Friday, May 29, 2009

Pathway To Darkness, Part 2: Babar Ahmad and the TSG

In March of 2009, Babar Ahmad, who is Officially Described As (ODA) a "UK terror suspect", was awarded £60,000 in damages pertaining to an exceptionally violent arrest which he endured more than five years earlier.

Ahmad [photo] is accused of supporting terrorism by raising money and equipment for jihadi groups through a pro-terrorist website and is fighting extradition to the USA.

He is wanted in the case involving Hassan Abujihaad, in a story that involves William "Jameel" Chrisman and (tangentially) Derek Shareef, all of whose names have graced these pages in days past.

To recap briefly: Derrick Shareef, ODA "a mall bomber", is currently serving 35 years in federal prison after trading a pair of stereo speakers for a box which he thought contained four grenades. The grenades were non-functional, the arms dealer who took the speakers as payment was working for the FBI, and the bogus arms deal was arranged by William "Jameel" Chrisman, a convicted felon now also working for the FBI.

Although Chrisman is always ODA "an informant", it's quite clear that he is primarily an agent provocateur, and his primary target in this instance appears to have been Hassan Abujihaad, a former US Navy signalman who once lived with Derrick Shareef.

Abujihaad, a Muslim convert formerly known as Paul R. Hall, is serving 10 years after being found guilty of sending confidential US Navy information to Babar Ahmad in April of 2001, when Abujihaad was stationed aboard the USS Benfold and Babar Ahmad was allegedly running Azzam Publications.

For federal prosecutors, the main problem in the case against Abujihaad was that there was no "forensic footprint" on the information police say they found on a disk belonging to Babar Ahmad. In other words, they had no way of proving that the information was in fact sent by Abujihaad.

This wasn't their only problem, however, since it turned out that the information in question was not so secret after all.

To get a conviction in this case, the prosecution needed more than circumstantial evidence, and Abujihaad was convicted partially on taped conversations between Abujihaad and Chrisman.

William "Jameel" Chrisman [photo] was sent by the FBI from Buffalo, New York, to Rockford, Illinois, and was tasked with meeting Shareef and gaining his confidence.

As it turned out, Shareef was looking for a place to live when Chrisman walked into his life. So Chrisman took him home to live with him and his family -- his three wives and nine children.

From that point until he was arrested, Shareef was under Chrisman's roof as well as under his influence, although the FBI was careful not to divulge these facts until after Shareef had been convinced to plead guilty. (Chrisman testified against Abujihaad later the same day!)

As revealed by a close reading of the affidavit filed by the FBI against Shareef, Jameel Chrisman fabricated every important detail of the "terror plot" to attack CherryVale Mall in Rockford on the last Friday before Christmas, 2006. Chrisman suggested the target, he suggested the date, he suggested the hand grenades ... and Shareef went along with him every step of the way, up to and including the phony arms deal that sent Shareef to prison.

And while that was happening, Chrisman was encouraging Shareef to talk to his old friend Abujihaad, and get him talking about doing some "jihad". Unbeknownst to Shareef, Chrisman was recording all the conversations. But Chrisman wasn't getting anywhere through Shareef, so eventually he began to call Abujihaad directly, trying to get Abujihaad to incriminate himself.

Abujihaad [photo] apparently suspected that he was being set up, because he shifted into code, speaking of "fresh meals" and "cold meals" in response to questions about whether he had been planning any terrorist missions.

Since Abujihaad spoke to Chrisman in code, he must have been hiding something, and that something must have been related to terrorism, and therefore he must have been the one who delivered US Navy secrets to Babar Ahmad, or something like that ...

So Abujihaad is in jail, but the feds are still desperately looking for something to use as evidence against Babar Ahmad, who was arrested in December of 2003. After Ahmad's arrest, according to the AP via KTAR:
Ahmad was released without charge but was re-arrested in August 2004 on a U.S. extradition warrant. He remains in custody.

American officials accused the Pakistani native of running Web sites to raise money for the Taliban, appealing for fighters and providing equipment such as gas masks and night vision goggles to terrorists.
Babar Ahmad, as the AP notes, is still in prison, but the AP report fails to mention that he has never been formally charged with a crime and no evidence has ever been presented against him in a court of law.

On the other hand, Babar Ahmad can now expect five-figure "compensation" for what he endured on the day of his arrest. According to The Guardian,
During his arrest, Ahmad was punched, kicked and throttled, the court heard.

Officers stamped on the 34-year-old's feet and repeatedly punched him in the head before he was forced into the Muslim prayer position and they shouted: "Where is your God now? Pray to him."

After a sustained attack, he was forced into the back of a police van, where he was again beaten and punched before being put in a "life-threatening" neck hold and told: "You will remember this day for the rest of your life."

At one stage, one of the officers grabbed his testicles and he was also deliberately wrenched by his handcuffs – a technique known to cause intense pain.
The Guardian also notes:
The Met [Metropolitan London police] had repeatedly denied the claims, saying officers had used reasonable force during the arrest.

However, lawyers for the force's commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, today admitted at the high court that Ahmad had been the victim of gratuitous and sustained violence at his home in Tooting, south-west London.

"The commissioner has today admitted that his officers subjected Babar Ahmad to grave abuse tantamount to torture during his arrest," Ahmad's solicitor, Fiona Murphy, said outside the court.

During the hearing, it emerged that the Met had lost "a number of large mail sacks" containing details of other similar allegations against the officers who assaulted Ahmad.

Murphy said the few documents that had not been mislaid should have triggered a thorough investigation.

"The horrifying nature and volume of complaints against these officers should have provoked an effective response from the Metropolitan police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) long ago," she said.

"Instead, it has fallen to Babar Ahmad to bring these proceedings to achieve public recognition of the wrong that was done to him."

She said other crucial documents relating to the case were also lost.

They included all the officers' contemporaneous notebooks and the taped recording of an interview with the senior officer in the case.

Murphy added: "The papers will be referred to the director of public prosecutions for urgent consideration of criminal charges against the officers concerned and for an investigation as to whether events surrounding the mislaid mail sacks constitute evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."
The Guardian provides just enough context to dash any such hopes.
An IPCC investigation in 2007 ended with no action being taken against any officer.
The police officers who arrested Babar Ahmad in such a brutal fashion belonged to the Territorial Support Group (TSG), which is essentially the Met's SWAT team.

Assigned to deal with terrorism, public disorder, and high-priority crime, the TSG is never ODA a SWAT team, but there's no doubt that the TSG employs special weapons and special tactics.

The weapons include batons and shields and tasers, and the tactics are revealed in a subsequent article in The Guardian, which reports that
the Met was aware for years that the six [TSG] officers involved [in the arrest of Babar Ahmad] were the subject of repeated complaints. According to documents submitted to the court, four of the officers who carried out the raid on Ahmad's home had 60 allegations of assault against them - of which at least 37 were made by black or Asian men. One of the officers had 26 separate allegations of assault against him - 17 against black or Asian men.

The Met has confirmed that since 1992 all six officers involved in the Ahmad assault had been subject to at least 77 complaints. When lawyers for Ahmad asked for details of these allegations it emerged that the police had "lost" several large mail sacks detailing at least 30 of the complaints.

Senior figures in Scotland Yard admit there are concerns about the conduct of the officers. Although the Independent Police Complaints Commission supervised an investigation carried out by the Met, none of the officers has been disciplined for the assault on Ahmad and all but one are still working in the territorial support group. Asked about the string of allegations against the officers, the Met said that all but one had been found to be unsubstantiated following inquiries.
The Guardian lists some of the allegations.
Documents submitted to the high court and seen by the Guardian list details of some of the alleged assaults carried out by the officers:

• March 2007: one officer is accused of bundling a man into the back of a police van where he was told to "get on his knees". When he replied this was not Guantánamo Bay he claims the officer grabbed him round the neck and "discharged his CS gas while continuing to hold his throat". He says he was then thrown from the van, leaving him with eye, neck and head injuries. According to the document no action was taken because the complaint was either "incapable of proof" or there was "no case to answer".

• November 2005: two of the officers were accused by a "black male" of attacking him in the back of a police van. The document states that he was subjected to "constant kicking to his head and stomach (approx 12 kicks). Head lifted off the floor by grabbing his right ear and lifting head." The attack left the man with bruising and swelling to his face but the case was not pursued, the Met said, because of "non-cooperation" by the complainant.

• October 2005: the document stated that two of the officers were involved in another assault on a "black male". It read: "In van repeatedly assaulted - kicks to the face, stamps on his head whilst handcuffed." The victim said afterwards he "felt like he might die". Vomiting and blood coming out of his ears, black swollen eye, lip busted, hands very swollen.

• June 2003: two officers accused of beating a "black male" in the back of the TSG van. "The beating continued in the van and in a search room at the station."
The Guardian continues:
The allegations against the officers came to light after the high court issued a disclosure order on 13 February demanding that the Metropolitan police release all "similar fact allegations" against the officers involved in the Ahmad case.

The Met's legal team wrote to Ahmad's lawyers a few weeks later to say that "because of the sheer volume of unsubstantiated complaints" against the officers they would only be able to provide a schedule of the claims rather than the files in time for the deadline.

The schedule outlining 77 separate complaints against the officers was subsequently submitted to the court, along with a sample of complaints taken from 27 files containing some of the allegations. The police said they had lost several large mail sacks detailing at least 30 other files.

During the hearing it emerged that other crucial documents, including the officers' contemporaneous notebooks and a taped recording of an interview with the senior officer in the case, had also been mislaid.

Ahmad's lawyers say they are now calling for a judicial inquiry into the case and seeking a criminal prosecution against the officers involved. Murphy said: "The failure of the Metropolitan police and the IPCC to take effective action long ago against this group of officers can only be addressed by a full judicial inquiry and we will invite the director of public prosecutions to support the family's call for an independent judicial inquiry."
It doesn't take an independent judicial inquiry to figure out what's happening here. There's a reason why so many mailbags of complaints about police brutality have been lost. There's a reason why notebooks and tape recordings have disappeared. There's a reason why TSG officers with long histories of complaints about brutality remain on the force, without so much as a reprimand.

And it's all the same reason: they're simply doing what they're supposed to do.


Previous: Part 1: "The Easter Bombers"
Next: TBA

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Come, Let Us Celebrate The Best Of America, Living And Dead

To honor America and observe Memorial Day, let us now savor a few words from an anonymous AP stenographer, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

Obama marks Memorial Day with tribute at Arlington
In brief remarks after he laid the wreath and observed a moment of silence at Arlington, Obama saluted the men and women of America's fighting forces, both living and dead, as "the best of America."

"Why in an age when so many have acted only in pursuit of narrowest self-interest have the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of this generation volunteered all that they have on behalf of others?" he said. "Why have they been willing to bear the heaviest burden?"

"Whatever it is, they felt some tug. They answered a call. They said 'I'll go.' That is why they are the best of America," Obama said. "That is what separates them from those who have not served in uniform, their extraordinary willingness to risk their lives for people they never met."
What kind of people are willing to risk their lives -- and throw away their souls! -- for the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, or Bill Clinton, or George H. W. Bush, or any of their predecessors?

Obama called them "the best"; he forgot to mention that they're also "the brightest".
Obama said he can't know what it's like to walk into battle or lose a child.

"But I do know this. I am humbled to be the commander in chief of the finest fighting force in the history of the world," he said to applause.
This is beneath derision, and it went down swimmingly, of course. I understand completely.

Let's all have big parades to honor our professional and patriotic mass murderers, living and dead!

Let us line the streets to watch the psychopaths and fools -- and those who support the psychopaths and fools -- march by.

Let us complain about how nothing much has changed since the election, how Barack Obama shows the same chicken-hearted reluctance to move that ruined the second Bush-Cheney administration, and how -- despite years of furtive planning -- we still haven't got off our butts and righteously obliterated Iran.

Let us join together and decry the incompetence in the Beltway, which explains why we haven't won yet in Iraq or Afghanistan, and why we may not make any real progress there until after the next election.

Let us weep for the "victims" of the seemingly endless series of "government accidents" which have got us involved in "the wrong wars" at "the wrong times".

But let us never say a word word about the millions of people our heroes have killed over the years; the tens of thousands our heroes have incarcerated and tortured; the tens of millions whose homes and families our heroes have destroyed; the hundreds of millions whose homelands our heroes have violated, overtly or otherwise, and in whose nations "democratic institutions" are allowed to exist only if the "duly elected representatives" find it politically expedient to toe the line.

That's our line, by the way.

So let us celebrate that line, just as we celebrate the psychopaths and fools who enforce it.

Let us wave our flags for those extroardinary people who have made sure -- on our behalf -- that the kids in these pictures, and millions of others just like them, never had a chance.

After all, we wouldn't want to be anti-American, would we?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Principles ... or Why I Cannot Support Barack Obama

Let us begin with the fact that George Bush and Dick Cheney were never legitimately elected to the Oval Office: not in 2000, and not in 2004.

In the American system, the authority of our government is based on the consent of the governed. This consent was not earned in either "election".

Therefore, the Bush-Cheney administrations of 2001-2009 were illegitimate, and the policies implemented by these illegitimate administrations are themselves illegitimate. Period.

If somebody steals your credit card and you report the theft, you are not responsible for purchases made on that card after it was stolen. We reported the theft in 2000; we screamed about the theft in 2004; but it did us no good at all.

The most destructive "terrorist attack" that ever took place on American soil occurred during the first Bush-Cheney administration, and it was never legitimately investigated. The story that was told to explain it is not only false; it's impossible.

Therefore the policies implemented as "reactions" to the "terrorist attack of September 11, 2001" would be illegitimate even if they had been enacted by a legitimately elected government. But they weren't.

Furthermore, many of these same policies contravene both national and international law, and for this reason they would be illegal, and indefensible, even if they were enacted by a legitimately elected government in response to a legitimate threat.

But they were not: all these illegal, immoral, and deeply detrimental policies were enacted by an illegitimate government in "response" to a bogus event.

If we had legitimate opposition politics in this country, it would would begin by calling these policies what they are.

And if we had a legitimate successor government, it would begin by repealing every single one of them, holding accountable those responsible for their implementation, and making amends insofar as possible to those who have suffered the most.

In other words, if a legitimate opposition government had taken power in January, American use of torture against "terror suspects" would be history. All the secret prisons would now be closed. There would be no more extraordinary renditions, and no more military tribunals.

Warrantless surveillance would have been stopped. All American troops would have been removed from both Iraq and Afghanistan, including the "defense" and "security" contractors and clandestine special forces. Rather than propping up puppet governments and blackmailing them at the same time, we would now be financing -- but others would be building -- new infrastructure in both countries. We would also be paying reparations on a scale that would make the bank bailouts look like a drop in the ocean.

And the people most responsible for the abomination that America has become would be in prison by now, if they were allowed to remain alive.

But none of this has happened, and none of it is about to happen, soon or ever.

Instead we have a president who has declared that his first priority is the defense of Israel, and a vice president who has declared that during his 36 years in the Senate, no one has been a better friend to Israel than he has.

Why can't we have a president whose first priority is the defense of our own country?

Why can't we have a vice president who is prouder of having befriended his own nation than of having befriended a foreign one?

And why can't we find a single columnist in a single national publication asking questions like these? Because the system is broken.

We know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. We know that the story about the Iraqi WMDs was chosen for "bureaucratic reasons" -- in other words not because it was true but because it was the story we were most likely to believe. We didn't believe it, on the whole. But the war went ahead anyway.

Far more people believed the 9/11 story about Muslim hijackers and Osama bin Laden and skyscrapers "collapsing" due to "impact and fire", but some of us knew it was false on the day, and it has turned out that we were absolutely correct.

And yet the transparently false story about 9/11 has been used to "justify" all manner of abuses, from illegal surveillance to homeland "security", to an endless limitless war against the rest of the world. No matter how obviously false that story is, no matter how many people have learned since then that the story is false, all this has gone ahead anyway.

I cannot support any of it. I cannot support any politician who supports any of it, let alone a president who continues the worst of it. And I cannot support any journalist who supports that president, or who tells those murderous lies.

In my opinion, the people who support Obama now are at least as bad as -- if not much worse than -- the people who supported Bush when he was doing the things that Obama is now continuing, and expanding. It pains me to think of how much time and energy I spent trying to help some of them.

Even George Bush and Dick Cheney never managed to blackmail the Pakistani army into attacking its own people. And the Obama misery is just beginning.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

?? Hersh Says Cheney Had Bhutto Assassinated For Saying Osama bin Laden Is Dead ??

UPDATE: The story originally posted in this space has been denied.

Here it is, as written:


Hot news from Anwar Iqbal of the the Pakistani daily, Dawn:

Cheney ordered assassination of Benazir Bhutto: Hersh
WASHINGTON: A special death squad assassinated Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the orders of former US Vice-President Dick Cheney, claims an American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Mr Hersh, a Washington-based journalist who writes for the New Yorker magazine and other prominent media outlets, also claims that former US Vice President Dick Cheney was running an ‘executive assassination ring’ throughout the Bush years. The cell reported directly to Mr Cheney.
... and it was manned by the best and the brightest, who were doing a necessary job to keep their country safe ... and blah blah woof woof.

The story, as Anwar Iqbal tells it, fits with what we know about Cheney. It fits with what we know about the Bhutto assassination. It certainly fits with what we know about bin Laden.

And who knows? It might even be true.


UPDATE: Or maybe it isn't. The same link from Dawn now leads to a story entitled "I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Seymour Hersh" which says:
The story regarding Hersh’s reported claim that Cheney ordered the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was published on our website among other publications. We regret the error.

WASHINGTON: American journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday denied news reports that quoted him as saying a ‘special death squad’ working under former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto.

The award-winning journalist described as ‘complete madness’ the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal – the new commander of US army in Afghanistan – had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief.

‘Vice President Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Ms Bhutto. I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say any thing remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet,’ Hersh said.

‘General McChrystal ran a special forces unit that engaged in High Value Target activity. While I have been critical of some of that unit's activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state.’

‘I have never been asked by any journalist…about such allegations. This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job -- and that is to verify such rumours,’ Hersh said.
Raw Story has more, including this:
The only Arab television channel to interview Hersh recently is Gulf News, which spoke to him during the Arab Media Forum in Dubai. In the interview, Hersh does not even mention Bhutto’s name, but does condemn former Vice President Cheney for running an “executive assassination ring” which carried out operations all over the world.

A video of Hersh speaking to Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati is available on the Internet.
Serious questions have been asked about this story, and some wild suggestions have been made; I will give you the answers of which I am certain:

Benazir Bhutto is still dead.

Osama bin Laden is still dead.

And one of two things must be true: Either Hersh did indeed refer to Benazir Bhutto's assassination in his interview with Gulf News, only to have that portion of the interview censored (exactly as Benazir Bhutto's comments to David Frost regarding bin Laden's death were cut by the British "journalist") ... or Anwar Iqbal is in big trouble.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

How Not To Fix The Economy

Some ideas arrive too soon, some come along too late, and others simply wind up in the wrong place.

Here, courtesy of Atlantic Free Press, is an open letter to the president from William C. Carlotti, entitled "How to Fix the Economy":
Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America’s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force.

Pay them $2 million a piece severance for early retirement---$80 million dollars is less than 10% of the $85 billion that you gave to CitiCorp.-- with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.

It can't get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress and their constituents pay their taxes...

If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know. If not, please disregard.


William C. Carlotti
North Montpelier
Vermont, May 9, 2009
I have no wish to be presumptuous, and of course the president may answer Mr. Carlotti's letter (or not) as he sees fit.

But if I were the president I would surely write back:
Dear Mr. Carlotti,

Unfortunately, if the government were to give 40 million people $2 million apiece, that wouldn't cost $80 million ($80,000,000).

It would cost $80 trillion ($80,000,000,000,000) -- roughly 25 times the amount the entire federal government spent last year.

So your suggestion is not exactly feasible.

However, some of my friends like the way you describe $80 million as "less than 10% of ... $85 billion"; in fact it is much less than that: $80 million is less than 1/10 of 1% of $85 billion.

My friends, who like the way you think, would like to help you. And judging from what you have written, you appear to be ideally suited for a job as an auditor. Have you considered submitting a resume to the Pentagon?

I would do so immediately, sir. You're just the sort of bean-counter they're always looking for.

Yours sincerely
Winter Patriot, POTUS

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Thoughts About The War Between The USA And Pakistan

Since I wrote my recent post about the war between the USA and Pakistan, some questions have come up which have put me in mind of a piece I posted about 18 months ago, featuring some very sharp commentary from a young female Pakistani journalist.

In a column published November 4, 2007, the day after emergency rule was declared in Pakistan, and in the midst of a strict political clampdown, Fatima Bhutto [photo] honored the restriction against ridiculing the President, General Pervez Musharraf, by not mentioning him at all.

But she extended no such courtesy to her aunt, Benazir Bhutto, whose welcome-home convoy had been the stage of an obviously false-flag terror attack. Fatima Bhutto referred to her estranged (but not yet assassinated -- did anybody say "martyred"?) aunt in glowing terms such as "a formerly self-exiled political dynamo" and "the Daughter of the East (read: West)".

Fatima also mocked the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which granted amnesty to all (read: selected) former politicians. The NRO paved the way for the return of Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, but denied the same courtesy to another former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was arrested at the airport and deported to Saudi Arabia when he tried to enter Pakistan in September.

The amnesty law, drafted in secret negotiations between Musharraf and Benazir, was brokered by Americans desperate to forge an alliance between Musharraf and Bhutto no matter what the cost to the country, and was proclaimed a step toward civilian democracy. But not everyone was deceived, even before the state of emergency was declared.

Fatima Bhutto's column was published in Pakistan's The News, and it was ostensibly a reaction to Newsweek's October 29, 2007 piece, "Where the Jihad Lives Now", but it covered quite a bit more ground.

The original link is ancient history, but fortunately the piece is not. I've added the photos. In light of what we have learned about Baithulla Mehsud since this piece was written, the text seems to take on a fresh air of overpowering evil. But I don't want to prejudice you against it.

As Fatima Bhutto says, "Let's spend a moment imagining just how spectacular our Iraqi style democratic landscape is going to be."

Iraq redux?

Wither Iraqi style democracy? According to a very ominous cover story in Newsweek, it's here in Pakistan. Newsweek is confident in asserting that 'today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan'. Not even Iraq. In fact, according to Newsweek Iraq is so 2006, Pakistan is it now; we're the new black. We've managed to kick Iraq off the pages as the world's most horrifying, most destructively precarious country and reclaim the title for ourselves. According to the Newsweek article, Pakistan has 'everything Osama Bin Laden could ask for' including a vibrant jihadi movement, political instability, access to worrisome weaponry, and a lonesome nuclear bomb. The article quotes a now deceased Taliban commander as romantically noting that 'Pakistan is like your shoulder that supports your RPG'. It is swoon worthy stuff really.

While the Newsweek article is no doubt an excited piece of fear mongering journalism, is it actually so far off the mark? Not really. We have recently been brought Iraqi style democracy by a formerly self-exiled political dynamo (remember to say thank you). Our nascent 'democracy' has been shipped over to Pakistan at the behest of delightful Neo-Con masters -- George W. Bush et al. -- and is complete with letters from the United States Senate and phone calls from Condi. If this isn't enough to strike you as eerily familiar, there's more.

Like our own harbinger of 'democracy', Iyad Allawi, the American choice for Iraq's post occupation Prime Minister, was deftly assisted by a Republican lobbying firm in Washington D.C. Allawi's firm spent $340,000 in their campaign to push him as the people's Prime Minister. How much did the Daughter of the East (read: West) spend on her campaign for a glorious return? Democracy does nothing if not advocate transparency and accountability of its public servants, but not in Pakistan where we are a step above the rest thanks to the fact that our criminals are cloaked by the National Reconciliation Ordinance.

Similar to Iraq's foray into Neo-Con democracy, ours has kicked off with a spate of portentous violence. One hundred and forty dead? No problem. That's called collateral damage. They died for democracy, just like the estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis did. As Mistress Condi would say, these are the birthing pangs of democracy. Our Iraqi style democracy will be bloody, but we're being heralded into a new era. That should be a comfort to us. Before we go silently into this good night, it's worth taking a look at our predecessor. Let's spend a moment imagining just how spectacular our Iraqi style democratic landscape is going to be.

The corruption that plagued the Iraqi occupation will be no problem for Pakistan. The US led provisional Authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, managed to 'lose' $8.8 billion dollars worth of funds meted out by the US government by the time they handed power over to a 'democratic' Iraqi government. The Iraqi Central Bank also faced a mysterious cash shortage as millions of dollars disappeared from its vaults. Allawi's government, in time, managed to drain one fund of $600 million dollars, leaving no paperwork behind. What amateurs these Iraqis are. We're set. We have the NRO; there will be no money troubles in Pakistan, the new Iraq.

Poverty? We have that in spades. Figures from 2006 place eight million Iraqis as living on less than $1 a day. Almost 70 per cent of Iraqis are unemployed thanks to Neo Liberal shock therapy economics and some 96 per cent of Iraq's population depends on food rations. In Pakistan we don't have food rations for our poor, we let them starve. Note to self, we'll have to get on that.

Underdevelopment is also something we Pakistanis will beat Iraq at. Who does Newsweek think they're kidding? We've long been worse than Iraq and our successive governments continually pride themselves on doing absolutely nothing about it. More than 500,000 residents of Baghdad are deprived of running water and when they do have access to it, it's not potable due to the fact that 65 per cent of Iraq's water plants have been subject to leaks and sewage contamination. These figures, largely from US Foreign Relations Committee hearings and other independent American sources, offer proof of America's wanton destruction of Iraq. Pre-war Saddam era figures don't even come close.

Households in Baghdad receive on average only two to six hours of electricity a day, largely due to the collapse of Iraq's supply grid after the invasion. Prior to March 2003, Iraq's total power generation was around 4,300 megawatts, after Operation Iraqi Freedom it dropped to 3,700 megawatts. Isn't Neo-Con democracy wonderful? We have so much to look forward to.

A United Nations study of 2005 found that one third of Iraqi children suffer from malnourishment, whereas an Iraqi Health Ministry study of the previous year found that 'easily treatable conditions such as diarrhea' account for 70 per cent of deaths among children. We can match those figures, those brutal figures, and we don't even have a large-scale war going on. Baghdad has nothing on Karachi -- the many million residents of Lyari are routinely denied access to water and electricity. Households across this city in Malir, Ibrahim Hyderi, and Saddar -- you name it -- have always been deprived of these basic rights and not by occupational governments, but by our own 'elected' representatives. Tragically, we choose the very men and women who keep our city's neighborhoods entrenched in poverty. We vote for them. We'll probably vote them in again in 2008. As voters, we Pakistanis are either incredibly forgiving or monumentally stupid.

When Pakistan enjoys the same democracy that Iraq does -- and you know certain people are hanging their careers on this happening -- we won't even need hired armies like Blackwater to come in. Our police out-Blackwater Blackwater. They already behave like private mercenary forces, for hire wherever power and money call them. They do not protect and serve, no, not our police force. They are the protected and they serve only their own interests. Police brutality in Pakistan has raged for many years; Iraqi style democracy won't tame our vigilante cops, only empower them.

The violence is building, it's getting bloodier. Rawalpindi, Dera Bugti, Wana and that's only in the past week. Look at Swat. Once known for its beautiful Buddhist ruins and idyllic Northern beauty, it has been consumed by death and ruin. Just as Najaf and Karbala were overcome, just as Fallujah and Mosul were earmarked for destruction, so has Swat been. And what about those left behind? The victims of this rising violence? Like Cindy Sheehan, the courageous mother who followed President Bush all over the country holding a vigil for her son Casey, killed in the unjust Iraq war, we have our own mothers, wives, and sisters sitting Shiva outside government offices protesting the disappearance of their loved ones. Newsweek was not prescient; truthfully, they're a little late to the party.
As I wrote at the time,
The same could be said for the bulk of the American media, of course. A little late to the party, and with blinders on.

As for the American people, we still haven't even come to the party.

What is going to prevent Iraq-style democracy from taking Pakistan?

What is going to prevent the same thing from taking the USA?

If not us, who? If not now, when?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Pathway To Darkness, Part 1: "The Easter Bombers"

On April 8, 2009, amid a blaze of publicity, police in the north of England arrested 12 men who were Officially Described As (ODA) "terror suspects".

England's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, congratulated the police and intelligence agencies on having broken up "a very big plot".

Police spokesmen were mostly mum but anonymous sources told the British media that the authorities had foiled an imminent attack which would have involved multiple suicide bombers.

Eleven of the suspects were ODA Pakistani nationals living in the UK on student visas. Sources told the British papers the suspects came from the "lawless tribal region" of northwest Pakistan and were linked with the al Qaeda terrorists whose global headquarters is ODA in the same region.

Police said they had been watching the suspects for several months in an anti-terror operation code-named "Operation Pathway", and that to the best of their knowledge the alleged terrorists had not yet selected a target. Many potential targets were suggested in the media, nonetheless.

And no dates were confirmed either, but the police were ODA taking no chances with public safety, especially with the Easter weekend approaching.

The arrests, we were told, had been planned for the morning of April 9th, but had to be moved forward by about 12 hours because of what was ODA a "blunder" by Britain's most senior anti-terror officer, Robert Quick.

Quick, who at the time was Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan London Police, arrived at No. 10 Downing Street for a meeting with the Prime Minister on April 8th and emerged from his car carrying a couple of file folders.

Outside the folders was a document ODA "secret", outlining the planned arrests in which the "Operation Pathway" suspects would be taken.

Photographers are always camped outside the Prime Minister's office, of course -- with digital cameras and telephoto lenses. And Bob Quick was ODA realizing the implications of his "blunder" immediately. The British authorities moved promptly to suppress publication of any photos of the "secret" document, and they also moved promptly against the suspects.

And Bob Quick promptly tendered his resignation, which was promptly accepted. After 30 years on the force and more than a year as the top anti-terror officer, he retired, supposedly in disgrace but with a six-figure pension. And at the same time, the anti-terror SWAT teams went to work.

Normally, the police prefer to arrest suspects in their homes, while they're sleeping. No muss, no fuss, no resistance. But in this case, with the operation suddenly public, the police were ODA "forced" to take the suspects from public places, in broad daylight, with considerable muss and fuss.

Thus two men were taken from a university library in Liverpool. According to one of them, police forced them to the floor, tied their hands behind their backs, and held machine guns to their heads for an hour before taking them away.

In Clitheroe, a small town about an hour north of Manchester, more than a hundred armed officers surrounded a home improvement supply store which was preparing for its grand opening, and arrested two men who were working there as security guards. (The store opened the next day as planned.)

Another suspect was taken from his car, which was stopped at gunpoint on the highway. And so on. All twelve suspects were arrested within an hour, which gives us an indication of how serious the alleged plot was considered to be, and how closely the suspects were being watched.

With the suspects safely out of the way, the search began for what was ODA "the terrorists' bomb factory". Police searched the suspects' apartments, and found nothing: no weapons, no ammunition, no bombs, no bomb-making equipment, no bomb-making ingredients.

Then they temporarily relocated some of the suspects' neighbors and started searching whole apartment buildings. Again they came up with nothing.

Next they took the suspects' computers, books, notes and other personal items for forensic analysis, and found nothing incriminating in any of them: no plans, no hints of plans, no dates, no targets, nothing.

And so, within two weeks of the arrests, all the suspects were ODA "released".

But even though they are now ODA "released", eleven of the twelve -- the Pakistani students -- are still in prison. And rather than facing criminal charges pertaining to terrorism, they face deportation, for reasons ODA related to national security.

The Pakistani students have appealed against the deportation order, hoping to remain in Britain and continue their studies. So they won't be leaving without at least a hearing.

And since they are ODA a serious threat to the national security of Great Britain, their deportation hearings will take place in secret. So whatever evidence the authorities may have against them which is not admissible in open court will apparently be presented behind closed doors, if at all.

According to a recent report, the men who were ODA terror suspects have requested anonymity, so the British press may not publish their names, not that it's going to make much difference. The police have never released an official list of the names of the people who were arrested. And the news media don't usually try for names anyway; they've simply been referring to the "Easter Bombers" or the "Manchester Terror Plot".

Aside from leaving some families in Pakistan wondering whether their sons have been arrested, the failure by police to name the people they have arrested, along with the prospect of having the rest of the drama played out behind closed doors, leads a skeptical observer to wonder whether there's more here than meets the eye -- or maybe less!

The stunning security breach ODA "Quick's blunder" is only one fascinating and illuminating aspect of the "Operation Pathway" story. There are many others. In future installments of this series, I intend to explore as many of them as possible. But first, a few words about the timing of the arrests and the timing of the "releases".


On April 1st, a week before the alleged plotters were arrested, a high-profile G20 meeting began in London. Protesters took to the streets, and so did the police, of course. The police used a technique they call "kettling", in which they cordon off part of the city and refuse to let anyone (except other policemen) into or out of the cordon.

So people were trapped in the heart of the city for hours without food or water, with no sanitary facilities, surrounded by surly police with attack dogs and truncheons. It was almost as if the police were trying to provoke violence in a peaceful protest.

There are other reasons to suspect the police of trying to provoke the crowd. A Member of Parliament has brought to light reports of another incident involving two "protesters" who were throwing bottles at police and urging others to do the same. When these two individuals were accused by actual protesters of being police agents provocateurs, they made straight for the cordon, presented some identification to the police there, and disappeared through the police line.

When Ian Tomlinson finished work that day, he found himself inside the cordon. Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper seller, started walking home. But he never made it.

After a quick police autopsy, Tomlinson's sudden death was ODA caused by a heart attack, and the story was mostly ignored by most of the British papers. The police released a statement explaining that when Tomlinson suffered his heart attack, police tried to come to his assistance but were prevented from reaching him by protesters throwing bottles. One newspaper even accused the protesters of throwing bricks! But none of this was true.

Tomlinson's family requested a second autopsy, which ascribed his death to internal bleeding. And the falsity of the police account of Tomlinson's death was convincingly proven on April 7th when The Guardian published excerpts from testimonies of numerous witnesses who all described something very different.

In addition, The Guardian posted on its website a video showing Ian Tomlinson walking along with his hands in his pockets, and being hassled by police, then suddenly knocked to the pavement by a policeman attacking him from behind.

The video continues, showing protesters attempting to help Tomlinson, while police stand by with their shields and dogs. It shows no flying bottles, nobody throwing bricks, and no attempt whatsoever by the police to rush to Tomlinson's assistance.

By the most amazing coincidence, less than 24 hours after the video appeared online, Bob Quick appeared at the front door of No 10, with Operation Pathway's secrets on display.


Customarily in Britain, the police can hold criminal suspects for only 96 hours -- four days -- before they must either charge or release them. Under the new anti-terror laws, the authorities have a maximum of 28 days to either charge or release terror suspects, but the 28 days' detention are parceled out a week at a time.

So if the police don't have enough evidence to lay charges within a week of the arrests, they must appear before a judge and try to convince him that there is reason to believe another week's detention would allow the police to find the evidence they need to support criminal charges.

After a second week, the process must be repeated, and it can be repeated again after the third week, but each time the judge must be convinced that the evidence collected so far justifies holding the suspects for another seven days. And after four weeks, the deadline is immovable: the police must either charge the suspects or release them.

Fairly often in Britain, people ODA "terror suspects" are held for slightly less than two weeks before being released without charges. Usually this means the police have brought nothing to the table at the end of the first week, and the judge has granted them a second week, but told them not to bother coming back unless they find some evidence.

It appears that the same thing may have happened in this case. But it's hard to tell. This much is certain: if police did appear before a judge after the second week, he was not impressed with what they brought with them.

And here we come to another amazing coincidence: even though the police had enough on all these suspects to make a big splash with very public arrests, they didn't have enough on any of them, even after two weeks of searching, to convince a judge that holding any or all of them for another week would likely result in the discovery of incriminating evidence.


In this post I haven't provided any quotes or links, but future installments of this series will look at various facets of the story in great detail and will include plenty of quotes, and dozens if not hundreds of links.

If you wish to read more about the case in the meantime, you might enjoy a visit to my newest other blog, "Operation Pathway". There you will find more than 200 news articles, and links to many more news and blog items.

Coming soon: detailed articles about Quick's "blunder", the surveillance and arrests of the suspects, the alleged al Qaeda connection, and much more.


Next: Pathway To Darkness, Part 2: Babar Ahmad and the TSG

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Thoughts On The War Between The USA And Pakistan

Scrub towers in the distance,
Riders cross the blasted moor
Against the horizon.
Fickle promises of treaty,
Fatal harbingers of war;
Futile orizons…
-- Van Der Graaf Generator: "Arrow"
Signs and omens, suddenly everywhere, tell us war between the USA and Pakistan is imminent.

Chris Floyd has been doing his usual fine job in covering the recent developments and reading the tea leaves. Particularly disappointing is the flow of war propaganda from McClatchy, in the person of Jonathan Landay. McClatchy and Landay were among the few voices of skeptical reason on the national media scene during Bush's pre-Iraq propaganda campaign. But apparently they are now on board with Obama's pre-Pakistan propaganda campaign. Success at last! This must be the change we were hoping for, just as Obama's marketers promised!

As you might expect if you've been paying attention for any of the previous six years, or six decades, all the reasons given for war by US politicians and media types are quite false, and transparently so -- yet no one in the national media can tackle any of them head-on. It's a remarkably dangerous situation, of course: the world's most heavily armed nation is still under a media blackout against certain aspects of reality, just as if Obama's election and inauguration had never happened. Fancy that!

The signs are misleading. War between the US and Pakistan is not imminent. It's ongoing. So far the US has made more than 60 airstrikes against Pakistan using unmanned aircraft, and one commando raid using ground troops and attack helicopters. These attacks have killed more than 700 people, and even the most "optimistic" government reports count only 14 al Qaeda leaders among the dead.

It goes without saying that if any foreign country flew just one bombing mission against the USA, or mounted a single commando raid, it would be regarded as an act of war and treated accordingly. Of course this sort of analysis, putting the shoe on the other foot as it were, is missing from our national political discourse, because in mainstream American political analysis, there is no other shoe; there is no other foot; and anyone who suggests otherwise is promptly banished.

In any case, "imminent" is the wrong word. The war is not imminent. What's imminent is a grave escalation. And the escalation, in my view, is not only imminent but inevitable.

A major, horrific war between the USA and Pakistan is, as I understand it, not only inevitable now; it has been inevitable for many years. I'm quite certain about this. The only question remaining in my mind is: How many is "many"?

If you're with me so far, you may be wondering: How do I know the reasons given for the war are false? And if the reasons are all false, why is the war imminent, much less inevitable? And why has this war been inevitable for many years?

If you'll stay with me for a few more minutes, I'll try to explain. But it's not easy, because we have to untangle a pack of interwoven lies.
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
-- Fleetwood Mac: "Little Lies"
Depending on which warmongers you listen to, you may be hearing that America must wage war against Pakistan in order to prevent the Taliban from conquering (or at least destabilizing) Pakistan and seizing the country's arsenal of nuclear weapons, and/or to ensure that terrorists can never attack the United States as they did on September 11, 2001, and/or to eliminate the "safe havens" from which "insurgents" are attacking American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and/or because the Pakistani army hasn't been able to defeat the scourge of terrorism all by itself.

But none of this makes any sense. Pakistan's nuclear weapons are under American control, as they have been since September of 2001. The "loose nukes" scenario, which the war against Pakistan is supposedly designed to prevent, is not only a thoroughly fictional argument, but a thoroughly cynical one as well.

If Pakistan's nukes were not under American control, the Americans wouldn't dream of attacking Pakistan. (If you've been paying attention for any of the previous six years, or six decades, you may recall that the US only attacks countries which have no chance to defend themselves, or to retaliate.)

Furthermore, an all-out attack on Pakistan by the US is more likely to cause fragmentation and destabilization in Pakistan than to bring peace and democracy. (Think of Iraq; think of Afghanistan.) So the idea that an American intervention is necessary to prevent a horrific outcome is equally false, and equally cynical. In fact, a horrific outcome -- fragmentation and destabilization -- is much preferred by the American warmongers, and that's why they're so intent on waging this war. It's really quite simple, once you cut through all the propaganda.

Meanwhile, the only way to ensure that terrorists cannot attack us as they did on 9/11 would be to run a complete and open investigation of the attacks of that day, and who made them possible, and who benefited from them ... and to hold the guilty parties accountable. This has manifestly not been done, and clearly, had it been done, we would be in a much different position today. Significantly, president Obama has no intention of allowing an independent investigation into the so-called "terrorist" attacks, so the official fiction remains in place now and is poised to remain in place forever.

The myths of 9/11, monstrous and murderous though they may be, carve out a space in which all manner of other monstrous and murderous fictions can thrive. And these other lies create an environment in which endless war is inevitable. So it's not easy to answer questions such as: How long has this war been in the cards? Has it in fact been inevitable for "many years"? And what do we mean by "many"? But we do need to try.
"Many" is a word
That only leaves you guessin'
Guessin' 'bout a thing
You really ought to know
-- Led Zeppelin: "Over The Hills And Far Away"
If you take a short-term view, you might say President General Pervez Musharraf signed Pakistan's death warrant in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

It was all quite simple. George Bush declared the attacks of 9/11, which he and his administration had done so much to enable, "an act of war". Then he blamed it on "terrorists of global reach" and he asked the world's leaders, "Are you with us, or are you with the terrorists?"

Pervez Musharraf, no dummy in situations of this type, said "We're with you!"

Choosing any other option, of course, would have ensured Pakistan's immediate destruction.

But by choosing as he did, Musharraf allied himself with a lie, and made Pakistan complicit in the war crimes and crimes against humanity that were about to unfold in Afghanistan.

The American and NATO invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has sparked the inevitable reaction, from people we know as "terrorists" and "insurgents". Our terminology implies, falsely, that the US and NATO troops and the puppet government they installed and support are there legitimately. But this is not true, or even close to the truth.

In fact, the resistance to American subjugation, no matter what we call it, correctly sees Pakistan both as America's number one ally in an effort to destroy Afghanistan, and as America's primary regional source of logistical and other support. So counter-attacking in Pakistan makes at least some strategic and tactical sense, from the Afghan point of view. Most Americans know little or nothing about any of this. So we guess about the things we really ought to know.

Suppose -- here's that other shoe again -- Russia bombed, invaded and occupied the US, in a campaign based in and supplied from Mexico. Would an American resistance spring up? Would the resistance attack Russian installations in Mexico? Would it also attack Mexican institutions that supported the Russians? One could only hope so.
The shoe's on the other foot now
Bet you're wondering how.
And it's just something you're going through...
You'd better keep your eyes open
-- Graham Parker : "Something You're Going Through"
If only the truth were that simple. The reality is much worse than the hypothetical. Since a semi-plausible rationale exists for Afghan attacks against Pakistan, the Americans in Afghanistan, always eager to foment a little terrorism which then requires a reaction, have been using Afghan proxies to attack Pakistan, according to reports from Asia which you will never read in any American newspaper.

It's no coincidence that spectacular bombings and gory suicide attacks keep happening in Pakistan whenever it seems the government is approaching a condition of peaceful co-existence with the so-called militants who live in the mountains near the border with Afghanistan. Or is it?

It's no coincidence that American forces were moving freely, un-hampered by the usual security precautions, in Islamabad's Marriott Hotel just before the hotel was the site of a spectacular bombing attack. Or is it?

It's no coincidence that Baithulla Mehsud, Pakistan's public enemy number one, who has recently been blamed for virtually everything, and who has made outrageous public threats against the American homeland, eludes the Pakistan security forces whenever they get close to him, while communicating using encryption they cannot crack. Or is it?

It doesn't take a genius to connect these dots. Or does it?
And I have met my destiny
In quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
-- ABBA: "Waterloo"
A longer-term view of Pakistan's current problem would show that its roots were planted almost exactly 30 years ago. In the mid-70s, Afghanistan had shaken off its long-standing feudal monarchy and was beginning to move in progressive directions. A democratic election had empowered a legitimate, representative government, for the first time in Afghanistan's history, and a new social and economic awakening seemed imminent.

Unfortunately for the people of Afghanistan, these developments provided an opportunity certain Americans had been waiting for. They called their plan "Operation Cyclone" and they implemented it in secret. It involved recruiting the baddest bad-guys they could find in the Muslim world, and bringing them to the US for training in terrorist techniques such as murder and sabotage. Once trained, they were sent to Pakistan, were infiltrated into Afghanistan, and began to wreak havoc.

The new government of Afghanistan -- still trying to figure out how to make social democracy work in an Islamic context -- was not at all prepared to deal with terrorists, and asked the Soviet Union for help with security. The Soviets wanted no part of Afghanistan's problem, but neither could they sit back and watch while terrorists destabilized a neighboring country. And the Afghans kept begging for help.

In December of 1979, six months after "Operation Cyclone" went into effect, the Soviets sent troops to assist the Afghan security services -- just what the Americans had hoped for. Immediately, propaganda organs around the world began to trumpet the "fact" that the Soviets had "invaded" Afghanistan. The terrorists who had been sent to attack Afghanistan now turned their attentions to the Soviet troops, and suddenly what had been an internal security problem became the trigger for a major war.

The war raged for almost a decade, killed more than a million people, and destroyed what little infrastructure there was to destroy in Afghanistan; it also did untold damage to the already-crumbling Soviet Union. This was all to the good, according to American policy-makers.

The USSR was at the time America's most powerful "competitor" in the "grand game" of global domination; its fall was a blessing to those American leaders who had been yearning to become the world's only superpower.

And as for Afghanistan, the experiment with social democracy there could not be allowed to stand, much less succeed, for the same reason that similar experiments cannot be allowed to stand anywhere else in the world that American military power can reach: to preserve the myth that capitalism -- unbridled dog-eat-dog militarized capitalism -- is the only path that can possibly lead to prosperity.

There were other factors involved, to be sure. We shouldn't say anything about Afghan poppies and CIA heroin trafficking. We shouldn't say anything about natural resources or pipeline routes either. To do so would put us off the map -- well beyond the limits imposed on "polite" political analysis and far too close to the reality behind the American occupation of Afghanistan today.

Thirty years ago the Soviet Union was the target, Afghanistan was an expendable battlefield, and Pakistan provided the logistical base. Now the situation is slightly different: China is the target, Afghanistan is the logistical base, and as for Pakistan ...

In terms of the "grand chessboard", one might be tempted to say that turnabout is fair play for Pakistan. Those who do the bully's dirty-work always end up as victims themselves. And what's been happening to Pakistan lately, and what's about to happen to Pakistan in the near-term Obama-driven future, could be seen as blowback: retribution for the crimes Pakistan has committed, in complicity with the Americans, against Afghanistan.

But the "grand game" is simply an abstraction, one that "justifies" mass murder on a horrific scale in defense of dimly perceived "national interests". In reality, we're talking about hundreds of millions of people whose lives are about to be destroyed, or in the process of being destroyed, as the "players" continue to see strategic advantage in the destruction and destabilization of foreign countries.

And -- for the most part, and as always -- the victims, and the soon-to-be victims, have done nothing wrong. They've been trying to live their lives and provide for their families under a repressive government which came to power with American support, and which, for most of the past several decades, has been doing America's bidding. Is it a coincidence that the people of Iraq can say the very same thing?

"Operation Cyclone", which filled Afghanistan with terrorists and planted the roots that grew into both the Taliban and al Qaeda, was started during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. The Carter administration's marketing slogan -- "Human Rights" -- gave it perfect cover for a clandestine program of fomenting terrorism in one country in order to destabilize another. And the chief architect behind the plan, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Carter's National Security Advisor, is now one of Barack Obama's inner circle. That's no coincidence, either.

And this, ultimately, is what makes a major escalation of the war between the US and Pakistan inevitable. The Obama administration embodies none of the change we were hoping for. We are still governed by Bush/Clinton retreads, neo-con chicken hawks, friends and agents of Israel, and Wall Street bankers. None of these people see anything wrong with the American imperial project. The destruction of Pakistan is, and always has been, essential to that project. And the movers and shakers don't care how much pain and suffering they cause.

To prevent a disastrous war between the USA and Pakistan, it would be necessary to dismantle the American imperial system, and this -- as we keep seeing over and over and over -- is not about to happen.
We are all on the run
On our knees
The sundial draws a line upon eternity
Across every number.
-- Van Der Graaf Generator: "Arrow"

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