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Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
January 21, 2010

WMR’s intelligence sources have reported that the Obama administration has authorized an economic war against Venezuela in order to destabilize the government of President Hugo Chavez.

After a successful coup against Chavez ally, President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, and the very thin 51-49 percent electoral win by Chile’s billionaire right-winger Sebastian Pinera on January 17, a buoyed Obama White House has given a green light for political operatives in Venezuela, many of whom operate under the cover of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to set the stage for massive street demonstrations to protest Chavez’s devaluation of the bolivar, Venezuela’s currency.

Chavez devalued the bolivar by 50 percent to make Venezuelan oil exports less expensive, thus boosting revenue for his country. However, the devaluation has also seen price rises and inflation in Venezuela and the CIA and its subservient NGOs have wasted little time in putting out stories about consumers rushing to the stories ahead of an increase in consumer products, with imported flat-screen televisions being the favorite consumer item being hyped by the corporate media as seeing a huge price increase and long lines at shopping malls favored by the Venezuelan elites.

The state has exempted certain consumer goods such as food, medicines, school supplies, and industrial machinery from being affected by the bolivar’s devaluation through a different exchange rate and price controls, but it is the price increases on televisions, tobacco, alcohol, cell phones, and computers that has the anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela and abroad hyping the ill-effects on the Venezuelan consumer.

To battle against businessmen who are trying to capitalize on the devaluation of the bolivar, Chavez has threatened to close and possibly seize any business that gouges the consumer by inordinately raising prices. The first target of a temporary closure was a Caracas store owned by the French firm Exito.

International investment analysts praised Chavez’s decision to devalue the bolivar and said the decision was overdue considering the fall of oil prices worldwide. However, the CIA and NGOs, many aligned with George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy are planning large street demonstrations against Chavez’s handling of the economy.

National Assembly elections are scheduled for September but the Obama administration has decided that if Chavez can be removed now, his allies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and some Caribbean island states will quickly abandon Chavez’s alternative to American-led Western Hemisphere financial contrivances and free trade pacts, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

The Obama planners then see Cuba, once again, being isolated in the hemisphere and ripe for increased U.S. political pressure. Cuba was placed on the list of 14 countries requiring additional airline passenger screening as part of the policy to pressure and isolate Cuba. There is a possibility that with the outbreak of U.S.-inspired violence in the streets of Venezuela, that nation could join Cuba on the list as the 15th country.

The Obama administration’s assault is two-fold: economic and political. Pressure is being applied against the gasoline chain Citgo, which is owned by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, and Venezuelan investment favorability ratings. Politically, the U.S. is overtly and covertly funneling money to anti-Chavez groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and groups affiliated with George Soros.

There is also a small military component to Obama’s strategy of undermining Chavez. U.S., P-3 Orion overflights of Venezuelan airspace from bases in Aruba and Curacao are designed to intimidate Chavez and activate Venezuelan radar and command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) systems to gather electronic and signals intelligence data that would be used by the United States to jam Venezuelan military networks in the event of a U.S.-inspired uprising against Chavez by U.S. loyalists embedded in the Venezuelan military, police, PDVSA, and media. The U.S. is also stoking cross-border incursions into Venezuela by Colombian paramilitaries to gauge Venezuela’s border defenses. Last November, Colombian right-wing paramilitary units killed two Venezuelan National Guardsmen inside Venezuela in Tachira state. Weapons caches maintained by Colombians inside Venezuela have been seized by Venezuelan authorities. Venezuela has also arrested a number of Colombian DAS intelligence agents inside Venezuela.

Obama signed a military agreement with Colombia that allows the United States to establish seven air and naval bases in Colombia. An additional agreement by Obama with Panama will see the U.S. military return to that nation to set up two military bases.

It is estimated that some 25 percent of Venezuelans are likely Fifth Columnists who would take part in a revolt against Chavez. Many of them based in the Venezuelan oil-producing state of Zulia and the capital of Maracaibo, where successive U.S. ambassadors in Caracas have stoked secessionist embers and where the CIA and U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency have concentrated much of their efforts. In November, Venezuelan police arrested in Maracaibo, Magaly Janeth Moreno Vega, also known as “The Pearl,” the leader of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which has been directly linked to Colombia’s pro-U.S. President Alvaro Uribe and members of his government, including former Colombian Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio Isaza, appointed by Uribe as Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico.

U.S. Provoking War With Venezuela

 



U.S. Provoking War With Venezuela

Netherlands has Granted U.S. Military Use of its Islands in the Caribbean

globalresearch.ca
January 14, 2010

The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the “war against drugs”. In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela.

In the Dutch media articles have appeared about the “war-mongering” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who is “preparing a war against Colombia”. Now Chávez has accused the Netherlands of supporting aggression against Venezuela, because the Netherlands has given permission to the American armed forces to use the military bases on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao[1].

In the media Hugo Chávez, as always, has been presented like some “crazy populist”, and of course the “civilised Netherlands” are presented as being totally innocent.

Later Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, said the American military were on Aruba and Curaçao, as part of the “war against drugs”. He remains silent about what is really happening on Aruba and Curaçao.

Authors such as Noam Chomsky and Eva Golinger have pointed out in different articles that the so-called “war against drugs” has nothing to do with any battle against drug smuggling, but has been used for other causes such as fighting against guerrilla movements and the spying of other countries. Since the start of the “war against drugs” there has only been more smuggling and consumption of drugs.

The fact that the Netherlands are participating in this is quite normal, because the Dutch government has a tradition of supporting American imperialism. After Britain the Netherlands are the biggest ally of the U.S. in Western Europe. The cabinet of Prime Minister Balkenende gave political support to the invasion of Iraq that was based completely on lies. Now the Netherlands have troops in Afghanistan, officially to rebuild the country, but in practice to prop up the corrupt regime of Karzai.

The bases on Aruba and Curaçao

In 1999 the Netherlands and the U.S. signed an agreement for the establishment of Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). This meant that the American military could use air force bases on Aruba and Curaçao. While the bases were originally used for operations against drug smuggling and the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC, this changed with the election of George Bush. Venezuela was seen as a threat by then, because it was a beacon of hope for the poor and working people of Latin America. In 2002 there was a CIA-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected Hugo Chávez. Since then there have only been more intrigues against Venezuela.

In 2006 there was a big military exercise by the U.S., Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, France and Canada in the Caribbean, named Joint Caribbean Lion 2006. This exercise was clearly a provocation against Venezuela. After criticisms by the Venezuelan government the then-minister of defence Henk Kamp and some right-wing MPs decided to accuse Chávez of “wanting to conquer the Antilles”. This was based on false statements from the Venezuelan opposition, that stated Chávez claimed everything within 200 miles from the Venezuelan coast as Venezuelan territory, while in that speech Chávez clearly said “12”, and not “200” miles.

Now there is a new conflict. This has everything to do with the recent militarization of Colombia and its seven military bases that have been given to American troops. Venezuela is not talking nonsense as the media keep claiming. Colombia’s military spending now is 5% of its Gross Domestic Product. At the peak of her struggle against the FARC this was 2.5%.

Also the American Fourth Fleet has been stationed back in the Caribbean since 2008. This fleet was disbanded in 1950 after the end of WWII, but now it is back and close to the Venezuelan coast.

The Netherlands are now playing the role of junior partner of the U.S. in the Caribbean. Different spy planes have been detected above Venezuela. An American Boeing RC-135 has taken off at different times from Curaçao and has been detected over Venezuelan air space.

Hugo Chavez orders military to shoot at US aircraft

 



Ron Paul: We Need Revolutionary Change

Ron Paul: We Need Revolutionary Change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vLV4jn8BMU

 



Africom – Latest U.S. Bid to Recolonise Continent

Africom – Latest U.S. Bid to Recolonise Continent

All Africa
January 7, 2010

AFRICAN revolutionaries now have to sleep with one eye open because the United States of America is not stopping at anything in its bid to establish Africom, a highly-equipped US army that will be permanently resident in Africa to oversee the country’s imperialist interests.

Towards the end of last year, the US government intensified its efforts to bring a permanent army to settle in Africa, dubbed the African Command (Africom) as a latest tool for the subtle recolonisation of Africa.

Just before end of last year, General William E. Garret, Commander US Army for Africa, met with defence attaches from all African embassies in Washington to lure them into selling the idea of an American army based in Africa to their governments.

Latest reports from the White House this January indicate that 75 percent of the army’s establishment work has been done through a military unit based in Stuttgart, Germany, and that what is left is to get an African country to host the army and get things moving.

Liberia and Morocco have offered to host Africom while Sadc has closed out any possibility of any of its member states hosting the US army.

Other individual countries have remained quiet.

Liberia has longstanding ties with the US due to its slave history while errant Morocco, which is not a member of the African Union and does not hold elections, might want the US army to assist it to suppress any future democratic uprising.

Sadc’s refusal is a small victory for the people of Africa in their struggle for total independence but the rest of the regional blocs in Africa are yet to come up with a common position. This is worrying.

The US itself wanted a more strategic country than Morocco and Liberia since the army will be the epicentre of influencing, articulating and safeguarding US foreign and economic policies.

The other danger is that Africom will open up Africa as a battleground between America and anti-US terrorist groups.

Africom is a smokescreen behind which America wants to hide its means to secure Africa’s oil and other natural resources, nothing more.

African leaders must not forget that military might has been used by America and Europe again and again as the only effective way of accomplishing their agenda in ensuring that governments in each country are run by people who toe their line.

By virtue of its being resident in Africa, Africom will ensure that America has its tentacles easily reaching every African country and influencing every event to the American advantage.

By hosting the army, Africa will have sub-contracted its military independence to America and will have accepted the process that starts its recolonisation through an army that can subdue any attempts by Africa to show its own military prowess.

The major question is: Who will remove Africom once it is established? By what means?

By its origin Africom will be technically and financially superior to any African country’s army and will dictate the pace for regime change in any country at will and also give depth, direction and impetus to the US natural resource exploitation scheme.

There is no doubt that as soon as the army gets operational in Africa, all the gains of independence will be reversed.

If the current leadership in Africa succumbs to the whims of the US and accept the operation of this army in Africa, they will go down in the annals of history as that generation of politicians who accepted the evil to prevail.

Even William Shakespeare would turn and twist in his grave and say: “I told you guys that it takes good men to do nothing for evil to prevail.”

We must not forget that Africans, who are still smarting from colonialism-induced humiliation, subjugation, brutality and inferiority complex, do not need to be taken back to another form of colonialism, albeit subtle.

Africom has been controversial on the continent ever since former US president George W. Bush first announced it in February 2007.

African leaders must not forget that under the Barack Obama administration, US policy towards Africa and the rest of the developing world has not changed an inch. It remains militaristic and materialistic.

Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations argue that the major objective of Africom is to professionalise security forces in key countries across Africa.

However, both administrations do not attempt to address the impact of the setting up of Africom on minority parties, governments and strong leaders considered errant or whether the US will not use Africom to promote friendly dictators.

Training and weapons programmes and arms transfers from Ukraine to Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Ethiopia and the transitional government in Somalia, clearly indicate the use of military might to maintain influence in governments in Africa, remains a priority of US foreign policy.

Ukraine’s current leadership was put into power by the US under the Orange Revolution and is being given a free role to supply weaponry in African conflicts.

African leaders must show solidarity and block every move by America to set up its bases in the motherland unless they want to see a new round of colonisation.

Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Kenneth Kaunda, Augustino Neto and Samora Machel, among others, will have fought liberation wars for nothing, if Africom is allowed a base in Africa.

Thousands of Africans who died in colonial prisons and in war fronts during the liberation struggles, will have shed their blood for nothing if Africa is recolonised.

Why should the current crop of African leaders accept systematic recolonisation when they have learnt a lot from colonialism, apartheid and racism? Why should the current crop of African leaders fail to stand measure for measure against the US administration and tell it straight in the face that Africa does not need a foreign army since the AU is working out its own army.

African leaders do not need prophets from Mars to know that US’s fascination with oil, the war on terrorism and the military will now be centred on Africa, after that escapade in Iraq.

U.S., China Are on Collision Course Over Oil

 



U.S., China Are on Collision Course Over Oil

Obama’s Yemeni odyssey targets China

Asia Times
January 9, 2010

A cursory look at the map of region will show that Yemen is one of the most strategic lands adjoining waters of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. It flanks Saudi Arabia and Oman, which are vital American protectorates. In effect, Uncle Sam is “marking territory” – like a dog on a lamppost. Russia has been toying with the idea of reopening its Soviet-era base in Aden. Well, the US has pipped Moscow in the race.

The US has signaled that the odyssey doesn’t end with Yemen. It is also moving into Somalia and Kenya. With that, the US establishes its military presence in an entire unbroken stretch of real estate all along the Indian Ocean’s western rim. Chinese officials have of late spoken of their need to establish a naval base in the region. The US has now foreclosed China’s options. The only country with a coastline that is available for China to set up a naval base in the region will be Iran. All other countries have a Western military presence. (are western military puppet governments)

The American intervention in Yemen is not going to be on the pattern of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama will ensure he doesn’t receive any body bags of American servicemen serving in Yemen. That is what the American public expects from him. He will only deploy drone aircraft and special forces and “focus on providing intelligence and training to help Yemen counter al-Qaeda militants”, according to the US military. Obama’s main core objective will be to establish an enduring military presence in Yemen. This serves many purposes.

A new great game begins

First, the US move has to be viewed against the historic backdrop of the Shi’ite awakening in the region. The Shi’ites (mostly of the Zaidi group) have been traditionally suppressed in Yemen. Shi’ite uprisings have been a recurring theme in Yemen’s history. There has been a deliberate attempt to minimize the percentage of Shi’ites in Yemen, but they could be anywhere up to 45%.

More importantly, in the northern part of the country, they constitute the majority. What bothers the US and moderate Sunni Arab states – and Israel – is that the Believing Youth Organization led by Hussein Badr al-Houthi, which is entrenched in northern Yemen, is modeled after Hezbollah in Lebanon in all respects – politically, economically, socially and culturally.

Yemenis are an intelligent people and are famous in the Arabian Peninsula for their democratic temperament. The Yemeni Shi’ite empowerment on a Hezbollah-model would have far-reaching regional implications. Next-door Oman, which is a key American base, is predominantly Shi’ite. Even more sensitive is the likelihood of the dangerous idea of Shi’ite empowerment spreading to Saudi Arabia’s highly restive Shi’ite regions adjoining Yemen, which on top of it all, also happen to be the reservoir of the country’s fabulous oil wealth.

Saudi Arabia is entering a highly sensitive phase of political transition as a new generation is set to take over the leadership in Riyadh, and the palace intrigues and fault lines within the royal family are likely to get exacerbated. To put it mildly, given the vast scale of institutionalized Shi’ite persecution in Saudi Arabia by the Wahhabi establishment, Shi’ite empowerment is a veritable minefield that Riyadh is petrified about at this juncture. Its threshold of patience is wearing thin, as the recent uncharacteristic resort to military power against the north Yemeni Shi’ite communities bordering Saudi Arabia testifies.

The US faces a classic dilemma. It is all right for Obama to highlight the need of reform in Muslim societies – as he did eloquently in his Cairo speech last June. But democratization in the Yemeni context – ironically, in the Arab context – would involve Shi’ite empowerment. After the searing experience in Iraq, Washington is literally perched like a cat on a hot tin roof. It would much rather be aligned with the repressive, autocratic government of Saleh than let the genie of reform out of the bottle in the oil rich-region in which it has profound interests.

Obama has an erudite mind and he is not unaware that what Yemen desperately needs is reform, but he simply doesn’t want to think about it. The paradox he faces is that with all its imperfections, Iran happens to be the only “democratic” system operating in that entire region.

Iran’s shadow over the Yemeni Shi’ite consciousness worries the US to no end. Simply put, in the ideological struggle going on in the region, Obama finds himself with the ultra-conservative and brutally autocratic oligarchies that constitute the ruling class in the region. Conceivably, he isn’t finding it easy. If his own memoirs are to be believed, there could be times when the vague recollections of his childhood in Indonesia and his precious memories of his own mother, who from all accounts was a free-wheeling intellectual and humanist, must be stalking him in the White House corridors.

Israel moves in

But Obama is first and foremost a realist. Emotions and personal beliefs drain away and strategic considerations weigh uppermost when he works in the Oval Office. With the military presence in Yemen, the US has tightened the cordon around Iran. In the event of a military attack on Iran, Yemen could be put to use as a springboard by the Israelis. These are weighty considerations for Obama.

The fact is that no one is in control as a Yemeni authority. It is a cakewalk for the formidable Israeli intelligence to carve out a niche in Yemen – just as it did in northern Iraq under somewhat comparable circumstances.

Islamism doesn’t deter Israel at all. Saleh couldn’t have been far off the mark when he alleged last year that Israeli intelligence had been exposed as having kept links with Yemeni Islamists. The point is, Yemeni Islamists are a highly fragmented lot and no one is sure who owes what sort of allegiance to whom. Israeli intelligence operates marvelously in such twilight zones when the horizon is lacerated with the blood of the vanishing sun.

Israel will find a toehold in Yemen to be a god-sent gift insofar as it registers its presence in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a dream come true for Israel, whose effectiveness as a regional power has always been seriously handicapped by its lack of access to the Persian Gulf region. The overarching US military presence helps Israel politically to consolidate its Yemeni chapter. Without doubt, Petraeus is moving on Yemen in tandem with Israel (and Britain). But the “pro-West” Arab states with their rentier mentality have no choice except to remain as mute spectators on the sidelines.

Some among them may actually acquiesce with the Israeli security presence in the region as a safer bet than the spread of the dangerous ideas of Shi’ite empowerment emanating out of Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. Also, at some stage, Israeli intelligence will begin to infiltrate the extremist Sunni outfits in Yemen, which are commonly known as affiliates of al-Qaeda. That is, if it hasn’t done that already. Any such link makes Israel an invaluable ally for the US in its fight against al-Qaeda. In sum, infinite possibilities exist in the paradigm that is taking shape in the Muslim world abutting into the strategic Persian Gulf.

It’s all about China

Most important, however, for US global strategies will be the massive gain of control of the port of Aden in Yemen. Britain can vouchsafe that Aden is the gateway to Asia. Control of Aden and the Malacca Strait will put the US in an unassailable position in the “great game” of the Indian Ocean. The sea lanes of the Indian Ocean are literally the jugular veins of China’s economy. By controlling them, Washington sends a strong message to Beijing that any notions by the latter that the US is a declining power in Asia would be nothing more than an extravagant indulgence in fantasy.

In the Indian Ocean region, China is increasingly coming under pressure. India is a natural ally of the US in the Indian Ocean region. Both disfavor any significant Chinese naval presence. India is mediating a rapprochement between Washington and Colombo that would help roll back Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. The US has taken a u-turn in its Myanmar policy and is engaging the regime there with the primary intent of eroding China’s influence with the military rulers. The Chinese strategy aimed at strengthening influence in Sri Lanka and Myanmar so as to open a new transportation route towards the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Africa, where it has begun contesting traditional Western economic dominance.

China is keen to whittle down its dependence on the Malacca Strait for its commerce with Europe and West Asia. The US, on the contrary, is determined that China remains vulnerable to the choke point between Indonesia and Malaysia.

An engrossing struggle is breaking out. The US is unhappy with China’s efforts to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf through the Central Asian region and Pakistan. Slowly but steadily, Washington is tightening the noose around the neck of the Pakistani elites – civilian and military – and forcing them to make a strategic choice between the US and China. This will put those elites in an unenviable dilemma. Like their Indian counterparts, they are inherently “pro-Western” (even when they are “anti-American”) and if the Chinese connection is important for Islamabad, that is primarily because it balances perceived Indian hegemony.

The existential questions with which the Pakistani elites are grappling are apparent. They are seeking answers from Obama. Can Obama maintain a balanced relationship vis-a-vis Pakistan and India? Or, will Obama lapse back to the George W Bush era strategy of building up India as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean under whose shadow Pakistan will have to learn to live?

US-India-Israel axis

On the other hand, the Indian elites are in no compromising mood. Delhi was on a roll during the Bush days. Now, after the initial misgivings about Obama’s political philosophy, Delhi is concluding that he is all but a clone of his illustrious predecessor as regards the broad contours of the US’s global strategy – of which containment of China is a core template.

The comfort level is palpably rising in Delhi with regard to the Obama presidency. Delhi takes the surge of the Israeli lobby in Washington as the litmus test for the Obama presidency. The surge suits Delhi, since the Jewish lobby was always a helpful ally in cultivating influence in the US Congress, media and the rabble-rousing think-tankers as well as successive administrations. And all this is happening at a time when the India-Israel security relationship is gaining greater momentum.

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates is due to visit Delhi in the coming days. The Obama administration is reportedly adopting an increasingly accommodative attitude toward India’s longstanding quest for “dual-use” technology from the US. If so, a massive avenue of military cooperation is about to open between the two countries, which will make India a serious challenger to China’s growing military prowess. It is a win-win situation as the great Indian arms bazaar offers highly lucrative business for American companies.

Clearly, a cozy three-way US-Israel-India alliance provides the underpinning for all the maneuvering that is going on. It will have significance for the security of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. Last year, India formalized a naval presence in Oman.

All-in-all, terrorism experts are counting the trees and missing the wood when they analyze the US foray into Yemen in the limited terms of hunting down al-Qaeda. The hard reality is that Obama, whose main plank used to be “change”, has careened away and increasingly defaults to the global strategies of the Bush era. The freshness of the Obama magic is dissipating. Traces of the “revisionism” in his foreign policy orientation are beginning to surface. We can see them already with regard to Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Israel-Palestine problem, Central Asia and towards China and Russia.

Arguably, this sort of “return of the native” by Obama was inevitable. For one thing, he is but a creature of his circumstances. As someone put it brilliantly, Obama’s presidency is like driving a train rather than a car: a train cannot be “steered”, the driver can at best set its speed, but ultimately, it must run on its tracks.

Besides, history has no instances of a declining world power meekly accepting its destiny and walking into the sunset. The US cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight. And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piece-meal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.

 

Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map

Asia Times
January 9, 2010

The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran’s northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan’s vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is “apocalypse now” for the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

The 182-kilometer Turkmen-Iranian pipeline starts modestly with the pumping of 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas. But its annual capacity is 20bcm, and that would meet the energy requirements of Iran’s Caspian region and enable Tehran to free its own gas production in the southern fields for export. The mutual interest is perfect: Ashgabat gets an assured market next door; northern Iran can consume without fear of winter shortages; Tehran can generate more surplus for exports; Turkmenistan can seek transportation routes to the world market via Iran; and Iran can aspire to take advantage of its excellent geographical location as a hub for the Turkmen exports.

We are witnessing a new pattern of energy cooperation at the regional level that dispenses with Big Oil. Russia traditionally takes the lead. China and Iran follow the example. Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan hold respectively the world’s largest, second-largest and fourth-largest gas reserves. And China will be consumer par excellence in this century. The matter is of profound consequence to the US global strategy.

Read Full Article Here

Afghanistan: only the first move in the grand chess game for control of Central Asian resources

 



National Guard Ad Revives Nazi Oath to Hitler

National Guard ad revives Nazi oath to Hitler: “Always place mission first,” not US Constitution

Examiner
January 4, 2010

In 2003, the US Army adapted the “Soldier’s Creed” to program soldiers to shift their Oath of Enlistment from “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” to the heel-clicking, non-thinking, dictator-obeying, “I will always place the mission first.

This directly states that the FIRST duty of an American soldier is to achieve the mission dictated by military leadership, NOT the defense of the US Constitution. Brain-washing soldiers to place the mission first, that is, “just follow orders” given by der Fuehrer (“the leader” in German) rather than being responsible for obeying the Constitution and laws of war dramatizes the US shift into fascism.

This fascist propaganda is highlighted in the National Guard’s new 2-minute ad playing in movie theaters, shown below.

Nazi German soldiers had such an oath:

“I swear by God this sacred oath that I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich, supreme commander of the armed forces, and that I shall at all times be prepared, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath.”

Another way to say this: “I will always place the mission first, as dictated by the Commander-in-Chief, Adolf Hitler.”

The US Soldier’s Creed states the Army Values; its first component is “loyalty” to the US Constitution. But the creed and the new commercial favors “place the mission first” in its communication rather than “protect and defend the US Constitution.” And again, stating the “mission” dictated by the leader is first rather than the US Constitution is revealing.

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Another way to say this: “I will always place the mission first, as dictated by the Commander-in-Chief, President (blank).”

“I will always place the mission first, as dictated by the Commander-in-Chief, Adolf Hitler.”

“I will always place the mission first, as dictated by the Commander-in-Chief, President X.”

Beyond any reasonable doubt, current US wars are unlawful. Stop and research this if you are unclear on the simple rules of lawful war and why the US is in obvious violation. You cannot argue you are a responsible citizen if you do not understand these laws that govern trillions of our long-term tax dollars and so dramatically affect millions of lives.

US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and threats for war with Iran are as unlawful as a football middle linebacker kicking the opponent’s center in the head as he touches the ball, claiming it a fumble, and taking possession. What we have in our country is political “leaders” and corporate media reporting this violation as, “The enemy initiated an offensive maneuver that intelligence confirmed was going to be illegal and cause injury. Our defensive forces delivered a blow that pre-emptively stopped their attack. This prevented certain harm from their clear intent to violate their obligation under law.” That is, what we get is propaganda and lies of omission that disinform the public and our troops in Orwellian magnitude.

Showcasing “always place the mission first” in the Soldier’s Creed has a clear purpose: US troops should obey their American Fuehrer. The Oath Keepers is a principle organization to reorientate our current soldiers, veterans, and members of government, law enforcement, and all others with oaths to honor their oath to the US Constitution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbfPj00pTNY

Read Full Article Here

 



Pakistan: Over 700 Civilians Killed in US Drone Strikes

Pakistan: Over 700 Civilians Killed in US Drone Strikes

Dawn News
January 3, 2009

PESHAWAR: Of the 44 predator strikes carried out by US drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan over the past 12 months, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians.

According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.

For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.

The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 was hardly 11 per cent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the attacks were carried out on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

Of the five successful predator attacks carried out in 2009, the first one came on January 1, which reportedly killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders – Usama al-Kin and Sheikh Ahmed Salim – both wanted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Kin was the chief operational commander of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest in 2004.

The second successful drone attack was conducted on August 5 in South Waziristan that killed the most wanted fugitive chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife.

The US State Department had announces a $5million head money for information leading to Baitullah, making him the only Pakistani fugitive with the head money separately announced by Islamabad and Washington.

 



Did IntelCenter Photoshop AlQaeda Logo on Mutallab Photo?

Did IntelCenter Photoshop AlQaeda Logo on Mutallab Photo?

NoWorldSystem
January 4, 2009

Here’s a snippet from an excellent Signs of the Times article about the mysteries of the infamous Flight 253 patsy entitled “The Underwear Bomber – Crushing Freedom With Phony Arab Terrorism”.

    Initially, all we had was a Nigerian youth and a misguided effort to detonate what we are told was an explosive compound. Within 24 hours however, IntelCenter, a group of US ex-military and intelligence officials who over the years have somehow managed to produce many of the “al-Qaeda” videos and messages that they serendipitously find on “jihadist websites”, produced a picture of Mutallab with what they claim is the flag of the media arm of “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” and a message from the group claiming Mutallab as one of their own:

    “We tell the American people that since you support the leaders who kill our women and children … we have come to slaughter you (and) will strike you with no previous (warning), our vengeance is near,” the statement said

    Scared yet? Well, the people at Intelcenter really hope you are. They put a lot of effort into producing these messages and videos and images. For example, a 2006 ‘al-qaeda’ video featuring al-Zawahiri released by Intelcenter was analyzed by Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant. During a presentation he gave at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas in 2007 about analyzing digital photographs and video images for alterations and enhancements, Krawetz showed that the video had been altered in a very interesting way.

    Using a program he wrote (and provided on the conference CD-ROM) Krawetz could print out the quantization tables in a JPEG file (that indicate how the image was compressed) and determine the last tool that created the image – that is, the make and model of the camera if the image is original or the version of Photoshop that was used to alter and re-save the image.


    A still from the the Intelcenter-faked “al-qaeda” video

    Krawetz took an image (above) from the 2006 video of al-Zawahiri showing the Mr Magoo look-alike sitting in front of a desk and banner with writing on it. After conducting his error analysis Krawetz was able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri’s head was added to the image afterward and at the same time as the logo of IntelCenter, which released the video. In short, it seems very likely that IntelCenter produced the writing on the banner, and probably the entire video, from whole cloth.

    Despite this evidence, we are being asked to believe that the latest message and photo from ‘al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’ that IntelCenter just happened to find on a “Jihadist internet message board” that links Mutallab with ‘al-Qaeda in Yemen’ is authentic!


    An image of Mutallab with ‘al-qaeda logo’ procured (manufactured?) by Intelcenter

Was Bin Laden’s Last Video Faked

 



Flight 253 Event a Pretext For Yemen War

Obama Blames al-Qaeda for Christmas False Flag, Sets Stage for Yemen Attack

Kurt Nimmo
Prison Planet.com
January 3, 2010

On Saturday, Obama said the Christmas day non-attack over Detroit was the work of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the latest incarnation of the perennial boogieman used by government to frighten people into accepting foreign invasions and occupations and an ever-growing police state grid at home.

“We know that [Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab] traveled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty and deadly insurgencies. It appears that he joined an affiliate of al Qaeda, and that this group — Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America,” Obama said in his address to the nation.

Nassir al-Wahishi is the new Osama bin Laden. He was appointed by Ayman al-Zawahiri to run AQAP in Yemen. Al-Zawahiri is a documented intelligence asset. His brother Zaiman al-Zawahiri fought for the CIA in Kosovo and ran terrorist camps under NATO protection in the U.S. zone in Kosovo.

Ayman, according to January 2000 U.S. Congressional testimony, was granted U.S. residence by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This is almost impossible for many legitimate immigrants to obtain but is often granted to CIA assets that need to get in and out of the country as they perform their assignments.

Ayman al-Zawahiri founded the Egyptian Islamic Jihad with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization long ago penterated and comprmised by British intelligence. The CIA funneled support to the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to overthrow Egyptian president Gamal Abddul Nasser, considered the father of Arab nationalism.

“The real Muslim Brothers are those whose hands are never dirtied with the business of killing and burning,” Robert Dreyfuss summarized in 1980. “They are the secretive bankers and financiers who stand behind the curtain, the members of the old Arab, Turkish, or Persian families whose genealogy places them in the oligarchical elite, with smooth business and intelligence associations to the European black nobility (Bilderberg) and, especially, to the British oligarchy.”

The Islamist movement and in particular the violent Jihadist movement are creations of the elite and are used for political purposes contrary to those declared by their wild-eyed adherents who are generally patsies and useful idiots.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is but the latest assemblage of fanatics to be used by the elite to further their agenda of global domination and the mass murder and suffering it requires.

If Nassir al-Wahishi is connected to Ayman al-Zawahiri, it is a pretty safe bet to say he is a tool of the CIA as well. Nassir al-Wahishi also had a close relationship to the Big Kahuna of CIA operatives, the late Osama bin Laden.

“This is not the first time this group has targeted us,” Obama continued in his weekend address. “In recent years, they have bombed Yemeni government facilities and Western hotels, restaurants and embassies — including our embassy in 2008, killing one American. So, as president, I’ve made it a priority to strengthen our partnership with the Yemeni government-training and equipping their security forces, sharing intelligence and working with them to strike al-Qaeda terrorists.”

Obama’s statement came one day after Britain’s PM Gordon Brown called an “emergency summit” on “extremism” in Yemen. “Gordon Brown has invited key international partners to a high-level meeting in order to discuss how best to counter radicalization in Yemen,” a statement issued by Downing Street announced. “The prime minister will host the event on 28 January in London.”

“Yemen’s problems are many, and some are already spreading beyond its borders,” the establishment declares from the pages of The Washington Post. “Security and stability are deteriorating. The population is growing rapidly. The economy is collapsing. There are few good options today; things will look worse tomorrow. Immediate and sustained international attention is needed to at least lessen the impact of some problems.”

“While military and counterterrorism operations are critical, long-term development assistance is also necessary.”

Iranian Press TV comments: “Concerns are growing that the same fate as those of Afghanistan and Iraq, suffering violence despite years of foreign military presence, might await Yemen’s Muslim nation.”

 

Obama Administration Prepares Public Opinion for Attack on Yemen

globalresearch.ca
January 3, 2010

Five days after the unsuccessful attempt by a Nigerian student to set off a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet, US military and intelligence officials are said to be preparing expanded military action against targets in Yemen, the Arab country where the student allegedly received terrorist training and was equipped with an explosive device.

A series of US media reports suggest that new US-backed military attacks inside Yemen are imminent. Citing “two senior US officials,” CNN reported: “The US and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets for a potential retaliation strike.”

The network said the officials “both stressed the effort is aimed at being ready with options for the White House if President Obama orders a retaliatory strike.” CNN continued: “The effort is to see whether targets can be specifically linked to the airliner incident and its planning. US special operations forces and intelligence agencies, and their Yemeni counterparts, are working to identify potential Al Qaeda targets in Yemen, one of the officials said.”

The network said the Obama administration and the long-time Yemeni dictator, Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh, had reached an agreement to allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets and armed drones, used for remote-control assassinations, in Yemeni airspace. Talks were still ongoing on whether Saleh will give permission for the entry of US helicopter-borne Special Forces.

The report comes after a series of statements by top administration officials, including Obama himself, pledging that “all elements of US power” will be used in response to the failed attack on Northwest Flight 253. The White House has been under heavy fire from its Republican opponents over the evident security failure, and a military action would serve to divert public attention from the ongoing revelations of how the CIA and other US agencies ignored warnings about the impending attack.

Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al Qirbi, told the BBC that his country was seeking stepped up military aid, presumably as part of a package deal—in effect, a bribe for allowing the country’s territory to be turned into a battlefield for US commandos.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration was discussing nearly tripling its military and counterterrorism aid to Yemen in the coming year. US aid jumped from $4.6 million in 2006 to $67 million this year, and would rise to as much as $190 million in 2010, according to “a senior military official.

Reuters, citing unnamed “defense and counterterrorism officials,” reported that “the Obama administration was exploring ways to accelerate and expand US assistance to Yemeni forces to root out the Al Qaeda leadership in the country, while keeping the role of the US military and intelligence agencies as behind the scenes as possible.”

The news agency reported a clash between Yemeni security forces and Al Qaeda fighters in the western Hudaydah province, around the town of Deir Jaber.

The Los Angeles Times cited a Yemeni terrorism expert as the source of an estimate that Al Qaeda has “as many as 2,000 militants and sympathizers exploiting the country’s economic and political chaos to create a base for jihad at the edge of the Persian Gulf.” This is ten times more than other media estimates of the number of such militants in Yemen, and 20 times the number of Al Qaeda forces said by US officials to be in Afghanistan now.

The Times report is part of an effort by the US media to portray Yemen as a lawless hotbed of terrorism and a major threat to the United States, in order to justify in advance an American attack, or even a full-scale invasion.

It was followed by an even more apocalyptic comment by “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson, interviewed Wednesday morning on CBS’ “Early Show.” He said that while the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was still “number one” for terrorist activity, the area surrounding the Gulf of Aden, including Yemen and Somalia, was “fast coming up the ladder.”

    “Yemen possibly could surpass Pakistan in the next year, given the terrorist trajectory for providing a haven for Al Qaeda,” he claimed. In light of the fact that the Obama administration is mobilizing 100,000 American troops as well as hundreds of warplanes and drones for combat along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, such a comparison is extremely ominous.

    Emerson took particular note of “literally scores of American Muslim students studying and being trained in Yemen to this day…. There’s a pool of potential terrorists out there that have Western passports that can board planes without visas.”

The clear goal of such far-fetched claims is to create a pogrom atmosphere directed against all young American Muslims, particularly those of Arab or East African origin.

These comments were made one day after press reports of an alleged abortive attempt by a Somali man equipped with explosive powder and a syringe to board a passenger jet in Mogadishu, the capital city. This is the same modus operandi as that of the Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day. The Somali was arrested by African peacekeeping troops on November 13 and never succeeded in getting on the plane.

The Washington Post, the leading newspaper in the US capital, published an editorial Wednesday noting that in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt, allegedly originating in Yemen, “some are asking whether the United States should launch a military offensive in that impoverished Arabian nation.” The editorial continued: “The answer, of course, is that it already has.”

Citing a series of raids conducted by Yemeni and US forces, the Post praised the Obama administration for having “significantly stepped up US counterterrorism operations in Yemen,” including the dispatch of CIA and Special Forces personnel. But it warned: “Still, Yemen’s steady slide toward failed-state status in recent years means that it, like nearby Somalia, will probably demand concerted and multifaceted US engagement for years to come. More than Special Forces and missile strikes are needed.”

While declaring that “US ground troops are not needed, for now, in Yemen or Somalia,” the newspaper suggested that such forces may well be required in the future. It declared, “in those countries, as in Afghanistan, a strategy limited to counterterrorism will not eliminate the threat.”

Once again, as in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, American imperialism is preparing a military bloodbath in an impoverished country, using a terrorist attack—in this case a failed attempt—as the pretext. According to reports by the UN and Yemeni government statistics, some 35 percent of the adult population of the country is unemployed. Yemen is the poorest of the Arab countries, has exhausted its very limited oil export capacity, and now faces severe water shortages.

But Yemen possesses, like Afghanistan and Iraq, a highly strategic geographic location, adjacent to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, and the Red Sea, controlling access to the Suez Canal. Yemen also borders on the Gulf of Aden, the shipping route for much of the oil leaving the Persian Gulf.

US military forces are already deployed across the strait of Bab el Mandeb in Djibouti, the former French Somaliland, which remains a virtual French colony. Djibouti hosts thousands of French and US troops who could quickly move into Yemen if so ordered by Paris and Washington. A large US and NATO war fleet patrols shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and south along the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

 

Summary of Facts: Flight 253 Event

Examiner
January 2, 2009

The US government who lied for wars in other resource-rich countries are lying about what happened on Delta Flight 253 with an alleged underwear/crotch bomber. Below is a summary of facts reported at this time, along with a 4-minute news interview from Webster Tarpley, followed by an extensive interview of Mr. Tarpley by Alex Jones.:

Before the flight to the US:

    * Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen to meet with “terrorists.” However, his mother also lives in Yemen, which could also explain the visit.

    * The alleged terrorists in Yemen had been in Guantanamo Prison. They were released without trial by the Bush Administration even though they were reported as among the most dangerous detainees.

    * The government of Yemen reports that Islamic terrorists there have been arrested who have proven ties to Israeli intelligence.

    * Abdulmutallab’s father, though we are told is a retired “Nigerian banker,” ran their defense industry in close cooperation with Israeli Intelligence (Mossad).

    * Abdulmutallab’s father warned US embassy officials of his son’s dangerous behavior; this is corroborated with other US intelligence of warning.

    * Abdulmutallab’s visa to the US was never withdrawn, though he was on a “terrorist watchlist.” This would make his trip impossible unless protocol was ignored.

    * Flying from Nigeria, Abdulmutallab entered the Netherlands without passing through customs; impossible to do without assistance from an intelligence agency.

    * At the Amsterdam airport, Abdulmutallab was assisted by a man appearing to be Indian, who claimed Abdulmutallab was a Sudanese refugee with no passport (he would not have been allowed to enter the EU without a passport through customs). This man and whoever authorized boarding without a passport are huge stories we haven’t heard. Where is the airport videos of this?

    * Airport security in Amsterdam is contracted to an Israeli company with the most sophisticated technologies who had developed the concept of security profiling.

During the flight to the US:

    * Witnesses reported a man standing ten rows behind Abdulmutallab stand and use his camcorder to film the incident before it began. This important testimony was not pursued to discover the identity and role of this seemingly complicit person.

    * Witnesses report Abdulmutallab was oddly vacant and calm; typical of a programmed

    “Manchurian Candidate.” This might explain the behavior of the person filming: a “handler” who gave the code for Abdulmutallab to perform an act. Manchurian Candidates are now acknowledged historical fact. Research this if you are unfamiliar with the disclosed history.

After the flight:

 



Hugo Chavez orders military to shoot at US aircraft

Hugo Chavez orders military to shoot at US aircraft

London Telegraph
December 21, 2009

President Hugo Chavez has accused the US of violating Venezuela’s airspace with an unmanned spy plane, and ordered his military to shoot down any such aircraft in the future.

Speaking during his weekly television and radio program, Mr Chavez said the aircraft overflew a Venezuelan military base in the western state of Zulia after taking off from neighbouring Colombia. He did not elaborate, but suggested the plane was being used for espionage.

“These are the Yankees. They are entering Venezuela,” he said.

“I’ve ordered them to be shot down,” Mr Chavez said of the aircraft. “We cannot permit this.”

Read Full Article Here

 



‘United States’ Means ‘Federal Corporation’

U.S. is a ‘Federal Corporation’ British Crown Colony

 

 


Obama Orders Military Strike on Yemen

Obama Orders Military Strike on Yemen

Press TV
December 18, 2009

Yemen’s Houthi fighters say scores of civilians, including many children, have been killed in US air-raids in the southeast of the war-stricken Arab country.

The Shia fighters on Friday reported the deaths of 63 people, including some 28 children, in the southeastern province of Abyan.

Almost 90 people were also injured in the attacks by US warplanes in the village of Bakazam, they added.

Yemen’s southern provinces have recently been the scene of US airstrikes which Washington claims to be aimed at uprooting an al-Qaeda cell operative in the Persian Gulf state.

But the residents of the area dismiss the claims that al-Qaeda members are being targeted in the US attacks, while a Yemeni lawmaker has also called for an investigation into the raids.

The US operation in southern Yemen comes on top of a joint Saudi-Yemeni military campaign in the country’s war-weary north where Sana’a and Riyadh forces are engaged in a fierce fighting against the Houthi fighters.

The Houthis, who accuse the Sunni-dominated Sana’a government of discrimination and repression against Yemen’s Shia minority, were the target of the army’s off and on attacks before the central government launched an all-out fighting against them in early August.

Saudi Arabia joined the operation later following alleged clashes between its border guards and the Houthis, carrying out regular airstrikes and ground incursions against the fighters.

On Friday, the Houthis said over 160 missiles hit regions along the border with the neighboring kingdom, which they accuse of pounding civilians in villages within the Yemeni territory.

The Saudis have conducted more than 70 air raids in less than 24 hours.

 

Saudi warplanes rain ‘1,011 missiles’ on Yemen

Press TV
December 19, 2009

Houthi fighters say Saudi warplanes have fired some 1,011 missiles on the borderline with Yemen where the Shia population is already under heavy state-led and US-aided bombardment.

The fighters also said on Saturday that the warplanes had carried out nearly 60 air assaults on the residential areas in the northern Al-Jabiri, Al-Dukhan and Al-Malaheet districts.

Saudi Arabia joined Sana’a’s months-long fierce armed campaign against the Shia fighters in November.

The Houthis are accused by the central government of breaking the terms of a ceasefire agreement by taking foreign visitors hostage. The Saudis, on their part, claimed that the fighters had attacked one of their border checkpoints.

The fighters denounce the offensives as a discriminatory campaign against the Shia minority under Riyadh’s auspices.

The offensives, meanwhile, have been taking their toll on the locals with the Saudis reportedly venturing beyond the Houthi positions, targeting civilian areas and using unconventional weaponry including flesh-eating white phosphorus bombs.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2004, the conflict has forced up to 175,000 people in the Shia-dominated northwestern province of Sa’ada out of their homes and into overcrowded camps set up by the United Nations.

The US military equipment and intelligence have reportedly entered the equation in the recent days.

The US special forces have reportedly been sent to Yemen to provide the national army with training services. The US Air Force is also said to have been sporadically pounding the northern areas since Monday.

The Houthis said US attacks on Thursday killed 120 civilians, among whom were women and children. Also on Saturday, a report on the Houthis’ website said that three civilians, including a woman and a child, had been killed in fresh air raids carried out by US warplanes.

 



U.S. pays $57,077 a minute in Afghanistan

U.S. pays $57,077 a minute in Afghanistan

Asia Times
December 19, 2009

The sum of US$57,077.60. That’s what the United States is paying per minute. Keep that in mind – just for a minute or so.

After all, the surge is already on. By the end of December, the first 1,500 of 30,000 additional US troops will have landed in Afghanistan, a nation roughly the size of Texas, ranked by the United Nations as second-worst in the world in terms of human development.

Women and men from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be among the first to head out. It takes an estimated $1 million to send each of them surging into Afghanistan for one year. So a 30,000-person surge will be at least $30 billion, which brings us to that $57,077.60. That’s how much it will cost the US taxpayer, for one minute of that surge.

By the way, add up the yearly salary of one US Marine Corps soldier from Camp Lejeune with four years of service, throw in his or her housing allowance, additional pay for dependents, and bonus pay for hazardous duty, imminent danger, and family separation, and you’ll still be many thousands of dollars short of that single minute’s sum.

Read Full Article Here

 

DOD: Obama’s Afghan Surge Will Rely Heavily On Private Contractors

TPM Muckraker
December 15, 2009

Private contractors will make up at least half of the total military workforce in Afghanistan going forward, according to Defense Department officials cited in a new congressional study.

As President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan unfolds, the number of contractors will likely jump by between 16,000 and 56,000, adding up to a total of 120,000-160,000, according to an updated study from the Congressional Research Service.

DOD officials who spoke with the study’s author said contractors would make up 50-55 percent of the total workforce — troops plus contractors — in the future. This would actually be a significant reduction from the last two years, when contractors have averaged 62 percent of the total.

As we’ve reported, many questions about the army of contractors, which outnumbers the size of the U.S. troop force, remain unanswered and underexamined. We don’t have up to date numbers on how much the United States spends on private contracts, and the DOD does not break down the services done by contractors in Afghanistan (it does for Iraq).

As of September 2009, contractors providing security, transportation, and logistical services numbered 104,100 in Afghanistan and 113,700 in Iraq, according to the military. Most of the contractors in Afghanistan are local nationals, according to the military.

 



Obama Moves Ahead With US African Command

Obama Moves Ahead With US African Command

Pambazuka News
December 17, 2009

Concerned over the supply of oil to the US and a supposed need to continue the global ‘War on Terror’, President Barack Obama has essentially maintained the militarised approach to Africa that was the hallmark of his immediate predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The escalation of AFRICOM (United States African Command) activities underlines a troubling commitment to an approach based on might and dominance, one entirely at the expense of promoting sustainable economic development and democracy.

In his July 11, 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, US President Barack Obama declared, ‘America has a responsibility to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there is genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems – they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response. That is why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy, technical assistance, and logistical support, and will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the world.’

And yet all the available evidence demonstrates that he is determined to continue the expansion of US military activity on the continent initiated by President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s and dramatically escalated by President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. While many expected the Obama administration to adopt a security policy toward Africa that would be far less militaristic and unilateral than that pursued by his predecessor, the facts show that he is in fact essentially following the same policy that has guided US military involvement in Africa for more than a decade.

Read Full Article Here

 



Obama Will Occupy Afghanistan Beyond 2011 Deadline

White House: We Will Occupy South Asia “For a Long Time”

 

A long, protracted occupation of Afghanistan

 

Robert Fisk: Obama is a disaster for the Middle East

 



The United States is Not a Country, it’s a Corporation

United States is Not a Country, it’s a Corporation

 



Ventura: If there was a draft, wars would end

Ventura: If there was a draft, wars would end

 

Jesse Ventura: Afghanistan is Vietnam all over again

 



Obama’s Troop Surge to Begin by Christmas

Obama orders 30-35,000 more troops for Afghanistan, surge to begin by Christmas

AP
November 30, 2009

After months of debate, President Barack Obama will spell out a costly Afghanistan war expansion to a skeptical public Tuesday night, coupling an infusion of as many as 35,000 more troops with a vow that there will be no endless U.S. commitment. His first orders have already been made: at least one group of Marines who will be in place by Christmas.

Obama has said that he prefers “not to hand off anything to the next president” and that his strategy will “put us on a path toward ending the war.” But he doesn’t plan to give any more exact timetable than that Tuesday night.

The president will end his 92-day review of the war with a nationally broadcast address in which he will lay out his revamped strategy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He spent part of Monday briefing foreign allies in a series of private meetings and phone calls.

Before Obama’s call to Britain’s Gordon Brown, the prime minister announced that 500 more U.K. troops would arrive in southern Afghanistan next month — making a British total of about 10,000 in the country. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose nation has more than 3,000 in Afghanistan, said French troops would stay “as long as necessary” to stabilize the country.

Obama’s war escalation includes sending 30,000 to 35,000 more American forces into Afghanistan in a graduated deployment over the next year, on top of the 71,000 already there. There also will be a fresh focus on training Afghan forces to take over the fight and allow the Americans to leave.

Read Full Article Here

 



Thanksgiving: A Native American View

Thanksgiving: A Native American View

 



War threat between Venezuela and Colombia increases

War threat between Venezuela and Colombia increases

UK Telegraph
November 15, 2009

Tensions between the countries reached a new high after the Colombian military arrested four Venezuelan soldiers, just days after Mr Chavez told his army to “prepare for war” with Colombia.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Bogota, Gustavo Marquez, said that the seriousness of the situation could not be overstated and that “there is a pre-war situation in the entire region”.

Diplomatic relations between the South American neighbours are frozen and on Saturday President Chavez escalated the war of words with President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia by saying there was no chance of dialogue.

“Uribe is not a politician, he comes from the world of paramilitaries, of drug trafficking, of shady business deals, and he is capable of anything,” the Venezuelan leader said.

“He is a very dangerous man as he has no principles or ethics,” Mr Chavez added.

The broadside came after Colombia detained four members of the Venezuelan National Guard in a boat allegedly on Colombian territory in the remote border province of Vichada. Colombia said yesterday that it would deport the men back to Venezuela.

Tensions between Presidents Uribe and Chavez have escalated in recent months as the two leaders have become increasingly suspicious of each other.

Colombia’s Marxist rebels, the Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), are known to have bases within Venezuela from where they plan and launch attacks on Colombia’s US-backed army.

Mr Chavez hotly denies any links with the rebels, even though there have been seizures of Venezuelan arms and munitions in FARC camps.

Venezuela’s president is angry at an agreement signed earlier this month between Bogota and Washington under which Colombia allows the US military to use seven bases across the country, turning the Andean nation into America’s regional military hub.

Mr Chavez, who accused Washington of being behind a 2002 coup attempt, insists that the US is planning to attack Venezuela to secure control of massive oil reserves. The Venezuela leader believes that Colombia will now be the launch pad for any US attack.

President Uribe is trying to diffuse tensions since Mr Chavez began blocking the entry of Colombian goods, something which is costing the fragile economy hundreds of millions of pounds.

He stated that the captured Venezuelan soldiers would be returned as quickly as possible and “carry with them the message that here their affection for our Venezuelan brothers and that this affection is unquenchable”.

Mr Chavez has ordered another 15,000 soldiers to take up positions along the 1300-mile frontier, while Colombia has created a new division of its army to guard a strategic stretch of the border.

Analysts worry that Marxist rebel groups could manipulate the troop build-up by starting a firefight, sparking a war between the two countries.

 

Chávez tells Venezuela to get ready for war with Colombia


Colombian president Uribe meets with U.S. president Obama

Irish Times
November 10, 2009

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT Hugo Chávez has told his country to prepare for a possible war with Colombia, as diplomatic and border tensions between the ideologically opposed Andean nations deteriorate to their lowest level in more than a year.

Mr Chávez used his weekly television show, Aló Presidente , to denounce an agreement between Colombia and the US that allows the US military to use seven bases in Colombia. Mr Chávez warned these could be used for an attack on Venezuela.

Ordering troops to the frontier, he said the army could not afford to waste a day and that “we must prepare ourselves for war and help the people prepare for war, because this is the responsibility of all”.

The Colombian and US governments insist the bases are only for use against drug traffickers within Colombia. But Mr Chávez has denounced the pact as part of a US plan to try to dominate a region that in recent years has moved out of its traditional Washington orbit under a new generation of left-wing leaders, of whom Mr Chávez is the most radical.

Supporting their claims about the bases agreement, the Venezuelans have cited a US air force document presented to the US Congress in May. It says one of the bases provides a “unique opportunity” for “conducting full-spectrum operations throughout South America”, which it describes as a “critical region” under constant threat from “anti-US governments”.

On his television programme, Mr Chávez said that “the government of Colombia is not in Bogotá, now it is in Washington”, and warned US president Barack Obama that any US intervention launched from Colombia would spark a “100 years’ war”.

Colombia said it would raise Mr Chávez’s comments with the UN Security Council and the Organisation of American States.

Last year Mr Chávez ordered troops to the frontier live on Aló Presidente following Colombia’s bombing of a rebel guerrilla base hidden on the Ecuador side of the two countries’ border.

This latest round of tensions started with the signing of the bases agreement at the end of last month, and deteriorated last week when Venezuela said Colombian right-wing paramilitaries were responsible for killing two Venezuelan soldiers on its territory.

Colombian rebels and paramilitaries operate right along the border with Venezuela. Leading political allies of Colombian president Álvaro Uribe face investigations into their alleged links with the country’s paramilitaries.

Colombia, meanwhile, accuses Mr Chávez of providing covert support to the Farc guerrilla group.

In recent years Venezuela has embarked on an arms buying spree which it says is necessary to offset strategically the US-bankrolled military in Colombia.

Colombia is the fifth-biggest recipient of US military aid after Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Egypt.

Colombia’s army is double the size of Venezuela’s and battle-hardened after decades fighting left-wing guerrillas in the continent’s most protracted insurgency.

Economic mismanagement means that Venezuela is heavily dependent on Colombian food imports despite its own vast tracts of rich tropical farmland.

Despite a decade of increasingly hostile relations, Venezuelan imports of Colombian foodstuffs have ballooned, accounting for most of the $7.2 billion (€4.8 billion) in bilateral trade between the two countries last year.

 



U.S. Soldier: ‘The Afghans Just Want To Be Left Alone’

U.S. Soldier: ‘The Afghans Just Want To Be Left Alone’

 



Soldier Faces 10 Years in Jail for Protesting War

British soldier faces 10 years in jail after being arrested during anti-war demonstration

UK Daily Mail
November 11, 2009

A soldier facing charges of desertion for refusing to return to Afghanistan has been arrested and charged with five further offences after joining an anti-war demonstration.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton led a protest in London last month against the continued presence of British troops in Afghanistan.

He was already facing a court martial but according to the Stop the War Coalition the new charges carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

The group’s convener Lindsey German said last night : ‘This is not about breach of military regulations. In the last few days a range of military personnel have been speaking in the media in defence of this appalling war. I doubt if any of them have been arrested.

‘This is about the persecution of a soldier who believes in telling the truth in accordance with his conscience.

‘He is saying what the majority of the population believes – that this war is unwinnable and immoral. The anti-war movement will be doing everything possible to get him released.’

Lance Corporal Glenton, 27, from the Royal Logistic Corps, addressed a rally of more than 5,000 anti-war protesters packed into London’s Trafalgar Square in October.

He told the crowd he had witnessed sights during his time in Afghanistan that forced him to question the morality of his role.

The married soldier, from Norwich, told onlookers: ‘I’m here today to make a stand beside you because I believe great wrongs have been perpetrated in Afghanistan.

‘I cannot, in good conscience, be part of them. I’m bound by law and moral duty to try and stop them.

‘I’m a soldier and I belong to the profession of arms. I expected to go to war but I also expected that the need to defend this country’s interests would be legal and justifiable. I don’t think this is too much to ask.

‘It’s now apparent that the conflict is neither of these and that’s why I must make this stand.’

The Ministry of Defence refused to comment when asked about the further charges.

But spokesman confirmed Lance Corporal Glenton is currently subject to disciplinary action. He said: ‘I can confirm that disciplinary action against a serving soldier from the Royal Logistic Corps is currently in progress.

‘As this matter is subject to court martial proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’

The soldier, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is facing a court martial, adjourned to January, for alleged desertion after going absent without leave in 2007.
He is charged with disobeying a lawful command. He joined the Army in 2004.

If convicted, he faces two years in prison.

Speaking during last month’s rally, he said: ‘The occupation in Afghanistan is at best dubious in terms of legality and morality.

‘I can’t be involved in it on that basis and, not only that, I am also bound to try and stop it, try and change things.

‘That’s the law, the occupation of a country like that, regime change, these things are all illegal.’

He said military personnel told him not to appear at the rally.

But despite the threat of prison, he said he was determined to speak out.

He said: ‘People keep telling me I’m brave but I don’t feel brave at all – I feel fairly terrified. It’s not going to stop me, I’m going to keep going.

‘I won’t be silenced. I’ll keep talking and doing what I think is right.

‘I have to or I’ll have to live with this forever if I don’t.’

 



Collapse of ‘shattered union’ to begin with Texas?

U.S. split: Collapse of ‘shattered union’ to begin with Texas?

 



U.S. Navy Kidnapped Islanders and Gassed Their Dogs

U.S. Navy Kidnapped Islanders and Gassed Their Dogs

National Expositor
October 26, 2009

In order to convert the sleepy, Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia into a dominating military base, the U.S. forcibly transported its 2,000 Chagossian inhabitants into exile and gassed their dogs.

By banning journalists from the area, the U.S. Navy was able to perpetrate this with virtually no press coverage, says David Vine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of “Island of Shame: the Secret History of the U.S. Military on Diego Garcia(Princeton University Press).”

“The Chagossians were put on a boat and taken to Mauritius and the Seychelles, 1,200 miles away, where they were left on the docks, with no money and no housing, to fend for themselves,” Vine said on the interview show “Books Of Our Time,” sponsored by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

“They were promised jobs that never materialized. They had been living on an island with schools, hospitals, and full employment, sort of like a French coastal village, and they were consigned to a life of abject poverty in exile, unemployment, health problems, and were the poorest of the poor,” Vine told interview host Lawrence Velvel, dean of the law school.

Their pet dogs were rounded up and gassed, and their bodies burned, before the very eyes of their traumatized owners, Vine said.

“They were moved because they were few in number and not white,” Vine added. The U.S. government circulated the fiction the Chagossians were transient contract workers that had taken up residence only recently but, in fact, they had been living on Diego Garcia since about the time of the American Revolution. Merchants had imported them to work on the coconut and copra plantations. Vine said the U.S. government induced The Washington Post not to break a story spelling out events on the island.

“Through Diego Garcia,” Vine pointed out, “the U.S. can project its power throughout the Middle East, and from East Africa to India, Australia and Indonesia. With Guam, the island is the most important American base outside the U.S.” He said U.S. bases now number around 1,000, including 287 in Germany, 130 in Japan and Okinawa, and 57 in Italy.

“Bases have been essential tools of U.S. military and economic power since not long after independence,” Vine pointed out. “We had bases all the way to the Pacific. After the Civil War, the U.S. began to acquire coaling bases in the Pacific.”

Although the Chagossians were forcibly removed in 1971, they still hope to return, Vine says, and refer to their period of exile as one of “profound sorrow.” Vine says they would be happy to live on the unused eastern portion of the island and work at the base but the U.S. instead “imports contract labor from other areas so they can send them home when the job is done.” The island’s exiled survivors and their descendants today number about 5,000.

Long off limits to reporters, the Red Cross, and all other international observers and far more secretive than Guantánamo Bay, many long suspected the island was a clandestine CIA “black site” for high-profile detainees, Vine wrote in a related article. Journalist Stephen Grey’s 2006 book “Ghost Plane” documented the presence on the island of a CIA-chartered plane used for rendition flights. On two occasions former U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey publicly named Diego Garcia as a detention facility. And a Council of Europe report named the atoll, along with those in Poland and Romania, as a secret prison.

The island became “a major launch pad” for the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, Vine said. In addition to its capacious harbor, the island readily supports some of the largest U.S. warplanes, including Air Force B-52s, B-1Bs and B-2s. Two years ago, the Pentagon awarded a $32 million contract to add a submarine base to the island’s arsenal.

Diego Garcia had been a British possession until 1966, when London allowed the U.S. to use it as a military base in exchange for cancelling a $14-million British debt for a military hardware purchase. Some idea of the size of the base may be conveyed by the fact it is said by the Pentagon to contain 654 buildings.

In a related article about Diego Garcia, Vine has written: “With support for the Chagossians’ struggle growing in both the United States and Britain at the same time that revelations about a secret CIA prison are spreading, the United States must finally act to remedy the damage done by another Guantánamo damaging too many lives and undermining its international legitimacy. The United States must allow the Chagossians to return and assist Britain in paying them proper compensation; the United States must close the detention facilities and open Diego Garcia to international investigators; the United States must end the painful irony that is a base the military calls the ‘Footprint of Freedom.’”

 



Tarpley: Alqaeda is the ‘CIA Arab Legion’

Tarpley: Alqaeda is the ‘CIA Arab Legion’

 



Ron Paul Gets Heated Over The Afghanistan War Policy

Ron Paul Gets Heated Over The Afghanistan War Policy

 



Obama Steps Up Drone Bombings Despite Civilian Deaths

Obama Steps Up Drone Bombings Despite Civilian Deaths

Sherwood Ross
Prisonplanet.com
October 20, 2009

“Even if a precise account is elusive,” writes Jane Mayer in the October 26th The New Yorker, “the outlines are clear: the C.I.A. has joined the Pakistani intelligence service in an aggressive campaign to eradicate local and foreign militants, who have taken refuge in some of the most inaccessible parts of the country.”

Based on a study just completed by the non-profit, New America Foundation of Washington, D.C., “the number of drone strikes has risen dramatically since Obama became President,” Mayer reports.

In fact, the first two strikes took place on Jan. 23, the President’s third day in office and the second of these hit the wrong house, that of a pro-government tribal leader that killed his entire family, including three children, one just five years of age.

At any time, the C.I.A. apparently has “multiple drones flying over Pakistan, scouting for targets,” the magazine reports. So many Predators and its more heavily armed companion, the Reaper, are being purchased that defense manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, of Poway, Calif., can hardly make them fast enough. The Air Force is said to possess 200.

Mayer writes, “the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force.” Today, Mayer writes, “there is no longer any doubt that targeted killing has become official U.S. policy.” And according to Gary Solis, who teaches at Georgetown University’s Law Center, nobody in the government calls it assassination. “Not only would we have expressed abhorrence of such a policy a few years ago; we did,” Solis is quoted as saying.

David Kilcullen, a counter-insurgency warfare authority who co-authored a study for the Center for New American Security, of Washington, D.C., has suggested the drone attacks have backfired. As he told The New Yorker, “Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new revenge feud, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased.”

And because of the C.I.A. program’s secrecy, Mayer writes, “there is no visible system of accountability in place, despite the fact that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile, nuclear-armed country with which the U.S. is not at war.”

The New Yorker further reports the Obama Administration has also expanded the sphere of authorized drone assaults in Afghanistan. An August Senate Foreign Relations Committee report said the Pentagon’s list of approved terrorist targets held 367 names and included some 50 Afghan drug lords “who are suspected of giving money to help finance the Taliban,” Mayer reports. She quotes the Senate report as stating, “There is no evidence that any significant amount of the drug proceeds goes to Al Qaeda.”

It is the military’s version of the drone assaults that operates in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the C.I.A.’s drones hunt terror suspects in countries where U.S. troops are not based and is “aimed at terror suspects around the world,” Mayer writes. The C.I.A. effort was launched by Obama’s predecessor, and a former aide to President George W. Bush says Obama has left nearly all the key personnel in place.

Running the C.I.A. program is a team of operators that handle Predator flights off runways in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once aloft, the Predators are passed over to controllers at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., who maneuver joysticks and monitor events from a live video feed from the drone’s camera.

The magazine article reports the government plans to commission “hundreds more” of the drones, including “new generations of tiny ‘nano’ drones, which can fly after their prey like a killer bee through an open window.”