Not everyone believes bin Laden really is dead

May 3, 2011 by admin  
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By ROBERT BURNS and CALVIN WOODWARD
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Knowing there would be disbelievers, the U.S. says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Laden’s identity during and after the firefight that killed him. But the mystique that surrounded the terrorist chieftain in life is persisting in death.

Was it really him? How do we know? Where are the pictures?

Already, those questions are spreading in Pakistan and surely beyond. In the absence of photos and with his body given up to the sea, many people don’t believe bin Laden – the Great Emir to some, the fabled escape artist of the Tora Bora mountains to foe and friend alike – is really dead.

U.S. officials are balancing that skepticism with the sensitivities that might be inflamed by showing images they say they have of the dead al-Qaida leader and video of his burial at sea. Still, it appeared likely that photographic evidence would be produced.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden,” John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said Monday. He said the U.S. will “share what we can because we want to make sure that not only the American people but the world understand exactly what happened.”

In July 2003, the U.S. took heat but also quieted most conspiracy theorists by releasing graphic photos of the corpses of Saddam Hussein’s two powerful sons to prove American forces had killed them.

So far, the U.S. has cited evidence that satisfied the Navy SEAL force, and at least most of the world, that they had the right man in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The helicopter-borne raiding squad that swarmed the luxury compound identified bin Laden by appearance. A woman in the compound who was identified as his wife was said to have called out bin Laden’s name in the melee.

Officials produced a quick DNA match from his remains that they said established bin Laden’s identity, even absent the other techniques, with 99.9 percent certainty. U.S. officials also said bin Laden was identified through photo comparisons and other methods.

Tellingly, an al-Qaida spokesman, in vowing vengeance against America, called him a martyr, offering no challenge to the U.S. account of his death.

Even so, it’s almost inevitable that the bin Laden mythology will not end with the bullet in his head. If it suits extremist ends to spin a fantastical tale of survival or trickery to gullible ears, expect to hear it.

In the immediate aftermath, people in Abbottabad expressed widespread disbelief that bin Laden had died – or ever lived – among them.

“I’m not ready to buy bin Laden was here,” said Haris Rasheed, 22, who works in a fast food restaurant. “How come no one knew he was here and why did they bury him so quickly? This is all fake – a drama, and a crude one.”

Kamal Khan, 25, who is unemployed, said the official story “looks fishy to me.”

The burial from an aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea was videotaped aboard the ship, according to a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision on whether to release the video was not final. The official said it was highly likely that the video, along with photographs of bin Laden’s body, would be made public in coming days.

The swiftness of the burial may have raised suspicions but was in accord with Islamic traditions. Islamic scholars, however, challenged U.S. assertions that a burial at sea was an appropriate fate for a Muslim who had died on land.

The act denied al-Qaida any sort of burial shrine for their slain leader. Once again, bin Laden had vanished, but this time at the hands of the United States and in a way that ensures he is gone forever.

If that satisfies U.S. goals and its sense of justice, Brad Sagarin, a psychologist at Northern Illinois University who studies persuasion, said the rapid disposition of the body “would certainly be a rich sort of kernel for somebody to grasp onto if they were motivated to disbelieve this.”

Also expected to come out is a tape made by bin Laden, before U.S. forces bore down on him, that may provide fodder to those who insist he is alive.

Pakistan, for one, is a land of conspiracy theorists, and far-fetched rumors abound on the streets and in blogs throughout the Arab world. But that’s not just a characteristic of the Islamic pipeline. Many ordinary Americans – and one billionaire – persistently questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S. despite lacking any evidence that he wasn’t.

Sagarin said most people will probably be convinced bin Laden is dead because they cannot imagine the government maintaining such an extraordinary lie to the contrary in this day and age.

Yet, he said, “as with the birther conspiracy, there’s going to be a set of people who are never going to be convinced. People filter the information they receive through their current attitudes, their current perspectives.”

To be sure, even photos and video, subject to digital manipulation, may not provide the final word to everyone. But Seth Jones, a RAND Corp. political scientist who advised the commander of U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan, said the administration should do all it can to minimize doubts.

“There are always conspiracy theories,” he said. “There are individuals who believe that bin Laden wasn’t involved in the 9/11 attacks.”

 

Osama Bin Laden: Not an Issue

May 3, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Featured Stories, US News, World News

By Tony Cartalucci – BLN Contributing Writer

We were knowingly told verified lies to invade and occupy Iraq. We were lied to entirely about the “spontaneous” “Arab Spring” later admitted to by the US State Department as a preplanned operation years in the making. We were knowingly told verified lies regarding Libya to engage in military operations in North Africa and we are currently being told verified lies about US-fueled uprisings in Syria.

Now we are told the notoriously deceptive CIA has “killed” “Osama Bin Laden” in Pakistan. This is the same CIA that planned to create fake videos of Saddam depicting him as a homosexual, and actually did make fake videos of Osama Bin Laden depicting him drinking liquor and consorting with boys. Washington Post’s “CIA unit’s wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay,” stated, “The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from “some of us darker-skinned employees,” he said.”

Is there any reason at all for us to suddenly start believing our degenerate criminal government now, in light of their habitual, continuous, murderous campaign of lies and deception directed at both the American people and the world as a whole? The answer is not only unequivocally “no,” but we must try to understand why such a “rabbit” has been pulled from the globalists’ hat at this point of time. It smacks of almost cartoonish desperation as the US Dollar is crashing and the world’s opinion turns sharply against an overtly aggressive NATO carrying out a Hitlerian campaign of military invasion in North Africa.

We must continue to focus on real issues. Not birth certificates of a man who has not made a single decision or spoken a single word of his own since taking office, and not the alleged death of the already long dead Osama Bin Laden who, to this day, has had zero evidence linking him to the attacks of 9/11. 9/11 was an inside job, the subsequent wars were built on a fraudulent foundation of malicious lies – and as Americans celebrate in the streets over the death of this ultimate bogeyman, they seem oblivious to the fact that US air support is aiding and abetting real, admitted terrorists in Libya’s east who undeniably have American blood staining their hands.

Let us quickly sweep this stunt under the rug of irrelevancy where it belongs, and continue undermining the efforts of this degenerate empire as we remove and replace their strangling, parasitic tentacles. Let us stand vigilant against false flag attacks fashioned as “acts of retribution” for the now allegedly dead, former CIA agent Osama Bin Laden. It is time Americans seize back their destiny and stop living their lives as a series of knee-jerk reactions to infantile propaganda and the constant parade of manufactured threats brought before us.

THE INVASION OF LIBYA: Behind the US-NATO Attack are Strategies of Economic Warfare

May 3, 2011 by admin  
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By Manlio Dinucci – Global Research

Global Research extends its thanks and appreciation to John Catalinotto for the translation of this article.

Despite what is being reported, the invasion of Libya has already begun. Units operating on Libyan territory for a long time have prepared the war and are carrying out the assault: they are the powerful oil companies and U.S. and European investment banks.

What interests are at stake emerged from an article in the Wall Street Journal, the influential business and finance daily newspaper (“For West’s Oil Firms, No Love Lost in Libya”). After the lifting of sanctions in 2003, Western oil companies flocked to Libya with high expectations; they have been disappointed by the results. The Libyan government, under a system known as EPSA-4, granted operating licenses to foreign companies that left the Libyan state company (National Oil Corporation of Libya, NOC) with the highest percentage of the extracted oil: given the strong competition, it came to about 90 percent. “The EPSA-4 contracts contained the toughest terms in the world,” says Bob Fryklund, former president of the U.S.-based ConocoPhillips in Libya. (WSJ)

It is apparent then, because — with an operation decided not in Bengazi, but in Washington, London and Paris — the National Transitional Council has created the “Libyan Oil Company.” This is an empty shell, much like one of those companies that are ready key in hand for investors in tax havens. It is intended to replace Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) when the “willing” have taken control of oil fields. Its task will be to grant licenses on terms highly favorable to U.S., British and French companies. On the other hand, it would prefer to make the companies suffer that before the war were the main producers of oil in Libya: first of all the Italian firm ENI, which in 2007 paid a billion dollars to obtain concessions until 2042, and Germany’s Wintershall, which came in second place. It would make Chinese and Russian companies suffer even more, those to which on March 14 Gaddafi promised he would transfer the oil concessions held by European and U.S. companies. The plans of the “willing” also include the privatization of state-owned company, which would be imposed by the International Monetary Fund in return for “aid” to rebuild the industries and infrastructure destroyed by the bombing the same “willing” countries carried out.

It is also clear why the “Central Bank of Libya,” was created in Benghazi at the same time; it’s another empty shell but its important future task will be to formally manage the Libyan sovereign funds — over $150 billion that the Libyan state had invested abroad — once they are “unfrozen” by the United States and the major European powers. The British banking giant HSBC demonstrated who will effectively manage them. HSBC is the main “guardian” of the Libyan investment “frozen” in Britain (around 25 billion Euro): a team of senior officials from HSBC is already at work in Bengazi to launch the new “Central Bank of Libya.” It will be easy for HSBC and other large investment banks to orient Libyan investment according to their own strategies.

One of their goals is to sink the African Union’s financial institutions, whose birth was made possible largely by Libyan investment. These include the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli, Libya; the African Central Bank, based in Abuja, Nigeria; the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The latter, with a capital programs pf more than 40 billion dollars, could supplant the International Monetary Fund in Africa. Up to now the IMF has dominated the African economy, paving the way for multinationals and investment banks in the U.S. and Europe. By attacking Libya, the “willing” are trying to sink the bodies that could one day make the financial independence of Africa possible.

(Il Manifesto, May 1, 2011)

Point Of No Return: U.S. And NATO Prepare For War With Libya

March 9, 2011 by admin  
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By Rick Rozoff – BLN Contributing Writer

March 7 was a pivotal moment in plans by Western powers to launch military operations against Libya.

After meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Washington, President Barack Obama stated “we’ve got NATO, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya.”

In an interview she gave to The Australian newspaper immediately before her departure for the U.S., Gillard stated that she supported the “US placing more military forces on Australian soil if it believes this is necessary in the light of the growing might of China and India.” Her government is also on record as backing military action in Libya.

On the same day North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen held a press conference at the military bloc’s headquarters in Brussels and while formally disavowing plans to intervene in the North African nation said that “as a defence Alliance and a security organisation, it is our job to conduct prudent planning for any eventuality.”

He revealed his true intentions with further statements like:

“We can see a strong wind of change blowing across the region – and it is blowing in the direction of freedom and democracy.”

“This is a humanitarian crisis on our door-step that concerns us all. The civilian population in Libya is the target of systematic attacks by the regime. So we must remain vigilant. The whole world is watching events in Libya and the wider Middle East. Many of our Allies have been evacuating their nationals and helping other people in need. We strongly condemn the use of force against the Libyan people. The violation of human rights and international humanitarian law is outrageous.”

Rasmussen also announced that the defense ministers of NATO’s 28 member states, including American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, will meet at NATO Headquarters on March 10-11 to “discuss the situation in Libya, and the longer term prospects for the region” and to “consider how NATO can do more to help partner countries in North Africa and the wider Middle East.” [1] NATO partnership nations include Libya’s neighbors to the east and west, Egypt and Tunisia, members of the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue.

Almost simultaneously, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Netherlands-born Ivo Daalder, informed reporters that on the same day NATO military planners had completed an assessment for enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in time for the defense chiefs meeting three days later and had decided to conduct around-the-clock air surveillance of the country using AWACS aircraft. The no-fly operation assessment had been presented to the ambassadors of NATO’s 28 members, who planned to meet again on March 8 and 9 to deliberate on the issue.

Daalder also stated that “In coming days, military assessments should be completed into a no-fly zone and how to enforce an arms embargo.” [2]

The U.S. envoy was the National Security Council director for European Affairs in charge of Bosnia policy in the mid-1990s in which capacity he assisted in overseeing the last days of NATO no-fly operations conducted over Bosnia, which is to say largely over the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Republic), from 1992-1995, Operation Sky Monitor and Operation Deny Flight.

In 1995 Operation Deny Flight gave way to Operation Deliberate Force, directed against the Republika Srpska with 400 aircraft flying 3,515 missions against 338 targets. Daalder also supported the U.S. and British no-fly zone over Iraq in the 1990s and in 2006 co-authored an article for Foreign Affairs, journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, entitled “Global NATO” in which he applauded the military alliance’s role in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Darfur region of western Sudan. [3] At the time the article appeared many in the U.S. were calling for a replication of the no-fly operations employed over Iraq, Bosnia and later Yugoslavia for Sudan.

Daalder criticized his then-former chief President Bill Clinton in 1999 for not introducing ground troops into Kosovo in conjunction with the 78-air war the U.S. and NATO mercilessly prosecuted against the nation.

Susan Rice, like Ivo Daalder a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution currently on leave, in her case as American ambassador to the United Nations, demanded in 2007 that the U.S. and NATO enforce a no-fly zone over the Darfur region of Sudan and “signal its readiness to strike Sudanese military and intelligence assets, including aircraft and airfields, if necessary.” She also called for the deployment of NATO Response Force troops to western Sudan. Rice will vote on a no-fly resolution for Libya when it is introduced in the UN Security Council. [4]

On March 6 Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the television news program Meet the Nation “that Libya’s air force could be disabled without the kind of expense and commitment required to maintain previous no-fly zones in Iraq and the Balkans,” [5] and instead “One could crater the airports and the runways and leave them incapable of using them for a period of time.” His position on grounding Libya’s air force was echoed by two of the Senate’s top Republicans, John McCain and Mitch McConnell.

Kerry also called for turning an unspecified amount of the $30 billion in Libyan assets seized by the American government over to rebel groups in the country, adding, “I assume that a lot of weapons are going to find their way there from one means or another over the course of the next weeks.”

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nation Bill Richards, too, advocated a plan to “covertly arm the rebels” (as did White House spokesman Jay Carney) and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

George W. Bush administration national security advisor Stephen Hadley chimed in, telling CNN: “Obviously, if there is a way to get weapons into the hands of the rebels, if we can get anti-aircraft systems so that they can enforce a no-fly zone over their own territory, that would be helpful.”

Reports have circulated about Washington enlisting Saudi Arabia to airlift weapons to rebels in Benghazi.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan told Agence France-Presse that in regard to U.S. plans for Libya, “all options are being considered.”

The New York Times on March 6 listed what those options are. They include the deployment of the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship, on which the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked and which took on board 400 more Marines in addition to the 1,200-2,000 it arrived with on the Greek island of Crete and with the USS Ponce amphibious warfare ship is now heading for the Libyan coast in a deployment ordered by Pentagon chief Gates. USS Kearsarge is equipped to carry V-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, the largest and heaviest helicopters in the U.S. military arsenal.

“The flotilla can be seen as a modern-day example of ‘gunboat diplomacy,’ intended to embolden rebels and shake the confidence of loyalist forces and mercenaries, perhaps even inspiring a palace coup.” [6]

Gunboat diplomacy is the proper term, reminiscent as it is of the dispatching of four American warships to Tripoli in 1801 where they enforced a blockade of the harbor and where the USS Enterprise defeated the privateer ship Tripoli in a naval battle off what is now Libya’s capital.

The current USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is positioned in the Red Sea with a carrier strike group attached to it which includes the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley, USS Barry and USS Mason, and the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic.

On February 16 Enterprise and Kearsarge, the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group and Expeditionary Strike Group 5, met up in the Red Sea leading to the Suez Canal which USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce passed through on March 1 to the Mediterranean Sea and the American naval base in Souda Bay, Crete.

The New York Times laid out further options in addition to the stationing of American warships off the shores of Libya. They include several offered by planners on the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and its field commands:

Signal jamming “aircraft operating in international air space,” thus disabling “Libyan government communications with its military units.”

“Administration officials said Sunday [March 6] that preparations for such an operation were under way.”

The aforementioned use of the Kearsarge and the Ponce amphibious assault ships, “Known as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force,” which “provides a complete air, sea and land force that can project its power quickly and across hundreds of miles, either from flat-decked ships in the Mediterranean Sea or onto a small beachhead on land.”

“In this task force are Harrier jump-jet warplanes, which not only can bomb, strafe and engage in dogfights, but can also carry surveillance pods for monitoring military action on the ground in Libya; attack helicopters; transport aircraft – both cargo helicopters and the fast, long-range Osprey, whose rotors let it lift straight up, then tilt forward like propellers to ferry Marines…across the desert; landing craft that can cross the surf anywhere along Libyas’ long coastline – and about 400 ground combat troops of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines.”

Other operations being planned are air-dropping weapons to insurgents in the country and “inserting small Special Operations teams…to assist the rebels, as was done in Afghanistan to topple the Taliban.”

Another option is to launch a “handful of strikes on valued government or military targets…as was done in the Gulf of Sidra raids in 1986,” by the Ronald Reagan administration.

“There are ample planes based in Europe and on the aircraft carrier Enterprise and its strike group, now in the Red Sea, for missions over Libya.

“Pentagon officials said Sunday that those vessels were carefully sailing in the direction of the Suez Canal, gateway to the Mediterranean.”

USS Enterprise, should it join other U.S. and NATO nations’ warships in the Mediterranean, will provide as many as 85 aircraft.

The newspaper account also detailed these actions:

“The destruction of Libyan air-defense radars and missile batteries would be required, perhaps using missiles launched from submarines or warships. A vast fleet of tankers would be needed to refuel warplanes. Search-and-rescue teams trained in land and sea operations would be on hand in case a plane went down.

“The fleet of aircraft needed for such a mission would easily reach into the hundreds. Given the size of such a mission, it would be expected that American and NATO bases in Europe would be used, and that an American aircraft carrier would be positioned off Libya.” [7]

On March 1 the Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed senior U.S. official recommending another expedient: “The best outcome for those Libyan leaders who are defecting will be [to put] two bullets into the heads of Gadhafi and his son.”

NATO’s Aviano Air Base In Italy, across the Mediterranean from Libya, hosts 42 U.S. F-16 jet fighters. Aviano is the base from which U.S. F-15s and F-16s and NATO warplanes took off for the bombing of the Bosnian Serb Republic in 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999. In the second case over 38,000 air missions were conducted.

A Russian analyst recently wrote of the parallels between NATO’s first full-scale war in 1999 and the impending campaign against Libya:

“The old term used to describe such actions, ‘gunboat diplomacy,’ is no longer politically correct. Now ‘liberal intervention’ is preferred. But while the name may have changed, the methods have not. Libya appears to be maneuvered down the same path of action that culminated in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, which started on March 24, 1999, after a no-fly zone was announced.

“The quest for UN approval is an essentially meaningless but nevertheless indispensable political ritual that always precedes violations of international law. The same thing happened before NATO’s Operation Allied Force (Noble Anvil) in Yugoslavia.”

“The military preparations underway in the Mediterranean go beyond the simple redeployment of U.S. warships ‘just in case.’ These preparations always have a critical mass – the line beyond which war becomes unavoidable.

“USS Kearsarge is one of the world’s largest assault vessels of its kind. It has dozens of helicopters on board, missiles, landing craft, and over 2,000 Marines. The ship was used in the Yugoslavian operation in 1999 to deploy Marines, reconnaissance groups and special forces.” [8]

Associated Press reported on March 4 that “Some NATO countries are drawing up contingency plans modeled on the no-fly zones over the Balkans in the 1990s.”

The news agency cited a senior European Union official stating that “taking control of the airspace over Libya would more likely be modeled on Operation Deny Flight, a 1993-95 NATO mission in which its warplanes patrolled the skies over Bosnia as a civil war raged between government forces and Serb secessionists.”

“During Deny Flight’s 33-month duration, NATO flew more than 100,000 sorties. Roughly half were carried out by fighters and attack jets, and the others by transports, reconnaissance planes and aerial tankers. Four Serbian fighter-bombers were shot down during the operation.”

“NATO planes mostly operated from air bases in Italy and from carriers in the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean. Many of those bases, and those in Spain, Crete and Cyprus, could be used for a potential air mission over Libya.” [9]

On the first of the month the European Union scheduled a crisis summit of its 27 heads of state requested by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy for March 11, which will be the second day of the NATO defense ministers’ meeting also occurring in Brussels. Earlier in the same week the EU imposed its most stringent sanctions to date against Libya and adopted an embargo on arms and equipment to the nation.

On March 5 the Daily Telegraph revealed that the Black Watch (3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland) has been placed on heightened alert, “prepared to deploy to North Africa at 24 hours’ notice.”

The 600-troop infantry unit returned from Afghanistan in late 2009 where it fought in Operation Panchai Palang (Panther’s Claw) and before that participated in the first attack on Basra, Iraq in 2003.

The British newspaper added:

“Nato members yesterday agreed to draw up contingency plans for how their armed forces could intervene. Britain is also preparing to send diplomats and specialist advisers to the eastern city of Benghazi, where the disparate Libyan opposition is based.” The advisers were Special Air Service (SAS) and Military Intelligence (MI6) operatives “carrying espionage equipment, reconnaissance equipment, multiple passports and weapons” who were captured by Libyan rebel forces in Benghazi at the time the above-cited report appeared.

The Guardian reported that Britain was also deploying Typhoon multirole combat aircraft to its base at Akrotiri in Cyprus.

On March 1 Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in the House of Commons that he was ordering the frigate HMCS Charlottetown with 240 military personnel “to the waters off Libya to enhance its military presence in the region in response to the escalating unrest in the Northern African country.” Defense Minister Peter MacKay said it would take six days for the warship to arrive. Canada also has C-17 Globemaster and two C-130J Hercules military transportation planes as well as a military reconnaissance team of 13 soldiers based in Malta, 300 kilometers north of Libya.

The amassing of military assets – warships, warplanes, assault troops and special forces – near and in Libya means more than brinkmanship, demonstrates more than a show of strength, more than simply “sending a message.”

So does the enforcement of a no-fly zone over the country, which is not a substitute for but a prelude to war. Last week Defense Secretary Gates acknowledged that “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses.”

It in fact demands the grounding of a targeted nation’s aircraft and the neutralization if not destruction of its surveillance systems and anti-aircraft batteries.

A no-fly regime is succeeded by war as day is followed by night. In Bosnia from 1992-1995 it led to a bombing campaign and the deployment of 60,000 NATO troops. In Yugoslavia in 1999 it was the opening move in an air war which resulted in 50,000 U.S. and NATO troops occupying part of the country’s territory. In Iraq from 1991-2003 it was the lead-up to an invasion and ongoing military occupation that will soon be eight-years-old.

Britain and France, in close consultation with the U.S. and Germany (collectively the NATO Quad), are jointly writing a draft resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya to be presented to the Security Council. If the resolution is supported by nine or more of the fifteen nations on the Security Council and if permanent members China and Russia don’t veto it, the stage will be set for a series of further military actions by the U.S. and NATO against Libya, which will be presented by the West as UN-sanctioned, in a manner alarmingly evocative of the process used to prepare the attack on Iraq in 2003.

Rick Rozoff is a Correspondent for Global Research focussing on Geopolitics and US Foreign Policy.

Notes

1) NATO Defence Ministers will discuss situation in Libya and longer term
prospects in Middle East
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 7, 2011
2) Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2011
3) Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier, Global Nato
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006
http://www.brookings.edu/views/articles/daalder/2006sept_oct.pdf
4) Susan E. Rice, The Genocide in Darfur: America Must Do More to Fulfill
the Responsibility to Protect
Brookings Institution, October 24, 2007
http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2007/1024darfur_rice_Opp08.aspx
5) Washington Post, March 6, 2011
6) New York Times, March 6, 2011
7) Ibid
8) Andrei Fedyashin, The Yugoslavian option for Libya
Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 4, 2011
http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20110304/162866224.html
9) NATO weighing Libyan no-fly zone
Associated Press, March 4, 2011

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Mubarak’s new deputy linked to CIA rendition program

February 1, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Featured Stories, US News, World News

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 31st, 2011 — 9:20 pm

WASHINGTON — The man named by President Hosni Mubarak as his first ever deputy, Egyptian spy chief Omar Suleiman, reportedly orchestrated the brutal interrogation of terror suspects abducted by the CIA in a secret program condemned by rights groups.

His role in the controversial “war on terror” illustrates the ties that bind the United States and the Egyptian regime, as an unprecedented wave of protests against Mubarak’s rule presents Washington with a difficult dilemma.

With Mubarak in jeopardy, Suleiman was anointed vice president last week and is now offering wide ranging talks with the opposition in a bid to defuse the crisis.

Suleiman is a sophisticated operator who carried out sensitive truce negotiations with Israel and the Palestinians as well as talks among rival Palestinian factions, winning the praise of American diplomats.

For US intelligence officials, he has been a trusted partner willing to go after Islamist militants without hesitation, targeting homegrown radical groups Gamaa Islamiya and Jihad after they carried out a string of attacks on foreigners.

A product of the US-Egyptian relationship, Suleiman underwent training in the 1980s at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

As spy chief, Suleiman reportedly embraced the CIA’s controversial “extraordinary rendition” program, in which terror suspects snatched by the Americans were taken to Egypt and other countries without legal proceedings and subjected to interrogations.

He “was the CIA’s point man in Egypt for rendition,” Jane Mayer, author of “The Dark Side,” wrote on the New Yorker’s website.

After taking over as spy director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the United States in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning, according to the book “Ghost Plane” by journalist Stephen Grey.

Human rights groups charge the detainees have often faced torture and mistreatment in Egypt and elsewhere, accusing the US government of violating its own legal obligations by handing over suspects to regimes known for abuse.

In the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the CIA relied on Suleiman to accept the transfer of a detainee known as Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who US officials hoped could prove a link between Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.

The suspect was bound and blindfolded and flown to Cairo, where the CIA believed their longtime ally Suleiman would ensure a successful interrogation, according to “The One Percent Doctrine” by author Ron Suskind.

A US Senate report in 2006 describes how the detainee was locked in a cage for hours and beaten, with Egyptian authorities pushing him to confirm alleged connections between Al-Qaeda and Saddam.

Libi eventually told his interrogators that the then Iraqi regime was moving to provide Al-Qaeda with biological and chemical weapons.

When the then US secretary of state Colin Powell made the case for war before the United Nations, he referred to details of Libi’s confession.

The detainee eventually recanted his account.

IMF, warning of war, Ready To Put Egypt Into Debt

February 1, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Featured Stories, World News

Source: AFP

The International Monetary Fund stands ready to help riot-torn Egypt rebuild its economy, the IMF chief said Tuesday as he warned governments to tackle unemployment and income inequality or risk war.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn also said rising food prices could have “potentially devastating consequences” for poorer nations, and warned that Asia’s fast-growing economies faced a risk of a “hard landing”.

Overall, according to the IMF managing director, widening imbalances across and within countries were sparking tensions that threaten to derail the fragile global economic recovery — and could even spark armed conflict.

As Egyptian protesters gathered in their thousands demanding the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, Strauss-Kahn said: “The IMF is ready to help in defining the kind of economic policy that could be put in place.”

In a speech in Singapore, he said rampant unemployment and a growing income gap was a “strong undercurrent of the political turmoil in Tunisia and of rising social strains in other countries”.

Nationwide demonstrations last month led to the ouster of Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and massive street protests are raging in Egypt seeking an end to Mubarak’s more than 30-year rule.

“As tensions between countries increase, we could see rising protectionism — of trade and of finance,” Strauss-Kahn said.

“And as tensions within countries increase, we could see rising social and political instability within nations — even war.”

The IMF boss called anew on China to adjust its exchange rate in its own economic interest, but said he disagreed with critics in the United States and elsewhere who want a rapid revaluation to the yuan.

He said the US government itself should not have a problem financing its massive debt, and downplayed fears over Japan’s debts after a downgrade last week by Standard & Poor’s.

But for the global economy as a whole, Strauss-Kahn struck a worried tone.

“While the recovery is under way, it is not the recovery we wanted,” he said.

“It is a recovery beset by tensions and strains — which could even sow the seeds of the next crisis.”

He said the different pace of recovery between advanced and emerging economies was unbalanced and echoed the situation just before the global economic crisis struck in late 2008.

“While growth remains below potential in the advanced economies, emerging and developing economies are growing much faster — and some may soon be overheating,” he said.

Growth in economies with large trade surpluses like China and Germany is still being powered by exports, while expansion in deficit-stricken countries such as the United States is being driven by domestic demand, he noted.

“These global imbalances put the sustainability of the recovery at risk,” he said.

For Asia in particular, Strauss-Kahn warned there were “risks of overheating and even a hard landing”, underscoring the dilemma for policymakers trying to keep a lid on inflation while fostering job-creating growth.

“Food prices are rising too… with potentially devastating consequences for low-income countries,” he added.

Military ready for war in cyberspace

Published on 11-03-2010

Source: Reuters

The military’s new Cyber Command, responsible for shielding 15,000 military computer networks from intruders, has become fully operational, the Defense Department said on Wednesday.

More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to break into U.S. networks, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn wrote in the September/October issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Some already have the capacity to disrupt U.S. information infrastructure, he said.

Gates ordered the new unit’s creation in June 2009 to address the growing threat of cyber-attack.

It consolidates offensive and defensive operations under Army General Keith Alexander, who also heads the National Security Agency, the Defense Department’s intelligence arm that protects national security information and intercepts foreign communications.

“Cyberspace is essential to our way of life and U.S. Cyber Command synchronizes our efforts in the defense of (Defense Department) networks,” Alexander said in the Pentagon announcement.

Lynn declared the unit, based at Fort Meade, Maryland, fully up and running in a memorandum dated October 31, said Colonel Rivers Johnson, a Cyber Command spokesman.

The new unit began work in May, establishing a joint operations center and transitioning personnel and functions from the old structures.

It is part of the Offutt Air Force, Nebraska-based Strategic Command, the organization responsible for U.S. nuclear and space operations as well as information warfare and global military intelligence.

Why We’re Losing the War on Terror

October 22, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Featured Stories, US News, World News

Published on 10-22-2010

Source: Washington’s Blog

Everyone knows that only Muslim-lovers and left-wing peaceniks want to stop the wars in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, that terrorism is caused by Muslim ideology, and that we’re fighting them “over there” so we don’t have to fight them here.

Right?

In fact, as University of Chicago professor Robert A. Pape – who specializes in international security affairs – points out:

Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn’t to blame — the root of the problem is foreign military occupations.

Wait, what? That can’t be right!

But as Pape explains:

Each month, there are more suicide terrorists trying to kill Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim countries than in all the years before 2001 combined.

***

New research provides strong evidence that suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance. Although this pattern began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, a wealth of new data presents a powerful picture.More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research [co-authored by James K. Feldman - former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies] that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.

Israelis have their own narrative about terrorism, which holds that Arab fanatics seek to destroy the Jewish state because of what it is, not what it does. But since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon in May 2000, there has not been a single Lebanese suicide attack. Similarly, since Israel withdrew from Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, Palestinian suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

Some have disputed the causal link between foreign occupation and suicide terrorism, pointing out that some occupations by foreign powers have not resulted in suicide bombings — for example, critics often cite post-World War II Japan and Germany. Our research provides sufficient evidence to address these criticisms by outlining the two factors that determine the likelihood of suicide terrorism being employed against an occupying force.

The first factor is social distance between the occupier and occupied. The wider the social distance, the more the occupied community may fear losing its way of life. Although other differences may matter, research shows that resistance to occupations is especially likely to escalate to suicide terrorism when there is a difference between the predominant religion of the occupier and the predominant religion of the occupied.

Religious difference matters not because some religions are predisposed to suicide attacks. Indeed, there are religious differences even in purely secular suicide attack campaigns, such as the LTTE (Hindu) against the Sinhalese (Buddhists).

Rather, religious difference matters because it enables terrorist leaders to claim that the occupier is motivated by a religious agenda that can scare both secular and religious members of a local community — this is why Osama bin Laden never misses an opportunity to describe U.S. occupiers as “crusaders” motivated by a Christian agenda to convert Muslims, steal their resources, and change the local population’s way of life.

The second factor is prior rebellion. Suicide terrorism is typically a strategy of last resort, often used by weak actors when other, non-suicidal methods of resistance to occupation fail. This is why we see suicide attack campaigns so often evolve from ordinary terrorist or guerrilla campaigns, as in the cases of Israel and Palestine, the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey, or the LTTE in Sri Lanka.

One of the most important findings from our research is that empowering local groups can reduce suicide terrorism. In Iraq, the surge’s success was not the result of increased U.S. military control of Anbar province, but the empowerment of Sunni tribes, commonly called the Anbar Awakening, which enabled Iraqis to provide for their own security. On the other hand, taking power away from local groups can escalate suicide terrorism. In Afghanistan, U.S. and Western forces began to exert more control over the country’s Pashtun regions starting in early 2006, and suicide attacks dramatically escalated from this point on.

***

The first step is recognizing that occupations in the Muslim world don’t make Americans any safer — in fact, they are at the heart of the problem.

But surely Pape and his team of University of Chicago researchers are wrong. Surely other security experts disagree, right?

No.

The top security experts – conservative hawks and liberal doves alike – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and creates increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this and this.

As one of the top counter-terrorism experts (the former number 2 counter-terrorism expert at the State Department) told me, starting wars against states which do not pose an imminent threat to America’s national security increases the threat of terrorism because:

One of the principal causes of terrorism is injuries to people and families.

(Take another look at the painting above).

And its not only war in general as an abstract concept. The methods we’re using to wage war are increasing terrorism.

As one example, torture reduces our national security and creates new terrorists.

Unfortunately, we are continuing to indiscriminately kill civilians using drone strikes, and we are continuing to torture innocent people (see this, this and this).

This is not a question of being a “Muslim-sympathizer”. I am not a Muslim (personally, I and the rest of my family go to Church, albeit a non-dogmatic one). This isn’t about religion at all.

Its all about being practical in protecting our national security.

It might feel good to have guns a blazing. But unfortunately, instead of doing what will protect us, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

And in doing so, we are bankrupting our country.

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