any girls reaching fresh air were beat back with batons, barring them from escaping the blaze, which claimed 15 lives (SEE: Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue).  In that conflagration, firemen weren’t even allowed access to save the girls.  According to the BBC report on the incident, it was normal Saudi practice to lock the doors  “to ensure full segregation of the sexes.”  It is logical to assume that this practice was being enforced by the religious authorities at the Saudi wedding, where the sexes were segregated.  Why else would the “TENT” have an “IRON DOOR”?  Evidently, the dreaded Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice have no problem enforcing the laws governing segregation of the sexes, but not those preventing the crazy, uncivilized Arab tradition of “celebratory gunfire” (SEE:  Celebratory gunfire at Saudi wedding cuts cable, 23 killed ;  Blaze inside tent at Saudi wedding kills 23 women, children; authorities open probe).]

25 people killed in Saudi Arabia wedding fire 

Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AlRiyadh.com
  • Residents sift through debris following a fire at a wedding in Saudi Arabia that killed 25 people.
Manama: A fire in Saudi Arabia has killed 25 people and injured at least 30 more, a civil defence officer said.
Most of the victims in Tuesday evening’s fire were women and children attending a wedding in Abqaiq, 60 kilometeres southwest of the Dhahran-Dammam-Khobar metropolitan area in eastern Saudi Arabia.
The police have launched an investigation while efforts are exerted to identify the victims.
Early reports indicate that the fire started when an electricity pole fell on the building and caused panic among the guests who attempted to escape from the only exit. A report in the Arabic daily Al Riyadh said that the fire broke out in a high voltage power transformer that fell on the building iron door and electrocuted those who touched it as they tried to run out.

Sabq news site said that many of the victims were electrocuted as they attempted to leave the building.
In line with traditions in the Gulf, wedding celebrations in Saudi Arabia are segregated.

Ex-Chinese diplomat claims that U.S. Wants Quarrel with China, Not A Fight–(time will tell)

[Today’s action–China expels Japan ships from waters near disputed islands]

Ex-Chinese diplomat claims that U.S. is stirring China-Japan tensions

By 

Ex-Chinese diplomat claims that U.S. is stirring China-Japan tensions

Retired diplomat Chen Jian has served his time as an under secretary general of the United Nations and as China’s ambassador to Japan. According to him, the US is looking at ways to get a strategically get their foothold back into Asia and the current Senkaku Island dispute is serving this purpose. By doing what it’s doing, the US is definitely managing to keep the tensions alive between the two Asian countries.

Chen believes that the United States should contain Tokyo and bring its attention to encouraging diplomatic negotiations between China and Japan over the disputed islands. As Chen playfully suggests, the U.S.is interested in a quarrel with China, but will not like to fight it. Although he is now retired, Chen’s comments bear value and come at a time when there is no official statements coming forth. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had organized the speech and it was attended by half a dozen Chinese diplomats.

The tone of the speech was more in the lines of getting China and Japan to reduce the risk of further rifts and clashes. He especially spoke about the Chinese and Japanese patrol vessels getting too close for comfort and within range of each other. According to him, many people across the two nations feel that the U.S. has deliberately planted the rift between them. Chen opines that the U.S. is also encouraging the right-wing in Japan, and the rise of militarism. In China’s defense, it sent administrative vessels to the disputed islands, not warships from its navy. The U.S. say that they will support Japan, but not take a stand on the sovereignty of the islands.

Iran sends 2 warships to Sudan 5 days after air strike on its weapons factory in Khartoum

Iran sends 2 warships to Sudan 5 days after air strike on its weapons factory in Khartoum

NICOSIA — Iran has reported the arrival of its warships in Sudan.

The Teheran regime said two Iranian Navy vessels docked in Sudan on Oct.
29 as part of cooperation with the Arab League state. The vessels were
identified as a corvette named Shahid Naqdi and the Kharq frigate.

The Iran Navy’s 22nd fleet of warships has called at a Sudanese northeastern port in the Red Sea.

“They are meant to convey a message of peace and friendship to the
region’s countries and provide safety at sea in light of maritime
terrorism,” Iran’s official Irna news agency said.

The report came five days after a reported air strike on a major weapons factory in Khartoum operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Sudan has accused Israel of having fired air-to-ground missiles on the
Yarmouk facility, said to have manufactured Iranian weapons, including the Shihab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile.

On Oct. 29, Sudan reported another fire at Yarmouk. The Khartoum regime said the blaze stemmed from the missile attack on Oct. 24.

“There is no new attack, but the fire has rekindled,” Sudanese Army
spokesman Sawarmi Saad said. “It began in some places that had not been
treated by firemen.”

Irna said the two Iranian Navy vessels left Iran in September and sailed
through the Red Sea. The agency did not elaborate.

“The commanders of the Iranian flotilla met with Sudanese navy
commanders during the berthing ceremony,” Irna said. “The flotilla had left
the Bandar Abbas 1st Maritime Zone for the free and international waters in
September to conduct the mission.”

Sudan has also accused the United States of complicity in the purported
Israeli attack. On Oct. 29, the Sudanese daily Al Intiba said CIA director
David Petraeus denied any U.S. role in the air strike on Yarmouk. The
newspaper said Petraeus also appealed to Khartoum to protect American
citizens.

Ridiculing Real Govt. Plans To Wage War On the American People By Pretending That We Are Zombies

Zombie Pandemic Preparedness 101

READ ONLINE HERE

Marines, police prep for mock zombie invasion

By JULIE WATSON
Associated Press SAN DIEGO (AP) – Move over vampires, goblins and haunted houses, this kind of Halloween terror aims to shake up even the toughest warriors: An untold number of so-called zombies are coming to a counterterrorism summit attended by hundreds of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and others to prepare them for their worst nightmares.”This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration during the summit at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”

Hundreds of military, law enforcement and medical personnel will observe the Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of their emergency response training.

In the scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies. At one point, some members of the team are bit by zombies and must be taken to a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment.

“No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” Barker said. “If a law enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, `Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”

The keynote speaker beforehand will be a retired top spook _ former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

“No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it’s going to be a federal incident, so we’re making it happen,” Barker said. Since word got out about the exercise, they’ve had calls from “every whack job in the world” about whether the U.S. government is really preparing for a zombie event.

Called “Zombie Apocalypse,” the exercise follows the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign launched last year that urged Americans to get ready for a zombie apocalypse, as part of a catchy, public health message about the importance of emergency preparedness.

The Homeland Security Department jumped on board last month, telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack. A few suggestions were similar to a few of the 33 rules for dealing with zombies popularized in the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which included “always carry a change of underwear” and “when in doubt, know your way out.”

San Diego-based Halo Corp. founded by former military special ops and intelligence personnel has been hosting the annual counterterrorism summit since 2006.

The five-day Halo counterterrorism summit is an approved training event by the Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which provide funds to pay for the coursework on everything from the battleground tactics to combat wounds to cybersecurity. The summit has a $1,000 registration fee and runs Oct. 29-Nov 2.

Conferences attended by government officials have come under heightened scrutiny following an inspector general’s report on waste and abuse at a lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference that led to the resignation of General Services Administrator Martha Johnson. The Las Vegas conference featured a clown, a mind-reader and a rap video by an employee who made fun of the spending.

Joe Newman, spokesman of the watchdog organization Project on Government Oversight, said he does not see the zombie exercise as frivolous.

“We obviously are concerned about any expenditure that might seem frivolous or a waste of money but if they tie things together, there is a lesson there,” Newman said. “Obviously we’re not expecting a zombie apocalypse in the near future, but the effects of what might happen in a zombie apocalypse are probably similar to the type of things that happen in natural disasters and manmade disasters. They’re just having fun with it. We don’t have any problems with it as a teaching point.”

Defense analyst Loren Thompson agreed.

“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient. That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagon calls asymmetric warfare,” Thompson said.

Organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race or culture _ something that could potentially be seen as offensive.

“I can think of a couple of countries where the local leaders are somewhat zombie-like,” he joked. “But nobody is going to take this personally.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Another Religious Leader Murdered In Makhachkala, Dagestan for Preaching Against Salafis and Wahhabis

[Barely four months ago, another local Mullah was also murdered in the Dagestani city of Makhachkala  (SEE:  Muslim Cleric Murdered for Preaching Peace).  Both Imams openly opposed the teachings of the radical Salafis and Wahhabis (SEE:  Anti-Militancy Imam, killed in Dagestan Was Known for Opposing Militants’ Ideas).]

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — A radical Muslim cleric was shot dead Tuesday in Russia’s southernmost city of Derbent amid spiraling confrontation between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims in the violence-ridden Dagestan province, Russian police said.

Two unidentified assailants gunned down imam Kalimulla Ibragimov, his father and brother as they left their house for a morning prayer early Tuesday, regional police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said.

The 49-year-old Ibragimov preached Salafism, a radical movement that promotes an ultraconservative brand of Islam, Gasanov said. Russia’s militant Salafis want an independent Islamist state that would include the Caucasus region and parts of southern Russia with sizable Muslim populations.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack could be linked to tensions between Salafis and Sufi Muslim brotherhoods that have for centuries held sway over religious life in Dagestan and the entire Caucasus region.

Ibragimov is the fifth Muslim cleric killed this year in Dagestan, Russia’s most ethnically diverse republic of 3 million that lies between Chechnya and the oil-rich Caspian Sea.

In August, a female suicide bomber killed Said Afandi, the powerful leader of a Sufi Muslim brotherhood, along with six other people. Afandi’s tens of thousands of followers included influential officials, clerics and businessmen.

Dagestan has for years been roiled by an Islamic insurgency that has spread across the region following two separatist wars in Chechnya. Human rights groups say law enforcement officers frequently resort to extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture, breeding hostility and provoking retaliatory attacks.

Clashes with militants and attacks on police occur almost daily in Dagestan.

Mexican Body Count from America’s Drug War

The Unnamed of Calderon Leave Their Mark

 Borderland Beat Reporter Havana

Mexico • 24,102 people: the equivalent of half a football stadium or a medium-sized town is the approximate number of bodies that have gone to the grave at the end of the current administration. And most importantly, it is a highly conservative estimate. It does includes full records of Mexico’s most violent states, such as Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. 

Throughout the six years of Calderon’s Presidency, thousands of bodies have been buried in obscurity. Several more bodies are added every week: They are migrants, innocents, homeless, homeless families, criminals, and victims of homicide. There are bones and bodily remains apparently unclaimed without owners, which are often buried and stacked in cemeteries across the country from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula. These faceless corpses are listed in official records only as NN.  No Name.

Extensive research from Milenio, based on over 470 records requests filed with state forensic medical services, municipal governments and even with the administration of small local cemeteries, brings a rough sketch that outlines a national atlas of unidentified bodies.

Among the data emerging from the research are two parallel events: 1) some attorneys general do not want to reveal the numbers of unidentified dead under their power. And 2) the number of bodies sent to grave has climbed every year since the beginning of Calderon’s term, on par with the number of executed criminals and victims killed in violence overall. On average, 10 bodies unclaimed name or have been buried daily.

So far, with the figures for 2012 still unfinished and updated only through August 2011, and September, 2011 starts a period in which the remains of more people were placed in public areas, without the benefit of a tombstone which completely ending the identification process: 4, 927 corpses never were claimed in that year, during which, coincidentally, it was the year with the highest number of executions linked to organized crime in all of Felipe Calderón’s administration.

The picture painted by the obtained documents clearly shows that in some cities, like Juarez and Monterrey, and Celaya, many corpses were in state of abandonment that were left to he abilities of the cemetery to process.. Consequently, new ditches in cemeteries have had to be excavated. It is a scenario that is repeated across the Republic, with mass graves or cemeteries running out of space, they have begun to recycle their spaces, removing and discarding the remains of seven years old.

Some cities and states saw the number of unidentified -NNs  (no-names) rapidly multiply. In Nayarit, the figures tripled in three years. In Baja California, they grew by 100 percent. In Torreón, they multiplied 10 times. In the port of Veracruz, there were over a thousand unidentified bodies in 2011. Durango, they went from having eight bodies buried without a name in 2006 jumpedto 438 in 2011 (see graphic above).

Not only that. The lack of control in the management of unidentified remains in many government entities, but also this  is found in many private entities as well, as evidenced by several of the responses in this process. The report which took more than three months in development and for which it was necessary to create a database from accumulated data with thousands of figures. But these are the ones that have been recovered: the missing may never be computed. Fifty municipalities have lost their files prior to 2008 and 2009 and many have lost records from the location of bodies which makes later further study, investigation and identification unlikely.
Some states, such as Michoacan, never recognized integrating a state-based data on unidentified bodies and have only just begun that process, although the violence has left thousands killed in that state. The Michoacan Attorney General can not answer how many bodies  the medical examiner received in the administration. “No statistic has the” justified reliance.

“The information on unidentified bodies held by government which have entered the medical examiner is not located together in one place or  well documented in a single organized relationship over the entire state.” But the PGJE-Michoacán said they are already working to correct this deficiency.

Requests for transparency, which will be available for public consultation http://www.milenio.com not only gives an idea of the general situation of unidentified bodies, but shows different levels of progress in terms of transparency in the country and states.

To obtain the data, it was necessary to use emails and state portals (Infomex, Saimex, Guanajuato Unit), without neglecting numerous phone calls and liaison to Social Communication to correct “mistakes” such as file loss, illegible documents and pages offline for weeks.

A total of 479 petitions submitted under pseudonyms, some were answered but some 191-230 all went unanswered. That is, they were completely ignored by the authorities. Another 40 applications were rejected, declared missing or classified as confidential state security.

Many states and municipalities provided the information without delay, as the Federal District, Sonora, Chihuahua and Guanajuato, among others. Their municipalities administrations relations’ prepared detailed statistics, held their forensic medical services and burial administrations open. In general, information was available in 25 of the 31 states and over 210 cities and towns.

It is these responses that arise the well disguised facts detailing how Mexico processes the nameless dead. For example, the bodies in Jalisco after taking a DNA sample are burned. The remaining ashes and a small jar with genetic material remain in niches, waiting for a possible identification. On the other hand, Monterrey is very precise: keeps track of pathological parts, ie limbs, organs retrieved from hospitals or in public. Some cities in Sonora to open their old graves  of people who no longer have family and Pachuca records fetuses – aborted, or abandoned – among all the bodies sent to their graves.
But there is the other side. There are states that did their best not to reveal the number of unidentified bodies processed in forensic services. Despite repeated calls, it was impossible to locate any transparency in the Office of Tamaulipas and that agency spokesman, Ruben Dario, said flatly that “there is no such data anyway because there was a transition of government and we do not know what happened before.  He went further: Tamaulipas  does not collect corpses because “that is the job of the Attorney General.”

Some states shaved their numbers or have calculation mistakes. The Attorney General of Sinaloa reported only a few bodies were  sent in to their company of calculation.   only 54 dead bodies from the mass graves in 2011,  and 227 in the entire administration. But a simple review of the medical service page, where scanned images are stored for unclaimed bodies, puts skepticism and doubts on those numbers. Its database of unidentified, unclaimed deceased located a total of 332 people during the administration.  91 bodies in 2011 alone, double the figure reported via transparency-were left in the hands the coroner.

In other states requesting the information, it turned out to be a tangled process and impossible to fulfill. In states like Oaxaca it is asked to bring a printed card facilities its attorney. In Campeche and Chiapas no transparency or even reliable systems: its pages are several months out of service and don’t support questions. Baja California Sur has not bothered to open a service at all yet.

The State of Mexico deserves mention. Data from corpses in mass graves were obtained by their municipalities and their central government, which put various obstacles to prevent the information was disclosed. While most municipalities mexiquenses data revealed their bodies were sent to the pit, the Attorney General made “mistakes”  attaching files to the responses on its website.  the unit promised responsible for its transparency, “It will be resolved quickly,” but a month has passed.

Beyond the technical problems, there are the negatives. That was the case of the Attorney General from the Offices of Veracruz and Aguascalientes as well as the prosecution office in Yucatán. The first two entities classified data as confidential, all information relating to the number of bodies received and processed by their respective forensic services (although municipalities delivered their data promptly without any problem). The Yucatan, for instance declared itself incompetent to answer any questions because, they said, that is not within its powers to have the bodies.
With respect to Veracruz, the argument went thus far: they literally said that the permanence of government, its institutions and to the territorial integrity of the state “would be at risk” to be known such data, in addition it would “invade privacy” of the unknown corpses.
Milenio appealed to the Veracruz Institute of Access Information (LAVI) to review that decision convinced that there is no invasion of privacy of a body without identity. Also cited was one of the criteria of the Federal Institute of Access to Information statistics stating that, whatever their nature, is public.

In the end, the LAVI ruled in favor of this newspaper to consider their arguments and held that the argument of the Attorney Veracruz “lacked legal validity.” So far, the PGJE has not complied with the mandate to disclose its files of unidentified bodies.

Despite that, some thirty Veracruz municipalities themselves provided the information requested. And it was this that allowed the construction of a map, incomplete but functional, on the situation of unidentified bodies and unclaimed in Veracruz. From this data it was revealed that the state has resorted to more graves. In total, six years so far and still waiting for the state figures that  the attorney could generate, municipal administrations have documented burial of 5,245 people. The highest figure in the entire country.

24,102 people is the most concrete figure has been added under this methodology. And yet, it is a conservative figure. Beyond Monterrey, failed to ask the municipal level in violent entities such as Nuevo Leon-Guerrero much less, and the requests that were made to the municipalities of Sinaloa Infomex system disappeared  by a “computer error” that two months later, has not been corrected by the State Commission on Access to Public Information. There were lost data from Culiacán, Badiraguato, Mazatlan and Los Mochis that, most likely, it would have increased the number of NNs (no names).

Milenio

Air force general assassinated in Damascus

Air force general assassinated in Damascus

by Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui

air-force-syria

DAMASCUS: A Syrian air force general has been assassinated in northern Damascus, state television said on Tuesday, blaming the killing on “terrorist groups.”

“As part of their campaign to target national personalities and scientists, armed terrorist groups assassinated Air Force General Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi in the Damascus district of Rukn al-Din,” the broadcaster said, without providing further details.

The general was a member of the Syrian Air Force command, a security source in Damascus told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He was shot dead on Monday evening as he left a friend’s home, the source added.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad routinely refers to rebels fighting to overthrow it as terrorists.

Since late July, air force fighter jets and helicopters have played a key role in the war against rebels.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Arab Sheikhs Sanitizing Image of Hamas In Effort To Help Preserve Zionist Apartheid System

[First the porcine prince sweeps through Gaza with his entourage, now the crown prince of Bahrain comes to do the same thing.  All of this is being done with Israeli and US approval, meaning that they are players on the same team.  All that is missing is Prince Bandar, or some other Saudi royal.  They are trying to buy-off the Palestinians, in order to avert any plans for a “Palestinian Spring,” the one significant move, yet to be made, which has real potential to topple the Zionist apartheid system.  This puts the Gulf monarchies firmly in the Zionist camp, a revelation which must not be lost on the Palestinians, or the Lebanese.]

Bahraini prince to visit Gaza on Thursday

Gulf News

He will open two schools funded by the Bahrain Royal Charity Organisation

   

Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa____The fat pig of Qatar

Gaza City: A Bahraini prince will on Thursday make a rare trip to the Gaza Strip to open two UNRWA schools, sources close to the UN agency and to Gaza’s Hamas government said.

“Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa will come on Thursday to open two schools in Gaza City which have been funded by the Bahrain Royal Charity Organisation,” a source close to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said on Tuesday.

The visit was confirmed by Hamas sources who said the Bahraini prince, who is chairman of the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO), would also be meeting with Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Esmail Haniya.

Haniya visited Bahrain earlier this year as part of a regional tour which also took him to Qatar, Kuwait and Iran.

The prince’s trip to Gaza comes a week after a top-level visit by Qatari Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in what was the first visit by a head of state since Hamas seized the territory in 2007, ousting forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmud Abbas.

The visit was something of a diplomatic coup for Hamas, which has been shunned by international dignitaries over the last five years.

Government spokesman Taher Al Nunu told AFP a number of other “top-level Arab officials” were expected to visit Gaza “soon” and meet with Haniya, but he did not give further details.

Four Bahraini activists took part in a six-ship flotilla that tried to breach Israel’s blockade on Gaza in May 2010, which ended in bloodshed when Israeli troops stormed the lead ship, killing nine Turkish nationals.

In January 2009, Bahrain set up a national committee for the support of the Palestinian people, which falls under the remit of the RCO.

Russia Opens Serbian ‘Humanitarian’ Base Between Camp Bondsteel and New US ABM Site

 BONDSTEEL

Russia opens ‘humanitarian’ base in Serbia

Russian officials inaugurated a “humanitarian centre” yesterday (17 October) in the Serbian city of Niš, situated 100 km from the Kosovo border, but denied suggestions that Moscow was in fact setting up a military base. The development took place days after the European Commission dampened Serbia’s EU accession hopes.

Speaking at the ceremony in Niš, Southern Serbia, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dačić and Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu pointed out that the opening of the “Regional humanitarian centre” would contribute to more efficient emergency response, not only in the Balkans but also throughout Europe.

Dačić and Shoigu signed the documents that will allow for the deployment of this centre. Some 35 tonnes of aid for the humanitarian centre were brought yesterday with an airplane of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations.

The aid includes tents, blankets and power generators that will be handed over to the warehouse of the joint centre for the prevention and elimination of consequences of emergency situations.

Aid for ‘disaster zones’

The development appears to make concrete to an initiative launched in October 2009 by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. As EurActiv reported at the time, Medvedev visited Serbia in the context of tensions over the recognition by Macedonia of Kosovo and the settling of the border dispute between Skopje and Pristina. On this occasion, Russia announced plans to open “a base at Niš airport […] for rapid delivery of Russian and Serbian rescuers to disaster zones”.

When asked by a journalist whether the facility was in fact a military base, Dačić rejected the allegation.

“Nobody has the right to give us lessons about whom we will cooperate, this is an independent country,” said Dačić, quoted by BETA, EurActiv’s partner in Serbia.

The Russian minister Shoigu also said that allegations his country was setting up a military base in Serbia were “pure fabrication”.

Agencies suggested that the Russian facility in Niš could be designed to spy on aUS base in Romania which will be part of the US missile shield. However, this base, located at Deveselu near the Danube, is at some 200 km air distance from Niš. On the other hand, the new facility is much closer to the former Serbian province of Kosovo, where inter-community tensions are persistent.

EU report a major disappointment for Serbia

The inauguration of the “humanitarian base” in Niš took place less than a week after Belgrade experienced a major disappointment from the latest Commission reporton its progress towards EU accession. In spite of the fact that Serbia arrested and handed over to the Hague the last two war crime fugitives, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, it was not given a date for starting accession negotiations.

According to analysts, the nationalist political parties in Serbia now have a free hand to effectively use the situation in the north of Kosovo against the ruling, so-called “pro-European” coalition.

These parties can now easily incite protests, aggravate the tensions and begin to accuse the government of betraying Serbian interests and losing Kosovo, ahead of the elections scheduled for spring 2012.

America’s Horrific “Drug Wars” Cannot Survive Exposure To the Light of Day

[Humane people will not tolerate outright murder and crimes against humanity to control human vice and bad habits.  Whenever American war tactics in the service of the morality police are exposed to international media,  the obvious criminality and immorality of the strategy being followed erase any good that might come out of the effort.]

U.S. Rethinks a Drug War After Deaths in Honduras

 Was A Honduras General Fired For Drug Flight Shoot-Downs?

By  and 

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The Honduran Air Force pilot did not know what to do. It was the dead of night, and he was chasing a small, suspected drug plane at a dangerously low altitude, just a few hundred feet above the Caribbean. He fired warning shots, but instead of landing, the plane flew lower and closer to the sea.

“So the pilot made a decision, thinking it was the best thing to do,” said Arturo Corrales, Honduras’s foreign minister, one of several officials to give the first detailed account of the episode. “He shot down the plane.”

Four days later, on July 31, it happened again. Another flight departed from a small town on the Venezuelan coast, and using American radar intelligence, a Honduran fighter pilot shot it down over the water.

How many people were killed? Were drugs aboard, or innocent civilians? Officials here and in Washington say they do not know. The planes were never found. But the two episodes — clear violations of international law and established protocols — have ignited outrage in the United States, bringing one of its most ambitious international offensives against drug traffickers to a sudden halt just months after it started.

All joint operations in Honduras are now suspended. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, expressing the concerns of several Democrats in Congress, is holding up tens of millions of dollars in security assistance, not just because of the planes, but also over suspected human rights abuses by the Honduran police and three shootings in which commandos with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration effectively led raids when they were only supposed to act as advisers.

The downed aircraft, in particular, reminded veteran officials of an American missionary plane that wasshot down in 2001 by Peruvian authorities using American intelligence. It was only a matter of time, they said, before another plane with the supposedly guilty turned out to be filled with the innocent.

But the clash between the Obama administration and lawmakers had been building for months. Fearful that Central America was becoming overrun by organized crime, perhaps worse than in the worst parts of Mexico, the State Department, the D.E.A. and the Pentagon rushed ahead this year with a muscular antidrug program with several Latin American nations, hoping to protect Honduras and use it as a chokepoint to cut off the flow of drugs heading north.

Then the series of fatal enforcement actions — some by the Honduran military, others involving shootings by American agents — quickly turned the antidrug cooperation, often promoted as a model of international teamwork, into a case study of what can go wrong when the tactics of war are used to fight a crime problem that goes well beyond drugs, touching every institution in society.

“You can’t cure the whole body by just treating the arm,” said Edmundo Orellana, Honduras’s former defense minister and attorney general. “You have to heal the whole thing.”

A sweeping new plan for Honduras, focused more on judicial reform and institution-building, is now being jointly developed by Honduras and the United States. But State Department officials must first reassure Congress that the deaths have been investigated and that new safeguards, like limits on the role of American forces, will be put in place.

“We are trying to see what to do differently or better,” said Lisa J. Kubiske, the American ambassador in Honduras.

The challenge is dizzying, and the new plan, according to a recent draft shown to The New York Times, is more aspirational than anything aimed at combating drugs and impunity in Mexico, or Colombia before that. It includes not just boats and helicopters, but also broad restructuring: several new investigative entities, an expanded vetting program for the police, more power for prosecutors, and a network of safe houses for witnesses.

Officials from both countries have often failed to fully grasp the weakness of the Honduran institutions deployed to turn the country around. But the need to act is obvious. The country’s homicide rate is among the highest in the world, and corruption has chewed through government from top to bottom.

“We know that unless we really help these governments and address the complexities of these challenges they face, their people and societies would be further endangered,” said Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights.

“Honduras,” she added, “is the most vulnerable and threatened of them all.”

A Country’s Cry for Help

The foreign minister, Mr. Corrales, a hulk of a man with a loud laugh and a degree in engineering, said he visited Washington in early 2011 with a request for help in four areas: investigation, impunity, organized crime and corruption. President Porfirio Lobo, in meetings with the Americans, put it more bluntly: “We’re drowning.”

In 2010, a year after a military coup eventually brought the conservative Lobo government to power, drug flights to Honduras spiked to 82, from six in 2006. Half the country, which is only a little bigger than Tennessee, was out of government control. Then last October, the mingling of corruption and impunity hit the front pages here with the murder of Rafael Alejandro Vargas, the 22-year-old son of Julieta Castellanos, the rector of Honduras’s largest university.

Mr. Vargas’s death stood out not just because he was the son of a prominent academic; he was killed by police officers, who appeared to have kidnapped him as he left a birthday party, and then killed him when they realized who he was. Many of the officers were not arrested.

“It was a wake-up call for all of Honduras of just how corrupt and infiltrated the police were,” Ms. Otero said.

Another State Department official said the killing — along with the soaring homicide rate and the increased trafficking — sounded alarms in Washington: “It raised for us the specter of Honduras becoming another northern Mexico.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton demanded a strong response, and William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, became the point man for what was created: a broad security program centered on rapid-response law enforcement activities organized by the D.E.A. and the Pentagon.

Known as Anvil, it was meant to work alongside efforts like outreach to youth and training for some police officers, prosecutors and judges. But the interdiction of cocaine was the immediate focus. Mr. Brownfield and other officials wanted to test whether they could keep drug planes from landing on Honduras’s isolated Caribbean coast.

The plan was for American and Colombian radar intelligence to guide D.E.A. agents working with the Honduran police. They would intercept drug planes once they landed, using State Department helicopters flown by Guatemalan pilots. “It was the most multinational law enforcement operation we have ever conducted,” Mr. Brownfield said.

They started in the spring, and several officials, including Ambassador Kubiske, said the program had succeeded in many ways. From April 24 to July 3, 4.7 tons of cocaine were seized, and the number of drug flights coming into Honduras fell significantly.

But the operation had evident procedural flaws. It was started without some simple measures that could have prevented deaths or allowed for swift investigations and a full public accounting when things went wrong.

According to a senior American official who was not authorized to speak on the record, there were no detailed rules governing American participation in law enforcement operations. Honduran officials also described cases in which the rules of engagement for the D.E.A. and the police were vague and ad hoc.

“In these kinds of situations, who can really say how the decision to shoot is made?” said Héctor Iván Mejía, a spokesman for the Honduran National Police.

And for a law enforcement program, investigations seemed to be an afterthought. On several occasions, crime scenes were left unsecured for more than 12 hours, until an investigator could be flown to them. After episodes in which suspects were injured or killed, it often took days — and significant public pressure — to begin inquiries about whether deadly force was justified, too late to create a full and credible account.

The Honduran authorities were not much help. After one previously undisclosed interdiction raid in July, soldiers refused to board an American military helicopter that had come to collect reinforcements.

More broadly, it was often unclear who was in charge. Sometimes neither Honduran nor American authorities seemed to know who was ultimately responsible for the policy.

The D.E.A.’s role was especially contentious. Its commandos were part of a tactical assault program known as FAST, for Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team, which has been credited with victories against drug traffickers from Peru to Afghanistan. But a May 11shooting in a town called Ahuas, in which gunfire killed four people whom neighbors said were innocent, led to concerns in Congress that the D.E.A.’s commandos were operating with impunity.

The agents were supposed to act as trainers. “During our operations in Honduras, Honduran law enforcement is always in the lead, and we play a support and mentorship role,” said Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the D.E.A.

But American officials overseeing Anvil now acknowledge that turned out not to be the case. Members of the Honduran police teams told government investigators that they took their orders from the D.E.A. Americans officials said that the FAST teams, deploying tactics honed in Afghanistan, did not feel confident in the Hondurans’ abilities to take the lead.

Three of the five joint interdiction operations during Anvil included deadly shootings. In Ahuas, officials said the gunfire came from the Honduran police. In late June, D.E.A. agents shot and killed the pilotof a plane bearing drugs, and another pilot who landed farther inland on July 3. Anvil ended soon afterward, several days ahead of schedule.

“This operation was bungled in its conception, in its implementation and in its aftermath,” said Mr. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on the State Department and foreign operations.

Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Mrs. Clinton, “Unfortunately, this is not the first time the United States has come perilously close to an overmilitarized strategy toward a country too small and institutionally weak for its citizens to challenge the policy.”

Mr. Brownfield, the assistant secretary, said it was impossible to “offer a zero risk program for interdicting drugs in Central America.” He noted that the shootings during interdiction raids happened in the middle of the night, in remote locations that were hard for investigators to reach. Despite these challenges, he said that investigations were conducted and that he was “basically satisfied” that he knew what had happened.

But an aide to Mr. Leahy said members of Congress were not reassured. “One of several reasons funds currently are being withheld is that we have yet to see the results of any investigation, and there is little confidence that the next time would be any better,” the aide said.

Military Justice Gone Awry

When the Honduran Air Force pilot took off from his base at La Ceiba on July 26, tracking a plane without a flight plan, the State Department helicopters used for interdiction had already returned to Guatemala. The D.E.A. agents were gone. Anvil had ended, but the broader mission of joint enforcement and the sharing of American intelligence had not.

From the moment the Honduran pilot departed in his aging Tucano turboprop, just before midnight, he was in radio contact with Colombian authorities, who regularly receive radar intelligence from the American military’s Southern Command.

Intelligence-sharing is a major component of the American approach to fighting drugs regionally, and military commanders said they were not especially worried about any mistakes as they watched the suspicious flight on their radar screens. Nearly a decade earlier, Honduran military commanders signed an agreement with the United States to abide by laws that prohibit firing on civilian aircraft. After all, small single-engine planes are used by local airlines, courier services and missionaries all over Honduras’s remote northeastern coast.

Yet Honduran and American officials said the Honduran pilots did not seem to be aware of the rules.

Mr. Corrales, the foreign minister, and some American officials have concluded that the downed planes amounted to misapplied military justice, urged on by societal anger and the broader weaknesses of Honduras’s institutions.

“It reflects a lot of frustration in the country, that they think this is a tool they need to use,” Ambassador Kubiske said. “If you had a law enforcement system and then a justice system that could reliably detain suspected narcos when they land — if they could seize the goods and put together a strong case.” She added, “If they had a strong functioning system, then this would look like a less attractive alternative.”

Creating a stronger system is at the core of what some officials are now calling Anvil II. A draft of the plan provided by Mr. Corrales shows a major shift toward shoring up judicial institutions with new entities focused on organized and financial crime.

Mr. Corrales said the plan was closer to what he had hoped for before Anvil, with a few protective fixes: each vetted investigative unit will include up to three embedded prosecutors, who will direct the activities of Honduran police officers and D.E.A. agents.

The D.E.A.’s role will also probably change. American officials say they are discussing how to keep it more limited, possibly by requiring FAST agents to stay on helicopters during raids, “more like a coach on the sidelines,” one American military official said.

Much of what is being proposed would be paid for with a national security tax Honduras recently established. The Americans have agreed to help Honduras determine how the money will be spent, and if Congress releases its hold on American contributions, joint security programs will accelerate quickly.

But many Hondurans worry that the pull of the familiar — of muscular, military-style interdiction — may be difficult to resist. In the handwritten notes on Mr. Corrales’s draft, he placed a No. 1 next to two items: intelligence-sharing, and a reference to training for 20 Honduran helicopter pilots.

Honduran officials have also resisted demands from Congress for a more thorough investigation of Juan Carlos Bonilla, the head of the Honduran police, who has been accused of running a death squad that killed at least three people from 1998 to 2002. (He was acquitted of a single murder charge in 2004, though critics say the case was hindered by corruption.)

Dr. Castellanos, the university rector, said the challenge for Honduras and the Americans would be staying focused on long-term problems like corruption. “It’s a tragedy; there is no confidence in the state,” she said, wearing black in her university office.

The old game of cocaine cat-and-mouse tends to look like a quicker fix, she said, with its obvious targets and clear victories measured in tons seized. Since Anvil ended, officials have seen a revival of suspicious planes heading to Honduras, with many landing inland, along rivers.

“This moment presents us with an opportunity for institutional reform,” Dr. Castellanos said. But that will depend on whether the new effort goes after more than just drugs and uproots the criminal networks that have already burrowed into Honduran society.

“There’s infiltration everywhere,” she said. “There is no guarantee it can be stopped.”

A Brilliant Pentagon Plan for Spreading Perpetual “Persistent War” Looks Just Like A “Failed” Terror War

[This is an excellent explanation of the mess that we find ourselves in today, due to the miserable, evil policies of the past two American Administrations, but the author from TomDispatch misses the most important point, as always.  That singular, vital to understand point is this–the American war on terror HAS NOT FAILED, it has succeeded brilliantly in its primary mission–to spread conflict over the entire planet.  The war on terror was NEVER intended to be won, it was just a means to an end, prepositioning military forces in every nation, before unleashing global nuclear war.  All of these little “piss ant” wars that we have been fighting, the various Partnership-for-Peace programs, Special Forces training missions, drug-interdiction and border control operations, along with the overall rubric of “fighting terrorism,” have all provided the means to preposition American “Special Operators” and their weapons within other national militaries and police forces.  Their original mission has been to “win the hearts and minds” of foreign military men, before the real war begins, the war against all enemies at once.  

The Pentagon would prefer to be known as a bumbling,”inept giant,” rather than as the monstrous, devouring beast that it really is.  The Joint Chiefs have been faithfully carrying-out the desires of their corporate masters and their puppets in the White House, by spreading the Pentagon’s tentacles into every corner of the planet, even to the depths of the oceans and the heights of sub-orbital space.  The Pentagon is a monster, that is set upon devouring all of the little peasant villagers who will besiege the fortified fortresses of their dark overlords.  The Pentagon is firmly committed to a policy that is best defined as “Malthusian,” the calculated thinning-out of the human herd.  The Pentagon has been setting itself up as the ultimate protectors of a small group of racist elitists, who consider the rest of us as cattle, fit only to be bought and sold, improved in limited numbers through selective crossbreeding and genetic experimentation, with the remainder of the herd to be  eventually slaughtered, probably to be processed into “Soylent Green” for them.  

The day is nearly upon us when open-air thermonuclear detonations will become a regular occurrence.  The day after that day comes and goes, will be the only time when Bush’s war could be judged either a resounding success, or a total failure.  Until then, only the spread of death and terminal madness will spread across the face of the Earth.]  

A failed formula for worldwide war

How the empire changed its face, but not its nature.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has been holding “strategic seminars” over a giant map of the world larger than a basketball court [EPA]
They looked like a gang of geriatric giants. Clad in smart casual attire – dress shirts, sweaters, and jeans – and incongruous blue hospital booties, they strode around “the world”, stopping to stroke their chins and ponder this or that potential crisis. Among them was General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a button-down shirt and jeans, without a medal or a ribbon in sight, his arms crossed, his gaze fixed. He had one foot plantedfirmly in Russia, the other partly in Kazakhstan, and yet the general hadn’t left the friendly confines of Virginia.Several times this year, Dempsey, the other joint chiefs, and regional war-fighting commanders have assembled at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico to conduct a futuristic war-game-meets-academic-seminar about the needs of the military in 2017. There, a giant map of the world, larger than a basketball court, was laid out so the Pentagon’s top brass could shuffle around the planet – provided they wore those scuff-preventing shoe covers – as they thought about “potential US national military vulnerabilities in future conflicts” (so one participant told the New York Times). The sight of those generals with the world underfoot was a fitting image for Washington’s military ambitions, its penchant for foreign interventions, and its contempt for (non-US) borders and national sovereignty.A world so much larger than a basketball court

In recent weeks, some of the possible fruits of Dempsey’s “strategic seminars”, military missions far from the confines of Quantico, have repeatedly popped up in the news. Sometimes buried in a story, sometimes as the headline, the reports attest to the Pentagon’s penchant for globetrotting.

In September, for example, Lieutenant General Robert L Caslen, Jr, revealed that, just months after the US military withdrew from Iraq, a unit of Special Operations Forces had already been redeployed there in an advisory role and that negotiations were underway to arrange for larger numbers of troops to train Iraqi forces in the future. That same month, the Obama administration won congressional approval to divert funds earmarked for counterterrorism aid for Pakistan to a new proxy project in Libya. According to the New York Times, US Special Operations Forces will likely bedeployed to create and train a 500-man Libyan commando unit to battle Islamic militant groups which have become increasingly powerful as a result of the 2011 US-aided revolution there.

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the US military had secretly sent a new task force to Jordan to assist local troops in responding to the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Only days later, that paper revealed that recent US efforts to train and assist surrogate forces for Honduras’s drug war were already crumbling amid a spiral of questions about the deaths of innocents, violations of international law, and suspected human rights abuses by Honduran allies.

Shortly after that, the Times reported the bleak, if hardly surprising, news that the proxy army the US has spent more than a decade building in Afghanistan is, according to officials, “so plagued with desertions and low re-enlistment rates that it has to replace a third of its entire force every year”. Rumors now regularly bubble up about a possible US-funded proxy war on the horizon in Northern Mali where al-Qaeda-linked Islamists have taken over vast stretches of territory – yet another direct result of last year’s intervention in Libya.

 Empire – The decline of the American empire

And these were just the offshore efforts that made it into the news. Many other US military actions abroad remain largely below the radar. Several weeks ago, for instance, US personnel were quietly deployed to Burundi to carry out training efforts in that small, landlocked, desperately poor East African nation. Another contingent of US Army and Air Force trainers headed to the similarly landlocked and poor West African nation of Burkina Faso to instruct indigenous forces.

At Camp Arifjan, an American base in Kuwait, US and local troops donned gas masks and protective suits to conduct joint chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training. In Guatemala, 200 Marines from Detachment Martillo completed a months-long deployment to assist indigenous naval forces and law enforcement agencies in drug interdiction efforts.

Across the globe, in the forbidding tropical forests of the Philippines, Marines joined elite Filipino troops to train for combat operations in jungle environments and to help enhance their skills as snipers. Marines from both nations also leapt from airplanes, 10,000 feet above the island archipelago, in an effort to further the “interoperability” of their forces. Meanwhile, in the Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste, Marines trained embassy guards and military police in crippling “compliance techniques” like pain holds and pressure point manipulation, as well as soldiers in jungle warfare as part of Exercise Crocodilo 2012.

The idea behind Dempsey’s “strategic seminars” was to plan for the future, to figure out how to properly respond to developments in far-flung corners of the globe. And in the real world, US forces are regularly putting preemptive pins in that giant map – from Africa to Asia, Latin America to the Middle East. On the surface, global engagement, training missions, and joint operations appear rational enough. And Dempsey’s big picture planning seems like a sensible way to think through solutions to future national security threats.

But when you consider how the Pentagon really operates, such war-gaming undoubtedly has an absurdist quality to it. After all, global threats turn out to come in every size imaginable, from fringe Islamic movements in Africa to Mexican drug gangs. How exactly they truly threaten US “national security” is often unclear – beyond some White House adviser’s or general’s say-so. And whatever alternatives come up in such Quantico seminars, the “sensible” response invariably turns out to be sending in the Marines, or the SEALs, or the drones, or some local proxies. In truth, there is no need to spend a day shuffling around a giant map in blue booties to figure it all out.

In one way or another, the US military is now involvedwith most of the nations on Earth. Its soldiers, commandos, trainers, base builders, drone jockeys, spies, and arms dealers, as well as associated hired guns and corporate contractors, can now be found just about everywhere on the planet. The sun never sets on American troops conducting operations, training allies, arming surrogates, schooling its own personnel, purchasing new weapons and equipment, developing fresh doctrine, implementing novel tactics, and refining their martial arts. The US has submarines trolling the briny deep and aircraft carrier task forces traversing the oceans and seas, robotic drones flying constant missions and manned aircraft patrolling the skies, while above them, spy satellites circle, peering down on friend and foe alike.

“The US military should have the planet on lockdown… yet after more than a decade of war, it has failed to eliminate a rag-tag Afghan insurgency with limited popular support.”

Since 2001, the US military has thrown everything in its arsenal, short of nuclear weapons, including untold billions of dollars in weaponry, technology, bribes, you name it, at a remarkably weak set of enemies – relatively small groups of poorly-armed fighters in impoverished nations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen – while decisively defeating none of them. With its deep pockets and long reach, its technology and training acumen, as well as the devastatingly destructive power at its command, the US military should have the planet on lockdown. It should, by all rights, dominate the world just as the neoconservative dreamers of the early Bush years assumed it would.

Yet after more than a decade of war, it has failed to eliminate a rag-tag Afghan insurgency with limited popular support. It trained an indigenous Afghan force that was long known for its poor performance – before it became better known for killing its American trainers. It has spent years and untold tens of millions of tax dollars chasing down assorted firebrand clerics, various terrorist “lieutenants”, and a host of no-name militants belonging to al-Qaeda, mostly in the backlands of the planet. Instead of wiping out that organisation and its wannabes, however, it seems mainly to have facilitated its franchising around the world.

At the same time, it has managed to paint weak regional forces like Somalia’s al-Shabaab as transnational threats, then focus its resources on eradicating them, only to fail at the task. It has thrown millions of dollars in personnel, equipment, aid, and recently even troops into the task of eradicating low-level drug runners (as well as the major drug cartels), without putting a dent in the northward flow of narcotics to America’s cities and suburbs.

It spends billions on intelligence only to routinely find itself in the dark. It destroyed the regime of an Iraqi dictator and occupied his country, only to be fought to a standstill by ill-armed, ill-organised insurgencies there, then out-manoeuvered by the allies it had helped put in power, and unceremoniously bounced from the country (even if it is now beginning to claw its way back in). It spends untold millions of dollars to train and equip elite Navy SEALs to take on poor, untrained, lightly-armed adversaries, like gun-toting Somali pirates.

How not to change in a changing world

And that isn’t the half of it.

The US military devours money and yet delivers little in the way of victories. Its personnel may be among the most talented and well-trained on the planet, its weapons and technology the most sophisticated and advanced around. And when it comes to defence budgets, it far outspends the next nine largest nations combined (most of which are allies in any case), let alone its enemies like the Taliban, al-Shabaab, or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but in the real world of warfare this turns out to add up to remarkably little.

In a government filled with agencies routinely derided for profligacy, inefficiency, and producing poor outcomes, itsrecord may be unmatched in terms of waste and abject failure, though that seems to faze almost no one in Washington. For more than a decade, the US military has bounced from one failed doctrine to the next. There was Donald Rumsfeld’s “military lite”, followed by what could have been called military heavy (though it never got a name), which was superseded by General David Petraeus’s “counterinsurgency operations” (also known by its acronym COIN). This, in turn, has been succeeded by the Obama administration’s bid for future military triumph: a “light footprint” combination of special ops, drones, spies, civilian soldiers, cyberwarfare, and proxy fighters. Yet whatever the method employed, one thing has been constant: Successes have been fleeting, setbacks many, frustrations the name of the game, and victory MIA.

Convinced nonetheless that finding just the right formulafor applying force globally is the key to success, the US military is presently banking on that new six-point plan. Tomorrow, it may turn to a different war-lite mix. Somewhere down the road, it will undoubtedly again experiment with something heavier. And if history is any guide, counterinsurgency, a concept that failed the US in Vietnam and was resuscitated only to fail again in Afghanistan, will one day be back in vogue.

“The more time, effort and treasure the US invests in its military and its military adventures, the weaker the payback.”

In all of this, it should be obvious, a learning curve is lacking. Any solution to America’s war-fighting problems will undoubtedly require the sort of fundamental reevaluation of warfare and military might that no one in Washington is open to at the moment. It’s going to take more than a few days spent shuffling around a big map in plastic shoe covers.

American politicians never tire of extolling the virtues of the US military, which is now commonly hailed as “the finest fighting force in the history of the world”. This claim appears grotesquely at odds with reality. Aside from triumphs over such non-powers as the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada and the small Central American nation of Panama, the US military’s record since World War II has been a litany of disappointments: Stalemate in Korea, outright defeat in Vietnam, failures in Laos and Cambodia, debacles in Lebanon and Somalia, two wars against Iraq (both ending without victory), more than a decade of wheel-spinning in Afghanistan, and so on.

Something akin to the law of diminishing returns may be at work. The more time, effort and treasure the US invests in its military and its military adventures, the weaker the payback. In this context, the impressive destructive power of that military may not matter a bit, if it is tasked with doing things that military might, as it has been traditionally conceived, can perhaps no longer do.

Success may not be possible, whatever the circumstances, in the twenty-first-century world, and victory not even an option. Instead of trying yet again to find exactly the right formula or even reinventing warfare, perhaps the US military needs to reinvent itself and its raison d’être if it’s ever to break out of its long cycle of failure.

But don’t count on it.

Instead, expect the politicians to continue to heap on the praise, Congress to continue insuring funding at levels that stagger the imagination, presidents to continue applying blunt force to complex geopolitical problems (even if in slightly different ways), arms dealers to continue churning out wonder weapons that prove less than wondrous, and the Pentagon continuing to fail to win.

Coming off the latest series of failures, the US military has leapt headlong into yet another transitional period – call it the changing face of empire – but don’t expect a change in weapons, tactics, strategy, or even doctrine to yield a change in results. As the adage goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He is the author/editor of several books, including the just published The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare  (Haymarket Books). This piece is the final article in his series on the changing face of American empire, which is being underwritten by Lannan Foundation.

A version of this article first appeared on TomDispatch.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source:
Tomdispatch

More Anti-Islamist Actions Centered In Issyk-Kul Region, Border of Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan

[(SEE:  Murder and Terrorism In Ili-Alatau National Park Linked To Strategic Plant Near Almaty, Kazakhstan?  ;  New Pipeline and Airport Reconstruction Near Issyk-Kul Site of Recent Terror  ;  More Murder and Intrigue On Lake Issyk-Kul On Kyrgyz/Kazakh Border ).  Notice the many trouble points all around Issy-Kul, from radicalizing Islamists of Hizb ut-Tahrir, to terrorist murders Ile-Alatau National Park, to Kyrgyz gold mines and ongoing protests, to terrorist bomb-making, to new Chinese pipeline and Russian torpedo development center.  The area is ground zero for US meddling in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.]

Activist of banned Hizb ut-Tahrir party detained in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, October 29, Interfax – The Kyrgyz special service has detained a member of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir party in Issyk-Kul Region, the press service of the National Security Committee told Interfax on Monday.

Extremist religious leaflets were confiscated from the detainee born in 1991.

A criminal case of acquiring, storing, transporting or sending extremist materials with the purpose of their dissemination has been launched against him.

The young man was placed in pre-trial detention center in the town of Karakol and a search for his accomplices was launched.

Seymour Hersh Warned Us 5 Years Ago About the Bush/Cheney Plan To Turn US Special Forces Into “Al-Qaeda”

[Seal Team Six, Green Berets, Special Operators are all elite terrorist units, absolutely no different from the Iranian Republican Guard or Hezbollah.]

THE REDIRECTION

Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

BY  

MARCH 5, 2007

Efforts to curb Iran

Efforts to curb Iran’s influence have involved the United States in worsening Sunni-Shiite tensions.

A STRATEGIC SHIFT

In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran. Its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made defiant pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and his country’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and last week its supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on state television that “realities in the region show that the arrogant front, headed by the U.S. and its allies, will be the principal loser in the region.”

After the revolution of 1979 brought a religious government to power, the United States broke with Iran and cultivated closer relations with the leaders of Sunni Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. That calculation became more complex after the September 11th attacks, especially with regard to the Saudis. Al Qaeda is Sunni, and many of its operatives came from extremist religious circles inside Saudi Arabia. Before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, Administration officials, influenced by neoconservative ideologues, assumed that a Shiite government there could provide a pro-American balance to Sunni extremists, since Iraq’s Shiite majority had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. They ignored warnings from the intelligence community about the ties between Iraqi Shiite leaders and Iran, where some had lived in exile for years. Now, to the distress of the White House, Iran has forged a close relationship with the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.” (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”

Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”

The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)

The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.

The new strategy “is a major shift in American policy—it’s a sea change,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”

“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

Martin Indyk, a senior State Department official in the Clinton Administration who also served as Ambassador to Israel, said that “the Middle East is heading into a serious Sunni-Shiite Cold War.” Indyk, who is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, added that, in his opinion, it was not clear whether the White House was fully aware of the strategic implications of its new policy. “The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq,” he said. “It’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated. Everything is upside down.”

The Administration’s new policy for containing Iran seems to complicate its strategy for winning the war in Iraq. Patrick Clawson, an expert on Iran and the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued, however, that closer ties between the United States and moderate or even radical Sunnis could put “fear” into the government of Prime Minister Maliki and “make him worry that the Sunnis could actually win” the civil war there. Clawson said that this might give Maliki an incentive to coöperate with the United States in suppressing radical Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

Even so, for the moment, the U.S. remains dependent on the coöperation of Iraqi Shiite leaders. The Mahdi Army may be openly hostile to American interests, but other Shiite militias are counted as U.S. allies. Both Moqtada al-Sadr and the White House back Maliki. A memorandum written late last year by Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser, suggested that the Administration try to separate Maliki from his more radical Shiite allies by building his base among moderate Sunnis and Kurds, but so far the trends have been in the opposite direction. As the Iraqi Army continues to founder in its confrontations with insurgents, the power of the Shiite militias has steadily increased.

Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official, told me that “there is nothing coincidental or ironic” about the new strategy with regard to Iraq. “The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”

President George W. Bush, in a speech on January 10th, partially spelled out this approach. “These two regimes”—Iran and Syria—“are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq,” Bush said. “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

In the following weeks, there was a wave of allegations from the Administration about Iranian involvement in the Iraq war. On February 11th, reporters were shown sophisticated explosive devices, captured in Iraq, that the Administration claimed had come from Iran. The Administration’s message was, in essence, that the bleak situation in Iraq was the result not of its own failures of planning and execution but of Iran’s interference.

The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.” The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who “get scooped up and released in a short time,” after they have been interrogated.

“We are not planning for a war with Iran,” Robert Gates, the new Defense Secretary, announced on February 2nd, and yet the atmosphere of confrontation has deepened. According to current and former American intelligence and military officials, secret operations in Lebanon have been accompanied by clandestine operations targeting Iran. American military and special-operations teams have escalated their activities in Iran to gather intelligence and, according to a Pentagon consultant on terrorism and the former senior intelligence official, have also crossed the border in pursuit of Iranian operatives from Iraq.

At Rice’s Senate appearance in January, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, of Delaware, pointedly asked her whether the U.S. planned to cross the Iranian or the Syrian border in the course of a pursuit. “Obviously, the President isn’t going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq,” Rice said, adding, “I do think that everyone will understand that—the American people and I assume the Congress expect the President to do what is necessary to protect our forces.”

The ambiguity of Rice’s reply prompted a response from Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, who has been critical of the Administration:
Some of us remember 1970, Madam Secretary. And that was Cambodia. And when our government lied to the American people and said, “We didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia,” in fact we did.
I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee. So, Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the President is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous.

The Administration’s concern about Iran’s role in Iraq is coupled with its long-standing alarm over Iran’s nuclear program. On Fox News on January 14th, Cheney warned of the possibility, in a few years, “of a nuclear-armed Iran, astride the world’s supply of oil, able to affect adversely the global economy, prepared to use terrorist organizations and/or their nuclear weapons to threaten their neighbors and others around the world.” He also said, “If you go and talk with the Gulf states or if you talk with the Saudis or if you talk with the Israelis or the Jordanians, the entire region is worried. . . . The threat Iran represents is growing.”

The Administration is now examining a wave of new intelligence on Iran’s weapons programs. Current and former American officials told me that the intelligence, which came from Israeli agents operating in Iran, includes a claim that Iran has developed a three-stage solid-fuelled intercontinental missile capable of delivering several small warheads—each with limited accuracy—inside Europe. The validity of this human intelligence is still being debated.

A similar argument about an imminent threat posed by weapons of mass destruction—and questions about the intelligence used to make that case—formed the prelude to the invasion of Iraq. Many in Congress have greeted the claims about Iran with wariness; in the Senate on February 14th, Hillary Clinton said, “We have all learned lessons from the conflict in Iraq, and we have to apply those lessons to any allegations that are being raised about Iran. Because, Mr. President, what we are hearing has too familiar a ring and we must be on guard that we never again make decisions on the basis of intelligence that turns out to be faulty.”

Still, the Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran, a process that began last year, at the direction of the President. In recent months, the former intelligence official told me, a special planning group has been established in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented, upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours.

In the past month, I was told by an Air Force adviser on targeting and the Pentagon consultant on terrorism, the Iran planning group has been handed a new assignment: to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq. Previously, the focus had been on the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities and possible regime change.

Two carrier strike groups—the Eisenhower and the Stennis—are now in the Arabian Sea. One plan is for them to be relieved early in the spring, but there is worry within the military that they may be ordered to stay in the area after the new carriers arrive, according to several sources. (Among other concerns, war games have shown that the carriers could be vulnerable to swarming tactics involving large numbers of small boats, a technique that the Iranians have practiced in the past; carriers have limited maneuverability in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, off Iran’s southern coast.) The former senior intelligence official said that the current contingency plans allow for an attack order this spring. He added, however, that senior officers on the Joint Chiefs were counting on the White House’s not being “foolish enough to do this in the face of Iraq, and the problems it would give the Republicans in 2008.”

PRINCE BANDAR’S GAME

The Administration’s effort to diminish Iranian authority in the Middle East has relied heavily on Saudi Arabia and on Prince Bandar, the Saudi national-security adviser. Bandar served as the Ambassador to the United States for twenty-two years, until 2005, and has maintained a friendship with President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. In his new post, he continues to meet privately with them. Senior White House officials have made several visits to Saudi Arabia recently, some of them not disclosed.

Last November, Cheney flew to Saudi Arabia for a surprise meeting with King Abdullah and Bandar. The Times reported that the King warned Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back its fellow-Sunnis in Iraq if the United States were to withdraw. A European intelligence official told me that the meeting also focussed on more general Saudi fears about “the rise of the Shiites.” In response, “The Saudis are starting to use their leverage—money.”

In a royal family rife with competition, Bandar has, over the years, built a power base that relies largely on his close relationship with the U.S., which is crucial to the Saudis. Bandar was succeeded as Ambassador by Prince Turki al-Faisal; Turki resigned after eighteen months and was replaced by Adel A. al-Jubeir, a bureaucrat who has worked with Bandar. A former Saudi diplomat told me that during Turki’s tenure he became aware of private meetings involving Bandar and senior White House officials, including Cheney and Abrams. “I assume Turki was not happy with that,” the Saudi said. But, he added, “I don’t think that Bandar is going off on his own.” Although Turki dislikes Bandar, the Saudi said, he shared his goal of challenging the spread of Shiite power in the Middle East.

The split between Shiites and Sunnis goes back to a bitter divide, in the seventh century, over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis dominated the medieval caliphate and the Ottoman Empire, and Shiites, traditionally, have been regarded more as outsiders. Worldwide, ninety per cent of Muslims are Sunni, but Shiites are a majority in Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain, and are the largest Muslim group in Lebanon. Their concentration in a volatile, oil-rich region has led to concern in the West and among Sunnis about the emergence of a “Shiite crescent”—especially given Iran’s increased geopolitical weight.

“The Saudis still see the world through the days of the Ottoman Empire, when Sunni Muslims ruled the roost and the Shiites were the lowest class,” Frederic Hof, a retired military officer who is an expert on the Middle East, told me. If Bandar was seen as bringing about a shift in U.S. policy in favor of the Sunnis, he added, it would greatly enhance his standing within the royal family.

The Saudis are driven by their fear that Iran could tilt the balance of power not only in the region but within their own country. Saudi Arabia has a significant Shiite minority in its Eastern Province, a region of major oil fields; sectarian tensions are high in the province. The royal family believes that Iranian operatives, working with local Shiites, have been behind many terrorist attacks inside the kingdom, according to Vali Nasr. “Today, the only army capable of containing Iran”—the Iraqi Army—“has been destroyed by the United States. You’re now dealing with an Iran that could be nuclear-capable and has a standing army of four hundred and fifty thousand soldiers.” (Saudi Arabia has seventy-five thousand troops in its standing army.)

Nasr went on, “The Saudis have considerable financial means, and have deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis”—Sunni extremists who view Shiites as apostates. “The last time Iran was a threat, the Saudis were able to mobilize the worst kinds of Islamic radicals. Once you get them out of the box, you can’t put them back.”

The Saudi royal family has been, by turns, both a sponsor and a target of Sunni extremists, who object to the corruption and decadence among the family’s myriad princes. The princes are gambling that they will not be overthrown as long as they continue to support religious schools and charities linked to the extremists. The Administration’s new strategy is heavily dependent on this bargain.

Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.

This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”

The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”

In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran.

Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group. (In February, the Saudis brokered a deal at Mecca between the two factions. However, Israel and the U.S. have expressed dissatisfaction with the terms.)

The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.

Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.)

Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, depicted the Saudis’ coöperation with the White House as a significant breakthrough. “The Saudis understand that if they want the Administration to make a more generous political offer to the Palestinians they have to persuade the Arab states to make a more generous offer to the Israelis,” Clawson told me. The new diplomatic approach, he added, “shows a real degree of effort and sophistication as well as a deftness of touch not always associated with this Administration. Who’s running the greater risk—we or the Saudis? At a time when America’s standing in the Middle East is extremely low, the Saudis are actually embracing us. We should count our blessings.”

The Pentagon consultant had a different view. He said that the Administration had turned to Bandar as a “fallback,” because it had realized that the failing war in Iraq could leave the Middle East “up for grabs.”

JIHADIS IN LEBANON

The focus of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, after Iran, is Lebanon, where the Saudis have been deeply involved in efforts by the Administration to support the Lebanese government. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is struggling to stay in power against a persistent opposition led by Hezbollah, the Shiite organization, and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah has an extensive infrastructure, an estimated two to three thousand active fighters, and thousands of additional members.

Hezbollah has been on the State Department’s terrorist list since 1997. The organization has been implicated in the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed two hundred and forty-one military men. It has also been accused of complicity in the kidnapping of Americans, including the C.I.A. station chief in Lebanon, who died in captivity, and a Marine colonel serving on a U.N. peacekeeping mission, who was killed. (Nasrallah has denied that the group was involved in these incidents.) Nasrallah is seen by many as a staunch terrorist, who has said that he regards Israel as a state that has no right to exist. Many in the Arab world, however, especially Shiites, view him as a resistance leader who withstood Israel in last summer’s thirty-three-day war, and Siniora as a weak politician who relies on America’s support but was unable to persuade President Bush to call for an end to the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. (Photographs of Siniora kissing Condoleezza Rice on the cheek when she visited during the war were prominently displayed during street protests in Beirut.)

The Bush Administration has publicly pledged the Siniora government a billion dollars in aid since last summer. A donors’ conference in Paris, in January, which the U.S. helped organize, yielded pledges of almost eight billion more, including a promise of more than a billion from the Saudis. The American pledge includes more than two hundred million dollars in military aid, and forty million dollars for internal security.

The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.

During a conversation with me, the former Saudi diplomat accused Nasrallah of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.

The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

In 2005, according to a report by the U.S.-based International Crisis Group, Saad Hariri, the Sunni majority leader of the Lebanese parliament and the son of the slain former Prime Minister—Saad inherited more than four billion dollars after his father’s assassination—paid forty-eight thousand dollars in bail for four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh. The men had been arrested while trying to establish an Islamic mini-state in northern Lebanon. The Crisis Group noted that many of the militants “had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.”

According to the Crisis Group report, Saad Hariri later used his parliamentary majority to obtain amnesty for twenty-two of the Dinniyeh Islamists, as well as for seven militants suspected of plotting to bomb the Italian and Ukrainian embassies in Beirut, the previous year. (He also arranged a pardon for Samir Geagea, a Maronite Christian militia leader, who had been convicted of four political murders, including the assassination, in 1987, of Prime Minister Rashid Karami.) Hariri described his actions to reporters as humanitarian.

In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here,” he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a “theatre of conflict.”

The official said that his government was in a no-win situation. Without a political settlement with Hezbollah, he said, Lebanon could “slide into a conflict,” in which Hezbollah fought openly with Sunni forces, with potentially horrific consequences. But if Hezbollah agreed to a settlement yet still maintained a separate army, allied with Iran and Syria, “Lebanon could become a target. In both cases, we become a target.”

The Bush Administration has portrayed its support of the Siniora government as an example of the President’s belief in democracy, and his desire to prevent other powers from interfering in Lebanon. When Hezbollah led street demonstrations in Beirut in December, John Bolton, who was then the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., called them “part of the Iran-Syria-inspired coup.”

Leslie H. Gelb, a past president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the Administration’s policy was less pro democracy than “pro American national security. The fact is that it would be terribly dangerous if Hezbollah ran Lebanon.” The fall of the Siniora government would be seen, Gelb said, “as a signal in the Middle East of the decline of the United States and the ascendancy of the terrorism threat. And so any change in the distribution of political power in Lebanon has to be opposed by the United States—and we’re justified in helping any non-Shiite parties resist that change. We should say this publicly, instead of talking about democracy.”

Martin Indyk, of the Saban Center, said, however, that the United States “does not have enough pull to stop the moderates in Lebanon from dealing with the extremists.” He added, “The President sees the region as divided between moderates and extremists, but our regional friends see it as divided between Sunnis and Shia. The Sunnis that we view as extremists are regarded by our Sunni allies simply as Sunnis.”

In January, after an outburst of street violence in Beirut involving supporters of both the Siniora government and Hezbollah, Prince Bandar flew to Tehran to discuss the political impasse in Lebanon and to meet with Ali Larijani, the Iranians’ negotiator on nuclear issues. According to a Middle Eastern ambassador, Bandar’s mission—which the ambassador said was endorsed by the White House—also aimed “to create problems between the Iranians and Syria.” There had been tensions between the two countries about Syrian talks with Israel, and the Saudis’ goal was to encourage a breach. However, the ambassador said, “It did not work. Syria and Iran are not going to betray each other. Bandar’s approach is very unlikely to succeed.”

Walid Jumblatt, who is the leader of the Druze minority in Lebanon and a strong Siniora supporter, has attacked Nasrallah as an agent of Syria, and has repeatedly told foreign journalists that Hezbollah is under the direct control of the religious leadership in Iran. In a conversation with me last December, he depicted Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, as a “serial killer.” Nasrallah, he said, was “morally guilty” of the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the murder, last November, of Pierre Gemayel, a member of the Siniora Cabinet, because of his support for the Syrians.

Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”

There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.

Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”

THE SHEIKH

On a warm, clear night early last December, in a bombed-out suburb a few miles south of downtown Beirut, I got a preview of how the Administration’s new strategy might play out in Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, who has been in hiding, had agreed to an interview. Security arrangements for the meeting were secretive and elaborate. I was driven, in the back seat of a darkened car, to a damaged underground garage somewhere in Beirut, searched with a handheld scanner, placed in a second car to be driven to yet another bomb-scarred underground garage, and transferred again. Last summer, it was reported that Israel was trying to kill Nasrallah, but the extraordinary precautions were not due only to that threat. Nasrallah’s aides told me that they believe he is a prime target of fellow-Arabs, primarily Jordanian intelligence operatives, as well as Sunni jihadists who they believe are affiliated with Al Qaeda. (The government consultant and a retired four-star general said that Jordanian intelligence, with support from the U.S. and Israel, had been trying to infiltrate Shiite groups, to work against Hezbollah. Jordan’s King Abdullah II has warned that a Shiite government in Iraq that was close to Iran would lead to the emergence of a Shiite crescent.) This is something of an ironic turn: Nasrallah’s battle with Israel last summer turned him—a Shiite—into the most popular and influential figure among Sunnis and Shiites throughout the region. In recent months, however, he has increasingly been seen by many Sunnis not as a symbol of Arab unity but as a participant in a sectarian war.

Nasrallah, dressed, as usual, in religious garb, was waiting for me in an unremarkable apartment. One of his advisers said that he was not likely to remain there overnight; he has been on the move since his decision, last July, to order the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid set off the thirty-three-day war. Nasrallah has since said publicly—and repeated to me—that he misjudged the Israeli response. “We just wanted to capture prisoners for exchange purposes,” he told me. “We never wanted to drag the region into war.”

Nasrallah accused the Bush Administration of working with Israel to deliberately instigate fitna, an Arabic word that is used to mean “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam.” “In my opinion, there is a huge campaign through the media throughout the world to put each side up against the other,” he said. “I believe that all this is being run by American and Israeli intelligence.” (He did not provide any specific evidence for this.) He said that the U.S. war in Iraq had increased sectarian tensions, but argued that Hezbollah had tried to prevent them from spreading into Lebanon. (Sunni-Shiite confrontations increased, along with violence, in the weeks after we talked.)

Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war. There is ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The daily killing and displacement which is taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to the partition of Iraq. Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. Even in Baghdad, there is a fear that it might be divided into two areas, one Sunni and one Shiite.”

He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’ ”

Nasrallah said he believed that America also wanted to bring about the partition of Lebanon and of Syria. In Syria, he said, the result would be to push the country “into chaos and internal battles like in Iraq.” In Lebanon, “There will be a Sunni state, an Alawi state, a Christian state, and a Druze state.” But, he said, “I do not know if there will be a Shiite state.” Nasrallah told me that he suspected that one aim of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon last summer was “the destruction of Shiite areas and the displacement of Shiites from Lebanon. The idea was to have the Shiites of Lebanon and Syria flee to southern Iraq,” which is dominated by Shiites. “I am not sure, but I smell this,” he told me.

Partition would leave Israel surrounded by “small tranquil states,” he said. “I can assure you that the Saudi kingdom will also be divided, and the issue will reach to North African states. There will be small ethnic and confessional states,” he said. “In other words, Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other. This is the new Middle East.”

In fact, the Bush Administration has adamantly resisted talk of partitioning Iraq, and its public stances suggest that the White House sees a future Lebanon that is intact, with a weak, disarmed Hezbollah playing, at most, a minor political role. There is also no evidence to support Nasrallah’s belief that the Israelis were seeking to drive the Shiites into southern Iraq. Nevertheless, Nasrallah’s vision of a larger sectarian conflict in which the United States is implicated suggests a possible consequence of the White House’s new strategy.

In the interview, Nasrallah made mollifying gestures and promises that would likely be met with skepticism by his opponents. “If the United States says that discussions with the likes of us can be useful and influential in determining American policy in the region, we have no objection to talks or meetings,” he said. “But, if their aim through this meeting is to impose their policy on us, it will be a waste of time.” He said that the Hezbollah militia, unless attacked, would operate only within the borders of Lebanon, and pledged to disarm it when the Lebanese Army was able to stand up. Nasrallah said that he had no interest in initiating another war with Israel. However, he added that he was anticipating, and preparing for, another Israeli attack, later this year.

Nasrallah further insisted that the street demonstrations in Beirut would continue until the Siniora government fell or met his coalition’s political demands. “Practically speaking, this government cannot rule,” he told me. “It might issue orders, but the majority of the Lebanese people will not abide and will not recognize the legitimacy of this government. Siniora remains in office because of international support, but this does not mean that Siniora can rule Lebanon.”

President Bush’s repeated praise of the Siniora government, Nasrallah said, “is the best service to the Lebanese opposition he can give, because it weakens their position vis-à-vis the Lebanese people and the Arab and Islamic populations. They are betting on us getting tired. We did not get tired during the war, so how could we get tired in a demonstration?”

There is sharp division inside and outside the Bush Administration about how best to deal with Nasrallah, and whether he could, in fact, be a partner in a political settlement. The outgoing director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, in a farewell briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee, in January, said that Hezbollah “lies at the center of Iran’s terrorist strategy. . . . It could decide to conduct attacks against U.S. interests in the event it feels its survival or that of Iran is threatened. . . . Lebanese Hezbollah sees itself as Tehran’s partner.”

In 2002, Richard Armitage, then the Deputy Secretary of State, called Hezbollah “the A-team” of terrorists. In a recent interview, however, Armitage acknowledged that the issue has become somewhat more complicated. Nasrallah, Armitage told me, has emerged as “a political force of some note, with a political role to play inside Lebanon if he chooses to do so.” In terms of public relations and political gamesmanship, Armitage said, Nasrallah “is the smartest man in the Middle East.” But, he added, Nasrallah “has got to make it clear that he wants to play an appropriate role as the loyal opposition. For me, there’s still a blood debt to pay”—a reference to the murdered colonel and the Marine barracks bombing.

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.

“The most important story in the Middle East is the growth of Nasrallah from a street guy to a leader—from a terrorist to a statesman,” Baer added. “The dog that didn’t bark this summer”—during the war with Israel—“is Shiite terrorism.” Baer was referring to fears that Nasrallah, in addition to firing rockets into Israel and kidnapping its soldiers, might set in motion a wave of terror attacks on Israeli and American targets around the world. “He could have pulled the trigger, but he did not,” Baer said.

Most members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities acknowledge Hezbollah’s ongoing ties to Iran. But there is disagreement about the extent to which Nasrallah would put aside Hezbollah’s interests in favor of Iran’s. A former C.I.A. officer who also served in Lebanon called Nasrallah “a Lebanese phenomenon,” adding, “Yes, he’s aided by Iran and Syria, but Hezbollah’s gone beyond that.” He told me that there was a period in the late eighties and early nineties when the C.I.A. station in Beirut was able to clandestinely monitor Nasrallah’s conversations. He described Nasrallah as “a gang leader who was able to make deals with the other gangs. He had contacts with everybody.”

TELLING CONGRESS

The Bush Administration’s reliance on clandestine operations that have not been reported to Congress and its dealings with intermediaries with questionable agendas have recalled, for some in Washington, an earlier chapter in history. Two decades ago, the Reagan Administration attempted to fund the Nicaraguan contras illegally, with the help of secret arms sales to Iran. Saudi money was involved in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)

The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”

The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”

The Pentagon consultant added that one difficulty, in terms of oversight, was accounting for covert funds. “There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions,” he said. The budgetary chaos in Iraq, where billions of dollars are unaccounted for, has made it a vehicle for such transactions, according to the former senior intelligence official and the retired four-star general.

“This goes back to Iran-Contra,” a former National Security Council aide told me. “And much of what they’re doing is to keep the agency out of it.” He said that Congress was not being briefed on the full extent of the U.S.-Saudi operations. And, he said, “The C.I.A. is asking, ‘What’s going on?’ They’re concerned, because they think it’s amateur hour.”

The issue of oversight is beginning to get more attention from Congress. Last November, the Congressional Research Service issued a report for Congress on what it depicted as the Administration’s blurring of the line between C.I.A. activities and strictly military ones, which do not have the same reporting requirements. And the Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Senator Jay Rockefeller, has scheduled a hearing for March 8th on Defense Department intelligence activities.

Senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, a Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, told me, “The Bush Administration has frequently failed to meet its legal obligation to keep the Intelligence Committee fully and currently informed. Time and again, the answer has been ‘Trust us.’ ” Wyden said, “It is hard for me to trust the Administration.” ♦

ILLUSTRATION: GUY BILLOUT

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh#ixzz2Agd1OpZx

The Road to World War 3

The Road to World War 3

Published on Sep 11, 2012 by 

We are on a road that leads straight to the World War 3, but in order to see that and to fully understand what is at stake you have to look at the big picture and connect the dots. This video examines the history of the dollar, its relation to oil, and the real motives behind the wars of the past two decades.

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Credits:
Music is original composition by StormCloudsGathering
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Scenes from Grey State trailer used with permission fromhttp://www.graystatemovie.com

The GRAY STATE Project–the American People Under Seige

The GRAY STATE Project

The world reels with the turmoil of war, geological disaster, and economic collapse, while Americans continue to submerge themselves in illusions of safety and immunity. While rights are sold for security, the federal government, swollen with power, begins a systematic takeover of liberty in order to bring about a New World Order.

Americans, quarantined to militarized districts, become a population ripe for tyrannical control.
Fearmongering, terrorism, police state, martial law, war, arrest, internment, hunger, oppression, violence, resistance – these are the terms by which Americans define their existence. Neighbor is turned against neighbor as the value of the dollar plunges to zero, food supplies are depleted, and everyone becomes a terror suspect. There are arrests. Disappearances. Bio attacks. Public executions of those even suspected of dissent. Even rumors of concentration camps on American soil.

This is the backdrop to an unfolding story of resistance. American militias prepare for guerilla warfare. There are mass defections from the military as true Patriots attempt to rally around the Constitution and defend liberty, preparing a national insurgency against federal forces, knowing full well this will be the last time in history the oppressed will be capable of organized resistance.

It is a time of transition, of shifting alliance, of mass awakening and mass execution. It is an impending storm, an iron-gray morning that puts into effect decades of over-comfort and complacency, and Americans wake up to an occupied homeland. It is a time of lists. Black list, white list, and those still caught in the middle, those who risk physical death for their free will and those who sell their souls to maintain their idle thoughts and easy comforts. It is in this Gray State that the perpetuation of human freedom will be contested, or crushed.

Is it the near future, or is it the present? The Gray State is coming – by consent or conquest. This is battlefield USA.

Encompassing the world of conspiracy theory, economic collapse, global disaster, end-time prophecies, martial law, and growing civil unrest, GRAY STATE is a piercing look into the immediate future in which the withered remains of freedom are traded for an impression of security.

GRAY STATE is the reality that can no longer be ignored. It is coming – by consent or conquest.

Watch the first official Gray State concept trailer here.

What is the Gray State?

The GRAY STATE is here. It always was.

America’s “Kingpin Strategy”

 

America’s “Kingpin Strategy”

Earlier this month, the Mexican navy announced the death of Heriberto Lazcano, the leader of Mexico’s violent Zetas drug cartel, during a firefight with the marines. The slaying was hailed as a significant victory for the government of President Felipe Calderón, which has made the elimination of top cartel leaders a priority in its fight against organized crime. But will a strategy to target drug kingpins pay off in the long-term? Baker Institute fellows weigh the pros and cons of the approach in a five-day installment of the Baker Institute Viewpoints series. Today, Nathan Jonesthe institute’s Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy, argues that alone, the strategy cannot “effectively manage organized crime networks in Latin America.”

Kingpin strategies have become one of the most hotly debated tactics in the “war on drugs” and the “global war on terrorism.” Kingpin decapitations, or strikes as they are often called, disrupt illicit networks — but create instability and therefore unintended consequences such as increased homicide and kidnap rates. Additionally, illicit networks adapt to the strategy and restructure themselves accordingly. While kingpin strategies can fragment cartels, the root causes of drug prohibition and weak state capacity must be addressed in tandem to effectively manage organized crime networks in Latin America.

The notion of targeting insurgent or cartel leadership figures — also known as high value targets (HVTs) — has long been considered an efficient way to disrupt illicit networks. In warfare, it was historically considered “ungentlemanly” to target officers. Nonetheless, American revolutionaries targeted British officers to maximize the disruption, confusion and chaos in British units.

Targeting drug kingpins became a staple of Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Defense strategies to combat terrorist and narcotics networks in the 1990s. In Medellin, Colombia, the U.S. and Colombian governments targeted Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellin cartel. Colombian authorities did not target him for his trafficking but rather for the threat he posed to the state by engaging in car bombings, assassinations and the corruption of judges. As detailed in Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo, getting Escobar was difficult until the intelligence given to the Colombians by the Americans was in turn fed to a paramilitary organization known as Los Pepes, which we now know was supported by the Cali cartel. Los Pepes began targeted assassinations of Escobar’s lawyers and accountants until Escobar was on the run and Colombian law enforcement authorities could kill him.

Networks adapt to these targeting strategies by increasing compartmentation. The Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) in Algeria compartmentalized cells to a degree never before seen in the face of French capture and torture, as shown in the film The Battle of Algiers.

Networks that are no longer hierarchically organized (i.e., flat networks) challenge states by limiting the disruption that the arrest or death of one leader can accomplish. For example, Al Qaeda was disrupted by the death of Osama bin Laden, but the network continues, as the apparent Al Qaeda attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya attests. Hierarchies can also be resilient in the face of decapitation strikes because they have immediate succession mechanisms — but those successors, if known, can be simultaneously targeted, allowing the entire command structure to be eliminated in one fell swoop.

Mexico’s drug war

Mexico refers to its conflict in the drug war as a battle against organized crime, rather than a struggle against drugs. Like drugs, organized crime is a problem that can only be managed — though a war against specific organized crime groups is ostensibly winnable as opposed to wars on societal problems like terrorism, drugs and poverty.

The kingpin strategy is a key component of Mexico’s war on organized crime. Indeed, Mexico’s government has published a most wanted list with 37 cartel capos, 23 of whom have been killed or arrested by government forces.  Additionally, rivals killed two, leaving only 12 of the original 37 remaining. The most recent kingpin killed was the head of Los Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, killed in Progreso Coahuila approximately two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, where the Mexican government has decapitated these cartels, violence has increased. The argument has been that various factions of the networks fight among each other for dominance, resulting in higher homicide rates.  In an upcoming publication in the journal Trends in Organized Crime, I argue that in addition to increased homicide rates, one of the unintended consequences of kingpin decapitations is an increase in kidnap rates. This is the result of cells in networks that are cut off from drug-related profits; they then increase freelance activities by expanding into kidnapping and extortion. The El Teo faction of the Tijuana cartel in 2008 was a good example of this.

The  administration of President Felipe Calderón argue that these short-term spikes in violence are to be expected after decapitations, but will eventually result in a more peaceful equilibrium. This argument has lost resonance among the Mexican population, which punished his ruling party July’s presidential election. The assertion may be true over a long enough timeline and, indeed, appeared to be the case in Colombia where, following the decapitation of major cartels, the disbandment of paramilitaries and the weakening of left-wing insurgents resulted in security gains. It should be noted that 300-400 cartelitos now handle drug trafficking out of the country in an efficient yet lower level of violence (Colombia has had traditionally high homicide rates, so the significant relative improvement might not be obvious to an outside observer).

Addressing root causes

There are two root causes of drug violence in Mexico: (1) the global drug prohibition regime, and (2) weak state capacity. The global drug prohibition regime has allowed high profits for drug trafficking networks that allow them to corrupt and influence the state. On the other hand, the Mexican state has traditionally had little capacity to address the basic social needs of the society and has lacked the security apparatus to address potential threats like cartels.  During eras in which the government colluded with traffickers, this weakness, while present, was not apparent.  As the Mexican government transitioned to an equilibrium of many trafficking networks and many weak law enforcement agencies, it has had scant ability to control traffickers.  The quality and size of those agencies must be dramatically improved in addition to improved social services and the expanded delivery of those services. Kingpin strategies have helped to improve state security capacity by forcing the Mexican government to invest in intelligence capacity.

Kingpin strategies will weaken illicit networks, but will also fragment them into smaller diversified criminal groups that necessitate improved state and local governance as they become hyper-violent local problems. The Mexican government is slowly but surely beginning to build improved state capacity. The final piece of the puzzle that will assist the Mexican government in achieving a more rapid and peaceful equilibrium as it weakens cartels and improves its own capacity is to address the fundamental political-economic source of profitable drug networks, the global drug prohibition regime.

Nathan Jones is the Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute. His areas of interest include U.S.-Mexico security issues, illicit networks and cross-border flows.

Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan Was Obama’s Man In Lebanon

BY JAY SOLOMON

WASHINGTON—The assassination of Lebanon’s security chief a week ago robbed the U.S. and Europe of one of its closest allies in monitoring and countering the regional activities of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as its backers in Syria and Iran, said U.S. and Arab officials.

headed intelligence-gathering for Lebanon’s police force, the Internal Security Forces, which was among Beirut’s primary recipients of U.S. financial aid since mass protests forced Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to remove his troops from the country in 2005.

Unbelievable footage from New Chinese Video Game–(I fell for it)

[It was an ingenious promotional video for new Chinese Video game about girl with supernatural power to teleport.

http://x.wanmei.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oood4gGFasc

Unbelievable footage from Chinese security camera, so I am told.

At about 15 seconds a bicycle cart enters the camera’s field of vision, from the left, right in front of a speeding box truck.  Suddenly, a flash of light shoots into the scene from the right, whisking the bicycle cart out of harm’s way, somehow.  Simultaneously, a flash of light appears in the top right of the video.  Out of that light the cart appears, plus another figure of indeterminate sex, who seemed to have glowing hands.  When people start to approach them, the good Samaritan shoves his or her glowing hands into their pockets and walks away.  The video ends shortly after that.  Another point, the driver of the speeding truck slams-on his brakes and jumps out of the cab and dashes around the truck, looking frantically underneath.

What happened there?  If the video is faked somehow, then it is a masterwork.  I tend to believe that it is true, because I had the same thing happen to me when I was 11 or 12 years old.  I rode my bike right into the path of a speeding semi-truck and suddenly, somehow, I was on the other side of the highway, without a scratch.  I was staring at the big truck’s grill, then I was thirty feet away.  I have never been able to explain that.

A Leninist critique of Western humanitarian imperialism

A Leninist critique of Western humanitarian imperialism

By Nicolas Bonnal
A Leninist critique of Western humanitarian imperialism. 48364.jpeg

We are living dangerous yet moral times, for a few hundreds of arrogant and powerful men (call them Bilderbergs, Illuminati, Trilateralists) have decided to rule the World together in the name of “the commerce and the imaginative”, as put Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the first version of the NWO which opened first modern concentration camps for the Boers’ families 111 years ago.

We are thus ruled by humanitarian oligarchs, by imaginative and moral rascals who mix oil with principles and raw materials with innumerable moral commandments which oblige us to intervene everywhere. Warmongers adore justifying their wars. It is like in the time of Hitler, when he was compelled to invade Czechoslovakia to protect his fellow Germans, then Poland to protect the citizens of Danzig, then soviet Russia to protect the West against the evils of communism (the Nazis, while massacring anyone, often boasted of protecting western heritage)!

And today when the West attacks and bombs Libya, Syria or Lebanon, waiting for poor Iran, massacring civilians, we are used to understand that it is for the promotion of good and to fight evil. Thanks to their own bad faith and disinformation, western mainstream media, politicians, military and adventurers are auto-convinced that they castigate the bad to celebrate the good, may they be the sinister Mujahedin in Syria or elsewhere. Such limited handling of reality explicates in Europe or in America our debt, our uncontrolled immigration, our social unrest, our unemployment, our weakness. Yet it has to be understood. Why are we so wrong?

I was for that reason reading again Lenin’s masterwork about imperialism (Imperialism highest stage of capitalism). Some things have changed, fortunately for some countries (they are no more starved and whipped by democratic colonial powers), some others have not. The imperial and barbaric movement is still the same, except that it is now uneasy to assail India or China for a new break up, and that Russia is too strong and efficiently protects some of her allies. Of course now the hidden companions who rule the world have decided to ruin western people delocalizing all production and developing immigration… but I won’t complaint since at Lenin’s times these enlightened elites had decided to butcher Europe as a whole to defend some local mines or overseas interests… Anyway Lenin shrewdly denounces in his book decaying capitalism, economic parasitism and the oligarchic conduct of the 300, as put Rathenau, who then ruled their gloomy West.

Yet I must recognize that the most interesting parts of Vladimir Lenin’s book come from his quote of an unknown and remarkable British writer named Hobson (John A. Hobson, Imperialism, a study). Contrarily to Lenin, Hobson is not a Marxist, and that perhaps gives him more intuition and finesse when it comes to understand the motives of our humanitarian elites. A capitalist may be a ruthless businessman full of greed, but he can be a real idealist too, and of the worst kind. Writes Hobson on the matter:

In view of the part which the non-economic factors of patriotism, adventure, military enterprise, political ambition, and philanthropy play in imperial expansion, it may appear that to impute to financiers so much power is to take a too narrowly economic view of history.

Hobson then reproaches the sinister role of adventurers, writers (Kipling, Verne, Haggard, etc.), missionaries, travellers, sportsmen, scientists, who promote the imperialist ideals. He writes and it’s always the case that the western imperialist consider that they must have such a divine right of force that they even can lead “to the point of complete subjugation or extermination the physical struggle between races and types of civilisation.” The lower race must disappear not because it is black or yellow, but because it is less moral! This is what happens nowadays with the Arabs, may they be Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians or Libyans.

Of course in 1900 nobody in the European populations is convinced of the imperialistic benefits. Life is hard in Europe, inequalities fantastic, and many people must emigrate… in free countries, not in our colonies. Also, the expenses for colonial wars are enormous. This is why, for Hobson, the imperialist bankers, traders and their affiliates emphasize humanitarian motives, buy the press, print travel books and celebrate heroism and exotic action. They adore the generous missionaries, travellers (Dr Livingstone, I presume?) and all the Allan Quatermain and Phileas Fogg of the creation… These feelings are fed by a flood of the literature of travel and of imaginative writing… Today we have terrorist novels or books, manipulated reportages, false flag attacks, painted terrorism, faked digital pictures, and so on to justify for instance the “three trillion dollars” (Jo Stieglitz) war of Iraq or of Afghanistan. We all remember famous Randolph Hearst’s expression, pronounced on the verge of infamous American-Spanish war: I’ll produce the war! There was too a false flag attack to unclench war process.

Hobson has got a master point: like every capitalistic operation, imperialism is awfully interested in money yet it is often driven by a foolish agenda based on crossed morality, biased ethics and anarchic interventionism. We have today the human rights agenda, run by non-governmental-organisations, secret services and philanthropist billionaires. Already in 1900, there exists in a considerable though not a large proportion of the British nation a genuine desire to spread Christianity among the heathen, to diminish the cruelty and other sufferings… Hell is often paved with good intentions… western oligarchs want to be good even if, like said Oscar Wilde, “our conscience is always cowardice.”

Since the West is no more Christian, it has become a criminal with a conscience! Western madness, this mix of hubris and nemesis, had of course softened after WW2 and decolonization, but it violently stroke back since the end of USSR; and the American agenda in Balkans and Middle-East was coldly applied by Clinton, Bush or Obama. And the same state of mind has remained: our elites and the so-called public opinion forged by media, polls, and bad consciousness (“we must destroy any new Hitler”, especially if he lives in a small modernist Arab country!) have accustomed themselves to self-deception and fake ideals. Of course we know the strategic role of Afghanistan or Syria, the importance of oilfields, pipelines and minerals. But they’re not alone, and we don’t know how far the limits of Western bad faith can lead. I let humanist and pessimistic Hobson conclude:

The gravest peril of Imperialism lies in the state of mind of a nation which has become habituated to this deception and which has rendered itself incapable of self-criticism.

Nicolas Bonnal

Bolivia Police Stop British Ex-Special Forces Soldier from “Making History” with Machine Gun, Cocaine and a Kill List

[This man named Mark David Hassell was frightening his neighbors with his trained German shepherd and bold threats to “make history in the village” of Rurrenabaque.  Bolivian news sources report that he had a list of names in his possession which might be a hit list.  On Googling his name, we find that “Mark David Hassell” was employed by Ubs Securities Llc, at 1285 Avenue of The Americas, New York.]  

 

British special forces soldier arrested in Bolivia ‘over possession of weapons and cocaine’


Mark David Hassell was arrested on Monday night in his room at a boarding house in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, after neighbours complained that he threatened them

Google

A former British special forces soldier has been arrested in an Amazon jungle tourist town for illegal possession of weapons and cocaine.

Mark David Hassell was arrested on Monday night in his room at a boarding house in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, after neighbours complained that he threatened them, said Navy Captain Cimar Vides, the regional military chief.

A police spokesman said he had a submachine gun, a pistol and an unspecified quantity of cocaine.

Hassell was taken to the regional capital, Trinidad, yesterday where he is to appear before a judge on illegal arms and cocaine possession charges, Capt Vides said.

Hassell has the insignia of various British military units tattooed on his body, the official said. He added that Hassell had overstayed a tourist visa obtained last year.

“He has been an elite soldier. He was decorated and took part in the Bosnia war,” Capt Vides said.

The British Embassy said it was providing consular assistance to Hassell but declined further comment.

The police officer who arrested Hassell said the suspect gave his age as 43 and reported he had been in the British special forces and had also fought in Afghanistan.

Hassell had an Argentine-made 9mm MK submachine gun and a Brazilian-made .38-calibre Tauro handgun along with 100 rounds of ammunition in a backpack, and the room smelled of cocaine, officer Agapito Torrez said.

Hassell, who identified himself as a tourist, also had a German shepherd dog that townspeople said had threatened them, the officer said. He said Hassell does not speak Spanish.

Mr Torrez said locals notified police partly because they said they heard Hassell say he would “make history” in Rurrenabaque.

Bolivia is the world’s third largest cocaine producer, but the region where Hassell was arrested is not a coca-growing region although it is not far from the Yungas coca-growing region and is on the air traffic path of flights that ferry partially refined coca paste eastward from Peru.

Rurrenabaque borders the Madidi national park and is popular with foreign tourists.

Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran

Secret legal advice states pre-emptive strike could be in breach of international law as Iran not yet ‘clear and present threat’

Diego Garcia

US diplomats are said to have also lobbied for permission to use US bases on British territory such as Diego Garcia. Photograph: AFP

Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.

The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.

The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. They have pointed US officials to legal advice drafted by the attorney general’s office which has been circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.

This makes clear that Iran, which has consistently denied it has plans to develop a nuclear weapon, does not currently represent “a clear and present threat”. Providing assistance to forces that could be involved in a pre-emptive strike would be a clear breach of international law, it states.

“The UK would be in breach of international law if it facilitated what amounted to a pre-emptive strike on Iran,” said a senior Whitehall source. “It is explicit. The government has been using this to push back against the Americans.”

Sources said the US had yet to make a formal request to the British government, and that they did not believe an acceleration towards conflict was imminent or more likely. The discussions so far had been to scope out the British position, they said.

“But I think the US has been surprised that ministers have been reluctant to provide assurances about this kind of upfront assistance,” said one source. “They’d expect resistance from senior Liberal Democrats, but it’s Tories as well. That has come as a bit of a surprise.”

The situation reflects the lack of appetite within Whitehall for the UK to be drawn into any conflict, though the Royal Navy has a large presence in the Gulf in case the ongoing diplomatic efforts fail.

The navy has up to 10 ships in the region, including a nuclear-powered submarine. Its counter-mine vessels are on permanent rotation to help ensure that the strategically important shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz remain open.

The Guardian has been told that a British military delegation with a strong navy contingent flew to US Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, earlier this summer to run through a range of contingency plans with US planners.

The UK, however, has assumed that it would only become involved once a conflict had already begun, and has been reluctant to commit overt support to Washington in the buildup to any military action.

“It is quite likely that if the Israelis decided to attack Iran, or the Americans felt they had to do it for the Israelis or in support of them, the UK would not be told beforehand,” said the source. “In some respects, the UK government would prefer it that way.”

British and US diplomats insisted that the two countries regarded a diplomatic solution as the priority. But this depends on the White House being able to restrain Israel, which is nervous that Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant will soon make its nuclear programme immune to any outside attempts to stop it.

Israel has a less developed strike capability and its window for action against Iran will close much more quickly than that of the US, explained another official. “The key to holding back Israel is Israeli confidence that the US will deal with Iran when the moment is right.”

With diplomatic efforts stalled by the US presidential election campaign, a new push to resolve the crisis will begin in late November or December.

Six global powers will spearhead a drive which is likely to involve an offer to lift some of the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy in return for Tehran limiting its stockpile of enriched uranium.

The countries involved are the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China. Iran will be represented by its chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “As we continue to make clear, the government does not believe military action against Iran is the right course of action at this time, although no option is off the table. We believe that the twin-track approach of pressure through sanctions, which are having an impact, and engagement with Iran is the best way to resolve the nuclear issue. We are not going to speculate about scenarios in which military action would be legal. That would depend on the circumstances at the time.”

The Foreign Office said it would not disclose whether the attorney general’s advice has been sought on any specific issue.

A US state department official said: “The US and the UK co-ordinate on all kinds of subjects all the time, on a huge range of issues. We never speak on the record about these types of conversations.”

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, warned at the UN general assembly last month that Iran’s nuclear programme would reach Israel’s “red line” by “next spring, at most by next summer”, implying that Israel might then take military action in an attempt to destroy nuclear sites and set back the programme.

That red line, which Netanyahu illustrated at the UN with a marker pen on a picture of a bomb, is defined by Iranian progress in making uranium enriched to 20%, which would be much easier than uranium enriched to 5% to turn into weapons-grade material, should Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, take the strategic decision to abandon Iran’s observance of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and try to make a weapon. Tehran insists it has no such intention.

In August, the most senior US military officer, General Martin Dempsey,distanced himself from any Israeli plan to bomb Iran. He said such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear programme”.

He added: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”

Kazan Averts Terror Attack, Lands Suspects In Mufti Faizov Bombing and Valiulla Yakupov Assassination

[SEE:  Terrorist Attacks Upon Two Major Critics of Wahabbi Penetration of Tartarstan, Russia–One Dead (updated 7-21)]

In Kazan managed to prevent major terrorist attack during the Eid al-Adha

Consequence joined the criminal cases of the destruction of the two terrorists in Kazan and attempted mufti of Tatarstan, said today the Investigation Committee (IC). Explosions in the capital of Tatarstan, on a plan of terrorists, the Radio Echo of Moscow , had thunder this Friday.

On this day, Muslims celebrate one of the most important religious holidays, the streets and the mosques would leave tens of thousands of believers.

The apartment from the rebels found an improvised explosive device with shrapnel, weapons and ammunition. The very special operation to detain suspects in the attack on the clergy of the Republic was held yesterday afternoon. Militants blockaded in their apartment in the five-storey building.

Other residents had to evacuate. Attackers have decided not to surrender and opened fire. One of them was shot dead and another detonated a suicide bomber’s belt and took the life of Riot. It later emerged that one of the killed person blew mufti of Tatarstan IldusaFayzova car and shot the deputy Waliullah Yakupov.

What’s attacks were not chosen by chance – Faizi and Yakupov supporters were stiff fight against Wahhabism and consistently advocated the prohibition of this ideology throughout Russia, seeing it as a real threat to traditional Islam, said Itar-Tass .

According to RIA Novosti , the day before investigators blocked the criminals in a house on the street chemist. Two bandits were killed, but no there were no casualties on the part of security forces – was killed FSB. Liquidated criminals, according to the UK, is wanted in the case of the attack on the mufti of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Tatarstan and the killing of his senior colleague Waliullah Yakupov.

“During the counter-terrorist operation died heroically at the Center for Russian FSB Special, cover your body gunman led into action was with him an explosive device.This act of the employee has saved the rest of the participants in the operation, and is also in close proximity to civilians, “- said in a statement of the press service of the FSB, said NEWSru.com . Will was awarded the victim, not yet reported.

“Information was received to prepare team members on October 26 this year a large-scale terrorist attack in crowded places, during the celebration of the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha “- note the FSB. Previously, a number of experts like to observe that Valeev and Kashapov act not of his radical religious beliefs, but simply criminal plan “dispute” that a holiday should touch up of law enforcement officers on the false conclusions.

Russia Really Arming-Up, Major Expenditures In Nuclear and Conventional Weaponry

Prior to 2015, Russia will spend on nuclear weapons 100 billion

The increase is in defense spending under the draft budget “demonstrates a desire to guide the country to move from words to deeds”, said yesterday the chairman of the Duma Committee on Defense Vladimir Komoyedov during government hour on this topic, reportsVedomosti .

Only to nuclear weapons plans to spend more than 100 billion rubles. 2015, noted Komoyedov. He said that the volume of planned expenditure Natsoboronu in 2013 amounted to 2.1 trillion rubles. (By 14.8% more than in 2012), in 2014 – 2.5 trillion rubles., In 2015 – more than 3 trillion.

Lenta.ru reported that the largest expenditure in the next three years will occur in the construction of a new strategic nuclear submarine Project 955 and 955A “Northwind” and the multi-purpose project 885 “Yasen” Project 636.3 diesel submarines “Varshavyanka”, corvettes and frigates, the purchase of Su -30cm and the Su-35, Su-34, as well as all types of helicopters. The current state armaments program for 2011-2020 includes upgrade of the Armed Forces of Russia, at least 75 per cent in ten years.

As noted by ITAR-TASS , in the coming years for the development and procurement of modern weapons will be spent trillions of rubles. “This is a great deal and should be used effectively to equip the Army and Navy” – said Komoyedov.

Komoyedov said that funding for the state program of armaments to 20 trillion in 2020 will, above all, for the production of new types of weapons and military tehniki.Na providing permanent housing in 2013-2015 will be spent mlrdrub 18, 4 billion rubles and 10 billion rubles; office accommodation in 2013 and 2014 – 10 billion rubles and 5 billion rubles, respectively.

“Deputies fully support the plan of the Ministry of Defense for the speedy elimination of the backlog in equipping the army and navy with the latest technology, as well as further improvement of social security of servicemen and their families,” – concluded Komoyedov.

Like Clockwork, Another Mexican Town Takes-Up Arms Against Cartel Threat

[Sticking closely to the CIA formula, Mexicans are responding predictably to the “strategy of tension,” as we see villages turn into armed camps, just as they do everywhere that the Imperial formula is implemented.  The plan is to cause the targeted area to virtually explode from the addition of military grade weapons into the arsenals of local criminal gangs and drug-runners.  When the roads start to be littered with the bloody remains of the criminals’ assault upon society and upon each other, then everyone seeks-out the means of self-protection.  When the situation deteriorates sufficiently from all of this destabilization, then it becomes necessary to send in the troops…you know, the Special Forces types who have been receiving advanced training from American “green berets” and “navy seals.”  

This is all the Pentagon’s doing, as they carry-out Mike Vickers’ “take-over-the-world plan.”]

Fearing drug cartel, Mexican village turns vigilante

p14a3 Fearing drug cartel, Mexican village turns vigilante

URAPICHO: A masked resident of Urapicho village, in Michoacan state, member of a security commission, stops a car while guarding a main entrance of the town. – AFP

URAPICHO: At the entrance of this western Mexican village, farmers in ski masks carry rifles as they man a checkpoint to protect their people, fearful that a drug cartel may strike at any time. Urapicho, a hillside village surrounded by forests, corn fields and cow pastures, has become the latest community in the western state of Michoacan to take security in its own hands against the menace of organized crime.

The decision by the residents of Urapicho to turn into a vigilante village highlights the state of fear that many Mexicans live in amid a brutal drug war, and their distrust of local police. “The barricade is there to prevent anybody who wants to hurt the population from coming in,” said a 52-year-old corn farmer, who like others in Urapicho refused to give his name for fear of retaliation. People in this village of 1,500  say they were at peace until the bodies of two suspected drug cartel members turned up on the road leading up to Urapicho in August.

Since then, villagers say, some residents have received threatening phone calls from people blaming them for the deaths while rumors swirl that the gang wants to make Urapicho pay for its slain comrades. Hundreds of people attended a meeting in the village square to discuss what to do next. By a show of hands, they agreed to set up a 24-hour checkpoint, placing rocks on the road to slow cars entering the isolated village. Armando Ballinas, a state public safety official, said the cartel provided financial aid to some villagers and began to threaten them when they refused to work for the gang. The discovery of the bodies heightened those tensions.

The state of Michoacan is the scene of a turf war between two cartels, La Familia Michoacana and its splinter group the Knights Templar, which are fighting for control of drug trafficking routes. The feud has sparked street shootouts, kidnappings and brutal killings in the state, with bodies sometimes turning up on the side of roads. Now in Urapicho, four burly men, one of them wearing a military green jacket, carry shotguns and assault rifles under a blue tent while others hide behind trees as they check the identification papers of unknown visitors.

Only one paved road leads up to the village, a quiet hamlet with a bullring and brick homes where women wear colorful Purepecha indigenous dresses and sell them on the street while men in straw hats tend to the fields. Local police are not welcome in Urapicho-like in the rest of Mexico, municipal police have a reputation for corruption. A municipal police commander countered that indigenous villages traditionally want to “impose their own law.” The villagers say they want the more trustworthy army instead to set up a permanent post. President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of troops across the nation to crack down on cartels in 2006. Since then, an estimated 60,000 people have died in the drug war.

“The government is the one that must take care of this issue but until now we have had no support,” said a 30-year-old musician wearing a baseball cap.  “We want peace.” Many Urapicho residents work outside the village but around 80 farmers and street vendors have stopped going to their jobs for fear of being kidnapped or killed, villagers said. “The country in general is living through this situation,” Nicolas Zalapa Vargas, the mayor of the municipality of Paracho, which includes Urapicho said. “This situation is not exclusive to Michoacan, Paracho or Urapicho.” Talks will be held with the state government to discuss the village’s petition to have an army outpost as well as its own community patrol, he said.

The people of Urapicho are following in the footsteps of the bigger nearby town of Cheran, where residents took up arms last year against illegal loggers raiding their forest. More than a year after its revolt, the town of Cheran now has brick checkpoints manned by armed men and women wearing blue uniforms with the words “community patrol” emblazoned on the back. In Urapicho, some residents are uneasy with the security arrangement. A 27-year-old grocery store worker said she didn’t like having to show what was in her bags at the checkpoint, or having to explain why she was going out at a certain time. “It’s not good,” she said as she sold candy to a child. “We can’t be at ease with this.”- AFP

Israeli Press Reports Local Communications Blackout Preceded Bombing of Sudanese Arms Complex

[Is it possible that attacking forces used a prototype EMF (electromagnetic frequency) weapon to fry electronic circuits in the target area before the impending attack, such as Boeing’s CHAMP microwave cruise missile?

“CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. ‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.'”]

Sudan reporter: Local communications severed prior to arms factory blast

Sudan explosion

Fire engulfs Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012.

Blackout meant that aside from the sound of gunshots, residents of the area had no idea what was going on, journalist tells Haaretz.

The telecommunications network in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum were disconnected for about an hour before an explosion rocked an arms factory there a local journalist told Haaretz on Thursday.

The blackout meant that aside from the sound of gunshots, residents of the area had no idea what was going on, said the journalist. The explosion lit up the sky, and nobody knew at first what was going, he added. Eyewitnesses later described hearing planes flying in the sky around the time of the blast.

Residents of the area know that the factory is used for producing and storing weapons, said the journalist. Large parts of the factory were destroyed in the blast, he said.

Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk arms factory overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, causing a mass fire. After many hours of silence, Sudan’s information minister accused Israel of being behind the explosion.

Sudan, which analysts say is used as an arms smuggling route to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt, has blamed Israel for such strikes in the past but Israel has always either refused to comment or said it neither admitted nor denied involvement.

“We believe that Israel is behind it,” Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters on Wednesday, adding that “the planes had appeared to approach the site from the east.”

“Sudan reserves the right to strike back at Israel,” he said, saying two citizens had been killed and that the plant had been partially destroyed.

“We are now certain that this flagrant attack was authorized by the same state of Israel. The main purpose is to frustrate our military capabilities and stop any development there and ultimately weaken our national sovereignty,” Osman said.

He said his country has the right to respond and may take the issue to the UN Security Council.

Imperialists prepare for war in Mali

Western imperialist states, with the support of the United Nations Security Council, are preparing for a full-scale military intervention in the West African state of Mali. Since March, the country has been in a severe political crisis after a military coup and its effective partitioning into north and south.

The French government of Francois Hollande has moved surveillance drones to West Africa and is holding secret talks with U.S. officials in Paris. Mali was colonized by France in the 19th century but won independence in 1960.

Before a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure in March, the U.S. Africa Command had established training programs and joint operations with the Malian army.

This planned imperialist intervention is being carried out under the guise of fighting in North and West Africa.

The Tuareg people in northern Mali have been at odds with the central government in Bamako in the south for many years. After the U.S.-NATO engineered war of regime change in Libya, many Tuaregs who had worked in Libya relocated back to northern Mali, where Tuaregs have lived for many centuries. The Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is reported to have led the campaign that seized several major cities in the north earlier this year and declared a separate state of Azawad.

The MNLA is viewed as a secular organization concerned with addressing grievances between the Tuareg and the central government. Organizations of an Islamic orientation also have a formidable presence in northern Mali. The imperialists are using the presence of groups such as Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb to justify intervention and occupation.

France has been turning more attention to the entire Sahel region as it accelerates its withdrawal from Afghanistan. It plans to move two surveillance drones to western Africa from Afghanistan. (AP, Oct. 22)

Imperialists want to use African troops

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson was involved in the Paris talks on Mali. On Oct. 12, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the deployment of 3,000 troops under the ostensible authority of the West African regional organization. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was given 45 days to put forward “detailed and actionable recommendations.”

In Brussels on Oct. 19, the European Union resolved to “speed up planning of a possible (EU) military operation to help reorganize and train the Malian defense forces. The EU will maintain the option to adopt targeted restrictive measures against those involved in the armed groups in northern Mali and those hindering the return to constitutional order.” (skynews.com.au, Oct. 22)

Once the imperialists made their plans, they held a meeting in Bamako, Mali’s capital, on Oct. 20-21 with regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the recently installed African Union Commission chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

France’s special envoy to the Sahel, Jean Felix-Paganon, told the international press during his visit to Mali that “we are at their disposal.” (telegraph.co.uk, Oct. 22)

Tuaregs deny influx of Islamist fighters

The rationale for imminent military action in northern Mali, according to a wave of news articles, is the claim that fighters from various Islamist groups have been pouring into the region. Voice of America put out an inflammatory report on Oct. 22: “Hundreds of additional Islamist fighters have deployed in northern Mali, as neighboring countries make plans to send troops to the troubled nation.” It claimed, “Residents report seeing hundreds of Tunisian and Egyptian militants in the city of Gao, while many other militants went to the central town of Douentza, close to Malian army positions in Mopti. The al-Qaida linked militants in the region have carried out public executions, amputations and floggings in an effort to enforce their strict version of Islamic law.”

The MNLA has denied these reports. Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, a spokesperson for the organization, said reports of “the arrival of convoys of jihadists from Sudan and the Western Sahara are totally false. We categorically deny it.” (iol.co.za, Oct. 22)

Even a Malian security source told the French Press Agency that while “new terrorists” had arrived in the north of Mali, claims of several hundred were “exaggerated.” (Sapa-AFP, Oct. 22)

The aims and objectives of the E.U., U.S. and U.N. Security Council are related to the overall imperialist strategy for the African continent, which has oil and other minerals indispensable to the world capitalist market.

Western intervention, even if masked by thousands of regional troops from ECOWAS, cannot resolve the problems of underdevelopment and lack of empowerment among the African masses. Africa and its people have no other choice but to take control of their resources and to develop mechanisms for ensuring the security, stability and development of the continent.

American Imperialism

American Imperialism

Aaron Kroeber

I am rarely utterly without hope when it comes to the American government. There has hardly ever been a time when I couldn’t find a sensible position being espoused by a major candidate for office. While no candidate is ever perfect, somewhere in the union of their opinions and those of their opponents there lies a combination of opinions that I find, if not favorable, not entirely objectionable. Monday’s debate marked an exception to this norm.

Truly, I was appalled by the displays of bravado and imperialist posturing put on by both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, neither of them taking truly different perspectives on any significant issue. No matter who is elected, it is clear that our foreign policy will continue as it is: to further American interests in countries that are weaker than us by use of force. Drone strikes? Check. Leaving the possibility of bombing Iran on the table? Check. Defending Israel to the end? Check. When did American policy become entirely about where we are prepared to use force? And, more importantly, why is the answer seemingly “anywhere?”

For a country based on republicanism and certain democratic principles, it is odd that we seem to ignore the fact that no one elected us as the world’s policeman. We carry out many of our operations under the auspices of NATO, or (though increasingly rarely) with the permission of the UN Security Council, but neither is a globally representative organization, neither is elected democratically. We have endowed ourselves with universal jurisdiction in ‘liberation’ where we see fit and the right to decide how other nations should be ruled. Democracy is important in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Egypt, in Libya, and in Syria, but only if they elect people we approve of, and it certainly isn’t important in Saudi Arabia. It isn’t our job to dictate democracy to other countries, and it certainly shouldn’t be our job to bomb.

What troubles me most, though, is how our tactics have changed. We have been in the policeman business since the Second World War, but only recently have we turned to assassination. The war in Afghanistan was, in political rhetoric at least, a massive assassination plot. We went in to get bin Laden, we went in to kill him, and we did. This is what we hear from the President every time he touches on foreign policy. Last year the President ordered the death of Anwar al-Aulaqi, an al-Qaeda commander and an American citizen. It is now our policy to use drones to assassinate those who we have deemed to be terrorists worldwide without trial, without the rule of law, by order of the President alone.
America has carried out assassinations before, but we have never reveled in them so. President Roosevelt didn’t run on his assassination of Isoroku Yamamoto, but President Obama is running on his assassination of bin Laden. We may have abandoned the rule of law in these instances long ago, but when did we start gloating in it?

We have taken up the battle cry of national security, that extraordinary measures can be taken in its name so long as we are in a time of war. But when will we not be at war? We have wars on terror, on drugs, on crime, and these aren’t going away anytime soon. When do we cross the line from global policeman to global mobster, offering protection to our friends and offing our enemies? If we’re not dangerously close to that line, it’s only because we’ve crossed it already.

Our espoused motive is always peace, but what peace has come from our “War on Terror?”

We are preparing to leave Afghanistan, our assassination being done, but the nation is still in turmoil. Our drone strikes seem not to have dissuaded the killing of our ambassador to Libya, nor have they persuaded anyone to lay down arms. Our bombings don’t actually create any peace, they just slowly eliminate everyone who disagrees with us. But boy, is that a long list. We can’t kill our way to peace, so let’s get out of the business. Let’s work to fight oppression as we did Apartheid, with sanctions and diplomacy. Overthrowing governments should not be our privilege, let alone our job. Peace cannot come by force of arms; a Pax Americana won’t be built by drones.

Soon, I hope we will recognize that our own tactics are the tactics of terror: dropping bombs from above on the unsuspecting, on those we hate, in the hopes that we scare them enough into surrendering. Soon, I hope we recognize that our rhetoric about liberty, freedom, and democracy is blunted with every bomb we drop, with every leader we depose. Soon, I hope we remember the immortal words of George Carlin, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”--[I am going to have to challenge the writer’s assertion about the source of this comment, unless he has evidence that Carlin used the expression before 1970.  I used the expression “Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity” in a letter to my dead brother-in-law, ex-jarhead, off the coast of Vietnam in 1970.  I can’t recall how I came-up with it, whether I had heard it elsewhere.  If anyone knows, let me know.–Peter]

Are LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) and Shale Gas Cooling European Ardor for Gas Pipelines?

Worried by shale gas, Putin calls for new energy strategy

Gazprom faces shale gas woes

A Nord Stream pipeline operator stands on a platform in Portovaya bay in northwestern Russia. | AFP PHOTO/OLGA MALTSEVA

Overseeing the official launch of the Bovanenkovo natural-gas field in the Arctic by video link from his residence outside Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which supplies about a quarter of Europe’s gas demand through a pipeline network, to reconfigure its strategy to adapt to the growing threat from shale gas. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas after the United States.

Politicians, experts and businessmen are talking about shale revolution, the Kremlin leader said, adding that shale-gas developments and growing trade in liquefied gas is reshaping the market.

“We must take in account the current developments and have a clear view how the situation will develop not only in the next two to three years, but through the next decade,” he said. “The priorities should be supplies to the domestic market, our own economy and our enterprises, as well as diversification of markets to account for the prospective Asian segment and means of delivery,” Putin told a meeting on 23 October of a Kremlin energy policy commission.

Gazprom’s pipeline gas is under competitive pressure from growing supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is imported to Europe by ship from places like Qatar. The economic crisis and growing supplies of shale gas and LNG have challenged Gazprom’s business. However, many of Gazprom’s customers are bound by long-term take-or-pay contracts. Nevertheless, countries like Poland and Ukraine are starting to explore their own shale-gas reserves.

For a long time Putin followed Gazprom’s line that shale gas poses no threat to the Russian behemoth’s exports but now the Russian President noted that the effect of the revolutionary new fuel should be taken into consideration.

Putin said that Russia’s energy strategy should be ready in November. He said it should take into account growing Asian demand for oil and gas and to amend its long-term gas-sector development.

Russia has for years unsuccessfully tried to secure a deal to sell pipeline gas to China. Moscow and Beijing have failed so far to agree on issues such as price and routes. Russia is now aiming to sell LNG to China, Korea and India.

The much-delayed Bovanenkovo field, Yamal’s largest gas field, is the largest in the region and may help offset Gazprom’s falling gas output from other fields. Bovanenkovo contains almost 5trl cubic metres of gas. Yamal is hundreds of kilometres north of Gazprom’s core assets in the Nadym-Pur-Taz basin and the Russian gas monopoly needs tens of billions of dollars to bring gas from remote deposits into its pipeline system.

Gazprom Chief Executive Alexey Miller said the field will account for one sixth of Russia’s total output, and may produce more depending on European demand.

Putin was speaking at a meeting of energy officials, including Russian oil major Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who earlier held a conference call with investors on a deal to acquire Anglo-Russian crude producer TNK-BP in a cash-and-stock deal worth $55bn.

Development of Arctic oil and gas are a priority for the Kremlin. BP hopes that it will jointly develop Russia’s Arctic fields with Rosneft.

Union rights under attack in Kyrgyzstan

Union rights under attack in Kyrgyzstan 

The management of Altynken LLC, a company exploiting the third largest gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, responded to the creation of a union by dismissing its newly elected president and creating an alternative structure, controlled by the management. The IMF has sent letters of protest to the executive director of Altynken and Kyrgyz authorities.

KYRGYZSTAN: On June 14 a union was founded at Altynken LLC. Elections of union committee members were held the same day. Turatkan Arykbaev was elected president. On June 15 the union was registered and joined the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan (MMTUK), an IMF affiliate.

When the management learned about the creation of the union, it started to persecute union activists. Turatkan Arykbaev received a notice of dismissal. Union committee members have been under psychological pressure. The company leadership stubbornly refuses to recognize the union.

On Monday, June 27 Arykbaev was dismissed. The management offered him to write a letter of resignation. When he refused, he was fired as he “was still on probation”. The MMTUK considers the dismissal illegal. The union has prepared a legal action against the dismissal and has asked the Kyrgyz Labour Inspection to do the same.

Also on June 27 the company organized a meeting at the mine, and created an alternative union. The MMTUK will challenge this decision too: under Kyrgyz laws, members of the company management cannot create unions.

The MMTUK has called for international solidarity, and has received numerous letters of support.

IMF general secretary Jyrki Raina sent letters of protest to the executive director of Altynken LLC Muhtar Shabanbaev, to the Prosecutor General, to the Kyrgyz minister of natural resources and to the director of the Kyrgyz Labour Inspection. These bodies have already started to investigate the situation at the plant.

“We demand that the persecution and discrimination of union activists stops immediately and that the workers’ right to freedom of association is respected,” Jyrki Raina wrote in a letter to the executive director of Altynken LLC.

The MMTUK will continue to fight against the persecution of union activists at Altynken LLC and for the recognition of the union local. The union is preparing a statement addressed to foreign investors demanding the dismissal of the Altynken executive director for violating the constitutional rights of Kyrgyz citizens.

“We will stand our ground,” said Eldar Tadzhivaev, MMTUK president.

Altynken LLC is a joint Kyrgyz-Kazakh venture (60 per cent owned by Summer Gold PLC, 40 per cent by Kyrgyzaltyn JSC). The company exploits the Taldy-Bulak Levoberejny minefield in the Chuy Province, near the town of Kemin, with gold reserves at 2 million ounces and silver reserves at 1.8 million ounces. The mine has the third largest proven gold reserves in the country after the Kumtor and Jerui mines.Jun 28, 2011 – Ilya Matveev

Altynken Gold Mine Rioting Set-Off By Excavator Running Over A Horse, Unfair Chinese Labor Practices Behind Tensions

Fight erupts between locals and Chinese at Kyrgyzstan mine

Wen Jiabao greets Almazbek Atambayev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, in Urumqi on Sept. 2. (Photo/Xinhua)Wen Jiabao greets Almazbek Atambayev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, in Urumqi on Sept. 2. (Photo/Xinhua)

A fight broke out between Chinese mine workers and locals in the Taldy-Bulak Levoberejny mine field of Chuy province, Kyrgyzstan on Oct. 21, reports the Global Times, a tabloid produced by the Chinese Communist Party.

Official from Chuy province’s public safety department said that the incident occurred after an excavator owned by Zhijin Group, a Chinese enterprise, accidentally killed a horse ridden by a Kyrgyz local. The rider was not injured. Local residents were infuriated by the the incident and clashes between Chinese workers and local people ensued. After the fight, four locals were sent to the hospital and eight people arrested.

The office of Zhijin Group was surrounded by 450 local residents on Oct. 22 demanding the Chinese nationals go home. They also appealed to the government to forbid Chinese investors from developing the Taldy-Bulak Levoberejny field. “No violence occurred during this assembly,” said a protester, “We do not really wish to shut down the mine, but we certainly want the Chinese to provide local people with more working opportunities.”

When interviewed by the Global Times on Oct. 24, a representative of the Chinese embassy said that the situation was already under control. He said that the investment environment of Kyrgyzstan is very complicated because no consistent regulations have been established in the country. Similar incidents have also occurred with foreign investors from other nations. The 300 Chinese workers at Taldy-Bulak Levoberejny mine were sent to nearby villages by the police for their own safety.

An employee from Zhijin Group told the Global Times anonymously that the company has made huge contributions to the development of Kyrgyzstan. 60% of the investment in the Taldy-Bulak Levoberejny mine comes from the Chinese enterprise.

A report from the Moscow-based Russia News said however that Zhijin has not kept a promise it made to local residents at a press conference in August. Even though the company said that 90% of workers would be hired from the local population, only 260 Kyrgyz nationals were hired compared with 300 Chinese nationals working on site.

Kyrgyz Miners Move Against Another Foreign-Owned Gold Mine

[SEE:  Kyrgyz Parliament Under Seige, Again–This Time Over Jobs]

Conflict with Chinese Altyn-Ken Company in Orlovka village (Kyrgyzstan) caused by illegal dismissal of local residents

by Makhinur NIYAZOVA
Bishkek – 24.kg news agency ,

“Conflict with representatives of Chinese company Altyn-Ken in the village of Orlovka (Kyrgyzstan) was caused by illegal dismissal of local residents,” Kanybek Arykbayev, former driver of the foreign enterprise, developing Taldybulak Levoberezhniy deposit, told at a press conference in24.kg news agency today.

According to Arykbayev, several employees –local villagers- were fired without explanation on October 1. “The conflict occurred because the company owed us money. They did not want to talk to us. So, several shepherds gathered and rode to the company. The Chinese began to drive us by tractors and ran over a horse,” Kanybek Arykbayev said.

He outlined that several villagers were injured- three people have brain concussion and one was broken an arm.

As the other driver of the company Beikut Abdysakov told, the Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev came to the place of incident. “He said that 90 percent of the Kyrgyz and only 10 percent of the Chinese should work in the company. And now it is vice versa. About 500-600 employees of Altyn-Ken are the Chinese,” he pointed.

“We worked without a contract, appropriate documents, work record book. We asked when a contract would be drawn up, but they mentioned various reasons and played for time,” Beikut Abdysakov added.

Recall, recently several hundreds residents of Orlovka and nearby villages blocked the road to Taldybulak Levoberezhniy deposit and intended to smash office of the company.

The Bear Trap (Afghanistan’s Untold Story)

The Bear Trap (Afghanistan’s Untold Story)

–[original Russian source HERE]

[PDF VERSION HERE–The Bear Trap]

The author, Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf, was head of the Afghan Bureau of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence and as such was effectively the Mujahideen’s commander-in-chief. He controlled the flow of thousands of tons of arms across Pakistan and into its occupied neighbor, arms that were bought with CIA and Saudi Arabian funds from the USA. One of the Mujahideen’s close allies was none other than Osama Bin Laden. This compelling book was put together with great skill the by military historian, Mark Adkin in conjunction with Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf and is essential reading for anyone interested in the truth behind the Afghanistan War which led to the conditions that exist there today.

The Bear Trap (Afghanistan’s Untold Story), Mohammad Yousa

Preface

At the start of this book, which tells the story of my part in the Afghan Jehad, I want to acknowledge the debt I, and indeed Pakistan and the Mujahideen owe to the ‘Silent Soldier’, General Akhtar Abdur Rahman. I served under him for four years at the height of the war, but he carried the enormous responsibility for the struggle against what was then the Soviet superpower, for over eight years. I call him the ‘Silent Soldier’ because of his great humility and modesty. Few people, apart from his family knew him as well as I did until he was assassinated, along with President Zia-ul-Haq, in the plane crash in August 1988. At one blow the Jehad lost its two most powerful leaders.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 President Zia sent for General Akhtar, who had recently taken over as Director of ISI. At that time nobody in authority in Pakistan, and certainly no overseas government (including the US), thought the Soviet military might could be confronted. Afghanistan was written-off as lost. The only person within the military to advocate supporting the Jehad by Pakistan, and the only person to come up with a plausible plan for doing so, was General Akhtar. He convinced the president that no only was it vital to Pakistan’s interests to fight the aggressors, but that there was every chance of defeating them. Some years later Zia was to say to him, you have wrought a miracle, I can give you nothing worthy of your achievements. Only God can reward you.

My job during my time at ISI was to command the Afghan Bureau which was charged with the day to day running of the Afghan war. General Akhtar was my superior, charged with devising, controlling and supervising the strategy to bring about victory in the field. Put in its simplest form he was the strategist, while I was the tactician. At the outset he was almost alone in thinking that the Soviet Union with all its modern aircraft and armour could be brought down by a few thousand poorly trained and armed Mujahideen. It certainly seemed an impossibility at the beginning. I recall being very skeptical myself when I first joined ISI on General Akhtar’s orders.

As events were to show he was right. Under his leadership, under this order, under his strategy, the communist menace was not only confronted, but turned back—forced to retreat. Little wonder that the chief architect of this humiliation was on the top of the KGB’s hit list with a huge price on his head. Nevertheless, during the time that I knew him he never wavered or showed concern at the danger or, but continued to press on with the Jehad.

I would venture to highlight two main areas in which General Akhtar’s influence was critical. The first was strategically. The whole concept of how to fight the war was his. He understood how even a guerrilla army can defeat a superpower in the battlefield if it applied the strategy of death by a thousand cuts. Gradually, over the years, as the Mujahideen became better armed and trained this strategy of avoiding direct confrontation, of concentration on soft targets, on communications, and on supply lines and depots, brought about a full, scale Soviet withdrawal. Only after the removal of General Akhtar from ISI (and from the command of Mujahideen) did we deviate from these methods, such as when we attacked Jalalabad head on, and suffered a serious setback.

At the centre of General Akhtar’s strategy lay the city of Kabul. Not that he wanted to take the capital by storm—far from it. But he recognized its political, economic, social, and military significance. His cry was ‘Kabul must burn’. It had to be cut off, its supply lines served, and it had to be under continuous pressure year in year out. He knew that if a stranglehold on the city could be applied it would fall without assault. His great wish was that he be able, after the war, to visit Kabul to offer prayers of thanksgiving for victory. Sadly it was not to happen.

The second area of crucial influence was in the political/diplomatic field, I do not mean international politics or diplomacy, but rather internal affairs. General Akhtar seemed to me to be the only person able to bring about a degree of unity among the fractious Mujahideen political parties. Without that degree of cooperation nothing of importance could be achieved on the battle field. He was able to unite, sometimes only temporarily I admit, leaders who were lifelong enemies. He was able to convince men who would not normally sit in the same room with each other to fight, together for the common goal of the Jehad.

An important part of his success was in his ability to resist the ever growing pressure by the US to run the war. Through the CIA the US sought to control the clandestine supply pipeline, arms distribution, and the training of the Mujahideen. That they were not able to do so was entirely due to General Akhtar’s efforts. It was a major contribution to a avoiding operational chaos.

Unfortunately, General Akhtar was removed from the ISI by a promotion he did not seek just as the Mujahideen were on the brink of success. His tragic death a year later prevented him from witnessing the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan—the ultimate proof that he had won. I believe that Pakistan and Afghanistan owe a debt of gratitude to him. I certainly count it a great privilege to have served under the only general in Pakistan’s short history to have masterminded a victory in a major war and earn a name for his military genius. I salute him.

BRIGADIER (RETD.) MOHAMMAD YOUSAF, S.Bt.  

(READ IN FULL HERE)

U.S. Hoping To Dominate Kyrgyz Plan To Convert Manas Into Civilian Transport Hub After 2014

Sudan accuses Israel of air raid, threatens to hit back

Sudan accuses Israel of air raid, threatens to hit back

By Abdelmoneim Abu Edris Ali

Agence France Presse
Onlookers gather to looks at a huge fire that engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
Onlookers gather to looks at a huge fire that engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
KHARTOUM: Israeli missiles struck a military factory and killed two people in the Sudanese capital on Wednesday, the government said, 18 months after alleging a similar raid by the Jewish state.

“We think Israel did the bombing,” Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told a news conference. “We reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose.”

The military and foreign ministry in Israel, which has long accused Khartoum of serving as a base for militants from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, refused to comment.

Osman said four radar-evading aircraft carried out an attack at around midnight (2100 GMT) on the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility in the south of the Sudanese capital.

Evidence pointing to Israel was found among remnants of the explosives, he said, adding that the cabinet would hold an urgent meeting at 8:00 pm.

Residents of the area earlier told AFP an aircraft or missile flew over the facility shortly before the plant exploded and burst into flames.

An AFP reporter several kilometres (miles) away saw two or three fires flaring across a wide area, with heavy smoke and intermittent flashes of white light bursting above the state-owned factory.

In 1998, Human Rights Watch said a coalition of opposition groups alleged that Sudan stored chemical weapons for Iraq at the Yarmouk facility but government officials strenuously denied the charge at the time.

In August of that year, US cruise missiles struck the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in North Khartoum, which Washington alleged was linked to chemical weapons production.

Evidence for that claim later proved questionable.

“I heard a sound like a plane in the sky, but I didn’t see any light from a plane. Then I heard two explosions, and fire erupted in the compound,” said a resident who asked to be identified only as Faize.

A woman living south of the compound also reported two initial blasts.

“I saw a plane coming from east to west and I heard explosions and there was a short length of time between the first one and the second one,” she said, asking not to be named.

“Then I saw fire and our neighbour’s house was hit by shrapnel, causing minor damage. The windows of my own house rattled after the second explosion.”

The sprawling Yarmouk facility is surrounded by barbed wire and set back about two kilometres (miles) from the district’s main road, meaning signs of damage were not visible later Wednesday when an AFP reporter visited.

But at least three houses in the neighbourhood had been punctured by shrapnel which left walls and a fence with holes about 20-centimetres (eight inches) in diameter, the reporter said.

There was also slight damage to a Coca-Cola warehouse.

The fires appeared to be extinguished by 03:30 am, more than three hours after they began, an AFP reporter said.

Osman said Yarmouk makes “traditional weapons”.

“The attack destroyed part of the compound infrastructure, killed two people inside and injured another who is in serious condition,” he said.

There have been other mysterious blasts in Sudan — and allegations of Israeli involvement.

In April last year, Sudan said it had irrefutable evidence that Israeli attack helicopters carried out a missile and machinegun strike on a car south of Port Sudan.

Israel refused to comment but officials there had expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan.

Last year’s attack mirrored a similar strike by foreign aircraft on a truck convoy reportedly laden with weapons in eastern Sudan in January 2009.

Khartoum is seeking the removal of US sanctions imposed in 1997 over its alleged support for international terrorism, its human rights record and other concerns.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Oct-24/192570-explosion-at-arms-factory-rocks-sudans-capital.ashx#ixzz2AEcLvSGj
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

The Rogun Dam Project As Seen Through Uzbek Eyes

Megalomania, or again about the tragic consequences of constructing huge dam

It is well known that the territory of Central Asia is an earthquake-prone region. It happened many times catastrophic earthquake, which led to the loss of many lives, the vast destruction, huge economic losses.

For example, the 1911 earthquake Sarez force 10 points caused a landslide of more than 2 billion cubic meters. meters, which blocked the Murghab River and formed Lake Sarez. Then the village was completely destroyed Usoy and its inhabitants. Haitskoe earthquake in 1949 brought down the power of 10 points slopes up to 600-700 meters. As a result, the regional center were destroyed Chait and over 8 ¬ Comrade populated areas, killing tens of thousands.
Suusamyr information about the consequences of the 1992 earthquake force of 10 points and remained not fully understood. Then the data on victims were not made ​​public, as foreign experts and the media were not allowed into the disaster area. The most “fresh” example is Kansk earthquake July 20, 2011 by force 8 points, which led to numerous destructions – the total damage amounted to about $ 100 million.Unfortunately, there have been casualties: at least 70 people in Kyrgyzstan and more than 10 people in Uzbekistan.
Overall, in the last century and a half within the region was 17 cows (with a focal depth of 30 km) and more than 20 of the deep (with a focal depth to 280 km) earthquakes of magnitude 7 and the intensity of shaking at the epicenter to 9-10 points. This is not surprising, since about 70 percent of the territory of Kyrgyzstan and about 80 percent of Tajikistan’s territory is located in the 8-10-point areas. (Scheme II)
However, despite these facts, the leadership of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are not willing to give up the construction of the Rogun and Kambarata, which is a great danger and threat ¬ skim tragic consequences for the region and local residents.
Judge: site of the Rogun HPP is Vakhsh fault zone, which is part of the regional Southern Tien Shan and Hissar-Kokshaalskih faults. Seismic potential of these fault zones is the highest in Central Asia ¬ General.Thus, 8 of 17 above the strongest crustal earthquakes intensity of more than 9 points occurred within these areas, with 6 of them happened over the past 110 years.
According to scientists of the Institute of Seismology of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, the average time interval between the 9-magnitude earthquake in the area 15-20 years. The past is like a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake and intensely Stu ¬ nine points occurred in 1974. It was called Markansuyskoe earthquake, its epicenter was at a distance of 350 km from the place where the Rogun dam being built. The more prolonged the ongoing 37-year seismic calm is not a sedative, and worrisome, since it leads to the accumulation of large stresses in the crust.
confirmed by the devastating earthquake in Sumatra in 2004, when a period of seismic ¬ nomic revitalization of the Mediterranean-Asian seismic zone to which the Central Asia. After this devastating earthquakes in 2005 and 2011 occurred in Pakistan ¬ mill, in 2006 and 2008 in Iran, in 2009 in China, in 2010 and 2011 in Turkey and in the last year in India.
Due to the intensification of the seismic belt ¬ michnosti increased the likelihood of a major earthquake in the area of the Rogun hydropower plant.
It is appropriate to refer to the research of other scientists. So, by law, seismotectonics I. Gubin, 1976, each subsequent earthquake within an active fault occurs, or the continuation of the previous one, or between the centers of earthquakes that have already happened, that is, in the so-called “seismic windows”. The construction site is located between the Rogun centers Karatag Haitskogo and earthquakes that have occurred, respectively, in 1907 and 1949. Within this area has not yet occurred, such earthquakes as Haitskoe. However, within a limited area, for example, across a distance of 30 km to 20 km from the location of the Nurek hydroelectric station and 30 km away from the construction site of Rogun HPP ¬ tion were three strong 8-point earthquake ¬ tion – Faizabad in 1930 and 1943, and Kafdonskoe 1943.
zones of high seismicity South Tien Shan, Hissar-Kokshaalskogo, Vakhsh fault is confirmed by numerous traces of 10-11-point earthquake or paleoseismodislocations in the past century, scientists discovered D. Kucan in 1976. One of these dislocations located in the area of the Vakhsh fault, just in Rogun. According to scientists, in the event of a major earthquake in the areas of the South Tien Shan, Hissar-Kokshaalskogo, Vakhsh fault strong ground shaking within the Rogun exceed 9 points.
should be noted that high seismic areas is confirmed by seismic zoning of 1978, according to which the construction of Rogun site is situated between 9-point zone. The potential magnitude of possible earthquakes are estimated to be 7.5-8.0. That is, if there is an earthquake of magnitude 7.5-8.0, the seismic intensity in the construction of the Rogun HPP will exceed 10 points.
Further confirmation of this assessment is the seismic zoning map, compiled recently by Russian scientists.Fragment of seismic zoning map of Eurasia in 1997, compiled, edited by Ulomova and trained at the Institute of Physics of the Earth. O. Schmidt, Russian Academy of Sciences, shows that most of it is in Tajikistan to the 10-point area. (Scheme I)
Therefore, Rogun construction site is located in one of the most earthquake-prone zones, in which the force of the earthquake can be up to 10 points.
now turn to other facts: Rogun reservoir with a volume of 15 billion cubic meters. meters will change the geodynamic state area and adjacent areas. Proof of this are the processes observed in the vicinity of the Nurek reservoir, the dam is completed in 1972. Research scientist Chigareva and other in 1985 showed an increase of seismicity in the blocks located in the south-western end of the Vakhsh fault. Before filling the reservoir, these blocks were slaboseysmichnymi. Similar violations geodynamic conditions are expected in the area of Rogun.
addition, Nurek and Rogun located within 50-km interval between the South Tien Shan and Vakhsh active tectonic faults. In this case, Nurek water reservoir capacity 10.5 billion cubic meters. meter itself is a major hazard because its dam break could cause flooding and destruction in 100 thous. km and kill millions of people.
testify about what the above facts? They only confirm what is the object of Rogun huge risk. After serial arrangement of two such objects increases the risk of disaster in a few times since breaking Rogun HPP will, with great probability, to the catastrophe of the Nurek hydropower plant. And the results will be the most tragic.
should be noted, is not there a public computer and-loop models for how to evaluate the stability of the two dams to strong earthquake and the corresponding risk of disaster.
Regarding the construction site Kambarata-1, it is located above the Toktogul in the mountainous parts of Central Tien Shan. We know that there is an intensive seismotectonic processes. Kambarata-1 is located within the area of influence of the dynamic of the Talas-Fergana deep tectonic fault, which is a highly active regional fault. Talas-Fergana fault length of 1200 km is a major shear zone, which is similar to the scale of the well-known San Andreas fault in California. Such a shear zone on the planet Earth are rare.
should be noted that the Talas-Fergana fault has undergone several stages of geological activation and remains active today. This is evidenced by the modern movement along a fault, up to 2-3 cm per year, offset headwaters of rivers within the fault and the extensive development of landslides along the Naryn River.
And yet, according to satellite measurements in the Talas-Fergana fault in the south-east part of the Tien Shan observed anomalously high values ​​of the displacement velocity of the crust. The speed of modern movements in the construction of power plants reach 10-12 mm / year, which confirms the high tectonic activity in the area.
seismic potential of the Talas-Fergana fault zone is estimated as about 7.5 magnitude and intensity of the shock of 9-10. Greatest seismic activity are different areas of intersection and Talas Chatkal ridges, where in 1946 there was a 10-point Chatkal earthquake, with its epicenter located 20 km from the location of the Toktogul hydroelectric power station.
To the south-east of the construction site Kambarata-1 at the intersection of the Talas- Fergana fault with the South Tien Shan fault in 1902, was a 10-point Kashgar earthquake. The last strong earthquake Suusamyr in 1992, a magnitude 7.4, and the intensity of shaking at the epicenter of 9-10 occurred at a distance of 100 km from the construction of power plants.
On other sections of the fault zone to persist, that is over 65 years of seismic calm. Given the overall planetary and regional activation of seismicity from the beginning of this century, the probability of a strong earthquake is very high.
According to well-known scientists and Charles K. Abdrahmatova Utirova, land paleoseismodislocations thickening, so-called footprints of large earthquakes in the past, are observed in the area of the Talas-Fergana fault on the site Alabuga Valley Naryn, just on the construction site hydropower. This fact suggests the possibility at this point 10-point earthquake.
study also showed that, according to seismic zoning maps of different years, under construction Kambarata-1 is located in a seismically dangerous 9-10-point zone. For example, the seismic zoning map of 1978 construction site Kambarata-1 is a 9-point seismic zone.
Probably professionals should pay attention to the seismic zoning map of North Eurasia in 1997, developed by experts of the Joint Institute of Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which indicates that this area is attributed to the 10-point area with a probability of 99 percent.
In the event of an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 in the reservoir area intensity shocks can reach 9-10, which is likely to entail the destruction of dams Kambarata-1 and Toktogul HPS. (Scheme III)
Thus, the construction area of Kambarata-1 is characterized by high seismic hazard and is the object, which increases the overall risk of catastrophe.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov during a recent visit to Astana, again drew attention of the leaders of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the entire international community the inadmissibility of construction of huge dams in the upper reaches of transboundary rivers. Uzbek leader, voicing principled position of the country on the management of water and energy resources in Central Asia, said that before you start to build, before signing with any great powers agreed on the construction, let us carry out the pre-objective examination and give a clear explanation of our people , our people, and that then tomorrow will be those who live down the flow of the river. “Moreover, these projects – and the Rogun and Kambarata were created at the same time, in the 70’s and 80’s, when the Soviet Union was, and we are living in the Soviet Union suffered a disaster – megalomania, – said Islam Karimov at a press conference in Astana, during a visit to Kazakhstan. – But times are changing, it took no less than 40 years, today is the other codes and standards, today waterworks should be based totally on a different basis, why not make an examination – and then let’s sit down and discuss. ”
Uzbek President said that despite the decision to kill “Guinness World Records”, we’re talking about the lives of hundreds of people. Stronger than this there is no argument. Because only civilized ways people in all countries of the region will be able to protect themselves from the terrible misery and dire consequences of megalomania …

Salim Doniyorov.

Leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan–Number One Went To the US, Number Two Went To Russia

[Number two in the IRP, Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda, traveled among  the Tajik migrant workers in Russia this week, tending to the faithful there (SEE:  The Smartest Man In Tajikistan, Even When He Is In Russia), while party boss Muhiddin Kabiri spent the week visiting his friends in Washington.  According to this Wikileaked cable, he is known as anagent of the west.”   Turajonzoda regularly denounces Salafi and Wahhabi “Islam” as tools of Western intelligence agencies.  The fact that the Tajik govt. allowed the top two representatives to make these simultaneous trips to opposite destinations is proof positive that Emomali Rahmon is working with state intelligence agencies to split the IRP.]

Russia’s new role in Central Asia

Russia’s new role in Central Asia

Clare Nuttall in Astana

Russia’s recent striking of far-reaching deals in the energy and security spheres with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan show Moscow’s determination to regain ground in Central Asia. Russia has ensured its continued military presence in the region as the Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan approaches, offering in return support on key economic issues – hydropower in Kyrgyzstan and fuel in Tajikistan.

On his September 20 visit to Bishkek, Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeded in extending the lease on Russia’s airbase at Kant in northern Kyrgyzstan until 2032, with provision for a five-year extension. Moscow agreed to settle Kyrgyzstan’s debts of $489m as part of a package of deals that also included agreements on funding for two large-scale hydropower projects, Kambarata and the Upper Naryn cascade.

Two weeks later, Putin flew to Dushanbe for another round of talks. On October 5, it was announced that he had reached an agreement ensuring the continued presence of Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division in Tajikistan for 30 years. The amount that Russia will pay to lease its bases in Tajikistan has not been disclosed, but Putin aide Yury Ushakov told Russian journalists that it would be “almost free”. Tajikistan, meanwhile, is set to benefit from a new deal on cooperation in combatting drug trafficking, and a Russian concession on residency and work permits for Tajik migrant workers.

Back in the game

With the Tajik agreements hard on the heels of those signed in Bishkek, this appears to be a concerted Russian effort to cement its relations with the Central Asian countries more than two decades after the break-up of the Soviet Union. They follow several years of greater economic integration led by Moscow in the post-Soviet space, most significantly with the creation of the Customs Union, which currently comprises Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but is due to be expanded.

“Even before Putin came back to power, Russia has been trying to redefine a long-term role for itself in as many of the Central Asian countries as possible,” Martha Brill Olcott, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tells bne. “What we see is Russia realising that if it doesn’t define a new role, then it is going to be eclipsed in Central Asia. Russia feels the pressure of time if it wants to preserve a special role for itself in the economy and security of any of the five countries.”

In less than two years, Nato-led forces are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan, which borders three of the Central Asian republics. There are concerns not just in Moscow but also in many of the Central Asian capitals that the Nato withdrawal is premature, and will leave the region more vulnerable to the dual threats of terrorism and drug trafficking. Tajikistan is particularly at risk because of its long and porous border with Afghanistan, a fact highlighted by the fighting between government forces and militants around Khorog, a town on the Afghan border, in July and August this year.

According to Olcott, withdrawal from Afghanistan is at the forefront of everybody’s minds. “It creates a potential security vacuum in the region,” she says, “that could have the capacity to tip already unstable states into greater instability.”

At a time when the West’s interest in Afghanistan and the wider Central Asian region appears to be declining, especially from a security perspective, Russia is staking its long-term claim. Its potential role as the protector of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from future instability serves Moscow’s ambition of re-establishing its dominant role in what it calls its “near abroad”.

“From Russia’s perspective it makes sense to take advantage of the common historic ties that it has with the Central Asian countries. Russia is aiming to become a global player and promoting its security and business interests in its neighbourhood is a logical move,” says Lilit Gevorgyan, senior analyst of Russia/CIS at IHS Global Insight. “The military and political clout in these countries can also serve as a risk mitigating factor for Russian businesses if they enter the difficult Kyrgyz and Tajik markets.”

Chinese whispers

Countries from all sides – from Europe to Iran, and South Korea to India – have sought to take a piece of Central Asia’s natural resources. However, the greatest change in recent years has been the emergence of China, which has established an economic presence in all five republics. In addition to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines to China, Chinese companies bought up assets in the oil and gas and mineral sectors across the region. Chinese companies are also involved in infrastructure projects; Tajikistan’s road-building programme, for example, has been funded by soft loans from China, and carried out by Chinese construction companies.

Bringing Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan into the Customs Union will help to counter Beijing’s growing economic influence. Kyrgyzstan is already on the way to becoming a member, and its accession would pave the way for Tajikistan – which does not share a border with any of the current members – to join. Expanding the Customs Union is expected to form the basis for deeper economic integration in the region.

Olcott points out that when considering Russian motivation, “the economic and security dimensions are very intertwined”. While there are definite economic advantages to expanding the Customs Union, at the same time there is a perception on the part of many Russians that Putin has also made strategic gains in Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence.

Within Central Asia, it has been easier for Russia to influence Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which lack the oil and gas resources and are therefore are highly dependent on Russia economically. Russia is the main source of remittance payments from migrant workers from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In both countries these make up a substantial share of GDP; in Tajikistan, remittances from migrant workers account almost 50% of GDP, making it the most remittance-dependent country in the world.

The power that Moscow wields is already evident. This was demonstrated by Dushanbe’s brief show of independence in 2011, when a Tajik court jailed a Russian and an Estonian pilot for smuggling. Moscow’s reaction was swift and decisive; the ensuing crackdown on Tajik migrant workers was followed by the speedy release of the two pilots. Moscow is also widely believed to have at least given its consent to the toppling of the former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in 2010. For the current president, Almazbek Atambaev, who presides over the still turbulent Kyrgyz political scene, Moscow’s support, psychologically as much as economically, is crucial.

The remaining Central Asian republics have a greater degree of independence thanks to their oil and gas reserves and wider geographic spread of investors. Kazakhstan is already a close ally of Russia, but in the last two decades Moscow’s level of influence in Ashgabat and Tashkent has fluctuated.

The new deals signed with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan follow a sharp deterioration in Russia’s relations with Uzbekistan, which according to Wojciech Górecki, Russia expert at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), is in keeping with Moscow’s divide and rule policy. “For the last 20 years, every deterioration in Moscow’s relationship with, for example, Tajikistan has been accompanied by a warming in the relationship with Uzbekistan, and vice versa. This is nothing new,” Gorecki says.

Relations with Turkmenistan reached a low point in 2009, when Gazprom suddenly suspended taking deliveries of Turkmen gas, causing an explosion that put the country’s main export pipeline out of action for months. Relations have since improved, but Ashagbat is still looking away from Moscow toward European and Asian markets, especially China. Gevorgyan points out that Uzbekistan is “once again drifting away from Russia and wooing the West”. In 2012, Uzbekistan quit the Russian-led CSTO and in the economic sphere and forced a subsidiary of Russian mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) out of business.

At the same time as sealing the deals with Kyrgyzstan, Putin also invited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to take part in planned hydropower projects in Kyrgyzstan. The proposal was intended to break the deadlock in Central Asia over the construction of new hydropower plants. This is fiercely opposed by Tashkent over fears they will restrict water supplies to Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, and Putin’s proposal got an unenthusiastic response.

Had the approach been successful, it would have further reinforced Russia’s position not just as a source of funds and military might but as the region’s diplomatic power broker. The deals already signed in September and October do, however, send out a strong signal to the whole Central Asian region about Moscow’s intentions to remain the dominant power in the region.

Despite Lies To the Contrary from the Candidates, American Forces Will Not Leave Afghanistan In 2014

Obama entering Afghanistan and never leaving

Obama prepares protracted Afghanistan occupation

Unnamed American military sources have been quoted in the US media as estimating that some 25,000 US soldiers and Marines would continue occupying Afghanistan at least until 2024

By Bill Van Auken

With the US presidential election little more than two weeks away, the Obama administration is quietly preparing to keep tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan.

These preparations, little noted in the corporate media, are unfolding even as Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joseph Biden, tell voters that the 11-year-old war is to end in 2014.

There was one mention of Afghanistan in last Wednesday’s debate, with Obama declaring: “I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan and start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security. That’s what I’m doing.”

In the vice presidential debate the week before, Biden was somewhat more categorical: “We are leaving Afghanistan in 2014, period. There are no if, ands or buts.”

In reality, US and NATO officials are feverishly engaged in working out the fine print of a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in Kabul by Obama and Washington’s puppet, President Hamid Karzai, on May 1. The agreement envisions tens of thousands of US soldiers remaining in Afghanistan for a full decade after 2014.

Unnamed American military sources have been quoted in the US media as estimating that some 25,000 US soldiers and Marines would continue occupying Afghanistan at least until 2024. A report issued by German intelligence, cited by Der Spiegel this week, predicted that a total of 35,000 troops would stay on, including a smaller contingent from other NATO countries.

A large portion of this force would be composed of Green Berets and other special operations troops, who would continue carrying out counterinsurgency operations, i.e., the hunting down and killing of leaders and members of armed groups opposed to the foreign occupation and its corrupt Afghan stooges.

For all the official declarations about Afghanistan “standing on its own feet” and rosy projections of the Karzai regime’s puppet security forces, 350,000 strong, taking over security operations, the reality is that NATO does not consider a single unit within the Afghan National Army capable of operating on its own. The Afghan army is facing an attrition rate of one-third of its troops every year, and the mounting number of so-called “green on blue” killings—over 50 this year—has called into serious question the entire US-NATO strategy of relying more heavily on Afghan puppet forces.

In another indication that Washington is digging in for a protracted and potentially even wider war in South Asia, even as it prepares new militarist adventures elsewhere, the Washington Post reported Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency is seeking approval for a major expansion of its fleet of armed drones, adding another 10 of the pilotless aircraft to some 35 that the agency now deploys.

“The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots,” the Post reported, citing unnamed US officials. It added that the move would significantly advance the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary arm of the US government dedicated to assassinating Washington’s enemies.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Wednesday stated that there have been 336 US drone attacks against Pakistan, the vast majority of them launched since Obama came to office. Of the 2,300 victims counted by the Pakistani government, he said, fully 80 percent were innocent civilians—men, women and children. Now similar crimes are being carried out in Yemen and being prepared across Africa and elsewhere.

Under these conditions, the sole issue in US foreign policy to rise to the level of a controversy in the current election campaign is at what moment President Obama should have publicly defined the September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi Libya as a terrorist attack.

Of course, neither candidate can utter a word as to the roots of this attack, which lay in Washington’s backing of Islamist forces, including those linked to Al Qaeda, in last year’s US-NATO war to topple Col. Muammar Gaddafi, followed by its attempt to brush aside these armed militias and install trusted stooges in power in Tripoli. The reaction, the assassination of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, was a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

Both parties are committed to a continuation and escalation of the strategy that has developed over the last two decades of employing military power as a means of offsetting the crisis and decline of American capitalism, particularly by asserting US hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin.

This essential policy of America’s financial oligarchy cannot be shifted by voting for one or the other of the two capitalist parties, as the 2008 election of the “antiwar” candidate, Obama, has proven.

In poll after poll, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the American public has declared its opposition to the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, while hostility to plans for new and wider wars, including one against Iran, is equally intense. Yet this popular opposition to militarism can find no expression in the capitalist two-party system. The middle-class pseudo-left groups that led protests against the US wars under Bush, meanwhile, have accommodated themselves fully to the interests of imperialism under Obama.

A genuine struggle to end the war in Afghanistan and prevent the launching of new wars that have the potential of dragging mankind into another world conflagration can be waged only under the leadership of the working class, fighting as an independent political force against the Obama administration and the capitalist system.

The demands must be raised for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan and for holding accountable those responsible for launching and continuing wars of aggression. The immense US military and intelligence apparatus must be dismantled and the trillions of dollars spent on death and destruction utilized to provide jobs and decent living standards for the working class in the US and internationally.

This is the program fought for only by the Socialist Equality Party and its candidates, Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president. The building of a socialist movement to oppose war and the attacks on social conditions and democratic rights will be discussed at regional conferences being held by the SEP later this month and in early November. All those who see the need for a working class alternative to the two parties of war, mass unemployment and repression should make plans to attend.

Rebel Politics In Russia–Russian Red Dawn?

Russia’s Rising Red Dawn

Isabel Magkoeva

Isabel Magkoeva

© Facebook

Marc Bennetts

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti)

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to have sounded the death knell for the ideas of Marx and Lenin in Russia, but just over two decades on, a new wave of young and increasingly visible socialist activists are eager to hoist the red flag over the Kremlin once more.

“I became interested in socialism when I was in my late teens,” said Isabel Magkoeva, 21, a rising star of Russia’s left and an activist with the Revolutionary Socialist Movement.

“I was always concerned by economic inequality and started to ask questions about why this should be. Then I got interested in left-wing literature,” added Magkoeva, a former teenage model who bears a striking resemblance to high-profile Chilean student protest leader Camila Vallejo. “That was when I realized I wanted to get involved.”

But although Magkoeva praises Lenin as a “great revolutionary,” she has few illusions about the Soviet Union, which ceased to exist the same year she was born.

“There was no genuine socialism in the Soviet Union,” she said. “And it is inaccurate to portray us all as seeking a return to the past. That simply isn’t true. We are for a new modernized form of socialism.”

This increase in the popularity of socialist ideas has been bolstered, in part, by Russia’s appalling record on wealth inequality, highlighted earlier this month by a report by the Swiss financial services company Credit Suisse.

“Excluding small Caribbean nations with resident billionaires, wealth inequality in Russia is the highest in the world,” the report said. “Worldwide, billionaires collectively account for less than 2% of total household wealth; in Russia today, around 100 billionaires own 30% of all personal assets.”

It is figures like this that, activists say, have attracted young Russians to socialist groups. Young left-wingers have been among the main movers in the unprecedented protests against the almost 13-year-rule of President Vladimir Putin, bucking an over-two-decade long trend that had seen unreformed, elderly Soviet-era communists as almost the sole champions of socialist causes.

“Young people have almost no chance to buy affordable housing and bring up a family normally. There is almost no opportunity for people to climb the social ladder, especially for those who are not from Moscow,” said activist Sergei Fomchenkov, 38, a leading member of the Other Russia movement.

“And so when people see all this, and then see a small group of incredibly wealthy billionaires building themselves luxury villas and so on, of course they start to see leftist ideas as a real alternative,” he added.

But, like Magkoeva, Fomchenkov has no desire to see Russia return to its Soviet past.

“We want a modernized form of socialism in which the state controls national industry, but not small businesses,” he stressed. “It would be lunacy to attempt to control the activities of every small café, for example.”

Analysts tie this rise in socialist ideas in Russia into a similar trend in a crisis-hit Europe, where leftist parties have made dramatic gains in an increasingly polarized political atmosphere.

“Like everywhere in Europe, vulnerable young people hit by the global economic crisis are rediscovering the ideas of socialism,” said Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at the Moscow-based Carnegie Center think tank. “These ideas were discredited in Russia in the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but young people are today moving toward the new left.”

Left Front

The most high-profile of this new generation of leftists, Sergei Udaltsov, made international headlines last week when he was charged with planning mass disorder across Russia on the basis of grainy footage broadcast by a pro-Kremlin channel.

Left Front leader Udaltsov, 36, a fiery, shaven-head activist who has been one of the main players in ongoing anti-Kremlin street protests, could face up to ten years behind bars if convicted on the charges, which he denies. Udaltsov was released by investigators on a pledge not to leave Moscow, but two other Left Front activists remain in custody waiting trial.

“It’s no coincidence that the Left Front movement was targeted,” activist Alexei Sakhnin told journalists after Udaltsov had been freed on a pledge not to leave Moscow. “The Left Front is the only group to have addressed social issues such as rising utility costs, which is something that millions of Russians suffer from every day.”

And the movement’s rhetoric seems to have struck a chord with many Russians. A public opinion survey by state-pollster VTsIOM indicated that Udaltsov was the only high-profile protest leader to have seen his popularity ratings increase since Putin’s election to a third term in March.

“Left wing groups in Russia openly sought a return to a socialism system in the 1990s, but they were entirely discredited,” said Left Front co-founder Ilya Ponomaryov. “But people have now again begun to see leftist ideas as a real alternative and it’s a very positive sign that more and more young people are getting involved.”

But he dismissed suggestions that history has proven it is impossible to build a viable society on the principles of socialism and communism.

“They all got Marx and Engels wrong,” he said, referring to previous failed attempts to construct socialist states. “You have to get the economic approach right first, before you can build a socialist country.”

Communist Nostalgia

Putin once famously called the Soviet Union’s collapse “the greatest geo-political catastrophe” of the 20th century, tapping into a pervasive nostalgia for the Soviet era among the older generation.

And avowed Putin foe Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB officer turned Kremlin critic,told RIA Novosti earlier this year that he shared the president’s views. “We could have kept the country together,” he said.

Left Front co-founder Ponomaryov, 37, also admitted to “mixed feelings” about the Soviet Union.

“It was strong state with many social guarantees, but there was far too much bureaucracy,” he said. “But it’s clear things were better in the Soviet Union than they are now.”

“There was no freedom of speech or human rights back then, but there isn’t any now, either,” he said.

This widespread respect for the Soviet past has translated into voter support for the Communist Party, the second largest political party in parliament.

But activists like Magkoeva, who spent the weekend collecting money for “political prisoners” at a two-day opposition rally in central Moscow, have little time for the party, whose veteran leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has lost four presidential elections since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

“Today’s Communist Party may praise the Soviet Union, but it has little in common with left-wing ideas,” she said. “It is an opposition for show only, which does not shy away from using the most populist ideas, from small business to Orthodox Christianity, to attract supporters.”

And it is the socialist fervor of Magkoeva and her comrades that many analysts see as the biggest threat to Putin’s grip on power.

“A few years ago, it seemed that nationalist groups posed the greatest danger to the authorities,” said Shevtsova, the Carnegie Center analyst. “But now it is clear that it is the new left.”

NATO kills four children in Afghan East: Karzai

NATO kills four children in Afghan East: Karzai

“Nato forces carried out an operation on Sunday afternoon to detain two armed militants, but resulted in killing four innocent children who were just grazing animals”

By Rezwan Natiq

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday condemned two of Nato’s military operations in Logar and Zabul provinces, calling for a full investigation into both incidents following reports of civilian deaths and disappearances.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) responded that it is also conducting investigations into claims the Logar operation killed four children and that three civilians were missing after being detained by security forces in Zabul.

Karzai denounced the operation in Logar’s Baraki Barak district, conducted on Sunday, which he was told killed four children.

“As per the information by the provincial governor Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Nato forces carried out an operation on Sunday afternoon to detain two armed militants, but resulted in killing four innocent children who were just grazing animals,” a statement from the presidential office said.

Karzai stressed that despite repeated pledges by Nato to avoid civilian casualties, “innocent lives including children are still being lost in fighting a terrorism whose havens and sanctuaries remain safe outside Afghanistan’s borders.”

Isaf confirmed there was a military operation in the district on October 20 but it could not comment on the reports of the children’s deaths.

“We are aware of the allegations and we take these the very seriously,” Isaf HQ spokesperson Jamie Graybeal told TOLOnews.

“We are working very closely with the Afghan officials to determine the circumstances of these events. Once that investigation is done we will have more information.”

Karzai also condemned a military operation in Zabul province carried out on October 13 because three of four civilians who were detained during the operation were still missing, according to provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Naseri.

The president said he would send a delegation from Kabul to assist in investigating the incident if necessary.

Graybeal said the operation was a partnered operation with the Afghan security forces and confirmed that some civilians had been briefly detained.

“Three Afghans were briefly detained but they were released from our custody shortly after. We don’t have any additional information on their current location,” he said.

On both matters, Isaf Joint Command told TOLOnews that it took the allegations very seriously and was investigating in close coordination with Afghan officials and will release more details as appropriate.

Karzai’s denouncements come a week after Isaf apologised for the death of three children in an airstrike on insurgents in the Nawa district of Helmand province.

“The coalition extends its deep regret for this tragic incident. We also extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who died, and we take full responsibility for what occurred,” Isaf said in a released statement on October 16.

Russell Means Dies, Lifelong Leader of American Indian Movement (AIM)

Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered

 

Obit Means Baid Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered

In a Jan. 31, 1989 file photo, Russell Means, who heads the American Indian Movement, (AIM) testifies before a special investigative committee of the Senate Select Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, reveled in stirring up attention and appeared in several Hollywood films, died early Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 at his ranch Zzxin Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Solomon said. He was 72. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Russell Means spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government.

A onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, he called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and often lamented the waning of Indian culture. After leaving the movement in the 1980s, the handsome, braided activist was still a cultural presence, appearing in several movies.

Means, who died Monday from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee — a bloody confrontation that raised America’s awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.

Before AIM, there were few national advocates for American Indians. Means was one of the first to emerge. He sought to restore Indians’ pride in their culture and to challenge a government that had paid little attention to tribes in generations. He was also one of the first to urge sports teams to do away with Indian names and mascots.

“No one except Hollywood stars and very rich Texans wore Indian jewelry,” Means said, recalling the early days of the movement. And there were dozens, if not hundreds, of athletic teams “that in essence were insulting us, from grade schools to college. That’s all changed.”

AIM was founded in the late 1960s to demand that the government honor its treaties with American Indian tribes. The movement eventually faded away, Means said, as Native Americans became more self-aware and self-determined.

Russell Means’s fought for American Indians

Obit Means Baid1 Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered

In a Feb. 4, 1974 file photo, American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means, who is challenging incumbent Oglala Sioux Tribal President Richard Wilson in Thursday’s election on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, laughs at news report which quoted Wilson as saying he will give AIM 10 days to get off the reservation after he is reelected “or else”, in Pine Ridge, S.D. Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, reveled in stirring up attention and appeared in several Hollywood films, died early Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 at his ranch in in Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Solomon said. He was 72. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

There were plenty of American Indian activists before AIM, but it became the “radical media gorilla,” said Paul DeMain, editor of News from Indian Country, a national newspaper focused on tribal affairs.

“If someone needed help, you called on the American Indian Movement, and they showed up and caused all kind of ruckus and looked beautiful on a 20-second clip on TV that night,” DeMain said.

Means and AIM co-founder Dennis Banks were charged in 1974 for their role in the Wounded Knee uprising in which hundreds of protesters occupied the town on the site of the 1890 Indian massacre. Protesters and federal authorities were locked in a standoff for 71 days and frequently exchanged gunfire. Before it was over, two tribal members were killed and a federal agent seriously wounded.

After a trial that lasted several months, a judge threw out the charges on grounds of government misconduct.
Other protests led by Means included an American Indian prayer vigil on top of Mount Rushmore and the seizure of a replica of the Mayflower on Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Mass.

“The friendship between Russell and I goes back almost 50 years,” Banks said late Monday night. “I lost a great friend. But native people lost one of the greatest warriors of modern-day times. Truly, he was a great visionary. He was controversial, yes. But he brought issues to the front page.”

But Russell Means’ constant quest for the spotlight raised doubts about his motives. Critics who included many fellow tribe members said his main interest was building his own notoriety.

Means said his most important accomplishment was the proposal for the Republic of Lakotah, a plan to carve out a sovereign Indian nation inside the United States. He took the idea all the way to the United Nations, even though it was ignored by tribal governments closer to home, including his own Oglala Sioux leaders, with whom he often clashed.

For decades, Russell Means was dogged by questions about whether the group promoted violence, especially the 1975 slaying of a woman in the tribe and the gun battles with federal agents at Wounded Knee.

Authorities believe three AIM members shot and killed Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge reservation on the orders of someone in AIM’s leadership because they suspected she was an FBI informant.

Two activists — Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham — were both eventually convicted of murder. The third has never been charged.

Also in 1975, murder charges were filed against Means and Dick Marshall, an AIM member, in the shooting death of a Sioux man at a saloon in the town of Scenic, S.D. Marshall served 24 years in prison. Means was acquitted.

Russell Means activism goes beyond US tribes

His activism extended to tribes beyond the United States. In the mid-1980s, Means traveled to Nicaragua to support indigenous Miskito Indians who were fighting the Sandinista government.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Means grew up in the San Francisco area and battled drugs and alcohol as a young man before becoming an early leader of AIM.

With his rugged good looks and long, dark braids, he also was known for a handful of Hollywood roles, most notably in the 1992 movie “The Last of the Mohicans,” in which he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis’ Hawkeye.

He also appeared in the 1994 film “Natural Born Killers,” voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas” and guest starred in 2004 on the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Means also ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for president in 1988 and briefly served as a vice presidential candidate in 1984 on the ticket of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Russell Means always considered himself a Libertarian and couldn’t believe that anyone would want to call themselves a Republican or a Democrat.

“It’s just unconscionable that America has become so stupid,” he said.

Russell Means often refused interviews and verbally blasted journalists who showed up to cover his public appearances. Instead, he chose to speak to his fan base through YouTube videos and blog posts on his website.

Means recounted his life in the book “Where White Men Fear to Tread.” He said he pulled no punches in the autobiography, admitting to his frailties but also acknowledging his successes.

“I tell the truth, and I expose myself as a weak, misguided, misdirected, dysfunctional human being I used to be,” he said.

Russell Means died at his ranch in Porcupine, S.D. He announced in August 2011 that he had inoperable throat cancer and told The Associated Press that he would forego mainstream medicine in favor of traditional American Indian remedies.

Means’ death came a day after former Sen. George McGovern died in Sioux Falls at the age of 90. McGovern had traveled to Wounded Knee with then-Sen. James Abourezk during the takeover to try to negotiate an end to hostilities.

“I’ve lost two good friends in a matter of two to three days,” Abourezk said Monday. “I don’t pretend to understand it.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Salomon said wake services for Means’ will be Wednesday on Pine Ridge, and his ashes will be scattered in the Black Hills on Thursday.

 

Source: Dirk Lammers/ Kristi Eaton/ Associated Press

Russian Press Reports Chemical Weapons Used Against Beseiged Qaddafi Loyalists At Bani Walid

Libya Report: U.S./NATO backed regime using chemical weapons against civilians

Pro-Gadhafi town of Bani Walid under siege by U.S./NATO backed regime

libya-map_2.jpg

Pro-government militias intercept food, fuel and medicine and use grad rockets and gas weapons against Bani Walid, a man whose family remains in the town told RT. He claims the daily shelling of the town is Misrata militias’ attempt to eliminate it.

 

Several hundreds of Bani Walid natives marched to the seat of the national parliament in Tripoli on Sunday to protest the assault on their home town, which has been continuing for over two weeks. The protesters demanded a peaceful solution to “the tribal war that is happening in the town.”  The demonstrators, however, failed to enter the parliament, being dispersed by guards firing rounds into the air.

Pro-government forces and militias besieged the hilltop town of Bani Walid following the death of former rebel Omran Shaban. Shaban is credited for capturing the country’s ex-leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011. The Warfalla tribe controlling Bani Walid has been accused of kidnapping and torturing the former rebel.

Libya’s government has been empowered by the congress to use force to arrest those suspected of killing Shaban. Since the rebel was a Misrata native, Misrata militias joined the assault on Bani Walid.

The joint forces have been shelling Bani Walid almost non-stop since early October. At least 26 people died and over 200 more were injured in Saturday clashes alone, according to AFP. Gunfire and sporadic blasts continued into Sunday, and an AFP photographer says he saw hundreds of people were fleeing the besieged town.

 

Stolen Booby-Trapped Car May Be Key to Hasan Murder Investigation

Col. Wissam Hassan, the ISF intelligence chief who was Hariri's chief of protocol at the time of the bombing. CBC

Col. Wissam Hassan, the ISF intelligence chief who was Hariri’s chief of protocol at the time of the bombing. CBC

“His alibi is weak and inconsistent…a possible suspect in the Hariri murder.”  (SEE:  SPECIAL REPORT CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri?)

Report: Owner of Stolen Booby-Trapped Car May Be Key to Hasan Murder Investigation

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية

by Naharnet

W460

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel revealed that investigations into the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan is making “speedy progress”, revealing that they have reaching important information in the case, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday.

Security information revealed that the owner of the stolen car that was booby-trapped in the bombing that killed Hasan on Friday has been identified.

Security sources told the daily however that the owner of the car is unlikely to be linked to the murder, adding that thief has several arrest warrants against him.

After stealing the car, the thief then may have sold it to whoever committed the assassination, said the sources.

The thief himself may have been involved in the crime, they added.

The stolen car, a Toyota RAV4, was owned by a resident from the town of Qabrshmoun in Mount Lebanon and was reported to have been robbed about a year ago.

After it was stolen, the owner received several telephone calls from the culprit demanding money in return for the car, but he refused.

The thief told the owner that if he ever changed his mind, he should contact him through the phone number that he has been calling him from, which is a Lebanese line, added the daily.

The Central News Agency reported on Monday that Hasan had arrived in Beirut from Berlin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

He made a stop in Paris where he visited his family before returning to Beirut.

He had not informed any members of the ISF of his France trip.

Upon his arrival in Beirut, he contacted Charbel to discuss security matters.

Hasan then headed to his apartment in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district using a rented car, while a decoy convoy headed to the ISF General Directorate.

The assassination took place on Friday afternoon when Hasan decided to leave the apartment using the same rented vehicle.

The booby-trapped car had been parked in the area hours before he left the apartment.

A widely-informed source meanwhile told As Safir newspaper Tuesday that the Intelligence Bureau has obtained the telecom data over the phone calls that Hasan conducted hours before his assassination.

They include the moment he arrive in Beirut on Thursday and until the time of the bombing shorty before 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Soon after the blast, the source said that ISF chief Ashraf Rifi had ordered the Intelligence Bureau to provide him with the information about the bombing to determine whether anyone had been targeted.

He then tried to contact Hasan who was supposedly still in Paris with his family and he took the slain security chief’s closed line as a sign that he was in fact still abroad.

At around 4:00 p.m. however Rifi received a telephone call from former Premier Saad Hariri who asked him if he had inquired about Hasan’s safety after the blast to which the ISF head replied that he was abroad.

Hariri then revealed that Hasan had in fact contacted him on Friday morning, informing him that he was in Beirut.

Rifi immediately sent the team charged with Hasan’s security to the scene of the Ashrafiyeh blast in order to determine if he was targeted.

The team returned shortly before 5:00 p.m. with Hasan’s wristwatch, which confirmed that he was the target, said As Safir.

The source told the daily that Hasan was likely not only being monitored in Beirut, but in Berlin and Paris as well.

Investigations are now focusing on the people he communicated with by phone, it added.

Rifi meanwhile denied claims that two blasts took place at the scene, saying that the booby-trapped car was parked at the side of the road and it was remotely detonated as soon as Hasan’s car passed by it.

A security source told al-Liwaa newspaper Tuesday that “loopholes” existed in Hasan’s security precautions, which made his assassination possible.

It said that his security could have been breached through the discovery of his Ashrafiyeh apartment or his rented car or his arrival in Beirut on Thursday.

On the blast itself, the source said that the remote detonation of the bomb indicates that the criminal was not too far away from the scene, adding that such an operation requires three or four people, not 20 as some reports said.

A large number of people involved would raise suspicions over their activity, the source told al-Liwaa.

In addition, it ruled out the possibility that Hasan’s car was booby-trapped, saying that the blast was caused by a car parked on the side of the road as indicated by the crater created by the bomb.

On the reasons for the assassination, the source said that Hasan had become a target for his role in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005, the discovery of terrorist and Israeli espionage networks in Lebanon, and the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha in August.

Samaha was arrested on charges of forming a criminal gang aimed at carrying out attacks in Lebanon at Syria’s behest.

Upon the arrest, Hasan and Rifi received intelligence reports that they had “crossed red lines” in their acctions, said the source.

“The two security officials responded by saying that red lines to them are the Lebanese people’s security, meaning that they reject the warnings,” it added.

Northern Distribution Network Will Never Be Hillary’s “Silk Road”

Putin Partners with British Petroleum In the Arctic, Other Oil Giants Left Out In the Cold

Russia ‘Off Limits’ to Big Oil After BP Wins Putin’s Approval

Although other explorers may yet strike deals to search Russia’s vast untapped reserves, none will be able to replicate BP’s “seal of approval” from Russian President Putin. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Russia Off Limits to Big Oil After BP Wins Putin Approval

By Joe Carroll and Edward Klump

Now that BP Plc (BP/) has partnered with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to oversee the world’s second-biggest oil industry, other international energy companies such asExxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) are facing dwindling access to one of the last untapped troves of crude.

BP’s agreement yesterday to sell its half of Moscow-based TNK-BP to Russia’s state-run oil company, OAO Rosneft (ROSN), for $12.3 billion in cash and almost one-fifth of Rosneft’s shares vaulted the U.K. energy producer to preeminence among foreign drillers in the Russian oil patch, said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Houston.

Although other explorers may yet strike deals to search Russia’s vast untapped reserves, none will be able to replicate BP’s “seal of approval” from Russian President Putin, or match the London-based company’s access to powerful deputies such as Rosneft boss Igor Sechin, Molchanov said in an interview yesterday. Even as Exxon and Rosneft proceed with a $3.2 billion Arctic and Black Sea drilling venture signed last year, future contracts of similar scope are out of the question for outsiders, he said.

“For foreign oil companies seeking to expand production and reserves, Russia is now off limits,” Robbert Van Batenburg, head of research at Louis Capital Markets LP in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The BP accord “is probably scaring the others away.”

Tightening Control

Russia, which increased its crude reserves more than any other nation except Iraq last year, has been a magnet for investment by Western oil companies since the early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union loosened state control of oil fields from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Russia is the source of one of every eight barrels of crude produced worldwide, second only to Saudi Arabia, according to the BP Statistical Review, an annual compendium of global energy data.

Since 2004, Putin has been tightening the government’s grip on the Russian oil sector, moves that made it increasingly difficult for foreign producers to establish or maintain footholds in the country, said William J. Andrews, a fund manager at C.S. McKee & Co. in Pittsburgh. Buying TNK-BP from the London-based producer and the Russian billionaires who own the other half will transfer to Rosneft fields that accounted for about 25 percent of BP’s annual output worldwide.

“The Russians are nationalistic and are going to keep the oil reserves for themselves,” said Andrews, who helps manage $14 billion. “They don’t really have a legal system or a political system. It’s a dictatorship.”

Principal Partner

Under the terms of the agreement announced yesterday, BP will receive $17.1 billion in cash and a 12.8 percent stake in Rosneft in exchange for 50 percent of TNK-BP, a 9-year-old venture of the U.K. company and an entity known as AAR that is controlled by the billionaires. BP plans to reinvest $4.8 billion of the cash in the government’s share of Rosneft, boosting BP’s holding to 19.75 percent. BP also will receive two Rosneft board seats.

“By signing this deal, the highest levels of the Russian government, up to and including Vladimir Putin, are endorsing BP as the principal western partner of the Russian oil and gas industry,” Molchanov said. “This is a big, big seal of approval for BP by Moscow and it means no other company is going to have access to the corridors of power like BP does.”

Exxon, the world’s largest (XOM) energy company by market value, and other international oil companies have been struggling to reverse production declines as fields discovered decades ago peter out and access to state-controlled reserves is denied or made onerously expensive from Latin America to the Middle East.

Shrinking Production

Exxon’s global output slipped for a fourth straight quarter during the April-to-June period, reaching the equivalent of 4.15 million barrels of oil a day, the lowest in two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Exxon’s reserve growth slowed to 0.5 percent last year after jumping 7.9 percent and 8.9 percent in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Shell’s production has declined in eight of the past nine years, and The Hague-based company’s costs to find untapped crude more than tripled in the past half decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s global output (CVX) dropped by 2.6 percent during the April-to-June period to the equivalent of 2.62 million barrels a day, the lowest second-quarter average since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The San Ramon, California-based company’s reserves are 4.5 percent lower than a decade ago.

It’s True, Congress Really Is Debating a “Mass Casualties Planning” Act, After Buying A Billion Rounds of Ammo

 

112th CONGRESS

112th Congress, 2011–2012.

 

2d Session

 

H. R. 6566

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide guidance and coordination for mass fatality planning, and for other purposes.

 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

September 28, 2012

Ms. RICHARDSON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


 

A BILL

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide guidance and coordination for mass fatality planning, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act’.

 

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Emergency preparedness often plans for how to prepare and provide for survivors of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster, but fails to plan for how to prepare for and respond to mass fatalities that result from such an incident.

(2) Funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries could be overwhelmed should mass fatalities arise from a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.

(3) Different religions have different customs surrounding death; for example, the Jewish and Muslim religions call for burial of the deceased not later than 48 hours after death.

 

SEC. 3. PREPAREDNESS FOR MASS FATALITIES RESULTING FROM A NATURAL DISASTER, ACT OF TERRORISM, OR OTHER MAN-MADE DISASTER.

Section 504 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 314) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘(c) Preparedness for Mass Fatalities- In carrying out this section, the Administrator shall provide guidance to and coordinate with appropriate individuals, including representatives from different communities, private sector businesses, non-profit organizations, and religious organizations, to prepare for and respond to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster that results in mass fatalities.’.

US Congress introduces bill ordering FEMA to conduct ‘mass fatality planning’

Ethan A. Huff, Natural News

 

While millions of Americans were busy watching the elephant puppet battle the ass puppet at the latest political circus, the United States Congress quietly introduced a new piece of legislation ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin preparing for mass casualties throughout the country.

 

House Resolution 6566, also known as the Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act, would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to mandate that FEMA immediately begin conducting “mass fatality planning” in preparation for a major event or series of events that may kill off untold numbers of people.

 

Introduced by Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Ca.), H.R. 6566 provisions that the Administrator of FEMA – William Craig Fugate currently holds the Administrator position at FEMA – provide “guidance and coordination” for dealing with a mass casualty event arising from a natural disaster, terrorist act, or “other man-made disaster.”

 

The bill also ominously sets up the FEMA Administrator as a type of emergency dictator with the power to control how local communities, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and even individuals prepare for and respond to a mass fatality event.

 

“Funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries could be overwhelmed should mass fatalities arise from a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster,” says the legislation, which also specifies the manner in which people with certain religious affiliations should be buried following their deaths.

 

Contrary to what is being reported by some sources, H.R. 6566 has not yet been passed by either the House of Representatives nor the Senate, which means it has not yet become law. According to govtrack.us, the bill was referred to a congressional committee on September 28 for consideration, and has yet to be reported on by that committee.

 

Even so, the bill’s introduction is troubling to say the least, especially in light of the federal government’s recent purchases of large stocks of hollow-point ammunition, meat, emergency supplies, and riot gear.

 

It seems as though occupiers at all levels of the federal government know something that the rest of us do not know, which would explain their mad rush throughout the past couple of years to pass various “continuity of government” legislation and executive orders, including the more recent National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) that provisioned for indefinite detention of American citizens.

 

When put into perspective, all these bills and executive orders point to something massive occurring in the very near future, whether that be a major natural disaster, an economic collapse, a false flag terror attack, or perhaps even World War III. Whatever the case may be, the federal government most certainly appears to be preparing for its own post-disaster survival at the expense of ours.

 

AHT/ARA

The Smartest Man In Tajikistan, Even When He Is In Russia

[Turajonzoda receives criticism about everything that he does or says, but he also receives even more praise and admiration for his personal bravery and honesty.  Even though he has no current political plans, he is the one man who could easily defeat Rahmon in an honest election, and he is known throughout the country (SEE:   Turajonzoda could topple Rahmon).  The recent trip to Russia is falsely held up as proof of  Mr. Turajonzoda’s allegiance to the Russian state, even though it is more than obvious that he only serves One Master, and his faith demands that he live as an honorable man, tending to the needs of  God’s people and doing the right thing for his country the best ways that he knows how.  In this service, he has proven to be the clearest voice denouncing American manipulations and the Wahabbi false “Islamists” who are serving Imperial designs (SEE:Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court ).]

H.A.Turadzhonzoda: Our trip to Russia had no political goals

 

Trip brothers Turajonzoda after months of litigation, caused speculation that the meeting with Tajik labor migrants – is preparing for presidential elections in 2013. What caused the brothers to go to Russia, in an interview with “Ozodi” said Haji Akbar Turajonzoda.

– Starting from 27 August, or a whole month we Eshoni Nuriddindzhon visited different regions of Russia. In an average day met with eight – ten thousand people. In conversations with the people we are only called to approve of, and denied illicit and brought to the people God’s call. We urge people not to forget about God, about who they are and about their religious duties. Therefore, our trip had no political goals, and the fact that some media wrote Tajikistan, make me regret.

– The presidential elections in Tajikistan, and therefore believe that your trip is to them. As if you have started to promote themselves and their ideas out of the country, because they (migrant workers) have the right to vote, and are the breadwinners of their families.

– This is not true. We have no political objectives and are not going to use this trip to the election. Because it does not have the desire to participate in the elections. Another problem is that in Tajikistan in general are elections. Elections in which the voice of the people would influence the results, do not exist in Tajikistan. The Electoral Commission will write everything that the government wants. Until then, until you change the electoral law and the electoral commission will not be created from representatives of political parties – this election – the election of the Soviet period. I believe that a reasonable person, no change of the electoral law must not take part in them.

– Do you mean the applicants and candidates?

– Yes, that candidates for the presidential election, or parliament. Until then, until you change the law, participation in elections meaningless. Therefore, those who say that, they say, went to advertise themselves, are useless words. If someone wants to save Tajikistan, should change the election law.

– But if the election law will be changed in such a way, as they want political power and will be accepted, then you can participate in the election as a candidate?

– Yes, it can. But I could no longer change your mind, I’m old. I am over 60 years old. But you can join the group, supporting one of the deserving candidates. Until then, I’m not going to take part in election activities. No one will advocate and support.

– But in the last parliamentary elections you supported the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan.

– For two years ago I did. And then I made this point. But the brothers of revival vowed that the president promised to hold transparent elections. I said then that it was not feasible. As long as your representatives will not be included in the polling stations, it is not feasible. But they assured me that they believe in the promise.

– In an article published in the “Jumhuriyat” after your trip to Russia, they say, if the purpose of the brothers Turajonzoda was only meeting with migrant workers, why they were met by cars that are not even in the park, Vladimir Putin.

– One hundred percent assure you that it was not a state machine. These were the cars of our own non-Tajik and Tajik brothers. And again I say to you, they were not the government.

– In addition you, brothers accused Turajonzoda that you went to Russia to collect “Nazr” donations, and it was published in the media.

– In fact, very sad, that make such findings, and so presented. Brothers, who wrote this, for life itself are asylum. Ask here and there are different “grants.” Asking the government, the banks. We have never engaged in begging. The people with whom we met were not our murids, or murids our father. Therefore, such talk does not make any sense.

– Is it true that you called for migrants to obey Putin?

– I read these things. We did not say obey Putin. We talked, obey the laws, respect the language, customs and culture of the Russian. Yes, two times Eshoni Nuriddindzhon spoke about Putin as a good man. Yes, God will direct him to the right path. We are not called to anything other than obedience to God. Indeed, the law must comply.Unfortunately, some things are published not tested. From the day we arrived in Russia, the Tajik authorities ordered managers diaspora keep our meetings with migrants.

Source – Radio “Ozodi”

Lebanon launches major security operation to contain new outburst of Syria-linked violence

Lebanon launches major security operation to contain new outburst of Syria-linked violence

Associated Press

BEIRUT –  Lebanese troops launched a major security operation on Monday to open all roads and force gunmen off the streets, trying to contain an outburst of violence set off by the assassination of a top intelligence official who was a powerful opponent of Syria. Sectarian clashes overnight killed at least two people.

Opponents of Syria have blamed the regime in Damascus for the killing of Lebanese Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan in a Beirut car bomb on Friday. With Lebanon already tense and deeply divided over the civil war next door, the assassination has threatened to drag the country back into the kind of sectarian strife that plagued it for decades — much of it linked to Syria.

Sporadic cracks of gunfire rang out in Beirut as soldiers backed by armored personal carriers with heavy machine guns took up position on major thoroughfares and dismantled roadblocks. At times, troops exchanged gunfire with Sunni gunmen.

Al-Hassan was a Sunni who challenged Syria and its powerful Lebanese ally, the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. The uprising in Syria is dominated by the Sunni majority fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, who like many who dominate his regime, is a member of the Alawite sect — an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Lebanon and Syria share similar sectarian divides that have fed tensions in both countries, increasingly.

Most of Lebanon’s Sunnis have backed Syria’s mainly Sunni rebels, while Lebanese Shiites tend to back Assad.

Al-Hassan’s assassination has imperiled Lebanon’s fragile political balance. Many politicians blamed Syria for the killing and angry protesters tried to storm the government palace after al-Hassan’s funeral on Sunday, venting their rage at leaders they consider puppets of a murderous Syrian regime. But were pushed back by troops who opened fire in the air and fired tear gas.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni, told As-Safir newspaper that when he took up his post last year, he intended to protect all Lebanese, particularly Sunnis.

“I was convinced that through this mission, I am protecting my country, my people and especially fellow members of my sect.”

The prime minister of Lebanon is usually a Sunni according to a sectarian division of top posts in the state. Over the past year, pro-Syrian Hezbollah and its allies have come to dominate the government.

On Sunday night, a group of anti-Syrian protesters started an open-ended sit-in outside Mikati’s house in his hometown of Tripoli. The protesters said they will only end the sit-in when Mikati resigns.

Ambassadors of Britain, the U.S., Russia, China and France and the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon met President Michel Suleiman to express support for him.

“The permanent members at the United Nations call upon all the parties in Lebanon to preserve stability,” Derek Plumbly, the U.N. representative, told reporters in Arabic while surrounded by the five ambassadors. “We strongly condemn any attempt to shake Lebanon’s stability.”

Overnight, Sunni and Shiite gunmen clashed in two Beirut neighborhoods and officials also reported heavy clashes late Sunday and early Monday in the northern city of Tripoli and towns between the capital Beirut and the southern city of Sidon.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said a man was killed in shooting in the Wadi Zayneh area north of Sidon and another person died in the Tripoli clashes. The officials said the clashes wounded at least six people in Beirut and 10 in Tripoli.

An Associated Press photographer saw dozens of gunmen roaming the streets on Monday in Beirut’s predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Tariq Jadideh, where much of the fighting has taken place. Local Sunni leaders were calling the gunmen by telephone urging them to pull out of the streets.

In some roads around Tariq Jadideh, masked Sunni gunmen set up checkpoints, stopping cars and asking people about their destination and where they were coming from.

A woman who lives in the neighborhood said the fighting began shortly after midnight and lasted until sunrise.

“We couldn’t sleep because of the shooting. There were also some booms,” she said, referring to rocket-propelled grenades. She asked that her name not be used for fear of reprisals.

In Tripoli, residents said scores of soldiers deployed around the city in an attempt to bring back calm. The military also set up checkpoints, searched cars and asked people for identity cards.

Obama-Romney Compete for the Honor of Starting WWIII

Two defenders of American imperialism

Obama-Romney foreign policy debate

In the final debate of the US presidential election, to be held Monday night in Boca Raton, Florida, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney can be expected to tout their contrasting “visions” on US foreign policy. However, on the fundamental issues of concern to the American corporate and financial elite, the two candidates are entirely united.

They will both declare themselves defenders of “democracy” and “freedom,” even as American money and weapons prop up dictatorships like the Saudi monarchy, the kleptocratic rulers of Congo and other resource-rich African states, and military-backed regimes from Honduras to Egypt. They accept unquestioningly the necessity to use military force and political subversion to safeguard the economic and strategic interests of the American financial aristocracy anywhere in world.

There will presumably be verbal clashes. Romney will seek to take advantage of the debacle last month, when armed attackers overran the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the US ambassador and three other Americans. Obama will seek to counter by citing the greatest “success” of his foreign policy, the killing of Osama bin Laden by an assassination squad of US Navy Seals.

These disputes, however, take place within a common political framework. They amount to wrangling about which individual will be more effective in implementing a policy on which they fundamentally agree.

Behind the backs of the American people, the United States is preparing new military interventions and wars of aggression against Syria and Iran, first of all, and ultimately against China, Russia and other rival powers.

The entire process demonstrates the thoroughly undemocratic character of the election itself, in which the American people have no say on any of the fundamental issues.

Obama won the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 over Hillary Clinton in large measure because he positioned himself as the more “antiwar” of the two candidates, in part by repeatedly citing her 2002 vote to authorize George W. Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq. He won the general election over McCain by taking advantage of the massive popular discontent with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Once in office, however, Obama reappointed Bush’s secretary of defense, Robert Gates, selected a former general as his national security adviser, and his “hawkish” former rival Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. He doubled and then tripled the US troop commitment to Afghanistan, while adhering to the withdrawal schedule in Iraq negotiated by the Bush administration.

Last year, Obama played the decisive role in facilitating the NATO war against Libya, which led to the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi and 50,000 deaths. Now his administration is preparing a similar fate for the Assad regime in Syria, where the US-instigated civil war has already claimed 30,000 lives.

US troops, warplanes and drone missiles are now deployed over a far wider area than under the Bush administration, including the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and much of the Sahara and North Africa, in addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The maneuvers of the US Navy in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, as well as Obama’s agreements to forward-deploy American ground troops in Australia and the Philippines, are part of a long-range strategy of encircling China with US military bases and client states, to preserve American domination of the Asia-Pacific region despite China’s rise as an economic power.

Recent polls have found that the vast majority of Americans favor a rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and similar levels of opposition to US military-political involvement in the Middle East. There is virtually no popular support for a new US war in Syria or in Iran. Yet within the financial aristocracy and among its leading political operatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, the necessity for such future military aggression is taken for granted.

For more than a decade, there has been a widening gulf between the imperialist foreign policy pursued by the ruling elite and the sentiments of the broad masses. In election after election, the two ruling parties have worked together to deprive the American people of any opportunity to influence decisions on war and peace.

In October 2002, House and Senate Democrats voted to authorize war with Iraq in an effort to take the issue off the table only weeks before the congressional elections. In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry positioned himself as a war hero auditioning for the role of commander-in-chief, not an opponent of the war in Iraq. In 2006, when the Democrats were catapulted by antiwar sentiment into control of both the House and the Senate—to their own surprise and dismay—they immediately declared that impeaching George W. Bush for the lies that paved the way to war in Iraq was off the agenda.

In 2008 came the biggest swindle of all. The supposed “antiwar” Obama won the White House and proceeded to conduct an even more militaristic foreign policy than that pursued by Bush. The response among the liberals and pseudo-left elements that backed Obama as the alternative to the Republicans was to fold up their antiwar banners and rally to the side of the administration as it escalated the war in Afghanistan, waged war in Libya, and prepared for even bloodier adventures in Syria and Iran.

The American ruling class has dragged the population of the country—and the entire world—into unending war and neocolonialism, which is leading inexorably to a global conflict of unimaginable dimensions. This process can be halted only through the independent intervention of the American and international working class.

Obama and Romney are both representatives of American imperialism, the most reactionary and anti-democratic force on the planet. The Socialist Equality Party urges workers, young people and all those opposed to militarism and war to vote for our candidates, Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president, and attend the regional conferences called by the SEP this weekend and the next.

For more information on the SEP campaign and to attend a conference in your area, visit www.socialequality.com.

Patrick Martin

Anxious Turks suspect US plot is behind Syria’s implosion

Anxious Turks suspect US plot is behind Syria’s implosion

Locals in eastern Turkey, bearing the brunt of the fallout from Turkey’s involvement in Syria, believe Ankara is merely a pawn in US plans to foment conflict in the region.

By Emiko Jozuka

 

ANTAKYA, TURKEY

In an empty coffee house in Antakya, local tradesman Ahmet Sari’s face crumples in anger as he speaks about Syria.

“What’s happening in Syria is all part of America‘s great project to reshape the borders of the Middle East.  America and its allies don’t care about bringing democracy to the Syrian people.  Look at what happened to Iraq!” he fumes. “The imperialist countries are only after oil and mineral resources.”

Nineteen months into Syria’s conflict, resentment ofAnkara and anti-US sentiment simmer in Antakya, which lies just over the border with Syria. The province is grappling with an ailing trade and tourism sector and an influx of refugees and rebel fighters. Locals blame the Turkish government for dragging them into the conflict by backing the Syrian opposition and aligning Turkeywith the opposition’s Western allies.

The current administration’s “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy, which stood strong for several years, now rings hollow as Turkey’s diplomatic ties with Syria and its ally Iran sour due to Ankara’s support for the rebels. And many say that all of these problems can be traced back to the US, who they are convinced got involved with, and perhaps even fomented, the Syrian unrest to loosen up regional powers’ grip on oil, enlisting Turkey as a pawn in the process. It had little to do with support for democracy, they believe.

Stirring up the ‘beehive’

The beliefs stem in part from a bold Bush administration political proposal that has faded into obscurity in the West, but remains lodged in the minds of many here. Known as the Greater Middle East Initiative, it was formally introduced by then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006 at a conference in Tel Aviv. Her references to “the birth pangs of a New Middle East” and the unveiling there of a new map of the region featuring a “Free Kurdistan” are still remembered with resentment.

Even with a new administration in the White House that has sought to distance itself from the previous administration’s Middle East policies, many in the region are suspicious of US motives and don’t believe that the various uprisings began as indigenous, people-driven movements, independent of any US involvement.

Refik Eryilmaz, a Turkish parliamentarian from Antakya with the opposition Republican People’s Party, says that Western superpowers are trying to incite a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites so that countries in the region fragment along ethno-religious lines, becoming weaker in the process.

Syria is predominantly Sunni, but President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite, a Shiite offshoot, as is most of his government.

“The access to oil will be made easier when people in these regions are divided and fighting amongst themselves. Both the US and Israel want to weaken Iran and strengthen their own position in the Middle East.  But to do this, first they must weaken Syria and replace the current government with someone who supports them instead of Iran,” says Mr. Eryilmaz.

This suspicion – that outside intervention is stirring up sectarian strife in Syria – is a view shared by many in Antakya, Turkey’s most ethno-religiously diverse province.

Although Nihat Yenmis, president of the Alevi Cultural Foundation (AKAD) in Iskenderun, is convinced that sectarian violence will not seep into Turkey, he laments the plight of Syrian civilians, caught up in the cross-fire of a conflict that he interprets as planned and stoked by outside intervention.

“All ethno-religious groups have lived side by side in this region for centuries.  But if someone hits a beehive from the outside, they will destroy the peace within the hive. All the bees inside the hive will fight with one another. That’s exactly what the US is doing in the Middle East,” says Mr. Yenmis.

Gilbert Achcar, a professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, says that the Greater Middle East Initiative has long since been abandoned, and all that remains is the deep skepticism of US motives that it spurred. Those in the Middle East tend to attribute more power to the US than it actually has, he says.

“The US is overwhelmed by the situation in the Middle East and is not in control, let alone plotting something. The GMEI never took root. It just provided a grand name that fueled people’s imaginations, and conspiracy theories were invented,” he says.

A penchant for conspiracies

The region’s penchant for Western conspiracy theories is long-standing, beginning with the then-secret 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement that divided up the region between the British and the French, Mr. Achcar says.

That history influenced the perception of the Bush administration’s Greater Middle East Partnership Initiative, later renamed the New Middle East Project, that was drawn up in 2004 in response to potential “threats of terrorism” in the wake of 9/11.  The mission was to bolster democracy and socio-economic development in the Middle East and North Africa and build a bulwark against the expansion of radical terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda.

But the initiative stalled in the face of heightened anti-American sentiment in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Prominent Arab figures were quick to criticize it as another US attempt to “reform” a region it did not fully understand.  In an article published in pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat in 2004, the chief editor of the Arab Human Development Report, Nader Fergany, criticized the “arrogant” worldview of the the Bush administration which “causes it to behave as if it can decide the fate of states and peoples.”

Tasked with alleviating Arab mistrust, the US selected Turkey as a key bridge between the US and the Middle East. The ruling Justice and Development Party‘s promotion of “conservative democracy” appealed to the West because of its reformist stance, and to Islamic countries in the Middle East due to its emphasis on a traditional Muslim identity.

But today, Turkey’s role as a bridge between the West and the Arab world on the Syrian conflict has again raised suspicions. Its alliances with the US and autocratic countries like Saudi Arabiaand Qatar, who have also come out as strong backers of the Syrian opposition, have provoked accusations that Turkey is more intent on weakening secular Syria and reinstating a Sunni government than in democracy.

While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed last year on a live broadcast that the US initiative never took root, some in the Middle East still refer back to Mr. Erdogan’s older statements of being GMEI’s co-chairman, and remain convinced that a US-inspired scheme – with Turkey taking the lead – is underway.

“Perhaps the US is doing what’s right for its own country and implementing a foreign policy that will protect its dominance in the world, but we have to inquisition the countries that are acting as a US pawn.  Many people in Turkey think that Turkey is merely serving US interests in the region to its own detriment,” says Eryilmaz. 

Back in Antakya’s coffee house, with no end in sight to the Syrian conflict, local trader Ahmet Sari shows how deeply this sentiment reaches.

“So many people have died unnecessarily in Syria – children are dying,” he says, wearily. “We just want this war to stop and for there to be peace. We don’t hate the American people.  We just want the US administration to stop trying to spread its expansionist policies.”

49 rebels killed in sweeping Russian anti-terror op

49 rebels killed in sweeping Russian anti-terror op

Federal Security Service’s special forces perform a special operation to liquidate illegal armed groups. (RIA Novosti / NewsTeam)

Russian security forces killed 49 militants in a long-term, sweeping operation across Russia’s volatile north Caucasus. Nine of those killed were considered to be “odious” guerilla commanders in the drive to carve out an Islamist state in the region.

The “large-scale and massive” September-October operation in several republics in the region involved forces from both the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry, Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said on Sunday.

“The coordinated action helped terminate the activities of several odious gang leaders, gang members and their associates, substantially damaging the system under which the bandits operate,” Interfax quotes a NAK statement as saying.

Thirty people with alleged connections to the insurgency were also arrested, along with 20 others who gave themselves up to the authorities.

The operation further resulted in the destruction of 90 rebel bases and the seizure of thirty homemade explosive devices, 100 kg of explosives, 109 weapons, 530 mines, shells and grenades and 19 thousand rounds of ammunition.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently stressed the importance anti-terrorist operations in the run-up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup.

On Tuesday, Putin announced that 313 militants and 43 militant leaders had been killed within the past three months.

The self-proclaimed Caucasus Emirate, headed by Russia’s most-wanted terrorist Doku Umarov, has vowed to stage attacks during the Games.

Karzai govt, Nato downplay Fazlullah’s presence in Afghanistan

Karzai govt, Nato downplay Fazlullah’s presence in Afghanistan

KABUL: The Karzai administration and Nato here hardly give any sign of launching operation against Maulana Fazlullah as his group again came under focus after the recent attack on Malala Yousafzai.

 

In fact, Afghanistan is in a state of denial about the presence of Fazlullah, a Pakistani Taliban commander who was driven out of Swat Valley in a massive military operation in mid-2009. “We want to assure the Pakistani people that we will not allow any terrorist to use Afghan soil,” said Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqi, indicating that no “terrorist” was attacking Pakistan from Afghanistan.

 

Maulana Fazlullah, Pakistani officials say, has been maintaining sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s Kunar province for the last few years. His group has organised deadly cross-border raids into Upper Dir, Chitral and Lower Dir districts and has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings and targetted attacks against opponents.

 

Malala Yousafzai, who spoke against his brutalities in Swat, is believed to have been targetted on his behalf and the alleged perpetrator, Attaullah, has reportedly moved to safe havens in Kunar.

 

When Sediqi was confronted that Fazlullah had been operating from Kunar for the last three years, he said: “Well, there are terrorists living on the Pakistani soil for many, many years.” His answer suggested the Afghanistan government had no intention to move against Fazlullah.

 

A similar answer came from Foreign Ministry spokesman, Janan Mosazai. “Any comparison between the vast system of sanctuaries, training camps, support system, financial support and the strategic advice that Taliban and other elements receive from Pakistan with a few anti-Pakistan Taliban that might be in Kunar or Nuristan is completely against the fact, unfair, unjust and a statement against the reality in this region,” he said.

 

Pakistan says governor of Kunar and elements of the Afghan intelligence agencies have been providing support to Maulana Fazlullah. “There are some people in the intelligence at the local level who are supporting them. I don’t think it’s the policy of the Afghan government but there are people in the Afghan government, in the Afghan set-up who do support him because without their total support it will not be possible for the TTP people to move so freely there,” said Muhammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

 

“The governor of Kunar has actually declared jihad against Pakistan Army. So that could be on their loose top. But the fact is when the governor of a province says something like this, we expect the Kabul government that there will be some action against that governor,” he told The News in an interview.

 

“It’s very clear that they are here. We have confirmed reports that people who raid Pakistan and who get wounded are brought back here and we know the places where they are treated,” he said.

 

He said the issue had been raised with Afghan government and Isaf headquarters here but both had taken the position that they did not have the capacity to go into Kunar and address this problem.

 

Dominic Medley, a Nato spokesman in Afghanistan, said they knew “insurgents and terrorists” were moving freely across the border but Afghanistan and Pakistan should fight this “shared fight” together.

 

“Between Afghanistan and Pakistan and Nato there are regular meetings, diplomacy continues, the tripartite commission, there is coordination at the border-all that must continue to ensure that the security between the two countries is tackled by both countries,” he said in an interview with The News.

 

He said the UN mandate to Nato to fight terrorists up to the border of Afghanistan was recently renewed. However, when asked why the alliance failed to take action against Fazlullah who has built sanctuaries within the border of Afghanistan, he failed to answer the question. “I don’t know about that particular group. I am sorry. I can’t give an answer on that group. It’s too specific for me to know about that group,” he said.

 

It was learnt that the US and Nato would have to shift 40 percent of their military assets to eastern Afghanistan to fight Fazlullah and other militants. Therefore, they are not willing to take action against him. The unwillingness and inability of Afghanistan and US and Nato to act against Fazlullah gives him freedom to organise attacks on the border and inside the country, posting serious security threat to Pakistan.

 

Faheem Dashti, a senior Afghan journalist, said the US had failed in defeating Taliban but succeeded in building security forces for Afghanistan. He said the Afghanistan government and the security forces were too weak to take action against Fazlullah.

 

Sediqi said Afghanistan considered Fazlullah a terrorist but any action that would be taken against him would be “based on the international rules and regulations.”

 

The Afghans are complaining about cross-border shelling. “So far more than ten people have been killed and many, many houses destroyed and animals killed and thousands of people displaced because of these rockets,” Sediqi said. He said the reason Pakistan was providing was a weak one. “That means that the Afghan Army should also fire rockets on the other side because all the terrorists are stationed on the other side of the border,” he said.

 

Janan Mosazai demanded a complete halt to shelling. “The solution is that they (Pakistan) stop it immediately and completely,” he said.

 

Ambassador Sadiq admitted shells had landed in Afghanistan but no or little casualties had been caused.

Putin Oversees Successful Major Test of Russian Nuclear Triad

Putin flexes muscle in big test of Russia’s nuclear arsenal

By Steve Gutterman | Reuters

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of All Russia People's Front at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Pool

Reuters/Reuters – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of All Russia People’s Front at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin took a leading role in the latest tests of Russia’sstrategic nuclear arsenal, the most comprehensive since the 1991 Soviet collapse, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

The exercises, held mostly on Friday, featured prominently in news reports on state television which seemed aimed to show Russians and the world that Putin is the hands-on chief of a resurgent power.

Tests involving command systems and all three components of the nuclear “triad” – land and sea-launched long-range nuclear missiles and strategic bombers – were conducted “under the personal leadership of Vladimir Putin”, the Kremlin said.

An RS-12M Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was launched from the Plesetsk site in northern Russia, and a submarine test-launched another ICBM from the Sea of Okhotsk, the Defence Ministry said.

Long-range Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers fired four guided missiles that hit their targets on a testing range in the northwestern Komi region, it said.

“Exercises of the strategic nuclear forces were conducted on such a scale for the first time in the modern history of Russia,” the Kremlin statement said.

“Vladimir Putin gave a high evaluation to the combat units and crews and the work of the Armed Forces General Staff, which fulfilled the tasks before them and affirmed the reliability and effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear forces.”

The exercises included tests of communications systems and “new algorithms” for command and control, it said.

Russia says it is modernizing a nuclear arsenal that was largely created during the Cold War and will continue to use nuclear weapons as a key deterrent.

In the 2010 New START treaty, Russia and the United States set lower numerical ceilings on the weapons tested in the exercise.

But Putin has made clear further cuts depend, among other things, on Washington assuaging his concerns about anti-missile defenses it is deploying, including a European shield Russia says will make it more vulnerable.

Russian and American leaders say nuclear war between the Cold War rivals is now unthinkable.

But critics say Putin – in power since 2000 and back as military commander-in-chief since his return to the Kremlin in May after four years as prime minister – is exaggerating potential threats from the West to bolster support at home.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

Russia to Resume Under-Critical Nuclear Testing

Russia to Resume Under-Critical Nuclear Tests on Novaya Zemlya

File:Ivan bomb.png wiki

Text: Lenta.ru

Russia will resume non-nuclear explosion tests at the Matochkin Shar Range on the Novaya Zemlya islands, reports Jane’s referring to Russian state-led corporation Rosatom. Such tests are held to evaluate combat effectiveness of Russian nuclear weapons and maintain safety of its long-term storage. Tests of this kind do not transgress the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty signed by Russia in Sept 1996.

Non-nuclear explosion test also known as under-critical nuclear test is a special detonation of nuclear warheads with plutonium and uranium isotopes when nuclear energy does not release. During such experiments, a chemical explosive is detonated which blast wave envelopes samples of fissile materials having different storage period and nuclear charge fragments. Such tests make possible to study physical processes happening in nuclear charges at the instant of explosion.

Advantage of those tests is that there is neither environment contamination nor radioactive releases. Experts obtain an opportunity to determine remaining storage life of nuclear warheads and verify their reliability. The Matochkin Shar range is the most appropriate site for such tests as it is located in strait at the depth of 12 meters, has anchoring berths and abrupt coast around. In the US, analogous tests are held under the Pollux program at Nevada nuclear range.

Nuclear test range on the Novaya Zemlya islands also known as “Object 700” was established in 1954. It comprises three assets for surface, subsurface, submarine, and air nuclear tests: Chyornaya Guba, Matochkin Shar, and D-P. The latest test with nuclear energy release took place at the range in 1990. In total, 130 nuclear explosions have been performed at the Novaya Zemlya test range.