Sunday, August 30, 2009

Worth carefully reading every word of this story!:

Ex-ISI Chief Says Purpose of New Afghan Intelligence Agency RAMA Is ‘to destabilize Pakistan’

August 12, 2009
by Jeremy R. Hammond
Shahid R. Siddiqi contributed to this report
Then Maj. Gen. Hamid Gul, Director General of the ISI (far left), with William Webster, Director of Central Intelligence, Clair George, Deputy Director for Operations, and Milt Bearden, CIA station chief, at a training camp for the mujahedeen in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province in 1987 (RAWA.org)

Then Maj. Gen. Hamid Gul, Director General of the ISI (far left), with William Webster, Director of Central Intelligence, Clair George, Deputy Director for Operations, and Milt Bearden, CIA station chief, at a training camp for the mujahedeen in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province in 1987 (RAWA.org)

In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul responds to charges that he supports terrorism, discusses 9/11 and ulterior motives for the war on Afghanistan, claims that the U.S., Israel, and India are behind efforts to destabilize Pakistan, and charges the U.S. and its allies with responsibility for the lucrative Afghan drug trade.

Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul was the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989, during which time he worked closely with the CIA to provide support for the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Though once deemed a close ally of the United States, in more recent years his name has been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been outspoken with the claim that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were an “inside job”. He has been called “the most dangerous man in Pakistan”, and the U.S. government has accused him of supporting the Taliban, even recommending him to the United Nations Security Council for inclusion on the list of international terrorists.

In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, I asked the former ISI chief what his response was to these allegations. He replied, “Well, it’s laughable I would say, because I’ve worked with the CIA and I know they were never so bad as they are now.” He said this was “a pity for the American people” since the CIA is supposed to act “as the eyes and ears” of the country. As for the charge of him supporting the Taliban, “it is utterly baseless. I have no contact with the Taliban, nor with Osama bin Laden and his colleagues.” He added, “I have no means, I have no way that I could support them, that I could help them.”

After the Clinton administration’s failed attempt to assassinate Osama bin Laden in 1998, some U.S. officials alleged that bin Laden had been tipped off by someone in Pakistan to the fact that the U.S. was able to track his movements through his satellite phone. Counter-terrorism advisor to the National Security Council Richard Clarke said, “I have reason to believe that a retired head of the ISI was able to pass information along to Al Qaeda that the attack was coming.” And some have speculated that this “retired head of the ISI” was none other than Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul.

When I put this charge to him, General Gul pointed out to me that he had retired from the ISI on June 1, 1989, and from the army in January, 1992. “Did you share this information with the ISI?” he asked. “And why haven’t you taken the ISI to task for parting this information to its ex-head?” The U.S. had not informed the Pakistan army chief, Jehangir Karamat, of its intentions, he said. So how could he have learned of the plan to be able to warn bin Laden? “Do I have a mole in the CIA? If that is the case, then they should look into the CIA to carry out a probe, find out the mole, rather than trying to charge me. I think these are all baseless charges, and there’s no truth in it…. And if they feel that their failures are to be rubbed off on somebody else, then I think they’re the ones who are guilty, not me.”

General Gul turned our conversation to the subject of 9/11 and the war on Afghanistan. “You know, my position is very clear,” he said. “It’s a moral position that I have taken. And I say that America has launched this aggression without sufficient reasons. They haven’t even proved the case that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” He argued that “There are many unanswered questions about 9/11,” citing examples such as the failure to intercept any of the four planes after it had become clear that they had been hijacked. He questioned how Mohammed Atta, “who had had training on a light aircraft in Miami for six months” could have maneuvered a jumbo jet “so accurately” to hit his target (Atta was reportedly the hijacker in control of American Airlines Flight 11, which was the first plane to hit its target, striking the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am). And he made reference to the flight that hit the Pentagon and the maneuver its pilot had performed, dropping thousands of feet while doing a near 360 degree turn before plowing into its target. “And then, above all,” he added, “why have no heads been rolled? The FBI, the CIA, the air traffic control — why have they not been put to question, put to task?”

Describing the 9/11 Commission as a “cover up”, the general added, “I think the American people have been made fools of. I have my sympathies with them. I like Americans. I like America. I appreciate them. I’ve gone there several times.”

At this point in our discussion, General Gul explained how both the U.S. and United Kingdom stopped granting him an entry visa. He said after he was banned from the U.K., “I wrote a letter to the British government, through the High Commissioner here in Islamabad, asking ‘Why do you think that — if I’m a security risk, then it is paradoxical that you should exclude me from your jurisdiction. You should rather nab me, interrogate me, haul me up, take me to the court, whatever you like. I mean, why are you excluding me from the U.K., it’s not understandable.’ I did not receive a reply to that.” He says he sent a second letter inviting the U.K. to send someone to question him in Pakistan, if they had questions about him they wanted to know. If the U.S. wants to include him on the list of international terrorists, Gul reasons, “I am still prepared to let them grant me the visa. And I will go…. If they think that there is something very seriously wrong with me, why don’t you give me the visa and catch me then?”

‘They lack character’

I turned to the war in Afghanistan, observing that the ostensible purpose for the war was to bring the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, to justice. And yet there were plans to overthrow the Taliban regime that predated 9/11. The FBI does not include the 9/11 attacks among the crimes for which bin Laden is wanted. After the war began, General Tommy Franks responded to a question about capturing him by saying, “We have not said that Osama bin Laden is a target of this effort.” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, similarly said afterward, “Our goal has never been to get bin Laden.” And President George W. Bush himself said, “I truly am not that concerned about him.” These are self-serving statements, obviously, considering the failure to capture bin Laden. But what, I asked General Gul, in his view, were the true reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan, and why the U.S. is still there?

“A very good question,” he responded. “I think you have reached the point precisely.” It is a “principle of war,” he said, “that you never mix objectives. Because when you mix objectives then you end up with egg on your face. You face defeat. And here was a case where the objectives were mixed up. Ostensibly, it was to disperse al Qaeda, to get Osama bin Laden. But latently, the reasons for the offensive, for the attack on Afghanistan, were quite different.”

First, he says, the U.S. wanted to “reach out to the Central Asian oilfields” and “open the door there”, which “was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that’s why they were talking at that time very hotly about ‘greater Middle East’. They were redrawing the map.”

Second, the war “was to undo the Taliban regime because they had enforced Shariah”, or Islamic law, which, “in the spirit of that system, if it is implemented anywhere, would mean an alternative socio-monetary system. And that they would never approve.”

Third, it was “to go for Pakistan’s nuclear capability”, something that used to be talked about “under their lip”, “but now they are openly talking about”. This was the reason the U.S. “signed this strategic deal with India, and this was brokered by Israel. So there is a nexus now between Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.”

While achieving some of these aims, “there are many things which are still left undone,” he continued, “because they are not winning on the battlefield. And no matter what maps you draw in your mind, no matter what plans you make, if you cannot win on the battlefield, then it comes to naught. And that is what is happening to America.”

“Besides, the American generals, I have a professional cudgel with them,” Gul added. “They lack character. They know that a job cannot be done, because they know —I cannot believe that they didn’t realize that the objectives are being mixed up here — they could not stand up to men like Rumsfeld and to Dick Cheney. They could not tell them. I think they cheated the American nation, the American people. This is where I have a problem with the American generals, because a general must show character. He must say that his job cannot be done. He must stand up to the politicians. But these generals did not stand up to them.”

As a further example of the lack of character in the U.S. military leadership, the General Gul cited the “victory” in Iraq. “George Bush said that it was a victory. That means the generals must have told him ‘We have won!’ They had never won. This was all bunkum, this was all bullshit.”

Segueing back to Afghanistan, he continued: “And if they are now saying that with 17,000 more troops they can win in Afghanistan — or even double that figure if you like — they cannot. Now this is a professional opinion I am giving. And I will give this sound opinion for the good of the American people, because I am a friend of the American people and that is why I always say that your policies are flawed. This is not the way to go.”

Furthermore, the war is “widely perceived as a war against Islam. And George Bush even used the word ‘Crusade.’” This is an incorrect view, he insisted. “You talk about clash of civilizations. We say the civilizations should meet.”

Alluding once more to the U.S. charges against him, he added, “And if they think that my criticism is tantamount to opposition to America, this is totally wrong, because there are lots of Americans themselves who are not in line with the American policies.”

He had warned early on, he informed me, including in an interview with Rod Nordland in Newsweek immediately following the 9/11 attacks, that the U.S. would be making a mistake to go to war. “So, if you tell somebody, ‘Don’t jump into the well!’ and that somebody thinks you are his enemy, then what is it that you can say about him?”

‘This state of anger is being fueled’

I turned the conversation towards the consequences of the war in Afghanistan on Pakistan, and the increased extremist militant activities within his own country’s borders, where the Pakistani government has been at war with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or Pakistan Taliban). I observed that the TTP seemed well funded and supplied and asked Gul how the group obtains financing and arms.

He responded without hesitation. “Yeah, of course they are getting it from across the Durand line, from Afghanistan. And the Mossad is sitting there, RAW is sitting there — the Indian intelligence agency — they have the umbrella of the U.S. And now they have created another organization which is called RAMA. It may be news to you that very soon this intelligence agency — of course, they have decided to keep it covert — but it is Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan. That’s the name. The Indians have helped create this organization, and its job is mainly to destabilize Pakistan.”

General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, former Deputy Minister of Defense of the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Massoud and the Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army since 2002 — “whom I know very well”, General Gul told me — “had gone to India a few days back, and he has offered bases to India, five of them: three on the border, the eastern border with Pakistan, from Asadabad, Jalalabad, and Kandhar; one in Shindand, which is near Heart; and the fifth one is near Mazar-e Sharif. So these bases are being offered for a new game unfolding there.” This is why, he asserted, the Indians, despite a shrinking economy, have continued to raise their defense budget, by 20 percent last year and an additional 34 percent this year.

He also cited as evidence of these designs to destabilize Pakistan the U.S. Predator drone attacks in Waziristan, which have “angered the Pathan people of that tribal belt. And this state of anger is being fueled. It is that fire that has been lit, is being fueled, by the Indian intelligence from across the border. Of course, Mossad is right behind them. They have no reason to be sitting there, and there’s a lot of evidence. I hope the Pakistan government will soon be providing some of the evidence against the Indians.”

Several days after I had first spoken with General Gul, the news hit the headlines that the leader of the TTP, Baitullah Mehsud, had been killed by a CIA drone strike. So I followed up with him and asked him to comment about this development. “When Baitullah Mehsud and his suicide bombers were attacking Pakistan armed forces and various institutions,” he said, “at that time, Pakistan intelligence were telling the Americans that Baitullah Mehsud was here, there. Three times, it has been written by the Western press, by the American press — three times the Pakistan intelligence tipped off America, but they did not attack him. Why have they now announced — they had money on him — and now attacked and killed him, supposedly? Because there were some secret talks going on between Baitullah Mehsud and the Pakistani military establishment. They wanted to reach a peace agreement, and if you recall there is a long history of our tribal areas, whenever a tribal militant has reached a peace agreement with the government of Pakistan, Americans have without any hesitation struck that target.” Among other examples, the former ISI chief said “an agreement in Bajaur was about to take place” when, on October 30, 2006, a drone struck a madrassa in the area, an attack “in which 82 children were killed”.

“So in my opinion,” General Gul continued, “there was some kind of a deal which was about to be arrived at — they may have already cut a deal. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information on that. But this is my hunch, that Baitullah was killed because now he was trying to reach an agreement with the Pakistan army. And that’s why there were no suicide attacks inside Pakistan for the past six or seven months.”

‘Very, very disturbing indeed’

Turning the focus of our discussion to the Afghan drug problem, I noted that the U.S. mainstream corporate media routinely suggest that the Taliban is in control of the opium trade. However, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs), which include but are not limited to the Taliban, account for a relatively small percentage of the profits from the drug trade. Two of the U.S.’s own intelligence agencies, the CIA and the DIA, estimate that the Taliban receives about $70 million a year from the drugs trade. That may seem at first glance like a significant amount of money, but it’s only about two percent of the total estimated profits from the drug trade, a figure placed at $3.4 billion by the UNODC last year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has just announced its new strategy for combating the drug problem: placing drug traffickers with ties to insurgents —and only drug lords with ties to insurgents — on a list to be eliminated. The vast majority of drug lords, in other words, are explicitly excluded as targets under the new strategy. Or, to put it yet another way, the U.S. will be assisting to eliminate the competition for drug lords allied with occupying forces or the Afghan government and helping them to further corner the market.

I pointed out to the former ISI chief that Afghan opium finds its way into Europe via Pakistan, via Iran and Turkey, and via the former Soviet republics. According to the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, convoys under General Rashid Dostum — who was reappointed last month to his government position as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Afghan National Army by President Hamid Karzai — would truck the drugs over the border. And President Karzai’s own brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been accused of being a major drug lord. So I asked General Gul who was really responsible for the Afghan drug trade.

“Now, let me give you the history of the drug trade in Afghanistan,” his answer began. “Before the Taliban stepped into it, in 1994 — in fact, before they captured Kabul in September 1996 — the drugs, the opium production volume was 4,500 tons a year. Then gradually the Taliban came down hard upon the poppy growing. It was reduced to around 50 tons in the last year of the Taliban. That was the year 2001. Nearly 50 tons of opium produced. 50. Five-zero tons. Now last year the volume was at 6,200 tons. That means it has really gone one and a half times more than it used to be before the Taliban era.”

He pointed out, correctly, that the U.S. had actually awarded the Taliban for its effective reduction of the drug trade. On top of $125 million the U.S. gave to the Taliban ostensibly as humanitarian aid, the State Department awarded the Taliban $43 million for its anti-drug efforts. “Of course, they made their mistakes,” General Gul continued. “But on the whole, they were doing fairly good. If they had been engaged in meaningful, fruitful, constructive talks, I think it would have been very good for Afghanistan.”

Referring to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, General Gul told me in a later conversation that Taliban leader “Mullah Omar was all the time telling that, look, I am prepared to hand over Osama bin Laden to a third country for a trial under Shariah. Now that is where — he said [it] twice — and they rejected this. Because the Taliban ambassador here in Islamabad, he came to me, and I asked him, ‘Why don’t you study this issue, because America is threatening to attack you. So you should do something.’ He said, ‘We have done everything possible.’ He said, ‘I was summoned by the American ambassador in Islamabad’ — I think Milam was the ambassador at that time — and he told me that ‘I said, “Look, produce the evidence.” But he did not show me anything other than cuttings from the newspapers.’ He said, ‘Look, we can’t accept this as evidence, because it has to stand in a court of law. You are prepared to put him on trial. You can try him in the United Nations compound in Kabul, but it has to be a Shariah court because he’s a citizen under Shariah law. Therefore, we will not accept that he should be immediately handed over to America, because George Bush has already said that he wants him “dead or alive”, so he’s passed the punishment, literally, against him.”

Referring to the U.S. rejection of the Taliban offer to try bin Laden in Afghanistan or hand him over to a third country, General Gul added, “I think this is a great opportunity that they missed.”

Returning to the drug trade, General Gul named the brother of President Karzai, Abdul Wali Karzai. “Abdul Wali Karzai is the biggest drug baron of Afghanistan,” he stated bluntly.

He added that the drug lords are also involved in arms trafficking, which is “a flourishing trade” in Afghanistan. “But what is most disturbing from my point of view is that the military aircraft, American military aircraft are also being used. You said very rightly that the drug routes are northward through the Central Asia republics and through some of the Russian territory, and then into Europe and beyond. But some of it is going directly. That is by the military aircraft. I have so many times in my interviews said, ‘Please listen to this information, because I am an aware person.’ We have Afghans still in Pakistan, and they sometimes contact and pass on the stories to me. And some of them are very authentic. I can judge that. So they are saying that the American military aircraft are being used for this purpose. So, if that is true, it is very, very disturbing indeed.”


Jeremy R. Hammond

Jeremy R. Hammond is the Editor of Foreign Policy Journal, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. His articles have been featured and cited in numerous other print and online publications around the world. He has appeared in interviews on the GCN radio network, Talk Nation Radio, and Press TV’s Middle East Today program.


http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com

Read more articles by Jeremy R. Hammond

Thursday, August 27, 2009

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In 2003 Bob Avakian delivered this historic talk in the United States. This is a wide-ranging revolutionary journey. It breaks down the very nature of the society we live in and how humanity has come to a time where a radically different society is possible. He lays it all out in a nine-hour speech-and then goes into three hours of question-and-answer dialogue with the audiences. It's all there-full of heart and soul, humor and seriousness.

There is nothing online like THIS: nothing that gets at these questions as deeply, thoroughly and truthfully as this. Millions of people are searching for the truth, and watching videos, short and long. Some of these give part of the answer; but some of them-including some of the most popular-give people bullshit answers, pointing people in the wrong direction and spreading poison. Here, and all over the world, people need to see Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About.

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Blessed Are The Troublemakers

By Michael Brull

brull-pilger

Working for peace is often about refusing to accept the status quo. That's why the Sydney Peace Prize jury has chosen well in recognising investigative journalist John Pilger, writes Michael Brull

The Sydney Peace Prize Foundation may shortly find itself in the middle of another controversy. Instead of giving the prize to someone who poses in pictures with sick kids, cuts ribbons, or signs treaties, they've given it to John Pilger. Why must they always be so difficult? Don't they realise what a nuisance Pilger is? Don't they realise that he has spent over 40 years blasting governments across the world?

Six years ago, they gave the prize to Hanan Ashrawi. We all know how controversial that choice was. Another year, they awarded another troublemaker: Xanana Gusmao. He did not seek peace with the Indonesian forces that raped East Timor. He fought to expel them from his country. The Sydney Peace Foundation even gave an award to Arundhati Roy. Roy noted that her friends were nonplussed — why had they given a peace prize to such a troublemaker?

In a sense, these people would not be satisfied with "peace" when it is narrowly defined. They stand for something more. They have fought against oppression, discrimination and human rights violations. In a sense, they have refused peace by rejecting acquiescence with an unjust status quo. It is easier to recognise the bravery and importance of this when the struggle doesn't involve us. Everyone admires those who struggled for human rights in Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination. When the Soviet tanks rolled in to crush the Prague Spring, those who advocated peace were effectively promoting the surrender of those who fought for freedom.

This is not to suggest that violent resistance was good or necessary in such circumstances. It is to acknowledge that the spirit of resistance and the will to challenge the status quo is sometimes necessary. It is for this reason that we admire the Czechoslovakian troublemakers.

Troublemakers have been important to Australian history too. John Chesterman, in his book Civil Rights, documented the important role of Australian activists, in combination with international pressure, in winning civil rights for Indigenous Australians. They faced substantial opposition, some of which decried their insistence on seeing the negatives in the situation they were trying to change, rather than putting on a smile and hoping things would get better. Paul Hasluck, the Commonwealth minister for territories from 1951–1963, held that these troublemakers "helped to bring about the situation in which so much of the public discussion concentrated on Australia's shameful record instead of on Australia's attempt to do something better in the future." He considered that a bad thing.

Jingoists have always considered it outrageous to denounce a government that acts in our name. People of principle, on the other hand, share HL Mencken's view that "every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." Our troublemakers compared us in international forums to apartheid South Africa and went on the freedom rides led by Charles Perkins. In doing so, they helped make Australia a better place.

John Pilger is an archetypal troublemaker. In 1967, in the early years of his career, he visited apartheid South Africa. When he got back to London, he was informed that he was banned "for the indefinite future". He was able to return 30 years later when apartheid was dead. In his book, Freedom Next Time, Pilger recounts meeting Nelson Mandela, who burst into a smile, welcoming Pilger back to the country. After all, "to have been banned from my country is a great honour".

Today, opposing apartheid in South Africa is considered an obvious position to take, because everyone agrees now that it was wrong. We can oppose the old unjust policy which no longer means fighting an unjust status quo. Yet Pilger remains fiercely independent and continues to fight against unjust status quos everywhere. He sharply challenged Mandela in their interview, in the manner so characteristic of him. In his book, he notes Mandela sold arms to "Algeria, Colombia and Peru, which have notorious human rights records", and that Mandela "recognised the brutal Burmese Junta", refusing to acknowledge the similarities between the current detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and his own former situation. Pilger goes on to note that after the "interview was over, Mandela leaned forward and asked if I thought he had been 'too soft' on Indonesia over East Timor. I said yes."

Pilger stirs up trouble in many places. He was able to sneak his way into Suu Kyi's home and film an interview with her. Yet in his trenchant criticism of the Burmese Junta, Pilger demonstrates that here too he does not just stick to the preferred Western script. In 2007, he also condemned the Australian Federal Police for "training Burma's internal security forces at the Australian-funded Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia". And he did not overlook the complicity of Israel in supporting the junta, for "its supply of weapons technology to Burma and its reported training of the junta's most feared internal security thugs".

I could go on and on with Pilger's brave and honourable fight against the wars being waged upon Afghanistan and Iraq, on the expulsion of the Chagossians of Diego Garcia by the British, on our appalling treatment of Indigenous Australians, against our complicity with the Indonesian genocide in East Timor and with its occupation of West Papua.

Obviously, causing such trouble would bring anyone enemies. Recognising his contributions through the Sydney Peace Prize will obviously outrage those who oppose public discussion concentrating on Australia's shameful record. Predictably, those who oppose public discussion concentrating on Israel's shameful treatment of Palestinians are outraged at the award too. Responding to the announcement of the award, the leading representative Jewish organisation, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, was quoted in the Australian Jewish News denouncing what it saw as a "bizarre and disgraceful" decision. According to them, Pilger "does not promote peace, but is a polemicist".

Self-identified moderate Zionist voices have been less restrained on Pilger. There is, for example, the supposedly left-wing Philip Mendes, who co-wrote a critical review of the response of the Zionist lobbies to Hanan Ashrawi winning the Sydney Peace Prize in 2003. Mendes has claimed Pilger is antisemitic. Then there is Sensible Jew, a blog which began in response to what its contributors felt was the inappropriate, heavy-handed style of Jewish lobbyists in their responses to events such as the play, Seven Jewish Children. Sensible Jew holds that Pilger is "far more odious" than the dreaded Hanan Ashrawi. His "anti-Zionism long ago tipped into outright hostility to Jews".

Vic Alhadeff, of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, called the award a "farce", as "[some] of [Pilger's] work has been noteworthy for its extreme lack of balance or context, which has done nothing to promote the cause of peace."

In a sense, this is true. Pilger is not "balanced" in the way that Alhadeff would prefer him to be, and he is a polemicist. Pilger always takes sides. He does not advocate acquiescence; he stands in solidarity with those who struggle against oppression. His struggle is against the powerful.

Pilger's stance on Israel is typical of him more generally. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is appalling, and our governments in the West are fully complicit in these crimes.

Pilger exposes this and behaves honourably in doing so.

Some people consider this outrageous. (How dare he? Why must he always cause such trouble?)

There are other people across the world who may think differently: the poor, the disenfranchised and the oppressed, struggling against foreign occupations. They need more troublemakers.

I salute John Pilger for his richly deserved award.

Michael Brull is an Australian commentator on Jewish matters, and blogs on the Independent Australian Jewish Voices website

Source from the New Matilda: http://newmatilda.com/2009/08/19/blessed-are-troublemakers

Wednesday, August 26, 2009





Late last night, Senator Edward M. Kennedy passed away after battling brain cancer for over a year. His death could not have come at a more difficult time, as progressives fight to get Congress to pass a comprehensive health care reform with a robust public option. Kennedy called universal health care “the passion of my life,” and had been fighting for it for over 40 years.

One year before he died, Kennedy gave this very powerful speech on health care reform - which is even more apt now that he is no longer with us. Kennedy once famously said: “We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe all of us will live on in the future we make.” Let the dream live on, Teddy. We will get universal health care in this country.


Continue - Click on "comments" to read or post comments on Information Clearing House.

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The Widening Gap In America's Two Tiered Society

By Emily Spence

If the U.S. populace somehow imagines that its members are viewed any differently than any other populations across the world that are used to produce maximal profits for the top economic class, there's a rude awakening in store ahead. Further, most legislators simply do not care whether middle and lower class interests are or aren't well served as long as they, themselves, can somehow make out well in the times ahead. Continue

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Thomas Paine v. the Right's Torture Defenders

What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report

By Glenn Greenwald

"It’s bullshit. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on. [It's' a] declaration of war against the CIA, and against common sense. . . Continue

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The CIA's Willing Torturers

By Peter Beaumont

The CIA report into prisoner abuse reveals a new, ugly reality: America's torturers weren't simply following orders. Continue

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Right-Wing Mad Militarist And His Mindless Murdering Drones

By Laura Flanders

A US drone firing missiles into a village in northern Pakistan killed at least 19 people over the weekend. The targets were militants said the US military.

The victims included six dead children said a local tribal elder. Continue

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Iran "Rebel" Says US Ordered Terror Attacks

By Arab Times & Agencies

“They (US officials) told us whom to shoot and whom not to. All orders came from them. They told us that they would provide us with everything we need like money and equipment.” Continue




Sunday, August 23, 2009

America's Most Wanted
The Top 50 US War Criminals

By David Swanson


These are men and women who helped to launch wars of aggression or who have been complicit in lesser war crimes.

These are not the lowest-ranking employees or troops who managed to stray from official criminal policies.

These are the makers of those policies.



http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/warcriminals




Saturday, August 15, 2009


October 2, 2009
January 2, 2010

The World March

for Peace

and

Nonviolence
















A bridge to the future


Welcome, to the international site of the first ever World March that will travel the world asking for the end of wars, the dismantling of nuclear weapons and for an end to all forms of violence (physical, economic, racial, religious, cultural, sexual and psychological).

Be one of the brave and help us to create a new, non-violent global consciousness!

Route of the March

The World March for Peace begins in Wellington,
New Zealand on October 2,

then to Australia from October 3-5.


Check out the website for full details:


http://www.theworldmarch.org/





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Battle for the Amazon: People vs the government
The largest indigenous movement in decades battles to save the Amazon Basin from oil exploitation
Part 1 view

Battle for the Amazon: People vs the government
The largest indigenous movement in decades battles to save the Amazon Basin from oil exploitation
Part 2 view



Homeless in East Jerusalem
On Aug 2nd Israeli police evicted Palestinian families from E. Jerusalem, but could the reverse happen? view


Who profits from Israeli occupation?

Boycotted by activists, the Israeli company AHAVA is backed by one of Israel's most powerful families View

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What Actually Happened in Fatah's Elections?

CIA-Trained Security Chiefs Elected to the Palestinian Leadership

By Esam AL-Amin

The U.S. government has been meddling in the Palestinian internal affairs since at least 2003. Its effort is to transform the Palestinian national movement for liberation and independence into a more compliant or quisling government, willing to accede to Israel’s political and security demands. Continue

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Green Shoots or Scorched Earth?

Bulletins From Clunkerville

By Mike Whitney

Toxic assets, falling home prices, widespread malaise in the credit markets are just part of the problem. The deeper issue is the dismal condition of the US consumer who has seen his home equity dissipate, his retirement funds sawed in half,his access to credit curtailed, and his job put at risk. Continue

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Pay-or-Die
Ralph Nader on Secret White House Agreements with the Drug Industry

By Democracy Now!

What we’ll end up with is another patchwork piece of legislation, allowing huge and expanded profits for the health insurance companies and the drug companies, and continuing this pay-or-die system that has plagued this country for decades, a system that takes 20,000 lives a year, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. That’s about fifty to sixty people who die every day. Continue

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Six Lobbyists Per Lawmaker Work on Health Overhaul

By Jonathan D. Salant and Lizzie O’Leary

If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue.

That’s six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense.

Continue


The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War

By Prof. Peter Dale Scott

August 12, 2009 "Global Research" August 11, 2009


The Myth of the Grand Chessboard: Geopolitics and Imperial Folie de Grandeur

In the Road to 9/11 I summarized the dialectic of open societies: how from their energy they expand, leading to a higher level of more secretive corporations and agencies, which eventually weaken the home country through needless and crushing wars.[4]

I am not alone in seeing America in the final stages of this process, which since the Renaissance has brought down Spain, the Netherlands, and Great Britain.

Much of what I wrote summarized the thoughts of writers before me like Paul Kennedy and Kevin Phillips. But there is one aspect of the curse of expansion that I underemphasized: how dominance creates megalomanic illusions of insuperable control, and how this illusion in turn is crystallized into a prevailing ideology of dominance.

I am surprised that so few, heretofore, have pointed out that from a public point of view these ideologies are delusional, indeed perhaps insane. In this essay I will argue however that what looks demented from a public viewpoint makes sense from the narrower perspective of those profiting from the provision of private entrepreneurial violence and intelligence....


The Real Grand Chessboard: Those Profiting from Enduring Violence

....In March 2001 the biggest oil majors (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco, and Shell) had their opportunity to design the incoming administration’s energy strategies, including Middle East policy, by participating secretly in Vice-President Cheney's Energy Task Force.[17]

The Task Force, we learned later, developed a map of Iraq’s oil fields, with the southwest divided into nine "Exploration Blocks." One month earlier a Bush National Security Council document had noted that Cheney’s Task force would consider "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields."[18]

Earlier the oil companies had participated in a non-governmental task force calling for "an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments."[19]

Of course, oil companies were not alone in pushing for military action against Iraq.

After 9/11, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith established the Pentagon’s neocon Office of Special Plans (OSP), which soon "rivalled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda."[20]

Neocon influence in the Administration, supported by Lewis Libby in Vice-President Cheney’s office, trumped the skepticism of CIA and DIA: these two false charges against Saddam Hussein, or what one critic called "faith-based intelligence," became briefly the official ideology of the United States. Some, notably Dick Cheney, have never recanted.

Many journalists were eager to promote the OSP doctrines. Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote a series of articles on Saddam’s WMD, relying, like OSP itself, on the propaganda of Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi.[21]

Miller’s book collaborator Laurie Mylroie went even further, arguing that "Saddam was not only behind the '93 Trade Center attack, but also every anti-American terrorist incident of the past decade, from the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the leveling of the federal building in Oklahoma City to September 11 itself."[22]

Many of these advocates, notably Feith, Libby, and Mylroie, had links to Israel, which as much as any oil company had reasons to wish for U.S. armies to become established militarily in Central Asia.[23]....


Private Military Contractors (PMCs), Whose Business is Violence for Profit

The inappropriateness of a military response to the threat of terrorism has been noted by a number of counterterrorism experts, such as retired U.S. Army colonel Andrew Bacevich:

the concept of global war as the response to violent Islamic radicalism is flawed. We ought not be in the business of invading and occupying other countries. That's not going to address the threat. It is, on the other hand, going to bankrupt the country and break the military.[24]

Because of budgetary constraints, America has resorted to uncontrollable subordinates to represent its public power in these remote places....

To offset the pressure on limited armed forces assets, Donald Rumsfeld escalated the increasing use of Private Military Contractors (PMCs) in the Iraq War. At one point as many as 100,000 personnel were employed by PMCs in the US Iraq occupation.

Some of them were involved in controversial events there, such as the Iraq Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the killing and burning of four contract employees in Fallujah. The license of the most controversial firm, Blackwater, was terminated by the Iraqi government in 2007, after eight Iraqi civilians were gratuitously killed in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion.[28] (After much negative publicity, Blackwater renamed itself in 2009 as Xe Worldwide.)

Insufficiently noticed in the public furor over PMCs like Blackwater was the difference in motivation between them and the Pentagon. Whereas the stated goal of Rumsfeld and the armed forces in Iraq was to end violence there, the PMCs clearly had a financial stake in its continuation.

Hence it is no surprise that some of the largest PMCs were also political supporters for pursuing the ill-conceived "War on Terror."

Blackwater was the most notorious example; Erik Prince, its founder and sole owner, is part of a family that figures among the major contributors to the Republican Party and other right-wing causes, such as the Council for National Policy. His sister once told the press that "my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party."[29]


Private Intelligence Companies and the Provision of Violence

Blackwater has attracted the critical attention of the American Mainstream Media. But it was a mere knight on the grand chessboard, albeit one with the ability to influence the moves of the game.

Far less notice has been given to Diligence LLC. Diligence, a more powerful company, that unlike Blackwater interfaced heavily with Wall Street, "set up shop in Baghdad [in July 2003] to provide security for companies involved in Iraqi reconstruction....


....9/11 was a personal tragedy for thousands of families and a national tragedy for all of America, but it served the interests of private intelligence and military contractors....


Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His latest prose books are The Road to 9/11 (2007) and his reissued and expanded War Conspiracy (2008). His new book of poems (including political poems) is Mosaic Orpheus, from McGill-Queen's University Press.

Visit his website at http://www.peterdalescott.net/

Also, check out he excellent "Global Research" website.


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