Monday, December 31, 2007
December 26, 2007 09:15 AM
I caught a segment during this morning's "Today Show" that documented this jump and was blown away by the flight path control these jumpers have. The bald jumper went on to say that he's shooting for a "no parachute" capability with wing suits. Now, as any student pilot knows, a flared landing takes some practice, so you can imagine how tricky arresting a gigantic rate of descent with a wing suit would be - not to mention, unlike powered flight, if you mismanage your energy, you are totally hosed.
But if daredevils can standardize the move, the implications for special operations are tremendous. HALO is sneaky, but it still has a finite vul window. If you never slow down until the end of your landing skid (not rollout), your vul window is basically nil.
Here's a quick look at these dudes playing chicken with Christ. Check it out . . .
Daredevils Get Close To Jesus:
NOTE: The 2nd video was not a part of the above report, but, was independently included by me in order to observe the wing suit from more clearer angles:
Homeland Security is working with local police departmenst and religious leaders to prepare for the delaration of Martial Law and in particular developing techniques they will employ during the crisis to "QUELL DISSENT."
KSLA 12 News reported Pastors to cite Romans 13 as reason for public to OBEY government orders.
Being Subject To Authorities
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.
Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority?
Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God's servant for your good.
But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.
Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, busy with this very thing.
Pay to all what is due them--taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
2. Military Preparing For Martial Law:
Long before 9/11 the Military has been training our soldiers how to shut down cities, confiscate guns, and put Americans in camps. Watch for yourself.
3. Martial Law In Baltimore?
Ed Norris Calls It "Ridiculous"
4. The Timeline To Tyranny:
An American Resistance Presentation. A notice to the public. 10 Steps to Tyranny in America.
REX 84 / FEMA'S BLUEPRINT FOR MARTIAL LAW
By Allen L Roland
August 19, 2006 at 16:43:37
We are dangerously close to a situation where ~ if the American people took to the streets in righteous indignation or if there were another 9/11 ~ a mechanism for martial law could be quickly implemented and carried out under REX 84 : Allen L Roland
The Cheney/Bush administration has a plan which would accommodate the detention of large numbers of American citizens during times of emergency.
The plan is called REX 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984. Through Rex-84 an undisclosed number of concentration camps were set in operation throughout the United States, for internment of dissidents and others potentially harmful to the state.
The Rex 84 Program was originally established on the reasoning that if a "mass exodus" of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA.
Existence of the Rex 84 plan was first revealed during the Iran-Contra Hearings in 1987, and subsequently reported by the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987"
These camps are to be operated by FEMA should martial law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached."
And there you have it ~ the real purpose of FEMA is to not only protect the government but to be its principal vehicle for martial law.
This is why FEMA could not respond immediately to the Hurricane Katrina disaster ~ humanitarian efforts were no longer part of its job discription under the Department of Homeland Security.
It appears Hurricane Katrina also provided FEMA with an excuse to "dry run" its unconstitutional powers in New Orleans, rounding up "refugees" (now called "evacuees") and "relocating" them in various camps. "Some evacuees are being treated as 'internees' by FEMA," writes former NSC employee Wayne Madsen.
"Reports continue to come into WMR that evacuees from New Orleans and Acadiana [the traditional twenty-two parish Cajun homeland] who have been scattered across the United States are being treated as 'internees' and not dislocated American citizens from a catastrophe "
We are dangerously close to a situation where ~ if the American people took to the streets in righteous indignation or if there were another 9/11 ~ a mechanism for martial law could be quickly implemented and carried out under REX 84.
Be forewarned ~ the Cheney/Bush administration will stop at nothing to preserve their power and their ongoing neocon mis-adventure and they have currently proposed having executive control over all the states National Guard troops in a national emergency.
Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, called the proposal " one step away from a complete takeover of the National Guard, the end of the Guard as a dual-function force that can respond to both state and national needs."
The provision was tucked into the House version of the defense bill without notice to the states, something Vilsack said he resented as much as the proposal itself.
Under the provision, the president would have authority to take control of the Guard in case of " a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe" in the United States.
Do remember, to the Cheney/Bush administration ~ the Mob at the Gates that they truly fear is not terrorists but, instead, the people demanding the truth.
MINDFULLY, 2004 - There over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA should martial law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached. . . The Rex 84 Program was established on the reasoning that if a "mass exodus" of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA.
Rex 84 allowed many military bases to be closed down and to be turned into prisons.
Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are the two sub programs which will be implemented once the Rex 84 program is initiated for its proper purpose. Garden Plot is the program to control the population. Cable Splicer is the program for an orderly takeover of the state and local governments by the federal government.
FEMA is the executive arm of the coming police state and thus will head up all operations. The Presidential Executive Orders already listed on the Federal Register also are part of the legal framework for this operation.
The camps all have railroad facilities as well as roads leading to and from the detention facilities. Many also have an airport nearby. The majority of the camps can house a population of 20,000 prisoners.
Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive mental health facility and can hold thousands of people.
Published on December 3, 2007.
The corporate media in the US likes to think of themselves as the official most accurate news reporting of the day. The New York Times motto of “all the news that’s fit to print” is a clear example of this perspective.
However, with corporate media coverage that increasingly focuses on a narrow range of celebrity updates, news from “official” government sources, and sensationalized crimes and disasters, the self-justification of being the most "fit" is no longer valid in the US.
We need to broaden our understanding of censorship in the US. The dictionary definition of direct government control of news as 'censorship' is no longer adequate. The private corporate media in the US significantly under-covers and/or deliberately censors numerous important news stories every year.
The common theme of the most censored stories over the past year is the systemic erosion of human rights and civil liberties in both the US and the world at large. The corporate media ignored the fact that habeas corpus can now be suspended for anyone by order of the President.
With the approval of Congress, the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006, signed by Bush on October 17, 2006, allows for the suspension of habeas corpus for US citizens and non-citizens alike.
While media, including a lead editorial in the New York Times (October 19, 2006), have given false comfort that American citizens will not be the victims of the measures legalized by this Act, the law is quite clear that ‘any person’ can be targeted.
The text in the MCA allows for the institution of a military alternative to the constitutional justice system for “any person” regardless of American citizenship. The MCA effectively does away with habeas corpus rights for all people living in the US deemed by the President to be enemy combatants.
A law enacted last year allowing the government to more easily institute martial law is another civil liberties story ignored by the corporate media in 2007.
The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 allows the president to station military troops anywhere in the United States and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."
The law in effect repealed the Posse Comitatus Act, which had placed strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement in the US since just after the Civil War.
Additionally, under the code-name Operation FALCON (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally), three federally coordinated mass arrests occurred between April 2005 and October 2006. In an unprecedented move, more than 30,000 “fugitives” were arrested in the largest dragnets in the nation's history.
The operations, coordinated by the Justice Department and Homeland Security, directly involved over 960 agencies (state, local and federal) and are the first time in US history that all of the domestic police agencies have been put under the direct control of the federal government.
Finally, the term “terrorism” has been dangerously expanded to include any acts that interfere, or promotes interference, with the operations of animal enterprises.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), signed into law on November 27, 2006 expands the definition of an “animal enterprise” to any business that “uses or sells animals or animal products.” The law essentially defines protesters, boycotters or picketers of businesses in the US as terrorists.
Most people in the US believe in our Bill of Rights and value personal freedoms. Yet, our corporate media in the past year failed to adequately inform us about important changes in our civil rights and liberties.
Despite our busy lives we want to be informed about serious decisions made by the powerful, and rely on the corporate media to keep us abreast of significant changes.
When a media fails to cover these issues, what else can we call it but censorship?
A broader definition of censorship in America today needs to include any interference, deliberate or not, with the free flow of vital news information to the American people.
With the size of the major media giants in the US, there is no excuse for consistently missing major news stories that affect all our lives.
Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Director of Project Censored. His latest book Censored 2008 from Seven Stories Press is available in bookstores nationwide or at http://www.projectcensored.org/.
Read more: Related stories from Google News
Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
NOTE: The following videos were NOT part of the above article, but, were independently included by me.
The Problem With BIG MEDIA:
How The News Works:
Big Media - Shine A Light:
Bill Moyers :What's Wrong With Big Media:
Why Fight For Independent Media?
The 4th Braanch Of Government:
(By Immortal Technique)
The Pope had his Index of Forbidden Books. Japan had its Thought Police against subversive or dangerous ideologies. And the United States Congress and President Bush have learned nothing from those examples.
Congress is perched to enact the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 20007 (Act)," probably the greatest assault on free speech and association in the United States since the 1938 creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
Sponsored by Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, the bill passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 23 by a 404-6 vote under a rule suspension that curtailed debate.
To borrow from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, the First Amendment should not distract Congress from doing important business.
The Senate companion bill (S. 1959), sponsored by Susan Collins, Maine Republican, has encountered little opposition. Especially in an election year, senators crave every opportunity to appear tough on terrorism.
Few if any care about or understand either freedom of expression or the Thought Police dangers of S. 1959.
Former President John Quincy Adams presciently lamented:
"Democracy has no forefathers, it looks to no posterity, it is swallowed up in the present and thinks of nothing but itself."
Denuded of euphemisms and code words, the Act aims to identify and stigmatize persons and groups who hold thoughts the government decrees correlate with homegrown terrorism, for example, opposition to the Patriot Act or the suspension of the Great Writ of habeas corpus.
The Act will inexorably culminate in a government listing of homegrown terrorists or terrorist organizations without due process; a complementary listing of books, videos, or ideas that ostensibly further "violent radicalization;" and a blacklisting of persons who have intersected with either list.
Political discourse will be chilled and needed challenges to conventional wisdom will flag. There are no better examples of sinister congressional folly.
The Act inflates the danger of homegrown terrorism manifold to justify creating a marquee National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence (Commission) in the legislative branch.
Since September 11, 2001, no American has died from homegrown terrorism, while about 120,000 have been murdered.
In the so-called post-September 11 "war" against international terrorism, Mr. Bush has detained only two citizens as enemy combatants. One was voluntarily deported to Saudi Arabia; the other was indicted, tried and convicted in a civilian court of providing material assistance to a foreign terrorist organization.
And employing customary law enforcement tools, the United States has successfully prosecuted several pre-embryonic terrorism conspiracies amidst numerous false starts.
Prior to September 11, homegrown terrorism consisted largely of Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, the Unibomber and the D.C. Metropolitan area snipers.
The Act, nevertheless, counterfactually finds "homegrown terrorism ... poses a threat to domestic security" that "cannot be easily prevented through traditional federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts."
Twelve members of the commission will be appointed by the president and leaders in the House and Senate. They will predictably serve the political needs of their political masters.
The commission's Big Brother task is to discover ideas and political associations, including connections to non-U.S. persons and networks, that promote "violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States."
And "violent radicalization" is defined as "the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change."
Under the Act, William Lloyd Garrison would have been guilty of promoting "violent radicalization" for publishing the anti-slavery Liberator in 1831, which "facilitated" John Brown.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would have been condemned for assailing laws disenfranchising women and creating an intellectual atmosphere receptive to violence.
And Martin Luther King, Jr. would have fallen under the Act's suspicion for denouncing Jim Crow and practicing civil disobedience, which "facilitated" H. Rap Brown.
The commission will certainly hold choreographed public hearings. Witnesses will testify that non-Christian ideas or vocal challenges to the status quo promote "an extremist belief system" that facilitates ideologically based violence. Internet communications, the media, schools, religious institutions and home life will be scrutinized for promoting pernicious thoughts.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes observed in Gitlow v. New York (1925):
"Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result."
Lengthy lists of persons, organizations and thoughts to be shunned will be compiled. Portions of the Holy Koran are likely to be taboo. The lives of countless innocent citizens will be shattered.
That is the lesson of HUAC and every prior government enterprise to identify "dangerous" people or ideas — for example, the 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans herded into concentration camps during World War II.
The ideological persecutions invited by the Act will do more to create than to deter homegrown terrorism.
Mark Anthony's words in "Julius Caesar" are a fitting commentary on what Congress is prepared to enact:
"O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason."
Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer with Bruce Fein & Associates and Chairman of the American Freedom Agenda.
NOTE:The following videos were not part of the above article, but, were independently included by me.
1. HR 1955 REVEALED TRUTH! STOP JANE HARMAN
2. H.R. 1955 - THOUGHT CRIMES IN THE U.S.
3. While America Was Sleeping
David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Friday December 28, 2007
The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be convicted by an American military tribunal will be released from prison on Saturday -- but six years of harsh treatment in US custody leave him ill-prepared to readjust to normal life, a psychologist says.
Australian-born David Hicks, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, plead guilty earlier this year to charges of providing material support for al- Qaeda terrorists. As part of his plea deal, Hicks was transferred to Australia to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
Appearing in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Monash University psychology professor James Ogloff said that Guantanamo had left a broken Hicks to fend for himself in the free world.
"In some very restrictive regimes, and Guantánamo Bay will fall into that category, the environments are actually designed to break people down," said Ogloff.
"There's no long term goal of rehabilitating people or having them return to the community. So the issues that the individual faces is, in fact, being broken into pieces and having to really be put back together."
During his time at Guantanamo, Hicks alleges that he was beaten, sedated and forced to take unidentified medication, among other abuses.
Although Ogloff had never personally assessed Hicks, he described conditions typical of prisoners kept for prolonged periods in solitary confinement.
"The become very anxious and nervous," he said. "The vast majority of people develop headaches, have problems sleeping, become angry and irritable, have emotional mood swings, high degrees of depression."
The stigma of his conviction will also affect his rehabilitation, said the psychologist.
"The infamy now that Mr. Hicks feels," said Ogloff, "will in fact exacerbate the problems he's experienced and make it all the more difficult for him to return to any semblance of a normal life in the community."
NOTE: The following videos about Guantanamo were NOT part of the above story, but were independantly included by me.
1. Gitmo Video - Guantanamo Bay
2. U.S. ARMY INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS SPEAK OUT ON GITMO
3. Guantanamo Unclassified
4. Leaked Gitmo Manual Shows Torture Was Offical / APA's Role
5. "WHEN DO WE GET TO SEND BUSH AND CHENEY TO GITMO?"
Sunday, December 30, 2007
By David Rubinson;
Axis Editorial Comment;
Articles by William Arkin
Dec 29, 2007, 05:01
Editorial Update: Tonight, December 29, CNN is broadcasting a new special: PAKISTAN - TERRORIST CENTRAL. The Corporate media is hard at it to justify the insertion of US Troops in Pakistan to fight "The War on Terrorism" launched by the U.S. Government in 2002. Read on ... - Les Blough, Editor, Axis of Logic
Editor's Comment: Following the assassination of Benizar Bhutto and the chaotic aftermath, we now learn that U.S. troops are headed for operations in Pakistan. Two articles by William M. Arkin, writing for the Washington Post, are sent to us from iconoclastic David Rubinson, an Axis of Logic reader: U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan and Bin Laden Killed Bhutto? How Blind Can We Be?. David offers commentary above Arkin's two WP articles. Based upon our research, we think his perspective on the assassination of Benizir Bhutto is worth considering.
"CIA KILLS BHUTTO : U.S. TROOPS MOVE IN
"Oh come ON people. Cui Bono (to whose benefit) And, remember, when the pimp press all sing one song, yer BS detector bettah start howling. There is no US diplomatic disaster in Pakistan. The Bushists did not make a mistake.
Here again: IDIOCY BY DESIGN. Can Any of you spell P-I-P-E-L-I-N-E ??? As in: Trans-Afghanistan pipeline and the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline. What do you think we're doing there ?
Ya think its for the Pashtun food? We killed Benazir's old man.
We put Musharraf in power. Bin Laden (Al CIAda), The CIA, The Mujahideen, and ISI go back a looong way. They endure as a deadly menage-a-treachery. We dragged Benazir back to Pakistan. And we have obviously knocked her off. Now comes the chaos, the smashing of windows, burning of mosques, overthrown cars, a bunch of corpses, and tons - I say TONS-of footage on the pimp media showing screaming brown folks acting crazy. Well, says Sheriff Bush, we bettah ride into town and make it safe for our ole pal Dimmokracee one mo' time. And, just like crock-work, in comes Da Army! Please note- the deal was made LAST MONTH."
We also ask the reader to consider that Arkin's second article (below) has a threefold purpose:
1. The first is to debunk the notion that al Queda killed Benazir Bhutto.
2. The second is to reinforce the fear factor - the idea that al Queda continues to thrive and represents a significant threat, justifying the need for the "War on Terror".
3. The third purpose of Arkin's second article is to deflect from any U.S./CIA involvement in the death of Benizar Bhutto.
As David Rubinson notes: Cui Bono? There are several factors that must be considered in answering the question. The pipeline Rubinson mentions is one. Another is the enormous, lucrative heroine trade (literally worth more than its weght in gold) that flows from Afghanistan since the Taliban was defeated -Ciu Bono? Use your imagination; Finally, consider the most fundamental of purposes for the entire "War on Terrorism" - Complete destabilization of the Middle East. - Les Blough, Editor
U.S. Troops To Head To Pakistan
By William M. Arkin
Beginning early next year, U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units, according to defense officials involved with the planning.
These Pakistan-centric operations will mark a shift for the U.S. military and for U.S. Pakistan relations. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the U.S. used Pakistani bases to stage movements into Afghanistan. Yet once the U.S. deposed the Taliban government and established its main operating base at Bagram, north of Kabul, U.S. forces left Pakistan almost entirely. Since then, Pakistan has restricted U.S. involvement in cross-border military operations as well as paramilitary operations on its soil.
But the Pentagon has been frustrated by the inability of Pakistani national forces to control the borders or the frontier area. And Pakistan's political instability has heightened U.S. concern about Islamic extremists there.
According to Pentagon sources, reaching a different agreement with Pakistan became a priority for the new head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. Eric T. Olson. Olson visited Pakistan in August, November and again this month, meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen. Tariq Majid and Lt. Gen. Muhammad Masood Aslam, commander of the military and paramilitary troops in northwest Pakistan. Olson also visited the headquarters of the Frontier Corps, a separate paramilitary force recruited from Pakistan's border tribes.
Now, a new agreement, reported when it was still being negotiated last month, has been finalized. And the first U.S. personnel could be on the ground in Pakistan by early in the new year, according to Pentagon sources.
U.S. Central Command Commander Adm. William Fallon alluded to the agreement and spoke approvingly of Pakistan's recent counterterrorism efforts in an interview with Voice of America last week.
"What we've seen in the last several months is more of a willingness to use their regular army units," along the Afghan border, Fallon said. "And this is where, I think, we can help a lot from the U.S. in providing the kind of training and assistance and mentoring based on our experience with insurgencies recently and with the terrorist problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think we share a lot with them, and we'll look forward to doing that."
If Pakistan actually follows through, perhaps 2008 will be a better year.
Bin Laden Killed Bhutto? How Blind Can We Be?
By William M. Arkin,
The shorthand being bandied about in the news that al-Qaeda is responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is so sloppy, so lacking in nuance or understanding of the dynamics of Pakistan, and so self-centered in its reference to America's enemy as to be almost laughable.
Several U.S. defense and intelligence experts are quoted today dismissing even the possibility that President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani government forces, or other domestic elements could be involved, a conclusion that flies in the face of the country's history and ignores the obvious beneficiaries.
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of U.S. Central Command during the Clinton administration, told The Washington Post that there is "no doubt in my mind" that the murderers are linked to al-Qaeda. In an interview with Time magazine, he elaborated: "[T]hey're the only ones who gain from this.... I really think they're trying to ignite Pakistan into the kind of chaos they need to survive."
Former CIA official and National Security Council staffer Bruce Riedel, now at the Brookings Institution, is spouting the same theory, telling Newsweek that the assassination was "almost certainly the work of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda's Pakistani allies...Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power much as they have in other failing states."
To be sure, al-Qaeda has found sanctuary in Pakistan since its founding in 1988. Key al-Qaeda lieutenants such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Sept. 11 organizer, have operated from there. Before Sept. 11, Pakistan was a source of recruits and financing and technical support for al-Qaeda. And since Sept. 11, "al Qaeda" has been tied to various attempts to kill President Musharraf and to attacks on Pakistani Army and intelligence facilities - attacks that have increased in frequency and consequence since the central government sought to control the lawless border region. The thinking is that al-Qaeda has been trying to preserve its freedom of operations and to build relations with like-minded affiliates and Pakistani jihadis.
That said, al-Qaeda -- at least the movement led by and associated with Osama bin Laden -- is in terms of power and importance at the bottom of a long list of anti-democratic factions in Pakistan, including malcontents in the active and retired military, renegade intelligence and secret service elements, radical Islamic political parties, extremist Sunni movements, indigenous terrorist organizations and Afghan and Pakistani "Taliban" movements.
To say that "al-Qaeda" is responsible for Bhutto's assassination -- suggesting Osama bin Laden and an external force -- is to ignore all those political and religious factions inside the country that had the motives and resources to kill the former prime minister. Some of those factions in the government, the military or the intelligence services were likely privy to Bhutto's movements, and they could have actively schemed, if not played a direct role, in getting the suicide attacker to the right place at the right time.
Musharraf, of course, will say that he "warned" Bhutto of the dangers. Though, given that Bhutto's father, another former prime minister, was hanged by a military dictatorship and her two brothers were killed under suspicious circumstances, she no doubt already understood the landscape of domestic threats.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials are trying to verify the claim, via an Italian website, that al-Qaeda was behind the killing. Mustafa Abu al Yazid, al-Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, allegedly told a reporter: "We have terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedin." The website reported that the call to assassinate Bhutto came from al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri.
This claim of responsibility is highly suspect. And, if al-Qaeda were involved at all, it's less likely to have dictated decisions than to have been used by domestic factions pursuing their own power objectives. Those factions almost universally have an interest in labeling all lawlessness and terrorism "al Qaeda" activity.
Given Pakistan's history, it is unlikely that the true perpetrators will ever be brought to justice.
For the United States though, the al-Qaeda bogey-man has the negative effect of affirming support for Musharraf and his martial law, while ignoring the various extremists who represent the true existential threat to the country. We should not let our al-Qaeda fixation blind us, just as the Soviet threat did in Iran in the 1970s, to the realities that Pakistan could implode of its own accord.
Related Material From FreeThoughtManifesto's Archive:
1. Anglo-American Ambitions Behind Destabilization Of Pakistan
2. Who Killed Benazir? (UpDated)
3. US 'Helped Precipitate' Conditions For Bhutto's Assassination
On a final note, the following video was not part of the above article, but was independentally included by me to expose our CIA's historic involvement in that volatile region.
The video exposes how our government armed and trained the Afghan Mujahideen, (one CIA Operative personally delivered 60,000 tonnes of ordnance to the Afghans); we also financed them (our proxy war) with at least $3 Billion; the CIA also taught the Afghans how to assemble IED's!!!
Could they be the same IED's that are killing our troops in Iraq, and that are being currently used by the Taliban in Afghanistan against our troops and NATO's???
CIA Afghanistan 1979
By Larry Chin,
December 29, 2007
It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been manuevering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto does not change this agenda. In fact, it simplifies Bush-Cheney’s options.
Seeding Chaos With A Pretext
“Delivering democracy to the Muslim world” has been the Orwellian rhetoric used to mask Bush-Cheney’s application of pressure and force, its dramatic attempt at reshaping of the Pakistani government (into a joint Bhutto/Sharif-Musharraf) coalition, and backdoor plans for a military intervention. Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military.
The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place.
As succinctly summarized in Jeremy Page’s article, "Who Killed Benazir Bhutto? The Main Suspects", the main suspects are 1) “Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge”, and 2) the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, a virtual branch of the CIA. Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari directly accused the ISI of being involved in the October attack.
The assassination of Bhutto has predictably been blamed on “Al-Qaeda”, without mention of fact that Al-Qaeda itself is an Anglo-American military-intelligence operation.
Page’s piece was one of the first to name the man who has now been tagged as the main suspect: Baitullah Mehsud, a purported Taliban militant fighting the Pakistani army out of Waziristan.
Conflicting reports link Mehsud to “Al-Qaeda”, the Afghan Taliban, and Mullah Omar (also see here). Other analysis links him to the terrorist A.Q. Khan.
Mehsud’s profile, and the reporting of it, echoes the propaganda treatment of all post-9/11 “terrorists”. This in turn raises familiar questions about Anglo-American intelligence agency propaganda involvement. Is Mehsud connected to the ISI or the CIA? What did the ISI and the CIA know about Mehsud? More importantly, does Mehsud, or the manipulation of the propaganda surrounding him provide Bush-Cheney with a pretext for future aggression in the region?
Classic “War On Terrorism” Propaganda
While details on the Bhutto assassination continue to unfold, what is clear is that it was a political hit, along the lines of US agent Rafik Harriri in Lebanon. Like the highly suspicious Harriri hit, the Bhutto assassination has been depicted by corporate media as the martyring of a great messenger of western-style “democracy”. Meanwhile, the US government’s ruthless actions behind the scenes have received scant attention.
The December 28, 2007 New York Times coverage of the Bhutto assassination offers the perfect example of mainstream Orwellian media distortion that hides the truth about Bush/Cheney agenda behind blatant propaganda smoke. This piece echoes White House rhetoric proclaiming that Bush’s main objectives are to “bring democracy to the Muslim world” and “force out Islamist militants”.
In fact, the openly criminal Bush-Cheney administration has only supported and promoted the antithesis of democracy: chaos, fascism, and the installation of Anglo-American-friendly puppet regimes.
In fact, the central and consistent geostrategy of Bush-Cheney, and their elite counterparts around the world, is the continued imposition and expansion of the manufactured “war on terrorism”; the continuation of war across the Eurasian subcontinent, with events triggered by false flag operations and manufactured pretexts.
In fact, the main tools used in the “war on terrorism” remain Islamist militants, working on behalf of Anglo-American military intelligence agencies---among them, “Al-Qaeda”, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI. Mehsud fits this the same profile.
Saving Bush-Cheney’s Pakistan
In an amusing quote from the same New York Times piece, Wendy Chamberlain, former US ambassador to Pakistan (and a central figure behind multinational efforts to build a trans-Afghan pipeline, connected to 9/11), proudly states: “We are a player in the Pakistani political system”.
Not only has the US continued to be a “player”, but one of its top managers for decades.
Each successive Pakistani leader since the early 1990s---Bhutto, Sharif and Musharraf---have bowed to Western interests. The ISI is a virtual branch of the CIA.
While Musharraf has been, and remains, a strongman for Bush-Cheney, questions about his “reliability”, and control---both his regime’s control over the populace and growing popular unrest, and elite control over his regime---have driven Bush-Cheney attempts to force a clumsy (pro-US, Iraq-style) power-sharing government. As noted by Robert Scheer, Bush-Cheney has been playing “Russian roulette” with Musharraf, Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif---each of whom have been deeply corrupt, willing fronts for the US.
The return of both Bhutto and the other former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has merely been an attempt by the US to hedge its regional power bets.
What exactly were John Negroponte and Condoleeza Rice really setting up the past few months?
Who Benefits From Bhutto’s Murder?
The “war on terrorism” geostrategy and propaganda milieu, the blueprint that has been used by elite interests since 9/11 to impose a continuing world war, is the clear beneficiary of the Bhutto assassination. Bush/Cheney and their equally complicit pro-war/pro-occupation counterparts in the Democratic Party enthusiastically support the routine use of “terror” pretexts to impose continued war policies.
True to form, fear, “terrorism”, “security” and military force, are once again, the focuses of Washington political rhetoric, and the around-the-clock media barrage.
The 2008 US presidential candidates and their elite campaign advisers, all but a few of whom enthusiastically support the “war on terrorism”, have taken turns pushing their respective versions of “we must stop the terrorists” rhetoric for brain-addled supporters. The candidates whose polls have slipped, led by 9/11 participant and opportunist Rudy Guiliani, and hawkish neoliberal Hillary Clinton, have already benefited from a new round of mass fear.
Musharraf benefits from the removal of a bitter rival, but now must find a way to re-establish order. Musharraf now has an ideal justification to crack down on “terrorists” and impose full martial law, with Bush-Cheney working from the shadows behind Musharraf---and continuing to manipulate or remove his apparatus, if Musharraf proves too unreliable or broken to suit Anglo-American plans.
The likely involvement of the ISI behind the Bhutto hit cannot be overstated. ISI’s role behind every major act of “terrorism” since 9/11 remains the central unspoken truth behind current geopolitical realities. Bhutto, but not Sharif or Musharraf would have threatened the ISI’s agendas.
Bhutto, Militant Islam, and The Pipelines
Now that she has been martyred, many unflattering historical facts about Benazir Bhutto will be hidden or forgotten.
Bhutto herself was intimately involved in the creation of the very “terror” milieu purportedly responsible for her assassination. Across her political career, she supported militant Islamists, the Taliban, the ISI, and the ambitions of Western governments.
As noted by Michel Chossudovsky in America’s “War on Terrorism”, it was during Bhutto’s second term that Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and the Taliban rose to prominence, welcomed into Bhutto’s coalition government. It was at that point that ties between the JUI, the Army and the ISI were established.
While Bhutto’s relationship with both the ISI and the Taliban were marked by turmoil, it is clear that Bhutto, when in power, supported both---and enthusiastically supported Anglo-American interventions.
In his two landmark books, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia and Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia, Ahmed Rashid richly details the Bhutto regime’s connections to the ISI, the Taliban, “militant Islam”, multinational oil interests, and Anglo-American officials and intelligence proxies.
In Jihad, Rashid wrote:
“Ironically it was not the ISI but Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the most liberal, secular leader in Pakistan’s recent history, who delivered the coup de grace to a new relationship with Central Asia. Rather than support a wider peace process in Afghanistan that would have opened up a wider peace process in Afghanistan, Bhutto backed the Taliban, in a rash and presumptuous policy to create a new western-oriented trade and pipeline route from Turkmenistan through southern Afghanistan to Pakistan, from which the Taliban would provide security. The ISI soon supported this policy because its Afghan protégé Gulbuddin Hekmatyar had made no headway in capturing Kabul, and the Taliban appeared to be strong enough to do so.”
In Taliban, Rashid provided even more historical detail:
“When Bhutto was elected as Prime Minister in 1993, she was keen to open a route to Central Asia. A new proposal emerged backed strongly by the frustrated Pakistani transport and smuggling mafia, the JUI and Pashtun military and political officials.”
“The Bhutto government fully backed the Taliban, but the ISI remained skeptical of their abilities, convinced that they would remain a useful but peripheral force in the south.”
“The US congress had authorized a covert $20 million budget for the CIA to destabilize Iran, and Tehran accused Washington of funneling some of these funds to the Taliban---a charge that was always denied by Washington . Bhutto sent several emissaries to Washington to urge the US to intervene more publicly on the side of Pakistan and the Taliban.”
Bhutto’s one mistake: she vehemently supported the pipeline proposed by Argentinian oil company Bridas, and opposed the pipeline by Unocal (favored by the US). This contributed to her ouster in 1996, and the return of Nawaz Sharif to power.
As noted by Rashid:
“After the dismissal of the Bhutto government in 1996, the newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his oil minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan, the army and the ISI fully backed Unocal.
Pakistan wanted more direct US support for the Taliban and urged Unocal to start construction quickly in order to legitimize the Taliban. Basically the USA and Unocal accepted the ISI’s analysis and aims---that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan would make Unocal’s job much easier and quicken US recognition.”
Her appealing and glamorous pro-Western image notwithstanding, Bhutto’s true record is one of corruption and accommodation.
The “War On Terrorism” Resparked
Every major Anglo-American geostrategic crime has been preceded by a convenient pretext, orchestrated and carried out by “terror” proxies directly or indirectly connected to US military-intelligence, or manipulated into performing as intelligence assets. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is simply one more brutal example.
This was Pakistan’s 9/11; Pakistan’s JFK assassination, and its impact will resonate for years.
Contrary to mainstream corporate news reporting, chaos benefits Bush-Cheney’s “war on terrorism”. Calls for “increased worldwide security” will pave the way for a muscular US reaction, US-led force and other forms of “crack down” from Bush-Cheney across the region. In other words, the assassination helps ensure that the US will not only never leave, but also increase its presence.
The Pakistani election, if it takes place at all, is a simpler two-way choice: pro-US Musharraf or pro-US Sharif.
While the success of Bush-Cheney’s 9/11 agenda has met with mixed results, and it has met with a wide array of resistance (“terroristic” as well as political), there is no doubt that the propaganda foundation of the “war on terrorism” has remained firm, unshaken and routinely reinforced.
As for Nawaz Sharif, who now emerges as the sole competitor for Musharraf, he, like Musharraf and Bhutto, is legendary for his accommodation to Anglo-American interests---pipelines, trade, and the continued US military presence. As Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie noted in the book Forbidden Truth, the October 1999 military coup led by Musharraf that originally toppled Sharif’s regime was sparked by animosity between the two camps, as well as “Sharif’s personal corruption and political megalomania”, and “concerns that Sharif was dancing too eagerly to Washington’s tune on Kashmir and Afghanistan”.
In other words, Bush-Cheney wins, no matter which asset winds up on the throne.
Larry Chin is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research Articles by Larry Chin
December 28, 2007 4:57:00 PM
Al-Qaeda has already claimed credit for the assassination of Benzair Bhutto, Pakistan's former prime minister. But this crime has plenty of suspects -- any combination of whom might have been working together. Here's a line-up of the potential killers...
* Al-Qaeda & Co. The Washington Post puts the terror group and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan at the "top of the list." Bin Laden and Bhutto were old foes. And the Pakistani government has certainly been quick to finger the jihadists. ''We have the evidence that al Qaeda and Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto,'' Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told the AP.
Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said that on Friday, the government recorded an ''intelligence intercept'' in which militant leader Baitullah Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act.'' [The text of the call is here.]
Cheema described Mehsud as an ''al Qaeda leader'' [sorta] who was also behind the Karachi bomb blast against Bhutto in October that killed more than 140 people.
Mehsud is regarded as the commander of pro-Taliban forces in the lawless Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan, where al Qaeda fighters are also active.
As noted yesterday, Bhutto recently said that "she had received a letter, signed by someone claiming to be a friend of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, threatening to slaughter her like a goat."
In a November 3 television interview, Bhutto herself said that her potential assassins Bhutto could have come from "a gang from the Afganistan warlord Baitullah Mehsud, or Hamza bin Laden the son of Osama bin Laden, or the Pakistani Taliban in Islamabad, or by a group in Karachi."
A senior intelligence source tells the Counterterrorism Blog, "While the general identity of the perpetrators is known (al-Qaeda), much of the specifics remain extremely elusive and will likely continue for the time being until more information comes out."
Moahamad Bazzi, of the Council on Foreign Relations, notes that under Bhutto, Pakistan played footsie with jihadists -- and helped them take over Afghanistan (more on that in a minute).
When Bhutto was forced out of office, she turned against Islamic extremists as she tried to cultivate new alliances with the West and portray herself as Pakistan’s only truly secular, democratic opposition leader.* Pakistani Militants. A "former intelligence official with deep experience on Pakistan" whispers to TPM Muckraker that "there's [another], and perhaps more likely culprit: internally-focused Pakistani Islamist militants without significant links to al-Qaeda."
The militants never forgave her.
The ex-intel official doesn't have any ground truth. But, s/he says, the organizations with the most to gain and the least to lose by assassinating Bhutto are the groups "like Lashkar e-Toiba, or the Jaish e-Mohammed." Those groups' ties to al-Qaeda are much, much less than that of the Pakistani Taliban [some news reports say otherwise], and their focus is entirely domestic. "There are numerous groups that fit in the militant category whose focus began with Kashmir, but they oppose all U.S.-Pakistani relations and all secular politics," the official says. "They strongly disapprove of the role of Benazir, on every ground, and they have every reason to let Musharraf take the blame. They check every box."During recent exchanges, Bhutto talked about de-emphasizing Pakistan's long-standing focus on wrestling Kashmir away from India. That wouldn't have exactly endeared her to group like Jaish-e-Mohammed.
* Pakistan's Spooks. "To say that 'al-Qaeda' is responsible for Bhutto's assassination -- suggesting Osama bin Laden and an external force -- is to ignore all those political and religious factions inside the country that had the motives and resources to kill the former prime minister," writes the Washington Post's William Arkin. "Some of those factions in the government, the military or the intelligence services were likely privy to Bhutto's movements, and they could have actively schemed, if not played a direct role, in getting the suicide attacker to the right place at the right time."
After the October attempt on her life, Bhutto's husband directly accused government's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of being involved. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies," he said. Bhutto had talked about her desire to clean up the country's intelligence services. After all, the ISI has supported jihadists since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- and it helped the Taliban take control of that country in the 1990s. Pakistan and its spies officially became American allies against the Taliban after 2001. But Afghan president Hamid Karzai, among others, says the ISI never fully changed sides. "Pakistani intelligence gives military training to people and then sends them to Afghanistan with logistics," he said last year. In autumn 2006, a leaked report by a British Defense Ministry think tank charged, “Indirectly Pakistan (through the ISI) has been supporting terrorism and extremism—whether in London on 7/7, or in Afghanistan, or Iraq.” See this excellent Council on Foreign Relations report for more.
* Rogue Commandos. The New York Sun hears from an American intelligence source, who says that "a working theory... is that Al Qaeda or affiliated jihadist groups had effectively suborned at least one unit of Pakistan's Special Services Group, the country's equivalent of Britain's elite SAS commandos. . . . 'They just killed the most protected politician in the whole country,' this source said. 'We really don't know a lot at this point, but the first thing that is happening is we are asking the Pakistani military to account for every black team with special operations capabilities.'" Many of the country's most spectacular terrorist plots have been centered in Rawalpindi, Pakistan's military headquarters. And junior officers have been implicated in many of those schemes.
* President Musharraf Himself. Not directly. But by keeping the security around Bhutto relatively loose, the Musharraf administration allowed attackers to get through. "I wld (sic) hold Musharraf responsible," Bhutto wrote to her US spokesman, Mark Siegel, in a message meant to be revealed in case of her death. "I have been made to feel insecure by his minions, and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides cld (sic) happen without him." Shortly before yesterday's hit on Bhutto, police allegedly "abandoned their security posts."
Of course, at this early stage, we don't have much more than speculation based on initial accounts -- many of which are turning out to be wrong. It was first reported that Bhutto died of gunshot wounds. Now, it appears, she was killed by bomb shrapnel. (Or maybe that's all a "pack of lies.")
And, of course, we may never find out who the real culprits were. As Terrorwonk notes...
A thorough investigation into a political murder would be a unique thing in Pakistani history. The October assassination attempt on Bhutto has not been thoroughly investigated – nor for that matter have the numerous assassination attempts on Musharraf. On October 16, 1951 Pakistan’s first Prime Minister was assassinated in Rawalpindi – in the same park where Bhutto was killed. Security forces immediately killed the assassin so little was gleaned about the plot. There remain unanswered questions about the deaths of Bhutto’s own brother Shahnawaz (poisoned in France in 1985) and Murtaza (who was shot by police in 1996.) There are ongoing suspicions that Benazir had a role in Murtaza’s death – suspicions held by other members of the Bhutto family.
NOTE: The following reports were not part of the above article, but were independently included by me.
1. Al-Qaeda Denies Benazir Bhutto Killing
Article From: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Peshawar
December 29, 2007 06:16pm
Courtesy Of: The Herald Sun
AL-QAEDA linked Pakistani militant Baitullah Mehsud was not involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his spokesman said.
"He had no involvement in this attack," Mehsud's spokesman Maulvi Omar said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"This is a conspiracy of the Government, army and intelligence agencies," he said.
"I strongly deny it. Tribal people have their own customs. We don't strike women."
The Pakistan Government has claimed that Mehsud was responsible for Benazir Bhutto's killing as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said the Government yesterday recorded an "intelligence intercept" in which Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act".
Mr Cheema described Mehsud as an "al-Qaeda leader" and said he was also behind the October 18 bombing against Ms Bhutto's homecoming parade through Karachi that killed more than 140 people.
Mehsud is a commander of pro-Taliban forces in the lawless Pakistani tribal region South Waziristan, where al-Qaeda fighters are also active. His forces often attack Pakistani security forces.
He was recently quoted in a Pakistani newspaper as saying he would welcome Ms Bhutto's return from exile with suicide bombers. Mehsud later denied that in statements to local television and newspaper reporters.
Mr Cheema said Mehsud was "behind most of the recent terrorist attacks that have taken place in Pakistan".
Maulvi Omar said the transcript released by the Government, allegedly of a phone call between Mehsud and a militant discussing Bhutto's death after the fact, was a "drama".
He said it would have been "impossible" for militants to get through the security cordon around the campaign rally where she was killed.
"Benazir was not only a leader of Pakistan but also a leader of international fame. We express our deep grief and shock over her death," Maulvi Omar said. With Reuters
2. They Don’t Blame Al-Qa’ida. They Blame Musharraf.
By Robert Fisk
December 30, 2007
Weird, isn’t it, how swiftly the narrative is laid down for us. Benazir Bhutto, the courageous leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, is assassinated in Rawalpindi - attached to the very capital of Islamabad wherein ex-General Pervez Musharraf lives - and we are told by George Bush that her murderers were “extremists” and “terrorists”. Well, you can’t dispute that.
But the implication of the Bush comment was that Islamists were behind the assassination. It was the Taliban madmen again, the al-Qa’ida spider who struck at this lone and brave woman who had dared to call for democracy in her country.
Of course, given the childish coverage of this appalling tragedy - and however corrupt Ms Bhutto may have been, let us be under no illusions that this brave lady is indeed a true martyr - it’s not surprising that the “good-versus-evil” donkey can be trotted out to explain the carnage in Rawalpindi.
...George Bush announced on Thursday he was “looking forward” to talking to his old friend Musharraf...
So, of course, we were asked to concentrate once more on all those ” extremists” and “terrorists”, not on the logic of questioning which many Pakistanis were feeling their way through in the aftermath of Benazir’s assassination.
It doesn’t, after all, take much to comprehend that the hated elections looming over Musharraf would probably be postponed indefinitely if his principal political opponent happened to be liquidated before polling day.
So let’s run through this logic in the way that Inspector Ian Blair might have done in his policeman’s notebook before he became the top cop in London.
Question: Who forced Benazir Bhutto to stay in London and tried to prevent her return to Pakistan? Answer: General Musharraf.
Question: Who ordered the arrest of thousands of Benazir’s supporters this month? Answer: General Musharraf.
Question: Who placed Benazir under temporary house arrest this month? Answer: General Musharraf.
Question: Who declared martial law this month? Answer General Musharraf.
Question: who killed Benazir Bhutto?
Er. Yes. Well quite.
You see the problem? Yesterday, our television warriors informed us the PPP members shouting that Musharraf was a “murderer” were complaining he had not provided sufficient security for Benazir. Wrong. They were shouting this because they believe he killed her.
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent.
Posted: Dec 05, 2007
New America Media
Editor’s note: The recently released National Intelligence Estimate says Iran had “suspended its nuclear weapon program.” But Iran’s purported nuclear weapons program never existed, writes NAM contributing editor William O. Beeman. Beeman is professor and chair of the department of anthropology at the University of Minnesota and author of “The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other.”
Iran has never had a proven nuclear weapons program. Ever. This inconvenient fact stands as an indictment of the Bush administration’s stance on Iran.
The recently released 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran “suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003” caught the Bush administration flat-footed. In his panic, Bush grasped desperately at the idea that the weapons program may have once existed. However, the report does not offer a scintilla of evidence that the weapons program was ever an established fact.
Designating 2003 as the date that Iran “stopped” its program is telling: this is the year the Bush administration first decided to create a case for attacking Iran based on the purported danger of its nuclear program.
In February 2003, the U.S. government-designated terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq, better known as the MEK (or MKO) “revealed” the existence of Iran’s nuclear facilities to Washington.
The MEK, which had been purged from Iran during the period following the 1979 revolution, took up residence in Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein. The MEK, sometimes identified as an “Islamic Marxist” organization, is dedicated to the overthrow of the current Iranian government. It has been assiduous in courting American lawmakers to recruit U.S. support for its cause. Legislators such as Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have championed this cause, and neoconservatives Patrick Clawson and Daniel Pipes lobbied for its removal from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations in order to use the MEK in the Bush White House drive for regime change in Iran.
Subsequently, the Bush administration claimed that Iran had “concealed” its weapons program for decades, and began a campaign to shut down all nuclear development.
In fact, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) grants all nations the “inalienable right” to peaceful nuclear development. Further, it does not require any nation to report its facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until fissile material, such as uranium, is actually introduced into the facility.
Iran did indeed have a brief reporting lapse. It revealed the start of its nuclear enrichment experiments at the time they began, rather than announcing this to the IAEA 180 days before experimentation as was required. This was in 2003, and it was the only serious breech of protocol.
The National Intelligence Estimate now identifies 2003 as the date when the weapons program stopped — literally at the point when the Bush administration first became aware of it.
2003 was two years before the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was more than a year before the United States began to lobby for U.N. economic sanctions against Iran.
Claiming that “international pressure” had caused Iran to modify its behavior, the Bush administration tried desperately to justify its exaggerated characterizations of the danger Iran posed to the world. The only event that the Bush administration can now claim as constituting “international pressure” is the May 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
If the international community understands that Iran never had a weapons program, President George W. Bush’s statement that Iran could start the program up “again” is clearly absurd.
It is now clear that the Bush administration’s campaign to convince the world of the danger of Iran’s purported immanent nuclear weapons was a sham. The campaign was one in a series of public pretexts to effect regime change in the Islamic Republic. No amount of equivocation, or bluster about Iran’s “continuing” danger can mask the fact that American credibility on this issue has been irrevocably damaged.
The only positive outcome of this debacle may be that the Bush administration may finally accept that differences with Iran can only be solved by actually talking to the leaders of the Islamic Republic. Restoration of diplomatic relations, even at a low level, will begin the process of reducing the hostile atmosphere that has been created, and will start the long, slow process toward the restoration of productive and peaceful relations.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
By Ben Fenton
Published: December 28 2007 02:00
Last updated: December 28 2007 02:00
Courtesy Of The: Financial Times
Britain entered into secret negotiations in 1977 to build 20 nuclear reactors for the Shah of Iran, a programme that would have dwarfed similar projects offered at the time by France and Germany.
In negotiations with the head of the Iranian atomic energy programme, senior UK civil servants predicted that by the end of the 20th century Iran would have obtained the technology - from Britain itself - to build nuclear weapons.
But the imperative to keep Britain's own nuclear energy industry alive by signing the enormous deal trumped such considerations, according to the archives.
In a note to No 10 Downing Street in February that year, a senior official in the ministry of Tony Benn, energy secretary, wrote:
"Eventually, but in my view not for another 10 years at least, [Akbar] E'temad [president of the atomic energy organisation of Iran] will ask for reprocessing and enrichment technology.
"Given the state of Iranian industry we ought to be able to put him off until near the end of the century."
In another note to James Callaghan, prime minister, Mr Benn said Iran would invest millions of pounds in pressurised water reactor technology in return for Britain's agreement to supply the 20 PWR plants.
Mr Benn conceded that his most senior atomic energy adviser had "found himself drawn into a proposal that would involve a close nuclear partnership between Britain and Iran under which we would take a leading role in developing their massive nuclear power programme with some cross investment of Iranian funds here.
"There is a risk that we might be drawn inexorably into the supply of sensitive technology at a later stage - say in 10 years' time."
The file contains a bitter letter of complaint to Callaghan from Arnold, later Lord, Weinstock, chairman of GEC, saying that he had only heard about the scheme in May and "astounded" at the secrecy and the delay in pressing ahead with the project.
In fact, by this time the cabinet had already decided to slow down progress because in April 1977 the new American president, Jimmy Carter, had begun a nuclear non-proliferation initiative.
But the file shows that UK officials were still hopeful of beating off competition from France and Germany, which had offered to build one or two relatively small reactors for the Shah.
The delay meant that by January 1979, when the Shah fled and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power, there were no British reactors in Iran and the German and French plants were only partially built.
Today, Iran does not yet have a functioning nuclear power plant.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Compiled by Daily Star Staff
Friday, December 28, 2007
A senior Syrian official warned Israel on Thursday that its army had lost its aura of invincibility since its better-armed troops failed to overpower Hizbullah during the summer war of 2006.Mekdad called on the United States to help re-start peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, the German daily said in an article published on Thursday.
"The [Israeli] superiority did not lead to surrender. And Syria has more weapons than Hizbullah," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the Financial Times Deutschland.
"It would be very difficult to re-activate the peace process without the US," he said.
Mekdad said he hoped President George W. Bush would re-consider his refusal to intervene in stalled peace efforts between Syria and Israel, technically at war since 1948.
He said Syria's basic position was unchanged - that the return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in 1967, was "non-negotiable."Disagreements over the Golan Heights caused the last round of talks between the neighbors to break down in 2000.
"We want to get our land back in a peaceful way. But if required, we have already shown we are also prepared to make sacrifices," Mekdad said.- AFP
Thursday, December 27, 2007
NEW DELHI (AP) — Hindu extremists attacked Christians celebrating Christmas in eastern India, ransacking and burning six churches after a dispute over a holiday cultural program that some Hindus believed encouraged conversion, officials said Wednesday.
One person was killed in the violence.
The government in the state of Orissa imposed a curfew in the Kandhamal district Wednesday after two days of violence that included revenge attacks by the Christians, said Bahugrahi Mahapatra, a government official.
Violence started Monday after the Hindus objected to a Christmas Eve cultural program, believing that the display was designed to encourage low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity, said John Dayal, a spokesman for the New Delhi-based Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
The exact nature of the Christmas Eve program was not immediately clear.
The region has a history of tensions between Hindus and Christians. Orissa is the only Indian state that has a law requiring people to obtain police permission before they change their religion, a move designed to counter missionary work.
India is an overwhelmingly Hindu country where Christians account for a mere 2.4% of 1.1 billion people.
An argument over the cultural program got out of hand and some of the Hindus opened fire on the worshippers, injuring three of them, Dayal said. The Hindus then went on a rampage on Christmas Day, chasing people out of six churches and setting the buildings ablaze, he said.
Also Tuesday, some Christians attacked the jeep of Laxmanananda Saraswati, a local leader of the hardline Vishwa Hindu Parishad group, accusing him of inciting the violence, Dayal said.
Later, dozens of people from each community clashed near Baliguda town on Tuesday evening, Dayal said. One person was killed, but it was not immediately clear which group he belonged to.
Anther 25 people were wounded, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
The area, some 840 miles southeast of New Delhi, has been a hotbed of anti-missionary feeling.
In 1999, an Australian missionary, Graham Staines and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, were burned to death as they slept inside their vehicle after a Bible study class at a local church.
The Christians, meanwhile, have challenged the conversion law in court, saying it violates India's constitution.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Hindus, Christians Clash Again In India
By GAVIN RABINOWITZ – 1 day ago
(December 26, 2007)
NEW DELHI (AP) — Hindu extremists attacked village churches and burned down the home of a prominent Christian politician Thursday, officials said.
Gangs of Hindus and Christians defied a curfew imposed following two days of attacks by Hindu hard-liners. Local police have been unsuccessful in halting the attacks and the federal government announced it was sending in a paramilitary force.
A mob of Hindus torched the house of Radhakant Nayak, a member of the Indian parliament's upper house and a Christian leader in the area, Nayak told the CNN-IBN news channel.
Superintendent of Police Narsingh Bhol said several churches and prayer houses were ransacked in the Kandhamal district of Orissa state area and some were set on fire. He could not give an exact number.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted unidentified police officials as saying that 11 small churches and prayer houses were ransacked and burned by Hindu hard-liners in the area.
At least 25 people, belonging to both Hindu and Christian communities, have been arrested for suspected involvement in the violence, Bhol told The Associated Press.
Earlier, police said they had deployed hundreds of officers to the area, restoring calm after hard-line Hindus marred Christmas celebrations, ransacking and burning eight village churches in Orissa state, a corner of the country with a history of violence against Christians. One person was killed.
With the attacks resuming despite the arrests and curfew, the federal government said it was sending in a 300-strong paramilitary force.
"We have to get the violence under control," the junior federal home minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, told reporters.
In the village of Brahmangaon, a group of Christians burned down several Hindu homes in an apparent retaliation for the attacks on churches. Angry Hindus then burned down the village police station, complaining of a lack of protection, a local police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
India is overwhelmingly Hindu but officially secular. Religious minorities, such as Christians, who account for 2.5 percent of the country's 1.1. billion people, and Muslims, who make up 14 percent, often coexist peacefully. Some have risen to the highest levels of government and business.
But throughout India's history, both communities have faced repeated attacks from hard-line Hindus, with violence against Christians often directed at foreign missionaries and converts from Hinduism.
There were conflicting reports of what sparked the attacks on the churches in the rural district of Kandhamal, about 840 miles southeast of New Delhi. Each side blamed the other.
The Hindu hard-liners said Christians had attempted to attack one of their leaders, 80-year-old Laxmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad group, who leads an anti-conversion movement.
But the New Delhi-based Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the fighting began Monday when Hindu extremists objected to a show marking Christmas Eve, believing it was designed to encourage Hindus at the bottom of the religion's rigid caste hierarchy to convert to Christianity.
Orissa has one of the worst histories of anti-Christian violence. An Australian missionary and his two sons, aged 8 and 10, were burned to death in their car in Orissa following a Bible study class in 1999.
Orissa is the only Indian state that has a law requiring people to obtain police permission before they change their religion. The law was intended to counter missionary work.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Hindus Burn More Churches In India
Friday, December 28, 2007
NEW DELHI: Sporadic violence continued in India’s eastern state of Orissa on Thursday after two days of attacks on churches and clashes between Hindu and Christian groups, officials and local news reports said.
PTI news agency reported 11 more churches or prayer houses were ransacked and torched by suspected Hindu right-wing activists in Khandamal district in the early hours of the day.
There were incidents involving shooting at Brahminigam, a Christian-dominated village where the trouble had initially erupted, NDTV reported, and the local police station was surrounded by angry villagers.
State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik arrived in the tribal-dominated Khandamal district to assess the situation and large numbers of police and paramilitary troops were deployed to contain the violence, district superintendent of police Narasimha Bhol said. We have started holding inter-community meetings of leaders and are confident that we will have results soon, Bhol said. A curfew had been lifted briefly and re imposed in four areas.
Bhol said a few incidents had been reported since Thursday morning but he did not have full details yet as some parts of the district were remote and the region was not well-connected by communications.
The trouble between the communities was reportedly sparked after Hindu right-wing organisations objected to plans by local Christian groups to celebrate Christmas in a big way.
About 100,000 of Khandamal’s 650,000 populations are Christians while most of the rest are Hindus.