ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

‘Missiles fired at’ Russian plane with 159 passengers flying over Syria


Two missiles were reportedly fired at a Russian plane with at least 159 passengers on board flying over Syrian territory. Russian officials admit the jet faced danger, but are not talking of a targeted attack.

On Monday Interfax cited “an informed source in Moscow,” which reported that a Russian passenger plane was attacked, while flying over a mountainous area of Syria.

“Syrian [officials] informed us that on Monday morning, unidentified forces launched two ground-to-air missiles which exploded in the air very close to a civilian aircraft belonging to a Russian airline,” the source told the Russian agency.

The pilots reportedly managed to maneuver the plane in time however, “saving the lives of passengers.”

“No one was injured, and the plane was not damaged. The aircraft landed in Kazan as had been planned,” the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism told news agencies. There were 159 passengers and eight crewmembers aboard the aircraft.

The plane that was allegedly targeted belonged to Nordwind Airlines – a Russian charter air carrier – and was identified as an Airbus A320. On April 29 it was en route to the city of Kazan, in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan, from Egypt’s resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website the plane’s crew at 4:55pm Moscow time (12:55 GMT) “detected battle action on the ground that, according to the crew, could constitute a threat to the 159 passengers on board the plane.”

The ministry is now “taking emergency measures to clarify all the circumstances of this situation, including making contact with the Syrian authorities,” spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich said.

Airbus A320 specifications
Cockpit crew: 2
Seating capacity: up to 180
Length: 37.57 m
Wingspan: 34.10 m
Operating empty weight: 42,600 kg
Cruising speed: 828 km/h
Maximum speed: 871 km/h
Maximum range: 5,900 km
Service ceiling: 12,000 m

On Tuesday, Interfax’s source informed that the aircraft was attacked when it was flying at an altitude of 9,800 meters.

“The first missile detonated at 9,200 meters, the second one at 8,900 meters”, the source said.

After the crew reported the incident to Syrian ground control, the flight was allowed to gain altitude of nearly 1,000 meters more, according to the source.

Meanwhile, Russia’s federal air traffic agency Rosaviatsia on Monday issued a directive to all Russian airlines prohibiting routes through the Syrian airspace. Previously in February Rosaviatsia issued a warning to all Russian airlines to avoid routes over conflict zones.

Russian experts believe that, so far, there are no grounds to claim that the aircraft became a target of a missile attack, experts say.

Russia’s major airlines – Aeroflot, Transaero, S7, Tatarstan – have avoided Syrian airspace for months due to the situation on the ground, despite additional time and fuel expended to avoid Syrian territory.

Meanwhile, Syrian aviation authorities received no indication of the alleged attack on the Russian plane, says the director of Syrian Airlines, Ghaida Abdullatif.

“We contacted the service that monitors traffic within Syrian airspace. None of the air traffic control services or other ground services at the airports in Damascus and Latakia have confirmed the information of a Russian plane being fired at.”

Russian experts have already voiced their doubts that a passenger plane can actually perform the kind of maneuvers that would allow it to avoid a missile attack.

“Planes are usually attacked either from the side or from above. A pilot could not have seen the missiles,” Vladimir Gerasimov, a Russian pilot and an expert on flight security told RT.

“A passenger plane crew simply couldn’t see what’s behind. And if something is approaching the plane from the opposite direction – the speed doubles, so there is no time to do anything,” he added.

Danny Makki of the Syrian Youth Movement in the UK believes that the incident is no doubt a rebel attack, which could have been carried out with weapons supplied by neighboring governments or taken off the Syrian army. He thinks that the attack is an intentional one and should receive widespread condemnation, just as the attacks carried out by government forces do.

“The most likely thing that could have happened was rebel fire from missiles that could have been given by regional countries or government forces… no rebel forces would fire a missile at civilian aircraft without it being done intentionally. So it is essentially another reprehensible act that would have been committed by rebel forces, and should gain condemnation from all the states after it is clearer who actually committed it”, Makki said.

“But it does show that these are not the liberal forces which the West wanted to arm in the first place,” he added.

The civil war in Syria between the government of President Bashar Assad and opposition forces has been raging for over two years, claiming the lives of more than 70,000 people according to UN estimates. Assad says he is fighting an insurgency that has been sponsored from abroad.

Car bomb found outside home of ex-Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf

Car bomb found outside home of ex-Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf

the telegraph australia

PAKISTANI police say they have defused a car bomb near the house of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Islamabad police chief Bani Amin says the explosive-laden vehicle was found parked about 150 metres from the main gate of Musharraf’s house on the capital’s outskirts on Tuesday.

The former military strongman is being held under house arrest in connection with a case involving his decision to fire senior judges while in power.

Amin says police are investigating how the vehicle was able to approach Musharraf’s house.

The Taliban have threatened to kill Musharraf, and suspected militants tried to assassinate him several times when he was in power from 1999 to 2008.

Musharraf returned last month after four years in self-imposed exile to make a political comeback but has suffered multiple setbacks.

Pervez Musharraf formally arrested in Benazir murder case

Pervez Musharraf formally arrested in Benazir murder case

Geo-TV
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in relation to the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The formal proceedings for the arrest were completed by the FIA Deputy Director at Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad which has been declared sub-jail.

During the interrogation, the former president was asked why Benazir Bhutto was not provided security upon her return to Pakistan, to which Musharraf replied that she was provided complete security. Musharraf also refused to accept the allegations against him and said Benazir Bhutto became the target of terrorists.

The FIA will file a petition seeking the physical remand of Musharraf in the Anti Terrorism court on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the ATC had allowed the FIA to include Pervez Musharraf in the investigation of Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Musharraf is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of the three cases he is fighting in the courts since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile.

ALSO :
FIA joint investigation team to interrogate Pervez Musharraf   
ATC allows FIA to include Musharraf in Benazir murder investigation   

Zionist Wahhabis

[SEE:  Saudi Arabia working with Mossad against Iran, WikiLeaks suggests ;  Saudi Arabia is Israel’s last hope: report ]

The Saudi/Israeli Alliance

deLiberation

by Dean Henderson
Monday, April 9th, 2012

suadi city

(Excerpted from Chapter 5: Persian Gulf Rent-a-Sheik: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

Iran’s Press TV reported yesterday that both the US and the Saudis began funding Syrian rebels eight months ago. After funding Libyan Islamist rebels to overthrow Qaddafi, the Saudis and their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) despots have moved on in an effort to bring down Syria’s Assad government on their road to Tehran.

Both the Muslim Brotherhood House of Saud and Cabalist Israel share a long history with their Freemason brethren at British intelligence dating back to the Egyptian Mystery Schools.

The inbred Illuminati banker oligarchy runs all three secret societies and controls the global economy via central bank monopoly and hegemony over oil, arms and drug trades.

This Rothschild-led cabal of trillionaire Satanists manufacture fanatics within the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths to divide the people and maximize war profits.

Since Chevron discovered oil in Saudi Arabia in 1938, the House of Saud monarchy has increasingly served as paymaster for Rothschild covert military adventures.  It’s part of an oil for arms quid pro quo.

The Saudis sent over $3.8 billion to the CIA-trained Afghan mujahadeen.  Their emissary to the Americans was Osama bin Laden.

They gave $35 million to the Nicaraguan contras. Northrup/Lockheed bribe recipient Adnan Khashoggi played a key role in supplying Richard Secord’s Enterprise with House of Saud funding.  But while contra and mujahadeen efforts got the most newsprint, the House of Saud was busy bankrolling counterinsurgency around the world.

In Africa the Saudis provided support decades ago for the National Front for Salvation (NFS), which operated from bases in Chad in its attempts to overthrow Libyan President Mohamar Qaddafi.

Chad has long been an important country in Exxon Mobil’s North Africa oil production schemes.  In 1990- following a successful Libyan-backed counter-coup against the Chad government which was sponsoring NFS- the US evacuated 350 NFS leaders with Saudi financing.  The US restored $5 million in aid to the dictatorial Kenyan government of Daniel Arap Moi so Kenya would house the NFS leaders, whom other African governments refused to take in.  Arap Moi later aided CIA covert operations in Somalia, which the Saudis financed.

The Saudis bankrolled Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA rebels in Angola in their brutal effort to topple the socialist government of MPLA President Jose dos Santos.  Upon CIA request, the Saudis sent millions to Morocco to pay for that country’s training of UNITA.  Angola has huge oil reserves.  In 1985 Chevron Texaco accounted for 75% of Angola’s oil revenue.  In 1990 29% of Exxon Mobil’s US-bound crude came from Angola. An annual report of De Beers- the Oppenheimer-family tentacle which monopolizes the world diamond trade- bragged of buying up UNITA diamonds.  Savimbi was welcomed at the White House by President Reagan.

The Saudis funded RENAMO in their CIA-backed Pink Plan terror campaign against the nationalist government of Mozambique.  In the mid-1980s both the Saudis and Oman sent weapons to RENAMO through the Comoros Islands on behalf of Israel and apartheid South Africa.  Two Comoros Presidents- Ali Soilah and Ahmed Abdullah Abderemane- were assassinated by mercenaries who were protecting the arms traffic.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – formerly Zaire- Illuminati puppet Mobutu Sese-Seiko ruled with an iron fist for nearly four decades. He served as City of London guard dog of Zaire’s rich cobalt, uranium and molybdenum reserves- all of which are vital to the US nuclear weapons program.  Zaire is also rich in copper, chromium, zinc, cadmium, tin, gold and platinum.  While Mobutu amassed over $5 billion in Swiss, Belgian and French bank accounts, Zaire’s people lived in squalor.

Mobutu was installed in the early 1960’s after CIA agent Frank Carlucci- later Reagan and Bush Defense Secretary and now chairman of bin Laden family investment advisor Carlyle Group- worked with gangsters to assassinate the first prime minister of the Congo Patrice Lumumba.  Under Mobutu’s reign the US had military bases at Kitona and Kamina- from where the CIA prosecuted covert wars against Angola, Mozambique and Namibia with House of Saud funding.  Mobutu’s DSP palace guard was trained by the Israeli Mossad.  In the late 1970’s the Saudis paid for imported Moroccan troops to save Mobutu from Katanganese secessionists led by Laurant Kabila.

Mobutu was deposed in 1998 by forces loyal to Kabila- a friend of Fidel Castro.  The Saudis began financing military forays into the Congo by the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. This destabilization of the Lake’s region led to the Rwandan genocide.  Kabila was assassinated in 2000, after he refused to play Illuminati ball.  Over four million people have died in the DRC over the past decade.

Lumumba and Kabila weren’t the first African nationalists targeted for elimination by the inbreds.  During the 1950′s and 1960′s the CIA and French intelligence assassinated Moroccan nationalist Mehdi Ben Barka- whose Union Nationale de Forces Populaire threatened US puppet monarch King Hassan II.  Giunea’s leftist President Sekou Toure and Tunisian socialist Habib Bourgiba were also assassinated by Western intelligence agencies.

In 1993 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused the Saudis of providing arms to Johnny Garung’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).  The southern part of Sudan- which the SPLA is trying to partition- is rich in oil.  Mossad has supplied the SPLA for years through Kenya.  In 1996 the Clinton Administration announced military aid to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda. The aid was funneled into an SPLA offensive on Khartoum.  The crisis in Darfur is a direct result of Saudi/Israeli/US meddling on behalf of Big Oil.

Algerian President Chadli Benjladid accused the Saudis of bankrolling the barbarous Armed Islamic Group (AIG) who- after Algeria protested US ignition of the Gulf War- launched a reign of terror targeted at the Algerian people. Benjladid was forced to resign. This was followed by hasty passage of the Hydrocarbon Law- which opened the historically socialist country’s oilfields to the Four Horsemen.  The CIA then helped AIG terrorists travel to Bosnia, where they helped destroy socialist Yugoslavia.

Algeria has a long history of defying Big Oil. President Houari Boumedienne- one of the great Arab socialist leaders of all time- initiated calls for a more just international economic order in fiery speeches at the UN. He encouraged producer cartels as a means to Third World emancipation from the London bankers.  Independent Italian oilman Enrico Mattei began negotiating with Algeria and other nationalistic OPEC states who wanted to sell their oil internationally without having to deal with the Four Horsemen.  In 1962 Mattei died in a mysterious plane crash.  Former French intelligence agent Thyraud de Vosjoli says his agency was involved.  William McHale of Time magazine, who covered Mattei’s attempt to break the Big Oil cartel, also died under strange circumstances.

In 1975 the US sent $138 million in military aid through Saudi Arabia to Yemen, in hopes of heading off a Marxist revolution there.  The effort failed and the country split into North and South Yemen for two decades before merging again in the 1990’s. US/Saudi aid to both Yemen and Oman continues to this day in an effort to stamp out nationalist movements in those countries, which border the Kingdom and its vast Four Horsemen-controlled oilfields.

During the US-led effort to partition Bosnia from Yugoslavia, Saudi King Faud led calls for an end to the UN arms embargo.  When the embargo was lifted, the Saudis funded Bosnian Muslim arms purchases.  Later the Saudis bankrolled the heroin-kingpin Kosovo Liberation Army, as well as NLA Albanian separatists attacking the nationalist government of Macedonia. The Saudis even funded CIA covert operations in Italy, where they plunked down $10 million in 1985 to help destroy the Communist Party.

Recently Saudi Prince Bandar donated $1 million to the Bush Sr. Presidential Library and another $1 million to a Barbara Bush literacy campaign. On the evening of September, 11, 2001- Prince Bandar smoked cigars in the White House with President Bush, while members of the bin Laden family were evacuated from the US in airspace shut down to all other traffic.

Were the Saudis simply playing their historic paymaster role in the prosecution of 911?

The largest shareholder in News Corporation – parent of both the banker mouthpiece Wall Street Journal and the Fox News psyop – is Rupert Murdoch. The 2nd largest owner is Saudi Prince Alaweed bin Talal.

Is Fox News a covert Rothschild mind control operation against the American people?

Sources:

  1. “Mercenary Mischief in Zaire”. Jane Hunter. Covert Action Information Bulletin. Spring 1991.
  2. Hot Money and the Politics of Debt. R.T. Naylor. The Linden Press/Simon & Schuster. New York. 1987. p.238
  3. Hunter
  4. Earth First! Journal. Vol. 26, #1. Samhain/Yule. 2005
  5. “US to Aid Regimes to Oust Government”. David B. Ottaway. Washington Post. 11-10-96
  6. The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence and International Fascism. Henrik Kruger. South End Press. Boston. 1980. p.43
  7. The Gulf: Scramble for Security. Raj Choudry. Sreedhar Press. New Dehli.
  8. 1983. p.14
  9. Dude, Where’s My Country. Michael Moore. Warner Books. New York. 2003.
  10. ABC News Online. 10-19-04

Dean Henderson is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve. Subscriptions to his Left Hook blog are FREE at www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com

Qatar-Brotherhood Alliance Key Component of CIA Scheme To Rule Greater Middle East

[SEE: GCC official slams Muslim Brotherhood’s UAE threatsUAE uncovers Muslim Brotherhood cell, arrests its members]

The controversial Qatar-Brotherhood alliance

 the daily star
By Andrew Hammond
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thaniat at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 23, 2013.      REUTERS/Larry Downing  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thaniat at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

DUBAI: Of all Qatar’s policy innovations since a coup brought the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to power in 1995, its overt alliance with Islamist movements linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has perhaps been the most controversial so far. There is deep unease in Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the ascendancy of the Brotherhood, a well-established political outfit that seeks power through democracy, following the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

And since last November, when President Mohammad Mursi adopted sweeping powers and then rushed the completion of an Islamist-friendly constitution, Egypt has seen civil strife between various Islamist and non-Islamic factions that is grinding the economy into the Nile mud as tourists stay away, industry slows down and the government cannot pay its bills.

So it has become rather fashionable in many circles to predict the imminent demise of Qatar’s alliance with the Brotherhood. The question of Qatar – whose natural gas wealth has transformed the small Gulf state’s fortunes – has become a favorite parlor game from Cairo to Dubai.

Influenced by this pervasive anti-Brotherhood atmosphere in their host countries, diplomats, analysts, policymakers and journalists wonder if Qatar as a state will be forced to change tack, or whether there could be backlash against certain members of the ruling elite themselves for the insolence of their dissonant tone.

Inside Qatar itself, however, there is little sense that Islamists are about to be knocked off their pedestal. A notable presence in university departments, think tanks and other non-governmental organizations, they also form a constant stream of visitors for seminars and forums. Although there is no official Brotherhood branch in Qatar, leading Brotherhood-linked preacher Yousef al-Qaradawi has been in Doha for decades and is a key reference for many Qataris.

“Qaradawi is not new in Qatar and the Brotherhood is not new in Qatar. When the modern state was established, the Education Ministry and other institutions were set up by many Muslim Brotherhood people,” said Jassim Sultan, a Qatari who runs the Islamist, pro-Brotherhood website 4nahda.com.

Like others, he believes the close circle around the emir responsible for policy is driven by a strategic vision of how to secure independence from Saudi Arabia rather than ideological affinity for the Islamists per se.

Salah Elzein, a Sudanese who heads the Al-Jazeera Center for Studies, agreed and said Qatar had played a key role in making the Brotherhood acceptable to Western powers.

“The Qatari leadership realized Islamists would be a power to reckon with. At same time, Qatar was in good relationship with Israel and West. There is a huge difference in the way the United States deals with Islamists compared to 10 years ago,” he said. “People miss that Qatar invested a lot [in Islamists]. It started way before, it didn’t happen just now as mere opportunism with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Qatari rulers have traditionally promoted Saudi Salafism. The founder of the modern state, Sheikh Jassim, who died in 1913, was a follower of the puritanical Wahhabi school of Saudi Arabia. The presence of Qaradawi and Brotherhood cadres from Egypt since the 1960s was seen as a moderating force, and liberals have gained in recent years as the leadership plots to turn Doha into a world city that will host sports fans from around the world for the 2022 World Cup.

A large mosque in the name of Mohammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhab, the Salafist ideologue who helped found the modern Saudi state, was opened in 2011 in Doha, in an apparent effort to mollify Salafists over liberal and Brotherhood gains.

“The Salafi hard-liners are not happy about the opening [to other groups], but they are quite free here, there are no restrictions against them,” said Mohammad Alahmari, a Saudi who runs a Doha think tank.

There is unease over the Brotherhood policy among liberals.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is running the show. They have a monopoly and you get attacked if you attack the Brotherhood. It’s new and it became more clear that Al-Jazeera is backing them in the last five years,” said Najeeb al-Nuaimi, a former justice minister.

Tensions with the UAE have led to some Qataris being barred from entry at airports and an official from Qatar Petroleum has been held in detention this year for undeclared reasons (SEE: As family frets, Qatari doctor’s detention in Dubai stretches on).

“Maybe most people support it, but intellectuals ask, where will this lead to?” said Hassan al-Sayed, a constitutional law professor at Qatar University. “Some think it could lead to disasters, politically, financially, even on a personal level.”

Dissent among the public has focused more on the breakneck growth of Doha and plans to expand the country’s population to some 5 million people, although Qatari nationals form less than 300,000 of a 1.9 million population at present. Little more than a sleepy backwater in the 1990s, the city has been transformed beyond all recognition. The sleepy downtown area of the old Souq Waqef faces off against the otherworldly skyscrapers of the West Bay district, which, arising out of the sea on reclaimed land, give the impression of floating on air.

“There is no precise information about reasons and justifications for controversial public policies. This means that Qataris are always surprised by policy decisions, as if they were a private affair that citizens have no right to know about or take part in,” wrote academic Ali al-Kuwari in a book published last year called “The People Want Reform In Qatar Too,” the result of a year of monthly salons among intellectuals organized by Kuwari.

And the jailing of poet Mohammad Ibn al-Dhaib al-Ajami after a poem that attacked Arab rulers in the wake of the uprisings in 2011 revealed a certain regime jitteriness.

Even if Qatar wanted to, decoupling from a widespread and influential organization like the Brotherhood would not be an easy task. Nuaimi says it will depend on the fate of Islamist rule in Egypt and Tunisia: “They think the Brotherhood is the political future of the Arab world. I think they are wrong. I predict that in five years they will be out in Egypt and Tunisia and then Qatar will put them aside.”

Zionist Brits Prepare To Fire “Warning Shot” Into Syria

A warning shot and no more: Defence chiefs tell PM to hold back over Syria amid fears UK could get sucked into fresh conflict

Mail Online

  • Government will only consider a warning shot against Syria
  • Senior Officials say plans have been made for a precision air strike
  • But, government does not want the UK to be dragged into a fresh conflict
  • Cameron condemned nerve gas attacks against civilians last week

By Tim Shipman

Firing a ‘warning shot’ against Syria is the only military option being considered by the Government after defence chiefs warned the UK could get sucked into a fresh conflict.

Senior officials say plans have been drawn up for a precision air strike or missile attack to force dictator Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table.

But the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, has told David Cameron that imposing a no-fly zone over Syria or creating a safe haven for humanitarian workers would court disaster.

Senior officials say plans have been made for a precision missile attack to force dictator Bashar al-Assad (pictured) into negotiationsSenior officials say plans have been made for a precision missile attack to force dictator Bashar al-Assad (pictured) into negotiations

The Prime Minister condemned an apparent nerve gas attack on civilians in Syria last week as a ‘war crime’ and warned that the Assad regime had crossed a ‘red line’. Senior government sources say Mr Cameron has been persuaded that ‘only a political solution’ can resolve the conflict.

But he is prepared to contemplate limited military action to kickstart a political effort to end the war.

He and the Obama administration hope the discovery of chemical weapons will convince Russia to pressure Assad to discuss a transition of power.

Insiders say that if that does not work some limited military action is possible.

 A senior Whitehall source said: ‘Something you might do is to send a warning shot which doesn’t move you into all-out war. That would put more pressure on Assad to come to the table.’ Sources say a limited one-off strike is the only realistic military option likely to take place. More extensive contingency plans for a no-fly zone or safe havens – shown to Mr Cameron ‘several months ago’ – have been sidelined

General Richards and his fellow chiefs warned that both would be very dangerous, since the Syrian military has high-quality air defences.

CIA Bribery Squandered Every Potential Gain of Operation Enduring Freedom

Millions in CIA “ghost money” paid to Afghan president’s office: New York Times 

Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 14, 2013.              Credit:   Reuters/Omar Sobhani

(Reuters) – Tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade, according to the New York Times, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

The so-called “ghost money” was meant to buy influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but instead fuelled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan“, one American official said, “was the United States.”

The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office.

“We called it ‘ghost money’,” Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai’s chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times. “It came in secret and it left in secret.”

For more than a decade the cash was dropped off every month or so at the Afghan president’s office, the newspaper said.

Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the CIA in Afghanistan since the start of the war.

The cash payments to the president’s office do not appear to be subject to oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or the CIA’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies, and do not appear to violate U.S. laws, said the New York Times.

There was no evidence that Karzai personally received any of the money, Afghan officials told the newspaper. The cash was handled by his National Security Council, it added.

U.S. and Afghan officials familiar with the payments were quoted as saying that the main goal in providing the cash was to maintain access to Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the CIA’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government.

Much of the money went to warlords and politicians, many with ties to the drug trade and in some cases the Taliban, the New York Times said. U.S. and Afghan officials were quoted as saying the CIA supported the same patronage networks that U.S. diplomats and law enforcement agents struggled to dismantle, leaving the government in the grip of organized crime.

In 2010, Karzai said his office received cash in bags from Iran, but that it was a transparent form of aid that helped cover expenses at the presidential palace. He said at the time that the United States made similar payments.

The latest New York Times report said much of the Iranian cash, like the CIA money, went to pay warlords and politicians.

For most of Karzai’s 11-year reign, there has been little interest in anti-corruption in the army or police. The country’s two most powerful institutions receive billions of dollars from donors annually but struggle just to recruit and maintain a force bled by high rates of desertion.

(Additional reporting by Alistair Bell and Sarah Lynch in Washington; Writing by Michael Perry; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

Police state

Letter: Police state

concord monitor

There can be no denying that the police state has arrived in America.

Last Friday’s operation in and around Boston clearly demonstrated the police apparatus in full view. Some residents were actually forced from their homes at gunpoint, while police dressed in military garb searched their homes without prior consent in hopes of finding the bombing suspects. Sadly, as this situation unfolded before our eyes, most people willingly conceded their liberties for a little bit of security.

The American people are slowly being conditioned to accept the pervasiveness of the police state. As the country moves forward, look for the government to play upon our fears as it trumpets new measures to increase the police state.

Of course, the state harkens some novel doctrine called the “public safety exception rule”; in other words the public was in danger, which necessitated the state in locking down an entire city and suspending the people’s liberties. Such excuses have always been used to justify the expansion of the state at the expense of the people’s civil liberties.

It is exactly during these times that the people’s liberties need to be safeguarded at all cost. Once we compromise the rights of individuals, those rights are never fully restored, as the state almost invariably enacts new legislation to curb our liberties.

Slowly, as the police state grows, both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are being shredded. It is time to speak up and protest these abuses.

MATTHEW PERRY

Hill

The American Plan To Liberalize “Islam”

[In 2003, long before any hint of an “Arab spring,” the RAND Corp. produced the following document (click on title for pdf).  This is the strategy which has been followed by Barack Obama since Day One.  If the strategy is not a crime against humanity, or at least against religion itself, then it should be, since no man has the right to alter someone else’s religion.  That is exactly what this strategy proposes and Obama has been fully committed to, changing Islam itself, from the inside out.  Liberalize it, so that it becomes as acceptable to the international community as any other religion.  This means removing all of the bloody parts of Islam, in order to manufacture a new liberalized product which resembles Sufi Islam, which is an acceptable substitute for Wahhabism. 

RAND proposes that we now introduce this Sufi-like anti-Wahhabism, in order to undo what we have done with the CIA’s grand experiment in using American military power as a tool for social engineering.  The weaponized “Islam,” followed by the weaponization of the Afghan “mujahedeen,” who had received the new synthetic “Islam,” produced the first generation of “jihadi” “holy warriors.”   The incalculable damage which has been done to peace-loving Islam since then, by the introduction of the CIA’s weaponized Wahhabi Islam to the Muslim world over the past three-and-a-half decades, is now to be undone in just one “Spring,” or a half-dozen?  The scale of the arrogance shown by the American meddlers in purposely doing this, and now attempting to undo what they have done, in order to gain further advantage, is on the level of a Hitler, or a Mussolini. 

When is Obama, or some other evil wise ass going to straighten-out the deficiencies in Christianity, or (God forbid!) Judaism?  We have no right by any stretch of the imagination to do what has been laid-out in the 88-pages of Civil Democratic Islam.]

Civil Democratic Islam

RAND CORP.

2003 RAND Corporation

iii
PREFACE
The Islamic world is involved in a struggle to determine its own nature and values,
with serious implications for the future. What role can the rest of the world,
threatened and affected as it is by this struggle, play in bringing about a more
peaceful and positive outcome?

Devising a judicious approach requires a finely grained understanding of the
ongoing ideological struggle within Islam, to identify appropriate partners and
set realistic goals and means to encourage its evolution in a positive way.

The United States has three goals in regard to politicized Islam. First, it wants to
prevent the spread of extremism and violence. Second, in doing so, it needs to
avoid the impression that the United States is “opposed to Islam.” And third, in
the longer run, it must find ways to help address the deeper economic, social,
and political causes feeding Islamic radicalism and to encourage a move toward
development and democratization.

The debates and conflicts that mark the current Islamic world can make the
picture seem confusing. It becomes easier to sort the actors if one thinks of
them not as belonging to distinct categories but as falling along a spectrum.
Their views on certain critical marker issues help to locate them correctly on
this spectrum.

It is then possible to see which part of the spectrum is generally compatible
with our values, and which is fundamentally inimical. On this basis, this report
identifies components of a specific strategy.

This report should be of interest to scholars, policymakers, students, and all
others interested in the Middle East, Islam, and political Islam.

****************************

Chapter Three
A PROPOSED STRATEGY

The problem of Islamic radicalism—its manifestations, its underlying causes,
and its propensity to meld with other social and political conflicts—makes this
an extremely complex issue. There is no one correct approach or response, and
there certainly is not one identifiable “fix.” Instead, what is called for is a mixed
approach that rests on firm and decisive commitment to our own fundamental
values and understands that tactical and interest-driven cooperation is simply
not possible with some of the actors and positions along the spectrum of
political Islam but that possesses a sequence of flexible postures suitable to
different contexts, populations, and countries.
This approach seeks to strengthen and foster the development of civil, democratic
Islam and of modernization and development. It provides the necessary
flexibility to deal with different settings appropriately, and it reduces the danger
of unintended negative effects. The following outline describes what such a
strategy might look like:
• Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the
traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and
disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated
and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam.
• Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.
• Encourage secular civic and cultural institutions and programs.
• Back the traditionalists enough to keep them viable against the fundamentalists
(if and wherever those are our choices) and to prevent a closer
alliance between these two groups. Within the traditionalists, we should
selectively encourage those who are the relatively better match for modern
civil society. For example, some Islamic law schools are far more amenable
to our view of justice and human rights than are others.
• Finally, oppose the fundamentalists energetically by striking at vulnerabilities
in their Islamic and ideological postures, exposing things that neither the youthful idealists in their target audience nor the pious traditionalists
can approve of: their corruption, their brutality, their ignorance, the bias
and manifest errors in their application of Islam, and their inability to lead
and govern.
Some additional, more-direct activities will be necessary to support this overall
approach, such as the following:
• Help break the fundamentalist and traditionalist monopoly on defining,
explaining, and interpreting Islam.
• Identify appropriate modernist scholars to manage a Web site that answers
questions related to daily conduct and offers modernist Islamic legal opinions.
• Encourage modernist scholars to write textbooks and develop curricula.
• Publish introductory books at subsidized rates to make them as available as
the tractates of fundamentalist authors.
• Use popular regional media, such as radio, to introduce the thoughts and
practices of modernist Muslims to broaden the international view of what
Islam means and can mean.

****************************

Appendix C
STRATEGY IN DEPTH

The following describes, in somewhat more detail, how the recommendations
in Chapter Three could be implemented.
BASIC POINTS OF THE STRATEGY
Build Up a Modernist Leadership
Create role models and leaders. Modernists who risk persecution should be
built up as courageous civil rights leaders, which indeed they are. There are
precedents showing that this can work. Nawal Al-Sadaawi achieved international
renown for enduring persecution, harassment, and attempts to prosecute
her in court on account of her principled modernist stand on issues related to
freedom of speech, public health, and the status of women in Egypt. Afghan
interim minister of women’s affairs Sima Samar inspired many with her outspoken
stance on human rights, women’s rights, civil law, and democracy, for
which she faced death threats by fundamentalists. There are many others
throughout the Islamic world whose leadership can similarly be featured.
Include modern, mainstream Muslims in political “outreach” events, to reflect
demographic reality. Avoid artificially “over-Islamizing the Muslims”; instead,
accustom them to the idea that Islam can be just one part of their identity.1
Support civil society in the Islamic world. This is particularly important in situations
of crisis, refugee situations, and postconflict situations, in which a democratic
leadership can emerge and gain practical experience through local NGOs
and other civic associations. On the rural and neighborhood levels, as well, civic
associations are an infrastructure that can lead to political education and a
moderate, modernist leadership.
______________
1This idea is more extensively developed in Al-Azmah (1993). Al-Azmah is himself a “Euro-Muslim.”

 

Develop Western Islam: German Islam, U.S. Islam, etc. This requires gaining a
better understanding of the composition, as well as the evolving practice and
thought, in these communities. Assist in eliciting, expressing, and “codifying”
their views.
Go on the Offensive Against Fundamentalists
Delegitimize individuals and positions associated with extremist Islam. Make
public the immoral and hypocritical deeds and statements of self-styled fundamentalist
authorities. Allegations of Western immorality and shallowness are
a cherished part of the fundamentalist arsenal, but they are themselves highly
vulnerable on these fronts.
Encourage Arab journalists in popular media to do investigative reporting on
the lives and personal habits and corruption of fundamentalist leaders. Publicize
incidents that highlight their brutality—such as the recent deaths of Saudi
schoolgirls in a fire when religious police physically prevented Saudi firefighters
from evacuating the girls from their burning school building because they were
not veiled—and their hypocrisy, illustrated by the Saudi religious establishment,
which forbids migrant workers from receiving photographs of their newborn
children on the grounds that Islam forbids human images, while their own
offices are decorated by huge portraits of King Faisal, etc. The role of “charitable
organizations” in financing terror and extremism has begun to be more clearly
understood since September 11 but also deserves ongoing and public investigation.
Assertively Promote the Values of Western Democratic Modernity
Create and propagate a model for prosperous, moderate Islam by identifying
and actively aiding countries or regions or groups with the appropriate views.
Publicize their successes. For example, the 1999 Beirut Declaration for Justice
and the National Action Charter of Bahrain broke new ground in the application
of Islamic law and should be made more widely known.
Criticize the flaws of traditionalism. Show the causal relationship between
traditionalism and underdevelopment, as well as the causal relationship
between modernity, democracy, progress, and prosperity. Do fundamentalism
and traditionalism offer Islamic society a healthy, prosperous future? Are they
successfully meeting the challenges of the day? Do they compare well with
other social orders? The UNDP social development report (UNDP, 2002) points
clearly to the linkage between a stagnant social order, oppression of women,
poor educational quality, and backwardness. This message should be energetically
taken to Muslim populations.

Build up the stature of Sufism. Encourage countries with strong Sufi traditions
to focus on that part of their history and to include it in their school curricula.
Pay more attention to Sufi Islam.
Focus on Education and Youth
Committed adult adherents of radical Islamic movements are unlikely to be
easily influenced into changing their views. The next generation, however, can
conceivably be influenced if the message of democratic Islam can be inserted
into school curricula and public media in the pertinent countries. Radical fundamentalists
have established massive efforts to gain influence over education
and are unlikely to give up established footholds without a struggle. An equally
energetic effort will be required to wrest this terrain from them.
SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT THE STRATEGY
Thus, to accomplish the overall strategy, it will be necessary to
• Support the modernists and mainstream secularists first, by
— publishing and distribute their works
— encouraging them to write for mass audiences and youth
— introducing their views into the curriculum of Islamic education
— giving them a public platform
— making their opinions and judgments on fundamental questions of
religious interpretation available to a mass audience, in competition
with those of the fundamentalists and traditionalists, who already have
Web sites, publishing houses, schools, institutes, and many other vehicles
for disseminating their views
— positioning modernism as a “counterculture” option for disaffected
Islamic youth
— facilitating and encouraging awareness of pre- and non-Islamic history
and culture, in the media and in the curricula of relevant countries
— encouraging and supporting secular civic and cultural institutions and
programs.
• Support the traditionalists against the fundamentalists, by
— publicizing traditionalist criticism of fundamentalist violence and
extremism and encouraging disagreements between traditionalists and
fundamentalists
— preventing alliances between traditionalists and fundamentalists

— encouraging cooperation between modernists and traditionalists who
are closer to that end of the spectrum, increase the presence and profile
of modernists in traditionalist institutions
— discriminating between different sectors of traditionalism
— encouraging those with a greater affinity to modernism—such as the
Hanafi law school as opposed to others to issue religious opinions that,
by becoming popularized, can weaken the authority of backward
Wahhabi religious rulings
— encouraging the popularity and acceptance of Sufism.
• Confront and oppose the fundamentalists, by
— challenging and exposing the inaccuracies in their views on questions
of Islamic interpretation
— exposing their relationships with illegal groups and activities
— publicizing the consequences of their violent acts
— demonstrating their inability to rule to the benefit and positive development
of their communities
— targeting these messages especially to young people, to pious traditionalist
populations, to Muslim minorities in the West, and to women
— avoiding showing respect or admiration for the violent feats of fundamentalist
extremists and terrorists, instead casting them as disturbed
and cowardly rather than evil heroes
— encouraging journalists to investigate issues of corruption, hypocrisy,
and immorality in fundamentalist and terrorist circles.
• Selectively support secularists, by
— encouraging recognition of fundamentalism as a shared enemy, discouraging
secularist alliances with anti-U.S. forces on such grounds as
nationalism and leftist ideology
— supporting the idea that religion and the state can be separate in Islam,
too, and that this does not endanger the faith.

Maliki Govt. Bans 10 Satellite TV Channels Accused of Agitating Sunnis In Iraq

Media ban hits 10 satellite TV channels in sectarian-torn Iraq

 Middle East Online

Iraq suspends licences of 10 satellite TV channels for promoting ‘sectarianism,’ after five days of violence killed more than 215 people.

Middle East Online

By Mohamad Ali Harissi – BAGHDAD

Iraq on the edge

Iraq has suspended the licences of 10 satellite TV channels for promoting “sectarianism”, the country’s media regulator said on Sunday, after five days of violence killed more than 215 people.

The bloody unrest, which began on Tuesday with deadly clashes between security forces and Sunni Arab anti-government protesters in north Iraq, has raised fears of a return to all-out sectarian conflict that plagued the country in the past and killed tens of thousands.

A protest leader and a provincial official, meanwhile, said the names of three people who allegedly killed five Iraqi soldiers were given to police, but they have not been handed over as demanded by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militia.

“We took a decision to suspend the licence of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism,” Mujahid Abu al-Hail, a top official in the Communications and Media Commission, said.

“It means stopping their work in Iraq and their activities, so they cannot cover events in Iraq or move around,” Hail said.

The suspensions include Al-Jazeera, the main broadcaster in the Arab world, and Sharqiya, a leading channel in Iraq.

Maliki said on Saturday that sectarian strife “came back to Iraq, because it began in another place in this region,” in an apparent reference to Syria.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam, has killed more than 70,000 people.

Maliki called in a statement for anti-government protesters to “expel the criminals who targeted Iraqi army and police forces,” after five soldiers were killed near a protest site close to Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

And Iraqiya state television quoted Sahwa chief Sheikh Wissam al-Hardan as saying that if those who have killed soldiers are not handed over, “the Sahwa will take the requested procedures and do what it did in 2006.”

Sahwa militiamen fought pitched battles against Sunni militants from 2006, helping to turn the tide of the Iraq war.

Hardan set a 24-hour deadline for the demand to be met, but on Sunday those who killed the five soldiers had still not been turned in.

“We do not work for the government, and we are not army or police from the government,” said Abdulrazzaq al-Shammari, one of the leaders of the protest near Ramadi.

“They are outside of the site of the protest, and we helped by giving their names,” Shammari said.

“The criminals were not handed over until now, but the police were given the names of three people who were said to be the ones who killed the soldiers,” said Mohammed Fathi, a media adviser to the provincial council in Anbar province where the soldiers were killed.

“Those three are members of Al-Qaeda, and they are wanted,” he said.

The wave of violence began on Tuesday when security forces moved against Sunni anti-government protesters near the northern Sunni Arab town of Hawijah, sparking clashes that killed 53 people.

Subsequent unrest, much of it apparently linked to the Hawijah clashes, killed dozens more and brought the death toll to more than 215.

The violence is the deadliest so far linked to demonstrations that broke out in Sunni areas of Shiite-majority Iraq more than four months ago.

The Sunni protesters have called for Maliki’s resignation and railed against authorities for allegedly targeting their community with wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.

World View: Obama’s Meeting with Jordan’s Abdullah may Signal Troop Deployment

[Mossad source Debkafile reports that Obama has ordered 20,000 US troops w/equipment to King Hussein Air Base Mafraq, near the border with Syria.  Mafraq is also the location of several refugee camps, holding hundreds of thousands of Syrians.  With the help of the little Jordanian king Obama may be about to try to tilt the scales of the Syrian civil war in favor of the so-called “moderate” faction.  If this is the case, then he probably informed the pig of Qatar of his decision this week, telling him to hold back on any further terrorist support until called upon to resume.  If Obama is foolish enough to pour his final conventional military resources “down a rat hole,” into a futile attempt to prevent the total “Islamist” takeover of Syria, then he will not only turn Syria into another quagmire “ala Bush,” but he will very likely enable the Saudis and Qatar to establish the dreaded “Caliphate” that the right-wing is constantly crying about. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that I can peacefully withstand another round of Imperialist war.]

World View: Obama’s Meeting with Jordan’s Abdullah may Signal Troop Deployment

  • Demonstrators in Jordan protest American troop presence
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah and Obama meet to discuss Syria
  • Sunni Jihadists pour into Syria

Demonstrators in Jordan protest American troop presence

Anti-American protesters in Amman, Jordan on Friday (Al-Monitor)
Anti-American protesters in Amman, Jordan on Friday (Al-Monitor)

Last week, we reported that the U.S. announced the formal deployment of 200 troops to Jordan. The troops will be “ready for military action” if President Barack Obama were to order it. On Friday, Jordanians rallied against the deployment of the U.S. forces in Jordan. Demonstrators also burned a mock American flag. At the end of the demonstration, they gathered in a circle and danced, chanting about Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Al-Monitor

Jordan’s King Abdullah and Obama meet to discuss Syria

The question of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad continued to draw worldwide attention on Friday. President Barack Obama met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the White House and said that “a line has been crossed” in Syria.

He said, “To use weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line in terms of international norms and laws… That’s going to be a game changer.” However, he declined to intervene militarily until a “vigorous investigation” had been completed to find more “direct evidence.”

However, Debka, which sometimes gets things wrong, is quoting its military intelligence sources as saying that the purpose of Obama’s meeting with Abdullah is to firm up an agreement for the U.S. to deploy a 20,000 troop “surge” into Jordan. The 200 troops announced last week are to lay the groundwork for the main body to take up quarters in the King Hussein Air Base Mafraq, near the borders of Iraq and Syria.

The purpose of the “surge” is to protect Jordan’s royal family both from jihadists from Syria and from an “Arab Spring” type revolt — a step that the Obama administration did not take with Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, or Yemen. The “surge” will be heavily coordinated with Israeli forces, and buffer zones will be set up on Syria’s borders to prevent attacks on both Jordan and Israel.

This “surge” comes at a time when thousands of fighters from Iran-backed Shia militias from Iraq and Hizbollah are aiding the al-Assad regime forces and are threatening to defeat the opposition rebels. The Hill and Debka

Sunni Jihadists pour into Syria

With thousands of fighters from Iran-backed Shia militias arriving in Syria to support al-Assad’s regime, it’s not surprising that thousands of Sunni jihadists are also arriving in Syria to fight the Shia militias. In particular, disaffected Muslims from Germany and elsewhere in Europe have been heading for Syria to receive training in weapons and terrorist techniques. German analysts are concerned that these fighters are gaining experience in Syria, making contacts, and will return to Germany and conduct terrorist attacks there. Spiegel

Scientific Research Into the Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics Resuming

Open Your Mind to the New Psychedelic Science 

wired

Image: Taís Melillo/Flickr

Timothy Leary really screwed things up for science. By abandoning the scientific method for a mystical embrace of hallucinogenic drugs, the Harvard-professor-turned-LSD-evangelist became a symbol of ’60s-era drug-fueled degeneracy. Worse, the ensuing backlash pushed these drugs underground and caused an enormously promising field of research to go dormant for nearly half a century.

Or so say some scientists who met in Oakland, California last weekend for a conference on the science and therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs. “The antics of Timothy Leary really undermined the scientific approach to studying these compounds,” psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University told the audience.

But the times they are a-changin’. In recent years, a small cadre of scientists has cautiously rekindled the scientific study of psychedelics. At the conference, they reported new findings on how these drugs scramble brain activity in ways that might help explain their mind-bending effects. They’re also slowly building a case that these drugs might help people with depression, anxiety and other disorders.

Roughly a dozen small clinical trials are now underway worldwide. But the idea isn’t “take two tabs of acid and call me in the morning.” Instead, these trials are testing the idea that psychedelics taken in a therapist’s office as part of a series of psychotherapy sessions can make talk therapy more effective.

‘The illegality of these drugs … is one of the greatest scandals in modern research’

“Now that we’ve been able to start getting some evidence on the benefits, it changes people’s calculus,” said Rick Doblin, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), one of the meeting’s sponsors.

Doblin and MAPS have been battling regulators since the mid-80s to allow research and clinical trials with psychedelics. The recent revival of psychedelic science may be one sign their efforts are finally paying off.

Public attitudes towards illegal drugs in general may be shifting. A recent Pew Research Center survey, for example, found for the first time that more than half of Americans think marijuana should be legal. Baby boomers in particular, who may have hidden their stash while raising kids, seem to be loosening up in their old age, the survey found.

The interest in psychedelics may also have something to do with a growing sense of frustration over the lack of promising new psychiatric drugs in the pipeline. Many of the current drugs are based on compounds discovered serendipitously in the 1950s, and true innovation has been so hard to come by that many companies are giving up.

Meanwhile, people have been using hallucinogens for centuries, often in religious healing ceremonies, and yes, sometimes just for the hell of it. But just because they’re party drugs for some doesn’t mean they can’t be the subject of serious scientific inquiry. Or does it? After all, it didn’t end so well the first time around.

From its inception in 2010, the Psychedelic Science meeting has brought together an interesting mix of people. A record 1,800 of them attended this year. The prevalence of ponytails, nose rings and hemp accessories is predictably higher than at a typical science conference. There was also a tea lounge, a psychedelic art gallery, and a quiet room for anyone in need of riding out a rough trip.

“Absolutely some scientists would see the rainbow colors on the logo and the psychedelic art exhibits and say ‘that’s not real science,’” said Brad Burge, the communication director for MAPS. At the same time, some of the more mystically inclined devotees of psychedelics are averse to the scientific dissection of what they see as a sacred experience, Burge says. The conference isn’t for the folks at those ends of the spectrum.

Burge acknowledges there’s a tricky balancing act involved in hosting a forum for scientists who want their work to be taken seriously without excluding those who use psychedelic drugs recreationally. Even so, “we’re trying to get around the idea that there has to be a separation,” he said.

After all, this latter group helps fund much of the research through their donations to MAPS and other private organizations like the Heffter Research Institute and Beckley Foundation. Government funders like the National Institutes of Health are still skittish about psychedelic research.

Ayahuasca. Image: Awkipuma/Wikimedia Commons

This year’s conference showcased one area of research that’s exploded recently. It involves ayahuasca, a potent hallucinogenic brew of vines and leaves used in healing ceremonies by Amazonian shamans (as well as tourists — a pamphlet included in the conference swag bag advertised one center offering ayahuasca retreats).

Dráulio Barros de Araújo, a neuroscientist at the Brain Institute at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, presented new findings from an fMRI brain scan study with 10 experienced ayahuasca users, followers of Santo Daime, a spiritual practice that uses the brew.

Araújo’s team found that ayahuasca reduces neural activity in something called the default mode network, an web of interconnected brain regions that fire up whenever people aren’t focused on any specific task. It’s active when people daydream or let their minds wander, for example.

The default mode network has been a hot topic in neuroscience in recent years. Scientists don’t really know what it does, but they love to speculate. One interpretation is that activity in this network may represent what we experience as our internal monologue and may help generate our sense of self.

Last year, British scientists reported that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, like ayahuasca,  reduces activity in the brain’s default mode network.

The researchers proposed that interfering with the default network could be how psychedelic drugs cause what users often describe as a disintegration of the self, or even a sense of oneness with the universe.

Robin Carhart-Harris, the neuroscientist who led the psilocybin study, reported new findings at the conference from a study that used a method called magnetoencephalography, which tracks brain activity with better time resolution than fMRI does. The results suggest psilocybin affects not only the default mode network, but also disrupts a certain type of rhythmic brain activity.

‘This opens a door to the scientific study of mystical experience’

Individual subjects who experienced more of this desychronization while on the drug tended to report a greater subjective sense of disintegration. ”For me this is the most interesting observation of the lot,” Carhart-Harris said. “Our sense of self, the sense of being someone, really is a kind of an illusion. All we are is a product of our brain activation.”

Eroding the sense of self may be one way hallucinogens produce what many users experience as profound spiritual insights. In 2008 Griffiths and his team at Johns Hopkins reported that the majority of 36 ordinary people who took psilocybin for the first time in an 8-hour session in his lab still regarded the experience as one of the five most personally meaningful events of their lives more than a year later. Two-thirds of them rated it among their top five spiritual experiences.

“It seemed so improbable to me when we started that they’d compare this to birth of a child or death of a parent,” he said at the conference.

More recently, Griffiths surveyed 1,600 recreational psilocybin and found that 40 percent ranked the experience in their top five most personally meaningful. The somewhat lower percentage isn’t surprising, Griffith says, because in the lab he and his colleagues went out of their way to make the environment as positive and comfortable as possible. But he’s encouraged that the results seem to generalize.

Psilocybin. Image: Jynto/Wikimedia Commons

“This opens a door to the scientific study of mystical experiences,” Griffiths said. In future work, he hopes to investigate how the psilocybin experience may differ in people with different personality types, religious backgrounds, and genetics.

Clearly, drugs like psilocybin have powerful effects on the mind, but the rationale for using them in psychiatry requires a fair amount of hand waving. The same could be said of virtually all psychiatric treatments already on the market, however: Nobody really knows how they work.

The classic psychedelics, including psilocybin and LSD, stimulate receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s also targeted, albeit in different ways, by approved antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs like Prozac and Zoloft.

Several scientists at the conference pointed to findings that activity in the brain’s default mode network is elevated in people with depression. Because psilocybin and ayahuasca seem to dampen activity in this network, perhaps they could help.

It’s hard to connect those dots without a strong dose of speculation, but one idea is that the elevated activity in the default mode network reflects too much attention directed inward. People in the grips of depression, the thinking goes, are trapped in an endless cycle of critical self-examination, and a little neural desynchronization might help them reboot.

Araújo presented promising preliminary findings on using ayahausca to reduce symptoms of depression, and he’s recently gotten approval for a larger clinical trial in Brazil. The British group has approval to begin a trial with psilocybin.

Recent clinical trials

  • Ayahuasca Depression: Brazil (upcoming)
  • Psilocybin Depression: UK (pending), Smoking cessation: US (ongoing)
  • MDMA PTSD: Switzerland (completed), Spain (completed), Israel (ongoing), US (ongoing), Canada (upcoming)
  • LSD End of life anxiety: Switzerland (completed)
  • Ibogaine Addiction: Mexico, New Zealand (ongoing)

Source: MAPS/Psychedelic Science conference

Meanwhile, researchers in Switzerland, Israel, and elsewhere have been investigating MDMA (more commonly known as Ecstasy) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders. Ravers love the drug for the sense of euphoria and comfort and closeness with others it engenders. Some therapists think its anti-anxiety and pro-social effects might help put anxious patients at ease and make them more receptive to psychotherapy.

MAPS is sponsoring several studies to test this idea. The first, begun in 2004 and led by psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer in South Carolina, treated 19 people with PTSD, mostly women who’d survived sexual abuse or assault. Although these patients had had little success with conventional treatments, 14 of 19 still had significant reductions in their symptoms one to six years after undergoing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, the researchers reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in November.

Another trial underway in South Carolina is testing the therapy in military veterans, police and firefighters, and Doblin says MAPS has been talking with the Pentagon about a study involving active duty soldiers with PTSD. MAPS is willing to pay for it if the Pentagon will allow the soldiers to participate. “We were there about a month ago, and we got a very good reception,” he said. “Now we’re working our way up the chain of command.”

The fact that the US military would even consider such a thing is a sign of how much things have changed. But that’s not to say there’s no resistance left.

Psychedelic scientists still face obstacles at every step of the process, from getting research funding, to getting the compounds themselves, to publishing the findings, says psychiatrist David Nutt of Imperial College London. Nutt recently won a large grant from the British government to conduct a clinical trial of psilocybin for depression. But red tape is holding it up.

To comply with the law, Nutt has to find a manufacturer who’s capable of making medical-grade psilocybin and has all the proper permits to make controlled substances. So far, he hasn’t found one. The study is on hold.

“The illegality of these drugs has profoundly distorted research and continues to do so,” Nutt said at the conference. “It’s one of the greatest scandals in modern research.”

Pages: 1 2 View All

Bulk Gold Sales Halted As Price Drops Drastically

[All of the following reports from the last 7-14 days deal with different purchases of TONS OF GOLD—-China Buys Physical Gold By Tons ; Pakistan buys nearly 3 tons of GoldAzerbaijan’s SOFAZ buys 1 more ton of Gold ; Indians are about to buy a lot of gold—but it won’t make any difference to global prices ;  Russia and Turkey lead another gold-buying charge ]

COMEX Hurtling Towards Default And People Will Be “Settled” With Dollars, No More Metal Will Be Delivered!

InvestmentWatchInvestmentWatch

Comex Physical Drain Accelerates—With Over $7.8B In Gold Disappearing From All Depositories

As the headline battle between paper sellers and physical buyers of gold escalates, something eerily strange is continuing behind the scenes.

As first reported here on April 9thComex gold inventories have been plummeting, demonstrating the highest levels of physical removal ever during a single quarter in Q1, 2013.

Most shocking however, is that Comex warehouse inventories are accelerating their downward plunge, with dropping inventories now spreading to the world’s largest fund depositories.

Over the last four weeks alone, total reported inventories of ETFs, funds, and depositories collapsed by over 5.5 million ounces, or in dollar terms, by over $7,000,000,000 dollars.

http://bullmarketthinking.com/comex-physical-drain-accelerates-with-over-7-8b-disappearing-from-all-depositories/

This brings to mind important questions, such as…

-Why is there such a panic going on to remove physical gold from Comex registered warehouses and other depositories?

-Why did it begin before the collapse, and why does it now appear to be accelerating?

-Why is the multi-trillion dollar fund management industry denouncing gold, while it quickly moves inventory out of registered warehouses?

-Where is the gold moving, and what is it telling us?

-Is this wholesale migration signaling an imminent geopolitical or major market event?

SILVER DOCTORS:

The COMEX will default in the next week or several weeks and people will be “settled” with Dollars, no more metal will be delivered! So, knowing that “game over” has arrived, they are dumping a massive volume of paper contracts with impunity to push the metals prices as low as possible before the “default”. This way the “shorts” do not have to and will not be “covered” when “supply” cannot be obtained because of “an act of God”. They will be settled in cash (at a profit no less) because these “unforeseen” disruptions in supply. “Who could have seen it coming?” will be the mantra. I would suspect that banking stress and “bail ins” will also become prevalent globally. The pricing structure” will now push any and all physical sellers away from the markets and the “door” to safety is effectively being shut. Either you own metal or you don’t.

After the closure of the COMEX and LBMA doors there will be no availability and “price” will be meaningless.
 Your ability to protect yourself is right now for all intents and purposes being eliminated.

The West Masterminded Chechen War to Destroy USSR and Russia

[Armenia’s unique history make it highly unlikely that an Armenian would convert to radical Wahhabi “Islam” (SEE: Did ‘Misha’ influence Tsarnaevs? In Watertown, doubts ).]

Heralding the Rise of Russia

The West Masterminded Chechen War to Destroy USSR and Russia – June, 2010

It is now known that the twenty year old Islamic insurgency in the Caucasus (according to many experts an Al-Qaeda operation) and the arming of Georgia had been an integral part of a long-term Western plan to wrestle the northern Caucasus region away from Russian control and place it under what some experts refer to as an Islamic Caliphate. Ankara, Baku and Tbilisi, as well as a steady stream of Islamic militants trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, were the active participants in this agenda throughout much of the 1990s. Its funding and organization was carried out by a consortium of special interests in Washington and London and, most probably, in Tel Aviv and Riyadh as well. It is also now known that Western intelligence agencies also conspired to force Russia out of the Balkans (Yugoslavia in particular) and Central Asia by targeting pro-Russian bastions in those regions.

As it has been since the early 1980s, radical Islam was always the readily accessible tool the West exploited to carryout its geopolitical agenda.

Why should this seemingly Russian problem concern us Armenians? Armenians in general, diasporans in particular, seem to be having a hard time accepting that a weakened Russia in the Caucasus poses a serious long-term threat for Armenia. Those amongst us that do not possess clearness of thought regarding this matter, I would just like to say that the Caucasus without an effective Russian presence would prove disastrous not only for Armenia but for the entire Eurasian continent. Joining three important geopolitical zones – Europe, Asia and the Middle East – the Caucasus region is the gateway to Russia’s vulnerable south, its soft underbelly. The region is also a major hub for the strategic transfer of Eurasian energy and trade. Strategic planners have long realized that those who are able to control this region could potentially impact much of Eurasia and beyond.

As we all know, the Caucasus is not a bastion of Christianity or western civilization. The heavily Turkic and Islamic cultural and ethnic makeup of the region in question would not tolerate a non-aligned, a non-Turkic or a non-Islamic power in their midst – without a major outside power acting as a guarantor or as a counter weight. Against this Islamic and Turkic center-of-gravity, the Russian presence has been the only counter-influence in the region for the past two hundred years. And it is precisely because of this geopolitical reality in the Caucasus that we Armenians have been able to establish nation-state.

It is quite frightening that unbeknownst to most Armenians, because our collective attention has naturally been drawn to the Caucasus region’s east-west geopolitical plane, the northern Caucasus was actually on the verge of a radical Islamic/Turkic transformation throughout much of the 1990s. There is no doubt today that had the northern Caucasus fell victim to this agenda it would have been the south’s turn not much long thereafter.

In short, without a Russian presence in the Caucasus, the region in question will eventually transform itself into a Turkic/Islamic cesspool; and not even a million of our “fedayees” would be able to stop it from happening.

Had Western intentions for the Caucasus succeeded not only would we Armenians be lamenting the lose of Nagorno Karabakh today we would most probably be lamenting the lose of our fledgling republic as well. Under such a geopolitical scenario for the region, a best case scenario for Armenia would have been if it simply become politically and economically subordinate to Ankara, Baku and Tbilisi.

Those who complain about Armenia’s current dependence on Moscow need to take this geopolitical prospect into serious consideration.

Although Vladimir Putin’s Russia succeeded in crushing the Islamic terror onslaught in the northern Caucasus in the early 2000s and managed to defeat the Western backed regime in Georgia in 2008, Moscow nevertheless realizes that a potential threat continues to remain in the region. As a result, as long as ethnic Russians run the show in the Kremlin, Moscow will do everything in its power to have a strong presence in the Caucasus. And needless to say, Armenia is pivotal to the Kremlin’s regional agenda. As a result of the major setbacks suffered by Islamists and the West, Ankara has more-or-less abandoned its pan-Turkic agenda in the Caucasus and Central Asia and is currently seeking to move closer to Moscow.

Nevertheless, despite Ankara’s best efforts to befriend the Bear, Turks continue to fear Russia’s resurgence.

The following video presentations and articles deal with this topic. Those interested in learning more about the Islamic insurgency in the Caucasus and the grave threat it posed to the entire Caucasus region should read the following book – Chechen Jihad: http://www.amazon.com/Chechen-Jihad-Qaedas-Training-Ground/dp/0060841702

Arevordi

Was 9/11 Landing Gear Hidden Next To Islamic Center On Purpose?

Was 9/11 landing gear hidden on purpose?

usa_today_long

Matt Cantor, Newser

landing gear

Part of a landing gear, apparently from one of the commercial airliners destroyed on September 11, 2001, was discovered wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the rear of the building behind it, 50 Murray Street, in lower Manhattan.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

 

After surveyors discovered what appears to be plane landing gear from the 9/11 attacks, authorities are wondering how it got sandwiched between two buildings — one of them housing a much-debated Islamic community center.

“The odds of it entering that space at exactly that angle that would permit it to squeeze in there … it had to come in at almost precisely the right angle,” a police spokesman told The New York Times. Investigators are considering the possibility that it was deliberately stuck in the spot, CNN reports.

“We are also looking into a possibility it was lowered by a rope,” said NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly, who noted that some rope seemed to be wrapped up in the landing gear.

Still, “if you see how confined this space is, and you realize the chaos that existed on this street, I think (the situation is) understandable,” Kelly said.

The wall doesn’t bear any marks suggesting the piece was lowered, he noted.

Authorities will also investigate whether there are any human remains in the area, he said.

Newser is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

landing gear

Russia envoy seeks to shield Lebanon from Syrian Fallout

Russia envoy seeks to shield Lebanon

the daily star
Bogdanov was Jumblatt’s guest for dinner in Clemenceau. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
Bogdanov was Jumblatt’s guest for dinner in Clemenceau. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: A special Middle East envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin began talks in Beirut Thursday on how to protect Lebanon from the repercussions of the 2-year-old civil war in neighboring Syria.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov arrived here as part of a regional tour for talks likely to focus on the escalating military confrontation between Syrian rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar Assad.

In addition to meeting top Lebanese leaders, Bogdanov, who flew in from Istanbul after visiting Iran, will also hold talks with officials from the March 8 and March 14 parties, including Hezbollah, a Russian diplomat told The Daily Star.

Bogdanov met Kataeb Party leader ex-President Amin Gemayel before holding talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt at the later’s residence in Clemenceau.

Neither the Russian envoy nor the PSP chief spoke to reporters after the meeting, which was followed by a dinner hosted by Jumblatt for his guest. The meeting was also attended by Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zaspikin, the PSP’s caretaker ministers Ghazi Aridi, Wael Abu Faour and Alaaeddine Terro, and Jumblatt’s son, Taymour.

“The primary aim of Bogdanov’s visit is to exchange views with Lebanese officials on the situation in Lebanon and the crisis in Syria,” the Russian diplomat said.

“Bogdanov will restate Russia’s official position which calls for preserving stability in Lebanon and preventing the repercussions of the Syrian crisis from spilling over into Lebanon,” he added.

On the conflict in Syria, Bogdanov will reiterate Moscow’s stance, which calls for a cessation of violence and a peaceful solution based on the Geneva agreement, the diplomat said. He was referring to the June 2012 agreement which laid down plans to ensure a political transition in Syria, but it makes no specific mention on whether Assad should give up power.

Bogdanov will meet separately Friday with President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam. “Bogdanov’s talks with Lebanese leaders will center on the situation in the region, the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon and Lebanese-Russian relations,” the diplomat said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Gemayel, which was attended by Kataeb MPs Nadim Gemayel, Fadi Habr and Samer Saade, Bogdanov called for non-interference in the internal Lebanese situation.

Referring to deep divisions over the crisis in Syria, the Russian envoy urged the rival Lebanese factions to enter into dialogue to reach a solution to the political crisis in Lebanon. “Russia’s position has always supported Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and the unity and safety of its territories,” Bogdanov said.

He added that he would also discuss with Lebanese officials Hezbollah’s involvement in the fighting in Syria.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Bogdanov, Gemayel called for the convening of an international conference in Beirut to cope with thousands of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Syria’s neighboring countries.

During the meeting, Gemayel called for a massive Russian and global action to protect the Christians in the region who are subjected to “oppression and emigration,” a Kataeb statement said. Gemayel also called for the release of two Syrian bishops, Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped Monday by gunmen near Aleppo en route from the Turkish border.

Bogdanov said he agreed with Gemayel that the Christians in the region were experiencing “difficult and complex circumstances.”

During a meeting with a delegation from Greek Orthodox societies and clubs at the Phoenicia Hotel, the Russian envoy condemned the kidnapping of the two bishops, saying his country was making efforts to secure their release.

“All of Russia, the leadership, the people and the church, are worried about [the kidnapping]. We will do our best to secure the release [of the two bishops] and work to resolve the entire crisis in Syria,” Bogdanov said.

Meanwhile, Salam has urged the rival factions that supported his appointment as a new prime minister to facilitate the formation of a new Cabinet, sources close to the premier-designate said.

“The unanimity [over Salam’s nomination to the premiership] has changed the gloomy [political] climate in the country into a bright one. Unanimity is a responsibility of its owners. As they were unanimous in [Salam’s] nomination, they should show unanimity in the [Cabinet] formation,” a source close to Salam told The Daily Star.

Salam is working to assemble a 24-member Cabinet, whose main task is to hold the parliamentary elections, scheduled in June, the source said. He added that Salam favored that the key ministerial portfolios be rotated among the sects.

As part of his ongoing consultations on the Cabinet formation, Salam met separately at his Moseitbeh residence with Batroun MP Butros Harb and former minister Youssef Saade, from MP Suleiman Franjieh’s Marada Movement.

Meanwhile, Berri met at his Ain al-Tineh residence separately with MP Robert Ghanem, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan and MP Akram Shuhayeb from the PSP to discuss the results of the last meeting of a parliamentary subcommittee tasked with devising a new electoral law.

Ghanem, who chairs the subcommittee which includes March 8 and March 14 lawmakers, announced Tuesday the suspension of the panel’s meetings because the stances of its members were perceived as irreconcilable.

The failure of the March 8 and March 14 parties to reach an agreement on a hybrid voting system to replace the controversial 1960 law has raised the possibility of a delay in the elections, or an extension of Parliament’s mandate, which expires on June 20.

But parliamentary sources said Berri would try through bilateral contacts with the rival factions to reach a common ground on a new electoral law before May 19, when the deadline suspending the candidacies on the basis of the 1960 law expires.

The sources said that an agreement on an electoral law under the current situation was impossible without indirect intervention by regional powers, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran, to nudge the March 8 and March 14 parties into a deal on a voting system. –With additional reporting by Nafez Kawas

 

 

US Afraid That Little Pig of Qatar Is Running Hog-Wild with the Islamists of “Al-CIA-da”

Pig of Qatar

The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, waits in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

U.S. Wary As Qatar Ramps Up Support Of Syrian Rebels

npr

 

President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.

 

They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don’t always see eye to eye.

 

Qatar was already an important U.S. partner in the region when the Arab uprisings began, and the small, wealthy Gulf nation saw a new opportunity to gain influence when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, says Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

 

“One of the consequences of the fall of Mubarak is that the U.S. lost in a way its central diplomatic partner in the Arab world,” Wittes says. “In many ways, the Qataris stepped up to play that role, in the Arab League, for example, on Libya and then on Syria.”

 

Impression Of Qatar ‘Taking Sides’

 

This was a time when the U.S. wanted others to take the lead. But there were risks in that approach, says Simon Henderson, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and director of the center’s Gulf and Energy Policy Program.

 

Anti-Syrian regime protesters hold up a banner in Arabic reading, "Thank you Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait," during a demonstration in Idlib province, northern Syria, in this March 2, 2012, file photo provided by Local Coordination Committees in Syria.

Anti-Syrian regime protesters hold up a banner in Arabic reading, “Thank you Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait,” during a demonstration in Idlib province, northern Syria, in this March 2, 2012, file photo provided by Local Coordination Committees in Syria.

AP/Local Coordination Committees in Syria

 

“We stood to one side and let things happen in Libya, and the result was that most of the fighting was done by jihadis, who are very much in influence now,” he says. “In Syria we are standing further to one side, and the problem with jihadis persists.”

 

Henderson believes that’s because Gulf states like Qatar are taking the lead in arming Syrian rebels. He says Qatar is competing with Saudi Arabia for influence in Syria’s future, and they are backing different extremist groups.

 

“Qatar is punching above its weight at the moment and is prepared to have a pretty open competition in Syria,” Henderson says. “This is a battle, a contest, in which they are using both diplomatic influence and … military support, for the opposition.”

 

Qatar has also been pouring money into Egypt, to help the Muslim Brotherhood government avoid a financial collapse. At a dinner hosted by the Brookings Institution, Martin Indyk, the group’s vice president and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, asked Qatar’s prime minister why his government seems to be supporting Islamists throughout the region.

 

“Whether it’s your bailing out the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt or your support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria or , there’s the impression that you’re taking sides,” Indyk said.

 

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani called it a rumor spread by his rivals in the region. He said Qatar has been on the side of the people in the Arab uprisings. And on Syria, the prime minister said Qatar didn’t seek the limelight.

 

“We did not want to take the lead. We begged a lot of countries to start to take the lead and we will be in the back seat,” he said. “But we find ourselves in the front seat.”

 

U.S. Urged To Do More

 

The Qatari prime minister also said Syrian President Bashar Assad is testing the international community and crossing red lines, starting with Scud missile attacks on his people.

 

“You know we put a lot of red lines. Scud, he used Scud. Chemicals, he used chemicals. And there is evidence,” Thani said. “But he used it in pockets, small pockets. He wants to try your reaction. No reaction? He will escalate.”

 

And the longer the conflict in Syria drags on, the Qatari prime minister warned, the more the extremists will gain ground.

 

“The United States has to do more,” he said. “I believe that if we stopped this one year ago, we will not see the bad people you are talking about.”

 

But while Qatar is asking the Obama administration to do more, Wittes of the Brookings Institution says the White House had its own concerns to raise about various funding streams for the Syrian opposition.

 

“There seems to be a tendency by different actors to back different factions on the ground in a way that exacerbates conflict between the elements of the Syrian opposition, when what the United States is very focused on right now is trying to bring that opposition together,” she says.

 

That’s the only way, Wittes says, opponents of the Syrian government can show there is a real alternative to Assad.

Ruslan Tsarni Formerly Married To Daughter of CIA Official Graham Fuller

  Graham Fuller cia

Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official

MAD COW MORNING NEWS

The uncle of the two suspected Boston bombers in last week’s attack, Ruslan Tsarni, was married to the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller

The discovery that Uncle Ruslan Tsarni had spy connections that go far deeper than had been previously known is ironic, especially since the mainstrean media’s focus yesterday was on a feverish search to find who might have recruited the Tsarnaev brothers.

The chief suspect was a red-haired Armenian exorcist.  They were fingering a suspect who may not, in fact, even exist.

It was like blaming one-armed hippies on acid for killing your wife.

 

Ruslan Tsarni married the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller, who spent 20 years as operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 Fuller was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at the CIA, and in 1986, under Ronald Reagan, he became the Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.

At the time of their marriage, Ruslan Tsarni was known as Ruslan Tsarnaev, the same last name as his nephews Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bombers.

It is unknown when he changed his last name to Tsarni.

What is known is that sometime in the early 1990’s, while she was a graduate student in North Carolina, and he was in law school at Duke, Ruslan Tsarnaev met and married Samantha Ankara Fuller, the daughter of Graham and Prudence Fuller of Rockville Maryland. Her middle name suggests a reference to one of her father’s CIA postings.

The couple divorced sometime before 2004.

Today Ms. Fuller lives abroad, and is a director of several companies pursuing strategies to increase energy production from clean-burning and renewable resources.

On a more ominous note, Graham Fuller was listed as one of the American Deep State rogues on Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery,. Edmonds explained it featured subjects of FBI investigations she became aware of during her time as an FBI translator.

Criminal activities were being protected by claims of State Secrets, she asserted. After Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to muzzle her under a little-used doctrine of State Secrets, she put up twenty-one photos, with no names.

One of them was Graham Fuller.

“Congress of Chechen International” c/o Graham Fuller

A story about a Chechen oik exec/uncle pairing up with a top CIA official who once served as CIA Station Chief in Kabul sounds like a pitch for a bad movie.

But the two men may have been in business together.

In 1995, Tsarnaev incorporated the Congress of Chechen International Organizations in Maryland, using as the address listed on incorporation documents 11114 Whisperwood Ln, in Rockville Maryland, the home address of his then-father-in-law.

It is just eight miles up the Washington National Pike from the Montgomery Village home where “Uncle Ruslan” met—and apparently wowed, the press after the attack in Boston.

The Washington Post yesterday called him a “media maven,” while nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist Ester Cepeda , in a piece with the headline “The Wise Words of Uncle Ruslan” opined that he was her choice for “an award for bravery in the face of adversity.”

Success through indirection, mis-direction, redirection, and protection

Uncle Ruslan’s spy connections go far deeper than was already known, which was that he spent two years working in Kazakhstan for USAID.

But the mainstream media was lookng the other way.

Under the headline Did ‘Misha’ influence Tsarnaevs? In Watertown, doubts,” USA Today reported: “Misha. A new name has emerged in the Boston Marathon bombing case—one familiar to the family of the two young men accused of the atrocity and apparently of interest to the Russian and American security services as well.”

Ruslan Tsarni was the first to bring up the supposed man’s supposed name. Or rather, he brought up a first name:  Misha. But it was enough. We were off to the races…

Attention all cars: Be on lookout for chubby Armenian exorcist

Tsarni described Misha to CNN as being “chubby, a big guy, big mouth presenting himself with some kind of abilities as exorcist . . . having some part-time job in one of the stores, not married. All of the qualifications of a loser, just another big mouth.”

According to Uncle Ruslan, Misha was the man who over a considerable period of time had radicalized Tamerlan.

It seemed strange, then, that  in contrast to his “you are there” verbal picture of the man, even with all his supposed concerns, and given his high level of education and abundant resources (Big Sky Energy was paying him in excess of $200,00 a year, according to documents filed with the SEC) Ruslan had somehow never found out just who the bad guy was.

He never got a name, something that in spook-dom is considered something of a faux pas. Then again, no one else had either.

Worse, Tsarni’s vivid description seemed to be taken from personal observation, from, in other words…real life. But that isn’t possible. Tsarni had stated he hadn’t been physically in the presence of his Boston relatives since December 2005. And Misha, if he existed, didn’t show up on the scene until 2008 at the earliest.

Still,  just a few days later, the entire family began chiming in. Misha anecdotes were flying fast & furious, and the nation’s scribblers were busy uncritically scribbling down their every word.

Maybe their Twitter account got hacked again?

No performance was nearly as masterful, however, as that of the Associated Press.

“Bomb suspect influenced by mysterious radical, reported the Associated Press.

“Tamerlan’s relationship with Misha could be a clue in understanding the motives behind his religious transformation and, ultimately, the attack itself,” reported the Associate Press. Only to take it all back in the very next line.

“Two U.S. officials say he had no tie to terrorist groups.”

The AP’s “story” about the mysterious “Misha” was 1145 words, long enough for an editor to squeeze in a caveat.

“It was not immediately clear whether the FBI has spoken to Misha or was attempting to,” the national wire service reported. “Efforts over several days by The Associated Press to identify and interview Misha have been unsuccessful.”

The big difference: when you do it, its conspiracy theory. When we do it, its informed speculation.

In any other context, this might be seen as the rankest kind of “conspiracy theory.” But, apparently, when the Associated Press does it, its news.

Then Uncle Ruslan made a clear mis-step.

“An uncle of the alleged bombers claims that Misha, an Armenian convert to Islam, had a huge influence on the elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  Describing him as an “Armenia exorcist, Tsarni said, “Somehow he just took his brain.”

Armenians are a deeply-rooted Christian community, which is proud of the fact that their country was the first in the world to adopt Christianity as state religion in 301 AD.

Moreover this is the week every year when they remember the Armenian Holocaust, when as many as 1,000,000 Armenians were slaughtered by Turkish Muslims.

In the large and close-knit Boston Armenian community, a red-bearded Armenian named Misha becoming a radicalized Muslim would stand out.

“I’ve never heard of him, nor has anyone that I know,” Hilda Avedissian, executive director at the Armenian Cultural & Educational Centre.

So what if the guy was involved with biggest bank fraud in history?

“For an Armenian to convert to Islam is like finding a unicorn in a field,” Nerses Zurabyan, 32, an information technology director who lives in nearby Cambridge told USA Today.

The report reveals that the bomber’s Uncle, made famous for his outspoken condemnation of his nephew’s which aired repeatedly on international news networks, is a well-connected oil executive who at one point worked for a Halliburton shell company used as a front to obtain oil contracts from the Kazakh State.

Ruslon Tsarni was implicated in an investigation involving the laundering and theft of $6 billion. But everybody loves Uncle Ruslon. At least most of America’s mainstream media does.

There has, to date, been no speculation at all about whether an uncle of the men suspected of the bombing who had been involved in international intrigue at the hightest levels, and who married the daughter of a top CIA official, might warrant a closer look.

It’s enough, isn’t it, to turn even reasonably rational adults into—gasp!—conspiracy theorists.

“News,” someone once wrote, “is selection. And selection is always  based on an ideology and agenda, which is something to remember next time you watch, listen or read the ‘news.’”

Too true.

Int’l Expert: Lebanon’s Offshore Gas Reserves Larger than in “Israel”

[SEE:  High-Pressure In Leviathan Basin Cuts Into Potential Israeli Profits]

Int’l Expert: Lebanon’s Offshore Gas Reserves Larger than in “Israel” 

almanarAl-Manar

An international expert at Spectrum company said Lebanon has high prospects of gas in its offshore Exclusive Economic Zone larger than the amount in Tamar and Leviathan fields off Zionist entity’s Mediterranean shores.

gas offshore Lebanon

According to Neil Hodgson, there are high chances of detecting large quantities of gas offshore Lebanon, “if all goes well, Lebanon will be able to produce gas by 2019 or 2020.”

The British Spectrum company had unveiled in 2012 that Lebanon’s oil reserves off its southern coast are of the richest and best in the region.

The firm estimated that the volume of gas is around 25 trillion cubic feet.

“The gas reserves in Lebanon amount to more than 30 or 40 trillion cubic feet while that in Tamar field reaches 10 trillion cubic feet and Leviathan 17 trillion cubic feet,” Hodgson said.

Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil announced earlier in April that Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total are among 46 international oil companies that have been shortlisted to tackle the country’s offshore oil and gas wealth.

Major-General Abdul Rahman Chehaytli, who heads the Lebanese delegation following up Lebanon’s maritime border, expressed regret on Thursday over Lebanon’s failure to resolve the dispute with ‘Israel’. “It is our right,” the official said.

He pointed out that Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam’s cabinet should focus on the matter and tackle it with the international community to attain our rights.

Putin on Boston bombings: World faces terrorists never referred to as such by West

Putin on Boston bombings: World faces terrorists never referred to as such by West

Russia-Today

The deadly bombing of the Boston Marathon lends credence to Russia’s position that terrorism is a shared global threat that must never be exploited for political gain, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Putin made the remarks in Moscow during his annual Q&A session, referring to the torrent of public comments and speculation in the US blaming Russia, the suspects’ birthplace, for the attacks.

“Common folk in the US are not to be blamed, they don’t understand what is happening. Here I am addressing them and our citizens to say that Russia is a victim of international terrorism too,” he said.

He also lashed out at what he called double standards in media and political portrayals of terrorism. “I was always appalled when our Western partners and the Western media called the terrorist, who did bloody crimes in our country, ‘insurgents,’ and almost never ‘terrorists,’” Putin explained.

“They [the terrorists] were receiving help, informational, financial and political support. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. And we were saying that we must do the job and not be content with declarations proclaiming terrorism a common threat. Those two have proved our position all too well,” he added.

Putin criticized the idea voiced by some Republican politicians – including Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, and Representative Peter King – to declare the surviving Boston bomber an enemy combatant. They want “to declare this criminal a prisoner of war. Are they out of their mind? What kind of a PoW is he? Do they fight the Civil War between the North and the South again?” he said.

The Tsarnaev brothers (Johannes Hirn/AFP/FBI)

The Tsarnaev brothers (Johannes Hirn/AFP/FBI)

By declaring the man an enemy combatant like many ‘War on Terror’ detainees, the US would be able to prosecute him in a military tribunal and deny him some of his basic rights as a US citizen. The White House has rejected this suggestion.

Putin said that Chechnya’s painful common history with Russia should not be grounds for speculation, and does not justify branding all Chechens as terrorists: “It’s not about nationality or religion. It’s about the extremist mindset of those men.”

“I’m saying all this not to put the blame, but to call on bringing ourselves closer together in resisting our common threats, of which terrorism is one and more dangerous. If we truly join our efforts, we will not allow these strikes and suffer such losses,” he said.

The Thursday remarks were Putin’s first public comment on the deadliest terror bombing on US soil since the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.

The twin bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon on April 15 killed three people, including a child, and injured 282 others. An FBI investigation revealed that the perpetrators were ethnic Chechens: Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar.

Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with Boston police days later after the duo killed an officer on the MIT campus. Dzhokhar was arrested hours later in a massive manhunt, and is now being treated for gunshot wounds in a hospital.

High-Pressure In Leviathan Basin Cuts Into Potential Israeli Profits

Drilling at Noble Energy’s Leviathan-1 well has been stopped after the Homer Ferrington rig hit a high-pressure zone before reaching its target depth.

Noble Energy said the probe off Israel found gas shows at about 21,000 feet, but stopped drilling past 21,400 feet after encountering higher pressure.

The company will rework its drilling plan and pursue a rig prepared to tackle the higher pressure levels, Noble Energy said.

“Although the well did not reach the planned objective, we are encouraged by the possibility of an active thermogenic petroleum system at greater depths within this basin,” Susan Cunningham, a senior vice president at Noble Energy, said in a statement.

“We will integrate the data from the Leviathan deep well into our model to update…

Obama Keeps Resisting Zionist “Red Lines,” Tripwires, Forcing His Hand On Syria

[Both Zionist Central in London and that shitty little Zionist cesspool in the Middle East urge Obama to accept whatever “evidence” that they produce of any chemical weapons’s use within Syria as proof that the “red lines” have been crossed, even if the lines were violated by the terrorist rebels, instead of by Assad (SEE:  ‘Growing evidence’ of chemical weapons use in Syria – UK).  They have managed to recreate the same scenario within Syria that they almost pulled-off in Iran, with the help of different terrorist friends of America, the anti-Shia MEK/Jundullah.  Just as he refused to cave-in to previous Zionist pressure to launch an airborne aggression against Iran, he is apparently resisting pressure to cross the line which he has drawn in the sand with his own hand.  This doesn’t mean to imply that he is secretly a good guy, but that he does not like it when other people try to force him to take unpleasant, ill-advised actions.  Don’t read this as hope on my part that Obama will choose to do the right thing when the time comes, because I still firmly believe that he will not hesitate to push the “big red button” when the time comes, probably with a big smile on his lips.  He will be smiling  when he follows his master’s order to unleash Armegeddon, pleased with himself for having ignored the hyped screams of the Apocalyptic cheerleaders like McCain, Cameron and Netanyahu.  Mistakes have been made by all of the team players who have misjudged the resiliency of Assad and the core strengths of the Lebanese resistance forces, but jumping the gun on WWIII will not improve the Empire’s chances of success.  The time for the Greater Middle East War has passed, since the momentum for that war has been missed by both Bush and Obama.  Bush missed it on several occasions, after Afghanistan, after Iraq and after Israel failed in Lebanon in 2006, failing yet one more time, after the failed Georgian tangent in 2008.  Obama’s big failure was in his hesitation in the early days of the anti-Syrian war.   Failure to jump on the war wagon there gave Russia time to turn the tables.  Odds are, the American/world economies will be fully depleted before Obama can organize another attempt, meaning that nothing has changed except for the American ability to control the flow of future events.  World War III will probably happen by accident, the way it should all go down.  Taking steps to avoid such an extinction-level event should by the number one priority with all earthly governments.]

White House: Obama’s red line not crossed on Syria chemical weapons

cbs this-morning

The U.S. has acknowledged evidence of a small-scale nerve gas attack in Syria. But, has Syria crossed President Obama's red line and will the U.S. intervene militarily? Major Garrett reports.

(CBS News) For the first time, the White House says chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s civil war. The Obama administration said it believes President Bashar Al-Assad used sarin gas on people last month. That report is leading some to ask if the U.S. is ready to consider military action.

The White House said the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons attacks is still too thin and President Obama’s red line has not been crossed, and that means military intervention by the United States in the Syrian civil war is not imminent and not guaranteed but more study and investigation is needed.

Syria has likely used chemical weapons on a “small scale,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.Hagel was the first to confirm the startling news. He read from a prepared statement: “The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.”

But Hagel, consistent with administration policy, laced his announcement with carefully crafted caveats. Hagel said, “We still have uncertainties about what was used, what kind of chemicals was used, where it was used, who used it.”

Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that Syria used chemical weapons twice last month, once near Damascus and once in Aleppo. Victims appeared to have been gassed.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly said Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a red line and could move the U.S. closer to military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

Mr. Obama said on Aug. 20, 2012, “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.”

But top White House advisers insist the red line has not been crossed. In letters to Congress, the administration said it needs more proof — in its words, “credible and corroborated facts.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has continuously pressed Mr. Obama to intervene, said the president is ducking his own standard. “The president of the United States said that this would be a red line if they used chemical weapons. The president of the United States has now told us that they used chemical weapons,” McCain said. “We must give the opposition the capability to drive out Bashar Assad once and for all.”

U.S. intelligence says it has “varying degrees of confidence” Syria used chemical weapons. But the U.S. isn’t the only nation hedging its bets. British intelligence says it has “persuasive information chemical weapons were used.” French intelligence says it has clues but no proof. However, CBS News’ Major Garrett reported, “Definitive proof may be very hard to find amid the raging Syrian civil war.”

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Zionist Central Claims Drone Shoot-Down, Hezbollah Says Somebody Else Sent It

[SEE:  Hezbollah denies sending drone shot by Israel – USA Today]

Israel shoots down drone threatening P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu’s chopper

Washing tlimes

A helicopter transporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a quick emergency landing Thursday after military officials spotted — then shot down — an unmanned drone that was entering Israeli airspace.

This is the second time in seven months that an unmanned drone had entered Israeli airspace without authorization, NBC reported.

“[Unmanned drones] pose a serious threat to the State of Israel’s security. The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty or harm its security,” Israeli Defense Force officials said in a statement published by NBC.

The helicopter carrying Mr. Netanyahu landed in the northern part of the country, while military shot the drone from the sky. His helicopter resumed flight shortly after, NBC reported.

“The [unmanned aerial vehicle] was tracked by IDF ground and aerial surveillance for the duration of its flight path as it attempted to approach Israel’s coast,” IDF said. “Israel Air Force aircraft intercepted the UAV and successfully downed the target five nautical miles off the coast of the northern Israeli city of Haifa.”

IDF didn’t confirm media reports that said Mr. Netanyahu’s helicopter landed for the incident.

Body of First Boston Bomber Suspect Pulled from Providence River

Body in river identified as Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, falsely linked to Boston bombings on Reddit

news-com-au

Sunil Tripathi

The body pulled from a river near Brown University has been confirmed as that of missing student Sunil Tripathi, who was incorrectly named as a possible suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings case. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

THE body of the Brown University student who was wrongly identified as a Boston Marathon bomber has been found.

The Rhode Island medical examiner’s office says a body found pulled from a river in Providence is that of a Brown University student missing since last month.

Sunil Tripathi was one of the people who was wrongly identified as a potential Boston bomber, after crowdsourcing groups on Reddit posted his name as someone who resembled the suspect in a white baseball cap in FBI photos of the suspect. That man in the baseball cap was in fact Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect currently in police custody in hospital in Boston.

Health Department spokeswoman Dara Chadwick says the body of 22-year-old Tripathi was identified morning through a forensic dental exam. The cause of death has not been determined.

Tripathi’s family says in a statement they feel “indescribable grief” but are grateful for the outpouring of support.

Tripathi’s body was found on Tuesday by members of the Brown crew team in waters off India Point Park. Relatives of Tripathi, who’s from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, had been searching for him with help from the FBI and Brown students since mid-March.

He had been on leave from the Ivy League school and was living with classmates in Providence.

Reddit general manager Erik Martin this week apologised in a blog post for the “dangerous speculation” that “spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties,” and apologised publicly to Tripathi’s family “for all the pain they had to endure.”

Russian court fines Golos NGO under ‘foreign agent’ law

Russian court fines NGO under ‘foreign agent’ law

France 24

Russian human rights advocate Lev Ponomarev (left) and Moscow Helsinki Group president Lyudmila Alexeyeva (right) Human rights advocates wait for the start of the Golos (Voice) trial in a Moscow courthouse, on April 25, 2013. The court slapped a $10,000 (7,700 euros) fine on the election monitor, in the first ruling against NGOs the government considers to be "foreign agents".

Russian human rights advocate Lev Ponomarev (left) and Moscow Helsinki Group president Lyudmila Alexeyeva (right) Human rights advocates wait for the start of the Golos (Voice) trial in a Moscow courthouse, on April 25, 2013. The court slapped a $10,000 (7,700 euros) fine on the election monitor, in the first ruling against NGOs the government considers to be “foreign agents”.

AFP – A Russian court on Thursday slapped a $10,000 (7,700 euros) fine on the election monitor Golos, in the first ruling against NGOs the government considers to be “foreign agents”, Russian news agencies reported.

Golos (Voice), a Moscow-based organisation that monitors Russian elections for violations, received the fine for failing to register as a “foreign agent” as required after the Russian parliament passed a controversial law obliging groups with foreign funding to use the label.

 

Kurdish militants to begin withdrawal from Turkey in May

Kurdish militants to begin withdrawal from Turkey in May

THE STAR, MALAYSIA

By Murad Jambaz

QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Iraq (Reuters) – Rebel Kurdish field commander Murat Karayilan ordered his fighters to begin withdrawing from Turkish soil within two weeks and rebase in the mountains of northern Iraq as part of a peace plan with Ankara to end a three-decades-old conflict.

Murat Karayilan, acting military commander of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Qandil mountains near the Iraq-Turkish border in Sulaimaniya, 330 km (205 miles) northeast of Baghdad March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
Murat Karayilan, acting military commander of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Qandil mountains near the Iraq-Turkish border in Sulaimaniya, 330 km (205 miles) northeast of Baghdad March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

 

The pullout, negotiated by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) chief Abdullah Ocalan jailed on a prison island near Istanbul, offers the best chance yet of settlement of a war that has killed over 40,000 and battered the Turkish economy.

“The withdrawal is planned to be done gradually in groups and targeted to be completed in the shortest possible time,” Karayilan told a news conference in the PKK’s mountain stronghold in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq.

The rebels are expected to move in groups of around half a dozen in a process monitored on the Turkish side by the MIT intelligence agency and across the border by the Kurdish regional government there.

Dressed in baggy olive green fatigues and flanked by other senior PKK rebels, Karayilan said the pullout beginning on May 8 would be halted and his fighters would retaliate if the Turkish army launched any kind of operation against them.

He said the third stage of a three-stage process, following withdrawal and constitutional reform to guarantee Kurdish rights, would be freedom for all PKK members including Ocalan, a step likely to be opposed by Turkish hardliners.

The third stage would be disarmament, something the Turkish government had said should precede the pullout. It was not clear how disarmament would be carried out and under whose supervision.

The Qandil mountains have regularly been targeted by Turkish air strikes but the violence has dwindled since the PKK -designated a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and Turkey – announced a ceasefire last month.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a huge political risk in allowing negotiations with the PKK despite fierce nationalist opposition before elections next year.

Karayilan’s announcement bolsters a peace process launched six months ago, when jailed PKK leader Ocalan began talks with Turkish intelligence agents on his island prison near Istanbul.

The struggle has wrought huge human, social and economic damage in NATO member Turkey since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state in the southeast. That demand has now been reduced to one of greater autonomy.

The fighting has stunted development of the economy in the mainly Kurdish region, while tens of billions of dollars in military spending has long burdened state coffers.

A peace settlement would also help Turkey’s flagging efforts to join the European Union, improve its tarnished human rights record, and enhance its credibility as it seeks to extend influence in the energy-rich Kurdish region of northern Iraq and across the Middle East.

THREE-STAGE PROCESS

The withdrawal follows a call from Ocalan at the Kurdish new year celebrations of Newroz on March 21 for the PKK to halt hostilities in preparation for their withdrawal to northern Iraq, where several thousand of them are based.

Karayilan disclosed details of what he said was a three-stage process.

He said the second stage after the withdrawal of PKK fighters related mainly to the “obligations of the state and the government”, specifically the question of constitutional reform.

“It is vital that a constitution is created which ends the denial of the Kurdish people, accepts the existence and freedom of the Kurdish people and guarantees the rights and freedoms of all identities, beliefs and denominations,” he said.

The third stage would involve an amnesty for fighters.

Since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan has extended rights to Kurds who make up 20 percent of Turkey’s 76 million-strong population, breaking taboos deeply rooted in the conservative establishment, including allowing Kurdish television broadcasts and elective Kurdish language courses at state schools.

But his administration has also overseen the detention of thousands of Kurdish politicians and activists in recent years, while last summer saw the heaviest fighting in more than a decade with PKK militants.

PKK militants previously withdrew from Turkey in 1999 in response to a call from Ocalan, but hundreds of them were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces in the process.

Erdogan has said he guarantees there will be no repeat of such fighting but has said the rebels should disarm before heading for Iraq to remove the risk of fire fights with Turkish forces.

(Additional reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Alistair Lyon)

Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992-1995: The role of the intelligence and security services–(UPDATED–3/14/2017)

a175_muslim_brigades_2050081722-6057

CIA’s Muslim Brigades–Bosnia

Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992-1995:

The role of the intelligence and security services

Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992 – 1995 

NIOD Report on Srebrenica

 

Summary for the press

The following is an authorized summary of the conclusions from the epilogue of the main report Srebrenica, a ‘safe’ area – Reconstruction, background, consequences and analyses of the fall of a safe area. The numbers in the left-hand margin refer to the numbered main points in the epilogue.

(1) The mass slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica is a horrifying and probably the most violent excess to take place in the process of disintegration of Yugoslavia in the first half of the 1990. Great-Serbian ambition played a major role in this process. This places a relatively large share of the responsibility with the Serb political leaders, especially former president Milosevic. The very large degree of responsibility for the violent nature of the process of disintegration borne by the Serb leaders should not encourage turning a blind eye to the responsibility of other leaders for the resort to violence. All of the warring factions were guilty of gross violence. The reports and images of this violence met with repugnance throughout Europe and provoked a strong call for intervention by the international community, in which the Netherlands figured prominently.

(2) International interventions are rarely so preventive that they can be made before excesses occur. If those excesses do occur, the public debate on them often leads governments to intervene on moral and humanitarian grounds. More in-depth analysis of the background of trouble spots and measures based on such analysis rarely play a major role. The actual intervention is more often a matter of trial and error than of the coherent implementation of a well-conceived programme. As a result, many processes of intervention look like ‘muddling on’. This was the case in Yugoslavia as it disintegrated. From lack of a better alternative, international intervention right from the right down to the aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica was dominated by the ‘muddling on’ scenario.

(2) The promise made by UN general Morillon in 1993 to the people of Srebrenica that they were under the protection of the UN and would not be abandoned fits in with this picture of muddling on. He hereby produced a fait accompli, which the Security Council turned into the decision to label Srebrenica as a ‘safe area’, a new and undefined concept. Nothing was clear about it except that the dominant light option ruled out a mandate for a genuine military defence of the area or its population. The presence of UN troops was intended rather to be a warning by the international community not to attack (“to deter by presence”). The proclamation of the zone as a safe area created an illusion of security for the population.

(3) The Netherlands was in the forefront of the international call for some form of intervention. In 1993 a combination of humanitarian motivation and political ambitions led the Dutch government, on its own initiative and without prior conditions, to make an Air Battalion available for the UNPROFOR mission in Bosnia. The Netherlands could use this to show its worth, and Dutch prestige would be enhanced in the world. This took place amid wide political and media support and without a proper analysis of the far-reaching consequences beforehand. These were among the factors which led to the Netherlands being destined for Srebrenica, which had been turned down by other countries with arguments to back up their refusal.

(3) In its desire to achieve a consensus, the Dutch parliament closely followed cabinet policy. Parliament and the parliamentary commissions were regularly given detailed information, sometimes behind closed doors. This strengthened the cabinet, but at the same time it seriously undermined the critical and regulatory role of parliament. Criticisms were voiced in politics and in the media – some of them were forcefully expressed by the military – but critics ran the risk of being disqualified by the rest for their lack of moral fibre.

(3) The decision to become one of the main suppliers of troops for a peace mission moved many at the time. Dutch politics were dominated by the call to intervene on moral grounds. This humanitarian motivation, coupled with the ambition to improve Dutch credibility and prestige in the world, led the Netherlands to offer to dispatch the Air Brigade. By playing down the possible risks of the behaviour of the warring parties so much, a large circle of those involved in this policy, and in particular its advocates, took on a large responsibility for it.
In practice, Dutchbat was dispatched:

  • on a mission with a very unclear mandate
  • to a zone described as a ‘safe area’ although there was no clear definition of what that meant
  • to keep the peace where there was no peace
  • without obtaining in-depth information from the Canadian predecessors in the enclave (Canbat)
  • without adequate training for this specific task in those specific circumstances
  • virtually without military and political intelligence work to gauge the political and military intentions of the warring parties
  • with misplaced confidence in the readiness to deploy air strikes if problems arose, and
  • without any clear strategy for leaving.

(4) Dutchbat arrived in 1994 in an enclave with extremely complicated relations, and it was badly prepared for the actual situation there. Apart from two exploratory parties, they made little attempt to obtain information from the Canadians, their predecessors, about their experiences. The Canadian government in Ottawa was not asked for information either. The preparation and training were sufficient, generally speaking, for the military aspect, but were inadequate as regards the provision of information and insight into the situation of the population, its cultural background and experiences during the civil war. This meant that stereotypes and prejudices could already take hold during the training. All this did little to ease the relation between Dutchbat and the population. There were relatively frequent contacts during Dutchbat I, but they gradually grew less. That contributed to an introverted mentality and a reinforcement of negatively coloured stereotypes. Dutchbat was often negative about the population in the enclave, but there was no question of a deliberate anti-Muslim attitude. Contrary to what has been suggested, Dutchbat III was not conspicuous for a relatively high level of misbehaviour.

(4) Minister Voorhoeve, who as director of the Clingendael Institute had been a fervent advocate of intervention in the early 1990s, remarked in the summer of 1994 that it was an impossible assignment. The battalions often had to carry out their work in a spirit of frustration and lack of motivation. Especially in the case of Dutchbat III it became shaken and introverted. But that does not mean that it was dysfunctional. It performed its task, but that came nowhere near the desired effect. This is more the fault of the inadequate resources and the policy of the UN and UNPROFOR. Dutchbat grew less and less able to carry out its task.

(5) UNPROFOR was caught between two fires. The supposed demilitarisation in the enclave was virtually a dead letter. The Bosnian army (ABiH) followed a deliberate strategy of using limited military actions to tie up a relatively large part of the manpower of the Bosnian Serbian army (VRS) to prevent it from heading in full force for the main area around Sarajevo. This was also done from the Srebrenica enclave. ABiH troops had no qualms about breaking all the rules in skirmishes with the VRS. They provoked fire by the Bosnian Serbs and then sought cover with a Dutchbat unit which then ran the risk of being caught between two fires. On the other hand, the VRS blockade policy was a significant contributor to a frustrating and demotivating situation. As a result, the strength of Dutchbat III had been depleted by one third by the beginning of July 1995 and there was a serious shortage of supplies, from food to diesel oil for the vehicles. The last two battalions in particular became mentally and physically exhausted in the course of their mission.

(5) With hindsight there are no indications that the increased activity of the VRS in East Bosnia at the beginning of July 1995 was aimed at anything more than a reduction of the safe area Srebrenica and an interception of the main road to Zepa. The plan of campaign was drawn up on 2 July. The attack commenced on 6 July. It was so successful and so little resistance was offered that it was decided late in the evening of 9 July to press on and to see whether it was possible to take over the entire enclave.

From a military perspective Dutchbat had few grounds for mounting a counterattack on its own initiative because:

  • active defence of the enclave by military means was not in accordance with the mandate, the UN policy (the maintenance of impartiality) or the rules of engagement
  • the instruction (“to deter by presence”) was for military reaction to be above all reticent
  • the military balance of power was such that, without outside support, Dutchbat would have been defenceless in a serious confrontation
  • as a result of the ‘stranglehold strategy’ (the blockade policy of the VRS), Dutchbat III was no longer a fully operational battalion in terms of manpower, supplies or morale.
  • military means could only be deployed if the safety of the battalion was in danger and if it was the target of direct fire – the ‘smoking gun’ requirement – which the VRS deliberately avoided
  • the circumstances, such as the failure of air support to materialise and the death of the Dutchbat member Van Renssen through an action by a Bosnian Muslim, hardly encouraged the mood for a counterattack on its own initiative.

(5) The question of whether another battalion (in a different condition, or more heavily armed) would have acted differently is impossible to answer. In terms of political psychology, it was conceivable that, from fear of a negative reputation for the Bosnian Serbs, the commander of the Bosnian Serbian army (VRS), general Mladic, would have held back from armed resistance with the risk of victims on the UNPROFOR side. His decision to press on to Srebrenica was primarily motivated by the lack of any significant armed resistance. This indicates that such considerations did play a role with the VRS. Since action by Dutchbat on its own initiative contrary to the instructions was not an available option, the initiative for that would have had to come from one of the higher UN echelons. But those higher echelons were very reluctant to use close air support, let alone considering serious operations in the form of active fighting back by Dutchbat. Besides, the Bosnian Serbs deliberately avoided the ‘smoking gun’ by skirting the blocking positions and not giving UNPROFOR any direct pretext to initiate an armed counterattack on the ground. The attack on Srebrenica was characterised on a small scale by what characterised policy on a large scale: muddling on.

(6) The rapid fall of Srebrenica and the little resistance that was put up have led to questions and allegations about possible secret deals. The most important of these concerns the UN commander-in-chief general Janvier. It has been alleged that he and VRS general Mladic made a secret agreement on 4 June 1995 that no more air strikes (like those at Pale) would be forthcoming, not even in the future, in return for the release of mainly French hostages. This hypothesis does not stand up to criticism. Even without a deal, Mladic could still understand that the general conviction on the UN side was that air strikes were ruled out as long as there were hostages or the possibility of new ones. Attacks from the air had become extremely hazardous as long as the ground forces of UNPROFOR were still in the enclaves. That was why Janvier had already asked the Security Council to abandon the eastern enclaves to facilitate a stronger action.

(7) The expectation on the part of Dutchbat and the Sector North East in Tuzla that help would come from outside on the morning of 11 July in the form of massive air strikes was misguided. The UNPROFOR command had completely ruled out air strikes, but was also extremely reticent about lighter support from the air in the form of close air support. It hereby crushed the Dutchbat illusion and the enclave became an easy target for the VRS. On the Dutch side, the potential for the deployment of air support was overestimated. It was expected that “robust” action would be taken if necessary. That had been an important argument in the political and military decision-making right from the start. The UN was very reluctant to deploy the air force because it wanted to remain impartial in the conflict and to limit its task to that of peace-keeping, not peace-enforcement. The hostage crisis after the Pale air strikes had further increased doubts about the usefulness of massive air support.

(6) Fear for the fate of a group of members of Dutchbat held hostage elsewhere whose numbers had grown to 55, as well as for that of the refugees and members of Dutchbat in the enclave, who could also be regarded more or less as hostages, led Minister of Defence Voorhoeve to make an urgent appeal to the highest UN commander in the region, Akashi, to call off the requested air support on 11 July. This appeal had no effect whatsoever because the decision in question had already been taken. Akashi later falsely used Voorhoeve’s request in order to get out of having to say that the UN itself had not planned any further action. He appealed to Voorhoeve’s request by saying that it left him no alternative.

(8) The attack on the enclave, and in particular its complete collapse, came as a total surprise to Dutchbat and to all of the other parties involved. This can be explained from the lateness of the decision of the Bosnian Serbs to attack and eventually take over the whole enclave, but it was also due to the weak intelligence position of the UN and the lack of sufficient capacities and the right resources to collect and analyse intelligence. The fall of Srebrenica was thereby partly a failure of military intelligence. The Netherlands also played a part in this. The Cabinet, the Ministry of Defence and the Dutch Parliament adopted an anti-intelligence attitude. The Military Intelligence Service in particular did not receive sufficient extra resources to collect additional intelligence, and this service was not involved enough in the decision-making on Srebrenica. As a result, far fewer observational data were obtained than was technically possible. The United States had the strongest intelligence position in Bosnia. The Netherlands could have benefited from this, but lack of interest and the negative attitude of the military and political leadership stood in the way. The army top repeatedly turned down an offer by the CIA to smuggle a number of so-called Comint cases into the enclave with equipment to tap the communications of the ABiH and the VRS in the region. Defence thereby missed the opportunity to strengthen its own information position in the field of intelligence in return. The result was a weak Dutch information position in the field of intelligence. Tapped messages would at least have given Dutchbat ‘ears’, and would have put the army in a strong position vis-à-vis the US intelligence and security services to obtain additional intelligence from US sources.

(10) The tragic nadir of the fall of Srebrenica was the mass killing of thousands of Muslim men by Bosnian Serbian units. A large number of the men were members of the Bosnian Muslim army (ABiH) who had attempted to break out of the enclave to Tuzla with some of the male population during the night of 11 July. The decision to break out and thus to give up further resistance was taken entirely outside the UN and UNPROFOR. The flight to Tuzla and the mass executions which followed took place entirely out of view of Dutchbat. Suggestions that the Muslims were killed “under the eyes of Dutchbat” are unfounded in relation to this mass slaughter.

(10) The decision on mass executions was most probably made after 11 July when it became clear that the breakout led by the 28th division prevented the handling of affairs that had been planned. No written order has been found. The outbreak was a complete surprise, and it came at a very bad time for the VRS. Along with the already existing hatred, eagerness for revenge and the wish for ethnic cleansing, it was one of the factors that led the Bosnian Serbs to settle accounts harshly with the Muslim population of the enclave. This turned into an organised mass slaughter. It is unlikely that is was planned long in advance with this specific form and scope. It is more plausible to suppose that the Bosnian Serbians had counted on a surrender of the ABiH troops and a deportation of the population from the enclave after ‘screening for war criminals’ and transfer of the troops to prisoner-of-war camps.

(10) It was precisely in the treatment of the many prisoners that the Bosnian Serbs lost control of themselves. In some places the Muslims were slaughtered like beasts. They included men who had been separated from the women outside the Dutch compound in Potocari at the transfer of the population to Tuzla. That mass murder was the intention is also clear from the fact that, after the prisoners had been taken, no measures were taken to see whether there were ‘war criminals’ among them, no prisoner-of-war facilities were found, no food or drink were organised, identity cards were destroyed, and no distinction was made between combatants and non-combatants.

(10) There are a number of indications that it was a central command from the General Staff of the VRS. There are none pointing to political or military liaison with Belgrado. The involvement of the then president Karadzic (Republik Srpska) is unclear. In any case, the main responsibility for the mass slaughter lay with the military. Mladic’s central role was unmistakable and beyond doubt. He was a dominant presence during these days and was clearly in command. That does not alter the responsibility of others in leading positions in the VRS, the Drina Corps and in the special troops and security services.

(11) After the fall of the enclave, several tens of thousands of the population went to Potocari, some of them to the local Dutch compound. That mass of people stayed there for a few days in terrible and chaotic conditions and suffered from the heat and the lack of food and water. There was a risk of a humanitarian catastrophe and in view of the hygienic conditions the fear of epidemics was justified. There was no doubt about where the priority lay. Evacuation or deportation of the population was the top priority. When all is said and done, that was also what all of the parties wanted. The refugees were also very keen to leave for a variety of reasons, not least fear. There was no way of offering the refugees in Potocari armed protection. This was ruled out not only by the lack of military balance between Dutchbat and the VRS, but also because the presence of an enormous crowd of refugees packed together made effective action impossible. It was essentially a hostage situation in which any violent resistance would have provoked a bloodbath. There was no doubt about the main priority. The top priority was the evacuation of the population, and in the last analysis that was what all of the parties wanted.

(11) When buses appeared, there was a rush to get a place as quickly as possible. Many had wanted to leave earlier, and now there was very heavy congestion. That was one of the reasons for Dutchbat to perform a regulatory function in this connection. Another was that the refugees were in this way – at least not directly – at the mercy of VRS troops. It was also clear to Dutchbat that the Muslims had only one choice: to leave as soon as possible. It was the natural task of Dutchbat to supervise that and to collaborate with it, even though in the given circumstances it was tantamount to collaborating with ethnic cleansing.

(11) Deputy Dutchbat commander Franken stated later that he had recognised the danger of excesses. He had not expected mass murder, nor had he expected the VRS to abide by the rules, and he realised that in the worse scenario there might be some killing. From fear of panic and a direct catastrophe, he was silent about these fears and assisted with the evacuation in full awareness that the fate of the men was uncertain and that they, as he put it, “might end up in the most appalling circumstances”. His choice was basically to avoid a humanitarian disaster that would affect everyone. That choice had far-reaching consequences for the men among those present. The battalion command realised that the fate of the men among them, who were separated from the women and children, was uncertain, but could not have suspected that this would lead to the mass slaughter of these and many other men who fell into the hands of the Bosnian Serbs during their flight to Tuzla.

(11) Franken’s dilemmas included that of whether or not to admit persons to the compound or to place them on the list of local personnel to whom they did not actually belong. There was a general awareness in UNPROFOR about how strict the VRS checks were and of how important the necessary written permits were in this respect. Franken felt that there was too large a risk that, during the supposedly inevitable inspection, the VRS might come across someone who had no papers or untrustworthy ones. That could endanger the lives of the others. For this reason he also refused to put the brother of an interpreter (Hassan Nuhanovic) on the list of people allowed to leave with Dutchbat. His father was allowed to stay because he had taken part in the discussion between Karremans and general Mladic, but he decided to stay with his family, which cost him his life. In at least one case (the electrician Mustafic) someone who was entitled to be included on the list was refused – a communication failure with fatal consequences.

(11) A number of Muslim men had already been killed by the Bosnian Serbs in Potocari in a local act of revenge. Their number is estimated at between 100 and 400, with a wide margin. The battalion command received limited information about this, but what was reported was alarming enough: two sightings of nine or ten corpses and indications that assaults were taking place during interrogations in a house near the compound. Much more happened in Potocari than what the members of Dutchbat saw. But not all of what they saw was reported in those days. Communication was a complete failure at the time. One reason for this is the great stress to which the members of Dutchbat were exposed, their narrowing of focus, and their shutting themselves off from the world around them. In some cases too, concern about their own survival in this hell will have meant more to them than the fate of the Muslim men who had made things so difficult for Dutchbat.

(11) Be that as it may, communication on 12 and 13 July, when these killings of men taken from the crowd were carried out, failed completely. This failure of the internal humanitarian reporting raises the question of why the battalion command itself did not play a more active role. During the week after the evacuation, when the situation had quietened down, Commander Karremans and his deputy Franken did not attempt to issue a call or make inquiries to investigate the serious violation of human rights either. Afterwards they are themselves surprised by this failure to assume responsibility. By the way, they share this responsibility with officers at higher levels who – earlier than Karremans and Franken – had also received the alarming reports from survivors in Tuzla.

(12) The battalion command, particularly commander Karremans, have been strongly criticised in public, partly due to their very unflattering way of presenting themselves in the media. If we look further than this public image, it can be stated that, under the responsibility of that battalion command, most of the military and humanitarian tasks were properly performed until the hectic days of July. When the VRS opened its attack on the enclave, however, Dutchbat was no longer able to determine the course of events, though it should be borne in mind that military defence of the enclave was explicitly not a part of the task or instruction and that passive action had been enjoined. Nevertheless, there is room for criticism of a number of separate aspects, including the nature and action of the battalion command.

(13) Reactions to the reports from refugees in Tuzla about massive violations of human rights were varied. Minister Pronk (Development Cooperation) first used the word “genocide” without any qualification in a NOVA broadcast on 18 July. Ministers Van Mierlo (Foreign Affairs) and Voorhoeve (Defence), on the other hand, expressed their concern but usually in cautious terms, partly motivated by concern for the vulnerability of Dutchbat as long as it was still stationed in the former enclave. The commander of the Dutch army, general Couzy, suggested on the basis of Dutchbat reports that it was not as bad as some made out. He barely countenanced the possibility, and certainly any (indirect) complicity by Dutchbat, from uncertainty about what had actually gone on in the enclave and from a desire to protect the image of the battalion and the army. Yet on the basis of everything that he had so vaguely and incompletely learned, he could have also concluded that that was precisely a reason for alertness and further investigation.

(13) The press conference by Defence in Zagreb marked a fundamental change of direction in the media. Until then the picture had been one of Dutchbat doing its work under difficult conditions. Journalists well understood that, as long as Dutchbat was still in the enclave, reticence was called for because of the risk of being taken hostage. The first press contacts of commander Karremans after the departure from the enclave damaged the image of both Dutchbat and Defence. His attempts to characterise the relation of the warring factions (“no good guys, no bad guys”) and his value judgements on general Mladic backfired completely in the light of what many journalists now regarded as the highly probable and serious killings by the Bosnian Serbs. Given the shocking excesses that had taken place, the media were somewhat ashamed of the compliant role they had played so far, and there was now a tendency to go to the opposite extreme. The situation was aggravated by understandable and in some cases well-founded complaints about the lack of information by Defence and the disruption of personal relations between Defence and journalists as a result of the failure to fulfil commitments.

(13) The negative image that emerged at that time was also fuelled by footage of a party after the arrival of Dutchbat in Zagreb. Shots of members of boisterous Dutchbat drinking beer have become the symbol of the alleged indifference of the Netherlands in general and of Dutchbat in particular to the fate of the Muslims killed in the mass executions. This footage, which has often been shown on television, was taken from a short excerpt from a much longer internal video, the full version of which was deposited in a public film archive by Defence in the autumn of 1995. This selection of images suggests that Dutchbat was partying in full awareness of the mass murders under the eyes of the press. All three suggestions are incorrect. The nature and scale of the mass killings were not yet known, yet alone fully realised; the partying was the spontaneous release of emotions after a very moving memorial service for their dead colleagues Raviv van Renssen and Jeffrey Broere. A few dozen men took part, a small minority of the battalion.

(13) The public condemnation of the role of Karremans was also affected by video footage, in this case recordings made by the VRS during his talks with general Mladic. It has to be stated that he was the victim of manipulation which led to his being filmed in a way that was fatal for his image. Someone put a glass in his hand in a situation in which he had just managed to meet a number of Dutchbat members who were being held hostage. Mladic’s attitude left Karremans no chance at all, but where there were opportunities he seems to have said the minimum and not to have made any promises or concessions which were out of order in the given circumstances.

(13) From Zagreb on a highly critical view of what had happened predominated. The situation did not improve when it was discovered that the supply of information by Defence left a lot to be desired. Suspicion arose that an unjust attempt was being made to preserve the reputation of Dutchbat untarnished. Minister Voorhoeve was constantly under fire, was uninformed of the facts, and therefore called for a broad, comprehensive inquiry, a continuation of the debriefing on a larger scale. He counted on the loyalty, support and correct political sense of the army. However, the army top had different priorities, such as preserving the image of Dutchbat and of the army, as a result of which the minister was informed relatively late, often inadequately, and on a few occasions was not even informed at all. The debriefing report was inadequate. The army could clearly put its stamp on it. Voorhoeve and his aides knew that. Nevertheless, he considered that there was no alternative but to praise the report, because he had used it to keep questioners at bay for weeks. Immediate recognition that the report was inadequate would be a disowning of the army, and he did not want that. Voorhoeve had become the prisoner of the debriefing report.

(14) The limited debriefing policy of the army top bounced back on the defence organisation like a boomerang. It was virtually paralysed, especially in the summer of 1998, by the constant Srebrenica exposures in the media. The new Minister of Defence, De Grave, felt the effects of this immediately after assuming office. He decided to act more forcefully: he ordered an inquiry to see whether Srebrenica had been hushed up. The Van Kemenade report found no evidence for that, but his investigation was not in the first instance intended to discover the truth; in the last resort it was about a problem of political administration that required an acute solution. Van Kemenade therefore did not conclude, as the present report does, that there was not only incapacity but also a deliberate attempt by the army top, contrary to the wishes of the Minister, to limit the flow of information and, where possible, to avoid sensitive issues. Van Kemenade failed to recognise the evidence for that; it should have led him, at least, to be more suspicious of his early conclusion that there had been no hushing up.

(15) After July 1995 the tragedy of Srebrenica has continued to have a profound effect, first of all for the survivors and next of kin of the population. For most of them, the events have wrecked their lives. In particular, many women from Srebrenica still suffer every day from what they have been through. Many of them had already had a series of exhausting and horrifying experiences before the setting up of the safe area. The attack, deportation and mass killings came after two years in a besieged fortress, in which the VRS used its ‘stranglehold strategy’ in an attempt to create an impossible situation in humanitarian terms. The process of digging up and identifying the corpses has still not been completed yet. In many respects the next of kin feel abandoned by the rest of the world, in Bosnia and outside it.

(15) The members of Dutchbat have also been deeply affected by their time in the enclave. Many of them have long-term psychological problems arising from their experiences in Srebrenica, and in some cases they are still serious. Many of them were not impressed by the counselling and aftercare they received. Their reception in the Netherlands, in an atmosphere of public debate in which Dutchbat was often presented in a very negative light, certainly did not help them to cope with their problems in a healthy and balanced way on the home front. That atmosphere left little room for understanding what it had ‘really’ been like according to the Dutchbat members. They did not recognise themselves in the image that dominated in the media, of deep black (mainly Bosnian) Serbs and lily-white Muslims. Most of the members of Dutchbat had difficulty in accepting that picture. The world that they had known during their stay in the enclave had been different.

(15) The mass killing had a strong shock effect in UN and NATO and contributed to a U-turn in US policy. In July 1995 a line was drawn at the menace to Gorazde, where British troops were stationed. The UN’s lack of flexibility because of the need to maintain impartiality diminished and there was an increased readiness to deploy the air force. The military were given wider powers to deploy it, and the ‘smoking gun’ condition was dropped. The shelling of the Markale market in Sarajevo in August 1995 triggered tough air strikes by the UN and NATO against the Bosnian Serbian air defence. That united action – “Deliberate Force” – led to Dayton November 1995, where the reluctant parties were nevertheless forced to sign an agreement. The Netherlands played no role at all at this stage. It was even banned from the conference table.

Dutch Govt. Report On Massacre At Srebrenica

Below you find the table of contents of the English version of the report. The main items are links to parts of the report. By clicking the link you can open a pdf-file of the part. The complete report is around 26 MB in size.

VOLUME I

Prologue / The history preceding the conflict: Yugoslavia up till 1991

  1. The era up till 1945
  2. Tito’s Yugoslavia
  3. The era after Tito
  4. Yugoslavia during the Serbian presidency of Slobodan Milošević
  5. The West and Yugoslavia before the crisis

Part I The Yugoslavian problem and the role of the West 1991-1994

Introduction

  1. Europe confronted with war in Slovenia: June-July 1991
  2. The war in Croatia and the western reaction
  3. Recognition of Croatia and Slovenia and the significance of that for Bosnia
  4. UNPROFOR and the Dutch contribution
  5. The start of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina: March 1992 – May 1992
  6. Emotionalization of the debate following reports about the camps (‘Omarska’): June 1992 – August 1992
  7. The Autumn after ‘London’: September 1992 – October 1992
  8. Safe Areas as spin-offs from humanitarian action: November 1992 – December 1992
  9. The rapes in Bosnia and the Vance-Owen peace plan, January 1993 – February 1993
  10. Srebrenica under siege
  11. Bankruptcy of the international community – the Netherlands as a catalyser: May to July 1993
  12. The Owen-Stoltenberg plan: June 1993 – September 1993
  13. Offering the Airmobile Brigade: August 1993 – November 1993
  14. Interim balance
  15. Problems with implementation

VOLUME II

Part II Dutchbat in the enclave Srebrenica

  1. The organizational structure of UNPROFOR
  2. The history preceding the conflict in Eastern Bosnia up until the establishment of the Safe Area
  3. Srebrenica under UN protection: demilitarized and Safe Area (March – June 1992)
  4. Srebrenica in the time of CanBat – the humanitarian situation and the arrival of the NGOs
  5. The preparation and dispatch of Dutchbat
  6. Operational performance of Dutchbat I, II and III in the Safe Area Srebrenica
  7. Dutchbat in the enclave – the local perspective
  8. Peacekeeping and humanitarian action
  9. How Dutchbat functioned internally until the VRS attack
  10. Srebrenica from the national and international point of view

Part III The fall of Srebrenica

  1. The military and political situation in the Spring of 1995
  2. Air power: Close Air Support and air strikes
  3. No air actions on release of the hostages: a deal between Janvier and Mladić?
  4. The mood in the enclave: May – July 1995
  5. The period from 25 May 1995 to 6 July 1995
  6. The Fall of Srebrenica: 6 to 11 July 1995
  7. 6 – 11 July 1995 – retrospective accounts
  8. Plans to re-take Srebrenica
  9. The departure of Dutchbat from Srebrenica

VOLUME III

Part IV The repercussion and the aftermath until the end of 1995

  1. The journey from Srebrenica to Tuzla
  2. The executions
  3. The news of the executions and the mass graves
  4. Potočari – Dutchbat and the fate of the local population
  5. The debriefings in Zagreb
  6. ‘Circus Pleso’
  7. The big debriefing in Assen, 4 September 1995 – 4 October 1995
  8. The ‘Srebrenica affair’ in the public domain
  9. The fate of the other eastern enclaves

Appendices

I – Dutchbat III and the population: medical issues

II – Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992 – 1995: The role of the intelligence and security services

III – Chemical weapons used?

IV – History and Reminders in East Bosnia

V – Western Perceptions and Balkan Realities

VI – The Background of the Yugoslav crisis: A review of the literature

VII – Resupply by air

VIII – Background and influence of media reporting of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia during the period 1991-1995: A study of views and methods of Dutch journalists

IX – List of people interviewed

X – Archive Overview

XI – The organization and coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

XII – Defence in a changing world

XIII – Chronology of the Bosnian conflict 1990 – 1995

Last Modified: 19-07-2010

NIOD: Instituut voor oorlogs-, holocaust- en genocidestudies

Have You Ever Heard Of “Al-CIA-da” Attacking Iran?

[I, myself, have been one of the loudest voices in the past, protesting that “Al Qaeda is Sunni and hates Iran,” but the longer this game goes on, the more I come to see that Shia Iran has been an ally of the real “al-CIA-da” all along.  After all, wasn’t it Iran that supplied most of the first recruits from the Afghan mujahedeen to ship to Bosnia for Clinton? (SEE:  Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre).  Can anyone remember ever hearing of an “al-CIA-da” attack upon Iran, or Shiites, for that matter?  For Westerners to admit that previous murders and terrorist attacks have been committed by the same bunch of intelligence operatives that we normally would label “al-Qaeda” anywhere else, would be an admission of our own major guilt in international terrorism, or our ISI surrogates, or the Saudis. 

As far as the timely “al-CIA-da” plots to bomb trains in Canada, involving Iranian sources, anything is possible in this messed-up world    (SEE: Conservative anti-terror bill and arrests match up beautifully, don’t they: Mallick).  The big problem with this bit of terrorist news, which coincidentally supports currently debated Canadian anti-terror legislation, is that it is old news; the reported plot is at least one year old (dormant). Like all news concerning the terrorist phenomenon known as “al-CIA-da,” it is all conveniently-timed hype, intended to ease the democratic transition into a total police state.  Canada is behaving like a good subservient government should act.  Ottawa is walking the rocky path to Fascism blazed by Cheney and Bush.]

“No attack was imminent and the tip was a year old.”

Iran’s unlikely Al Qaeda ties fluid, murky and deteriorating 

dawn

al-zawahiri-file-670Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. — File photo

When Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri spoke in an audio message broadcast to supporters earlier this month, he had harsh words for Iran. Its true face, he said, had been unmasked by its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against fighters loyal to Al Qaeda.

Yet it is symptomatic of the peculiar relationship between Tehran and Al Qaeda that in the same month Canadian police would accuse “Al Qaeda elements in Iran” of backing a plot to derail a passenger train.

Shia Muslim Iran and strict Sunni militant group Al Qaeda are natural enemies on either side of the Muslim world’s great sectarian divide.

Yet intelligence veterans say that Iran, in pursuing its own ends, has in the past taken advantage of Al Qaeda fighters’ need to shelter or pass through its territory. It is a murky relationship that has been fluid and, say some in the intelligence community, has deteriorated in recent years.

“I wouldn’t even call it a marriage of convenience. It’s an association of convenience,” said Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism for Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service and later head of the UN Security Council’s monitoring team maintaining the world body’s Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions blacklists.

“It’s not a strategic alliance. An Al Qaeda presence may suit the Iranians because it allows them to keep an eye on them, it gives them leverage in the form of people who are akin to hostages,” he added.

“There has been a lot of travel between Iraq and Pakistan and I cannot imagine the Iranians are not aware of that,” he said. But it was unlikely that Iran would take the risk of actively collaborating with Al Qaeda against North America: “I don’t think the Iranians would take it kindly if it turned out that there had been plotting by Al Qaeda on their territory.”

Canadian police have said there was no sign the plot had been sponsored by the Iranian state. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Al Qaeda’s beliefs were in no way consistent with Tehran’s.

As yet, many details of the alleged plot remain unclear. However, a US government source cited a network of Al Qaeda fixers based in the Iranian city of Zahedan, close to the borders of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The source said they served as go-betweens, travel agents and financial intermediaries for Al Qaeda operatives and cells operating in Pakistan and moving through the area.

Another Western source suggested that with relations deteriorating between Iran and Al Qaeda over the civil war in Syria, Tehran had acted recently to stop fighters crossing through from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to join Islamist militants fighting to overthrow Assad.

“Although the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda has always been strained, this worsened after 2011 when the two sides lined up on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war,” said Shashank Joshi, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank in London.

“Syria’s strongest rebel group is allied to Al Qaeda, and both have sharply criticised Iranian support for the Assad regime.”

It is unclear whether the planning for the alleged Canadian plot, which Canadian police said had been in the works for some time, was carried out before Syria’s war deepened the strain between Tehran and Al Qaeda.

“There has been a loosening of the ties,” said Barrett, noting that documents released after US forces caught and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 showed the Al Qaeda leader saying he was not able to trust the Iranians at all.

“Since then we have Zawahri castigating Iran quite recently. So clearly something had gone wrong.”

Iranian control far from clear

If indeed the Al Qaeda network was based in and around Zahedan — which lies on the main road to Pakistan and is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province — it is far from clear how easy it would be for Iran to control.

The region is home to a toxic mix of drug smuggling, illicit trade and gun-running by insurgents. Afghan refugees long ago crowded into poor neighborhoods on the outskirts of Zahedan, although Iran, like Pakistan, periodically tries to push them out, arguing they are a security risk.

Iranian authorities have also been battling a Sunni insurgency of their own in recent years by ethnic Baloch complaining of discrimination. The Jundollah group has claimed several attacks including a bombing that killed 42 people in 2009 — there is no sign it is linked to Al Qaeda, though it is often confused with a Pakistan-based group of the same name.

At the same time, on the Pakistan side of the border, Pakistani security forces are fighting an insurgency by secular Baloch separatists, while Al-Qaeda linked militants in the Sunni sectarian Lashkar-i-Jhangvi group have carried out a string of attacks against the Shia population there.

Pragmatic approach

Despite a common Western misconception that Iran, as the pre-eminent Shia power, is motivated by religion, it has always been much more pragmatic in pursuing its national interest, analysts and diplomats say, allowing it to turn a blind eye to Sunni Al Qaeda using its territory.

“The thing that has stymied people is that ‘Al Qaeda is Sunni and the rest of the people we are talking about here are Shia. They don’t mix and match.’ Well, they do. And they do it whenever they want to. They just look the other way,” said Nick Pratt, a retired US Marines colonel and CIA officer now with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Before the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Iran cooperated with India and Russia against the Pakistan-backed Taliban then in power in Kabul. When Al Qaeda members fled Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taliban, it detained them under house arrest in Tehran.

“Since 9/11 a number of senior Al Qaeda figures including one of Osama bin Laden’s sons and senior commander and strategist Saif al Adel made their way to Iran,” said Nigel Inkster, former director of operations for Britain’s MI6.

“They were detained under quite strict conditions by the Iranian authorities who subsequently sought to use them as a bargaining chip with the US government in their ongoing dispute about Iran’s nuclear program,” added Inkster, who is now director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Vahid Brown, a US-based researcher who has written extensively on Al Qaeda, said in an article on the Jihadica website earlier this year that the men who fled to Iran constituted a dissident faction within Al Qaeda, which in recent years had become increasingly vocal in their criticism of Osama and Zawahiri.

Divided by their views on the advisability of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, broadly speaking, “the pro-9/11 group, including bin Laden and Zawahiri, fled to Pakistan, while the anti-9/11 group ended up in Iran, where they were placed under house arrest by Iranian authorities,” he wrote.

Iran had been willing to cooperate with the United States on Afghanistan initially, but relations soured after Tehran was denounced by then President George W. Bush as part of the “axis of evil” in 2002 and worsened further after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Later, analysts say, Tehran allowed Al Qaeda members — among them Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — to transit through Iran.

But Iran has been vulnerable to Al Qaeda as well. After one of its diplomats was kidnapped in Pakistan some years ago it released some of the Al Qaeda members it had under house arrest in exchange for his freedom, according to Pakistani media reports.

“About 18 months ago the Iranians released most if not all of those they were holding, for reasons still not entirely clear,” said Inkster.

“There may well be a residual AQ presence in Iran though I would be cautious about presenting it as something very structured or hierarchic,” he added.

“AQ is far from being the organisation it once was and what matters more are relationships between like-minded individuals. And that may well be what we are seeing in the Canada case. There seems to be no evidence of Iranian official involvement.”

Qatar Pushes To Radicalize the Post-Syrian Environment

Qatar faces backlash among Syrian opposition groups and rebels for outsized role in Syria

foxnews

Associated Press

385493f8c3bfed0d2f0f6a706700b6d2.jpg

 

In a war-battered suburb of Damascus, a commander for one of the smaller nationalist brigades fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad grumbles about the lack of ammunition for his men. He blames Qatar, saying the oil-rich Gulf state directs its backing to rebels with a more Islamist ideology.

Tiny, U.S.-allied Qatar has emerged as one of the strongest international backers of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Many in the Syrian opposition laud Qatar, saying it has stepped in while the international community has failed to intervene or send military aid that would help tip the balance in favor of the rebels, three years into the uprising-turned civil war that has ravaged the country and killed more than 70,000 people.

But its role has also caused tensions within the ranks of the highly fragmented rebellion and political opposition. Some rebel brigades complain they are left out in the cold from the flow of money and weapons, sparking rivalries between secular and Islamist groups. Fighters and opposition activists worry that Qatar is buying outsized influence in post-Assad Syria and giving a boost to Islamist-minded groups if the regime falls.

“Qatar is working to establish an Islamic state in Syria,” Abu Ziad, the commander of a brigade in the Damascus suburb, said sullenly, his Kalashnikov rifle resting on a wooden chair next to his tea glass.

“With their money, the Qataris and a bunch of other countries are exploiting the Syrian revolution, each for their own gains,” said Abu Ziad, speaking on condition he be identified by his nom de guerre for fear of reprisals from the Syrian regime.

Qatar is not the only country in the region feeding support to the rebellion, and the various lines of backing have prompted worries that numerous countries are trying to win influence, often with conflicting agendas. No country has revealed the extent of its aid to the rebellion. But Qatar appears to be the most prominent.

Officials, diplomats and Western military experts told The Associated press last month that Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar were involved in a carefully prepared covert operation of arming the rebels. The U.S. has a consulting role aimed at ensuring the weapons go to secular and moderate rebel groups.

President Barack Obama met Tuesday at the White House with Qatar’s ruler, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and said their two countries will continue to work on more support for the Syrian opposition in the coming months. Washington says it is providing non-lethal aid to the opposition.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Qatar’s influential role at a joint press conference with the country’s prime minister in Doha last month. He said he had received “greater guarantees” from Qatari leaders that nearly all the arms were getting into the hands of moderates among the Syrian rebels.

Qatari officials have denied their country aims to determine the shape of a post-Assad government in Syria. Qatar’s prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, sought to downplay his country’s image as the chief Arab patron for the opposition and dispel worries that it seeks to dominate the scene.

“We are not looking for a role just for us,” he told reporters at the time. “We are looking for a pan-Arab role.”

Syrian opposition figures regularly complain that the main opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, is dominated by fundamentalists from the Muslim Brotherhood backed by Qatar.

Last month, the coalition elected American-educated Ghassan Hitto as its prime minister but almost immediately witnessed a walkout by about a dozen of its members, who accused Qatar and the Brotherhood of using pressure to install its candidate for prime minister.

“The new (interim) government will be composed by the government of Qatar and we will not be part of it,” said well-known opposition figure Kamal al-Labwani, who suspended his membership from the coalition.

Several rebel officials and opposition activists said Islamist rebel brigades backed by Qatar are getting the bulk of the weapons. They spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about the clandestine flow of support.

The majority of rebel factions in Syria have religious leanings to some degree, and many of them call for some sort of rule by Islamic law in a post-Assad era. The Qatari support does not appear to be going to the most hard-line militant or ultraconservative fighters, such as al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, but rather toward organizations with a conservative religious ideology, away from brigades with a secular or nationalist bent.

Among those are Islamic groups such as the Ahfad al-Rasoul, al-Furqan and Tawheed brigades, the rebel officials and activists said. Tahweed is one of the largest rebel groups operating in the northern province of Aleppo, which has been a major front in the civil war since July. It is also strongly backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist political organization that is closely allied to Qatar, and is part of the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, an umbrella group formed last year incorporating some of the largest Islamist groups in northern Syria.

Representatives of those brigades could not be reached for comment.

A senior member of the Military Council in Damascus and its Suburbs, which is seen as a moderate Islamic faction, said his group’s fighters do not receive weapons but that the “brothers” in Qatar were among the chief financers of the group. He spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

The Military Council nominally falls under the main rebel umbrella Free Syrian Army. The FSA regrouped in December under a unified rebel command headed by Gen. Salim Idris, who is seen as a secular-minded moderate. But Idris is believed to have very limited control over the dozens of brigades and battalions inside Syria.

Abu Ziad said tensions resulting from diverging allegiances among rebel factions have led to setbacks on the ground. He cited the case of Jobar, a key district on the northeastern edge of Damascus, where rebels have been trying to push in the capital and clashing with government troops for weeks.

The area is controlled by nationalist brigades including his own, Islamist groups backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Jabhat al-Nusra. But the rebels’ advance in the district has been held up by disagreements between the groups over who should take the lead in the fight, he said. His account of the situation was corroborated by two other rebels, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the divisions among fighters.

“My men have been in Jobar for 55 days with hardly any ammunition,” said Abu Ziad. He said Islamic factions recently received shipments that “they do not share.”

There is also mistrust of Qatar on the opposite end of the rebel spectrum, among the more hard-line Islamic fighters.

Abu Mohammad, a fighter for Ahrar al-Sham, a prominent rebel brigade in northern Syria with an ultra-conservative ideology, said Qatar, as well as Turkey, “is interested in ruling Syria” once the regime is toppled.

He said his group never saw “a dime from Qatar, which supports its own people.” He declined to specify which groups Qatar backs. He spoke via Skype from the eastern city of Raqqa, which in early March became the first provincial capital to completely fall to the rebellion and which is now controlled by Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Abu Muhammed said his group received some weapons from Iraqis and some from “good people in the region” but mainly from looting the stores of regime forces. He spoke on condition he be identified by his nom de guerre to avoid reprisals.

Qatar has strongly touted its support for the Syrian uprising. At an Arab League summit last month in Doha, Qatar managed to push through a declaration saying member states had a “right” to aid rebel fighters. The statement was seen as an attempt by Qatar to burnish its reputation in the battlefield and mark itself as a leading advocate for the various rebel forces.

Qatar was among the few Arab states offering active military assistance to NATO-led attacks against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya and, at the same time, was a key arms-and-money pipeline for Libyan rebels who overthrew Gadhafi. In Egypt, Qatar has been a strong backer of President Mohammed Morsi, a veteran of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Qatar has something of an image problem with the rebels in the field” in Syria, said Salman Shaikh, director of The Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “They are seen as almost pushing too hard and that raises questions about their objectives.”

___

Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A journalist in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.

Riyadh Freaking-Out Over the Danger of International Criticism

MOJ calls for verifying info from sources

SaudiGazette
Abdulrahman Al-Ali

JEDDAH — The Kingdom is ready to provide anyone with accurate information about any legal or criminal issue that takes place on its territories, Justice Minister Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa told the European Parliament in Brussels during his lecture on Monday.

He said the principles of justice entail that any false information promoted by some sources should be ascertained first before making any judgments.

He stressed the importance of checking sources because they do not always have any material evidence that proves their claims.

Besides, they have ulterior motives and want to achieve certain goals, he claimed.

Any piece of information that does not have material evidence should not be believed, let alone used to make judgments about certain issues, Al-Issa added.

He asked the audience whether it was logical to make judgments about a certain issue based on a piece of information by some source.

Many times these pieces of information have proved to be inaccurate and in some cases made up, he said.

He said: “The Kingdom is an open book and does not have anything to hide.

“Its courts are based on legal transparent procedures.

“Anyone can attend court sessions that are held in the Kingdom.

“No one in this universe is perfect and we are part of this universe.

“No one wants others to convey false information about him.

“But if he conceals the truth, he should be rightly blamed by everyone.”

There is a distinct difference between freedom and chaos and violation of laws, the minister said.

Freedom stops when it violates laws and disrespects others and infringe upon their freedoms.

Al-Issa met with Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, who called on the minister to arrange open meetings with Saudi justice officials to discuss several issues and exchange opinions.

Al-Issa’s lecture focused on Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s program to develop the judicial system.

Strategic Overview Invisible Wounds of War–US ARMY Surgeon General

Army Medicine Healthcare Covenant

The Army Surgeon General and Medical Commander, LTG Patricia Horoho, and Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock, U.S. Army Medical Command Senior Enlisted Advisor, signed a new Army Medicine Healthcare Covenant. The covenant signed 2 Feb., during the Army breakout and final day of the Military Health System Conference is leadership’s commitment to the health, wellness and resilience of the Force and their Families.
STATEMENT BY PATRICIA D. HOROHO
THE SURGEON GENERAL UNITED STATES ARMY
MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH
APRIL10, 2013

Strategic Overview Invisible Wounds of War

Afghan Massacre Trial On Hold Until the Pentagon Comes To Grips With Reality

[The Army trial of Staff Sgt Robert Bales of Ohio for the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians is in complete disarray.  The big point of contention is that “the Army is confused about how to deal with the issue of PTSD, formerly known as ‘battle fatigue,’ or ‘shell shock.”‘  They consider it a disipline problem, men unwilling to grow-up on command.”  The Big Brass are afraid to let this media trial proceed, if it will expose the shockingly cruel callous Pentagon culture of “machismo,” which refuses to believe in or to accept the concept of “post-traumatic stress disorder.”  It is the macho delusion that this Army possesses superhuman capabilities, which prevents its generals from accepting the high toll that their polices have exacted upon American personnel (SEE: Army Shuts-Down Unmanly “New Agey” Therapy At Madigan Army Center ).  This delusional mindset led America directly into a quagmire, before the first forces were ever deployed, because the Generals pretended that their “all-volunteer force” was sufficient to fight two full-scale ground wars, even though the volunteer force could not supply sufficient manpower for one major war, without calling-out all of the reserves.  

Staff Sgt. Bales did not want to deploy to Afghanistan, after serving three tours in Iraq.  If anybody ever had a reason to suffer traumatic stress, it was Sgt. Bales and every other overworked soldier like him.  Just like the case of My Lai and Lt. William Calley, how could they be faulted for civilian massacres, when they saw similar slaugter taking place everyday?  As far as they knew, they were just being “gung ho” in the service of their country.  Gooks, towelheads, Chincs, Japs, these are all derogatory racial epethets which were supplied by the Pentagon chain of command to the men on the front lines.  Killing as many of them as possible, has always been the soldiers’ primary mission.]

Defense seeks new expert in Afghan killings case

seattletime times

Attorneys for the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians during a 2012 rampage have asked that a new psychiatric expert be appointed in the case.

By GENE JOHNSON

Associated Press

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. —

Attorneys for the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians during a 2012 rampage have asked that a new psychiatric expert be appointed in the case.

Emma Scanlan, an attorney for Robert Bales, made the request during a hearing Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

Citing attorney-client privilege, Scanlan did not say why the request was made. The defense team provided its reasons to the judge – but not prosecutors – in a confidential court filing.

Prosecutors objected to the motion, saying it smacked of witness shopping.

Outside experts believe a key issue going forward will be to determine if Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Bales served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A ruling on the defense team’s request will be made later.

At Tuesday’s hearing, attorneys also discussed which witnesses might be allowed to testify on Bales’ behalf, should the case reach a sentencing phase.

Defense attorneys also asked for a consultant to be appointed to help them pick jurors. The judge said he would rule on that later.

The defense also requested the handwritten notes of the first Afghan government officials who viewed the crime scene.

The defense team has received an official report about those findings, but lawyers said the notes could yield information left out of the report. Prosecutors said they so far have been unable to obtain the notes from the Afghans. At the judge’s request, they agreed to make another attempt through official channels.

“They took a lot of notes, and that’s what we want to see,” Major Greg Malson, one of Bales’ attorney, said after the hearing.

Bales is to be court-martialed on premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.

The Ohio native and father of two is accused of slaying mostly women and children during pre-dawn raids on March 11, 2012.

Bales, 39, has not entered a plea. The Army is seeking the death penalty. The U.S. military has not executed anyone since 1961.

The slayings last year drew such angry protests that the U.S. temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan, and it was three weeks before American investigators could reach the crime scenes.

Bales’ defense team has said the government’s case is incomplete.

During a previous preliminary hearing, prosecutors built a strong eyewitness case against the veteran soldier, with troops recounting how they saw Bales return to the base alone, covered in blood. One soldier testified that Bales woke him up in the middle of the night, saying he had just shot people at one village and that he was heading out again to attack another. The soldier said he didn’t believe Bales and went back to sleep.

Afghan witnesses questioned via a video link from a forward operating base near Kandahar City described the horror of that night. A teenage boy recalled how the gunman kept firing as youths scrambled, yelling: “We are children! We are children!”

An Army criminal investigations command special agent testified earlier that Bales tested positive for steroids three days after the killings, and other soldiers testified that Bales had been drinking the evening of the massacre.

Arab League rejects UN call to stop arming Syrian rebels

Arab League rejects UN call to stop arming Syrian rebels

times of israel

‘Since the government receives weapons, the opposition receives weapons. I don’t think that’s a hurdle,’ says Nabil Elaraby

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat /Flash90/File)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat /Flash90/File)

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Arab nations Monday to stop supplying arms to either side in the Syrian conflict but the Arab League chief said it’s impossible to halt the flow of weapons at this time.

Ban made his appeal during a meeting Monday morning with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Qatar has led appeals to provide rebel fighters more heavy weapons in attempts to turn the tide in the more than 2-year-old civil war that according to the U.N. has killed more than 70,000 people.

Elaraby was asked about Ban’s appeal to stem the supply of arms to the government and opposition after a second meeting Monday afternoon with Ban, this time with Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria.

“If there is a political settlement or the beginning of a political settlement it could happen,” Elaraby said, “but at this point I don’t think it’s possible because the government is getting arms from certain parties, so if the other side gets some arms from certain parties, I think you can get some form of a balance there.”

Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has been a major arms supplier to Syria, reportedly along with Iran and Hezbollah.

Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council that would have pressured the Syrian leader to stop the violence. With Moscow demanding equal condemnation of the opposition, the U.N.’s most powerful body has remained paralyzed.

Brahimi told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council on Friday that he is still promoting a peace plan that would establish a transitional governing body vested with full executive powers, and end with elections. But Damascus has shown no appetite for any agreement that would require Assad to step aside.

Elaraby said he, Brahimi and Ban “went through the difficulties” in Syria during Monday’s meeting.

“There’s something that has to be done, but no specific ideas came out,” he said.

Nesirky said the three men discussed ways to help the Syrian parties start a political process leading to an end to violence and a political transition.

The secretary-general reiterated his resolve to do all in his powers to help end the tragedy in Syria and again called on the Security Council to unite and put its weight behind a political solution and Brahimi’s efforts to achieve one, Nesirky said.

Brahimi on Friday denied rumors he was resigning, capping more than a week of widespread reports in the Arab world that he was quitting in frustration, or dumping his affiliation with the Arab League, which has officially recognized the Syrian opposition forces as the legitimate government.

Elaraby told reporters that Brahimi’s resignation was not discussed on Monday.

“We are happy with him,” he said, adding that he made this view clear to Ban.

“We all support a joint mission between the two organizations because they seek one single objective … to have peace, security, stability, democracy and liberty in Syria,” the Arab League chief said.

Elaraby denied that recent Arab League decisions are hindering Brahimi’s work.

“Since the government receives weapons, the opposition receives weapons. I don’t think that’s a hurdle,” he said. “The government is not controlling the country, it is a reality. Some 40 percent of the country is not under the government’s control.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

The Only Logical “Strong Stand Against Terrorism” Is An Invasion of Saudi Arabia

[The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques urges the international to take a strong, coordinated stand against terrorism, without ever mentioning “Islamist terrorism,” or the fact that the only reasonable stand against terror is to attack its source—that would be Riyadh.]

Saudi Arabia calls for strong stand against terrorism

arab news
  • 1366655108322683500.jpg

    Crown Prince Salman chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting. (SPA)

RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Saudi Arabia condemned the bombings in Boston and in Iraqi cities recently, stressing the need for the international community to take strong stand against terrorist attacks.
“The international community is required to take a determined stand against all acts of violence and terror whatever might their source be and bring an end to the dastardly acts that target innocent people with the least consideration of humanitarian values,” Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency yesterday.

Russian Air Force To Take Delivery of One-Hundred New Combat Aircraft In 2014

Russian Air Force in 2014 will get about a hundred new combat aircraft

sol online

 

Перспективный истребитель Т-50 (ПАК ФА)Promising fighter T-50 (PAK FA)

 

The President of the United Aircraft Corporation Mikhail Pogosyan said that the Russian Air Force in 2014, will get about a hundred new combat aircraft. According to Pogosyan in 2012, military received 35 aircraft of various types, and in 2013 the KLA has to deliver to the Air Force Russia 60 new aircraft.

According to the newspaper “Kommersant” Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with the KLA in the framework of the state defense order in 2013 for a total of 62.6 billion rubles. In accordance with these agreements, the troops have to get 66 new aircraft of various types and 23 modernized and refurbished aircrafts.

Separately, states that up to 15 April, the parties did not have time to sign seven contracts totaling $ 11.4 billion. We are talking about the maintenance, repair and modernization of the Tu-22M3, Tu-95MS and Tu-160.

The current Russian state armaments program provides for the period from 2011 to 2020, receiving military department 20 trillion rubles. Of this amount, about 5 trillion rubles will be spent on upgrading existing aircraft, as well as the development, production and purchase of new aircraft, including fighter T-50 (PAK FA).

Total 2020 Russian Air Force will receive more than a thousand new and upgraded aircraft of various types.

Putin Wins, Obama Loses in Boston Jihad, “Or Cui bono”?–(Who Benefits?)

Putin Wins, Obama Loses in Boston Jihad

FORBES DELETED THIS ARTICLE

 Pundits tut-tutted when a left-wing publication hoped out loud that white, anti-tax, domestic terrorists perpetrated the Boston marathon massacre. They had reason to hope: Wouldn’t backwoods, pick-up-truck radicals pick tax day for their strike?  What a disappointment to learn that the terrorists were young Muslim devotees of jihadist web sites. Such liberal Wuenschtraueme [Dreams–ed.] were indeed in bad taste, but terror incidents do have political consequences, sometimes vast; so why shy away from discussing them? The Oklahoma City bombing by white anti-government terrorists resuscitated a faltering Clinton presidency. George Bush’s performance at the ruins of the World Trade Center in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was the high point of his presidency. Boston jihad should plague Barack Obama throughout his second term as it raises legitimate question about his handling of the war on terror. It will help Vladimir Putin remove the last vestiges of democracy and free press from his totalitarian Russia without a peep from the U.S. The Boston Marathon attack undermines Obama’s claimed foreign-policy achievement (“I killed Osama and Al Qaeda is on the run.”) on which he based his campaign. A newsman as respected as Tom Brokaw refuted Obama in clear words that could not be misunderstood: “With the death of Osama Bin Laden, Islamic rage did not go away. In fact, it is in some way more dangerous.” Imagine the effect of a Brokaw making such a statement on the eve of the election, but Obama no longer has to face the electorate. He is home safe. At a more fundamental level, Boston jihad calls into question Obama’s treatment of Islamic fundamentalism with excessive sensitivity, sympathy, and understanding. If we can understand the root causes of Islamic terror and recognize our own fault in the matter, we can them win over. Obama appears to believe. We must be slow to blame and not offend Muslim sensitivities. A Muslim-American army psychiatrist who shoots fellow soldiers with the cry “Allah is great” must have been mistreated or suffer from mental problems. His ties with a radical Muslim preacher are just coincidence. The fatal attack on our Benghazi consulate was by an unorganized mob enraged by an anti-Islam film. We must not mistreat suspected Islamic terrorists once in custody as did his insensitive predecessor (but we can kill them with drone strikes from the air). Boston jihad raises entirely legitimate questions about the Obama administration’s handling of the war on terror.  Over the past four years, tales of plots and conspiracies thwarted up by an almost infallible security team lulled us into a sense of security. Boston suggests this was either exaggeration or simply good luck. If we required a major investigation to pin blame for the unforeseeable World Trade Center attack, surely we now must ask: Why did the FBI fail to see the danger of the elder Tsarnaev brother after receiving tips from Russia, interviewing him, and learning of his growing radicalism? If the Tsarnaev brothers prove to be part of a sleeper cell, how did our homeland security miss this fact? Will the Obama justice department allow the younger Tsarnaev Miranda rights, when accomplices may be fleeing? Will he be tried in civilian courts? Will there be a full Congressional investigation of Boston jihad just as there was for 9/11? If so, who will the scapegoats be? Vladimir Putin is an entirely different story. He gets a windfall from Boston jihad. When President Obama telephoned Putin to thank him for his cooperation, it should have been Putin thanking Obama for boosting him both at home and abroad. The Chechen Boston jihadists suggest to America and the rest of the world glued to events in Boston that

it is Putin who vigilantly guards the front line against Islamic terrorism.

The Chechen brothers’ killing of innocent people shows what he is up against in Russia and why his troops and proxies have, at times, gone over the line of torture, murder, and bombing of civilians. (Estimates place Chechen civilian casualties between 50,000 and 200,000 in a population of 1.2 million). The Chechen origin of the Boston bombers gives Putin a freer hand to deal brutally and consequently with opponents/terrorists in Chechnya and move against the few human rights advocates left in Russia willing to take up the civilian Chechen cause. The timing of the Boston marathon slaughter also could not have been more propitious for Putin. Over Obama’s objections, Congress’s had just released its “Magnitsky List” of Russian human-rights abusers denied U.S. visas. Three officials on the list were charged with atrocities in Chechnya. Putin may have had some choice words for Obama during their phone conversation, such as “Take my people off your stupid Magnitsky List! Don’t you coddled Americans see what I am against? And, by the way, world journalists stop complaining about the unsolved murder of investigative reporter Anna Politovskaya. She had no business sticking her nose into Chechen business anyway.” Most of all, Putin wants the world to view Chechnya as part of the war against Islamic terror, not as  the suppression of an independence movement with legitimate grievances. He does not want outsiders to know that Chechen nationalists fight for national independence,  not against Christian crusaders or for a new caliphate. Chechens used their mountainous terrain and fierce warriors to remain free of the Tartar Yoke from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries and was the last independent region incorporated into the Russian Empire. Chechens paid a stiff price for their nationalism in the Soviet period. From the late 1930s through World War II, Stalin deported Chechens as traitors to Soviet power. As in Syria, the Chechen picture is a mixed one. The invasion of a Muslim republic by “Christian” Russian forces naturally attracted jihadists to Chechnya (and has provided international jihad with warriors, now including the Tsarnaev brothers). While Putin has fought an independence movement, which he interprets as a war against Islamic terrorism, the United States battles the fundamentalist Islam of Al Qaeda, and its numerous branches, offshoots, and copycats.  Putin is uninterested in joining the general fight against Islamic extremism. His only worry is Chechnya. Putin is the anti-Obama with respect to his brutal treatment of Chechen Muslims: In his first days in power, Putin publicly blamed Chechen terrorists for bombing civilian apartment houses even though evidence pointed to his own security forces. Putin’s scorched earth attack  left a Chechnya of ghost cities and tens of thousands of Chechen civilians dead. Journalists investigating horrible atrocities against Chechens were taken out by professional killers, who remain unpunished. Putin did not restrain his skin-head Nashi hooligans, when they targeted dark skinned people on the streets. Putin has made the cooperative Russian Orthodox Church the state religion, leaving little room for Russia’s massive Muslim population. Boston jihad cannot not be swept under the rug like Benghazi. The tragic Benghazi attack took place largely out of camera range. An incurious press played it as a security breach, not as evidence of organized Al Qaeda retaliation. The mayhem and carnage of Boston played out in full view of the world. The human images of pain, suffering, heroism and perseverance played 24/7. Boston and Benghazi form a potent combination that shows how vulnerable to terrorism both at home and abroad.

Obama To Thank Qatari Despot for Being A Good Oinker

Pig of Qatar

Qatari ruler Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at the White House (file photo)

Obama to thank Qatari despot for aiding US intrusive bids in region 

PressTV

US President Barack Obama plans to thank the Qatari ruler during his Washington visit for hosting an American air base in the Persian Gulf and his help with many US intervention bids in Muslim nations, including channeling of arms to militant gangs in Syria.

Obama reportedly also intends to “press” Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani “to ensure” that the massive amounts of weapons Qatar is purchasing and shipping to anti-Damascus insurgents does not end up with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front militants “and other extremist groups” fighting the Syrian government when he welcomes the Qatari dictator to the White House on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports.

According to the report, “allegations” that “some Qatari aid is flowing to extremist” militant gangs in Syria have been made “primarily by Qatar’s Persian Gulf neighbors, which are rivals for regional influence” and have their own aims and objectives in the anti-Damascus intervention.

“All are friends of the United States, and their rivalry has put the Obama administration in a difficult position as it tries to establish the parameters of its Syria policy,” the influential US daily adds in its Tuesday report.

Further pointing to Washington’s efforts to keep its anti-Syria so-called “core group” together, the report adds that Obama also held talks earlier this month with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia’s long-time Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in separate meetings in Washington.

In addition to US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the US-led ‘core group’ includes France, Britain, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Jordan, UAE and Egypt.

In the next few weeks, the daily adds, Obama will also host Jordanian despot King Abdullah and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington to further discuss the US-led armed intervention efforts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the only country in the region that has actively supported Palestinian resistance against premier American foreign ally, the Israeli regime.

Turkey and Jordan share borders with Syria and play host to thousands of Syrian refugees, displaced by the ongoing foreign-backed insurgency in the country.

The Post report also cites “a senior State Department” official as claiming that Persian Gulf Arab government are not the only source of weapons shipped to anti-Damascus terror gangs in Syria and that rich Arab businessmen in the Persian Gulf also ship large amounts of arms to the militant groups.

“Some of my men, through their own connections, family and friends, know people in the gulf, business people who can literally get them millions of dollars in cases within a few days. How do I tell my guys don’t take that money from that business guy who is backed by an Islamist network?” a top anti-Damascus militant commander is quoted as saying by the unnamed US official.

Meanwhile, amid growing reports of a US plan for a military invasion of Syria under the pretext of securing the country’s chemical weapons, Director of American National Intelligence James Clapper stated in remarks at the US Senate last Thursday that collapse of the Syrian government would constitute “a huge strategic loss to Iran.”

This is while Washington has also claimed “an Iran threat” to justify major arms deals with the Israeli regime, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are to be signed this week during visits by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the region this week.

Clapper, however, also expressed concerns that the foreign-backed unrest in Syria is destabilizing neighboring Jordan and Lebanon.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.

MFB/MFB

Canada Conforms To US Puppet Status, Hyping “al-Qaeda Train Plot” Before Emergency Debate On Anti Terrorism Bill

Canadians react to RCMP terror plot takedown

“Timing of this news release a coincidence? On the Monday when Harper wants to have an emergency debate on the Anti Terrorism Bill?” wrote CBCNews.ca reader ruthbl.

 
Agreeing, PattyCakes1234 on our story about the bill that “this is a pure scare tactic to take away our rights. The recent ‘alleged’ terror plot, I believe is just fear mongering. How convenient that the arrests occurred the day before the possible vote of the terrorism bill proposed by the conservatives.”

A Stephen Harper parody account weighed in on Twitter to the same effect. Not Steve Harper @pmoharper I’d like to thank the RCMP for detaining terror suspects the very same day my govt suddenly debates new terror laws.

As did several others.

William Gibson @GreatDismal Tories hoping to pass new anti-terrorism bill today, so timing of RCMP/CSIS presser on alleged plot a bit tacky.

Sana Saeed @SanaSaeed Bill S-7 authorizes pre-emptive detention of Canadians for up to 3 days without charge. RCMP arrested two men pre-emptively today. Um.

min reyes @Min_Reyes arrests were made today, the same day Bill S7 is to be debated… while suspects have been under surveillance for over a year.

Others were simply confused by the seemingly unusual circumstances.

“What is meant by “al Qaeda elements in Iran” exactly?” wrote CBCNews.ca reader awalli. “Most should know by now that al Qaeda is rooted in the Salafist movement, primarily out of Saudi Arabia, and are arch-enemies of the majority Itna Asharis of Iran. In large part, they don’t even speak the same language.”

As a militant Salafist Islamic movement, al-Qaeda preaches a radical anti-Shia ideology that places it firmly at odds with Shia Iran, according to BBC News Persian correspondent Mohammad Manzarpour.

Canadians react to RCMP terror plot takedown

cbc news

Your Community

 

 

  1. Canadians are full of questions today after the RCMP’s announcement that two men have been arrested in a connection with a thwarted terrorist attack involving a Via passenger train in the Greater Toronto Area.
  2. Alleged terror plot thwarted by arrests in Ontario, Quebec – Politics – CBC News

    Greg Weston National Affairs Specialist Police have made a number of arrests in southern Ontario and Quebec following a joint operation b…
  3. In a press conference Monday afternoon, Canadian police  accused two men — identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto — of conspiring to commit an “al-Qaeda-supported ” attack.
     

    Police said the two accused were getting “direction and guidance” from al-Qaeda elements in Iran, but also noted that there was no information to suggest the attacks were state sponsored.

    In the moments following the RCMP’s announcement, many online expressed shock, relief, and gratitude towards investigators for halting the attack before it could take place.

Tsarnaevs’ Maryland Uncle Ruslan Work for Halliburton or CIA?

Was Boston Bombers ‘Uncle Ruslan’ with the CIA?

 

The uncle of the two men who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, who struck the only grace note in an otherwise horrific week, worked as a “consultant” for the Agency for International Development (USAID) a U.S. Government Agency often used for cover by agents of the CIA, in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan during the “Wild West” days of the early 1990’s, when anything that wasn’t nailed down in that country was up for grabs.

“Uncle Ruslan” Tsarni of Montgomery Village Md., whose name was the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter last Friday for his plain-spoken condemnation of his two nephews, has had a checkered business career, that began well before he graduated (as Ruslan Z Tsarnaev) from Duke Law School in 1998.

Tsarni, a well-connected oil executive,  is currently involved in an international criminal investigation into a Kazakh billionaire banker-turned-fugitive alleged to have absconded with $6 billion from Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank.

The story begins with The London Sunday Times on May 8, 2011, which reported the sale of the personal home of England’s Prince Andrew to billionaire Kazakh Oligarch Timur Kulibayev, who “controls that country’s oil industry and happens to be married to the daughter of its autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev.”

What does that have to do with “Uncle Ruslan?” Let’s take a look.

“Can’t tell your Oligarchs without a scorecard”

Headlined “Prince’s home in ‘laundered cash’ inquiry,” the story raised several red flags.

One was that the President-for-Life’s son-in-law had paid $5 million over the asking price to purchase Prince Andrew’s home, which raised eyebrows.

Red flags and eyebrows were raised still further, in these times of global near-depression, at the conspicuous oligarchic consumption (read: bad taste) exhibited when the Kazakh President-for-Life’s daughter-for-life Goga Ashkenazi celebrated her 30th birthday with a lavish party before the scandal hit.

Goga, who made her appearance in a Swarovski crystal-encrusted, backless lace dress, attended by Prince-for-Life Andrew, was  entertained by fire-eaters, peacock-feathered stilt-walkers, and a girl swinging on a trapeze pouring vodka into ice sculptures shaped like naked male and female torsos.

There was even a woman suspended in a bird cage (true) who was there to direct guests to strategically-placed vomitoriums (alas, not true) strewn about the mansion grounds.

Enter “Uncle Ruslan”

But the biggest red flag, the one pertinent to murder in Boston, was Oligarch Kukibayev’s use of money laundered through a network of offshore companies to attempt to hide his purchase of Prince Andrew’s crib, which emerged during a legal battle between another billionaire Kazakh oligarch, Mukhtar Ablyazov, and BTA Bank, from which Kazakhstan claims Ablyazov embezzled a very cool $6 billion dollars.

And this is where “Uncle Ruslan” Tsarni comes in.

The purchase of the Prince’s estate was put together, according to prosecutors in Italy and Switzerland, by a group of oil executives who comprise “a network of personal and business relationships” allegedly used for “international corruption,” reported  The London Telegraph.

Tsarni, called “a US lawyer who has had dealings in Kazakh business affairs,” by the Sunday Times, clearly appears to be a member of that network.

The Sunday Times reported, “A statement by Ruslan Zaindi Tsarni was given in the High Court in December, claiming that Kulibayev bought Sunninghill and properties in Mayfair with $96 million derived from a complex series of deals intended to disguise money laundering.”

“Tsarni alleged that the money came from the takeover of a western company, which had been used as a front to obtain oil contracts from the Kazakh state.”

A Big Big Sky’s the Limit

The “western company” used to launder the money which the Sunday Times referred to is Big Sky Energy Corporation, where Ruslan Tsarni was a top executive.

Big Sky, which used to be known as China Energy Ventures Corp, is a now-bankrupt US oil company run by S.A. (Al) Sehsuvaroglu, a long-time executive of Halliburton, which had oil leases in Kakakhstan’s Caspian Basin.

Tsarni was Big Sky’s Corporate Secretary and Vice President for Business Development. He joined Big Sky in 2005.

A press release announcing his appointment stated:

“Mr. Ruslan Tsarni, a U.S. citizen, has over 10 years of professional experience in oil and gas legislation and corporate law. Previously, Mr. Tsarni served as Corporate Counsel of Nelson Resources Limited Group as well as Managing Director of several of its operating subsidiaries.

“From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Tsarni worked as Head of Legal Affairs of Golden Eagle Partners LLC.

Big Sky was on somebody’s watch list

“From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Tsarni served as a consultant contracted by USAID for projects aimed to develop securities markets in Central Asia, where he trained corporate governance and corporate finance principals in state and private companies.”

According to a source who worked for many years as a journalist at Platts Oilgram News, a respected oil industry trade publication, good corporate governance was not a Big Sky priority.

“Nelson, Big Sky, Ablyazov, Kulibayev and the rest were all on my watch list for intelligence connections and pay-offs of various kinds at Platts,” stated the source, who requested anonymity.

The news corroborates other reports beginning to emerge about the family and its abundant connections.

A “connected” family?

Before the Tsarnaev family moved to the United States a decade ago, they lived in the northern Kyrgyz town of Tokmok, near the border with Kazakhstan, which is home of the country’s largest ethnic Chechen community.

The day after the massive manhunt in the Boston area that led to the death of Tamerlan and the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Radio Free Europe and Kyrgyz Service correspondent Timur Toktonaliev traveled to Tokmok.

From there, he reported that the extended Tsarnaev family is well-known there, even beyond their local community.

“It is not known if there was anything more than a personal connection,” the story reported, “but organized crime boss Aziz Batukaev, who is also an ethnic Chechen, lived next door to the Tsarnaevs. Batukaev grew up and lived in Tokmok, but is now in Chechnya.

Halliburton executives, suspected CIA assets, Chechnyan crime bosses, oligarchs stealing billions from banks and laundering money with seeming impunity,  fire-eaters, peacock-feathered stilt-walkers, and a girl swinging on a trapeze pouring vodka into ice sculptures shaped like naked male and female torsos…

If there hadn’t been two of them, the investigation would already be pointing to a single misfit, a lone nut bomber.

Lebanese Borders Being Defended Against Syrian Sunni Terrorist Invasion–Hezbollah Argues

Hezbollah Pledges Lebanon Border Defense Against Syrian Rebels

A man walks past blood stain on a street in the border town of al-Qasr in Hermel following artillery shell fire. Photographer: -/AFP/Getty Images

By Donna Abu-Nasr & Nicole Gaouette
Lebanon’s government has failed to protect villages along the Syrian-Lebanese border and Hezbollah has a “national and moral” duty to defend residents there, one of its leaders said.

Nabil Qawooq’s remarks were reported a day after the Shiite border town of Hermel in Lebanon’s northeast came under rocket fire from Syria. Seven 107mm rockets landed in Hermel and villages around it yesterday without causing casualties, the Lebanese Army said in a statement yesterday.

Prior to the attack, residents in the nearby village of al- Qasr received text messages warning that the Free Syria Army, which is fighting to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, would bombard the two communities, the Daily Star reported. Hezbollah backs the Assad government.

“Are we expected to leave our people in the border villages subject to murder, abduction, slaughter and displacement?” Qawooq said at a memorial for a Hezbollah fighter, according to the official National News Agency.

Syrian opposition groups and Lebanese political figures opposed to Hezbollah have accused the group of fighting alongside Assad, an Alawite, whose religion is an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Syria’s insurgents are mostly Sunni. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israel.

Hezbollah Denial

The Syrian National Coalition, the main political opposition group, has called on the Lebanese government to take the necessary steps to end Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria.

Hezbollah has denied it’s fighting in Syria and has said it’s helping Lebanese Shiites living in Syrian border towns and villages to defend themselves against rebel assaults. Syrian government forces have attacked suspected rebel supply routes inside Lebanon with artillery and warplanes.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement today that all parties to the conflict in Syria should stop indiscriminate cross-border attacks on inhabited areas in Lebanon.

“Even if fighters are present in Lebanon, there is no excuse for any warring party to conduct indiscriminate strikes on residential areas,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “All sides need to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians.” Rebels should halt the use of indiscriminate weapons, like rockets, the group said.

The uprising against Assad, which began in March 2011, has killed “well over” 70,000 people, according to a United Nations estimate last month.

Suburb Killings

At least 69 people died during six days of clashes between rebel forces and Assad’s troops in the Damascus suburb of Jdaidet Al-Fadel, including six women and three people under 18, Rami Abdel Rahman, founder of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said in an interview from Coventry, England.

Abdel Rahman said the Observatory is seeking to identify 11 more bodies. The casualties occurred as government troops sought to drive rebels out of the suburb of Jdaidet Al-Fadel, Abdel Rahman said.

Syria’s official SANA news agency said today the troops have carried out several “operations against terrorists and their dens” in Jdaidet Al-Fadel and Darayya, inflicting losses and destroying their weapons. The opposition Local Coordination Committees said yesterday that government forces killed more than 450 people in Jdaidet Al-Fadel, mostly women and children. Reporters cannot reach the area, making it impossible to reconcile or check the casualty figures.

Aid Doubled

The U.S. will double its non-lethal aid to anti-Assad rebels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced at a Friends of Syria conference in Turkey yesterday.

The new $123 million in aid “underscores the United States’ firm support for a political solution to the crisis in Syria and for the opposition’s advancement of an inclusive, tolerant vision” for a post-Assad Syria, according to the announcement. Kerry also announced about $25 million in additional food assistance.

Some portion of the non-lethal aid will be used to provide the military opposition with equipment that could include night- vision goggles, radios, military vehicles and body armor.

To contact the reporters on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net; Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

More arrests Made in Boston bombings, FBI Allegedly eyes 12 Kazakh terror cell

More arrests in Boston bombings, FBI eyes terror cell

RockfordRecordLOGOJimmy

 

Men known only as Azmat and Diaz, believed to be from Kazakhstan, were arrested Saturday in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings.

Two men believed to be from Kazakhstan were arrested Saturday in New Bedford, Mass., about an hour from Boston.

By H. Michael Vincent
The Rockford Record

Two men are in federal custody as the FBI investigates a possible terror cell that may be linked to suspected Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The men, known only as Diaz and Azmat, were arrested Saturday, April 20, in New Bedford, Mass. While the suspects are being held on immigration violations, their arrest was made after police received new information regarding a possible 12-member terror cell operating in the area.

Investigators say the group’s main focus may have been training the brothers to build compact explosives like the bombs used in the marathon attack and those thrown at police officers Thursday night during a car chase.

Gen. Kayani Speaks Fondly of Radical Islamist Militarism

Obsessive focus: Gen Kayani’s comments

dawn

PERHAPS it is a sign of the times that Gen Kayani’s comments at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul will attract little meaningful attention or comment. “Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam can never be taken out of Pakistan … The Pakistan Army will keep on doing its best towards our common dream for a truly Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Gen Kayani said. In truth, however, both the timing and the content of Gen Kayani’s speech ought to be parsed carefully. Given the recent travails of election candidates facing new, and unwarranted, scrutiny of their Islamic credentials and a debate being triggered on the true ideology of Pakistan, the army chief ought to have considered whether weighing in on such matters at this time was the appropriate thing to do or not. The political battle lines have already been drawn, with religious elements and anti-democratic forces beating the drum of an exclusionist version of Pakistan’s ideology and trying to make it an election issue. Has Gen Kayani, wittingly or unwittingly, given those religious elements and anti-democratic forces a boost going into next month’s election?

The substance too of the comments requires close examination. Who is trying to take Islam out of Pakistan; where is the threat to the public’s right to practise their Muslim faith? In fact, the threat is in the opposite direction: to those of other faiths who are also Pakistani and some of whom don’t even enjoy the theoretical right to practise their faith without fear or intimidation. If Islam is in fact the core of the Pakistani state, does that mean non-Muslim Pakistanis have no place in this state and society? Even among Muslims, from the early 1950s, the question of which of the many different interpretations of and schools of thought in Islam ought to be given precedence over the rest has been a dangerously divisive issue when the state has seen fit on occasion to tackle it. More relevantly to Gen Kayani’s institution, the exclusive, obsessive even, focus on using Islam to galvanise the armed forces is precisely where the origins of the tragic and disastrous policy of state-sponsored jihad has arisen. Gen Kayani and the army high command should stick to questions of national security and leave it to the politicians to sort out for whom and why Pakistan was created. The ideology of Pakistan should be an issue for politics, not the armed forces.

Iraqi Kurds Heap Praise and Adulations Upon Saudis for Translating the Quran Into Wahhabi-Kurdish

Kurdish Saudis ‘Quran’ initiative

Ntvmsnbc

Regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, Kurdish translations of the Koran by issuing Umrah visit to Saudi Arabia thanked the dealer.

130417kuran.hlarge
AA
Updated: April 17 13:58 BST. 2013 Wednesday

Association of Muslim Scholars in northern Iraq, Mullah Abdullah Said, publishing translations of the Quran in Kurdish Muslims distribute the Umrah visit King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex in Medina thanked the authorities.

A written statement by Mullah Abdullah Said, “by publishing translations of the Quran in Kurdish, Umrah, the Muslim brothers and sisters in accomplishing tasks that distributes express our gratitude to King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex. Especially in spite of their sad events performed for this application due to their religion appreciate the Kurdish brothers and sisters, “he said.

King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex in Medina, held for the first time with an application published translations of the Quran in Kurdish.

Tsarnaev Brothers Are Russian NOT Chechen–Father Anzor Tsarnaev, “What Chechnya. They never lived in Chechnya.”

Tamerlan Tsarnayev

Tamerlan

[False flag nature of Boston attack starting to come to light.  The boys were Russian, not Chechen; the youngest boy had never even attended a mosque.  The fake rumors about Chechnya surfaced almost immediately after the attacks, almost as if they were already the new narrative waiting in the wings.  It didn’t matter anymore, if the strain of “al-Qaeda” came from the Middle East or Central Asia.  In fact, there had to be some new terror attack upon Americans implicating “al-Qaeda in the Stans,” since the new focus was already upon the CA region as the next target region.  The Boston false flag event was clearly Obama’s plot to force Putin onto his side in terror war, just as the school shootings were done to convince all good Americans that giving-up our guns was the best defense against insane or criminal killers?]

Anzor Tsarnaev: I am a supporter of Kadyrov. My sons did not tell anything about Chechnya’s independence

KAVKAZ

Father of the Tsarnaev brothers said in an interview to the Chechen Service of the American Radio Liberty that his sons were framed by security services.

“This is pure staging. Someone did that on purpose. I do not know why this is done. I know my children. How can a man who has never prayed go and blow up something?.. The older son went to a mosque. We were often visited by security services which asked on his thoughts and ideas and the stuff … And the younger never even prayed“.

Answering a question if his son spoke about the independence of Chechnya, Anzor Tsarnaev literally exploded:

“What Chechnya. They never lived in Chechnya. They never had this in the head. There is no Chechnya, what independence? Especially since I’m a supporter of Kadyrov, what independence are you talking about? … I lived for 10 years in America, returned home to die, so I was not dragged out here and there… It’s all staging…”

Meanwhile, the wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was eventually caught after many hours of confrontation in the suburbs of Boston. US authorities reported that he was injured. However, no exact information about his condition was given.

News agencies report that Obama had a telephone conversation with Putin. A statement by the White House said that Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the victims in Boston, and Obama praised the Kremlin’s ringleader for “close cooperation that the United States received from Russia on counter terrorism, including in the wake of the Boston attack”.

In turn, FBI officials told news agencies that in 2011, security forces at a request of an unnamed foreign country questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev – the older of the two brothers. During this conversation, Tsarnaev said nothing suspicious.

Tsarnaev brothers are a product not so much of Chechnya, but rather of the Chechen diaspora, commented on the situation for the BBC News Prof. Matthew Payne at Emory University in Atlanta. The Tsarnaevs fled from “fierce Russian-Chechen wars of the 1990s and early 2000s”, he said.

Meanwhile, people who knew the brothers describe them in a positive way:

A student named Zach Boyer, who lived in the dormitory next door to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told the BBC News that he was “a pretty nice person”. “I saw him all the time. He was often in my room… He did wrestling and played soccer. He was much liked”.

BBC News also reports that “high school friends of Tamerlan describe him as nice, sociable and funny. That was in 2006. Did he change recently? What happened?”.

It is to be recalled that, according to American authorities, Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia and spent six months there, and then returned to America.

According to the New York Times and CBS News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his mother and father got US citizenship last year. Tamerlan Tsarnaev also filed an application for the US citizenship, his papers have been half filled.

Department of Monitoring
Kavkaz Center

Chechen “Islamist” Leader Doku Umarov Is At War with Russia, NOT the US

Statement of the Command of Mujahideen of Caucasus Emirate’s Dagestan Province in relation to events in Boston

KAVKAZ

The official media outlet of the Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate Province of Dagestan, VDagestan, issued a statement of the Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate’s Province of Dagestan in connection with recent events in Boston, the US.

The statement says:
– “After the events in Boston, the US, information has been distributed in the press saying that one of the Tsarnaev brothers spent 6 months in Dagestan in 2012. On this basis, there are speculative assumptions that he may have been associated with the Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate, in particular with the Mujahideen of Dagestan.

The Command of the Province of Dagestan indicates in this regard that the Caucasian Mujahideen are not fighting against the United States of America. We are at war with Russia, which is not only responsible for the occupation of the Caucasus, but also for heinous crimes against Muslims.

Also, remember that even in respect to the enemy state of Russia, which is fighting the Caucasus Emirate, there is an order by the Emir Dokku Umarov, which prohibits strikes on civilian targets.

 

In this regard, the Command of the Mujahideen of the Province of Dagestan urges the media, primarily the American, to halt speculations and promotion of Russian propaganda.

If the US government is really interested in establishing the true organizers of Boston bombings, and not in complicity with the Russian show, it should focus on the involvement of Russian security services in the events”.

Command of the Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate Province of Dagestan

The Tajik State Duma has ratified the Tajik-Russian Agreement on Military Base

The State Duma has ratified the Tajik-Russian Agreement on Military Base

avesta tj

State Duma ratified the long-term agreement on the status and conditions of Russian military bases on the territory of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, said Friday Dmitry Sablin, the first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots.

“We remember the situation in which they were created at the time. How, for example, the leadership of Kyrgyzstan, after the attack on the Republic of terrorists turned to Russia to create such a group there. In this sense, our accommodation database is fully consistent with the interests of these countries, “- he said.

“But it is quite obvious that today these databases are an important element of stability for the whole of Central Asia. They help to solve problems
associated with resistance to extremism and narco-aggression: problems, which, alas, are relevant to Russia itself. And with the approaching 2014
, when the expected reduction of the international military presence in Afghanistan, the importance of Russian bases here, obviously, only increase, “- said Sablin.

“Therefore the ratification of these agreements, of course, in the interests of both Russia and its neighbors. And that’s why they got strong support in parliament, “- he concluded.

Deputy of Tajik Islamic Revival Party Beaten To A Bloody Pulp Coming Home Last Night

Mahmadali Hayit, deputy head of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, lies in his hospital bed at the National Medical Center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on April 20, 2013 after being beaten outside his home by unknown assailants the night before. Hayit, 56, suffered severe wounds to the head, face, eyes, ribs, back, and stomach. Hayit is well-known for his outspoken criticism of the policies and human rights record of the current Tajik government, which has been ruled by President Emomali Rahmon continuously since 1994.

(Dushanbe) – Tajik authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate the brutal beating of an opposition leader. Mahmadali Hayit, deputy head of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the country’s largest opposition party, was attacked in the evening of April 19, 2013, outside his home.
The investigation should be thorough and comprehensive, and Tajik authorities should ensure that members of the IRPT and other opposition parties are able to exercise their freedom of expression, association, and assembly without interference in the lead-up to the November 2013 presidential elections.
“This was a savage attack on a prominent opposition figure in an election year, which raises many concerns about the motivation,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Tajik authorities should take immediate action to investigate who is behind the attack on Hayit and hold them to account.”
On April 19, Hayit, 56, was returning to his home in the capital, Dushanbe, following preparations at the IRPT office for a large public event next week to mark the party’s founding. At approximately 7:40 p.m., as he made his way to the entrance to his home, two men of athletic builds approached him, dressed in sweats pants and sports clothes.
“I felt them hit my head from behind,” Hayit told Human Rights Watch in the hospital in Dushanbe. “Then they started hitting me repeatedly on the face and head. When I fell to the ground they kicked me in the head and all over my upper body.”
Relatives discovered Hayit, who had lost a lot of blood, and called an ambulance, which took him to the National Medical Center Karabolo. When Human Rights Watch visited Hayit in the hospital on April 20, four police officers were guarding the floor where he was receiving treatment. Police had questioned witnesses but had not formally opened a criminal investigation.
Hayit told Human Rights Watch he believes the attack was designed to scare the IRPT into toning down its political activities ahead of the elections. Hayit has long been the subject of government surveillance. He told Human Rights Watch that at least once a month authorities come to his home to check his passport and other identification documents, and police and unknown individuals in plain clothes come regularly to inquire about his whereabouts. Such a visit took place at approximately 10 a.m. on the day of his attack.
“Tajikistan’s international partners and outside investors will be watching closely in the run-up to the November elections,” Swerdlow said. “Tajik authorities should send a clear signal that citizens will be able to exercise their freedoms of expression, assembly, and association free of retribution and the threat of violence.”
The IRPT, the only opposition party in parliament, holds two seats in the 63-seat Majlisi Oli.
Next week, the IRPT had planned to stage a public event at its Dushanbe office, commemorating the party’s founding. “Various authorities have been visiting the site of our upcoming event all week,” Hayit told Human Rights Watch. “They have been looking for ways to shut us down.” Hayit said that various forms of government pressure have been intensifying on IRPT members and its leaders in the past year.
In January, IRPT head Muhiddin Kabiri lost a libel suit in a Dushanbe court after criticizing the mayor for cutting down too many trees and was ordered to make an apology. In July 2012, a party leader in the autonomous south-eastern region of Gorno-Badakhshan was murdered during a military operation. Another local leader from Gorno-Badakhshan is currently being tried behind closed doors in Dushanbe for organizing mass disorders during the military operation.
In recent years, citing fears of radical Islam, Tajik authorities have introduced wide-ranging restrictions on the practice of Islam outside of strict state controls, including a ban on minors attending religious institutions, and have also targeted IRPT meetings.
“The United States and the European Union should urge the Tajik government to investigate this violent attack on a well-known public figure,” Swerdlow said. “Washington and Brussels should send a strong and clear message pressing Tajik authorities to ensure an election season in which citizens’ core political and civil rights are protected.”

FBI Arrests Chicago Teen On Charge Of Supporting Syrian Terrorists

[How is it possible that we can charge a young man with supporting the same terrorists that Obama is prepared to send $130 million in military supplies to?]

FBI Arrests Aurora Teen On Charge Of Supporting Terrorism Overseas

cbs chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — The FBI arrested an Aurora teen they allege attempted to travel to Syria to join a jihadist militant group, according to an FBI press release.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, was taken into custody at O’Hare Airport last Friday attempting to board a flight bound for Istanbul, Turkey.

Tounisi, a U.S. citizen, was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He has been ordered held until he appears in court again on April 23.

Tounisi could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The FBI says the arrest was unrelated to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

The FBI says it has been investigating Tounisi since 2012. The FBI claims he was a close friend of of Adel Daoud, who was arrested in September 2012 for attempting to detonate a bomb outside a bar in Chicago.

The FBI claims Tounisi conducted online research on overseas travel and violent jihad from January to April 2013, focusing on the Jabhat al-Nusrah terrorist group. In late March 2013, the FBI claims he made contact with a man he believed was an undercover agent posing as a recruiter for the terrorist group and exchanged a series of emails in which Tounisi shared his plan to get to Syria by way of Turkey and willingness to die for the cause.

Tounisi purchased an airline ticket for a flight from Chicago to Istanbul on April 10 and the undercover agent provided him with a bus ticket from Istanbul to Gaziantep, Syria, according to the FBI. He was arrested after passing through airport security.

Clashes intensify in Bahrain over Grand Prix

Clashes intensify in Bahrain over Grand Prix

aljazeera

Thousands take to streets to highlight pro-reform demands skirmish with security forces ahead of Formula One car race.

Security has been stepped up during days of protests to prevent clashes from marring the race [AFP]
Thousands of opposition protesters in Bahrain have clashed with police as Formula One Grand Prix practice sessions passed unhindered by the unrest, reports said.

Al Jazeera’s special correspondent, reporting from Manama, said around 10,000 people took to the streets on Saturday, even as police officials intensified a crackdown on protests in the city and surrounding villages.

“Your race is a crime,” chanted the protesters. “No, no to the blood Formula.”

The route from Manama to the race circuit has a huge police presence to prevent protesters demanding democratic reform from disrupting the event.

In one of the Shia villages, young protesters clashed with police officers armed with tear gas and pellet guns.

Skirmishes were reported in Sitra, Sanabis, Aali, Jidhafs and Buri, our correspondent said.

This weekend’s protests – now in its third day – sought to highlight the opposition’s pro-reform demands in the Gulf kingdom.

‘Blood Formula’

Clashes began when supporters of the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, a clandestine cyber-group that had called for a “Day of Rage”, tried to march on the former Pearl Square in Manama, the capital.

Your race is a crime … no, no to the blood Formula.”

Protesters in Bahrain

The Square was the focal point of anti-regime protests in February and March 2011.

Police fired tear gas and shotguns to disperse the protesters before they neared the area, witnesses said, but no casualties were reported.

The movement’s supporters – armed with petrol bombs and stones – clashed with police in Shia villages outside Manama and burnt tyres to block main roads, the sources said.

All of the violence was at a distance from the Sakhir race circuit, south of Manama, where practice sessions passed uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of the more moderate Shia opposition bloc Al-Wefaq marched peacefully on the Budaiya highway, 4km west of Manama, which links a string of Shia villages with the capital.

Illegitimate government’

“F1 is just a mask to hide the crimes,” read their banners in English. Some waved flowers alongside Bahraini flags. “No to the illegitimate government.”

Activists describe the Bahrain government as ‘illegitimate’ [Reuters]

Security has been stepped up during days of protests to prevent clashes from marring the race.

Checkpoints were set up at major intersections, particularly on roads leading to the F1 circuit.

The world motorsport’s governing body the FIA and promoters Formula One Management said the race should take place on Sunday, despite the demonstrations.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, was rocked by month-long protests in early 2011.

They were crushed with the help of Gulf troops led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Bahrain said it was expelling three journalists working for Britain’s ITV television for “violating the laws and regulations” of the kingdom.

The measure was taken “to ensure preserving the national security of Bahrain,” an Information Affairs Authority statement said.

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies

The Saudi Connection To Chechen Islamists

Ibn al-Khattab

[Wahhabism, Ibn al-Khattab…This is a CIA attempt to rewrite the anti-terrorist narrative, right before our eyes.  We need new terrorist bogeyman, since the Afghan/Pakistani strain of Jihadism is a spent force (most of the memorable terrorists have already been popularized in America’a other “jihads,” or they have been eulogized after being killed once or twice in Predator strikes.  We need new “bad guys,” so the Wahhabis have produced some for us (SEE: If the Script Calls for Credible “Bad Guys,” Then Invent Some!).  The real problem with these new “Islamist” straw men and with the previous ones, is the Saudi connection.  How des the CIA manage to get two Chechen brothers to kill innocent Americans, and thereby implicate a whole new branch of Wahhabi terrorism without implicating the Saudis? 

The list of Saudi anti-American crimes has grown larger than our capacity for forgiveness.  Since 2001, Americans have stood silent, with their jaws dropped open in disbelief, as one Saudi after another is secreted out of the country under cover of a media blackout, followed by a whitewashing of any wrongdoing or court record documenting it.  If the  CIA command to kill Americans came from Saudi Arabia (even if those commands came in the form of subliminal hypnotic suggestions), then all America will rise-up against the desert kingdom, speaking with one voice, holding high the same clenched right fist.  Even if the CIA is untouchable, Saudi Arabia will be introduced to the infamous “dust bin of history.”

According to SLATE, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had his own YouTube site.  He posted videos of a Saudi preacher reciting parts of the Quran. 

It is done with some sort of echo effect, making it sound like the infamous “Juba the sniper” video.  The hypnotic quality of this effect is inescapable to anyone who listens to one of the recitations.  Tsarnaev also posts an Al-Qaeda video of Khorasan, The Emergence of Prophecy: The Black Flags From KhorasanKhorasan is allegedly the “al-CIA-da” name for the region from Afghanistan to Central Asia, the site of the first battle won against the Anti-Christ by the jihadi forces of the new Mahdi. 

The emir of “al-CIA-da” in Chechnya was Ibn al-Khattab.  He was a Saudi of Chechen heritage from the Jordanian border region.  There, al-Khattab (whose desire was to study in America, according to his brother) was recruited for higher education of unknown content by Aramco, the Saudi oil giant.  The first suspect in the marathon bombings was a Saudi, Abdul Rahman Ali-Alharbi.  Al-Alharbi has alleged links to “al-Qaeda.”   If this Saudi can be linked to the Tsarnaev brothers, even if there is a photo of them standing near each other in Boston, then it might be the nail in the Saudis’ coffin, or at least the match that will light the fuse on the Islamist powderkeg which they have chosen to sit upon.]

Khattabs real name is Samir Saleh Abdullah Al-Suwailem.

The Saudi connection linking the Boston Marathon to September 11 

haaretz logo

Albeit the dimensions are somewhat smaller, but the pain, fear, and anger are the same. America has again been caught off guard by foreign terrorists seeking to sow destruction and death.

Emergency workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon

Emergency workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Photo by AP

Almost 12 years have passed since that “great tragedy,” the attacks of September 11, and the United States has yet again experienced a national tragedy. Albeit the dimensions are somewhat smaller, but the pain, fear, and anger are the same. America has again been caught off guard by foreign terrorists seeking to sow destruction and death.

In September 2001 the terrorists were Saudis (15 out of 19) and Egyptian. This time, the culprits where to Chechen brothers, Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev. If it turns out that their motivations were religious, the context of their country of origin will not be coincidental. Until now there has not been any testament from the two, neither written nor filmed – which is generally common practice in the case of such attacks – nor has there been any claim of responsibility from Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri. Al-Qaida also tends to take responsibility for attacks to which it was unconnected at the operational level, if it shares an ideological bond with those responsible. Despite this, it is very likely that there is a strong, ideological and operational connection between the attacks of 2001 and 2013.

Back in the early nineties, Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan became a stronghold in the Caucasus region for the radical stream of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism. Mosques and madrasas were opened; training camps for young combatants were established to prepare them for the “jihad against the infidels.” Until this day, the teachings of Said Buryatsky, a charismatic, Wahhabist radical, are among the most downloaded files in Chechnya.

This radical Islamist movement was founded in the Arabian Peninsula and adopted by tribes that founded a kingdom in the 18 century, which later became Saudi Arabia. This puritan, aggressive movement is considered by orthodox Muslims as heretic. Many approached it with suspicion and rejected it, but the situation changed once the “black gold” began to flow from Saudi Arabia’s soil. Thus the Wahhabists gained their much-wanted recognition, and began to send money to religious institutions around the world, including in Chechnya and Dagestan.

In addition to the money that began to emanate from Saudi Arabia in the late 1980’s, “preachers” began to travel the world as well. Scholars, religious figures, and jihadist combatants, trained in battles against the Soviets began to spread. One of them was Ibn al-Khattab, the well-known military commander of Saudi-Jordanian descent, who was killed by Russian forces in March 2002.

The spread of Wahhabism in Chechnya sparked a great deal of opposition within the local society, the strong ideals of which contradicted the traditional Islam practiced in the area, as well as the way of life in Chechnya and Dagestan. Fierce battles and political conflicts ensued in the 1990’s, and continued after the war in Chechnya. The institutionalization of Wahhabism in Chechnya happened not without a significant amount of force, as its supporters fought both the Chechnyans and the Russians. Despite the efforts of current Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov to prevent his capital Grozny from becoming the “Dubai of the Caucasus,” the Wahhabist extremism attracts many youths from Chechnya and Dagestan.

Only recently, video clips were published featuring Chechen jihadists that traveled to Syria to fighting against President Bashar Assad’s regime. Kadyrov came out with a statement that “no Chechen is fighting in Syria,” later altering his statement by claiming that those fighting in Syria were mercenaries.

The extremist propaganda is functioning as always, and a new generation in Chechnya has grown up with conflict and propaganda. This generation is attracted to the simple ideological base of Wahhabism, and to the murderous romance of the jihad its leaders are calling for. The members of this new generation go to Syria and Iraq. Some of them maybe go to the U.S. and other places in the world in order to join the “army of believers,” according to them. It is not impossible to rule out that the Saudis who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the brothers from Chechnya who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon subscribed to the same radical Wahhabist ideology.

Immediately after reports were published that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were of Chechen origin, Kadyrov tweeted that “terror has no nationality.” Currently, his followers in Chechnya and Ingushetia will once again have to “deal with” the Wahhabist problem in Russia’s backyard. The question is if even a leader as powerful as Kadyrov can dismantle the Wahhabist institution fostering in the Caucasus for decades, receiving monetary and ideological support from Riyadh.

Ksenia Svetlova is a writer and analyst on Arab affairs for Channel 9, and has a doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Studies.

The Absolute Worst Kind of Terrorists Attack Hospitals and Schools

Suicide attack at Bajaur hospital kills four

dawn

PESHAWAR: At least four people were killed Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a hospital in Bajaur tribal region, officials said.

Administration officials, requesting not to be named, confirmed the suicide bomber walked on foot to the main gate of the agency headquarters hospital in Khar tehsil of Bajaur agency and blew up his suicide vest.

The dead included security personnel. Four other people were also injured.

Officials the bomber apparently targeted security men guarding the hospital.

Two approaches to fighting terrorism

Two approaches to fighting terrorism

dawn

IN Boston, three people were killed in an act of terrorism earlier this week, and it’s still headline news in the United States. President Obama has denounced the attack, and an FBI official has promised to hunt the perpetrator to “the ends of the earth”.

In Pakistan, a terrorist attack that claimed “only” three lives would probably be buried on page three of our national newspapers. As for the search for the killers, we’d be lucky if the police even registered the case.

Why this difference in approach to terrorism? The reason lies in the seriousness with which the two states take their primary duty of protecting their citizens.

In the United States, the intelligence failures that permitted 9/11 to occur prompted American leaders to ratchet up security, change laws and become highly proactive in fighting the scourge of terrorism.

Undoubtedly, these steps, taken under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, have eroded personal liberties and human rights. But it is a fact that the Boston bombing was the first successful act of terrorism after 9/11, apart from the Fort Hood shootings by Major Nidal Hasan in 2009.

In a number of sting operations, the FBI and local police have entrapped a number of suspects — usually Muslim — who agreed to participate in bizarre attacks.

Through wiretaps on telephone conversations and email intercepts, American intelligence agencies have disrupted a number of terrorist plots.

As a result of this vigilance, terrorism in the US has virtually been stamped out. It is precisely because of this success that the Boston attack has caused so much fear and outrage.

Compare this muscular, no-nonsense approach with Pakistan’s hopelessly inadequate response to terrorism.

For over two decades, Pakistanis have suffered from murderous attacks from a lethal brew of gangs killing and maiming in the name of Islam. Frequently, these criminals boast of their deeds, and post videos of beheadings on the internet.

Almost invariably, the state is a mute onlooker. Intelligence agencies are either incompetent or occasionally collusive. While brave but ill-trained and poorly equipped policemen, militiamen and soldiers have died in their thousands, politicians and generals have been unable to get their act together.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered in this vicious war, Rehman Malik, our ex-interior minister, can still pass the buck to provincial governments in the wake of the atrocities Shias have been subjected to recently.

In the US, the FBI has primary jurisdiction over all cases involving terrorism. In Pakistan, we have been unable to create a federal force along the same lines.

The result is a mishmash of agencies, ranging from covert military outfits to the Intelligence Bureau to local police who arrive at the scene of terrorist acts.

With little coordination, it should not surprise us if investigations seldom lead anywhere.

And when a suspect is actually arrested, even with illegal arms in his possession, he is likely to be let off by our courts. Witnesses are scared of reprisals, and judges terrified of the consequences of a guilty verdict. The result is before us in the shape of an increasingly violent jihadi insurgency.

When faced with a major threat to their sovereignty and to their citizens, states normally respond with force. Pakistan’s response to the existential threat we face has been equivocal and half-hearted. While our army and paramilitary units have fought bravely when called upon to do so, both our military and political leadership has been ambiguous and confused.

There has been talk of an elusive consensus at GHQ and the presidency. But leadership is about forging a consensus and taking the nation along in difficult decisions, not heeding divided counsel.

As we have seen in the ongoing Taliban campaign of targeting candidates in next month’s elections, there are wide variations in how these killers are viewed by different political parties. The Taliban, too, differentiate between parties: witness their threats against candidates from the PPP, the MQM and the ANP, all mainstream secular parties.

Clearly, apart from the religious parties, PML-N and PTI are both acceptable to the Taliban and their ilk. This is one reason our politicians have been unable to unite on a single platform and condemn these killers in unequivocal terms.

In other countries, any political party seeming to side with terrorists, or seeking their support, would pay a heavy price at the polls.

Not so in Pakistan. This reveals the confusion among people that has been sowed by politicians and the media. People like Imran Khan have been pretending that Islamic militancy is the result of the US-led war against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. By blaming the Americans and their drone campaign, our leaders absolve the Pakistani Taliban of their vicious crimes.

Elsewhere, no politician can get away with letting terrorists off the hook by saying their violence is motivated by extraneous factors. But by using terrorists for their own ends in Kashmir and Afghanistan, the Pakistani establishment is reaping what it sowed. Over the years, various jihadi groups have gained legitimacy as well as support in our intelligence agencies.

Another reason for their growing self-confidence and success is the increasingly fanatical tilt in Pakistan’s public discourse.

Fuelled by a reactionary electronic media that demonises all things Western and openly justifies extremism, the deadly virus of Islamist violence grows ever more virulent.

No other country has provided as much space to terrorism as Pakistan has, and no other country has suffered as much as we have.

And yet, we continue to grope in the dark, unable to evolve a consensus or forge a strategy to confront and defeat the jihadi monsters we have ourselves unleashed.

irfan.husain@gmail.com

American Committee for Peace in Chechnya

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Formerly called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC) is a project of Freedom House that claims to be “dedicated to monitoring developments in the region and providing expert analysis of their implications for security, stability and the human rights situation.”[1]

ACPC was founded in 1999 by Freedom House, a neoconservative organization that has worked closely with the U.S. government, receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. democratization initiatives. ACPC updated its name to include the broader region after conflicts erupted between Russia and other Caucasus enclaves such as Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia.[2]

ACPC’s activities include organizing public education programs, developing policy recommendations for lawmakers, and collaborating with activists, journalists, and scholars. It also works closely with a range of nongovernmental policy groups and think tanks, including the neoconservative policy outfit the American Enterprise Institute and the right-wing Jamestown Foundation. The committee distributes a weekly email news service and newsletter entitled News of the Week. ACPC’s web site contains a news archive, policy papers relating to the U.S. role in the Caucasus, and academic papers, maps, and photos of the conflict.

Glen Howard, the president of the Jamestown Foundation, also serves as ACPC’s executive director.[3] Howard previously worked as a military analyst for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a high-tech defense contractor, and has served as a consultant for the Department of Defense, National Intelligence Council, and “major oil companies operating in Central Asia and the Middle East.”[4]

The publications of Howard’s two organizations often overlap. For example, the Jamestown Foundation produces North Caucasus Weekly, an ezine that features contributions by ACPC board members.[5] ACPC’s website is typically dominated by reposts from Jamestown. Both groups also work extensively with Soviet defectors and Chechen dissidents.

ACPC’s board of directors has included both Democratic and Republican elites, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Steven J. Solarz, and Max Kampelman. The committee’s more than one hundred members has also reflected a wide political spectrum, including such figures as Richard Gere, Morton Abramowitz, and the late Geraldine Ferraro. However, membership is overwhelmingly hawkish, and many high-profile neoconservatives, some associated with the Project for the New American Century, have featured on its membership rolls, including Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, Elliott Abrams, Midge Decter, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen, and James Woolsey.[6]

ACPC supports the Chechen rebel movement, apparently as a strategy to weaken Russia and establish better U.S. ties in a region of increasing geopolitical value, which has vast, unexploited natural resource reserves including rich oil, gas, and hard mineral deposits.[7]

ACPC is perhaps the only U.S.-based organization in which national security militarists and neoconservatives openly support an insurgent movement that is not only nationalist but also largely Islamist.[8] Although ACPC notes its concern about human rights violations and issues of self-determination, far more attention appears to be given to simply advancing U.S. geopolitics by weakening Russia and China.[9]

The Smith Richardson Foundation has been the largest donor to the ACPC, giving sums totaling almost $420,000 to Freedom House from 2002-2004.[10]

Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons

Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons

consortium

The revelation that the family of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was from Chechnya prompted new speculation about the attack as Islamic terrorism. Less discussed was the history of U.S. neocons supporting Chechen terrorists as a strategy to weaken Russia, as ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley recalls.

By Coleen Rowley

I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen “terrorists” proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s “friends,” including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

For instance, see this 2004 article in the UK Guardian, entitled, “The Chechens’ American friends: The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own.”

Author John Laughland wrote: “the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled ‘distinguished Americans’ who are its members is a roll call of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the ‘war on terror.’

“They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be ‘a cakewalk’; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush’s plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.”

The ACPC later sanitized “Chechnya” to “Caucasus” so it’s rebranded itself as the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus.”

Of course, Giuliani also just happens to be one of several neocons and corrupt politicians who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from MEK sources when that Iranian group was listed by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The money paid for these American politicians to lobby (illegally under the Patriot Act) U.S. officials to get MEK off the FTO list.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland is an understatement if you understand the full reality of what’s going on. But if you can handle going down the rabbit hole even further, check out prominent former New York Times journalist (and author of The Commission book) Phil Shenon’s discovery of the incredible “Terrible Missed Chance” a couple of years ago.

Shenon’s discovery involved key information that the FBI and the entire “intelligence” community mishandled and covered up, not only before 9/11 but for a decade afterward. And it also related to the exact point of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” that led to the post 9/11 DOJ-Inspector General investigation about FBI failures and also partially helped launch the 9/11 Commission investigation.

But still the full truth did not come out, even after Shenon’s blockbuster discovery in 2011 of the April 2001 memo linking the main Chechen leader Ibn al Khattab to Osama bin Laden. The buried April 2001 memo had been addressed to FBI Director Louis Freeh (another illegal recipient of MEK money, by the way!) and also to eight of the FBI’s top counter-terrorism officials.

Similar memos must have been widely shared with all U.S. intelligence in April 2001. Within days of terrorist suspect Zaccarias Moussaoui’s arrest in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2001, French intelligence confirmed that Moussaoui had been fighting under and recruiting for Ibn al-Khattab, raising concerns about Moussaoui’s flight training.

Yet FBI Headquarters officials balked at allowing a search of his laptop and other property, still refusing to recognize that: 1) the Chechen separatists were themselves a “terrorist group” for purposes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) legal requirement of acting “on behalf of a foreign power” and 2) that Moussaoui’s link to Ibn al Khattab inherently then linked him to bin Laden’s well-recognized Al Qaeda group for purposes of FISA (the point in my memo).

This all occurred during the same time that CIA Director George Tenet and other counter-terrorism officials — and don’t forget that Tenet was apprised of the information about Moussaoui’s arrest around Aug. 24, 2001 — told us their “hair was on fire” over the prospect of a major terrorist attack and “the system was blinking red.”

The post 9/11 investigations launched as a result of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” did conclude that a major mistake, which could have prevented or reduced 9/11, was the lack of recognition of al Khattab’s Chechen fighters as a “terrorist group” for purposes of FISA.

As far as I know, the several top FBI officials, who were the named recipients of the April 2001 intelligence memo entitled “Bin Laden/Ibn Khattab Threat Reporting” establishing how the two leaders were “heavily entwined,” brushed it off by mostly denying they had read the April 2001 memo (which explains why the memo had to be covered up as they attempted to cover up other embarrassing info).

There are other theories, of course, as to why U.S. officials could not understand or grasp this “terrorist link.” These involve the U.S.’s constant operating of “friendly terrorists,” perhaps even al Khattab himself (and/or those around him), on and off, opportunistically, for periods of time to go against “enemy” nations, i.e., the Soviet Union, and regimes we don’t’ like.

Shifting Lines

But officials can get confused when their former covert “assets” turn into enemies themselves. That’s what has happened with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Libya and Syria, fighters who the U.S. government favored in their efforts to topple the Qaddafi and Assad regimes, respectively. These extremists are prone to turn against their American arms suppliers and handlers once the common enemy is defeated.

The same MO exists with the U.S. and Israel currently collaborating with the Iranian MEK terrorists who have committed assassinations inside Iran. The U.S. government has recently shifted the MEK terrorists from the ranks of “bad” to “good” terrorists as part of a broader campaign to undermine the Iranian government. For details, see “Our (New) Terrorists, the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?”

Giuliani and his ilk engage, behind the scenes, in all these insidious operations but then blithely turn to the cameras to spew their hypocritical propaganda fueling the counterproductive “war on terror” for public consumption, when that serves their interests. Maybe this explains Giuliani’s amazement (or feigned ignorance) on Friday morning after the discovery that the family of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers was from Chechnya.

My observations are not meant to be a direct comment about the motivations of the two Boston bombing suspects whose thinking remains unclear. It’s still very premature and counterproductive to speculate on their motives.

But the lies and disinformation that go into the confusing and ever-morphing notion of “terrorism” result from the U.S. Military Industrial Complex (and its little brother, the “National Security Surveillance Complex”) and their need to control the mainstream media’s framing of the story.

So, a simplistic narrative/myth is put forth to sustain U.S. wars. From time to time, those details need to be reworked and some of the facts “forgotten” to maintain the storyline about bad terrorists “who hate the U.S.” when, in reality, the U.S. Government may have nurtured the same forces as “freedom fighters” against various “enemies.”

The bottom line is to never forget that “a poor man’s war is terrorism while a rich man’s terrorism is war” – and sometimes those lines cross for the purposes of big-power politics. War and terrorism seem to work in sync that way.

Coleen Rowley is a retired FBI agent and former chief division counsel in Minneapolis. She’s now a dedicated peace and justice activist and board member of the Women Against Military Madness.

Hamid Karzai Seeks To Curb Illegal CIA Militia Operations In Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai seeks to curb CIA operations in Afghanistan

the guardian

President believes battle in which 10 children and a US agent died was fought by illegal militia working for spy agency

Hamid Karzai

Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s campaign against CIA operations sets up a heated showdown with the US government. Photograph: S Sabawoon/EPA

President Hamid Karzai is determined to curb CIA operations in Afghanistan after the death of a US agent and 10 Afghan children in a battle he believes was fought by an illegal militia working for the US spy agency.

The campaign sets the Afghan leader up for another heated showdown with the US government, and will reignite questions about the CIA’s extensive but highly secretive operations in the country.

Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said the CIA controlled large commando-like units, some of whom operated under the nominal stamp of the Afghan government’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), but were not actually under its control.

“Some of them are said to be working with the NDS, but they are not armed by the NDS, not paid by the NDS, and not sent to operations by the NDS. Sometimes they only inform the NDS minutes before the operation,” Faizi said. “They are conducting operations without informing local authorities and when something goes wrong it is called a joint operation.”

One of these groups was involved in a battle with insurgents in a remote corner of eastern Kunar province in early April that left several Afghan children dead, Faizi said. Karzai has fired the provincial head of intelligence in connection with the incident.

The US citizen who died during the battle was advising the Afghan intelligence service, and the airstrike that killed the children is believed to have been called in after he was fatally injured.

The US embassy declined to comment on CIA issues, but sources with knowledge of the battle said he was an agent, and his name has not been released, usually an indication of intelligence work.

Bob Woodward in his 2010 book Obama’s Wars described a 3,000-strong Afghan militia working for the CIA, and Faizi said the Afghan government had little information about the teams. “There is a lack of clarity about their numbers and movement,” he said when asked how many men the CIA had on their payroll, or where these large teams might be based.

Woodward said the unofficial commando units were known as counter-terrorism pursuit teams, and described them as “a paid, trained and functioning tool of the CIA”, authorised by President George W Bush.

They were sent on operations to kill or capture insurgent leaders, but also went into lawless areas to try to pacify them and win support for the Afghan government and its foreign backers. Woodward said the units even conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.

In the wake of the Kunar battle, Karzai has also ordered his security officials to step up implementation of a presidential decree issued in late February abolishing “parallel structures”. Faizi said this order was aimed primarily at dismantling CIA-controlled teams.

“The use of these parallel structures run by the CIA and US special forces is an issue of concern for the Afghan people and the Afghan government,” he said.

For Karzai the move is another step towards reasserting Afghan sovereignty, part of a long campaign waged against US forces and their allies. He has already won control of the main US-run prison in the country, and ended unilateral night raids on insurgent hideouts that coalition commanders once described as critical to the war.

But Karzai’s move comes at a critical time for an already volatile relationship, when Washington and Kabul are trying to negotiate what, if any, military presence the US will have in Afghanistan beyond 2014, and curbing the CIA’s reach could strike at the heart of US strategic interests there.

Barack Obama has been clear that the US does not plan to fight the Taliban after next year. Instead some foreign troops will train Afghan soldiers to fight the insurgency while US special forces pursue groups such as al-Qaida hiding along the lawless border with Pakistan.

While the US is expected to keep a few thousand soldiers in Afghanistan, bolstered by troops from Nato allies, Obama has also made clear there is “zero option” of a complete US withdrawal, as happened in Iraq.

 

Another Terrorist Attack, Another Saudi To Be Spirited-Out of the US, 911 Style?

Another Terrorist Attack, Another U.S.-Saudi Cover-Up?

 

After the FBI rescheduled another postponed briefing on the Boston Marathon Massacre for 8 p.m. on Wednesday night — and then canceled that one, too — that was it. I was going to give the news circus a rest until morning.

Came the dawn I heard that terrorism expert Steven Emerson had dropped a bombshell Wednesday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Emerson reported that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national first identified as a “person of interest” and then downgraded, like a tropical storm, to “witness,” would be deported from the United States “on national security grounds.” This, Emerson added, “is very unusual.”

Yes. But also no. Amid similar conditions — a terrorist attack, an ongoing investigation and Saudi diplomatic pressure — we have seen Saudi nationals spirited out of the country en masse in the past rather than be exposed to any part of an investigative process.

I refer, of course, to the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when following a private meeting on Sept. 13 between President George W. Bush and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, “something strange began to happen,” as former Florida Sen. Bob Graham writes in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.” (As Senate Intelligence committee chairman, Graham co-chaired the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11.)

“Although the FAA had ordered all private flights grounded, a number of planes began flying to collect Saudi nationals from various parts of the United States.” Within a week, Graham continues, 140 Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family, had been flown out of the country without ever having to answer a single question about anything.

What’s almost worse is that for nearly three years, as Graham reports, “the White House and other agencies insisted that these flights never took place.” Bush lied, Saudis flied.

It seems beyond question that such Saudi collusion will be omitted from the archives at the George W. Bush library, which opens later this month in Texas — thanks to $500 million from anonymous donors.

But such collusion was just the beginning of the perfidious role the Bush administration played to strong-arm and block the investigation of Saudi involvement in 9/11 — a role that now makes me deeply regret voting for President Bush, particularly in 2004. The Bush administration cover-up would climax with the redaction of a 28-page chapter of the 9/11 Commission report regarding foreign, particularly Saudi, support for some of the al-Qaida hijackers.

Why Would Chechen Guests To America Turn Against American Benefactor?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev  Tamerlan Tsarnaev was identified as the dead bombing suspect in Boston

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev  Police say these photos, released overnight Thursday night, show Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the man identified by the FBI as suspect No. 2.

Boston Bombing Suspect Killed in Shootout

Wall St. Journal

By EVAN PEREZ, JENNIFER SMITH and PERVAIZ SHALLWANI

U.S. authorities on Friday locked down the Boston area in the hunt for one of two Russian-born brothers of Chechen background suspected in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.

Authorities identified one suspect was identified as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown, Mass., according to a U.S. law-enforcement official.

A manhunt was on for the second suspect, identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 years old. Both brothers were believed to be involved in the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer during a chaotic series of events Thursday night.

Boston-area residents were advised to stay in their homes after one of the marathon bombing suspects was killed and the second was said to be armed and at large. The WSJ’s Jennifer Smith has the latest details.

Matt Rourke/APChaos in Boston.

The hunt for the younger Mr. Tsarnaev prompted a broad shutdown of public facilities in the Boston area. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asked people throughout Boston to shelter in place and stay indoors.

The Federal Aviation Admiration closed the low-level airspace above roughly four miles in northwest Greater Boston as the search goes on. Logan International Airport in Boston tweeted that it “is open and operating under heightened security.” It urged fliers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

The younger brother was the suspect seen wearing a white cap backward in video and photos released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday. The release prompted a large number of tips from the public, federal officials said. The older brother was wearing a black cap in the video and photos.

Police warned residents that the at-large suspect was armed and dangerous.

POLICE RELEASE PHOTOS

[SB10001424127887323309604578431181798169770]

“We believe this to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Chief Ed Davis. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.”

Authorities said the older brother was injured in the shootout and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Richard Wolfe, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine, said the man had multiple injuries from what appeared to be both an explosive device and gunshot wounds.

The manhunt brought much of the Boston area to a halt on Friday. Mr. Patrick ordered the city’s subway and bus system to be shut down. As police conducted a sprawling search for the suspect in the Boston suburb of Watertown, authorities prohibited street traffic and told businesses there and in surrounding areas to remain closed.

The websites of the MIT, Harvard, Boston University and Boston College said classes were canceled Friday.

“We do not want people congregating or waiting,” said Kurt Schwartz, the Massachusetts director of emergency management. The situation, said State Police Col. Timothy Alben, “is grave.”

The FAA has restricted all civilian aircraft within 3,000 feet of the surface over an area that appears to include Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston and Cambridge in Massachusetts, an FAA spokesman said. On the FAA’s website, the reason listed for the restriction is “to provide a safer environment for law-enforcement activities,” and the point of contact listed for the restriction is an FBI special agent. The FAA closed the airspace at about 6:30 a.m. local time and said it would remain closed until further notice.

Airport officials were not immediately available for comment.

Brian Snyderr/ReutersPresident Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended the interfaith service at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

The violence began at around 10:30 p.m. Thursday with the robbery of a 7-Eleven in nearby Cambridge, authorities said. The two men then fatally shot an MIT campus police officer and carjacked a Mercedes sport-utility vehicle at gunpoint, keeping the vehicle’s owner hostage for about a half-hour, police said. The owner was released at a gas station in Cambridge, authorities said. He wasn’t injured.

As police pursued the vehicle, explosive devices were thrown from the car, authorities said. “There was an exchange of gunfire” between police and the suspects,” Mr. Alben said.

A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer was wounded during the exchange.

Hundreds of police officers descended on the Cambridge and Watertown areas as the violence unfolded Thursday night, authorities said. Residents said they heard loud explosions and gunfire.

Associated PressOfficers stand guard at Massachusetts Institute of Technology following a shooting Friday.

Katie Blouin, 24 years old, of Watertown, said FBI agents and local police entered her house, searching before telling her boyfriend to lock the house’s doors.

“I’m shaking,” she said. “It just makes you so nervous.”

Adonis Karageorgis, a 35-year-old dental student who lives in Watertown, said he heard a loud explosion from his apartment balcony

“I looked up and saw the sky light up,” he said. “You could smell the smoke.”

The MIT campus police officer wasn’t identified. The officer had multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a statement on the Middlesex County District Attorney’s website.

Shortly before midnight Thursday, police were gathered in Watertown, and a stretch of the campus near Vassar Street and Main Street in Cambridge was cordoned off. Police were searching through woods with dogs and flashlights.

Dozens of police officers gathered at Massachusetts General Hospital, where the injured officer was reportedly taken. Officers directing traffic asked those who arrived in a panic: “friend or family?” A few officers wept openly as they hurried into the emergency room.

—Josh Dawsey and Jon Kamp contributed to this article.

Write to Evan Perez at evan.perez@wsj.com and Jennifer Smith at jennifer.smith@wsj.com

Army Shuts-Down Unmanly “New Agey” Therapy At Madigan Army Center

[This is a typical Army “snafu,” it hires a New Age hypnotist/healer to allegedly “help” soldiers with PTSD deal with their stress-related problems, which she tries to do, using her so-called “Wiccan” methods.  Once this method starts to produce results, the Army decides that they are the wrong results.  The woman was trying to help soldiers to embrace their trauma as a first-step to getting past it; the Army preferred that they simply be taught the getting past the stress, without any “touchy-feely” hugs or “unmanly” tears (SEE:  US Army Stressed-Out Veterans, Butch Up!  ;  Report details flaws in Army’s handling of PTSD ). 

This is the basic problem–the Army is confused about how to deal with the issue of PTSD, formerly known as “battle fatigue,” or “shell shock.”  They consider it a disipline problem, men unwilling to grow-up on command.  Real men do not cry, or suffer emotional problems over the manly act of killing the “enemies of America.”  The cure to most PTSD is for the Army to stop sending-in young men to murder innocent foreigners, in order to steal their resources.  The entire system is corrupt.  Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State.  Turning boys into killing machines is not a natural act.  If it is being done for any other reason than the defense of homeland, it is an abomination of nature and every one of these boys going through the brutality of “basic training” understands the situation that he is in.  Those brought-up with a high level of morality cannot accept this and crack under the stress of being forced to violate their most basic beliefs.]

Army panel shut down over ‘toxic’ training methods

seattletime times

An investigation concluded that leaders of the national program, based at Madigan Army Medical Center in Western Washington, sometimes used “bullying tactics” and created “a wolf pack mentality” when training its staff.

By Hal Bernton

Claudette Elliott  Claudette Elliott

A high-profile Army Medical Command task force charged with improving the health-care atmosphere among patients and staff was shut down late last year after an investigation found that it created a “toxic and intimidating working environment” in its own ranks.

The investigation concluded that leaders of the national program, based at Madigan Army Medical Center in Western Washington, sometimes used “bullying tactics” and created “a wolf pack mentality” when training its staff.

The investigative report also noted the use of questionable “Wiccan practices” in training, such as using stones and crystal bowls for “energy readiness.”

The Army Medical Command said Thursday the task force, which spent more than $3 million, was shut down because “it failed to execute its assigned mission and was promoting an internal hostile work environment.”

The 721-page report of the investigation, first obtained by KUOW Public Radio under the federal Freedom of Information Act, criticized the leadership of Claudette Elliott, director of the task force, who was identified by title but with her name redacted in the document.

Elliott, who describes herself as an “organizational development consultant,” led a 26-person task force that was charged with conducting training sessions at medical centers across the county. The training was intended to help build trust with patients, family members and staff.

Task-force staff at Madigan complained to the Army, which led to the investigation.

In one such session, according to the documents, a task-force employee being trained was made to relive combat-related trauma, “an experience that resulted in a PTSD diagnosis, where one had never been diagnosed.”

Elliott, 56, of Auburn, previously had Washington licenses as a registered counselor and as a hypnotherapist in the early to mid-2000s, when she was president of The Healing Tree, an “alternative wellness center.”

Elliott, who used the titles “Dr.” and “Ph.D.,” has a 2006 doctorate of philosophy and psychology from Warren National University, formerly Kennedy-Western University, an unaccredited school that the U.S. Government Accountability Office included in a 2004 report entitled “Diploma Mills.”

The Army investigator’s memo, which was heavily redacted, noted Elliott’s unaccredited degree and recommended that Elliott “immediately cease” using “Ph.D.” in all Defense Department actions.

Elliott, reached Thursday, said she had not yet seen the report. But she said the report’s findings, as summarized by a reporter, contained inaccuracies and represented just one side of the story.

Elliott said she had received lots of positive feedback from officers who had been helped by the training and also from trainers in the task force. She said that a doctorate was not necessary for her position and that her superiors knew where her diploma came from and encouraged her to use the title of doctor. She declined further comment until she could talk with her attorney.

The “Culture of Trust” task force was launched in September 2010 by then-Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoonmaker.

During Schoonmaker’s tenure, the Army Medical Command was trying to rebuild trust after a series of searing investigative reports in The Washington Post in 2007 that detailed shoddy outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Madigan also had problems. In the spring of 2010, Oregon National Guard members complained to their congressional delegation that they were treated as second-class soldiers as they returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and sought care at Madigan. One embarrassing Power Point presentation, developed by a Madigan employee, depicted National Guard soldiers as “weekend warriors.”

Schoonmaker said he was “appalled by the insensitivity” of the Madigan officer who developed the controversial Power Point presentation.

The “Culture of Trust” task force was intended to create an environment where medical professionals would thrive and patients would receive the best care, according to an Army public-affairs article.

“Every year, millions of dollars are lost from employee disengagement, which impacts mission accomplishment,” Elliott was quoted in the article. “We are creating an ambience of excellence within Army medicine.”

Another public-affairs article described a task-force training exercise conducted for 1,400 employees at Irwin Army Community Hospital in Kansas.

“It was very inspiring and the training broke through a lot of barriers with employees,” said Laura Dukes, a medical technician.

Yet within the task force, the Army’s investigator wrote in the 2012 report, employees endured a “strongest survive environment” and only “negative feedback was encouraged during team-building exercises.”

“It felt a lot like a gang of animals who would gang up on the most vulnerable individual,” said a task-force member who was interviewed by the investigator.

The Army investigation also criticized task-force spending, noting that members accumulated many hours of overtime, and “potentially excessive” temporary duty expenses.

Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or hbernton@seattletimes.com. KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy contributed to this report.

India Re-Establishes Military Battlefield Hospital To Southern Tajikistan, Making Preparations for 2014

Ayni air base in Tajikistan

[India obviously understands what the post US “withdrawal” scenario will be like–closely resembling the civil war scenario of pre-Talibanized Afghanistan.  Allied with the the Northern Alliance forces of Ahmed Shah Masood, Indian doctors then ran a MASH unit on Afghanistan’s northern border.  India is making preparations to do the same thing in Afghanistan’s next civil war.   Just like the last one, this one is to be organized by Pakistani forces.]

India airlifts military hospital to Tajikistan to strengthen geo-strategic footprint in Central Asia

times of india

India airlifts military hospital to Tajikistan to strengthen geo-strategic footprint in Central Asia
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon’s visit to India last August, during which the long-standing bilateral partnership was elevated to a strategic partnership, had then laid the groundwork for the new hospital.
NEW DELHI: India has quietly airlifted a military hospital, with doctors, paramedics and equipment, to Tajikistan as part of the deepening “strategic partnership” with the energy-rich central Asian country that shares borders with Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.India already has over 100 Indian military personnel stationed at the Ayni airbase in Tajikistan, a country that also shares close proximity to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), as a kind of a “military outpost”. The new hospital will serve to further strengthen India’s geo-strategic footprint in the crucial Central Asian region.

Defence ministry sources say two of the newly-acquired C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft of the IAF airlifted medical stores, equipment and 55 personnel over the last month to establish the “India-Tajik Friendship Hospital” in southern Tajikistan.

“The 50-bed hospital will treat both military as well as civilian people,” said a source. The setting up of the hospital comes at a time when vice-president Hamid Ansari is on a visit to the landlocked country to further cement the bilateral strategic partnership and well as expand its “Connect Central Asia Policy” to build stronger linkages with the five Central Asian countries.

This is not the first time that India has established a hospital in Tajikistan, which shares a 1,400-km with Afghanistan. In the 1990s, India had run a famous field hospital at Farkor on the Tajik-Afghan border to treat wounded fighters from the then Northern Alliance that was battling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It was at the very same hospital that the Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood was pronounced dead after being assassinated just two days before the 9/11 terror strikes in 2001. But around a decade ago, India had inexplicably shut down the hospital.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon’s visit to India last August, during which the long-standing bilateral partnership was elevated to a strategic partnership, had then laid the groundwork for the new hospital.

With a broad convergence of views on security matters and cross-border terrorism, the close equation with Tajikistan becomes even more important for India now in the backdrop of the drawdown of US-led international forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

The Indian “military outpost” at the Ayni airbase, around 15 km from Tajik capital Dushanbe, also helps New Delhi keep tabs on its economic and strategic interests in Central Asia as well as “any anti-Indian activity” in the terrorism-infested Af-Pak region.

Indian Army, IAF and Border Roads Organisation personnel had worked hard to upgrade the airbase, which includes extension of the runway and construction of three aircraft hangars, an air-control tower and perimeter fencing around the base, at a cost of over Rs 100 crore.