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Love of profits vs. the Love of the Prophet (part 2)
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moeen yaseen
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:59 am    Post subject: Love of profits vs. the Love of the Prophet (part 2) Reply with quote

WHY THE US IS DETERMINED TO ATTACK THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
http://www.muslimedia.com/editor206a.htm


On the face of it, George W. Bush’s determination to increase the US military presence in Iraq, and his escalating political warfare against the Islamic State of Iran, despite the mounting chaos in Iraq, appear illogical to the point of madness. That is certainly the opinion of many observers in the US, where Congress, controlled since the mid-term elections last November by Democratic politicians anxious to distance themselves from Bush’s failures and unpopularity, is likely to try to block the funding that he needs for his plans. However, that is to fundamentally misunderstand the thrust of US policies in the Middle East over the last thirty years, of which the neo-con adventurism of the last five years is just a particularly aggressive manifestation.

Bush’s problem is that he is falling into the gaping chasm between his stated objectives in Iraq and his real ones, a disconnect that is easily ignored if one’s policies succeed, but possibly fatal if all does not go smoothly. The fact that he and his officials lied to justify their invasion of Iraq, about the threat Iraq posed, about its supposed WMDs, and about several other issues, is now widely recognised even in the US. Many also accept that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the “war on terror”, and that the attacks of 9/11 were merely exploited by the neo-cons to justify a war that they had already decided to fight. But the criticism of Bush is based on a misunderstanding of Bush’s objectives. His policies can only be considered to have failed if they are judged according to his stated objectives: the establishment of peace, stability and democracy in Iraq, and the securing of US oil interests. However, there was also a deeper, underlying objective that has never been explicitly acknowledged, and which Bush and the neo-cons still hope to achieve by the apparently illogical escalation against Iran. If this objective is achieved, they hope that all previous failures will be forgiven and forgotten.

This objective, which has underpinned all US policies in the region since 1979, is the destruction of the Islamic State of Iran, which has long been regarded as the key to defeating the global Islamic movement, the main obstacle to hegemonic American imperialism in the world. Before the Islamic Revolution American hegemony over the Muslim world seemed total, secure and unchallenged. The Islamic movements that aspired to re-establish the political power of Islam in various countries, such as the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen and the Jama‘at-e Islami, appeared marginal and irrelevant, easily dismissed as throwbacks to the pre-modern age. The energetic resurgence of the Islamic movement after the Islamic Revolution proved that this perception was wrong, though until the Revolution few even in Muslim countries thought that such a resurgence was possible. The fact that the people of what appeared the most modern and Westernised of Muslim countries could rise against their American-supported ruler, inspired and led by an ‘alim such as Imam Khomeini, and mobilised through the Islamic institutions of the country, came as a huge shock to the West, as well as to many in the Muslim world. What many young Muslims do not appreciate today is that the global confrontation between Western imperialism and Islamic resistance that we take for granted stems almost entirely from the boost given to Islamic movements by the success of the Islamic Revolution. The respect shown to Islamic Iran today by major Islamic movements elsewhere, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, is recognition of this reality.

No sooner had the Islamic State been established than the US set about trying to destroy it. Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Iran in 1980 and the ensuing eight-year war were part of this campaign. So too were the economic sanctions imposed on Iran, and the numerous political and diplomatic maneouvres to isolate and weaken it. In propaganda terms, the US and its allies promoted views of the Revolution as a Shi’i phenomenon, and financed anti-Shi’i propaganda in the rest of the Muslim world. Among other things, they encouraged the growth of the salafi/wahhabi movement from which al-Qa‘ida and other such groups have subsequently emerged. And perhaps above all, they moved to assert far more direct military control over the rest of the Muslim Middle East to ensure that the Islamic Revolution could not be ‘imported’ by Muslims in other countries. This was a major factor in their occupation of the Arabian peninsula on the pretext of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the gradual build-up of American forces, under different pretexts since then, in every country surrounding Iran. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that virtually every US policy on matters concerning Muslims since 1979 has been determined to some extent by the need to limit and contain the effects of the Islamic Revolution.

Bush’s determination to attack Iran is the logical culmination of this US policy over the last 30 years. The occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were essential steps to this end. The fact that they have not gone as smoothly as planned will not prevent Bush from pressing on, and success against Iran will make the failures in Afghanistan and Iraq less important. Bush’s determination to press on despite the US’s failures may appear insane, but there is a dangerous method in his apparent madness that Muslims cannot afford to ignore.

WHY ISLAMIC IRAN STILL MATTERS TO THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT AND ALL MUSLIMS
http://www.muslimedia.com/editor206b.htm


A few short weeks ago, some in the Muslim world were bold enough to suggest that America’s problems in Iraq represented the beginning of the end for its hegemonic power. That may yet prove to be true; but George W. Bush’s belligerent warmongering against Iran suggests that celebrations may be premature. Although America has become caught in a quagmire in Iraq, its ability to twist events to its advantage is by no means undiminished; it is, for example, no coincidence that Bush’s political moves against Iran come at a time of increasing anti-Shi’i sectarianism among Sunni Muslims, as a result of perceptions of events in Iraq. Among both rulers and commentators in Arab countries, and even within Islamic movements, there has been increasing talk of a clash between Sunni and Shi’i power in the region, a mood that is undoubtedly being promoted in order to justify Arab regimes’ support for US action against Iran, and to discourage Arab peoples from supporting Iran.

From the very genesis of the Islamic Revolution, its enemies used sectarianism to try to alienate other Muslims from it. Such was the clear achievement of the Revolution, the stature of Imam Khomeini, and the example of the Islamic State, that this policy had limited success, even as anti-Shi’i ideas were deliberately spread by the Saudis and others claiming to be promoting Islam. Nonetheless, over time the propaganda against Iran has had an effect, aided also, we should acknowledge, by errors and failures on the part of Iran. All too often, for example, Iranian officials alienated sympathisers elsewhere in the Ummah by failing to rise above their own Shi’i-centric understanding of the Revolution. The nationalistic outlook of many Iranian diplomats and foreign policy functionaries was also alienating, as well as being totally inconsistent with the broad, inclusive Islamic ethos represented by Imam Khomeni and the Revolutionary leaders that followed him. Such errors were perhaps inevitable; despite being the realization of universal Islamic principles and values, the Revolution was still the product of a particular historic process in a particular place at a particular time, and so bound to be shaped by the effects of those circumstances. The same is true of the struggles in Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and everywhere else in the Muslim world, of course; and none of the Muslims and movements engaged in those struggles are any less a part of the Islamic movement for that.

Let us recall the achievement of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It is not only that the Iranian people succeeded in overthrowing a strong and established western-supported ruler, regarded as a pillar of stability in the region. It is not only that they have succeeded in maintaining their independence from Western imperialism for nearly three decades, despite all the efforts of the Western powers to defeat or suborn the Revolutionary Islamic State. In fact, their greatest achievement is not defined in contrast to the West at all. It is that the leaders and people of Iran have confirmed, after decades of propaganda to the contrary, that the principles and values of Islam can be used as the foundation of a modern state in a modern society, and that an Islamic state can prosper as such. For decades since the colonial period, Muslims had been told that modern societies had to be western societies; that Islam had been outstripped by scientific and technological progress and the modernization of societies, and could no longer provide the basis for social orders. Always there were Muslims who rejected such arguments, but increasingly Muslims, particularly educated ones (which came to mean Western-educated ones) implicitly or effectively accepted them. Until the Islamic Revolution in Iran: all its errors and failures are stepping stones on the path of history. All the propaganda against it notwithstanding, Iran stands as an example of an Islamic country that rejects Western hegemony and is charting its own path in the modern world, proving that Islam can be modern and progressive. Doing so, it is developing the most dynamic political and social institutions in the Muslim world today.

Western intellectuals have long since declared the failure of “political Islam”, more in hope than expectation. Islamic Iran stands before us as a beacon proving them wrong and providing an example for Islamic movements everywhere to emulate, insha’Allah.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:16 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

THE GULF OF SNEEZES

Jeffrey Steinberg
http://larouchepac.com/pages/otherartic_files/2007/0205_gulf_sneezes.s html

A survey of senior U.S. military, intelligence, and diplomatic specialists confirms that the Bush-Cheney Administration is presently on a course towards provoking a military confrontation with Iran sometime before the end of the Spring of 2007. Were such a lunatic provocation to go unchecked in the immediate days and weeks ahead, the planet would be plunged into perpetual war, and financial and economic chaos, that could take generations to undo. One certain consequence of a U.S.-provoked war with Iran would be the total destruction of the United States as the sovereign republic of the Founding Fathers, and the demonization of the U.S.A. in the eyes of what might remain of the population of the rest of the world.

The simplest and most elegant way to stop this madness is for Vice President Dick Cheney, the thug-in-chief of this Persian Gulf war drive, to be forced out of office this month. As of this writing, four separate House resolutions are being offered, to prevent military action against Iran without prior Congressional deliberation and full authorization. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) has a similar resolution in the Senate. The weakness of all of these well-intentioned efforts, however, is that none specify that an act of war against Iran, without prior Congressional authorization, would constitute an impeachable offense by both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Under the present conditions of Bush-Cheney Executive branch madness and intransigence, only such blunt language, backed up by a clear commitment to act, could contribute to actual war avoidance.

It is an open secret that growing legions of leading Republican strategists and financial angels are coming to the conclusion that Cheney has to go—or else the GOP may not survive the 2008 election cycle. Increasingly, according to sources close to the Bush family, there is despair that the President is incapable of facing the reality that Dick Cheney has been the source of every policy fiasco of the past six years, and that Cheney's timely departure is the only "exit strategy" available to Dubya, if he wishes not to go down in history as the worst American President of all time. As of this writing, the President is the runaway leading contender for that dubious distinction.

A 'Sneeze' Can Start a War
Military and intelligence sources with decades of experience in the Persian Gulf have warned EIR that once the second U.S. naval carrier group, led by the USS Stennis, arrives in the Persian Gulf sometime in the second half of February, there will be such a concentration of American and Iranian naval equipment in that narrow area, that "a sneeze" could start a conflagration. By "sneeze," these experts meant that naval commanders—American and Iranian—at the tactical level, operating in close quarters in poorly defined border areas of the Gulf, could carry out provocative actions that trigger a general war—without necessarily intending to do so.

According to one retired Persian Gulf commander, prior to the 1991 "Operation Desert Storm," no U.S. carrier groups were deployed into the Persian Gulf, precisely because the danger of blundering into a war was considered too great to justify the risk. Large-scale naval assets assigned to the Persian Gulf region were based in the Indian Ocean and in other nearby locations as a kind of fail-safe measure.

War Has Already Been Declared
In some respects, the Bush Administration has already issued a de facto, unconstitutional declaration of war. On Jan. 10, 2007, as President Bush was delivering his nationwide television address, announcing the "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq, American Special Forces commandos were raiding the Iranian consular office in the Kurdish city of Irbil. The American soldiers arrested five Iranian officials, and accused them of providing support to the insurgents battling American and coalition forces in Iraq. As one retired senior American diplomat put it, "This was an act of war" on the part of the Bush Administration.

In his Jan. 10 speech, the President placed great emphasis on Iran's and Syria's purported roles in backing the insurgency. The President used a legalistic term, "material support for the insurgency," to describe the Iranian and Syrian actions. As the actions in Irbil demonstrated, the Bush Administration has decided to take a direct and aggressive approach to Iran's presence inside Iraq—regardless of the actual level of proof of Iran's involvement in backing insurgents and providing military hardware. According to some sources, Iranian Revolutionary Guard assets may have been engaged inside Iraq in provocative actions against the American and coalition occupation forces. But by refusing to engage in any kind of diplomatic efforts, and by highlighting Iran's longstanding presence inside neighboring Iraq, the Bush-Cheney Administration has adopted a willful plan to, in effect, back into a full-scale war against Iran.

Since the President's Jan. 10 speech and the "act of war" in Irbil, other provocative actions by the Bush Administration have piled up. On Jan. 31, the Los Angeles Times reported that the U.S. Air Force is increasing patrols along the Iran-Iraq border, aimed at cutting off the flow of arms and Revolutionary Guard operatives into Iraq. The combination of these intensified border sorties, which could result in strikes against Iranian territory, and the U.S. naval buildup in the Gulf, have many people worried. The Times quoted an unnamed American military officer: "A mistake could be made and you could end up in something that neither side ever really wanted, and suddenly it's August 1914 all over again." He gave a barely hypothetical example: "A boat crosses a line ... but what does it mean? You've got to be very careful about overreacting."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was equally blunt in an interview with CNN on Jan. 31, when he said, "We have told the Iranians and the Americans, 'We know that you have a problem with each other, but we're asking you, please, solve your problems outside of Iraq.' We do not want the American forces to take Iraq as a base to attack Iran.... We will not accept Iran using Iraq to attack American forces. But does this exist? It exists and I assure you it exists."

WMD Gambit Dropped
According to one senior U.S. intelligence official, White House "spin doctors" concluded late last year that the Administration had been so discredited by the fraudulent claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles, that no one would buy into a war against Iran on the basis of Administration claims that the Islamic Republic was on the verge of fielding nuclear weapons. At that time, the official rhetoric of Bush and Cheney shifted to an emphasis on Iran's interference in American counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq. While the White House has so far failed to provide any detailed evidence that Iran is behind the escalating insurgency, the temperature of the Administration rhetoric has jumped to a fever pitch. Recently, the President acknowledged that he issued an intelligence finding in Autumn 2006, authorizing American forces in Iraq to target Iranian assets inside Iraqi territory.

On Jan. 20, five American soldiers were killed in a sophisticated attack, by armed men disguised as Iraqi security officers, who spoke English. The Bush Administration has blamed the incident on Iran, claiming that Iraqi Shi'ite insurgents are not sophisticated enough on their own, to have carried out such an attack. Yet the Bush Adminstiration has still not released its long-promised report about Iranian involvement, and the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) says essentially that other countries are not responsible for what's going on inside Iraq. The readiness of the Bush Administration to jump to conclusions about the Iranian hand behind every significant insurgent action just underscores the war fever that has spread around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is in this context that the pending arrival of a massive new American naval force into the Persian Gulf represents the potential for what one senior retired U.S. Marine officer called a "Gulf of Tonkin II" nightmare.

A Unilateral Strike
The naval buildup also will soon put the United States in the position of being able to launch significant strikes against Iran without relying on any Persian Gulf states to provide basing or overflight support. It is no secret that the Iranian government has warned all of the major states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, that any support for an American attack on Iran will be met with a serious irregular warfare response. Kuwait and Bahrain, two GCC states with significant U.S. Air Force presence, are highly vulnerable to such Iranian-directed asymmetric warfare, given the sizeable Shi'ite minorities in both countries.

In recent days, Iran and Saudi Arabia have exchanged diplomatic missions, clearly aimed at avoiding a confrontation. (See article in International.)

However, the pending arrival of the USS Stennis in the waters of the Persian Gulf will soon trump all of those efforts. Given the unpredictable situation in Tehran, nothing short of decisive action—the removal of Vice President Cheney—can assure the world that a "sneeze" will not start World War III.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

THE ISSUE IS GLOBALIZATION
http://larouchepac.com/pages/speeches_files/2007/0213_globalization.sh tml

The following opening statement was delivered by Lyndon LaRouche, at a Feb. 8 meeting of diplomats in Washington, D.C.

I'd like to bring to your attention an item in the latest edition of the London Economist magazine. I recommend that you look at it, particularly the article on page 12, which is a one-page reference to a special central feature in the same edition of that magazine: because this refers to what I'm going to deal with here today.

Now, looking at the U.S. Presidential candidacies: It's a farce. These people that are running are not a farce, but what they're saying is a farce. It's totally irrelevant to anything of importance to the world today; but it's very important to them, because it's an ego-trip.

But the realities are far different. You should know, first of all, that we are on the verge of the greatest financial crisis in all modern history: that is, in modern European history since the great crash in the middle of the 14th Century.

The urgent financial situation is absolutely impossible; there is no solution. Present policies will lead to an absolute disaster, globally. Not just the United States, the whole world will go down; because, obviously, a collapse of the U.S. economy would mean a collapse of the China economy: because China depends currently upon exports to the United States.

A similar thing is true with respect to the rest of the world. Europe, continental Europe, is essentially non-functional. It has a role to play, but, it is not an independent power. The nation-states of central and western Europe are not functional, apart from the British, which is significant.

We recently had an incident that occurred involving China; that incident involved the illumination of a U.S. satellite passing over China. And, then there was a second incident, where China has shot down one of its own bodies in space, with the aid of a laser-guidance system. Now, this is not the most sophisticated system that can be used; but, it portends what is going on.

For example, China today is expending more effort in terms of scientific personnel on developing laser and related systems than the United States was expending during the 1980s. It's a much higher level, over 300 such cases. You never had that in the U.S. The problem that comes up that causes this, is the behavior, particularly, of the present Bush Administration in two terms, which has been moving toward a globalized world: which is why I referred to this China coverage in Britain, in which the intention is to have a world system of weapons, controlled entirely by the United States, which would be able to rain death on any part of the world it chooses. It is assumed that the economy of the United States is broken down, the economy of Europe is broken down; they are no longer industrial economies.

We are now, in the United States, as in continental Europe, we are in a post-industrial economy. In an economy of stupid people, who don't know how to do anything, because they are not bred to do anything, they're not educated to do anything. So, you have the idea of a kind of super-science-fiction kind of system, around the planet, in which the United States can rain death on any part of the system it wants.

Now this kind of thing is foolish. Because an automatic system, or a quasi-automatic system of the type that's being proposed now from the United States by this Administration, is vulnerable. Automatic systems depend upon the control system which controls them.

Therefore, if I'm Chinese, I'm going to develop a system to knock out the control system. We have enough junk flying around the planet in outer space, that we can create all kinds of things, one nation can create all kinds of things which can wreck the functioning of the control system. And, what you're seeing as was developed in Russia, which is echoed in India and in China—you're seeing the development of systems which could be used to disrupt such a control system, by going after the control mechanism.

The Drive for World Empire
That's what is at stake. So therefore when you're talking about important issues, like the issue of Southwest Asia or the current Iran issues, these are not the real issues. These are issues, but they are not the real issues.

The real issue is the attempt by a group centered in the United Kingdom, and integrated with forces in the United States, typified by the circles represented by the Bush Administration—these circles are moving toward total globalization. The environmentalist turn of the current President of the United States is a featured example of that.

What they're headed for, is a world empire, a world empire of a type which is modeled on what happened when Byzantium collapsed as an imperial force, around A.D. 1000. At that point, the Venetian financier oligarchy took control of the European Norman chivalry, and ran what was called a medieval (ultramontane) system, which was based on attacking Islam and also on anti-Semitism, back during the period of 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

What you're looking at is an apparently stateless system like that in medieval Europe under the Crusaders and the Venetian oligarchy. Today Venice is still a factor—the Venetian oligarchy; but, the key thing is the Anglo-American or the Anglo-Dutch liberal financial oligarchy,*[1] which is now running the world. It's crazy, but it's running the world.

Defend National Sovereignty
And Britain is a power which says we can not have a globalized system if there is a big power alliance in Asia plus the United States: that is, if the United States, Russia, China, and India are determined to defend the principle of national sovereignty, and agree to agree on defending that principle of national sovereignty, then, globalization cannot happen. Therefore, the immediate enemy, the target of what Cheney represents, and what Blair represents in London, are Russia, China, and currently India. These are the primary targets. Not Iran, Not Iraq. Not Southwest Asia. Southwest Asia, including Iran, are targets precisely because they are the door to an open attack on China, Russia, India, so forth. And that's what we've said.

Now the politicians in the United States, the ones who are running for office, are largely from the U.S. Senate. They are not quite as stupid as they seem. What they are, is they are opportunists. You, looking from the outside, must recognize, that when they run for office, they become prostitutes, walking the streets looking for customers. But when they are in the Senate they tend to be a little better quality. The problem is, when they're running for office, as for President, they become stupid even in their behavior in the Senate, because their Senatorial actions are conditioned by their Presidential campaign ambitions. So we now have that kind of situation.

But the important thing for nations to understand, is that there are four key nations on this planet, on which the fate of the planet as a whole depends. These four nations are the United States, Russia, China and India. If we can establish an agreement among Russia, China, India and the United States, to defend the principle of sovereignty and to make agreements which will serve that purpose, then we can defend the world from chaos and we can come out of the current mess.

I emphasize that here, because this is reality. What you get from the press here, is not reality. What you get from the mouths of politicians running for office here, is not reality. The reality is that the Anglo-American crowd, of which we have a big chunk inside the United States, is typified by the Bush Administration, and also by dubious Democrats like Gore and Lieberman. This crowd is moving around the policy of globalization, a global reduction of the population of the planet, total control over the planet of a medieval type, of a type based on the model of Venice, the Venetian financial system, which was the imperial power of the Middle Ages, which was allied then with the private interests of the Norman chivalry.

What we're getting today is a pattern of private armies, eliminating state power, replacing this with private armies controlled by large corporations such as the Halliburton complex, which is taking the place of the military forces. These are the policies which are inside the United States government. These are the policies associated with Cheney today, to eliminate the military. They don't care if they lose the United States Army; they'll transfer the power to private forces, such as Halliburton. They're destroying the rest of the world economically; they hope to establish an empire.

This is the real issue. And the threats to Russia, China, and India in Asia, are the real issues. Because, if the United States defends the right of Russia, China, and India to have national sovereignty, then we can unite the world around the idea of restoring the principle of national sovereignty, and can eliminate these evils. If we do not understand this, if we think that the issue is Iran, or we think the issue is Iraq, then we are fools. Because these are merely the doorways into the major crisis.

And what you see with the talk now in response to this discussion of the Chinese development of laser-assisted—and they're not just laser-assisted, we're talking about all kinds of systems way beyond lasers involved in this, which are being developed by serious countries. And these issues have come on the table now. And, when they start talking about China and its lasers; about breaking China; when they talk about attacks on Russia; when they talk about trying to disrupt India's sovereign development of its own economy, you're getting signs of what the real issue is.

The issue is globalization. And this little issue of the publication, the London Economist, if you read it carefully with what I have just said in mind, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

So the question is, we have to have a system which deals with a general collapse of the world financial system. The world financial system is now immediately doomed. Nothing could save it in its present form. It's finished. There is no way to reform it, you must eliminate it. There are ways to eliminate it.

There are ways to deal with that; but, we must save the nation-state system. We must set up a system under which nation-states are protected in their rights to sovereignty; and, we must organize methods of cooperation in the economic field, as well as otherwise: where we provide not competition, not cutthroat treatment of one nation by another, but we provide security for the nations of the world for their development.

The FDR Legacy
And, this goes back to Franklin Roosevelt's death. When Franklin Roosevelt died, we had one policy. The policy of the United States was, that all the former colonialized nations would be free in their national sovereignty. The United States would take the great industrial military power we had built up, we would use, we would convert that, to develop the world, to develop the nations, like India, to develop projects for Africa, which were the projects that Roosevelt threw in the face of Winston Churchill in Morocco.

But, the moment that Roosevelt died, the Anglo-Dutch Liberal crowd, using President Truman, took over and reversed every policy that they could that Roosevelt represented. My view today, to sum it up, is, the policy of the United States must be—and this is what I fight for—to return to the policies of Franklin Roosevelt at the moment of his death, or to the modern equivalent of those policies.

We must set up what Roosevelt intended as the United Nations, as a system of cooperation among respectively sovereign nation-states, which must cooperate in their common interests and establish treaty-systems which provide for the separate, and independent role, but cooperative role, among nation-states. By treating this part of our memory, of our historic memory, and going back to that point, saying, "This is the policy the United States must return to, the policies of Franklin Roosevelt up until his death." And look at nearly everything that was done after that as a big mistake.

We are forced to do that now, because the entire financial monetary system which has dominated the world increasingly, especially since the Nixon Administration, especially since the middle of the 1960s, that system is now finished. And if we don't replace it, we will have chaos on this planet, and we will not have much to salvage, that's the essential part. And I think this is the crux.

I think every other leading issue of this jigsaw puzzle, is irrelevant. We must establish, among nations, a consciousness that this is the problem: that we have to understand what the meaning is of four major world powers, leading world powers, which, if they can come to an agreement on this issue, we can create a system under which all nations can be protected, including the nations that are too weak to fight for themselves.

That is what I think are the real issues on the table at this time in history.

[*] Cf. Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden (New York: Books in Focus, 981).
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET Reply with quote

Global Vision Forum / Political Consultancy / War, Conflict & Development / Capitalism and War
http://www.gv2000.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=249&pid=1079#pid1079


NEW OIL LAW MEANS VICTORY IN IRAQ FOR BUSH

Chris Floyd Truthout

Chris Floyd is an American journalist. His weekly political column, "Global
Eye," ran in the Moscow Times from 1996 to 2006. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including The Nation, Counterpunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Bergen Record and many others. His story on Pentagon plans to foment terrorism won a Project Censored award in 2003. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog.

I. Surging Toward the Ultimate Prize

The reason that George W. Bush insists that "victory" is achievable in
Iraq is not that he is deluded or isolated or ignorant or detached from
reality or ill-advised. No, it's that his definition of "victory" is
different from those bruited about in his own rhetoric and in the
ever-earnest disquisitions of the chattering classes in print and online.
For Bush, victory is indeed at hand. It could come at any moment now, could already have been achieved by the time you read this. And the driving force behind his planned "surge" of American troops is the need to preserve those fruits of victory that are now ripening in his hand.

At any time within the next few days, the Iraqi Council of Ministers is
expected to approve a new "hydrocarbon law" essentially drawn up by the Bush administration and its UK lackey, the Independent on Sunday reported. The new bill will "radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world," says the paper, whose reporters have seen a draft of the new law. "It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972." If the government's parliamentary majority prevails, the law should take effect in March.

As the paper notes, the law will give Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell and other
carbon cronies of the White House unprecedented sweetheart deals, allowing them to pump gargantuan profits from Iraq's nominally state-owned oilfields for decades to come. This law has been in the works since the very beginning of the invasion - indeed, since months before the invasion, when the Bush administration brought in Phillip Carroll, former CEO of both Shell and Fluor, the politically-wired oil servicing firm, to devise "contingency plans" for divvying up Iraq's oil after the attack. Once the deed was done, Carroll was made head of the American "advisory committee" overseeing the oil industry of the conquered land, as Joshua Holland of Alternet.com has
chronicled in two remarkable reports on the backroom maneuvering over Iraq's oil: "Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil http://www.alternet
org/waroniraq/43045/ > and "The US Takeover of Iraqi Oil."

From those earliest days until now, throughout all the twists and turns,
the blood and chaos of the occupation, the Bush administration has kept its eye on this prize. The new law offers the barrelling buccaneers of the West a juicy set of production-sharing agreements (PSAs) that will maintain a fig leaf of Iraqi ownership of the nation's oil industry - while letting Bush's Big Oil buddies rake off up to 75 percent of all oil profits for an indefinite period up front, until they decide that their "infrastructure investments" have been repaid. Even then, the agreements will give the Western oil majors an unheard-of 20 percent of Iraq's oil profits - more than twice the average of standard PSAs, the Independent notes.

Of course, at the moment, the "security situation" - i.e., the living
hell of death and suffering that Bush's "war of choice" has wrought in Iraq - prevents the Oil Barons from setting up shop in the looted fields. Hence Bush's overwhelming urge to "surge" despite the fierce opposition to his plans from Congress, the Pentagon and some members of his own party. Bush and his inner circle, including his chief adviser, old oilman Dick Cheney, believe that a bigger dose of blood and iron in Iraq will produce a sufficient level of stability to allow the oil majors to cash in the PSA chips that more than 3,000 American soldiers have purchased for them with their lives.

The American "surge" will be blended into the new draconian effort
announced over the weekend by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki: an
all-out war by the government's Shiite militia-riddled "security forces" on
Sunni enclaves in Baghdad, as the Washington Post reports. American troops will "support" the "pacification effort" with what Maliki says calls
house-to-house" sweeps of Sunni areas. There is of course another phrase for this kind of operation: "ethnic cleansing."

The "surged" troops - mostly long-serving, overstrained units dragooned
into extended duty - are to be thrown into this maelstrom of urban warfare and ethnic murder, temporarily taking sides with one faction in Iraq's hydra-headed, multi-sided civil war. As the conflict goes on - and it will go on and on - the Bush administration will continue to side with whatever faction promises to uphold the "hydrocarbon law" and those profitable PSAs. If "Al Qaeda in Iraq" vowed to open the nation's oil spigots for Exxon, Fluor and Halliburton, they would suddenly find themselves transformed from terrorists" into "moderates" - as indeed has Maliki and his violent, sectarian Dawa Party, which once killed Americans in terrorist actions but are now hailed as freedom's champions.

So Bush will surge with Maliki and his ethnic cleansing for now. If the
effort flames out in a disastrous crash that makes the situation worse - as it almost certainly will - Bush will simply back another horse. What he
seeks in Iraq is not freedom or democracy but "stability" - a government of any shape or form that will deliver the goods. As the Independent wryly noted in its Sunday story, Dick Cheney himself revealed the true goal of the war back in 1999, in a speech he gave when he was still CEO of Halliburton. Where is the oil going to come from" to slake the world's ever-growing thirst, asked Cheney, who then answered his own question: "The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies."

And therein lies another hidden layer of the war. For Iraq not only has
the world's second largest oil reserves; it also has the world's most easily retrievable oil. As the Independent succinctly notes: "The cost-per-barrel of extracting oil in Iraq is among the lowest in the world because the reserves are relatively close to the surface. This contrasts starkly with the expensive and risky lengths to which the oil industry must go to find new reserves elsewhere - witness the super-deep offshore drilling and cost-intensive techniques needed to extract oil form Canada's tar sands."

This is precisely what Cheney was getting at in his 1999 talk to the
Institute of Petroleum. In a world of dwindling petroleum resources, those who control large reserves of cheaply-produced oil will reap unimaginable profits - and command the heights of the global economy. It's not just about profit, of course; control of such resources would offer tremendous strategic advantages to anyone who was interested in "full spectrum domination" of world affairs, which the Bush-Cheney faction and their outriders among the neo-cons and the "national greatness" fanatics have openly sought for years. With its twin engines of corporate greed and military empire, the war in Iraq is a marriage made in Valhalla.

II. The Win-Win Scenario

And this unholy union is what Bush is really talking about when he talks
about "victory." This is the reason for so much of the drift and dithering
and chaos and incompetence of the occupation: Bush and his cohorts don't really care what happens on the ground in Iraq - they care about what comes out of the ground. The end - profit and dominion - justifies any means. What happens to the human beings caught up in the war is of no ultimate importance; the game is worth any number of broken candles. And in plain point of fact, the Bush-Cheney faction - and the elite interests they represent - has already won the war in Iraq. I've touched on this theme before elsewhere, but it is a reality of the war that is very often overlooked, and is worth examining again. This ultimate victory was clear as long ago as June 2004, when I first set down the original version of some of the updated observations below.

Put simply, the Bush Family and their allies and cronies represent the
confluence of three long-established power factions in the American elite: oil, arms and investments. These groups equate their own interests, their own wealth and privilege, with the interests of the nation - indeed, the world - as a whole. And they pursue these interests with every weapon at their command, including war, torture, deceit and corruption. Democracy means nothing to them - not even in their own country, as we saw in the 2000 election. Laws are just whips to keep the common herd in line; they don't apply to the elite, as Bush's own lawyers and minions have openly asserted in the memos, signing statements, court cases and presidential decrees asserting the "inherent power" of the "unitary executive" to override any
law he pleases.

The Iraq war has been immensely profitable for these Bush-linked power
factions (and their tributary industries, such as construction); billions of
dollars in public money have already poured into their coffers. Halliburton has been catapulted from the edge of bankruptcy to the heights of no-bid, open-ended, guaranteed profit. The Carlyle Group is gorging on war contracts. Individual Bush family members are making out like bandits from war-related investments, while dozens of Bush minions - like Richard Perle, James Woolsey, and Joe Allbaugh - have cashed in their insider chips for blood money.


The aftermath of the war promises equal if not greater riches. Even if
the new Iraqi government maintains nominal state control of its oil industry there are still untold billions to be made in PSAs for drilling, refining, distributing, servicing and securing oilfields and pipelines. Likewise, the new Iraqi military and police forces will require billions more in weapons, equipment and training, bought from the US arms industry - and from the fast-expanding "private security" industry, the politically hard-wired mercenary forces that are the power elite's latest lucrative spin-off. And as with Saudi Arabia, oil money from the new Iraq will pump untold billions into American banks and investment houses.

But that's not all. For even in the worst-case scenario, if the
Americans had to pull out tomorrow, abandoning everything - their bases, their contracts, their collaborators - the Bush power factions would still come out ahead. For not only has their already-incalculable wealth been vastly augmented (with any potential losses indemnified by US taxpayers), but their deeply-entrenched sway over American society has also increased by several magnitudes. No matter which party controls the government, the militarization of America is so far gone now it's impossible to imagine any major rollback in the gargantuan US war machine - 725 bases in 132 countries annual military budgets topping $500 billion, a planned $1 trillion in new weapons systems already moving through the pipeline. Indeed, the Democratic opposition" has promised to expand the military.

Nor will either party conceivably challenge the dominance of the energy
behemoths - or stand against the American public's demand for cheap gas, big vehicles, and unlimited consumption of a vast disproportion of the world's oil. As for Wall Street - both parties have long been the eager courtesans of the investment elite, dispatching armies all over the world to protect their financial interests. The power factions whose influence has been so magnified by Bush's war will maintain their supremacy regardless of the electoral outcome.

By the way, to think that all of this has happened because a small band
of extremist ideologues - the neo-cons - somehow "hijacked" US foreign
policy to push their radical dreams of "liberating" the Middle East by force and destroying Israel's enemies is absurd. The Bush power factions were already determined to pursue an aggressive foreign policy; they used the neo-cons and their bag of tricks - their inflated rhetoric, their conspiratorial zeal, their murky Middle East contacts, their ideology of brute force in the name of "higher" causes - as tools (and PR cover) to help bring about a long-planned war that had nothing to do with democracy or security or any coherent ideology whatsoever beyond the remorseless pursuit of wealth and power, the blind urge to be top dog.

So Bush and his cohorts have won even if the surge fails and Iraq lapses into perpetual anarchy, or becomes an extremist religious state; they've won even if the whole region goes up in flames, and terrorism flares to unprecedented heights - because this will just mean more war-profiteering, more fear-profiteering. And yes, they've won even though they've lost their Congressional majority and could well lose the presidency in 2008, because war and fear will continue to fill their coffers, buying them continuing influence and power as they bide their time through another interregnum of a Democratic "centrist" - who will, at best, only nibble at the edges of the militarist state - until they are back in the saddle again. The only way they can lose the Iraq War is if they are actually arrested and imprisoned for their war crimes. And we all know that's not going to happen.

So Bush's confident strut, his incessant upbeat pronouncements about the war, his complacent smirks, his callous indifference to the unspeakable horror he has unleashed in Iraq - these are not the hallmarks of self-delusion, or willful ignorance, or a disassociation from reality. He and his accomplices know full well what the reality is - and they like it. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

FAILED STATES: THE US AND ISRAEL

Monday, 05 February 2007
By Paul Craig Roberts

Iran, a nation with a 5,000 year history, is certainly not a failed state. The main failed states in the Middle East are those that are US puppets. They represent American hegemony, not the interests of their people.

02/05/07 "ICHBlog" -- -- Growing references by the US and Israel to the Muslim Middle East as a collection of failed states are part of the propaganda campaign to strip legitimacy from Muslim states and set them up for attack. These accusations spring from the hubris of many Israelis, who see themselves as “God’s Chosen People,” a guarantee of immunity instead of a call to responsibility, and many Americans, who regard their country as “a city upon a hill” that is “the light of the world.” But do the US and Israel fit the profile of successful states, or are they failed states themselves?

A compelling case can be made that the US and Israel are failed states. Israel allegedly is a democracy, but it is controlled by a minority of Zionist zealots who commit atrocities against Palestinians in order to provoke terrorist acts that are then used to perpetuate the right-wing’s hold on political power. Israel has perfected blowback as a tool of political control. The Israeli state relies entirely on coercion and has no diplomacy. It stands isolated in the world except for the US, which sustains Israel’s existence with money, military weapons, and the US veto in the United Nations.

Israel survives on life support from the US. A state that cannot exist without outside support is a failed state.

What about the United States? The US is an even greater failure. Its existence is not dependent on life support from outside. The US has failed in another way. Not only has the state failed, but the society as well.

The past six years have seen the rise of dictatorial power in the executive and the collapse of the separation of powers mandated by the US Constitution. The president has declared himself to be “The Decider.” The power to decide includes the meaning and intent of laws passed by Congress and whether the laws apply to the executive. President Bush has openly acknowledged that he disobeyed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and unlawfully spied on Americans without warrants. Bush and his Attorney General could not make it more clear that their position is that Bush is above the law.

It is also Bush’s position that he is above the Constitution. Bush and his Attorney General maintain that as commander-in-chief in “the war on terror,” the executive has the power to decide the applicability of civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution. The US Department of Justice (sic) has taken the position that this decision is an executive decision alone beyond the authority of the judiciary and the legislature.

An enfeebled and eviscerated Congress has acquiesced in the growth of executive power, even legislating unconstitutional executive powers into law. The Decider has grabbed the power to arrest people on accusation alone and to detain them indefinitely without charges or evidence. He has obtained the right to torture those whom he arrests. The Geneva Conventions do not apply to the US president, declares the Regime. Bush has obtained the right to commit people to death in military tribunals on the basis of hearsay and secret evidence alone. The Bush Regime has succeeded in moving the American state off the basis on which the Founding Fathers set it.

The Bush Regime led the American people to war in Iraq based entirely on lies and deception. This is a known and undisputed fact. Congress has done nothing whatsoever about this monstrous crime and impeachable offense.

Under the Nuremberg standard, unprovoked aggression is a war crime. The US established this standard. Bush has violated it with impunity.

Bush and his Attorney General assert Bush’s power to attack Iran independently of a Congressional declaration of war or any form of congressional approval. Bush claims that his power to attack Iran is merely an extension of his present power to conduct war in Iraq, a power seized on the basis of lies and deception. Congress has taken no action to disabuse Bush of his presumption.

Bush’s preparations for attacking Iran are highly visible. The entire world can see the preparations and expects the attack. Congress is mute in the face of a catastrophic widening of a war to which a large majority of the American people are now opposed.

In national elections three months ago the American people used democracy in an unsuccessful attempt to restrain the Bush Regime from its warmongering ways by defeating the Republican Party and giving control of both houses of Congress to Democrats.

Instead of acting, the Democrats have postured.

Indeed, some have joined Bush in his warmongering. Hillary Clinton, regarded as the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, recently declared at an affair hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading instigator of war with Iran, that Iran is a danger to the US and a great threat to Israel.

Hillary’s claims are preposterous. Israel has large numbers of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Iran has none. Iran has no ability to harm the US and would have no motive except for the Bush Regime’s gratuitous provocations. A state in which a leading contender for the presidential nomination can make utterly absurd claims and suffer no consequence is a failed state.

The United States is a failed state, because in the US it is not possible for leadership to emerge. Politics is controlled by powerful interest groups, such as AIPAC, the military-industrial complex, transnational corporations, and “security” agencies that are accumulating vast amounts of unaccountable power. The American people spoke in November and it means nothing whatsoever.

The people are enfeebled because the media no longer has independence. The US media serves as propagandist for the state. It cannot be otherwise in a highly concentrated media run not by journalists but by advertising executives protecting stock values that derive from federal broadcast licenses granted by the state.

Like the three monkeys, Congress sees no evil, the media speaks no evil, and the people hear no evil. In the US “news” consists of the government’s propaganda. “News” in America is exactly like the “news” in George Orwell’s 1984.

The US is a failed state, because it is not true to any of the principles upon which it was established. All over the world today, America is seen as a rogue state, a hegemonic evil, and as the greatest threat to peace and stability. In its new identify, America is the total opposite of the Founding Fathers intention. There is no greater failure than that.

Academics differentiate between failed states and rogue states. The US and Israel meet both criteria. The US and Israel lead the world in aggressive military actions and in killings of civilian populations. Both countries meet the main indicators of failed states as published in Foreign Policy’s 2005 Failed States Index.

The leading indicators of failed states are inequality (not merely poverty), “criminalization or delegitimization of the state, which occurs when state institutions are regarded as corrupt, illegal, or ineffective,” and “demographic factors, especially population pressures stemming from refugees” and “internally displaced populations.”

All economic indicators show that income and wealth inequality is rapidly increasing in the US. The growth in inequality is the result of the state’s policy that favors shareholders and corporate executives at the expense of American workers.

The income differences between Israelis and ghettoized Palestinians are huge.

Trials and investigations of leading political figures in the US and Israel are an ongoing occurrence. Currently, the former chief-of-staff of the vice president of the US is on trial for lying to the FBI in an attempt to obstruct an investigation into the Bush Regime’s illegal disclosure of an undercover CIA operative. The accused claims he is the fall guy for higher ups.

In Israel the president of the country is accused of rape and faces indictment.

Both the US and Israel routinely ignore international law and are accused of committing war crimes by human rights organizations. The US Congress stands revealed as totally ineffective and unwilling to constrain the executive. The American people have learned that they cannot change the government’s policies through elections. By fomenting the demise of the civil liberties that they are sworn to uphold, President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales have delegitimized the American state, turning it into an instrument of oppression.

Israel’s policies in the West Bank have displaced a million Palestinians, forcing them to be refugees from their own land. Jordan is filled with Palestinian refugees, and Palestinian existence in the West Bank is being increasingly confined to ghettos cut off from farm land, schools, medical care and from other Palestinians. President Jimmy Carter has described Israeli-occupied Palestine as “apartheid.”

For decades in the face of public opposition the US government has encouraged massive legal and illegal immigration of diverse peoples whose failure to assimilate is balkanizing the US population. Economic refugees from Mexico are changing the culture and allegiance of entire sections of the American southwest, and racial animosities are on the rise.

In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky defined one characteristic of a failed state as a “democratic deficit, that is, a substantial gap between public policy and public opinion.” We see this gap in Bush’s decision to escalate the war in Iraq despite the opposition of 70% of the American public. What does democracy mean if elected leaders ignore public opinion?

Another characteristic of failed states is the failure to protect their own citizens. Israel’s aggressive policies against Palestinians provoke terror attacks on Israeli citizens. These attacks are then used to justify more oppression of Palestinians, which leads to more terror. Bush’s military aggression in the MIddle East is the main cause of any terror threats that Americans now face.

Another characteristic of a failed state is the departure of citizens. Many Israelis, seeing no future for Israel in the government’s hostility to Arabs, are leaving Israel. Among Israelis themselves, the legitimacy of the Israeli state is so endangered that the Knesset has just passed a law to revoke the citizenship of “unpatriotic” Israelis.

In the US a large percentage of the population has lost confidence in the government’s veracity. Polls show that 40% of Americans do not believe the government’s story that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Arab terrorists. Many believe the attack was a “false flag” operation carried out by elements in the Bush Regime in order to create public acceptance for its planned invasions in the Middle East.

A state that cannot tolerate moral conscience in its soldiers is a failed state. The failure of the American state can be seen it its prosecution of Lt. Ehren Watada. Watada comes from a family with a military heritage. His response to the 9/11 attack was to join the military. Diagnosed with asthma, he failed his physical, but persevered and ended up with an officer’s commission.

Watada’s problem is that he can recognize a war crime even when it is committed by a might-makes-right state. The Abu Ghraib prison tortures and the evidence that Bush deceived Americans about weapons of mass destruction caused Watada to realize that he was on the wrong side of the Nuremberg Principles, the UN Charter, and the US military code, which says American soldiers have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders. He signed up to serve his country, not to kill people for illegal and immoral reasons.

Watada refused to deploy to Iraq. He is being tried for refusing deployment and for suggesting that President Bush deceived Americans.

By now every attentive American knows that Bush deceived them, and our greatest patriots have said so. Watada is on trial for suggesting what everyone knows to be true. He is not being tried for veracity. He is being tried for speaking the truth.

Failure to deploy is a more understandable charge. There is no army if soldiers do not follow orders. However, as the US established at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, following orders is not an excuse for participating in war crimes. At the Nazi war crimes trials, it was the US that insisted that soldiers were responsible for using judgment about the legality of their orders.

That is what Lt. Watada did. His trial will not broach the subject of whether his judgment was correct. The evidence against him will merely be that he did not deploy.

By trying Lt. Watada the US government is insisting that American troops are not responsible for judging the legality of their orders, only for following them. The standard applied to WW II Germans is too high to be applied to Americans.

In a draft army Watada’s refusal to accept illegal orders could be used by conscripted cannon fodder to derail the state’s intended aggression. However, in a voluntary army in which soldiers seek to serve, permitting Lt. Watada to have his conscience does not imperil the command structure. Others less thoughtful and less aware will carry forth the state’s enterprise.

The case against Israel and the US does not preclude some Muslim states from also meeting the criteria for failure. However, Iraq, an artificial creation of Western colonial powers, was driven into failure and civil war by American aggression. Iran, a nation with a 5,000 year history, is certainly not a failed state. The main failed states in the Middle East are those that are US puppets. They represent American hegemony, not the interests of their people.

What the US and Israel are attempting to do is to turn the entire Muslim Middle East into failed states, that is, into puppet regimes. By extending their hegemony in the Middle East, the US and Israel hope to prolong their own failed existence. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Love of profits vs. Love of the Prophet (part2) Reply with quote

A ROAD MAP OUT OF IRAQ

Zbigniew Brzezinski

02/11/07 "Los Angeles Times' --- - THE WAR IN IRAQ is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions. It is undermining America's global legitimacy. Its collateral civilian casualties, as well as some abuses, are tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability.

Yet major strategic decisions in the Bush administration continue to be made within a very narrow circle of individuals ? perhaps not more than the fingers on one hand. With the exception of the new Defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, these are the same individuals who have been involved from the start of this misadventure, who made the original decision to go to war in Iraq and who used the original false justifications for going to war. It is human nature to be reluctant to undertake actions that would imply a significant reversal of policy.

From the standpoint of U.S. national interest, this is particularly ominous. If the United States continues to be bogged down in protracted, bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and much of the Islamic world.


Here, for instance, is a plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran:
Iraq fails to meet the benchmarks for progress toward stability set by the Bush administration. This is followed by U.S. accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the United States blamed on Iran, culminating in a "defensive" U.S. military action against Iran. This plunges a lonely United States into a spreading and deepening quagmire lasting 20 years or more and eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.?


Indeed, a mythical historical narrative to justify the case for such a protracted and potential expanding war is already being articulated. Initially justified by false claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the war is now being redefined as the decisive ideological struggle of our time, reminiscent of the earlier collisions with Nazism and Stalinism. In that context, Islamist extremism and Al Qaeda are presented as the equivalents of the threat posed by Nazi Germany and then Soviet Russia, and 9/11 as the equivalent of the Pearl Harbor attack that precipitated U.S. involvement in World War II.

This simplistic and demagogic narrative, however, overlooks that the Nazi threat was based on the military power of the most industrially advanced European state and that Stalinism was not only able to mobilize the resources of the victorious and militarily powerful Soviet Union but had worldwide appeal through its Marxist doctrine.

In contrast, most Muslims are not embracing Islamic fundamentalism. Al Qaeda is an isolated, fundamentalist aberration. Most Iraqis are engaged in strife not on behalf of an Islamist ideology but because of the U.S. occupation, which destroyed the Iraqi state. Iran, meanwhile, though gaining in regional influence, is hardly a global threat; rather, it is politically divided, economically and militarily weak. To argue that the United States must respond militarily to a wide Islamic threat with Iran at its epicenter is to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy.

No other country shares the Manichean delusions that the Bush administration so passionately articulates. And the result, sad to say, is growing political isolation of and pervasive popular antagonism toward the United States.

Our international interest calls for a significant change in direction. We need a strategy to end the occupation of Iraq and to shape a regional security dialogue. Both goals will take time and require genuinely serious U.S. commitment. The quest to achieve these goals should involve four steps.

First, the United States should reaffirm explicitly and unambiguously its determination to leave Iraq in a reasonably short period of time. Right now, the U.S. occupation, even though resented by most Iraqis, is serving as an umbrella for internal intransigence. Nobody inside or outside the Iraqi government feels any real incentive to compromise while the U.S. is keeping the situation more or less afloat.

A public declaration that the U.S. intends to leave is needed to allay fears in the Middle East of a new and enduring American imperial hegemony. Right or wrong, many view the establishment of such a hegemony as the primary reason for the U.S. intervention in a region only recently free of colonial domination. That perception must be discredited. If the president is unwilling to do so, perhaps Congress could by passing a joint resolution.

Second, the United States should announce that it is undertaking talks with Iraqi leaders to jointly set a date by which U.S. military disengagement should be completed. Roughly a year might be a good goal ? but the date must be agreed on with the Iraqis and announced as a joint decision. In the meantime, the U.S. should avoid military escalation, including the troop "surge," which can, at best, have only a passing tactical benefit.

Only by holding serious talks with Iraqi politicians about an exit date can we identify the authentic Iraqi leaders with the self-confidence and capacity to stand on their own legs, without U.S. military protection. The painful reality is that the current Iraqi regime, characterized by the Bush administration as representative of the Iraqi people, largely defines itself by its physical location: the 4-square-mile U.S. fortress within Baghdad ? protected by a wall 15 feet thick in places and manned by heavily armed U.S. military ? popularly known as the Green Zone. Only Iraqi leaders who can exercise real power beyond the Green Zone can eventually reach a genuine Iraqi accommodation.

Third, the United States should encourage Iraqi leaders to issue an invitation to all neighbors of Iraq and perhaps some other Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan, to discuss how best to enhance stability in Iraq in conjunction with U.S. military disengagement and to participate eventually in a conference regarding regional stability.

Such a serious discussion about regional security cannot be undertaken with Iraq or its neighbors while the U.S. is perceived as an occupier for an indefinite duration. Iraq's neighbors don't fear any real explosion in Iraq because we're there, and the volatile status quo comes at our expense and does not require them to make any real choices.

But an agreed-on departure date would have the effect of forcing all of the governments around Iraq to ask themselves: "How do we deal with the problem of stability in Iraq? Do we really want to have a regional war among ourselves?" Would a war that might, for example, pit the Saudis and the Jordanians against the Iranians, with the Syrians in between, be worth risking? Most of the regimes in the region know that that kind of a war could spread and destroy them.

That is why the effort to engage the neighbors is desirable; it could help prevent an escalating civil war in Iraq that also poses a mounting threat to their own stability. But it can only take place provided the United States is in the process of leaving. An announcement of our willingness to leave and to convene a conference to discuss the next steps would be a powerful trigger for change.

Fourth, the U.S. should activate a credible and energetic effort to finally reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace. The record shows that the Israelis and the Palestinians will never do so on their own. Without such a settlement, nationalist and fundamentalist passions in the region will in the longer run doom any Arab regime that is perceived as supportive of U.S. regional hegemony.

After World War II, the U.S. prevailed in the defense of democracy in Europe because it successfully pursued a long-term political strategy of uniting its friends and dividing its enemies. It soberly deterred aggression without initiating hostilities, and all the while, it explored the possibility of negotiating arrangements.

Today, American global leadership is being tested in the Middle East. A similarly wise strategy of genuinely constructive political engagement is urgently needed.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, is the author of "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower," to be published later this month.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

CHARGING IRAN WITH "GENOCIDE" BEFORE NUKING IT

Gary Leupp
02/10/07 "Counterpunch"

In a very interesting analysis last month, the former chief of staff of the Russian Army, Gen. Leonid Ivashov, predicted a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran by this April. "Within weeks from now," he wrote, "we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc." I'm afraid this has the ring of truth.

Then you have Gen. Oded Tira, chief artillery officer of the Israeli Defense Forces declaring last month that "an American strike on Iran is essential" for the very existence of the Jewish State. Suggesting that "President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," he urgently appealed to the resurgent Democratic Party to work towards that Israeli goal. "As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence," he declared, "we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure."

Tira specifically urged the Israel Lobby in the U.S. to "turn to Hilary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran." The Lobby seems to be doing a great job at that, Tira's criticisms about Democrats' "foolishness" notwithstanding. All the Democratic presidential frontrunners have assured AIPAC or Israeli audiences that they're at least as hawkish on Iran as the unpopular Bush. Meanwhile the Israeli allegation that Iran poses an "existential" threat to itself, made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the U.S. Congress last year, has insinuated its way into American official discourse.

Referring to the vaguely defined "war on terror" in general, Cheney recently told Fox News, "This is an existential conflict. It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years." His daughter Elizabeth (Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and the VP's liaison with the spooky new "Office of Iranian Affairs") wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last month, "America faces an existential threat We will have to fight these terrorists to the death somewhere, sometime. We can't negotiate with them or 'solve' their jihad." The administration, still led by neocons clustered around Cheney, has embraced the Israeli rhetoric of paranoiac prophesy. It has decided to attack the Islamic Republic, to end its existence, for the self-defense of Israel and America. To gain support it must sow fear and must demonize Iran, ratcheting up the rhetoric week by week.
The "informational war machine" to which Ivashov alludes has been shoveling out disinformation faster than the public can digest, no doubt on the assumption that rumors even if later disproved can usefully damage reputations and set up targets for attack. The Straussian neoconservatives who tirelessly campaigned to foist their Noble Lies about Iraq on the American people up to the Iraq attack in March 2003 might not much care if the lies they tell now about Iran are exposed down the road. What they want is regime change soon and therefore, a compelling casus belli or two.

During the lead up to the Iraq War, the main charge against Baghdad (skeptically received at the UN) was that it possessed weapons of mass destruction threatening the whole world including New York City, which President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and other administration officials warned could result in a mushroom cloud over the Big Apple. Bush and Cheney intimated to certain audiences that Iraq posed a particular threat to Israel, but in general this issue was downplayed, probably because the administration wanted to avoid the accusation that it was going to war "for Israel" as opposed to America or the mythic but impressive-sounding "international community."

This time it's different. Although Israel attacked and destroyed Iraq's French-built Osiraq nuclear rector in 1981 (in an illegal action then condemned by the Reagan administration and virtually all other governments, although Cheney and his neocons find inspiration in it today), and although the Israeli government enthusiastically greeted the invasion of Iraq, it didn't overtly campaign for the war. But now it is feverishly beating the drums for a U.S. war on Iran. And as Cheney has pointedly noted, if the U.S. doesn't attack Iran, "Israel might do it without being asked." Most likely it will, if it happens, be a joint effort.

Notice how the case against Iran articulated in Israel forms the bulk of the Bush administration's brief. It runs something like this. Iran is a radical Islamist theocratic state that supports terrorists, including Lebanon's Shiite Hizbollah (which follows the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini), and various Palestinian organizations. It is large, powerful, and hostile to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. The Iranian regime is anti-Semitic; President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Iran is concealing the existence of an illegal nuclear weapons program, a program that threatens the existence of the Jewish state. Therefore it is guilty of "planning to commit genocide"---just like that universally acknowledged incarnation of evil, Nazi Germany.

To this alarmist case, the U.S. propaganda mill adds the charges that Iran harbors al-Qaeda members; provides improvised explosive device (IED) components to "insurgents" in Iraq, who use them to kill Americans; and generally "meddles" in Iraq. (One should ask how those occupying a country, against the will of its people, 6000 miles from U.S. shores can talk about a neighboring country sharing a 600 mile border with Iraq, a common Shiite religious faith and 3000 years of incessant interaction can complain about Iranian "meddling" with a straight face. Especially when they cherish their own right to meddle in Latin America whenever it pleases them.) But these flimsy charges haven't been at the top of the list. The main issue, as in the Iraq case, is the WMD one, and specifically the future prospect of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel producing a second Holocaust.

From the (often Israeli-American dual national) neocons' point of view, what can you do as an encore after terrifying Americans with the vision of mushroom clouds over New York? What image has the terrifying power of that one? Why, genocide of course! The conscious, evil, extermination of a whole people---in this case a people regarded by many American evangelical Christians as God's Chosen People, whose miraculous reestablishment of a state in the twentieth century fulfilled biblical prophecy and whose state indeed augurs the yearned-for Second Coming of Christ. This genocide issue looks like the ideal issue to get the American people on board a massive, likely nuclear, assault on Iran.

In December, following lots of discussion in Israel on this issue, outgoing U.S. UN Ambassador John Bolton called on the UN International Court of Criminal Justice to charge Ahmadinejad with "inciting genocide." "It's time to take action," Bolton told a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations symposium. "We're being given early warning, unambiguously, on what his intentions are." There was apparently no doubt in Bolton's mind that Iran wants to kill all Israelis. (For the record, Bolton has in the past asserted confidently that Cuba's widely admired pharmaceutical research projects are actually a front for the development of biological weapons. The State Department itself, embarrassed and acknowledging no evidence for this claim, had to shut him up.)

Also last December, former Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu summoned seventy foreign diplomats in Israel to a meeting to pressure them to join Israel in efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program. According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the meeting was "the first event in an international public relations campaign. It will include a proposal to file a complaint in the International Court of Justice against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for war crimes, and his plans to commit genocide will be presented."

"We must cry Gevalt before the entire world," declared Netanyahu. (Gevalt: a Yiddish expression of shock or dismay.) "In 1938, Hitler didn't say he wanted to destroy [the Jews]; Ahmadinejad is saying clearly that this is his intention, and we aren't even shouting. At least call it a crime against humanity. We must make the world see that the issue here is a program for genocide."

But Netanyahu (like Gen. Tira) is probably much more concerned about American public opinion than that of "the world." He knows that the average American hearing the official Israeli case, ill-equipped to challenge its vilifying assumptions, might actually be inclined to embrace it. Ignorance and fear are excellent allies here, and should be countered with some rational presentation of historical fact, the neocon propagandists' great enemy.

Most Americans do not suspect, for example, that Hizbollah (which Israel tried in vain to destroy last summer) is a popular political party in Lebanon, where it represents the Shiite population and is respected for the efficient social services it provides. It emerged as a resistance movement among the Shiites in the south after the Israeli invasion of 1982. (Initially, many Shiites had actually welcomed the Israelis, since they were targeting the PLO at a time of considerable conflict between Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese. But the occupying troops were deeply hated, and resistance mounted.)

Most Americans don't know that in the last parliamentary election Hizbollah and its allies won 27% of the total seats. It had ministers in the Lebanese cabinet before withdrawing them recently in protest of the U.S.-backed prime minister's policies. It has radio and television stations. Hizbollah is widely credited with forcing the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and can attract hundreds of thousands, even a million protesters to demonstrate in a country of 3.8 million. It has forged an alliance with General Michel Aoun, a Christian military leader who once fought against Syrian forces and now heads a mainly Christian political party. Netanyahu knows that few Americans think about these things when they hear him describe Hizbollah as a "terrorist organization."

Nor do most Americans know much about the Palestinian organizations that Iran supports with office space, funds, or weapons. They've probably heard of Hamas, but have no idea whether it's Shiite-based (and thus connected to Iran religiously), or Sunni and less influenced ideologically by Iran. (It is Sunni.) They may not realize that Hamas grew up in opposition to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (once categorized as a "terrorist" organization by the U.S. but later recognized by Israel---and funded by the U.S. and other countries--- in the form of the "Palestinian Authority") and are widely seen as more honest, capable and pious than the PLO politicians widely associated with corruption, inefficiency and secularism. They may not realize that Hamas handily won the last Palestinian elections, which were fair and fairly reflected the sentiments of the Palestinian people. They may not sense a contradiction between President Bush's rhetoric about "democracy in the Middle East" and his government's refusal to accept a democratically elected government in Palestine. They may not know that Hamas called and maintained a ceasefire with Israel for 16 months before June 2006 (when Israeli artillery shells killed seven Palestinians, including three children, at a family picnic on a crowded Gaza beach). And they certainly know little of the histories of other Iran-backed Palestinian organizations. That makes them easy targets for anti-Muslim disinformation campaigns in general.

Most Americans are sheltered from news reports about Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, or in the vast prison-camp of Gaza. They are conditioned to perceive Arab and Muslim hostility to Israel as a reflection of anti-Semitism and religious animosity and intolerance, rather than understandable reaction to the historical experience of Palestinian displacement and abuse, repeated Israeli attacks on Lebanon, continued construction of illegal Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank, annexation of the Golan Heights, etc. They are inclined to believe that Israel, as a "democracy," is America's natural ally in the Middle East, while many American Christians are convinced that its very existence is in fulfillment of biblical prophesy. Netanyahu understands all this, basking in the glow of the evangelicals' adulation and perhaps marveling at their gullibility.

The American media has repeated ad infinitum the report that Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. This matter-of-fact acceptance of the validity of the quote has been a huge boon to the vilifying warmongers. The Persian-language statement, which has now been analyzed and translated by several western scholars, in fact makes no reference to any map at all.
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jonathan_steele/2006/06/post_155.h tml What Ahmadinejad said, quoting Ayatollah Khomeini (who died in 1989) was that "the occupation of Jerusalem" will be "erased from the page of time." The statement is a bit vague and in poetic language but makes no reference to a map at all, to say nothing of genocide. Yet Bolton and Netanyahu want us to read it as a clear intention that Ahmadinejad wants to destroy all Jews! Ahmadinejad used the quote in a speech noting that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Soviet Union itself, and the regime of Saddam Hussein all ended in time, as he maintained the Israeli occupation of one of Islam's holiest cities would too.

It's true that the Iranian president has made provocative statements questioning the occurrence of the Holocaust. But his political powers are limited, he does not control foreign policy, and he faces substantial criticism from other members of the Iranian power elite. Mohammad Khatami, Ahmadinejad's predecessor as president from 1997 to 2005 and still an influential player in the Iranian power structure, has pointedly distanced himself from Ahmadinejad's comment, telling an Arab audience that the Holocaust was "an historical fact." But then, he's an internationally respected proponent of the "dialogue of civilizations" who while in power sought better relations with the U.S., only to be rebuffed. Anyway Americans don't hear much about differences among Iranian leaders; we're encouraged to see them all as threatening and vile. When in February 2003 Secretary Colin Powell's lieutenant Richard Armitage matter-of-factly called Iran a "democracy," Cheney's neocons were all over him.

Americans aren't supposed to know that Iran has hotly contested elections, even though all candidates for office must be approved by the Guardian Council of six jurists elected by the Majlis (Parliament) and six clerics chosen by the Supreme Leader, who is himself elected by a parliamentary body of 86 people. (Basically, the democratic process is constrained by repressive religious oversight. But that happens elsewhere too. Note that Israeli "democracy" is predicated on the idea that any Jew from anywhere arriving in Israel gets citizenship and voting rights. Israeli Arabs have these rights too, but they do not exist among the four million strong Palestinian exile community denied their right of return.)

But back to the big issue, the putative nuclear weapons program that might someday destroy Israel. The U.S. press refers routinely to "Iran's nuclear weapons program" as though it obviously had one, while most Americans don't know that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, actually issued a fatwa against the production, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons in 2005. Most know that Iran is enriching uranium, but probably don't know that all countries have the right to enrich uranium, and that countries without nuclear weapons programs (like Japan, Germany, the Netheralnds, Brazil) have enriched it without American protest. Signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty are in fact guaranteed the right to do so, so long as they renounce nuclear weapons development and submit to IAEA inspection---as Iran has done. (Indeed, Iran has submitted to unprecedentedly intrusive UN inspections.) Meanwhile, countries that haven't signed the treaty (like India, Pakistan, and Israel, non-signatories that have nuclear weapons) aren't legally bound to its terms at all! Americans might ask: Why do these three countries enjoy such close relations with the U.S. despite their defiance of the nonproliferation regimen the U.S. demands Iran respect? (North Korea was a signatory but withdrew from the Treaty in 2003 in the face of unremitting U.S. hostility and tested nuclear weapons in 2006.)

Most Americans probably don't know that Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a man who understands the science, keeps saying there is no evidence that Iran's enrichment program is related to a military program. True, he declared, after a meeting with Condi Rice in March 2006 (in which she agreed to lift U.S. efforts to fire him as IAEA head), that the IAEA was "not at this point in time in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." The Bush administration has used that convoluted double-negative statement, and the September 2005 IAEA statement on Iran, to justify its preparations for war.

According to that statement Iran's "many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement [voluntarily signed by Iran in 2003]constitute non-compliance" with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the "history of concealment of Iran's nuclear activities" and "resulting absence of confidence that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council." Most Americans don't realize that this statement was actually opposed by 13 of the 35 voting countries (including Russia, China, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela and South Africa) but backed by NATO country representatives voting as a bloc. (This was used to produce UNSC Resolution 1737, which having affirmed the right of Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories "to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination," contradictorily "decides" that "Iran shall without further delay suspendall [uranium] enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.")

Misled by politicians (including AIPAC heroine Hilary Clinton) and poorly served by the mainstream news media, many Americans just might swallow the accusation that Iran is planning genocide, in league with Hizbollah and Hamas. Some might believe that a nuclear Iran would somehow threaten the Homeland, perhaps by sharing nuclear arms with terrorist groups. More might believe that Iran is at least developing nuclear weapons, following Dick Cheney's reasoning that Iran with all its oil can only be pursuing a nuclear program with weapons in mind. (They might not know that in the 1970s, U.S. administrations and corporations such as General Electric were encouraging Iran to develop a peaceful nuclear program! But that was when Iran was under the Shah, a U.S. client toppled in the most mass-based genuine revolutionary upheaval in the modern history of Islamic countries in 1979.)

But there is in fact no reason to suppose that Iran plans to attack any country. It has not, for the record, in modern times although it was itself attacked by Iraq (supported by the U.S.) from 1980 to 1988. The closest it came to invading a neighboring country came in 1998, when following the killing of seven Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan, Tehran mobilized against the Taliban regime. (In 2001 it cooperated with Washington to topple that regime and replace it with one rooted in the Northern Alliance forces.)

In August 2006 Ahmadinejad stated that Iran was not a threat to any country, "not even to the Zionist regime." French President Jacques Chirac recently acknowledged, in an unguarded honest moment, that even if Iran had a few nuclear weapons it would still be "not very dangerous." It is ludicrous to depict the Iranian regime as a menace to the United States, which has half the world's total military budget, troops based in 120 countries, and bases surrounding (and threatening) Iran in Afghanistan and Iraq. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson has revealed, the State Department received an Iranian offer in mid-2003 to end support for Palestinian militant groups, cooperate with the U.S. in stabilizing Iraq and settling the Israeli-Arab dispute, and make its nuclear program more transparent. In return Iran asked for an end for U.S. support for the Mujahadeen Khalq Iranian militant group based in Iraq, withdrawal of trade sanctions and an end to U.S. hostility. Welcomed by Powell, the overture was contemptuously rejected by Cheney's office-much as overtures from Iraq and Syria had been summarily rejected earlier by officials saying, "We don't negotiate with evil, we defeat it."

Is it not obvious that any strike against Israel or the U.S. from Iran would result in unacceptable consequences for the Islamic Republic? Is it not obvious that Netanyahu's sensationalistic genocide charge is part of a general propaganda campaign intended to pave the way for an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation? In Israel itself, supposedly marked for annihilation, the putative Iranian threat is hyped by some, downplayed by others. Efraim Halevy, former head of the dreaded spy agency Mossad, recently dismissed the notion that Iran poses "an existential threat to Israel."

"Israel is indestructible today," he declared. "It's not so simple just to think you can have a device on your hand and you will able to hurl it on to a certain location and wipe out a nation Israel has known of this threat [from Iran] for more than a decade-and-a half and has watched this threat grow ­ you must assume that Israel was not sitting on its hands ... or [waiting] for someone else to do the job" Can Iran destroy Israel? "I don't think this is doable in pure operational terms."

So enjoy what Ha'aretz called the "international public relations campaign," the general the "informational warfare machine" as it heats up. Expect to be told more and more in the coming weeks that Iran is not only killing U.S. troops in Iraq, but threatening your very existence. Imagine the boldest of Straussian "Noble Lies" screaming from your TV screens for weeks. Iran's fanatical leaders, we'll be told, want a caliphate stretching from Spain to Indonesia. They want mushroom clouds over New York. They want genocide---indeed they're already planning genocide. And so (as Bush and Hilary both declare) "nothing is off the table" when it comes to "dealing" with the Islamic Republic.
Gevalt! Netanyahu cries. "Gevalt!" one should reply to the warmongers, and ask:
How have these shameless disinformation artists fooled so many people about this Iran 'threat'?

How has a discredited administration brought us so close to another crime against peace as defined by the Nuremburg Principles and United Nations Charter?

How has the Iran attack lobby acquired such political clout in this country?
How have shrewd political manipulators even been able in any respectable forum to connect opposition to the slaughter of Iranians with anti-Semitism?

How did the 9-11 attacks of receding memory propel this country into such an era of madness?

How can the Democrats swept to power in a wave of antiwar revulsion sit on the fence or actively assist as the administration plans to use its own (real, existing) nuclear weapons on Iran?
Gevalt indeed!

Ivashov doubts that "the world's protests can stop the U.S." and suggests that "the revenues of [the U.S.] military-industrial complex" is what "matters to Americans." I can only hope we prove him wrong, mobilizing to end the Iraq War, to impeach the war criminals in power, and to stop the attacks on Iran and Syria before they start.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:36 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

SQUANDERING BILLIONS IN IRAQ WHILE US SUFFERS

Eric Margolis
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17030.htm

“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money,” famously quipped U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen back in the 1960s.

02/11/07 "Toronto Sun' -- -- Our minds boggled last week at U.S. government estimates that President George W. Bush’s so-called “war on terror” (including Afghanistan and Iraq) will cost at least $690 billion US by next year. That’s more than the total cost of World War I, Korea, or Vietnam, and second only to World War II’s $2 trillion.

This means that by 2008, Bush’s wars in the Muslim world will have cost each American man, woman and child $2,300.

Defeat looms in Iraq; Afghanistan is headed that way. And now U.S. intelligence reports al-Qaida is stronger than ever. Osama Bin Laden, who said the only way to expel U.S. influence from the Muslim world was to bleed the U.S. financially, must be beaming.

As kings have found since the dawn of time, in war, money counts as much as armies. Wars always cost far more than originally projected.

A primary architect of the 2003 Iraq War, former deputy secretary of defence, Paul Wolfowitz, assured Americans it would only cost $40 billion. The cost of occupying Iraq would be paid, he claimed, by plundering its oil. Wolfowitz now heads the World Bank.

Speaking of epic idiocy, enter the man selected by Wolfowitz to become proconsul of U.S.-occupied Iraq, a bumbling conservative Republican hack named Paul Bremer.

During the 14 months he ran Iraq, Bremer committed two enormous follies. He dissolved Iraq’s army and police, then fired all government employees who were members of Saddam’s Ba’athist Party. Iraq was left without security forces or functioning government. Chaos ensued.

For a few hundred million, the U.S. could have hired much of Saddam’s army, security forces and bureaucrats. Instead, the Cheney/Bush administration declared them outlaws and began using Shia militias and death squads to fight the Sunni resistance, triggering today’s ghastly Sunni-Shia civil war.

Chaos in U.S.-occupied Iraq, and the collapse of its banking system and Ba’ath Party-run social programs, forced Washington to rush 363 tons of $100 US bills to Baghdad. This money, which belonged to Iraq, came from the UN-run “Oil for Food” program.

Bremer’s people dished out $12 billion US by the truckload. Another $800 million US was stolen by U.S.-appointed officials of Iraq’s defense ministry.

But $12.8 missing billions is just the tip of the iceberg.

U.S corporations in bed with the Republican Party’s right wing, like Halliburton, and mercenary-supplier, Blackwater, made billions out of Iraq. Halliburton, whose former CEO was v-p Cheney, was awarded $16 billion US in sweetheart Iraq contracts.

This week, House Democrats opened hearings that finally began to expose the tsunami of corruption that accompanied the occupation and plundering of Iraq. Billions more of fraud and thievery concealed by the White House will likely be uncovered.

‘Private contractors’

The whole sordid story of the 100,000 “private contractors” employed by the U.S. in Iraq has only begun to emerge. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, at least 48,000 of these — let’s use the correct term, mercenaries — are private gunmen working for hundreds of U.S. military corporations like Blackwater and Vinnell. These heavily-armed desperados are a law unto themselves and are under no supervision. Some mercenaries make $1,000 US daily in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blackwater reputedly has the world’s biggest private military base with a reported 20,000 personnel and a fleet of aircraft. Such huge numbers of mercenaries are a potential menace.

They could also pose a serious internal danger to America, given the close links of some to extreme rightists in the U.S.

The White House wants to help pay for its foreign wars by slashing spending on health and seniors. While the Washington, D.C., police no longer dare patrol crime-infested southern parts of America’s capitol, “President” Cheney and “v-p” Bush are sending the 82nd Airborne Division to try to pacify Baghdad. If this isn’t the extreme theatre of the absurd, I don’t know what is.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:42 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

THE WORLD CAN HALT BU$H'S CRIMES BY DUMPING THE DOLLAR
Paul Craig Roberts
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17035.htm

What would be the consequences of a US or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear energy sites?

At the 2006 Perdana Global Peace Forum, Australian medical scientist Dr. Helen Caldicott provided an authoritative analysis: [VIDEO] of the devastating impact on human life that would result from the radiation release from such an attack.

Dr. Caldicott described the catastrophic deaths that would result from a conventional attack on nuclear facilities and the long-term increase in cancer deaths from the radiation release.

Should the attack be made with nuclear weapons--as some of Bush’s criminally insane neoconservative advisers advocate--the populations of many countries would suffer for generations from radioactive particles in air, water, and food chains. Deaths would number in the many millions.

Such an attack justified in the name of “American security” and “American hegemony” would constitute the rawest form of evil the world has ever seen, far surpassing in evil the atrocities of the Nazi and Communist regimes.

Dr. Caldicott detailed the horrible long-term consequences for the Iraqi population from the US military’s current use of depleted uranium in explosive ammunition used in Iraq. Caldicott explained that “depleted” does not mean depleted of radiation. She explained that each time such ammunition is used, radioactive particles are released in the air and are absorbed into people’s lungs. We are yet to see the horrific civilian casualty rate of the American invasion--or the true casualty rate among US troops.

Dr. Caldicott expressed bewilderment why the rest of the world does not stand up to the US and force a halt to its crimes against humanity.

One man heard her--Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.

On February 10 at the 43rd Munich Security Conference, President Putin told the world’s assembled political leaders that the US was trying to establish a “uni-polar world,” which he defined as “one single center of power, one single center of force and one single master.”

This goal, Putin said, was a “formula for disaster.”

“The United States,” Putin said, truthfully, “has overstepped its borders in all spheres” and “has imposed itself on other states.”

The Russian leader declared: “We see no kind of restraint--a hyper-inflated use of force.”

To avoid catastrophe, Putin said a reconsideration of the entire existing architecture of global security was necessary.

Putin’s words of truth fell on many deaf ears. US Senator John McCain, America’s most idiotic and dangerous “leader” after Bush and Cheney, equated Putin’s legitimate criticism of the US with “confrontation.”

America’s new puppets--the states of central and Eastern Europe and the secretary general of NATO, no longer a treaty for the defense of Europe but a military force enlisted in America’s quest for empire--lined up with McCain’s argument that Russia was in fundamental conflict “with the core values of Euro-Atlantic democracies.”

Even the BBC’s defense and security correspondent, Rob Watson, jumped on the American propaganda bandwagon, tagging Putin’s speech a revival of the cold war.

No delegate at the security conference stood up to state the obvious fact that it is not Russia that is invading countries under pretexts as false as Hitler’s and setting up weapons systems on foreign soil in order to achieve military hegemony.

The reception given to Putin’s words made it clear to Russia, China, and every country not bribed, threatened or purchased into participation in America’s drive for world hegemony that the US has no interest whatsoever in peace. Intelligent people realize that American claims to be a moral and democratic force are mere pretense behind which hides a policy of military aggression.

The US, Putin said, has gone “from one conflict to another without achieving a fully-fledged solution to any of them.”

Putin has repeatedly stressed Russia’s peaceful intentions and desire to focus on its economy and to avoid a new arms race. In his speech on the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Putin said: “I am convinced that there is no alternative to our friendship and our fraternity. With our closest neighbors and all countries of the world, Russia is prepared to build a kind of relationship which is not only based on lessons of the past but is also directed into a shared future.”

In his 2006 state of the nation speech, Putin noted that America’s military budget is 25 times larger than Russia’s. He compared the Bush Regime to a wolf who eats whom he wants without listening. Putin is being demonized by US propagandists, because he insists upon Russia being a politically and economically independent state.

The Bush Regime has taken the US outside the boundaries of international law and is acting unilaterally, falsely declaring American military aggression to be “defensive” and in the interests of peace. Much of the world realizes the hypocrisy and danger in the Bush Regime’s justification of the unbridled use of US military power, but no countries except other nuclear powers can challenge American aggression, and then only at the risk of all life on earth.

The solution is nonmilitary challenge.

The Bush Regime’s ability to wage war is dependent upon foreign financing. The Regime’s wars are financed with red ink, which means the hundreds of billions of dollars must be borrowed. As American consumers are spending more than they earn on consumption, the money cannot be borrowed from Americans.

The US is totally dependent upon foreigners to finance its budget and trade deficits. By financing these deficits, foreign governments are complicit in the Bush Regime’s military aggressions and war crimes. The Bush Regime’s two largest lenders are China and Japan. It is ironic that Japan, the only nation to experience nuclear attack by the US, is banker to the Bush Regime as it prepares a possible nuclear attack on Iran.

If the rest of the world would simply stop purchasing US Treasuries, and instead dump their surplus dollars into the foreign exchange market, the Bush Regime would be overwhelmed with economic crisis and unable to wage war. The arrogant hubris associated with the “sole superpower” myth would burst like the bubble it is.

The collapse of the dollar would also end the US government’s ability to subvert other countries by purchasing their leaders to do America’s will.

The demise of the US dollar is only a question of time. It would save the world from war and devastation if the dollar is brought to its demise before the Bush Regime launches its planned attack on Iran.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:55 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

A TERRORIST BY ANY OTHER NAME

Chauncey White
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17043.htm


José Padilla also known as Abdullah al-Muhajir or Muhajir Abdullah, is a U.S. citizen accused of being a terrorist by the United States government. He was arrested in Chicago on May 8, 2002, and was detained as a material witness until June 9, 2002 when President Bush designated him an illegal enemy combatant and transferred him to a military prison arguing that he was thereby not entitled to the normal protection of U.S. law or the Geneva Conventions.

Then there was the case of the ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh who after entering in to two pleas (providing aid to the Taliban -- illegal aid to the Taliban as he carried weapons and was a member of their forces) was sentenced to twenty years in prison without parole. There are more cases…..

What is incomprehensible is that there are enemy combatants who have cost so many American lives and plan to take more lives, bankrupt America (as if it can sink any lower) and yet they are roaming around free. Perhaps it is because they hide themselves behind cushy jobs, collect extravagant salaries and call themselves pundits while hiding their true intentions. Protected within the four walls of the right-wing, hawkish American Enterprise Institute (AEI), there many such ‘pundit/terrorists’ who forge policies detrimental to our national interest.

The AEI was the unofficial, off-site recruitment office for Douglas Feith and Harold Rhode. Also headquartered at the AEI is Richard Perle, Wohlstetter's prize protege, the godfather of the AEI-Defense Department nexus of neoconservatives who was chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defense Policy Board. Rhode, along with Michael Rubin, a former AEI staffer, was a ubiquitous presence at AEI conferences on Iraq. After 9/11, Feith and Rhode recruited David Wurmser (whose wife heads MEMRI), the director of Middle East studies for AEI, to serve as a Pentagon consultant. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser share a common background; in 1996, they jointly prepared a paper for former Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding Israel’s grand strategy in the Middle East. This paper involved the removal of Saddam Hossein from power[i].

Although there was not a single evidence to tie Iraq with 9/11, it was the task of Wurmser, backed by Feith and Rhode, to take America to war with Iraq[ii]. This task achieved over 3,000 dead Americans, thousands injured and maimed, and trillions of dollars lost along with our credibility. Is this loss not greater than that of 9/11? This was careful planning and manipulation, and yet one must wonder why it is that those responsible are roaming around free, no doubt in fancy cars, chic suits, planning America’s next tragedy - the war with Iran.

The blueprints for an attack on Iran have already been drawn. Josh Muravchik, a Middle East ‘specialist’ at the AEI, is among one of the supporters of such an attack:

"I do not think anyone in the US is talking about invasion. We have been chastened by the experience of Iraq, even a hawk like myself." But an air strike was another matter. The danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon "is not just that it might use it out of the blue but as a shield to do all sorts of mischief. I do not believe there will be any way to stop this happening other than physical force."[iii] Sound familiar? Wasn’t that the reason they gave us for attacking Iraq?

Other ‘experts’ at the AEI are free to shamelessly bring on a disaster on to this country and the Middle East, while the likes of Padella and Walker are incarcerated. Marc Gerecht, David Frum, Micahel Rubin, Michael Ledeen are asking for America to take on policies [iv]which will be catastrophic for America, the Middle East, and possibly involved Russia.

In defiance of all credible reports on Iran’s nuclear program, the AEI and its collaborators which includes the mainstream media (msm) has set out to present the public that Iran is weaponizing its civilian nuclear program. Fearing that the American people, indeed the world, will not be fooled twice, the neo-cons have decided to launch America on war with Iran based on manufacturing evidence that Iran is supplying the insurgents with improvised explosives.

Unable to accept a humiliating defeat in Iraq, refusing to own up to the carnage that has been created, not to mention the blood that is on their shoulders, not only is Iran a prime scapegoat, but it gives the vampires at the AEI a solid excuse for the next war. According to former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, he noted classrooms for training all Iraqi covert agents in the black art of making and using IEDs during an inspection of the Iraqi Intelligence Service's training academy in Baghdad in April 1997. From his observations which were not limited to the classrooms, Ritter states that Saddam’s government and its remnants are familiar with every in inch of Baghdad and beyond including all neighborhoods including Shiite and Kurdish; and “for every 100 active insurgents fielded, there must be 1,000 to 10,000 active supporters in the local population.”[v] It is only logical to conclude that IED are the Saddam followers wishing to rid Iraq of the coalition presence.

While the US would like to put the blame on Iran, it has not escaped the more skeptical and intelligent observer of this war that the escalation of the violence has coincided with the lynching of Saddam Hossein. Perhaps it would have been more prudent to prevent the hanging at a time that was so special to Moslems. It would seem that ‘throwing a bone’ to the masses only served to hurt those who threw the bone.

Once again, amidst the thunderous roar of treason, the voice of reason is being muted and the pundits at the AEI and other neo-cons are taking America to war. The mainstream media, by affording them a platform, are putting a rope around our values, our liberty and justice, but above all, they are snuffing out the life of our citizenry. Are we ready to submit?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

ULSTER ON THE EUPHRATES:THE ANGLO-AMERICAN DIRTY WAR I IRAQ

Chris Floyd
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17048.htm


Imagine a city torn by sectarian strife. Competing death squads roam the streets; terrorists stage horrific attacks. Local authority is distrusted and weak; local populations protect the extremists in their midst, out of loyalty or fear. A bristling military occupation exacerbates tensions at every turn, while offering prime targets for bombs and snipers. And behind the scenes, in a shadow world of double-cross and double-bluff, covert units of the occupying power run agents on both sides of the civil war, countenancing -- and sometimes directing -- assassinations, terrorist strikes, torture sessions, and ethnic cleansing.

Is this a portrait of Belfast during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland? Or a picture of Baghdad today? It is both; and in both cases, one of Britain's most secret – and most criminally compromised – military units has plied its trade in the darkness, "turning" and controlling terrorist killers in a dangerous bid to wring actionable intelligence from blood and betrayal. And America's covert soldiers are right there with them, working side-by-side with their British comrades in the aptly named "Task Force Black," the UK's Sunday Telegraph reports.

Last week, the right-wing, pro-war paper published an early valentine to the "Joint Support Group," the covert unit whose bland name belies its dramatic role at the center of the Anglo-American "dirty war" in Iraq. In gushing, lavish, uncritical prose that could have been (and perhaps was) scripted by the unit itself, the Telegraph lauded the team of secret warriors as "one of the Coalition's most effective and deadly weapons in the fight against terror," running "dozens of Iraqi double-agents," including "members of terrorist groups."

What the story fails to mention is the fact that in its Ulster incarnation, the JSG – then known as the Force Research Unit (FRU) – actively colluded in the murder of at least 15 civilians by Loyalist deaths squads, and an untold number of victims killed, maimed and tortured by the many Irish Republican Army double-agents controlled by the unit. What's more, the man who commanded the FRU during the height of its depredations – Lt. Col. Gordon Kerr – is in Baghdad now, heading the hugger-mugger Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), a large counter-terrorism force made up of unnamed "existing assets" from the glory days in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

This despite the fact that a 10-year, $100 million investigation by Britain's top police officer, Lord Stevens, confirmed in 2003 that the Kerr-led FRU "sanctioned killings" through "institutionalized collusion" with both Protestant and Catholic militias during the 1980s and 1990s. Stevens sent dossiers of evidence against Kerr and 20 other security apparatchiks to the Blair government's Director of Public Prosecutions, in the expectation that the fiery Scotsman and the others would be put on trial.

But instead prosecuting Kerr, Blair promoted him: first to a plum assignment as British military attaché in Beijing – effectively the number two man in all of UK military intelligence, as Scotland's Sunday Herald notes – then with the SRR posting to Baghdad, where Kerr and his former FRU mates now apply the "methods developed on the mean streets of Ulster during the Troubles," as the Telegraph breathlessly relates.

The Telegraph puff piece is naturally coy about revealing these methods, beyond the fact that, as in Ireland, the JSG uses "a variety of inducements ranging from blackmail to bribes" to turn Iraqi terrorists into Coalition agents. So to get a better idea of the techniques employed by the group in Baghdad, we must return to those "mean streets of Ulster" and the unit's reign of terror and collusion there, which has been thoroughly documented not only by the exhaustive Stevens inquiries, but also in a remarkable series of investigative reports by the Sunday Herald's Neil Mackay, and in extensive stories by the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and others.

We will also see how the operations of the JSG and "Task Force Black" dovetail with U.S. efforts to apply the lessons of its own dirty wars – such as the "Salvador Option" – to Iraq, as well as long-running Bush Administration initiatives to arm and fund "friendly" militias while infiltrating terrorist groups in order to "provoke them into action." It is indeed a picture painted in black, a glimpse at the dark muck that lies beneath the high-flown rhetoric about freedom and civilization forever issuing from the lips of the war leaders.

(Continued after the jump.)

II. Whacking for the Peelers
Gregory Burns had a problem. He was one of Gordon Kerr's FRU informers planted deep inside the IRA, along with two of his friends, Johnny Dignam and Aidan Starrs. But as Mackay noted in a February 2003 story, the already-partnered Burns had acquired a girlfriend on the side, Margaret Perry, 26, a "civilian" Catholic with no paramilitary ties. Forbidden fruit is sweet, of course – but pillow talk is dangerous for an inside man. "Burns didn't keep his mouth shut and [Perry] found out he was working for British intelligence," an FRU officer told Mackay. "He tried to convince her he was a double-agent the IRA had planted in the [British] army – but she didn't buy it."

Burns called his FRU handlers and asked to come in from the cold. He'd been compromised, he said, and now he and his friends needed to get out, with new identities, relocation, good jobs – the usual payoff for trusted agents when the jig was up. But Kerr refused: "He said [Burns] should silence Perry," the FRU man told Mackay. Burns, panicking at thought of the IRA's horrific retributions against informers, insisted: he would have to kill the woman if they didn't bring him in, he told Kerr. Again Kerr refused.

And so Burns arranged a meeting with his lover, to "talk over" the situation. His friends, Aidan and Johnny, volunteered to drive her there: "On the way, they pulled into a forest, beat her to death and buried her in a shallow grave," Mackay notes. Two years later, when her body was found, the IRA put two and two together – and slowly tortured Burns and his two friends to death, after first extracting copious amounts of information about British intelligence operations in Ireland.

'In Kerr's eyes, Burns just wasn't important enough to resettle," the FRU source told the Sunday Herald. "So we ended up with four unnecessary deaths and the compromising of British army intelligence officers, which ultimately put soldiers' lives at risk. To Kerr, it was always a matter of the ends justifying the means."

Then again, Kerr could well afford to sacrifice a few informers here and there to the wrath of the IRA's dreaded "security unit" – because his own prize double agent was the head of that security unit. Codenamed "Stakeknife," Kerr's man presided over, and sometimes administered, the grisly torture-murders of up to 50 men during his tenure in the IRA's upper ranks. The victims included other British double agents who were sacrificed in order to protect Stakeknife's cover, as the Guardian and many other UK papers reported when the agent's work was revealed in 2003. ("Stakeknife" was later identified in the press as Alfredo Scappaticci – an Irishman despite the Italian name, although he continues to deny the charge.)

The FRU also "knowingly allowed soldiers, [police] officers and civilians to die at the hands of IRA bombers in order to protect republican double agents," the Sunday Herald's investigations found. As Mackay reports: "FRU sources said around seven police and army personnel died as a result of military intelligence allowing IRA bombs to be placed during Kerr's time in command of the FRU. They estimate that three civilians also died this way, with casualties in the hundreds."

But some of the worst excesses came from the FRU's handling of operatives on the other side, in the fiercely pro-British Protestant militia the Ulster Defense Association (UDA). Here, among the Loyalists, Kerr's top double agent was Brian Nelson, who became head of intelligence for the UDA. As John Ware put it in the Guardian: "Kerr regarded Nelson as his jewel in the crown… For the next three years [from 1987], Nelson colluded with murder gangs to shoot IRA suspects. Month after month, armed and masked men crashed into homes. Sometimes they got the wrong address or shot the wrong person."

Such as Gerald Slane, a 27-year-old Belfast man shot down in front of his three children. A gun had been found dumped on his property; this, and his Catholicism, was enough to get him assassinated at the order of Kerr's man Nelson. Afterwards, it was found that Slane had no IRA connections.

Another "wrong person" killed by the FRU's agents was the Belfast attorney Pat Finucane, who was shot 14 times in front of his wife and children. Finucane was a civil rights activist who had defended both Catholics and Protestants, but was considered an IRA sympathizer by Loyalists – and a thorn in the side by British authorities. He was killed at Nelson's order by a fellow FRU informer in the UDA, Ken Barrett, who was convicted of the murder but freed last year after as part of an amnesty program in the Northern Ireland peace process. Barrett was unapologetic about his FRU "wetwork" on Finucane. "The peelers [authorities] wanted him whacked," he told a BBC documentary team after his release. "We whacked him and that is the end of the story."

Kerr gave Nelson packages of intelligence files to help facilitate the assassination of UDA targets, including at least four "civilians" with no IRA ties, the Stevens inquiry found. The FRU also obtained "restriction orders" from other British security and military units in Northern Ireland, whereby they would pull their forces from an area when Kerr's UDA agents were going to make a hit there, allowing the killers to get in and get out without hindrance, investigator Nick Davies reports.

Yet the FRU was wary of sharing its own intelligence with other security services – which was the ostensible reason for running the double-agents in the first place. Instead, Kerr engaged in fierce turf wars with other agencies, while "stovepiping" much of his intelligence to the top circles of the UK government, including the cabinet-level Intelligence Committee chaired by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Indeed, when Nelson was finally exposed and brought to trial on five counts of conspiracy to commit murder, Kerr testified in his behalf, noting for the court that Nelson's intelligence "product and his reporting was passed through the intelligence community and at a high level, and from that point of view he has to be considered a very important agent."

As one FRU man told Mackay: "Under Kerr's command…the mindset was one of 'the right people would be allowed to live and wrong people should die.'"

This is the "mindset" now operating in the heart of the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the JSG is carrying out – we are told in glowing terms – precisely the same mission it had in Ulster. a unit which has allowed its agents to torture, murder and commit acts of terrorism, including actions that killed local civilians and the soldiers and intelligence operatives of their own country.

III. The White House Green Light
Of course, Kerr and his Baghdad black-op crew are not alone in the double-dealing world of Iraqi counterinsurgency. The Pentagon's ever-expanding secret armies are deeply enmeshed in such efforts as well. As Sy Hersh has reported ("The Coming Wars," New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005), after his re-election in 2004, George W. Bush signed a series of secret presidential directives that authorized the Pentagon to run virtually unrestricted covert operations, including a reprise of the American-backed, American-trained death squads employed by authoritarian regimes in Central and South America during the Reagan Administration, where so many of the Bush faction cut their teeth – and made their bones.

"Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?” a former high-level intelligence official said to Hersh. "We founded them and we financed them. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it." A Pentagon insider added: "We’re going to be riding with the bad boys." Another role model for the expanded dirty war cited by Pentagon sources, said Hersh, was Britain's brutal repression of the Mau Mau in Kenya during the 1950s, when British forces set up concentration camps, created their own terrorist groups to confuse and discredit the insurgency, and killed thousands of innocent civilians in quashing the uprising.

Bush's formal greenlighting of the death-squad option built upon an already securely-established base, part of a larger effort to turn the world into a "global free-fire zone" for covert operatives, as one top Pentagon official told Hersh. For example, in November 2002 a Pentagon plan to infiltrate terrorist groups and "stimulate" them into action was uncovered by William Arkin, then writing for the Los Angeles Times. The new unit, the "Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group," was described in the Pentagon documents as "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that brings "together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence and cover and deception."

Later, in August 2004, then deputy Pentagon chief Paul Wolfowitz appeared before Congress to ask for $500 million to arm and train non-governmental "local militias" to serve as U.S. proxies for "counter-insurgency and "counterterrorist" operations in "ungoverned areas" and hot spots around the world, Agence France Presse (and virtually no one else) reported at the time. These hired paramilitaries were to be employed in what Wolfowitz called an "arc of crisis" that just happened to stretch across the oil-bearing lands and strategic pipeline routes of Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

By then, the Bush Administration had already begun laying the groundwork for an expanded covert war in the hot spot of Iraq. In November 2003, it created a "commando squad" drawn from the sectarian militias of five major Iraqi factions, as the Washington Post reported that year. Armed, funded and trained by the American occupation forces, and supplied with a "state-of-the-art command, control and communications center" from the Pentagon, the new Iraqi commandos were loosed on the then-nascent Iraqi insurgency – despite the very prescient fears of some U.S. officials "that various Sunni or Shiite factions could eventually use the service to secretly undermine their political competitors," as the Post noted.

And indeed, in early 2005 – not long after Bush's directives loosed the "Salvador Option" on Iraq – the tide of death-squad activity began its long and bloody rise to the tsunami-like levels we see today. Ironically, the first big spike of mass torture-murders, chiefly in Sunni areas at the time, coincided with "Operation Lightning," a much ballyhooed effort by American and Iraqi forces to "secure" Baghdad. The operation featured a mass influx of extra troops into the capital; dividing the city into manageable sectors, then working through them one by one; imposing hundreds of checkpoints to lock down all insurgent movements; and establishing a 24-hour presence of security and military forces in troubled neighborhoods, the Associated Press reported in May 2005. In other words, it was almost exactly the same plan now being offered as Bush's "New Way Forward," the controversial "surge."

But the "Lightning" fizzled in a matter of weeks, and the death squads grew even bolder. Brazen daylight raids by "men dressed in uniforms" of Iraqi police or Iraqi commandos or other Iraqi security agencies swept up dozens of victims at a time. For months, U.S. "advisers" to Iraqi security agencies – including veterans of the original "Salvador Option" – insisted that these were Sunni insurgents in stolen threads, although many of the victims were Sunni civilians. Later, the line was changed: the chief culprits were now "rogue elements" of the various sectarian militias that had "infiltrated" Iraq's institutions.

But as investigative reporter Max Fuller has pointed out in his detailed examination of information buried in reams of mainstream news stories and public Pentagon documents, the vast majority of atrocities then attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias were in fact the work of government-controlled commandos and "special forces," trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans and run largely by former CIA assets. As Fuller puts it: "If there are militias in the Ministry of Interior, you can be sure that they are militias that stand to attention whenever a U.S. colonel enters the room." And perhaps a British lieutenant colonel as well

With the Anglo-American coalition so deeply embedded in dirty war – infiltrating terrorist groups, "stimulating" them into action," protecting "crown jewel" double-agents no matter what the cost, "riding with the bad boys," greenlighting the "Salvador Option" – it is simply impossible to determine the genuine origin of almost any particular terrorist outrage or death squad atrocity in Iraq. All of these operations take place in the shadow world, where terrorists are sometimes government operatives and vice versa, and where security agencies and terrorist groups interpenetrate in murky thickets of collusion and duplicity. This moral chaos leaves "a kind of blot/To mark the full-fraught man and best indued/With some suspicion," as Shakespeare's Henry V says.

What's more, the "intelligence" churned out by this system is inevitably tainted by the self-interest, mixed motives, fear and criminality of those who provide it. The ineffectiveness of this approach can be seen in the ever-increasing, many-sided civil war that is tearing Iraq apart. If these covert operations really are intended to quell the violence, they clearly have had the opposite effect. If they have some other intention, the pious defenders of civilization – who approve these activities with promotions, green lights and unlimited budgets – aren't telling.

This article was first published at Truthout.org
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:20 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

IS THE MILITARY OUR LAST HOPE?
Paul Craig Roberts
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17068.htm

Is the high command of the US military breaking ranks with the Bush Regime?

With the “mainstream media,” that is, the government’s propaganda ministry, bombarding the American public with “news reports” from unidentified sources that the US government has proof that “the highest reaches of the Iranian government” is supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgency, Marine General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, demurred. General Pace told the Voice of America on February 12 that he has no information indicating that Iran’s government is supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgency.

General Pace said that “Iranians are involved,” but “what I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows about this . . . I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.”

Unlike the New York Times, Fox “news,” CNN, and the TV networks, General Pace refused to lie for the Bush Regime.

Perhaps America could regain its reputation if General Pace would send a division of US Marines to arrest Bush, Cheney, the entire civilian contingent in the Pentagon, the neoconservative nazis, and the complicit members of Congress and send them off to the Hague to be tried for war crimes.

But he did the best he could and refused to lie for warmongers.

There is absolutely no doubt that Bush-Cheney and the neoconservative nazis are planning revenge against General Pace. We can only hope the general does not have a wife who works for the CIA.

Bush’s support stands at 30% or less of the American population; Cheney’s at 20% or less. How can “leaders” who are not supported by public opinion or by a single fact escalate a war that is entirely based on lies while starting a new war that is entirely based on lies?

Is America any longer a democracy where failed leaders are held to account? Obviously not.

What has America become while it has been in the hands of the Bush Regime?

How can any patriotic American support a regime that has shredded the US Constitution, ignored the separation of powers, violated the Geneva Conventions, forced through a law legalizing torture, launched a war of aggression that has produced 26,000 American military casualties in service of a lie, murdered tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians, destroyed an entire country, and planned an attack on Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons?

Patriotism is loyalty to country and to the US Constitution, not loyalty to a criminal regime.

This criminal regime is in the hands of a tiny cabal of fanatical ideologues who would risk the very existence of human life for their perverted ideology that has no higher value than American and Israeli hegemony.

Bush and the congressional sheep say “support the troops,” by which they mean, of course, “continue the war.”

But Bush does not support the troops. On February 12 the Associated Press reported: “The Bush administration’s budget assumes cuts to funding for veterans’ health care two years from now--even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.”

Bush is an ignorant warmonger. He doesn’t care who pays the price as long as the American people let him sit in the Oval Office and play Napoleon.

MoveOn, an organization that, unlike the Bush Regime, has redeeming virtues, is making a terrible mistake in trying to collect half a million signatures in behalf of saving federal funding for NPR and PBS.

I cannot imagine a surer way of adding NPR and PBS to the Bush Regime’s ministry of propaganda.

NPR and PBS desperately need to be totally independent of government and dependent only on their listeners. Any organization dependent on government money belongs to the government. Such an organization has no independence. Just ask the many physicists who cannot express doubts about the 9/11 Commission Report because their careers depend entirely on federal government grants.

We have witnessed a decline in the integrity of NPR reporting over the past six years. The Bush Regime put an ideological commissar in charge of NPR and the result is that NPR sounds increasingly like Fox “news.” The few people with integrity that America has left in the news business desperately need their independence.

On February 13, I listened for two hours to NPR and did not hear a single report of General Pace’s contradiction of Bush/Cheney propaganda about Iran’s leaders. But I did hear a neoconservative from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a propaganda institution in Washington D.C., push the buttons for war with Iran.

The Clinton Administration permitted the destruction of independent news in the US when it allowed the extraordinary concentration of the media. The American media is no longer run by journalists with a commitment to truth but by advertising executives who seek to protect profits by avoiding “controversy” and who seek to protect the value of the conglomerates, a value that depends on government-granted broadcast licenses, by accommodating the government’s line, whatever it might be.

The only free and independent media in the US is online. The best thing that could possibly happen to NPR is to lose all federal funding and to become totally independent of Washington.

Then we could trust it again.


POSTSCRIPT
Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power: Leo Toystoy - Demanding the Impossible: a History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall (fontana press 1992) p374


"The vested interests - if we explain the situation by their influence - can only get the public to act as they wish by manipulating public opinion, by playing either upon the public's indifference, confusions, prejudices, pugnacities or fears. And the only way in which the power of the interests can be undermined and their maneuvers defeated is by bringing home to the public the danger of its indifference, the absurdity of its prejudices, or the hollowness of its fears; by showing that it is indifferent to danger where real danger exists; frightened by dangers which are nonexistent." Sir Norman Angell 1872 - 1967


"Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. ...justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated." Manu 1200 bc
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

RUSSIAN BEAR GROWLS AT US HYPOCRISY

K Gajendra Singh
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17058.htm



" The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions-- undermining America's global legitimacy --collateral civilian casualties, -- abuses, -- tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability." Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter

At the 43rd annual International Security Conference held in Munich on 10 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the importance of the role of United Nations , U.S. missile defense, NATO expansion, Iran's nuclear program and the Energy Charter. He accused Washington of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions, trying to divide modern Europe and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Ever since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended the cold war in 1989 , more out of naiveté than misplaced goodwill which after USSR's collapse the US ruling elite claimed as the victory of the capitalist West over Socialist Russia ,this is the first blunt criticism of US unleashed rampant forces trying to coerce the whole world to its will for total domination while using brazen lies and illegal , brutal and inhuman means .

While calling a spade a spade Russian leader Putin was only articulating what a majority of peoples in the world think of US policies .A BBC poll covering more than 26,000 people in 25 countries, including the U.S., held in November - January, found that 49 % believe U.S. playing "mainly negative" role in the world, compared to 32% who said it was "mainly positive." In 18 countries asked the same question earlier , which had called U.S. influence positive, it fell from 40 % in 2005, to 36 % last year, to 29 % in 2007. In Germany and Indonesia, nearly 3 out of 4 respondents had a mainly negative opinion of U.S. influence while it was 69 % in France and Turkey.

Nearly 73 % disapproved of Washington's role in the Iraq war. In Egypt, France, and Lebanon where more than 3 out of 4 respondents "strongly disapproved" , while more than 68 % said the U.S. military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents."

Even in US , 57 % disapprove of their government's handling of the Iraq war and of the Israeli-Hezbollah war; while 60 % disapproved of its handling of Guantanamo detainees; and 53 % believed the U.S. military presence provokes more conflict than it prevents. A plurality of 50 % in U.S. disapprove of the government's handling of Iran's nuclear program,

"These days the U.S. government hardly seems to be able to do anything right," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland who co-ordinated the poll.

In last November elections US electorate trashed Bush's policies by trouncing his Republican party in the Senate and the House and disapprove of Bush's policies by 2 to one .But instead of course correction , also recommended by Baker –Hamilton Iraqi Study Group, there is now the so called policy of "surge" in Iraq , with only a massive surge in deaths and destruction in Iraq , specially Baghdad , where the new policy would be implemented .



Then there are multifarious accusations against Tehran without proof and threats to use force , even nuclear weapons .Such an irrational and immoral attack if carried out, most experts and people believe would plunge the world into hell like turmoil for decades. You just have to look at the quagmire in Iraq with daily massacres and almost total destruction of the Iraqi state with a burgeoning civil war triggered by Washington .



Putin's speech marks a new era in Russia's new found confidence after 7 years of his rule which has brought stability and economic strength .He is now visiting Saudi Arabia ,Qatar and Jordan , first ever visits by a Russian head of state. With Middle East in a state of flux and USA bogged down in Iraq with no clear cut exit policy , Saudi Arabia and others in the region are looking elsewhere to counter irrational US policies.



"I see in -- Putin a statesman and a man of peace and fairness," Saudi King Abdullah



Unlike 1991 , when Gorbachev's peace initiative to help resolve the problem of Iraqi occupation of Kuwait , was brushed aside by Washington ,Moscow is now better positioned to play a vital and constructive role in the region. Exchange of Presidential visits with Syria two years ago , writing off of old Syrian debts of almost $10 billion and supply of missiles to deter arrogant Israeli jets buzzing the Presidential Palace in Damascus have almost restored the old relationship . Historical enemies Russia and Turkey have made up and have booming economic exchanges



Moscow is now ready to play a role of reliable and honest broker in Arab Israeli dispute with its excellent relations with Tel Aviv and PLO and even Hamas which was received in Moscow , soon after it was elected to power. Moscow's strengthened relations with Tehran with its support at the UN , supply of missiles and arms and building of nuclear power plants and possibly create an informal gas OPEC give Russia an important role .And Putin has worked towards it assiduously.

"I see in ... Putin a statesman and a man of peace and fairness," said Saudi King Abdullah according to official Saudi Press Agency. "That's why the kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends a hand of friendship to Russia." Qatar has the world's third-largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran while Russia is second largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia. They could consult each other on oil and gas prices.

Putin's warm reception in Riyadh ,Qatar and Amman is harbinger of Russia's growing influence in the region and desire of the unnerved states in the region for a bulwark against USA's destructive policies , which could unleash a terrible Shia-Sunni conflagration in the region and beyond .The Arabs and Muslims have seen through US policies!

Middle East and the Muslim world is learning to trust Putin's Russia It was granted observer status in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 2005, and in 2006 the Russia-Muslim World Strategic Vision Group was established.

Before embarking on his tour of the Middle East , in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV , extremely popular in Arab and Islamic world , Putin said that the new U.S. strategy in Iraq will work only if a date for withdrawal of foreign military forces was agreed upon .The U.S. has officially declared that it plans to hand over full authority, primarily in the law enforcement and security areas, to Iraqi agencies.



Putin said, "But I think this won't work if we don't decide beforehand when the foreign contingent should be withdrawn. Because, as it happens in any conflict and in any country, people should know that they have to be prepared to take on full responsibility inside the country by a certain date. When they do not have a definite date and when it is unclear when the maturity of relevant organizations in this country should reach a certain appropriate level, then everything is shifted off to the foreign contingent."


Putin's Munich Discourse;

Putin's audience in Munich comprised of dozens of Western ministers and policy makers ,including the new US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, and the hawkish Republican Presidential contender, Senator John McCain.

Putin stated ; "Today we are observing unrestrained, hypertrophied use of force in international affairs, a force that plunges the world into an abyss of recurring conflicts." "I am convinced that the UN Charter is the only legitimate decision-making mechanism for the use of military force as a last resort," he said.

"The UN must not be replaced either by NATO or the European Union," declared Putin.

On NATO's eastward expansion , Putin said that it has nothing to do with its modernization and would affect Moscow's relations with the Alliance.{Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - joined NATO in 2004. Georgia and Ukraine , which saw US franchised street gangs, financed , trained and supported by Washington and its so called democracy promoting institutions and NGOs , install US puppets in power ( both are in trouble now ) are being encouraged to join NATO .Russia strongly objects to the deployment of NATO bases on the territory of newly admitted member nations. Reports suggest that Romanian and Bulgarian bases could be used if Iran was attacked. }

"It is evident that the process of NATO expansion has nothing to do with modernizing the alliance or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it is seriously eroding mutual trust," the Russian leader said. "Why do they have to move their military infrastructure closer to our borders?" Putin wondered, "Is this connected with overcoming global threats today?"

Putin added that the main threat facing Russia, the U.S. and Europe derives from international terrorism, which can only be fought jointly.

"What is a uni-polar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master," clarified Putin .

He stated that deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Central Europe could trigger a new spiral of the arms race. US reasons for deploying a missile defense system in Europe are not convincing enough, since launching of North Korean ballistic missiles against the U.S. across western Europe would be in conflict with the laws of ballistics. " Or, as we say in Russia, it's the like trying to reach your left ear with your right hand," he clarified.

Putin pledged to amend Russia's military strategy. "All our responses will be asymmetric, but highly effective," he said.

This riposte was in response to US plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interception system in Poland,' to protect itself against a potential threat from Iran.' Recently Washington has also shifted its largest sea-based missile defense radar in the Pacific from Hawaii to the Aleutian Islands, not far from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

Putin affirmed that Moscow is committed to its obligations on the reduction of nuclear warheads by 2012. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, signed on May 24, 2002 by Putin and Bush in Moscow, and expiring December 31, 2012, limited both countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. The treaty has been criticized for a lack of verification provisions and the possibility of re-deploying stored warheads.

Putin hoped that "our partners will also act in a transparent manner and will not try to stash away an extra couple hundred nuclear warheads against a rainy day."

Moscow has prepared a draft treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space. Putin said , "It will be submitted to our partners as an official proposal in the very near future."

He also called on the international community to resume dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation. "Russia speaks for the resumption of dialogue on this most important issue. It's necessary to preserve stability of the international legal disarmament base, and ensure the continuity of the nuclear arms reduction process," he said.

"We are seeing increasing disregard for the fundamental principles of international law," said Putin. The United States had repeatedly overstepped its national borders on questions of international security, a policy he said had made the world less, not more, safe.

"Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem; they have become a hotbed of further conflicts,"

"One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way ," asserted Putin.

Putin added that force should only be used when the option is backed by the United Nations Security Council. "This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure any more because nobody can hide behind international law," he said.

Putin also said the increased use of force was "causing an arms race with the desire of countries to get nuclear weapons." He did not name the countries but quite obviously these are north Korea, even Iran and many Arab states to counter Israel's arsenal of hundreds of nuclear bombs and means to deliver them . [While sanctions were passed against India and Pakistan in May, 1998 , after they went nuclear ,any enquiry forget any action against Israel is regularly vetoed by USA in New York and Vienna.]

Energy Charter

Russia is already cooperating with European countries on the basis of principles agreed in the Energy Charter, a mechanism for cooperation between Western and Eastern Europe on energy issues and signed at The Hague in 1991. [West now wants its investors free access to Russia's vast oil and gas deposits and export pipelines , but is unwilling to grant similar facilities to now petro dollar rich Russia to invest in European downstream business .Remember how US refused China , which has saved one trillion dollars by over exporting to US , investment in UNOCAL or a Dubai company a contract for handling of US ports .US led West wants only one way freedom in investment. }.

On Energy Charter Putin declared, "We have stated on numerous occasions that we are not against coordinating the principles of our relations with the European Union in the energy sphere. But we find the [Energy] Charter itself hard to accept." He said Russia's EU partners themselves are not observing the Charter, citing the nuclear materials market, which is still off limits to Russia. "No one has opened it up for us. There are also other issues that I would not like to bring up just now," he said.

Putin stated that Russia-EU energy relations should not be included in a new basic agreement replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. "I do not think we should [include these relations in the basic agreement], as there are other [important] spheres in our interaction with the European Union, besides energy," he said.

Russia and the EU were to begin talks on a new framework at the Russia-EU summit in Helsinki in November 24 last year, but Poland vetoed the negotiations over Russia's ban on its meat exports and Moscow's refusal to sign the Energy Charter. [Vice President Dick Cheney accused Moscow of using its energy resources as "tools of intimidation or blackmail." Many members in the Bush Administration belong to the energy interests to which they will revert back and are cheesed off that Russia does not allow freedom to exploit they have in Saudi Arabia , Gulf kingdoms and elsewhere.]

Putin recalled that Germany shortly after the end of the Cold War had sought to reassure Moscow (its historic enemy) that it would never send its military forces outside its borders. Berlin now has troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan. "Where are those guarantees now?" Putin demanded , arguing that Europe was attempting to set up new "virtual" barriers to replace the Berlin Wall.

Rubble from the Berlin Wall was "hauled away as souvenirs" to countries that praise openness and personal freedom, he said, but "now there are attempts to impose new dividing lines and rules, maybe virtual, but still dividing our mutual continent."

Putin rightly dismissed European complaints about Russian threats last year to cut off energy supplies to its neighbors, saying Moscow was only seeking market prices and stable, long-term contracts with countries including Ukraine and Georgia, which in the past had received subsidized supplies. Even friendly Belarus had to agree to market related prices. [US does it every day .It wants India to vote against Iran on the nuclear question and not have an energy security agreement either .Why ! because it is signing an agreement on nuclear power cooperation .India had its first nuclear explosion way back in 1974 and needs nuclear deterrent to protect its 1.1 billion citizens against nuclear blackmail. So does north Korea .And so think many others now that the biggest proliferators and violators of NPT are the 5 nuclear armed NPT members, also wielding veto power in UNSC}



Human rights;



Putin rebuffed criticism of his country's human rights record by the head of the New York-based Human Rights Watch , who said the world was seeing an "increasingly uni-polar government in Russia, where competing centres of influence are being forced to toe the party line."[US leaders routinely denounce HRW's critique of Abu Ghraib , Guantanamo and other violations.]



Putin responded that Russia was taking steps to stop foreign governments clandestinely using Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to influence Russian policy.



On the killings of a few Russian journalists during his Presidency, Putin retorted that it was in Iraq that most journalists were killed doing their job.

Kosovo and Serbia;

Putin declared "Only the Kosovars and Serbs can resolve this." "Let's not play God and try to resolve their problems."

Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership have failed to reach agreement on the province's future. Serbia demands that the province remain its part, while Kosovo's ethnic Albanians want independence. U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari last week unveiled a proposal, backed by the U.S. and European Union, for an internationally supervised statehood for Kososvo. The plan — which needs U.N. Security Council approval to take effect — does not explicitly mention independence, but spells out conditions for self-rule, including a flag, anthem, army and constitution, and the right to apply for membership in international organizations. Kosovo's Serb minority would have a high degree of control over their own affairs.

Serbia has rejected the plan, while Kosovo's leaders welcomed it.

Moscow has said a solution imposed against Serbia's consent could serve as a model for other separatist provinces elsewhere in the world. Washington maintains that the Kosovo situation is a "one-off" because the province has been under U.N. rule since 1999, when Serbian forces were ejected after a two month NATO 's illegal war on Yugoslavia, which destroyed its industry and infrastructure. Yugoslavia, a nation of southern Slavs and closer to Russia was broken up by USA and West Europe . Orthodox Serbia has close ethnic and religious affinities with Russia. But West opposes independence for South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the Transdneister .

Iran;

On Iran , Putin stated that unlike many countries including in Europe ,Russia did not pass missile technology to Iran. "I have no evidence to show that Russia, in the 1990s, helped Iran create its own missile technology. Other countries acted there. Technology was transferred through different channels. We have proof, and earlier I passed it directly to the U.S. president," Putin said.

"Technology is coming from Europe, from Asian countries. Russia has nothing to do with this," he said. "Russia supplied much less weaponry there than the U.S. or other countries did," he said, Russia has provided Iran with air defense systems with an effective range of 30 to 50 kilometers. "We did that so that Iran would not feel driven into a corner," he explained.

But Putin clarified that Iran has no missiles that could threaten Europe. "As regards [fears that] Iran has missiles that could threaten Europe, you are wrong. Iran has missiles with a range of 1,600-1,700 km. Calculate how many kilometers it is from the Iranian border to Munich," he asked.

Iran has been under US led campaign after it resumed uranium fuel enrichment in January 2006, which some Western countries claim is part of a covert nuclear weapons program. Moscow shares the concerns of the Vienna based International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, but the agency has not found a nuclear weapons program. Although Tehran has repeatedly affirmed its program is peaceful, the UN Security Council under US pressure did adopt a resolution in December imposing sanctions on Tehran ,but much diluted under insistence from Russia and China.

Russia, Iran's neighbour and a key economic partner has consistently supported Tehran's right to nuclear power under NPT. On February 23, the IAEA would report on the UN resolution on Iran's nuclear program. IAEA's chief El Bardai has asked all sides 'to take time out' and cool down and revert to negotiations. Bush Administrations accusations have not been taken seriously by newly empowered Democrats and many others , who accuse Bush administration of having used similar ratcheting tactics before invading Iraq , when all its accusations on WMDs, Iraq's connection with Al Qaeda and efforts to obtain Uranium ore were proved to be lies.

During the question period after the address, Putin made some soothing gestures and remarks.
Putin said President Bush had told him that the U.S. assumed the two countries would "never be enemies again, and I agree with him." "I really consider the president of the United States my friend." "He's a decent man, and one can do business with him," Putin said.

Inter-fax quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov telling state Russian TV Channel that the building of a good relations between Moscow and Washington was "not easy-- probably the most difficult partner."

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the President's speech in Munich was not "confrontational" and attributed his blunt words to the sense that the number of conflicts fomented by Washington "was constantly growing" and that international law was being undermined by such actions.

"It is in the interest of the United States, the European Union and other countries that international law is upheld, not further destroyed," Peskov stated.

Before Putin's sermon ,Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany , which holds the European Union's rotating presidency had praised Russia, saying it would be a reliable energy supplier to Europe. She called for closer relations between the EU and Moscow to enhance stability on the continent.

"How relations between the EU and Russia evolve will have a crucial impact on how security in the region will develop," said Merkel She also said that the international community is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Tehran needed to accept demands made by the U.N. and the IAEA , she added.

On the sidelines of the conference, Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani defended his country's nuclear program as peaceful, saying: "We are no threat to our region or other countries," while indicating a willingness to return to negotiations.

Western reaction;

Having seen Putin being lectured to even by leaders of pidddling Baltic states ,now part of EU ; US and European leaders were stunned at the candour of his speech .While US officials mostly played it down as empty rhetoric divorced from the real world,( Did not US Sen Barbara say recently, "The president[Bush] is living in a dream world.'') but European leaders are worried and felt that West must square up to a brash and combative new Russia.

"We should take him at his word. This was the real Russia of now, and possibly in four or five years time it could go further in this direction," declared Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Munich." We have to have a dialogue with Russia but we must be hard-nosed and realistic. We must stand up for our values."

Karl Schwarzenberg, the new Czech Foreign Minister, said it was none of Moscow's business whether Prague hosted the radar facilities for the US missile shield. "We have to thank President Putin [who] clearly and convincingly argued why Nato should be enlarged," he quipped to applause. "Some people have not noticed that the Soviet Union no longer exists."

"I do not see how we can negotiate a new partnership pact on this basis," said German Green Angelika Beer, a member of the European Parliament. "We need Russia for energy and Kosovo. He knows that - but perhaps he is going over the top," she said.

The European Union wants to negotiate a new partnership agreement with Russia but its hand is weakened by its dependence on Russian energy supplies. The other alternative is Iran. Any takers!

"This Munich conference is normally about the Americans and Europeans bitching at each other," said Ron Asmus, executive director of the Transatlantic Centre think tank in Brussels. "It will be interesting to see whether Putin actually managed to bring us together."

US & Europe need Moscow's support in UN to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear question and in securing independence for the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he was disappointed by Putin's statement that alliance enlargement was "a serious factor provoking reduced mutual trust." "I see a disconnection between NATO's partnership with Russia as it has developed and Putin's speech," he said.

"Who can be worried that democracy and the rule of law are coming closer to somebody's border?" Scheffer asked. [ Yes, de Hoop Scheffer. USA and NATO are spreading democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and international law by illegal invasion of Iraq.]

Putin's Munich growl came a day after a similar speech by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov - a possible successor to Putin ,to his NATO counterparts meeting in Seville, Spain.

"One Cold War was quite enough," US Defence Secretary Robert Gates .

Robert Gates sat through Putin's speech stone faced. A former CIA chief , as is the usual US trait when demonizing Putin they refer to his KGB background ( rarely mentioned when George WH Bush , a former CIA chief ,was Vice President or President ) Gates replied next day, "As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday's speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time," He paused for effect before adding, "Almost."

"And, I guess, old spies have a habit of blunt speaking," Gates said. "However, I have been to re-education camp — spending four and half years as a university president and dealing with faculty." His remark drew laughs and applause.

"Russia is a partner in endeavors," Gates added. "But we wonder, too, about some Russian policies that seem to work against international stability, such as its arms transfers and its temptation to use energy resources for political coercion." [ Really , What about invading Iraq to grab energy ?]

"All of these characterizations belong in the past," Gates said, and he listed some of them: "The free world versus those behind the Iron Curtain. North versus South. East versus West, and I am told that some have even spoken in terms of 'Old Europe' versus 'New.'" (It referred to remarks by his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld on Europe)

"The distinction I would draw is a very practical one — a realist's view perhaps," Gates said. "It is between alliance members who do all they can to fulfill collective commitments, and those who do not." He urged NATO allies to increase their military spending to meet the benchmark of two percent of gross domestic product set by the alliance; only six of NATO's 26 members fulfill that standard.

Digging old ghosts ie NATO's success in facing the Soviet threat, Gates stated that "it seems clear that totalitarianism was defeated as much by ideas the West championed then and now as by ICBMs, tanks and warships that the West deployed," Gates said. The alliance's most effective weapon, he said, was a "shared belief in political and economic freedom, religious toleration, human rights, representative government and the rule of law. These values kept our side united, and inspired those on the other side."

Gates added that the interceptor missiles and radar installations planned for Poland and the Czech Republic were not directed against Russia - it offered no protection against the Kremlin's arsenal of nuclear-tipped intercontinental rockets. Article continues

"This umbrella of protection unifies the alliance rather than divides it," he said.

Throughout his reply to Putin's commanding performance , Gates asked how America's European allies must help rebuild Afghanistan ( There are few takers for South Afghanistan.) and remain vigilant in the fight against global terrorism. He mentioned Putin only once by name ,to say he had accepted his invitation to visit Moscow.

Gates also referred to China, saying, "Looking eastward, China is a country at a strategic crossroads. All of us seek a constructive relationship with China, but we also wonder about strategic choices China may make. We note with concern their recent test of an anti-satellite weapon."

If the United States and its partners fail in Iraq, and chaos tears the nation apart, Gates warned, "every member of this alliance will feel the consequences" of regional turmoil and terrorism. He acknowledged the damage done to America's global standing by its conduct in the campaign against terrorism.

Sen. John McCain who was present in Munich described Putin's remarks as "the most aggressive speech from a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War." During his formal remarks later, McCain echoed the sentiments of several Americans in attendance, that Russia appeared to be turning more autocratic and its foreign policy was standing increasingly in opposition to Western democracies.

"Today's world is not unipolar," McCain said, disputing Putin's main theme. "In today's multipolar world, there is no need for pointless confrontation." [Sen. McCain remains a hawk on Iraq war ]

Reaction in Washington;

US spokesman Kurt Volker said he listened to Putin with a sense of disconnect from reality. "That was like a parallel universe. The rest of us were in there talking about common challenges," he said. Gordon Johndroe, President Bush's national security spokesman was "surprised and disappointed" by Putin's remarks. "His accusations are wrong," said Johndroe. But "We expect to continue cooperation with Russia in areas important to the international community such as counterterrorism and reducing the spread and threat of weapons of mass destruction," added Johndroe.

Stephen Sestanovich, Clinton's ambassador-at-large to states of the former Soviet Union said ;"Most Americans are not aware of how heated and agitated the Russians' discussions are about their relationship with the West." He added, "It may come as a surprise to Americans, but for the Russians, the rhetoric on these questions tends to be pretty grim, among the experts and regular folks, about the deterioration of the relationship.

"The theme is, 'We're tired of American hegemony, we're tired of being treated like a former superpower doormat, and we're back, and we're mad,' " Sestanovich said.

Prof Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University remarked "It's not just about U.S. foreign policy." "It's also about growing self-confidence in Russia, and Putin's determined effort to conduct a more muscular foreign policy, which is at least in part a byproduct of oil revenue," he said.

Why Russians dislike Washington;

The Soviet Union's collapse was ruthlessly exploited by US led West when its capitalist controlled media sang praises of economic reforms and democratization bringing economic disintegration and ruination to Russia .The worst kind of depression in modern history with economic losses more than twice those suffered by USSR in World War II. Russian GDP was trimmed to half and capital investment fell by 80 percent. People were reduced to penury and misery, death rates soared and the population shrank. And in August 1998, the Russian financial system collapsed.

Putin was appointed Prime Minister in 1999, then acting president. In the 2000 election, Putin took 53% of the vote in the first round and, four years later, he was re-elected with a landslide majority of 71%. After Putin took charge he arrested the decline , brought stability and security and consolidated the disintegrating core of the Russian state . The rise in energy prices , natural and a consequence of Iraq war has benefited Russia immensely .

Since 1999 Russian economy has averaged 6 to 7 annual growth, its gold and foreign currency reserves are the world's fifth largest. Moscow is booming with new construction, frenzied consumption of Western luxury goods , but over 60% Russians live below the poverty line. Still Putin's rule has brought stability and restored some sense of pride , and he remains very popular.

Stephen F. Cohen in an article "The New American Cold War " wrote in 10 July 2006 issue of US Magazine ,'The Nation" that since 1990s ,Washington has followed hypocritical policy of "strategic partnership and friendship," with Presidents being on first name basis but underneath, all US administrations have followed a ruthless policy of undermining Russia " accompanied by broken American promises, condescending lectures and demands for unilateral concessions. USA has been even more aggressive and uncompromising than was Washington's approach to the Soviet Communist Russia."

" A growing military encirclement of Russia, on and near its borders, by US and NATO bases, which are already ensconced or being planned in at least half the fourteen other former Soviet republics, from the Baltics and Ukraine to Georgia, Azerbaijan and the new states of Central Asia. The result is a US-built reverse iron curtain and the remilitarization of American-Russian relations.

" A tacit (and closely related) US denial that Russia has any legitimate national interests outside its own territory, even in ethnically akin or contiguous former republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia." Richard Holbrooke, Democratic a democrat Secretary of State in waiting roundly condemned Russia for promoting a pro-Moscow government in neighboring Ukraine, where Russia has centuries of shared linguistic, marital, religious, economic and security ties and declared ' that far-away Slav nation part of "our core zone of security."

"Even more, a presumption that Russia does not have full sovereignty within its own borders, as expressed by constant US interventions in Moscow's internal affairs since 1992. They have included an on-site crusade by swarms of American "advisers," particularly during the 1990s, to direct Russia's "transition" from Communism; endless missionary sermons from afar, often couched in threats, on how that nation should and should not organize its political and economic systems; and active support for Russian anti-Kremlin groups, some associated with hated Yeltsin-era oligarchs.

It was even suggested that Putin be overthrown by the kind of US-backed "color revolutions" carried out since 2003 in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, and attempted this year in Belarus. US corporate media 'increasingly call the Russian President "thug," "fascist" and "Saddam Hussein," one of the Carnegie Endowment's several Washington crusaders assures us of "Putin's weakness" and vulnerability to "regime change." (Do proponents of "democratic regime change" in Russia care what it might mean destabilizing a nuclear state?)

" Underpinning these components of the real US policy are familiar cold war double standards , condemning Moscow for doing what Washington does - such as seeking allies and military bases in former Soviet republics, using its assets (oil and gas in Russia's case) as aid to friendly governments and regulating foreign money in its political life.

"More broadly, when NATO expands to Russia's front and back doorsteps, gobbling up former Soviet-bloc members and republics, it is "fighting terrorism" and "protecting new states"; when Moscow protests, it is engaging in "cold war thinking." When Washington meddles in the politics of Georgia and Ukraine, it is "promoting democracy"; when the Kremlin does so, it is "neo-imperialism."

" And not to forget the historical background: When in the 1990s the US-supported Yeltsin overthrew Russia's elected Parliament and Constitutional Court by force, gave its national wealth and television networks to Kremlin insiders, imposed a constitution without real constraints on executive power and rigged elections, it was "democratic reform"; when Putin continues that process, it is "authoritarianism."

US has attempted by exploiting Russia's weakness, to acquire the nuclear superiority it could not achieve during the Soviet era. Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, in order to create a system capable of destroying incoming missiles and thereby the capacity to launch a nuclear first strike without fear of retaliation. US coerced Russia to sign an empty nuclear weapons reduction agreement without actual destruction of weapons or verification , but allowing US development of new ones, which Washington has announced.

" The extraordinarily anti-Russian nature of these policies casts serious doubt on two American official and media axioms: that the recent "chill" in US-Russian relations has been caused by Putin's behavior at home and abroad, and that the cold war ended fifteen years ago. The first axiom is false, the second only half true: The cold war ended in Moscow, but not in Washington."

"The crusade to transform Russia during the 1990s, with its disastrous "shock therapy" economic measures and resulting antidemocratic acts, further destabilized the country, fostering an oligarchical system that plundered the state's wealth, deprived essential infrastructures of investment, impoverished the people and nurtured dangerous corruption. In the process, it discredited Western-style reform, generated mass anti-Americanism where there had been almost none - only 5 percent of Russians surveyed in May (2006) thought the United States was a "friend" - and eviscerated the once-influential pro-American faction in Kremlin and electoral politics."

US leaders and media pretend that Washington has a "well-intentioned Russian policy," but "a Russian autocrat ... betrayed the American's faith." After a decade of broken US promises and Yeltsin's boozy compliance, Kremlin declared four years ago, in a Radio commentary "The era of Russian geopolitical concessions [is] coming to an end." (Looking back, the commentator remarked bitterly that Russia has been "constantly deceived.")

In the undeclared cold war now there are no structures for any substantive negotiations and cooperation, .The "dialogue is almost non-existent ," in regard to nuclear weapons after US's abandonment of the ABM treaty and real reductions, its decision to build an antimissile shield, and talk of pre-emptive war and nuclear strikes which had kept the nuclear peace for nearly fifty years are now open . Reportedly, Bush's National Security Council is contemptuous of arms control as a "baggage from the cold war." US editorial pages are dominated by resurgent cold war orthodoxies, with incessant demonization of Putin's "autocracy" and "crude neo-imperialism". It reads like a bygone Pravda on the Potomac.

So the discourses at Munich should surprise no one except hypocritical US leaders , its media and its Trojan horses in EU like, UK , Poland and the Czechs. Those in the Baltics and East Europe ,who decry past Soviet domination , would they have preferred Nazi victory and rule .In any case USA was not prepared to expend men and material to liberate East Europe and the Baltics from the Nazis. It were the Soviet people and its armed forces which destroyed 80% of Nazi military machine and sacrificed tens of millions of its citizens and military men. Hollywood only makes films of great US victories.

Arabs welcome Putin's Middle East visit;

Arab world has welcomed President Putin's Middle East visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan .Arab experts feel that the primary aim is to "send a message" to the US that Moscow has a key role to play in this vital region and that it is high time for Washington to give up its policies of domination and destruction.

"By carrying out this exceptional trip, I believe Putin is at pains to dispatch a message to the United States that the Middle East is not a backyard for Washington, but a vital area for the whole world," Faisal al-Rofou, head of the political science department at the University of Jordan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. (In Jordan and most Arab countries such comments have the governments' approval)



Al-Rofou remarked that the Russian leader's Munich comments indicated Moscow was "fed up with the domination polices of George Bush. "

"Putin is heir to the legacy of a great state - the Soviet Union - and although Moscow's role has receded over the past few years, the Russian leader wants to say that it is high time for Moscow to play that great part again in the affairs of the Middle East and the world at large," he said. "Therefore , his Middle East trip seeks to drive the idea home that we are present in this part of the world and the United States should recognize others' interests in the region," he added.

Putin's visit would "add significance" to the agreement concluded in Mecca with Saudi brokerage between the key Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas. (Against Israeli protests Moscow had received a Hamas delegation , soon after it won in a free democratic election.)



"I believe the accord will figure largely in Putin's talks with Saudi leaders and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas," he said. Abbas is scheduled to meet with Putin in Amman on 13 February. Palestinian diplomats expected the Mecca declaration to be high on the agenda during the meeting.



"We count on the Russian support for ensuring a lift of the Western embargo that was imposed on the Palestinian Authority in March" in the wake of the landslide victory scored by Hamas , al-Rofou said.

During the last Mideast Quartet meeting in Washington at the beginning of this month, the Russian delegate urged a speedy end of the boycott of the Hamas-led government which he said came to office through the ballots. [US led West remains opposed to Hamas as only pro-West puppets are acceptable. So much for Western proclaimed love for democracy.] Besides Russia, the quartet also includes the US, the E U and the U. N.

Qadri Saeed, at the Cairo-based al-Ahram Strategic Studies, believes that Moscow "stood a good chance of influencing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through its balanced ties with both Fatah and Hamas on one side and between the Palestinians and Israel on the other".

"In face of the receding US influence in the region due to setbacks in Iraq and other areas, the Russians now feel they can occupy the ensuing vacuum in the region," he concluded.

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

THE GHAWAR OIL FIELD: HOW MUCH IS LEFT?

Decline of the world’s largest reserve could cripple the global economy

David S. Elliott
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17077.htm

Back in 2001, before the issue of energy scarcity ever entered my mind, I read a chilling online article called "Ghawar Is Dying" that bluntly speculated about the massive global upheavals modern industrial society would suffer if the largest oil field in Saudi Arabia were indeed running dry.

The article represented an eye-opening, paradigm-changing revelation for me, as I began to understand how very fragile the way of life that millions of people take for granted actually is. If access to abundant amounts of cheap oil were suddenly cut off, virtually every person living in the developed world would experience a precipitous drop in their standard of living, as most of the available creature comforts would disappear like a puff of smoke. After copiously researching the topic, discussions with friends and acquaintances became more and more strained as I realized that not only were they were just as clueless as I had been, but no one wanted to even contemplate the possibility of a decidedly grimmer future.

For those who don't know much about Ghawar, it is by far the largest conventional oil field in the world, measuring an estimated 175 miles by 20 miles (280km by 30 km). Currently, the huge field is said to produce between 4.5 and 5 million barrels of oil per day by outside observers, which is over 6 percent of global production. The officially stated maximum sustained crude production capacity is 8.5 million barrels per day, though actual output is a closely-guarded state secret. Thus far, approximately 60 billion barrels have been pumped out of Ghawar since production began back in 1951.

Noting that no oil fields approaching the size and capacity of Ghawar have been discovered since, noted energy analyst Jack Schaefer said in a recent online column, "The importance of Ghawar and other older giant fields to global oil production cannot be overstated." Ghawar's total proven reserves, or recoverable oil still left in the ground, have been pegged at just over 70 billion barrels by the Saudi Aramco, the nationalized oil company which is the largest of its type in the world.

The word "recoverable" is particularly important, as the gross amount of oil in the ground is less significant than the amount that can easily be harvested at a given level of extractive technology. While modern techniques can certainly boost the amount of oil that can be extracted per oil field, the question of how expensive the operation turns out to be remains extremely pertinent. Once oil extraction becomes too difficult, and therefore expensive, it becomes economically infeasible to attempt to remove the remaining supply.

In recent years, a number of prominent oil industry insiders have raised pointed questions about the stated proven reserves still remaining in Ghawar. Matthew Simmons, one of the world's leading energy experts, has very publicly declared that production from the huge oil field -- and Saudi Arabia as a whole -- has reached its highest peak and will likely decline in the coming years. He forcefully argues this point of view in his best-selling book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.

Simmons is joined in his pessimistic stance regarding the global oil supply by other informed figures, such as well-known geologists Kenneth Deffeyes, author of Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak, and Colin Campbell, who penned The Coming Oil Crisis and The End of Cheap Oil.

In addition, noted energy commentator James Howard Kunstler has continued to sound the alarm about what he views as an unsustainable American lifestyle. The suburbs draw particular ire from Kunstler, and he details his prediction of its coming collapse due to energy scarcity in his 2005 book, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes.

The namesake for Deffreyes' book, M. King Hubbert first promulgated the theory that would become known as "Peak Oil." Hubbert asserted that the graphical depiction of an oil field's production resembled a bell curve, meaning that once the point of peak production was reached, easily obtainable supplies would likely rapidly decline. Hubbert accurately forecast that production in the United States would peak in the late 1960's to early 1970's.

This prognosticated decline in U.S. oil production is no longer a matter of debate, but the amount of proven reserves in Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf countries certainly is. In particular, industry observers have noted that reported reserves have, in many cases, remained the same over long periods of time although significant amounts of oil continue to be harvested. For example, Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates, claimed reserves of 92.3 billion barrels from 1988 to 2004. However, during that time period approximately 14 billion barrels were extracted.

According to Schaefer,

"The 'official' reserve estimates are reported by government-owned oil companies and are often bloated to suit political and geopolitical interests. Fact is, many OPEC governments see their respective country's oil reserves as more political than geological. And they use the numbers as a way to add to the value of their 'stock' in the geopolitical market.

"No one's sure exactly how much more crude OPEC's oil fields still contain. But there's strong evidence to suggest the official oil reserve numbers put out by OPEC governments have been fudged on purpose... Back in 1989, Saudi Arabia claimed to be sitting on a total of 170 billion barrels of oil. But only a year later -- without the discovery of any major new oil fields -- the official reserve estimate somehow grew 51.2 percent to 257 billion barrels. Unbelievable indeed. One has to wonder exactly how any country increases its oil reserves by 87 billion barrels without finding any major new fields. In fact, there's no way they could."

Saudi Arabia comes under particular scrutiny because of its importance. It has long held the mantle as the world's largest producer of oil, and has acted as a "swing producer," increasing and reducing oil extraction rates to balance to the worldwide market in concert with the other nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Not surprisingly, there was widespread concern -- even alarm -- over a 2005 report by a major bank which indicated that Ghawar had peaked. Analyst Don Coxe, working for the Bank of Montreal, became the first representative of a major financial institution to state unequivocally his belief that Ghawar was in irreversible decline. The Canadian bank analyst did not mince words: "The kingdom's decline rate will be among the world's fastest as this decade wanes... Most importantly, Hubbert's Peak must have arrived for Gharwar, the world's biggest oilfield."

Part of the "recoverable" oil equation concerns the methods used to increase an oil field's production. One of the most common ways of doing so is by injecting massive amounts of water, which has the effect of forcing deep-lying oil deposits to the surface where they can be harvested.

It is not a particularly good sign when a substantial amount of water is being used to "goose" production in a particular field. With consistent use of this technique, the volume of water that comes out along with the oil increases, while the amount of oil correspondingly decreases. Eventually, the yield contains mostly water, at which point the oil field is no longer worth operating.

Thus, it is indeed disquieting to note that the volume of water used to obtain Ghawar's oil has been steadily increasing. In fact, on a daily basis, an astounding 7 million barrels of seawater is being injected into the old oil reservoir to increase the oil flow. According to industry experts a few months ago Ghawar was producing 55 percent water -- in other words, more than half of the fluid brought to the surface was not oil.

In fact, a number of signs clearly indicate that Ghawar is in decline. Back in April 2006, a Saudi Aramco spokesman admitted that its mature fields are now declining at a rate of 8 percent per year. This, of course, implies that Ghawar may have peaked. The spokesman went on to say that measures were being taken to offset the decline, but that the only true solution to declining oil supplies is to locate new fields, and it is beyond debate that discoveries have not kept pace with growing global demand. Roughly 80 percent of oil being produced today is from fields discovered before 1973. Indeed, the discovery rate of multi-billion barrel fields has been declining since the 1940's; that of giant (500-million barrel) fields since the 1960's.

So, if Ghawar is confirmed to be in decline, it likely means that the entire world is as well. Of the four oil "super-giant" oil fields, three are officially in decline: Mexico's Cantarell, Russia's Samotlor, and Kuwait's Burgan. Though Ghawar has not "officially" been so declared, the implications of the facts noted above are clear.

The question of whether Ghawar's production is in permanent wane is of vital importance for the global industrial society, yet it has never been broached in a serious way by the mainstream media. To me, it is a very ominous development when such an issue can get shunted to the side, while useless celebrity gossip gets top the billing.

As Chip Haynes, the author of the first noted article, so eloquently puts it:

"So is the Ghawar dying? Does it matter? There may come a time when all the SUVs in Los Angeles will roll to a tank-dry halt. After the riots and the wars, after the yelling and screaming and dying, what's left of humanity (if we have any humanity left) will stand up, dust itself off and get on with Life. The Ghawar, virtually unknown today, will be all but forgotten by then. The troubles of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will cease to be a common feature of the nightly news, as they would no longer have anything to offer the West -- nothing left to fight over. Just footnotes in a history book.


POSTSCRIPT
The powerful have invoked God at their side in this war, so that we will accept their power and our weakness as something that has been established by divine plan. But there is no god behind this war other than the god of money, nor any right other than the desire for death and destruction. Today there is a "NO" which shall weaken the powerful and strengthen the weak: the "NO" to war: Subcomandante Marcos - Source: No to war, 2/16/03
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: When love of profits clashes with the love of the Prophet Reply with quote

STRATCOM AND THE PLAN TO ATTACK IRAN

Tim Rinne
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17095.htm

Reports of a possible U.S. air assault against Iranian nuclear facilities have been circulating in the media for more than a year and a half now. Former CIA agent Philip Giraldi (The American Conservative, 8/1/05), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh (New Yorker Magazine, 4/17/06) and most recently, investigative reporter Craig Unger in the March 2007 Vanity Fair, have all warned of the White House’s plans for an air- and sea-based strike against Iran.

But such an assault has been in the planning since before November 2003, when U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska completed its preparations for waging offensive and preemptive strikes against Iran and North Korea (William Arkin, Washington Post, 5/15/05). Under “CONPLAN 8022″ (Contingency Plan 8022), the Omaha-based command center is now commissioned to strike anywhere in the world within minutes of detecting a target deemed a threat to the United States’ national security. And the projected attack against Iran-which could well include nuclear as well as conventional weapons-will be planned, launched and coordinated by StratCom.

For over half a century, this remote Air Force Base in the American heartland served strictly as the command center for the U.S.’s nuclear deterrent. After 9/11, however, StratCom underwent a massive transformation of its role and mission, becoming in effect the ‘war room’ for waging the White House’s “War on Terror.” StratCom retained its historic responsibility for overseeing the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. But it acquired the additional charges of “full-spectrum global strike” (staging offensive, preemptive attacks); combating weapons of mass destruction; space and computer warfare; ballistic missile defense; and surveillance and reconnaissance (the “warrantless wiretaps” conducted by the National Security Agency, for instance, were a StratCom project).

According to the Vanity Fair article, StratCom could be ready to launch a “massive” aerial attack against the hundreds of nuclear facilities in Iran as soon as the end of this month (February). The possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons to penetrate the reinforced bunkers protecting the Iranian nuclear research facilities is also apparently real.

Today, U.S. Strategic Command in suburban Omaha, Nebraska is the most dangerous place on the face of the earth. Thwarting this wrong-headed and potentially catastrophic assault on Iran by StratCom will require nothing less than a mobilization by the world community. The Bush/Cheney Administration must be publicly challenged in the court of world opinion, and international media coverage of StratCom’s leading role is integral to rallying opposition.

Can you imagine the public reaction-particularly in the Muslim world-if the war plans taking shape at StratCom were common knowledge?

Here we have the command center for the world’s largest nuclear arsenal orchestrating an unprovoked attack (possibly even with nuclear weapons) on a Muslim nation, in order to keep that country from even developing nuclear energy for civilian purposes, for fear it might someday make a bomb.

This is a morally hideous double standard. And StratCom in particular is begging to be turned into a ‘bully pulpit,’ from which opponents can expose this hypocritical behavior.

It will be absolutely illegal under international law if the United States again launches an unprovoked attack against a Muslim nation-like it did with Iraq. But if the U.S. were to also use tactical nuclear weapons, it would be only the second time in over 61 years that a nuclear weapon has been used militarily. And on each of those occasions, it will have been the United States that used them.

The role and mission of StratCom has changed so dramatically in the past five years that most of the world community has no idea of what is currently going on there. At this critical moment in history, the international media could provide no greater service to the nations of the earth than to publicize the deadly and destabilizing acts being plotted at StratCom. But if the media is going to do it, they need to act quickly, before something irrevocable in human events occurs.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:07 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

IRAN- READY TO ATTACK

Dan Plesch
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17091.htm

"New Statesman" -- - American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day. They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran's military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons.

British military sources told the New Statesman, on condition of anonymity, that "the US military switched its whole focus to Iran" as soon as Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Baghdad. It continued this strategy, even though it had American infantry bogged down in fighting the insurgency in Iraq.

The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for "Operation Iranian Freedom". Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerised plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).

The Bush administration has made much of sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf. But it is a tiny part of the preparations. Post 9/11, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month's notice. Two carriers in the region, the USS John C Stennis and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, could quickly be joined by three more now at sea: USS Ronald Reagan, USS Harry S Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as by USS Nimitz. Each carrier force includes hundreds of cruise missiles.

Then there are the marines, who are not tied down fighting in Iraq. Several marine forces are assembling, each with its own aircraft carrier. These carrier forces can each conduct a version of the D-Day landings. They come with landing craft, tanks, jump-jets, thousands of troops and, yes, hundreds more cruise missiles. Their task is to destroy Iranian forces able to attack oil tankers and to secure oilfields and installations. They have trained for this mission since the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Today, marines have the USS Boxer and USS Bataan carrier forces in the Gulf and probably also the USS Kearsarge and USS Bonhomme Richard. Three others, the USS Peleliu, USS Wasp and USS Iwo Jima, are ready to join them. Earlier this year, HQ staff to manage these forces were moved from Virginia to Bahrain.

Vice-President Dick Cheney has had something of a love affair with the US marines, and this may reach its culmination in the fishing villages along Iran's Gulf coast. Marine generals hold the top jobs at Nato, in the Pentagon and are in charge of all nuclear weapons. No marine has held any of these posts before.

Traditionally, the top nuclear job went either to a commander of the navy's Trident submarines or of the air force's bombers and missiles. Today, all these forces follow the orders of a marine, General James Cartwright, and are integrated into a "Global Strike" plan which places strategic forces on permanent 12-hour readiness.

The only public discussion of this plan has been by the American analysts Bill Arkin and Hans Kristensen, who have focused on the possible use of atomic weapons. These concerns are justified, but ignore how forces can be used in conventional war.

Any US general planning to attack Iran can now assume that at least 10,000 targets can be hit in a single raid, with warplanes flying from the US or Diego Garcia. In the past year, unlimited funding for military technology has taken "smart bombs" to a new level.

New "bunker-busting" conventional bombs weigh only 250lb. According to Boeing, the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb "quadruples" the firepower of US warplanes, compared to those in use even as recently as 2003. A single stealth or B-52 bomber can now attack between 150 and 300 individual points to within a metre of accuracy using the global positioning system.

With little military effort, the US air force can hit the last-known position of Iranian military units, political leaders and supposed sites of weapons of mass destruction. One can be sure that, if war comes, George Bush will not want to stand accused of using too little force and allowing Iran to fight back.

"Global Strike" means that, without any obvious signal, what was done to Serbia and Lebanon can be done overnight to the whole of Iran. We, and probably the Iranians, would not know about it until after the bombs fell. Forces that hide will suffer the fate of Saddam's armies, once their positions are known.

The whole of Iran is now less than an hour's flying time from some American base or carrier. Sources in the region as well as trade journals confirm that the US has built three bases in Azerbaijan that could be transit points for troops and with facilities equal to its best in Europe.

Most of the Iranian army is positioned along the border with Iraq, facing US army missiles that can reach 150km over the border. But it is in the flat, sandy oilfields east and south of Basra where the temptation will be to launch a tank attack and hope that a disaffected population will be grateful.

The regime in Tehran has already complained of US- and UK-inspired terror attacks in several Iranian regions where the population opposes the ayatollahs' fanatical policies. Such reports corroborate the American journalist Seymour Hersh's claim that the US military is already engaged in a low-level war with Iran. The fighting is most intense in the Kurdish north where Iran has been firing artillery into Iraq. The US and Iran are already engaged in a low-level proxy war across the Iran-Iraq border.

And, once again, the neo-cons at the American Enterprise Institute have a plan for a peaceful settlement: this time it is for a federal Iran. Officially, Michael Ledeen, the AEI plan's sponsor, has been ostracised by the White House. However, two years ago, the Congress of Iranian Nationalities for a Federal Iran had its inaugural meeting in London.

We should not underestimate the Bush administration's ability to convince itself that an "Iran of the regions" will emerge from a post-rubble Iran.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:18 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Irene Rheinwald
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17101.htm

The more things change, the more they stay the same. What seemed an earthquake on November 7, 2006, has turned into a mere ripple in a volatile pond. Despite proclamations to the contrary, Democratic control of Congress cannot be termed a reversal of the ill advised, disastrous, policies of the Bush administration in Iraq.

Will the Democrats perpetuate the Iraq war? Or will they seek a viable solution that incorporates a full and immediate withdrawal from the escalating conflict? The mere presence of foreigners – namely, American combatants – irritates the social fabric of Iraq. Muslim memories are long. The Crusades are a still fresh source of inspired struggle. Muslim traditions, accomplishments and history are distinguished and extraordinary. The Western perception, based on colonial self-indulgence and ignorance, rests upon an assumption of cultural inferiority. George W. Bush always has a “raison de jour” for invading Iraq: first, to ostensibly to avoid the “mushroom cloud”, then the war against terror, then to liberate the Iraq people and bring democracy to the benighted. It is now some nebulous “success”. As we watch the situation deteriorate, and fatalities mount in almost incomprehensible numbers on all sides, a genuine turn of policy is vital. We wonder where it all went so terribly wrong. Are we the first to make such errors, or can history teach us about the madness of making war? Most important, are we willing to learn?

Governments, states, empires, kingdoms, from ancient times to modern, frequently embrace policies at odds with international stability and focus instead on short-term economic gains. From ancient Rome to Egypt, to the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon, Victorian colonialism, and the Soviet Union, political and religious institutions have sought to absorb autonomous neighbours. Empire building, the consequence of self-delusion, arrogance, and xenophobia, is actually economic exploitation. The spoils of war are paramount: not democracy, not enlightenment, nor freedom, liberty, and certainly not self-determination. To assert such lofty motives is disingenuous dissembling. Why is the United States only interested in “liberating” countries swimming in natural resources such as oil? Why did the United States not champion former Soviet Republics in 1989? What of Chechnya’s struggles? Why has the United States ignored human catastrophes such as Darfur, Rwanda, or ethnic cleansing in Palestine? Aids in Africa? And what of medicare, social security, education in the United States? How far would the almost four hundred billion spent on the invasion of Iraq go towards bettering American society?

So what do with Iraq? Does the “you break, you buy” admonition still apply? George W. Bush would have us believe that Iraq was broken under Saddam Hussein, and that the people desperately needed and wanted American glue. Not so: from the 1980s until the 2003 illegal invasion, Iraq was perceived as a moderate Middle Eastern entity; a progressive, secular, stabilizing force amongst “evil” Islamic fundamentalists. Western powers overlooked, even tolerated, Saddam Hussein’s excesses. Indeed, Iraq had an extraordinary number of intellectuals of both genders – most now dead or in exile. At this point, the situation is a complex warren of militias, factions, sects, tribes, political alliances, mercenaries, imported terrorists and religious ideologues, clashing with American occupying forces and each other, based factional collusion with the United States. A sub-current is the return of ex-patriot Iraqis into positions of power under, again under the auspices of the United States. Is America now willing to prop up al-Malaki’s friendly government with massive force? Are we so deluded to think al-Maliki’s regime is legitimate, representative, and independent? Democracy has no history in the Middle East, outside of the despised Israel. Moreover, democratic movements are borne of internal stirrings in a nation with a strong middle class. Military invasion and perpetual terror against civilians alienates “hearts and minds”. Democracy cannot, must not, be imposed from without, under any circumstances. To do so simply invites bitterness and violence against the oppressors. The Soviet Union brutally invaded the democratic Baltic nations to “liberate” them – same coin, different side.

One might say Iraq is in a state of civil war, but doing so overlooks a fundamental point and is ultimately misleading. Conflict amongst Islamic sects date back to the seventh century CE, and relate to Mohammed’s successors. Occupation by Western powers such as the United States is a recent phenomenon, deeply resented by all. All Muslims are brothers when faced with a common enemy. Hence, George W. Bush and his administration, by speaking of “evil-doers” and protecting American interests, escalate Middle Eastern resentment. The entire area is destabilized. Continuing this occupation exacerbates the conflict, and does not contain violence, as the current administration charges. Even the oft-bandied proposal that Iraq be divided into three countries (Sunni, Shi’ite, Kurd) is disingenuous, favouring Western domination: it is easier to control the resources of three smaller countries than a large and diverse one. Worse yet, it does not remove the United States as “puppet master”. To speak of civil war deflects from the occupation crisis and places blame on the supposedly inferior people and structure of Iraqi society; the West therefore justifies continued military presence under the guise of future stabilization. Quite the rationalization. Rather than “sectarian violence” or “civil war”, this is repression; artificial divisions imposed by the United States on a foreign culture and society. That is the crux of the conflict.

The only true victory would be the immediate and complete withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq. On February 13, 2007, Vermont’s House and Senate passed a non-binding resolution calling for just that – a remarkable first. Other states must follow suit, even if this deaf and blind administration does not respond. Such a move supports the troops: almost 25 per cent of soldiers currently serving in Iraq want immediate withdrawal, while 72 per cent advocate withdrawal before the end of 2007 (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12103.htm). Withdrawal does not undermine morale. An ill defined, strategically impoverished war does. As well, the government must reward service and sacrifice with complete support upon return. This “surge” of soldiers would only result in countless unnecessary casualties and fatalities.

Even after withdrawal, healing will be a long-term process. Time, good faith negotiations, open dialogue, respect for differences, and reparation might eventually alleviate distrust. Most important, however, is a total reappraisal of foreign and domestic policy. The United States must quit this imperialist path and never again interfere, either covertly or openly, in the internal workings of independent nations. In addition, oil companies, corporations that motivate both political parties, must scale back profits and invest in alternative energy sources. Auto manufacturers have remarkably efficient vehicles that, although prototypes, will unfortunately never see mass production. The market could be lucrative, if sufficiently developed.

Above all, the West must learn to live in harmony with all people, and realize our society is simply one of many: neither superior nor inferior. Arrogance – the most fatal of flaws – must never again govern foreign policy decisions.

Irene Rheinwald is a writer, artist, historian and former social worker residing in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is a member of PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity), has travelled extensively in the Middle East, and studied foreign relations.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

737 U.S. MILITARY BASES= GLOBAL EMPIRE
The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson's new book, "NEMESIS: The Last Days of the American Republic " (Metropolitan Books).

Chalmers Johnson

Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America's version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial "footprint" and the militarism that grows with it.

It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush's strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 -- mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets -- almost exactly equals Britain's thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries -- and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base's "worth" is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.

The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world's largest landlords.

These numbers, although staggeringly big, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2005 Base Structure Report fails, for instance, to mention any garrisons in Kosovo (or Serbia, of which Kosovo is still officially a province) -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the KBR corporation (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root), a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation of Houston.

The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq (106 garrisons as of May 2005), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, even though the U.S. military has established colossal base structures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asian areas since 9/11. By way of excuse, a note in the preface says that "facilities provided by other nations at foreign locations" are not included, although this is not strictly true. The report does include twenty sites in Turkey, all owned by the Turkish government and used jointly with the Americans. The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure.

In some cases, foreign countries themselves have tried to keep their U.S. bases secret, fearing embarrassment if their collusion with American imperialism were revealed. In other instances, the Pentagon seems to want to play down the building of facilities aimed at dominating energy sources, or, in a related situation, retaining a network of bases that would keep Iraq under our hegemony regardless of the wishes of any future Iraqi government. The U.S. government tries not to divulge any information about the bases we use to eavesdrop on global communications, or our nuclear deployments, which, as William Arkin, an authority on the subject, writes, "[have] violated its treaty obligations. The U.S. was lying to many of its closest allies, even in NATO, about its nuclear designs. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, hundreds of bases, and dozens of ships and submarines existed in a special secret world of their own with no rational military or even 'deterrence' justification."

In Jordan, to take but one example, we have secretly deployed up to five thousand troops in bases on the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Jordan has also cooperated with the CIA in torturing prisoners we deliver to them for "interrogation.") Nonetheless, Jordan continues to stress that it has no special arrangements with the United States, no bases, and no American military presence.

The country is formally sovereign but actually a satellite of the United States and has been so for at least the past ten years. Similarly, before our withdrawal from Saudi Arabia in 2003, we habitually denied that we maintained a fleet of enormous and easily observed B-52 bombers in Jeddah because that was what the Saudi government demanded. So long as military bureaucrats can continue to enforce a culture of secrecy to protect themselves, no one will know the true size of our baseworld, least of all the elected representatives of the American people.

In 2005, deployments at home and abroad were in a state of considerable flux. This was said to be caused both by a long overdue change in the strategy for maintaining our global dominance and by the closing of surplus bases at home. In reality, many of the changes seemed to be determined largely by the Bush administration's urge to punish nations and domestic states that had not supported its efforts in Iraq and to reward those that had. Thus, within the United States, bases were being relocated to the South, to states with cultures, as the Christian Science Monitor put it, "more tied to martial traditions" than the Northeast, the northern Middle West, or the Pacific Coast. According to a North Carolina businessman gloating over his new customers, "The military is going where it is wanted and valued most."

In part, the realignment revolved around the Pentagon's decision to bring home by 2007 or 2008 two army divisions from Germany -- the First Armored Division and the First Infantry Division -- and one brigade (3,500 men) of the Second Infantry Division from South Korea (which, in 2005, was officially rehoused at Fort Carson, Colorado). So long as the Iraq insurgency continues, the forces involved are mostly overseas and the facilities at home are not ready for them (nor is there enough money budgeted to get them ready).

Nonetheless, sooner or later, up to 70,000 troops and 100,000 family members will have to be accommodated within the United States. The attendant 2005 "base closings" in the United States are actually a base consolidation and enlargement program with tremendous infusions of money and customers going to a few selected hub areas. At the same time, what sounds like a retrenchment in the empire abroad is really proving to be an exponential growth in new types of bases -- without dependents and the amenities they would require -- in very remote areas where the U.S. military has never been before.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was obvious to anyone who thought about it that the huge concentrations of American military might in Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea were no longer needed to meet possible military threats. There were not going to be future wars with the Soviet Union or any country connected to any of those places.

In 1991, the first Bush administration should have begun decommissioning or redeploying redundant forces; and, in fact, the Clinton administration did close some bases in Germany, such as those protecting the Fulda Gap, once envisioned as the likeliest route for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But nothing was really done in those years to plan for the strategic repositioning of the American military outside the United States.

By the end of the 1990s, the neoconservatives were developing their grandiose theories to promote overt imperialism by the "lone superpower" -- including preventive and preemptive unilateral military action, spreading democracy abroad at the point of a gun, obstructing the rise of any "near-peer" country or bloc of countries that might challenge U.S. military supremacy, and a vision of a "democratic" Middle East that would supply us with all the oil we wanted. A component of their grand design was a redeployment and streamlining of the military. The initial rationale was for a program of transformation that would turn the armed forces into a lighter, more agile, more high-tech military, which, it was imagined, would free up funds that could be invested in imperial policing.

What came to be known as "defense transformation" first began to be publicly bandied about during the 2000 presidential election campaign. Then 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq intervened. In August 2002, when the whole neocon program began to be put into action, it centered above all on a quick, easy war to incorporate Iraq into the empire. By this time, civilian leaders in the Pentagon had become dangerously overconfident because of what they perceived as America's military brilliance and invincibility as demonstrated in its 2001 campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda -- a strategy that involved reigniting the Afghan civil war through huge payoffs to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance warlords and the massive use of American airpower to support their advance on Kabul.

In August 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unveiled his "1-4-2-1 defense strategy" to replace the Clinton era's plan for having a military capable of fighting two wars -- in the Middle East and Northeast Asia -- simultaneously. Now, war planners were to prepare to defend the United States while building and assembling forces capable of "deterring aggression and coercion" in four "critical regions": Europe, Northeast Asia (South Korea and Japan), East Asia (the Taiwan Strait), and the Middle East, be able to defeat aggression in two of these regions simultaneously, and "win decisively" (in the sense of "regime change" and occupation) in one of those conflicts "at a time and place of our choosing."As the military analyst William M. Arkin commented, "[With] American military forces ... already stretched to the limit, the new strategy goes far beyond preparing for reactive contingencies and reads more like a plan for picking fights in new parts of the world."

A seemingly easy three-week victory over Saddam Hussein's forces in the spring of 2003 only reconfirmed these plans. The U.S. military was now thought to be so magnificent that it could accomplish any task assigned to it. The collapse of the Baathist regime in Baghdad also emboldened Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to use "transformation" to penalize nations that had been, at best, lukewarm about America's unilateralism -- Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey -- and to reward those whose leaders had welcomed Operation Iraqi Freedom, including such old allies as Japan and Italy but also former communist countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The result was the Department of Defense's Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy, known informally as the "Global Posture Review."

President Bush first mentioned it in a statement on November 21, 2003, in which he pledged to "realign the global posture" of the United States. He reiterated the phrase and elaborated on it on August 16, 2004, in a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati. Because Bush's Cincinnati address was part of the 2004 presidential election campaign, his comments were not taken very seriously at the time. While he did say that the United States would reduce its troop strength in Europe and Asia by 60,000 to 70,000, he assured his listeners that this would take a decade to accomplish -- well beyond his term in office -- and made a series of promises that sounded more like a reenlistment pitch than a statement of strategy.

"Over the coming decade, we'll deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We'll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. ... It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families. ... See, our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, more time for their kids and to spend with their families at home."

On September 23, 2004, however, Secretary Rumsfeld disclosed the first concrete details of the plan to the Senate Armed Services Committee. With characteristic grandiosity, he described it as "the biggest re-structuring of America's global forces since 1945." Quoting then undersecretary Douglas Feith, he added, "During the Cold War we had a strong sense that we knew where the major risks and fights were going to be, so we could deploy people right there. We're operating now [with] an entirely different concept. We need to be able to do [the] whole range of military operations, from combat to peacekeeping, anywhere in the world pretty quickly."

Though this may sound plausible enough, in basing terms it opens up a vast landscape of diplomatic and bureaucratic minefields that Rumsfeld's militarists surely underestimated. In order to expand into new areas, the Departments of State and Defense must negotiate with the host countries such things as Status of Forces Agreements, or SOFAs, which are discussed in detail in the next chapter. In addition, they must conclude many other required protocols, such as access rights for our aircraft and ships into foreign territory and airspace, and Article 98 Agreements. The latter refer to article 98 of the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute, which allows countries to exempt U.S. citizens on their territory from the ICC's jurisdiction.

Such immunity agreements were congressionally mandated by the American Service-Members' Protection Act of 2002, even though the European Union holds that they are illegal. Still other necessary accords are acquisitions and cross-servicing agreements or ACSAs, which concern the supply and storage of jet fuel, ammunition, and so forth; terms of leases on real property; levels of bilateral political and economic aid to the United States (so-called host-nation support); training and exercise arrangements (Are night landings allowed? Live firing drills?); and environmental pollution liabilities.

When the United States is not present in a country as its conqueror or military savior, as it was in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II and in South Korea after the 1953 Korean War armistice, it is much more difficult to secure the kinds of agreements that allow the Pentagon to do anything it wants and that cause a host nation to pick up a large part of the costs of doing so. When not based on conquest, the structure of the American empire of bases comes to look exceedingly fragile.

See also: Chalmers Johnson: ”The Last Days of the American Republic.”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13602.htm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:03 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

THE SCIENCE OF EVIL AND ITS USE FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

Carolyn Baker
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17127.htm

EVIL: 1 a: morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked <an evil impulse> b: arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation>2 a archaic : inferior b: causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive <an evil odor> c: disagreeable <woke late and in an evil temper>3 a: causing harm : pernicious <the evil institution of slavery> b: marked by misfortune : unlucky[Merriam-Webster Online]

02/19/07 "ICH" -- -- Canada’s Red Pill press has recently published psychologist Andrew M. Lobaczewski’s book Political Ponerology (Red Pill Press, Canada, 1998 and 2006)in which the author expounds on his observations that during his years of clinical work in Poland, he noticed a high correlation between acts that most people would label as “evil” and various pathologies.

The most apt diagnostic labeling of these individuals in modern psychological jargon would be sociopathic, the most important characteristic of which is the seeming absence of a conscience or empathy in relation to other living beings. Lobaczewski and some of his Eastern European colleagues working under Soviet rule decided to take this study to a higher level and researched how sociopathy was playing out in government, in business, and in other social groups.

Political ponerology (originating from the Greek word for evil, poneros) is a science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes, which ultimately on a larger scale results in a pathocracy. The research indicates that sociopaths are found in all races, ethnicities, and creeds, and that no group is immune to them. Sociopaths constitute, according to the author, about 6 percent of the population of any given group.

Red Pill’s editor states that, “Political Ponerology is a book that offers a horrifying glimpse into the structure underlying our governments, our biggest corporations, and even our system of law.”

After I read the book, a number of nagging questions about the policies and practices of government and corporate officials began to answer themselves in that Lobaczewski’s analysis goes to the heart of why the United States government has become a criminal enterprise hell-bent on dominating the world and annihilating vast quantities of human beings globally and domestically.

When I first began the book I was more than a little put off by Lobaczewski’s European style of writing -- his wordiness and his succinctness-challenged approach. Nevertheless, as I kept reading, and I must admit, struggling with his sentences, I grew increasingly grateful for the book and the friend who gave it to me. As a result, a few of the author’s fundamental concepts cry out to be shared, and this article is an attempt to do just that.

Lobaczewski first points out that societies are the most vulnerable to evil during good times. “During good times,” he writes, “people progressively lose sight of the need for profound reflection, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life’s complicated laws.” (P. 85)

Certainly, in my lifetime, I have not witnessed an American society willing to reflect and wrestle with the complexities of existence since the Vietnam War. Although much of the protest and activism of the sixties was naively myopic, the tension and angst of the era drove a majority of individuals in the United States to look deeper within themselves than they otherwise might have.

Following upon the heels of the war, of course, came Watergate, and further confirmation that governments always betray their own citizens and always lie about doing so. Then as the ME-generation seventies offered us the deceptions of peace and honest government, the groundwork for the current horrors domestically and internationally were being laid. America was war-weary, and smarting from the wounds of Watergate, acting out Lobaczewski’s assertion that “During good times, the search for truth becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient facts.” (85) On the other hand, he states, “Suffering, effort, and mental activity during times of imminent bitterness lead to progressive, generally heightened, regeneration of lost values, which results in human progress.” (P. 87) Conversely, “The cycle of happy, peaceful times favors a narrowing of the world view and an increase in egotism. . . .” Well, Jung said it long before Lobaczewski: Consciously analyzed suffering produces growth while letting nothing roll besides the good times produces stagnation and delusion. (P. 87)

Perhaps no generation in American history has ever been so vulnerable to egotism as that of the seventies. It became known as the ME generation for a reason -- not only because Americans became more personally narcissistic but also because internationally, in spite of losing our first war and weathering the Watergate scandal, we proceeded to demonstrate our superiority as we continued to stage various coups around the world and wage economic warfare on developing nations, setting the stage for Reagan’s ascent to power in the eighties and the polarization of ourselves as the savior in contrast to the “evil empire” of anyone else who dared to disagree.

It is exactly at those times of ego-delirium that nations render themselves deaf, dumb, and blind to conscienceless sociopaths who seduce them into policies and practices that are lethal for themselves and the rest of the world. Lack of reflection by definition produces human beings devoid of discernment.

One enormous problem I have with Lobaczewski’s elucidation of his theory is his use of “normal” to describe people who are not sociopaths. I wish he had used a different term since “normal” is so amorphous and laden with the naïve assumption that there is such a thing as a human being who is not dysfunctional in at least one aspect of his/her life. Nevertheless, he emphasizes that so-called “normal” individuals cannot comprehend the mind or behavior of the sociopath and are thus especially vulnerable to being harmed by them -- hence the principal reason for writing a book on Ponerology, namely, to educate non-sociopaths about the pathology. The author uses the term “spellbinders” to describe psychological snake charmers who appear to be saviors, enlightened thinkers/politicians, even activists who present themselves as possessing insights based on research uniquely carried out by themselves or information gained through extraordinary channels to which no one else has access. This could also apply to cult leaders like Warren Jeffs and Jim Jones.

Yet, the author warns the reader that our own unconscious processes can cause us to block out the “red flags” that may arise in dealing with sociopaths. “Unconscious psychological processes outstrip conscious reasoning, both in time and in scope, which makes many psychological phenomena possible.” (P. 152) Thus the denial that prohibits some individuals from seeing the darkest truths of what a sociopath is trying to promote, i.e., “Our government wouldn’t harm us; our government has our best interests at heart; no president could get away with that; the rule of law is still at work in America; fascism can’t happen here; the U.S. government couldn’t possibly have orchestrated the 9/11 attacks; if 9/11 were orchestrated by the U.S. government, too many people would have been involved for it to remain a secret,” and on and on ad infinitum.

Lobaczewski asserts that every society should teach its members proper thinking skills and how to detect the red flags of sociopathy. Teaching critical thinking skills in the educational process is one step in that direction, but in America’s No Child Left Behind gargantuan dumbing down project, even this first step is overwhelmingly absent.

The author states that “an ever-strengthening network of psychopathic and related individuals gradually starts to dominate, overshadowing the others.” (P. 192) This situation rapidly devolves into a pathocracy or a system wherein a small pathological minority takes control over a society of normal people. (P. 193) The book’s editor, Laura Knight-Jadczyk, in her footnotes does not hesitate to name Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, under the tutelage of Leo Strauss, as principal players in America’s twenty-first century pathocracy. Tragically, according to the author, “Pathocracy progressively paralyzes everything [and] . . . progressively intrudes everywhere and dulls everything.” (P. 195)

If this all sounds very grim, and it is, Lobaczewski encourages us by emphasizing that, “If the ponerogenic activity of pathological factors -- deviant individuals and their activities -- is subjected to conscious controls of a scientific, individual, and societal nature, we can counteract evil as effectively as by means of persistent calls to respect moral values.” (P. 180) In other words, the author insists, crusading for moral values alone, can neither prevent nor expose ponerogenic activity. In fact, he asserts, it can exacerbate such activity by distracting attention from the most ghastly forms of evil to that which is not evil at all or presents with a more complex and less blatant quality. We have only to witness the ideology and rhetoric of the religious right in this country to observe a stellar example of the latter. Professing to be a “culture of life” it is implacably obsessed with death, apocalyptic violence, hell fire and brimstone. It serves no purpose, essentially, in the current milieu but to foster and perpetuate pathocracy.

Political Ponerology is an invaluable work that every human being striving to become conscious, should read, not only for its exposé of the pathology of the individuals currently in control of the United States government, but also the light it may shed on individuals closer to home, some of whom may be friends, fellow-activists, business or civic leaders. The book’s purpose is not to incite paranoia, but to cultivate discernment and buttress our trust of our innate intuition in order to navigate the daunting manifestations of evil that surround us in the twenty-first century.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

WASHINGTON's $8 BILLION SHADOW


Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17136.htm

One of the great staples of the modern Washington movie is the dark and ruthless corporation whose power extends into every cranny around the globe, whose technological expertise is without peer, whose secrets are unfathomable, whose riches defy calculation, and whose network of allies, in and out of government, is held together by webs of money, ambition, and fear. You've seen this movie a dozen times. Men in black coats step from limousines on wintry days and refer guardedly to unspeakable things. Surveillance cameras and eavesdropping devices are everywhere. Data scrolls across the movie screen in digital fonts. Computer keyboards clack softly. Seemingly honorable people at the summit of power—Cabinet secretaries, war heroes, presidents—turn out to be pathetic pawns of forces greater than anyone can imagine. And at the pinnacle of this dark and ruthless corporation is a relentless and well-tailored titan—omniscient, ironic, merciless—played by someone like Christopher Walken or Jon Voight.

To be sure, there isn't really such a corporation: the Omnivore Group, as it might be called. But if there were such a company—and, mind you, there isn't—it might look a lot like the largest government contractor you've never heard of: a company known simply by the nondescript initials SAIC (for Science Applications International Corporation), initials that are always spoken letter by letter rather than formed into a pronounceable acronym. SAIC maintains its headquarters in San Diego, but its center of gravity is in Washington, D.C. With a workforce of 44,000, it is the size of a full-fledged government agency—in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Its anonymous glass-and-steel Washington office—a gleaming corporate box like any other—lies in northern Virginia, not far from the headquarters of the C.I.A., whose byways it knows quite well. (More than half of SAIC's employees have security clearances.) SAIC has been awarded more individual government contracts than any other private company in America. The contracts number not in the dozens or scores or hundreds but in the thousands: SAIC currently holds some 9,000 active federal contracts in all. More than a hundred of them are worth upwards of $10 million apiece. Two of them are worth more than $1 billion. The company's annual revenues, almost all of which come from the federal government, approached $8 billion in the 2006 fiscal year, and they are continuing to climb. SAIC's goal is to reach as much as $12 billion in revenues by 2008. As for the financial yardstick that really gets Wall Street's attention—profitability—SAIC beats the S&P 500 average. Last year ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, posted a return on revenue of 11 percent. For SAIC the figure was 11.9 percent. If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.

It is a simple fact of life these days that, owing to a deliberate decision to downsize government, Washington can operate only by paying private companies to perform a wide range of functions. To get some idea of the scale: contractors absorb the taxes paid by everyone in America with incomes under $100,000. In other words, more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well remit everything they owe directly to SAIC or some other contractor rather than to the IRS. In Washington these companies go by the generic name "body shops"—they supply flesh-and-blood human beings to do the specialized work that government agencies no longer can. Often they do this work outside the public eye, and with little official oversight—even if it involves the most sensitive matters of national security. The Founding Fathers may have argued eloquently for a government of laws, not of men, but what we've got instead is a government of body shops.

The unhappy business practices of the past few years in Iraq—cost overruns, incompetence, and corruption on a pharaonic scale—have made the American public keenly aware of the activities of mega-contractors such as Halliburton and Bechtel. Although SAIC takes on government projects such as those pursued by contractors like these, it does not belong in exactly the same category. Halliburton and Bechtel supply the government's brawn. They pour concrete, roll out concertina wire, build infrastructure. They call on bullnecked men to provide protection.

In contrast, SAIC is a body shop in the brain business. It sells human beings who have a particular expertise—expertise about weapons, about homeland security, about surveillance, about computer systems, about "information dominance" and "information warfare." If the C.I.A. needs an outside expert to quietly check whether its employees are using their computers for personal business, it calls on SAIC. If the Immigration and Naturalization Service needs new record-keeping software, it calls on SAIC. Indeed, SAIC is willing to provide expertise about almost anything at all, if there happens to be a government contract out there to pay for it—as there almost always is. Whether SAIC actually possesses all the expertise that it sells is another story.

What everyone agrees on is this: No Washington contractor pursues government money with more ingenuity and perseverance than SAIC. No contractor seems to exploit conflicts of interest in Washington with more zeal. And no contractor cloaks its operations in greater secrecy. SAIC almost never touts its activities in public, preferring to stay well below the radar. An SAIC executive once gave a press interview and referred to the enterprise as a "stealth company," a characterization that is accurate and that has stuck. "Nobody knows who they are," says Glenn Grossenbacher, a Texas lawyer who has battled SAIC in court on a whistle-blowing case. "Everybody knows Northrop Grumman and G.E., but if you went out on the street and asked who the top 10 [defense] contractors are, I can guarantee you that SAIC would not be one of them."

Which is all the more remarkable in light of two developments. The first is a mounting collection of government audits and lawsuits brought by former employees for a variety of reasons, some of them personal and some coming under federal whistle-blower statutes. In a response to written queries, SAIC characterized itself as a "highly ethical company and responsible government contractor, committed to doing the right thing." But a review by Vanity Fair of thousands of pages of documents, including corporate e-mail messages, offers disturbing revelations about the company's inner workings, its culture, and its leadership.

The second development is that several of SAIC's biggest projects have turned out to be colossal failures, failures that have occurred very much in public.

One involves the National Security Agency, America's intelligence-gathering "electronic ear" and for many years SAIC's biggest customer. The volume of telephone, e-mail, and other electronic communications that the N.S.A. intercepts worldwide is so massive that the agency urgently needs a new computer system to store it, sort it, and give it meaning—otherwise it will keep missing clues like the Arabic message "Tomorrow is zero hour," intercepted the day before 9/11 but not translated until the day after. SAIC won the initial $280 million, 26-month contract to design and create this system, called Trailblazer. Four years and more than a billion dollars later, the effort has been abandoned. General Michael V. Hayden, the former head of the N.S.A. and now the director of the C.I.A., blamed the failure on "the fact we were trying to overachieve, we were throwing deep and we should have been throwing short passes." Happily for SAIC, it will get the chance for a comeback in the second half. The company has been awarded the contract for a revised Trailblazer program called ExecuteLocus. The contract is worth $361 million.

Another failed effort involves the F.B.I., which paid SAIC $124 million to bring the bureau, whose computer systems are among the most primitive in American law enforcement, into at least the late 20th century. The lack of information-sharing is one reason why the F.B.I. failed to realize that in the year leading up to 9/11 two of the future hijackers—including one with known "jihadist connections"—were actually living in the San Diego home of an F.B.I. informant. SAIC set to work on a system called the Virtual Case File. V.C.F. was supposed to become a central repository of data (wiretap transcripts, criminal records, financial transactions) from which all F.B.I. agents could draw. Three years and a million lines of garbled computer code later, V.C.F. has been written off by a global publication for technology professionals as "the most highly publicized software failure in history." The failure was due in part to the bureau's ever shifting directives, which points up the perverse nature of government-by-contract. When the government makes unrealistic demands, the contractors go along anyway: they are being paid not to resist but to comply. If it turns out they can't deliver, new contracts will simply be drawn up. Responding to questions about the F.B.I. project, the company conceded that "there were areas in which SAIC made mistakes, particularly where we failed to adequately communicate our concerns about the way the contract was being managed."

These and other SAIC activities would seem to be ripe targets for scrutiny by the new Democratic Congress. But don't be surprised if you hear nothing at all: SAIC's friends in Washington are everywhere, and play on all sides; the connections are tightly interlocked. To cite just one example: Robert M. Gates, the new secretary of defense, whose confirmation hearings lasted all of a day, is a former member of SAIC's board of directors. In recent years the company has obviously made many missteps, and yet SAIC's influence in Washington seems only to grow, impervious to business setbacks or even to a stunning breach of security.

Much to the embarrassment of a company entrusted with some of the nation's most precious secrets, its San Diego offices were mysteriously burgled in January of 2005. A censored San Diego police-department report reveals the basic outline. The report notes that the building "is patrolled by DOD certified security" and that "the interior lights are on motion sensors and would have been activated by the suspects." Nevertheless, burglars managed to break into SAIC's headquarters, pry open 13 private offices, and walk out with one desktop-computer hard drive and four laptops. By SAIC's account, the computers contained personal data on thousands of present and past employees, presumably including the company's many former C.I.A. operatives, N.S.A. executives, and Pentagon officials. To date, the burglary remains unsolved.

SAIC has displayed an uncanny ability to thrive in every conceivable political climate. It is the invisible hand behind a huge portion of the national-security state—the one sector of the government whose funds are limitless and whose continued growth is assured every time a politician utters the word "terrorism."

SAIC represents, in other words, a private business that has become a form of permanent government.

A Plain Brown Envelope
On the evening of January 17, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower came down from the White House living quarters to the Oval Office and delivered his last address to the American people as president. This was the famous speech in which he warned against the "disastrous rise of misplaced power" in the hands of what he called "the military-industrial complex"—the sturdy hybrid formed by crossbreeding American corporate interests with those of the Pentagon and the intelligence community.

As Eisenhower spoke, a quietly ambitious man on the other side of the country, John Robert Beyster, was going about his business as head of the accelerator-physics department at the General Atomic corporation, in La Jolla, California, one of many secretive companies that sprouted early in the atomic era. Beyster had grown up outside of Detroit, served in the navy during World War II, and earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Michigan before migrating to Southern California in the 1950s. He was a lanky and nerdy-looking technocrat, but the tortoiseshell glasses concealed a driven personality. Beyster believed that General Atomic didn't appreciate his ideas, and he began to lay plans. Within a decade of Eisenhower's farewell speech, Beyster would create an enterprise epitomizing the military-industrial complex that caused Eisenhower such dismay. Now, four decades later, that company epitomizes something beyond Eisenhower's worst nightmare—the "military-industrial-counterterrorism complex."

Science Applications International Corporation was born in February of 1969 in a stucco office building in La Jolla next to a ballet studio overlooking the Pacific. "I was not the brilliant, flash-of-inspiration type of entrepreneur," Beyster would later recall; rather, he was more a "persistent builder type." The name he decided on for his company, though brilliantly opaque, reflected an assumption that the real future of national defense—or, at any rate, the real future profits to be had from national defense—lay in science and technology, not in boots on the ground. And a lot of that scientific work would necessarily be analytical; it would be about thinking as much as about making. Beyster's very first government contract came from the Defense Atomic Support Agency: he was given the task of calculating "the output of nuclear devices."

Beyster understood that this particular moment of the American Century was the perfect time for shrewd consultants to get into the war business. The conflict in Vietnam was still raging, and the Cold War seemed to have become a permanent fixture of the geopolitical landscape. The Nixon administration was promoting a missile-defense system to protect its ICBM installations. Scientists were hard at work on a host of nuclear projects, including the fabled neutron bomb. Although computers had yet to revolutionize government and business, visionaries like Beyster could see that eventually they would, and so, for SAIC, computer systems represented another target of opportunity.

Joined by research scientists from General Atomic and elsewhere, Beyster developed a straightforward business plan. As he later explained it, "People who came into the company went out and got contracts." Everyone who worked for SAIC had to carry his own weight. You might have a Ph.D. in physics or applied mathematics, but at SAIC your job fundamentally was to sell your high-tech ideas and blue-chip expertise to the army, navy, air force, C.I.A., N.S.A., Atomic Energy Commission, and any other government agency with money to spend and an impulse to buy. Contracts were everything. There is much to be said for SAIC's approach: in its four decades of existence, the company has turned a profit every single year.

Beyster aggressively packed his company with former generals, admirals, diplomats, spies, and Cabinet officers of every kind to fill the company's board of directors and the upper echelons of its staff. These were the kinds of people who would always have easy access to the agencies they had left behind—and who someday might even go back into government. To be sure, every Beltway defense contractor tries to bring retired generals and admirals into the fold, but Beyster offered an incentive that others couldn't match: an internal stock-ownership program, which promised to make government officials rich after they left public service. The stock-ownership program would eventually be expanded to include everyone on the company's payroll, but it began as Beyster's way of rewarding favored executives and board members, whose identities were kept secret. A lucky recipient would learn of his good fortune when a messenger appeared in his office carrying a plain brown envelope containing a newly minted stock certificate.

SAIC had its own brokerage subsidiary, licensed by the S.E.C., a kind of in-house Merrill Lynch called Bull, Inc. The name accurately predicted the stock's vitality. Beyster and his board managed every aspect of the stock—the number of shares, who received them, and, most important, the price. Unlike on Wall Street, where individual stock prices go up and down, the SAIC stock price, controlled by Beyster and his board, usually moved in one direction only: up. The more contracts you landed, the more stock you received. Even if you stayed at SAIC for only a short time, you could in the long run earn a lot of money. And if you left SAIC to go back into government service, you had considerable incentive to keep SAIC's continuing good fortunes in mind.

SAIC's internal stock market was instrumental in the company's early success. Peter Friesen, a San Diego attorney who has represented former SAIC employees in civil complaints against the company, says, "If you find somebody [in government] who wants a job with SAIC later, and he sees the steady rise in the stock price over the years and knows he can get a job with stock options and stock bonuses, then he's going to be sending business over to SAIC. And it worked."

SAIC opened its Washington office in 1970. Although San Diego would remain SAIC's home base, the workforce in the Washington area soon eclipsed the workforce everywhere else. To ensure support on Capitol Hill, corporate outposts were prominently set up in key congressional districts. Meanwhile, scores of influential members of the national-security establishment clambered onto SAIC's payroll, among them John M. Deutch, undersecretary of energy under President Jimmy Carter and C.I.A. director under President Bill Clinton; Rear Admiral William F. Raborn, who headed development of the Polaris submarine; and Rear Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who served variously as director of the National Security Agency, deputy director of the C.I.A., and vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

SAIC's relative anonymity has allowed large numbers of its executives to circulate freely between the company and the dozen or so government agencies it cares about. William B. Black Jr., who retired from the N.S.A. in 1997 after a 38-year career to become a vice president at SAIC, returned to the N.S.A. in 2000. Two years later the agency awarded the Trailblazer contract to SAIC. Black managed the program. Donald Foley, a current SAIC director, came out of a top position at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon group responsible for developing new military technology. SAIC might as well operate an executive shuttle service between its McLean, Virginia, offices and the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Pentagon, and the Department of Energy. Technically, federal ethics rules stipulate that former government officials must wait one year before contacting anyone in their former agencies. Sometimes they can't wait: Mark A. Boster left his job as a deputy assistant attorney general in 1999 to join SAIC, and was already calling Justice three months later on behalf of his new employers—a violation of federal law. Boster paid $30,000 in a civil settlement.

The Young-Boy Network
The driving force behind SAIC, the man who shaped its personality and culture across nearly four decades, until he was forced out in 2004, was of course Bob Beyster. From the beginning Beyster was indefatigable, constantly on the road, promoting SAIC to any government official who would listen. On a 10-day trip, he'd jam in as many as 80 appointments. If he had an hour between planes, he'd order his secretary to jam in one more. Beyster may have been a scientist by training, but he was a salesman at heart. He described himself as a "marketeer."

Although he could be an engaging companion when dealing with military brass and agency heads, around the office Beyster could also be distant and imperious, an autocrat who ruled with an iron hand. SAIC presented itself as a friendly "employee owned" company. Inside, everyone understood how the stock program was really used—to punish and reward. No one harbored any illusions about whose company it was. "In Bob Beyster's mind, that company was not the shareholders' company, it was Bob Beyster's company," said Gerald Pomraning, a nuclear physicist who helped Beyster set up SAIC, in a legal proceeding. "When I was on the board of directors, he told us many times that the board of directors was simply a legal entity that was required, but it was his company."

Beyster advocated a form of internal entrepreneurship that led to cutthroat competition for contracts. Operations were chaotic because divisions independent of one another frequently fought for the same business. Glenn Grossenbacher, the Texas lawyer, describes the dynamic as "eat what you kill." Chief financial officers, frustrated by Beyster's exacting and sometimes mercurial demands, came and went. The company's organizational chart was often in flux. According to one former executive, Beyster was known around the office as a "control freak" who undermined managers by going around them and dealing directly with their staffs. Bernice Stanfill King, a former SAIC executive who managed the company's internal stock program, says that Beyster would often assign a single job to two executives. "He would call in one high-level guy and put him on a project," she explains. "Then he would call another guy in a totally different part of the company and put him on the project. Then these guys would bump into each other and [wonder], 'What's he doing?' You never honestly knew what was going on inside. Nothing was ever in the open."

As befits a company with deep ties to the intelligence and national-security community, SAIC's culture has always had a military cast to it. Employees are expected to follow orders. Even former employees are wary of discussing SAIC. One former manager who has worked on sensitive, even dangerous assignments abroad spoke about SAIC only after receiving assurances of anonymity, saying, "This is a very powerful company."

In the years when most corporations had glass ceilings for women, few were lower or thicker than the one at SAIC. Although Beyster was married (and the father of three children), his behavior toward women often ranged from coolness to open hostility. His former secretary, Linda Anderson, once testified that Beyster was "uncomfortable with women." She recalled that when a woman came into a meeting Beyster's manner became stilted. "Even his posture changed," she said. King, who sued the company for sex discrimination and won, said in an interview with Vanity Fair that when passing Beyster in the hall she was not to speak to him or even to look at him. Women were made to address the boss as "Dr. Beyster"; men called him "Bob." When a woman made a mistake, Beyster typically called her on it, using words like "stupid" or "incompetent." When a man made a mistake—well, it was just that, a mistake. Beyster's former secretary testified that he once instructed her, on the eve of a major corporate function, to make sure he wasn't seated next to SAIC's one female board member, "because all women talked about was where they got their hair done."

Beyster's close associates within SAIC were a succession of young men. Known as aides-de-camp, they were usually handsome, well educated, and intelligent, with a facility for numbers and a willingness to perform personal tasks for their boss. Beyster was an ardent sailor, and in the summertime he liked to spend afternoons cruising the waters off San Diego aboard his yacht in the company of these young men. George Wilson, who once headed SAIC's public-relations operation, has stated in a legal proceeding that the young men provided a variety of personal services for Beyster, including using SAIC equipment to make copies of pornographic movies that Beyster would watch aboard his boat.

When Beyster traveled on business, he often took one of the aides-de-camp with him, and asked his secretary to arrange for them to stay in the same hotel room—this according to the secretary's courtroom testimony. Wilson said in a deposition that one of the young men he knew who slept in the same room with Beyster on these trips told him that he didn't like doing it, but that "it was part of traveling with Beyster." Some of the young aides-de-camp went on to become executives at SAIC. Bernice King testified that Beyster had a name for his young assistants: he called them his "baby boys." When asked about these assertions, which surfaced in a sex-discrimination case, Beyster declined to comment on any particulars, saying, "Although I cannot address the specific points you raise from court testimony, I will say that during this trial a number of very personal accusations were leveled against me that are not accurate."

Klondike on the Euphrates
Civilians at SAIC used to joke that the company had so many admirals and generals in its ranks it could start its own war. Some might argue that, in the case of Iraq, it did.

There isn't a politically correct way to put it, but this is what needs to be said: 9/11 was a personal tragedy for thousands of families and a national tragedy for all of America, but it was very, very good for SAIC. In the aftermath of the attacks, the Bush administration launched its Global War on Terror, whose chief consequence has been to channel money by the tens of billions into companies promising they could do something—anything—to help. SAIC was ready. Four years earlier, anticipating the next big source of government revenue, SAIC had established the Center for Counterterrorism Technology and Analysis. According to SAIC, the purpose of the new unit was to take "a comprehensive view of terrorist threats, including the full range of weapons of mass destruction, more traditional high explosives, and cyber-threats to the national infrastructure." In October of 2006 the company told would-be investors flatly that the war on terror would continue to be a lucrative growth industry.

SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the first place, and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then, as war became inevitable, SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.

It is Wednesday afternoon, March 25, 1998, and David A. Kay, who had been a U.N. official in Iraq in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, is on Capitol Hill testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Americans generally remember Kay as the head of the Iraq Survey Group, the man who showed that Saddam Hussein didn't possess W.M.D. when America invaded in 2003, and that the war was launched under false pretenses. But today, in 1998, he is not David Kay, weapons inspector, but David Kay, director of SAIC's Center for Counterterrorism Technology and Analysis. He is a stockholder in a company known to cognoscenti in the hearing room as a fraternal twin of the intelligence establishment. With great authority, Kay tells the committee that Saddam Hussein "remains in power with weapons of mass destruction" and that "military action is needed." He warns that unless America acts now "we're going to find the world's greatest military with its hands tied."

Over the next four years, Kay and others associated with SAIC hammered away at the threat posed by Iraq. Wayne Downing, a retired general and a close associate of Ahmad Chalabi, proselytized hard for an invasion of Iraq, stating that the Iraqis "are ready to take the war … overseas. They would use whatever means they have to attack us." In many of his appearances on network and cable television leading up to the war, Downing was identified simply as a "military analyst." It would have been just as accurate to note that he was a member of SAIC's board of directors and a company stockholder. (Downing was also the chief proponent of a weapons system called Metal Storm, capable of firing a million rounds of ammunition a minute; SAIC received $10 million from the Pentagon to develop prototypes, but in the last two years the Metal Storm company has lost millions.) In the run-up to the war, David Kay remained outspoken. He told NBC News in October of 2002, "I don't think it's possible to disarm Iraq as long as Saddam is in power and desires to maintain weapons of mass destruction."

On all these points Kay and Downing were buttressing the views of Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and others in the Bush administration. They were also echoing the assertions of Iraqi exiles living in the United States, who had been trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein for years. Many of those exiles—people like Khidhir Hamza, a onetime atomic-energy official in Iraq, who insisted that Saddam posed an imminent nuclear danger to the United States—would in time receive paychecks from SAIC. Although his evidence had long been discredited by weapons experts, Hamza was among about 150 Iraqi exiles designated by the Pentagon as members of the newly chartered Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council. The plan was that, once American troops secured Iraq, the I.R.D.C. recruits would move into influential positions in a rebuilt Iraqi government.

SAIC served as the paymaster for the Iraqi exiles under a $33 million government contract. It brought them all together in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, rented apartments for them, paid their living expenses, provided various support services, and, later, after the invasion and occupation, flew them to their jobs in the new, democratic Iraq. This SAIC operation reported to Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy at the Pentagon, a key assistant to Rumsfeld, and one of the architects of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Feith's deputy was Christopher "Ryan" Henry, a former SAIC senior vice president.

It was understood in Washington, long before the actual onset of "shock and awe," that the Iraq war would be a Klondike gold rush for contractors. Prior to the war, SAIC was awarded seven contracts, together worth more than $100 million, without competitive bidding. The Defense Department's justification for the no-bid contracts: "We need the immediate services of a fully qualified contractor who has the unqualified support and confidence of the Pentagon leadership." SAIC's personnel, designated "subject-matter experts," were expected to lend a hand on such matters as "business development, international and regional political relations, the role of women in government, and government reform." Among SAIC's subject-matter experts was Shaha Riza, an Arab feminist and communications adviser at the World Bank. Riza also happened to be the girlfriend of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense.

One week before the invasion, SAIC was awarded yet another no-bid contract, this one for $15 million, which within a year would balloon to $82 million. The contract gave SAIC the responsibility for establishing a "free and independent indigenous media network" in Iraq, and for training a cadre of independent Iraqi journalists to go with it. The selection of SAIC for this job may have seemed counter-intuitive. A year earlier, SAIC had been involved in a Pentagon program designed to feed disinformation to the foreign press. The program was overseen by a Pentagon entity with the Orwellian name of Office of Strategic Influence, and its aims proved sufficiently odious that someone inside the Pentagon leaked its existence to The New York Times. An unrepentant Donald Rumsfeld stated that he would shut down the Office of Strategic Influence—but in name only: "There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done."

To create its Iraqi Media Network, SAIC hired professional newsmen from the United States as consultants. One of them was a former NBC News staff member, Don North, who had launched his career as a cameraman in Vietnam and eventually rose to become the NBC News bureau chief in Cairo. North began with high expectations. Once Saddam Hussein was ousted, he and his colleagues hoped to create a BBC-like news operation, instilling "standards of international broadcasting and news reporting" that Iraqis had never known before. It soon became clear that the Pentagon and the Coalition Provisional Authority had other ideas. To them, the Iraqi Media Network represented an opportunity to push the U.S. agenda in Iraq in the most simplistic sort of way. With SAIC's cooperation, the network quickly devolved into a mouthpiece for the Pentagon—"a little Voice of America," as North would put it. Iraqis openly snickered at the programming. Every time North protested, he recalls, he was rebuffed by SAIC executives. "Here I was going around quoting Edward R. Murrow," North says, "and the people who were running me were manipulating and controlling a very undemocratic press and media that was every bit as bad as what Saddam had established." In the end the network was turned over to Iraqi control. Today it is a tool of Iraq's Shiite majority and spews out virulently anti-American messages day and night. "And to think we started it," says North. The SAIC-created television network may be the only functioning weapon of mass destruction in today's Iraq.

As everyone now acknowledges, no other such weapons have ever been found, although search teams ran through more than $1 billion looking for them. The closest they came was the discovery, in May of 2003, of a "mobile bioweapons lab" in the form of a tractor-trailer whose interior configuration looked suspicious. David Kay was on hand to lend credence to the notion that the trailer was a weapons lab. "This is where the biological process took place," he explained in one NBC News broadcast. "You took the nutrients. Think of it sort of as a chicken soup for biological weapons. You mixed it with the seed stock, which came from this gravity-flow tank up here into the fermenter, and under pressure with heat, it fermented." Kay outlined the process step by step. The discovery of the trailer was, as the NBC News interviewer allowed, "very close to that elusive smoking gun."

It turned out, however, that the mobile weapons lab was nothing of the kind. To be sure, the military, back in the United States, did have in its possession something that looked a lot like the Iraqi trailer. In advance of the invasion, SAIC had built its own version of a mobile bioweapons lab, intended to help U.S. troops recognize such a facility if they ever came across one. SAIC had built, in effect, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

After failing to find the W.M.D., Kay told Congress in January of 2004: "Let me begin by saying we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here." The next month President Bush appointed a commission to look at how American intelligence managed to miss the truth about Iraq's weapons programs. The commission delivered its report one year later, and although it sternly pointed to obvious intelligence failures, it kept its gaze, as it had been told to do, at a very low level—and far away from the issue of whether senior policymakers had deliberately manipulated intelligence findings: "The Commission found no indication that the Intelligence Community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," the report concluded.

Three of the commission's staff members had direct ties to SAIC. One was Gordon Oehler, the commission's deputy director for review. When Oehler left the C.I.A., in October of 1997, after a 25-year career, he in essence walked down the street and into the McLean offices of SAIC to become a vice president for corporate development. A second commission staff member with ties to the company was Jeffrey R. Cooper, vice president for technology and chief science officer in one of SAIC's major sub-units. The third member was Samuel S. Visner, who holds a graduate degree in Washington's revolving-door system. From 1997 to 2001, Visner was an SAIC vice president for corporate development, and also a business-development manager. Next, he moved into a government spymaster job, becoming chief of signals-intelligence programs for the National Security Agency. During this time SAIC was one of several firms to receive a $280 million contract from the N.S.A. to develop one of its secret eavesdropping systems. In 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become a senior vice president and the director of strategic planning and business development of the company's intelligence group.

As for General Downing, he has become a regular contributor on television as a military expert on the war in Iraq and America's options. Everyone seems to have forgotten his earlier bellicosity.

The Flying Hummer
SAIC's ability to prosper is all the more remarkable given its record of lawsuits, charges brought by whistle-blowers, allegations of profiteering, fines assessed by federal judges, and repeated investigations and government audits. According to one former executive, in a sworn deposition in 1992, the practice of "mischarging" became "institutionalized within the company." (SAIC denies such allegations.)

The job of establishing the Iraqi Media Network's infrastructure—cables, transmitters, dishes—was rife with corruption and waste. In one instance, government auditors questioned an SAIC invoice for approximately $10 million. (SAIC says it is unaware of the auditors' report.) In March of 2004 the Pentagon's inspector general found widespread violations of normal contracting procedures: improper payments to subcontractors, unsubstantiated equipment purchases, unauthorized personnel on the payroll. One of the more blatant transgressions concerned SAIC's overall manager of the media effort in Iraq. The investigators discovered that he had bought a Hummer and a pickup truck in the United States and then chartered a DC-10 cargo jet to fly them to Iraq. When a Pentagon official refused to allow the charge, the inspector general reported, "SAIC then went around the authority of this acquisition specialist to a different office within the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy to gain approval and succeeded." SAIC's performance on the Iraqi Media Network contract is now, indirectly, at issue in a lawsuit brought by an employee who alleges that she was fired after she tried to draw the attention of SAIC executives to what she described in the suit as "unethical, illegal, and unsafe practices" by the company in Iraq. Because of the pending legal action, this employee declined to be interviewed, but considerable documentation is already part of the public record, including portions of her personnel file. SAIC's corporate priorities are suggested by one commendation the employee received, for her "excellent billing credentials."

This way of doing business has been an SAIC character trait for years. In 1991, SAIC was charged with falsifying data submitted to the E.P.A. on soil samples from Superfund toxic-waste sites. The law required the E.P.A. to identify toxic dumps and determine which ones posed the gravest risks. To perform the analysis, the E.P.A. contracted with independent labs, including SAIC's Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, in La Jolla. The lab was supposed to test soil and water samples within a certain number of days of their being received "to ensure the chemicals being tested for would not have dissipated in the interim." But technicians at SAIC's lab tested some samples after the deadline and then backdated the results. SAIC mounted a high-powered behind-the-scenes campaign to escape prosecution. A member of SAIC's board of directors, former secretary of defense Melvin R. Laird, wrote a personal letter to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. "I can assure you there was no wrongdoing on the part of the corporation," Laird stated. Criminal prosecution of SAIC, he went on, would be "entirely inappropriate." Ultimately the company was accused by the government of making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements," and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of making false statements or claims. SAIC paid $1.3 million in fines and restitution.

A few years later SAIC was in trouble again, this time over its efforts to design a flat-panel liquid-crystal-display screen to be used as a navigational device in the cockpits of air-force fighter jets. The initial contract had been awarded in 1987, but SAIC kept going back for more money. The government would shell out millions—even as SAIC assured the air force that steady progress was being made. And in fact air-force officials had no reason to believe otherwise: they had seen what they thought was a demonstration model when SAIC officials unveiled a slick-looking compact box with a backlit screen. SAIC officials traveled to military bases around the country to show off the prototype. A respected magazine, Engineering Design News, published a photograph of the display screen on its cover.

But the box was a fake. SAIC had been unable to develop the actual technology. The prototype—in effect, nothing more than a cheap video game—had been cobbled together with components taken from TV sets, computers, and everyday consumer appliances. When two SAIC employees complained to their superiors, both were fired. Two employees later filed whistle-blower lawsuits charging SAIC with defrauding the government. While denying any wrongdoing, in 1995 SAIC settled the suit with the government and paid a fine of $2.5 million.

The ill-fated cockpit-display project was hardly an isolated case. A recent case revealed one method SAIC employed to increase the profits on a contract. In San Antonio, the air force awarded SAIC a $24 million contract to clean up contaminated-waste sites at Kelly Air Force Base. Once the project was under way, the SAIC manager overseeing the job realized that the work would cost much less than the amount SAIC had negotiated. "It was massively overstaffed," Michael Woodlee, the former manager, said in an interview. "I didn't need that many [people]." Woodlee said he told one of his superiors that "there was no way under the moon we could spend all this money."

This is not what SAIC wanted to hear. Woodlee said that, because he couldn't spend everything in his budget, his SAIC superiors suggested that he "harvest money out of [his] project and send it up the corporate ladder." After he resisted, Woodlee contended, the project was taken away from him, and he was laid off.

In 2002, Woodlee filed a whistle-blower lawsuit charging SAIC with fraud under the federal False Claims Act. Working with air-force investigators, the U.S. attorney in San Antonio concluded that SAIC had in fact grossly understated profits on the contract: rather than the 8 to 10 percent profit the contract allowed, SAIC had, "unbeknownst to the Air Force," realized profits of three times that amount, and had submitted "false and fraudulent statements of its expected costs and profits."

SAIC's response was audacious. It told federal officials, in effect, that the government was right: the company does increase the profit margin beyond the terms of the contract. But there's a reason: risk is involved, and the additional profit is compensation for that risk. According to documents in the case, SAIC explained that it employs something called "Quantitative Risk Analysis" to identify potential business risks, and that it factors those costs into its contracts, although without ever mentioning the fact to customers. In a written response, the company stated that this kind of risk analysis is "commonly used throughout industry" and "such purely judgmental information was not required to be disclosed under [federal law] based on longstanding legal principles." But by failing to disclose that information to federal negotiators, the air force maintained, SAIC induced it "to agree to much higher prices than [the air force] would have agreed to had SAIC truthfully disclosed its cost and pricing data." After SAIC's "risk defense" surfaced, the air force issued a written alert to warn other agencies about SAIC's business methods, which it said SAIC "intends to continue using."

Although the amount of money in contention was relatively small, the principle involved was large, and it had potentially national implications. Was SAIC using the same formula in thousands upon thousands of other contracts it had with the government? We'll never know. For reasons that remain unclear, the Justice Department decided against expanding the probe beyond San Antonio. Is it possible that a call was made from one well-placed individual to another? In April of 2005, SAIC, while denying wrongdoing, settled the San Antonio lawsuit by paying a fine of $2.5 million.

More important, the company had forestalled a wider investigation. One of Woodlee's lawyers, Glenn Grossenbacher, who has represented other whistle-blowers against other companies, describes SAIC as unlike any other company he has ever confronted. "These guys handle things very differently than other people," he said. "They had better access to the Pentagon than the government's own attorneys. They are so well connected they were able to isolate this one case. This should have been a [national] case. The reason it wasn't was because of their political clout to shut it down and localize it."

Not every SAIC client is as forgiving as the United States government. When SAIC failed to deliver a highly touted security system for the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Greek government refused to make a final payment. SAIC had proposed the most extensive security shield in Olympic history: more than 100 command posts, vehicle-tracking devices and sensors everywhere, 1,600 video cameras, and a blimp loaded with "sensitive equipment" floating "silently overhead acting as an airborne surveillance center." As video feeds flowed to a central command post, SAIC's state-of-the-art software would link all these capabilities. The system was to remain in place as an anti-terrorism tool in Athens for years to come. But turmoil within SAIC plagued the effort from the start. Project managers came and went. On the eve of the games a source close to the Olympic planners stated that "the entire Committee without exception believe that the … system doesn't work."

The Olympics started up on schedule. SAIC's security system did not. A newspaper in Athens described the system as "operationally useless," and Greek officials improvised simply by adding more guards. Before the games began, SAIC and the Greek government had quietly come to an agreement that called for continued testing of the system and "final acceptance to occur no later than October 1, [2004]"—one month after the games ended. A payment of $23 million would follow. SAIC missed this deadline, too. After more wrangling the two sides, according to an Athens newspaper, reached an understanding that calls for SAIC to complete work by May 2008, almost four years after the Olympics. As of last fall, SAIC's losses on the project totaled a staggering $123 million, and the company acknowledges "our poor performance on the Greek Olympics contract." SAIC is trying to recoup some of its losses in an arbitration and so far has managed to keep the lid on potentially embarrassing revelations about the competence of a company whose operations are built on claims of technical expertise.

Radiation Sickness
Given that its founder came from a company called General Atomic it is hardly surprising that SAIC has been heavily involved in the nuclear business. One early project came in the 1970s and 80s, when SAIC received Pentagon contracts to reconstruct the amount of radiation absorbed by military personnel during atomic-bomb tests and other service-related exposures. The government's bookkeeping was so erratic from the early days of the Cold War that it was often difficult to tell how much radiation soldiers had received and whether it might have been responsible for their various cancers. When SAIC did the numbers, few veterans qualified for compensation. The Pentagon's nuclear testing was in effect off the hook, and ailing veterans were out of luck. After years of hearings, Congress in 1988 passed the Radiation-Exposed Veterans Compensation Act, which gave veterans the benefit of the doubt. It was presumed that their cancer was attributable to nuclear exposure without considering the radiation dose. By then many of the veterans were dead. A health physicist who testified later on behalf of the veterans spoke unkindly of the original SAIC work: "Atomic veterans have been deprived of benefits intended by Congress through [SAIC's] deceptive internal dose reconstructions and poor understanding of radioactive material distribution in the body." SAIC disagrees, saying that it "continues to work with the government to apply the best science to performing dose reconstruction for atomic veterans."

Periodically over the years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, prodded by executives in the nuclear industry, have sought to ease the rules against re-using "lightly" contaminated radioactive waste. The impetus has been the inexorably growing stockpile of nuclear debris—much of it lethal—that has been accumulating at weapons sites and power plants in America for decades. One way to draw down the stockpile would be to recycle large volumes of discarded nickel, aluminum, copper, steel, and other irradiated metals into usable products. If slightly radioactive metal were combined with other metals, the resulting material could be made into all kinds of consumer items—knives and forks, baby strollers, chairs, rings, eyeglass frames, bicycles, reclining rockers, earrings, frying pans. It also could be used in construction.

Lest any of this sound improbable, in the 1980s radioactive table legs began turning up in the United States everywhere from restaurants to nursing homes. A radioactive gold ring cost a Pennsylvania man his arm. The public outcry was so great that in 1992 Congress set out to ban this form of recycling. The N.R.C., D.O.E., and nuclear industry saw the ban coming and were not happy about it, but they also saw a way out: maybe it would be possible to develop broad guidelines that would allow the contaminated waste to be recycled based on what were deemed "safe" exposure levels. Never mind that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation. Two months before the ban was signed into law, the N.R.C. gave the multi-million-dollar job of formulating the guidelines to an outside contractor. The contractor was SAIC.

As the years slipped by, across town, another federal agency, the Department of Energy, was handing out a $238 million contract to B.N.F.L. Inc., at that time the U.S. subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels, "to clean up and reindustrialize three massive uranium enrichment facilities" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee. The agreement called for B.N.F.L. to recycle "hundreds of thousands of tons of metals." British Nuclear Fuels had a questionable track record in the nuclear industry. For decades it had dumped plutonium and other radioactive waste into the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic. Its workers had falsified critical quality-control data. When the D.O.E. announced the contract, SAIC was identified as a major subcontractor in the recycling of radioactive scrap metal.

Because the N.R.C. and the D.O.E. for some reason weren't talking to each other, the elegance of this arrangement escaped everyone's attention. To connect the dots: SAIC was writing the regulations for one government agency, the N.R.C., which would set the permissible limits of radioactive contamination for recycling, even as it partnered with another company, under contract to a different federal agency, the D.O.E., to recycle the radioactive metal for which it was drafting the regulations.

The synergy of this arrangement was discovered accidentally by a Washington lawyer, Daniel Guttman, whose longtime passion has been conflicts of interest that inevitably—purposefully—arise from government outsourcing. Guttman called attention in public hearings to what was happening, thoroughly embarrassing officials at the N.R.C. and the D.O.E. and stirring the ire of public-interest groups. The N.R.C. killed its contract with SAIC. The recycling project was put on hold. And the N.R.C. filed suit against SAIC, alleging "false and/or fraudulent representations to the effect that [SAIC] was providing services to the NRC which were free from bias." SAIC has denied the conflict-of-interest claims, and the suit is still pending.

But SAIC is by no means out of the nuclear business. It may be under a cloud at the N.R.C., but it's still a partner, with the construction giant Bechtel, in the largest nuclear project of all—the $3.1 billion effort to build a repository for America's high-level radioactive waste. The firm Bechtel SAIC is constructing the repository deep under Yucca Mountain, Nevada, where the buried waste will remain lethal for at least 10,000 years. It could provide a revenue stream for SAIC as far into the future as one can imagine.

The Permanent Government
Bob Beyster turned 79 in 2003. He was in his 34th year with the company. A writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, granted a rare interview around this time, observed that Beyster was a "little more stooped now," but still vigorous. He continued to run three or four miles almost every day. Over the years numerous executives rumored to be his successor had come and gone as it became apparent that Beyster had no intention of relinquishing power. But the sheer size of the company and its aggressive, internally competitive style were catching up to Beyster. Even Pentagon officials had begun to complain that SAIC's overlapping divisions were creating confusion. When the Pentagon talks, contractors listen. In 2003, the SAIC board forced him out. By 2004, SAIC had a new chairman, Kenneth Dahlberg, a top executive at General Dynamics with long experience in the defense industry.

In October of 2006, SAIC carried out a long-anticipated I.P.O., selling 86 million shares at $15 a share in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $1.2 billion. Reflecting investor bullishness, shares rose to $21 in a matter of days. Its prospects have never looked brighter.

Unlike traditional wars, which eventually come to an end, the Global War on Terror as defined by the Bush administration can have no end: it is a permanent war—the perfect war for a company that has become an essential component of the permanent government. Political change causes scarcely a ripple. As one former SAIC manager observed in a recent blog posting: "My observation is that the impact of national elections on the business climate for SAIC has been minimal. The emphasis on where federal spending occurs usually shifts, but total federal spending never decreases. SAIC has always continued to grow despite changes in the political leadership in Washington."

And the revolving door never stops spinning. One of the biggest contracts ever for SAIC is in the works right now. It's for a Pentagon program called Future Combat Systems, which is described as "a complex plan to turn the U.S. Army into a lighter, more lethal, more mobile force" and also as "the most difficult integration program ever undertaken by the U.S. Department of Defense." The contract runs into the billions of dollars. The man who helped craft this program at the Pentagon was Lieutenant General Daniel R. Zanini. Zanini recently retired from the army, and he now has a new job. Can you guess where it might be?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: WHEN LOVE OF PROFITS CLASHES WITH THE LOVE OF THE PROPHET P2 Reply with quote

LEARNING TO BE A LEAN, MEAN KILLING MACHINE

Sgt. Martin Smith, USMC, ret.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17132.htm

"Counterpunch" -- -- I will never forget standing in formation after the end of our final "hump," marine-speak for a forced march, at the end of the Crucible in March, 1997. The Crucible is the final challenge during Marine Corps boot camp and is a two-and-a-half day, physically exhausting exercise in which sleep deprivation, scarce food, and a series of obstacles test teamwork and toughness. The formidable nine-mile stretch ended with our ascent up the "Grim Reaper," a small mountain in the hilly terrain of Camp Pendleton, California. As we stood at attention, the Commanding Officer made his way though our lines, inspecting his troops and giving each of us an eagle, globe, and anchor pin, the mark of our final transition from recruit to Marine. But what I recall most was not the pain and exhaustion that filled every ounce of my trembling body, but the sounds that surrounded me as I stood at attention with eyes forward.

Mixed within the repetitive refrains of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," belting from a massive sound system, were the soft and gentle sobs emanating from numerous newborn Marines. Their cries stood in stark contrast to the so-called "warrior spirit" we had earned and now came to epitomize. While some may claim that these unmanly responses resulted from a patriotic emotional fit or even out of a sense of pride in being called "Marine" for the very first time, I know that for many the moisture streaming down our cheeks represented something much more anguished and heartrending.

What I learned about Marines is that despite the stereotype of the chivalrous knight, wearing dress blues with sword drawn, or the green killing machine that is always "ready to rumble," the young men and women I encountered instead comprised a cross-section of working-class America. There were neither knights nor machines among us. During my five years in active-duty service, I befriended a recovering meth addict who was still "using," a young male who had prostituted himself to pay his rent before he signed-up, an El Salvadorian immigrant serving in order to receive a green card, a single mother who could not afford her child's healthcare needs as a civilian, a gay teenager who entertained our platoon by singing Madonna karaoke in the barracks to the delight of us all, and many of the country's poor and poorly educated. I came to understand very well what those cries on top of the Grim Reaper expressed. Those teardrops represented hope in the promise of a change in our lives from a world that, for many of us as civilians, seemed utterly hopeless.

Marine Corps boot camp is a thirteen week training regimen unlike any other. According to the USMC's recruiting website, "Marine Recruits learn to use their intelligence . . . and to live as upstanding moral beings with real purpose." Yet if teaching intelligence and morals are the stated purpose of its training, the Corps has peculiar way of implementing its pedagogy. In reality, its educational method is based on a planned and structured form of cruelty. I remember my first visit to the "chow-hall" in which three Drill Instructors (DIs), wearing their signature "smoky bear" covers, pounced upon me for having looked at them, screaming that I was a "Nasty Piece of Civilian *." From then on, I learned that you could only look at a DI when instructed to by the command of "Eyeballs!" In addition, recruits could only speak in the third person, thus ridding our vocabulary of the term "I" and divorcing ourselves from our previous civilian identities.

Our emerging group mentality was built upon and reinforced by tearing down and degrading us through a series of regimented and ritualistic exercises in the first phase of boot camp. Despite having an African American and a Latino DI, recruits in my platoon were ridiculed with derogatory language that included racial epithets. But recruits of color were not the only victims, we were all "fags," "p******," and "*." We survived through a twisted sort of leveling based on what military historian Christian G. Appy calls a "solidarity of the despised."

We relearned how to execute every activity, including the most personal aspects of our hygiene. While eating, we could only use our right hand while our left had to stay directly on our knee, and our eyes had to stare directly at our food trays. Our bathroom breaks were so brief that three recruits would share a urinal at a time so that the entire platoon of sixty-three recruits could relieve themselves in our minute-and-half time limit. On several occasions, recruits soiled their uniforms during training. Every evening, DIs inspected our boots for proper polish and our belt buckles for satisfactory shine while we stood at attention in our underwear. Then, we would "mount our racks" (bunk beds), lie at attention, and scream all three verses of the Marine Corps hymn at the top of our lungs. While the DIs would proclaim that these inspections were to insure that our bodies had not been injured during training, I suspect that there were ulterior motives as well. These examinations were attempts to indoctrinate us with an emerging military masculinity that is based upon male sexuality linked to respect for the uniform and a fetishization of combat.

After the playing of Taps, lights went out. At which time, a DI would circle around the room and begin moralizing. "One of these days, you're going to figure out what's really tough in the world," he would exclaim. "You think you've got it so bad. But in recruit training, you get three meals a day while we tell you when to * and blink," he continued. The DI would then lower his voice, "But when you're out on your own, you're gonna see what's hard. You'll see what tough is when you knock up your old woman. You'll realize what's cruel when you get married and find yourself stuck with a fat bitch who just squats out ungrateful kids. You'll learn what the real world's about when you're overseas and your wife back in the states robs you blind and sleeps with your best friend." The DI's nightly homiletic speeches, full of an unabashed hatred of women, were part of the second phase of boot camp, the process of rebuilding recruits into Marines.

The process of reconstructing recruits and molding them into future troops is based on building a team that sees itself in opposition to those who are outside of it. After the initial shock of the first phase of training, DIs indoctrinate recruits to dehumanize the enemy in order to train them how to overcome any fear or prejudice against killing. In fact, according to longtime counter-recruitment activist Tod Ensign, the military has deliberately researched how to best design training for how to teach recruits how to kill. Such research was needed because humans are instinctively reluctant to kill. Dr. Dave Grossman disclosed in his work, On Killing, that fewer than 20 percent of U.S. troops fired their weapons in World War II during combat. As a result, the military reformed training standards so that more soldiers would pull their trigger against the enemy. Grossman credits these training modifications for the transformation of the Armed Forces in the Vietnam War in which 90-95 percent of soldiers fired their weapons. These reforms in training were based on teaching recruits how to dehumanize the enemy.

The process of dehumanization is central to military training. During Vietnam, the enemy in Vietnam was simply a "gook," "dink," or a "slope." Today, "rag head" and "sand nigger" are the current racist epithets lodged against Arabs and Muslims. After every command, we would scream, "Kill!" But our call for blood took on particular importance during our physical training, when we learned how to fight with pugil sticks, wooden sticks with padded ends, how to run an obstacle course with fixed bayonets, or how to box and engage in hand-to-hand combat. We were told to imagine the "enemy" in all of our combat training, and it was always implied that the "enemy" was of Middle Eastern descent. "When some rag head comes lurking up from behind, you're gonna give 'em ONE," barked the training DI. We all howled in unison, "Kill!" Likewise, when we charged toward the dummy on an obstacle course with our fixed bayonets, it was clear to all that the lifeless form was Arab.

Even in 1997, we were being brainwashed to accept the coming Iraq War. Abruptly interrupting a class, one of numerous courses we attended on military history, first aid, and survival skills, a Series Chief DI excitedly announced that all training was coming to a halt. We were to be shipped immediately to the Gulf, because Saddam had just fired missiles into Israel. Given that we lived with no knowledge of the outside world, with neither TV nor newspapers, and that we experienced constant high levels of stress and a discombobulating environment, the DI's false assertion seemed all too believable. After a half-hour panic, we were led out of the auditorium to face the rebuke and scorn of our platoon DIs. It turned out that the interruption was a skit planned to scare us into the realization that we could face war at any moment. The trick certainly had the planned effect on me, as I pondered what the hell I had gotten myself into. I also now realize that we were being indoctrinated with schemes for war in the Middle East. Our hatred of the Arab "other" was crafted from the very beginning of our training through fear and hate.

Almost ten years since I stood on the yellow footprints that greet new recruits at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, I express gratitude for my luck during my enlistment. I was fortunate to have never witnessed a day of combat and was honorably discharged months after 9/11. However, joining the military is like playing Russian Roulette. With wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the likelihood of military action against Iran, troops in the Corps today are playing with grimmer odds. In these "dirty wars," troops cannot tell friend from foe, leading to war crimes against a civilian population. Our government is cynically promoting a campaign of lies and deception to justify its illegal actions (with the complicity of both parties in Washington), and our troops are fighting to support regimes that lack popular support and legitimacy.

With over 3,100 U.S. troops now dead and thousands more maimed and crippled, I look back to the other young men I heard sobbing on that sunny wintry morning on top of the Reaper. The reasons we enlisted were as varied as our personal histories. Yet, it is the starkest irony that the hope we collectively expressed for a better life may have indeed cost us our very lives. When one pulls the trigger called "enlistment," he or she faces the gambling chance of experiencing war, conflicts which inevitably lead to the degradation of the human spirit.

The war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq, such as the brutality exhibited at Mahmoudiya in which soldiers allegedly gang-raped a teen-age Iraqi girl and burned her body to destroy the evidence, are, in fact, part and parcel of all imperialist wars. The USMC's claim that recruits learn "to live as upstanding moral beings with real purpose" is a sickening ploy aimed to disguise its true objectives. Given the fact that Marines are molded to kill the enemy "other" from TD One (training day) combined with the bestial nature of colonial war, it should come as no surprise that rather than turning "degenerates" into paragons of virtue, the Corps is more likely capable of transforming men into monsters.

And yet as much as these war crimes reveal about the conditions of war, the circumstances facing an occupying force, and the peculiar brand of Marine training, they also reflect a bitter truth about the civilian world in which we live. It speaks volumes that in order for young working-class men and women to gain self-confidence or self-worth, they seek to join an institution that trains them how to destroy, maim, and kill. The desire to become a Marine-as a journey to one's manhood or as a path to self-improvement-is a stinging indictment of the pathology of our class-ridden world.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:16 pm    Post subject: Love of Profits vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

US RATCHETS UP PSY-OPS AGAINST TEHRAN
Mahan Abedin
www.saudidebate.com

Psychological warfare is fast emerging as the key component of the conflict between Iran and the United States. It is being used extensively by the latter to influence Iranian behavior in Iraq and secure a climbdown by the Islamic Republic in the intricate negotiations over the country's controversial nuclear program.

As the Iranians analyze and react to this carefully crafted psychological-warfare campaign, they run the risk of miscalculating broader developments in the region. The most important of these is Saudi Arabia's new proactive foreign policy. In this climate of heightened tensions and widespread misunderstanding it is easy for the Iranians to dismiss Saudi diplomacy as yet another plank of America's psychological warfare against the Islamic Republic. Miscalculations of this kind can have drastic long-term consequences for Iranian interests in the Middle East.

War of words
Psychological warfare has been a feature of Iranian-US relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Both sides have made extensive use of it, not only to damage the morale of the other, but also as a way of managing the conflict and preventing it from escalating into a shooting war. But never has this psychological war been so intense and potentially dangerous as it is now. Given the unprecedented instability across the Middle East - with opposing factions allied either to Iran or to the US - there is a real danger of misunderstandings spinning out of control.

As always, it is the Americans who have ratcheted up the war of words, with the Iranians trying to come to terms with it.

The best analyses can be found on websites that are ideologically close to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. These are often managed by second-generation revolutionaries with loose links to the Islamic Republic's security establishment. A highly illuminating analysis is provided by Dr Hossein Kachouyan, a professor of sociology at Tehran University and an expert on psychological warfare. In an interview with Raja News (www.rajanews.com), a website run by Ahmadinejad loyalists, Kachouyan provides a historical overview of the role of propaganda and psychological warfare in human conflict with a special focus on the Islamic way of war.

Kachouyan concludes, "Given that the Americans are plagued by internal political disputes and international constraints in addition to huge political, economic and military problems associated with their aggressions [against Afghanistan and Iraq], they have no option but to engage in psychological warfare against Iran." He adds: "They are trying to cause splits in the internal [Iranian] front ... and prevent us from pursuing our objectives by creating fear, doubt and division." [1]

As an Ahmadinejad loyalist, Kachouyan is clearly referring to the Rafsanjani camp, which has lately started a widespread misinformation campaign against the Ahmadinejad government, accusing it of radicalism, unnecessary militancy, economic incompetence and disregard for the national interest.

Another strong analysis (albeit a less sophisticated one) is put forward by Raja News' Qasim Ravanbakhsh. Ravanbakhsh identifies "Bush's foot soldiers" in the psychological-warfare campaign against Iran and concludes that the Islamic Republic should hit back with a propaganda campaign of its own and declare to the world that the US "cannot do a damn thing". [2]

This confidence is only partially rooted in the factors outlined by the two authors - in particular Kachouyan - namely that the US lacks the requisite political will to wage war against the Islamic Republic. The main driver behind this conviction is the actual beliefs of Ahmadinejad and his hardcore supporters. With backgrounds in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (the IRGC, the Islamic Republic's large and competent ideological army), Ahmadinejad and his supporters believe the Islamic Republic is unconquerable; with its ability to project power well beyond its actual size and resources rooted in its "undeterrable" nature.

It is very important to understand the origins and intricacies of this mindset. People like Ahmadinejad and Kachouyan developed their political consciousness not on the turbulent streets of the Iranian revolution but in the revolutionary decade of the 1980s, and especially in the front lines of the Iran-Iraq War. The belief that Iran faced much of the Western and Eastern worlds during the war is widely shared in the population, but it is especially intense in the networks linked to the second-generation revolutionaries.

From their perspective, the Islamic Republic ensured its long-term stability by facing much of the world with modest means and with iron will as its only real strategic asset (against an enemy that enjoyed the unqualified support of much of the Arab and Western worlds). They believe that the culture of sacrifice born out of eight years of war, and the unique nationalist-Islamic political heritage it has spawned, will ensure the survival of the Islamic Republic against all odds.

Furthermore, the very distinct features of the Islamic Republic (a political system that effortlessly combines democratic and theocratic ideas and institutions) and the intense loyalty it inspires among a substantial section of the Iranian population (as well as a considerable number of non-Iranians) enables the regime to face its only serious security threat, namely the United States.

This belief in the "undeterrable" nature of the Islamic Republic in turn influences Iranian psychological warfare against the United States.

While Iranian diplomats do their best to ease tension and neutralize US saber-rattling, the IRGC is busy conducting war games in 16 of the country's provinces. These latest military maneuvers follow numerous others during which the IRGC showcases new indigenous weaponry and boasts of its impressive missile capabilities.

Moreover, the Revolutionary Guards have unveiled a new pilotless drone that they claim can be used to crash into US warships in the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the IRGC claims that it recently managed to place its standard (logo) on the side of a US warship in the Gulf. [3]

These activities were reinforced by the latest warning from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's spiritual leader, that in the event of US aggression, Iran would target US interests throughout the world. This is not an empty threat. While the Americans are not overly concerned about Iran's conventional military capabilities (which are modest, IRGC boasting and ceaseless maneuvers notwithstanding), they cannot so easily dismiss the capabilities of the Islamic Republic's intelligence services and special forces, which are widely believed to be among the best in the world.

The Quds Force
But are Ahmadinejad loyalists correct in their assumption that US saber-rattling does not go beyond psychological warfare?

Two developments in particular shed some light on this issue. The first is recent US allegations that elements of the Quds Force (the ultra-secretive special-operations arm of the IRGC) has been providing specialized technology - namely explosively formed penetrators or EFPs - to Shi'ite militias and insurgents in Iraq.

While an exhaustive analysis of the US claims is beyond the scope of this article, it is important to point out that the allegations relating specifically to the technology have been met by widespread skepticism. Even before the allegations were made public, an article in Jane's Intelligence Review last month by Michael Knights, chief of analysis for the Olive Group, a private security-consulting firm, reported that British military intelligence had uncovered an entirely Iraqi network that arranged for the purchase and delivery of imported EFPs. Apparently this network was centered in the heart of the Basra Police, and included members of the Police Intelligence Unit, the Internal Affairs Directorate and the Major Crimes Unit. [4]

Moreover, the central contention of the original US allegations - namely that the highest levels of the Iranian government were complicit in the killing of American soldiers - was so controversial that the US administration had to backtrack immediately, claiming that it was "not sure" if the Tehran government was involved. This position is ludicrous given the status of the Quds Force, a highly disciplined unit within the IRGC, which is in turn tightly controlled by the highest levels of the Islamic regime.

Established in the early 1980s, and known inside the IRGC as the "2nd Quds Corps", the Quds Force is in charge of extraterritorial special operations. It has operated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sudan. In the early to mid-1990s, the Quds Force was in charge of a large-scale operation supplying arms and training to the Bosnian Muslims. Interestingly, this operation had the tacit approval of US officials who only moved against the Quds Force in Bosnia once the Dayton Peace Agreement had been signed in late November 1995.

In post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, the Quds Force - alongside other Iranian intelligence agencies - is active in widening and deepening Iranian influence, especially inside the new Iraqi security structures. It is highly unlikely that the Quds Force would directly counter US power in Iraq, for this would not only endanger its operations (much of which the Americans have tolerated) but would also violate the core principles of Iranian policy in Iraq, which is to avoid confrontation with the United States.

Seen in this context, the recent US operations against Iranian interests (namely the assault on Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's compound in late December and the raid on the Iranian Consulate in Irbil in early January) reinforce wider US psychological warfare against Iran and are designed to force its leadership to rethink some of its policies in the Middle East and compromise on the nuclear issue.

Saudi Arabia: Old pawn or new kingmaker?
In recent months, Saudi Arabia has shifted from its long-established role as a low-profile, behind-the-scenes regional player to pursue a more active foreign policy. This has been particularly evident in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

In Lebanon, the Saudis have played a major role in easing tensions between the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the Saad Hariri camp on one side and the Hezbollah-led opposition on the other. The Saudis have only been successful because of Iranian cooperation. Both sides thrashed out a deal during Ali Larijani's recent visit to Riyadh. Apparently Larijani - the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (and the country's chief nuclear negotiator) - had submitted a letter to King Abdullah that was signed by both Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. The letter stated Iran's willingness to work with Saudi Arabia to reduce sectarian and political tensions in the Middle East.

In the case of Palestine, the Saudis have almost single-handedly brokered a truce between warring Hamas and Fatah factions and engineered the creation of a national-unity government. While Iran cannot be happy about this Saudi success, apparently the Iranians were confident enough that the Saudis would be unable to displace Iranian influence over Hamas that they did nothing to undermine the deal.

While Iranian-Saudi relations have been steadily improving since the early 1990s, this level of cooperation (especially in the treacherous political landscape of Lebanon - where the two countries pursue very different objectives) is unprecedented. The key question is, why are the Iranians appeasing the House of Saud?

Iranian perceptions about the House of Saud are not very favorable. While the Iranian diplomatic community regards the Saudis as "enablers" of US foreign policy in the Muslim world, the hardline supporters of the Islamic Revolution go much further and regard the historical function of the House of Saud as pawns of the Western powers. They served the British during the heyday of their empire and now serve the Americans, so the argument goes.
These hardliners tend to stay loyal to the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's famous statement that "we may reach peace with Saddam but we will never accept peace with al-Saud", even if they have not done much to undermine Iranian-Saudi detente.

It is entirely possible that Iranian cooperation with the Saudis over the political standoff in Lebanon and (to a much lesser extent) the deal that has ended the bloody factional strife between Hamas and Fatah (at least for the time being) is informed by the view that these latest Saudi maneuvers stem not so much from creative Saudi initiatives but pressure from Washington. And this US pressure can only be understood in the wider context of intense US psychological warfare against Iran, so the policymakers in Tehran may argue.

If this is indeed the case, then the Iranians have badly miscalculated. All evidence suggests that the Saudis have decided on a more proactive foreign policy largely because of Iran's growing role in the region. Far from neutralizing US intrigues, by engaging more closely with the Saudis the Iranians are in fact bolstering the position of their only serious regional rival.

The Iranian diplomatic community has long believed in the value of engagement with Saudi Arabia, arguing that the ejection of US forces from the region can only come about as a result of deep and wide-ranging Iranian-Saudi understanding. This view was articulated to the author by Dr Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh in an interview with Saudi Debate. [5] However, the wider Iranian policymaking community (in particular Ahmadinejad loyalists) believe in keeping the Saudis at arm's length hoping that America's weakening position will in turn weaken the Saudis.

It is interesting that Ahmadinejad loyalists have not protested about the recent Iranian overtures to the House of Saud. In this respect they may be taking the psychological-warfare argument too far, thereby neglecting wider regional realities. After all, not every major development in the Middle East revolves around the United States. By drawing too close to the Saudis, Iran may be undermining its traditional allies, in particular Syria, whose president has just paid a visit to Tehran partly because of concerns over the recent Iranian-Saudi "deal", which undercuts Syria's position in Lebanon.

In the final analysis, as the Iranians counter intense US psychological warfare, they run the risk of misinterpreting wider regional developments. These may prove costly in the long term, especially in regards to the balance of Iranian and Saudi influence in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. While the House of Saud enjoys the backing of the United States and has impressive resources, it - unlike the Islamic Republic - suffers from a major legitimacy deficit. Iranian policymakers ought to beware of this and plan their long-term approach to this declining monarchy accordingly.

Notes
1. "Jangeh ravaniye doshman va marooub shodaneh barkhi maghamat" (The psychological warfare of the enemy and the surrender of certain officials), Dr Hossein Kachouyan, Raja News.
2. "Piyadeh nezamhaye janageh ravaniye Bush dar Iran" (Bush's psychological-warfare foot soldiers in Iran), Qasim Ravanbakhsh, Raja News.
3. Raja News.
4. "US's smoking gun on Iran misfires", Gareth Porter, Asia Times Online.
5. "Iran-Saudi strengthen ties despite US plot to sow division", Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, interviewed by Mahan Abedin, Saudi Debate.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:40 pm    Post subject: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

OIL GRAB IN IRAQ

Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar | February 22, 2007
www.fpif.org

While debate rages in the United States about the military in Iraq, an equally important decision is being made inside of Iraq--the future of Iraq’s oil. A new Iraqi law proposes to open the country’s currently nationalized oil system to foreign corporate control. But emblematic of the flawed promotion of “democracy” by the Bush administration, this new law is news to most Iraqi politicians.

A leaked copy of the proposed hydrocarbon law appeared on the Internet last week at the same time that it was introduced to the Iraqi Council of Ministers. The law is expected to go to the Iraqi Council of Representatives within weeks. Yet the Internet version was the first look that most members of Iraq’s parliament had of the new law.

Many Iraqi oil experts, like Fouad Al-Ameer who was responsible for the leak, think that this law is not an urgent item on the country's agenda. Other observers and analysis share Al-Ameer's views and believe the Bush administration, foreign oil companies, and the International Monetary Fund are rushing the Iraqi government to pass the law.

Not every aspect of the law is harmful to Iraq. However, the current language favors the interests of foreign oil corporations over the economic security and development of Iraq. The law’s key negative components harm Iraq’s national sovereignty, financial security, territorial integrity, and democracy.

National Sovereignty and Financial Security
The new oil law gives foreign corporations access to almost every sector of Iraq’s oil and natural gas industry. This includes service contracts on existing fields that are already being developed and that are managed and operated by the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC). For fields that have already been discovered, but not yet developed, the proposed law stipulates that INOC will have to be a partner on these contracts. But for as-yet-undiscovered fields, neither INOC nor private Iraqi companies receive preference in new exploration and development. Foreign companies have full access to these contracts.

The exploration and production contracts give firms exclusive control of fields for up to 35 years including contracts that guarantee profits for 25-years. A foreign company, if hired, is not required to partner with an Iraqi company or reinvest any of its money in the Iraqi economy. It’s not obligated to hire Iraqi workers train Iraqi workers, or transfer technology.

The current law remains silent on the type of contracts that the Iraqi government can use. The law establishes a new Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council with ultimate decision-making authority over the types of contracts that will be employed. This Council will include, among others, “executive managers of from important related petroleum companies.” Thus, it is possible that foreign oil company executives could sit on the Council. It would be unprecedented for a sovereign country to have, for instance, an executive of ExxonMobil on the board of its key oil and gas decision-making body.

The law also does not appear to restrict foreign corporate executives from making decisions on their own contracts. Nor does there appear to be a “quorum” requirement. Thus, if only five members of the Federal Oil and Gas Council met--one from ExxonMobil, Shell, ChevronTexaco, and two Iraqis--the foreign company representatives would apparently be permitted to approve contacts for themselves.

Under the proposed law, the Council has the ultimate power and authority to approve and re-write any contract using whichever model it prefers if a "2/3 majority of the members in attendance" agree. Early drafts of the bill, and the proposed model by the U.S. advocate very unfair, and unconventional for Iraq, models such as Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) which would set long term contracts with unfair conditions that may lead to the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars of the Iraqi oil money as profits to foreign companies.

The Council will also decide the fate of the existing exploration and production contracts already signed with the French, Chinese, and Russians, among others.

The law does not clarify who ultimately controls production levels. The contractee--the INOC, foreign, or domestic firms--appears to have the right to determine levels of production. However, a clause reads, “In the event that, for national policy considerations, there is a need to introduce limitations on the national level of Petroleum Production, such limitations shall be applied in a fair and equitable manner and on a pro-rata basis for each Contract Area on the basis of approved Field Development Plans.” The clause does not indicate who makes this decision, what a “fair and equitable manner” means, or how it is enforced. If foreign companies, rather than the Iraqi government, ultimately have control over production levels, then Iraq’s relationship to OPEC and other similar organizations would be deeply threatened.

Democracy and Territorial Integrity
Many Iraqi oil experts are already referring to the draft law as the "Split Iraq Fund," arguing that it facilitates plans for splitting Iraq into three ethnic/religious regions. The experts believe the law undermines the central government and shifts important decision-making and responsibilities to the regional entities. This shift could serve as the foundation for establishing three new independent states, which is the goal of a number of separatist leaders.

The law opens the possibility of the regions taking control of Iraq’s oil, but it also maintains the possibility of the central government retaining control. In fact, the law was written in a vague manner to help ensure passage, a ploy reminiscent of the passage of the Iraqi constitution. There is a significant conflict between the Bush administration and others in Iraq who would like ultimate authority for Iraq’s oil to rest with the central government and those who would like to see the nation split in three. Both groups are powerful in Iraq. Both groups have been mollified, for now, to ensure the law's passage.

But two very different outcomes are possible. If the central government remains the ultimate decision-making authority in Iraq, then the Iraq Federal Oil and Gas Council will exercise power over the regions. And if the regions emerge as the strongest power in Iraq, then the Council could simply become a silent rubber stamp, enforcing the will of the regions. The same lack of clarity exists in Iraq's constitution.

The daily lives of most people in Iraq are overwhelmed with meeting basic needs. They are unaware of the details and full nature of the oil law shortly to be considered in parliament. Their parliamentarians, in turn, have not been included in the debate over the law and were unable to even read the draft until it was leaked on the Internet. Those Iraqis able to make their voices heard on the oil law want more time. They urge postponing a decision until Iraqis have their own sovereign state without a foreign occupation.

Passing this oil law while the political future of Iraq is unclear can only further the existing schisms in the Iraqi government. Forcing its passage will achieve nothing more than an increase in the levels of violence, anger, and instability in Iraq and a prolongation of the U.S. occupation.


Raed Jarrar Iraq Project Director for Global Exchange. He is an Iraqi blogger and architect. He runs a blog called "Raed in the Middle." Antonia Juhasz is the Ida Tarbell Fellow at Oil Change International, a Visiting Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, and author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time (HarperCollins, April 2006).
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:47 pm    Post subject: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

OILY TRUTH EMERGES IN IRAQ

Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News

Throughout nearly four years of the daily mayhem and carnage in Iraq, President Bush and his aides in the White House have scoffed at even the slightest suggestion that the U.S. military occupation has anything to do with oil.

The President presumably would have us all believe that if Iraq had the world's second-largest supply of bananas instead of petroleum, American troops would still be there.

Now comes new evidence of the big prize in Iraq that rarely gets mentioned at White House briefings.

A proposed new Iraqi oil and gas law began circulating last week among that country's top government leaders and was quickly leaked to various Internet sites - before it has even been presented to the Iraqi parliament.

Under the proposed law, Iraq's immense oil reserves would not simply be opened to foreign oil exploration, as many had expected. Amazingly, executives from those companies would actually be given seats on a new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq's reserves.

In other words, Chevron, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and the other Western oil giants could end up on the board of directors of the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council, while Iraq's own national oil company would become just another competitor.

The new law would grant the council virtually all power to develop policies and plans for undeveloped oil fields and to review and change all exploration and production contracts.

Since most of Iraq's 73 proven petroleum fields have yet to be developed, the new council would instantly become a world energy powerhouse.

"We're talking about trillions of dollars of oil that are at stake," said Raed Jarrar, an independent Iraqi journalist and blogger who obtained an Arabic copy of the draft law and posted an English-language translation on his Web site over the weekend.

Take, for example, the massive Majnoon field in southern Iraq near the Iranian border, which contains an estimated 20 billion barrels. Before Saddam Hussein was toppled by the U.S. invasion in 2003, he had granted a $4 billion contract to French oil giant TotalFinaElf to develop the field.

In the same way, the Iraqi dictator signed contracts with Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian and Spanish companies to develop 10 other big oil fields once international sanctions against his regime were lifted.

The big British and American companies had been shut out of Iraq, thanks to more than a decade of U.S. sanctions against Saddam.

But if the new law passes, those companies will be the ones reviewing those very contracts and any others.

"Iraq's economic security and development will be thrown into question with this law," said Antonia Juhasz of Oil Change International, a petroleum industry watchdog group. "It's a radical departure not only from Iraq's existing structure but from how oil is managed in most of the world today."

Throughout the developing world, national oil companies control the bulk of oil production, though they often develop joint agreements with foreign commercial oil groups.

But under the proposed law, the government-owned Iraqi National Oil Co. "will not get any preference over foreign companies," Juhasz said.

The law must still be presented to the Iraqi parliament. Given the many political and religious divisions in the country, its passage is hardly guaranteed.

The main religious and ethnic groups are all pushing to control contracts and oil revenues for their regions, while the Bush administration is seeking more centralized control.

While the politicians in Washington and Baghdad bicker to carve up the real prize, and just what share Big Oil will get, more Iraqi civilians and American soldiers die each each day - for freedom, we're told.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

7 REASONS TO NUKE THE USA

Yamin Zakaria
www.iiop.org

According to the doctrine of pre-emptive strike which the US has adopted since 9/11, it too can be subjected to a pre-emptive nuclear strike, as it poses a threat to other peaceful nations of the world. The US has a sordid track record for using such weapons against civilians and it has constantly maintained a large stockpile of such weapons of mass destruction, and continuously develops them. There are additional reasons to nuke the US, however I have decided to highlight only seven, which I have listed below.

This is partly for brevity and I hope it might have some resonance with the Zionist-Christian Fundamentalists, especially the nutty ones, as number 7 has significance in the Bible. Also, they are constantly yearning for the Armageddon, and nuking USA may only speed up the process, so for a change I might have these Christian-Zionists on my side! The Halleluiah brigade would probably jump up, waving their arms in the air whilst claiming to be speaking in tongues, proclaim that the good Lord says: bring it on, nuke the US for their sins! Perhaps, I would also have the communists and their variants to concur with me, as nuking the leading capitalist nation by non-state actors would seem like initiating a 21st century explosive revolution by the powerless proletariats against the capitalist class!

Before anyone screams mass murder, they ought to consider that their judgments will rest on the identity of the victims and the perpetrators. If it is the ‘terrorists’ (non state-actors, freedom fighters, Iraqi resistance etc) nuking the US, it will be depicted as terrorism and mass murder; conversely if the US uses such weapons, it will be defensive measures in the guise of a pre-emptive strike to eliminate potential threats incurring lots of collateral damages. Like the collateral damages inflicted on a massive scale when the Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, neither were military targets and by this time Japan was already on its knees with no Air Force and its Navy almost annihilated. Perhaps one day some objective historian might call that an act of terrorism! Let me now list the 7 reasons to Nuke the USA.

1) The US was established on the blood of 70 million Native Americans. Their lands were stolen. Since the US leadership considers it right of the Jews to occupy Palestine as they lived here over 2000 years ago, then the Native Americans can also argue back only 500 years and have their lands returned to them. So a valid ground to repatriate the European colonizers, if they refuse they can be herded into camps, subjected to a trail of tears. Alternatively they can be nuked out of existence for resisting, as well as retribution for the brutal killing of their ancestors.

2) Consider the crimes against the Africans, their enslavement, oppression and lynching for centuries, which led to millions perishing. An irony of the declaration of independence by the Founding Fathers of the US, who stated that all men were created equal, whilst Afro-Americans were subjected to such brutality which continued for many decades. They have the right seek retribution (including nuclear strike) against the descendents of the criminals who have not paid them any compensation.

3) During the Spanish-American war at the turn of century, Philippines was colonized, and at least a 250,000 Filipinos were killed, then the country was turned into a brothel for the US soldiers, and it continues to be used in that manner. We don’t find Billy Graham and his ilk lecturing about the sin here. Nor do we find the voices for women’s rights; I suppose if they covered up instead of spreading their legs to the US soldiers then it would be cause for alarm! The Filipinos have the right of retribution for the carnage and rape.

4) The killing of the innocent Vietnamese populations and supporting monsters like the Pol Pot led to millions of Cambodians being killed. They too have the right of retribution and a nuclear strike would serve as deterrence for future attacks by the US.

5) The ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians through arming the Zionists, and the genocide against the Iraqis from 1991 onwards are good reasons to nuke the US and halt the massacre and oppression. A bully always think twice when it gets a punched by one of its victim. The only reason why the US has not used nukes against the Islamic world because it fears nuclear reprisal, as Muslims do not believe in turning the other cheek, for that matter neither do the Christians!

6) Using the various financial institutions, and bribing corrupt regimes, the US has exploited the economic resources for its own benefit, bringing misery to millions around the world. Nuking the US would halt these forms of oppression, and a new economic order is likely to prevail after it is crippled permanently by nuking it.

7) At present everyone is speculating the use of nuclear weapons against Iran by the US or through its proxy Israel. A pre-emptive strike would make the US and the Zionists think twice, as the American and Israeli masses might appreciate what it means to use such weapons. I doubt they would have the appetite for more. For the Iraqis and the oppressed around the world they are already dying, their situation is unlikely to get any worse than it is.

Using the principles of free speech I have expressed the case for nuking the US and I am sure others would add to the above list. My opponents would try and gag me under the pretext of promoting terrorism, of course that is because I am advocating that Americans are terrorized in order to restrain the beast amongst them. Giving them a taste of their own medicine would make the US masses actually realize what foreign policy, collateral damages etc really means! In contrast, the numerous times calls have been made to nuke Iran, Mecca, North Korea etc goes unnoticed, of course that would not be promoting terrorism but upholding free speech. Is this not double standard? Of course not as it depends on whose standards you are using as a yardstick!

Although I have made the case for nuking the US but I would oppose the use of such weapons, a nuclear war would lead to everyone losing out. Mass murder on such a scale would bring misery to all sides. Hence, I would favor a genuine nuclear-free world and not a nuclear-free Iran only! Likewise a nuclear-free Middle East and not a nuclear Israel with nuclear-free Arabs. The only justification for using such weapons would be one of last resort of self-defense, which the Iranians, Iraqis and Palestinians and others might resort to given the constant US and Israeli aggression against them.

Now consider this scenario, a Caliphate is established in the Middle East that has unified the Islamic world, it’s armed with nuclear weapons. No doubt it would be competing with the US in the international arena. Who is more like to use such weapons? Foreign policy of the Caliphate is Jihad, which is the spread of Islam, using nukes to annihilate entire section of population, would defeat that central objective of spreading the message of Islam. Nukes and Jihad does not go hand in hand unless it is entirely for defensive purpose.

Where as the US as a Capitalist nation is a far better candidate as it: has a track record for using such weapons; it seeks to maximize its interests at any cost, so annihilating other races fits with its philosophy and morals, and it has a strong record for committing genocide on a massive scale in order to exploit natural resources and enforce hegemony.

They scream peace, but what they mean is war; they shout freedom but what they mean is enslavement; they shout democracy but what they mean is democracy for its multinationals. The Holy Quran describes such people whose words contradict their deeds: “And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only. Are not they indeed the mischief-makers? But they perceive not. (2:11-12)”
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:17 am    Post subject: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE


Joe Conason
02/23/07 "Alternet" ---- Can it happen here? Is it happening here already? That depends, as a recent president might have said, on what the meaning of "it" is.

To Sinclair Lewis, who sardonically titled his 1935 dystopian novel "It Can't Happen Here," "it" plainly meant an American version of the totalitarian dictatorships that had seized power in Germany and Italy. Married at the time to the pioneering reporter Dorothy Thompson, who had been expelled from Berlin by the Nazis a year earlier and quickly became one of America's most outspoken critics of fascism, Lewis was acutely aware of the domestic and foreign threats to American freedom. So often did he and Thompson discuss the crisis in Europe and the implications of Europe's fate for the Depression-wracked United States that, according to his biographer, Mark Schorer, Lewis referred to the entire topic somewhat contemptuously as "it."

If "it" denotes the police state American-style as imagined and satirized by Lewis, complete with concentration camps, martial law, and mass executions of strikers and other dissidents, then "it" hasn't happened here and isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

For contemporary Americans, however, "it" could signify our own more gradual and insidious turn toward authoritarian rule. That is why Lewis's darkly funny but grim fable of an authoritarian coup achieved through a democratic election still resonates today -- along with all the eerie parallels between what he imagined then and what we live with now.

For the first time since the resignation of Richard M. Nixon more than three decades ago, Americans have had reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in our own country. Today we live in a state of tension between the enjoyment of traditional freedoms, including the protections afforded to speech and person by the Bill of Rights, and the disturbing realization that those freedoms have been undermined and may be abrogated at any moment.

Such foreboding, which would have been dismissed as paranoia not so long ago, has been intensified by the unfolding crisis of political legitimacy in the capital. George W. Bush has repeatedly asserted and exercised authority that he does not possess under the Constitution he swore to uphold. He has announced that he intends to continue exercising power according to his claim of a mandate that erases the separation and balancing of power among the branches of government, frees him from any real obligation to obey laws passed by Congress, and permits him to ignore any provisions of the Bill of Rights that may prove inconvenient.

Whether his fellow Americans understand exactly what Bush is doing or not, his six years in office have created intense public anxiety. Much of that anxiety can be attributed to fear of terrorism, which Bush has exacerbated to suit his own purposes -- as well as to increasing concern that the world is threatened by global warming, pandemic diseases, economic insecurity, nuclear proliferation, and other perils with which this presidency cannot begin to cope.

As the midterm election showed, more and more Americans realize that something has gone far wrong at the highest levels of government and politics -- that Washington's one-party regime had created a daily spectacle of stunning incompetence and dishonesty. Pollsters have found large majorities of voters worrying that the country is on the wrong track. At this writing, two of every three voters give that answer, and they are not just anxious but furious. Almost half are willing to endorse the censure of the president.

Suspicion and alienation extend beyond the usual disgruntled Democrats to independents and even a significant minority of Republicans. A surprisingly large segment of the electorate is willing to contemplate the possibility of impeaching the president, unappetizing though that prospect should be to anyone who can recall the destructive impeachment of Bush's predecessor.

The reasons for popular disenchantment with the Republican regime are well known -- from the misbegotten, horrifically mismanaged war in Iraqto the heartless mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. In both instances, growing anger over the damage done to the national interest and the loss of life and treasure has been exacerbated by evidence of bad faith -- by lies, cronyism, and corruption.

Everyone knows -- although not everyone necessarily wishes to acknowledge -- that the Bush administration misled the American people about the true purposes and likely costs of invading Iraq. It invented a mortal threat to the nation in order to justify illegal aggression. It has repeatedly sought, from the beginning, to exploit the state of war for partisan advantage and presidential image management. It has wasted billions of dollars, and probably tens of billions, on Pentagon contractors with patronage connections to the Republican Party.

Everyone knows, too, that the administration dissembled about the events leading up to the destruction of New Orleans. Its negligence and obliviousness in the wake of the storm were shocking, as was its attempt to conceal its errors. It has yet to explain why a person with few discernible qualifications, other than his status as a crony and business associate of his predecessor, was directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency. By elevating ethically dubious, inexperienced, and ineffectual management the administration compromised a critical agency that had functioned brilliantly during the Clinton administration.

To date, however, we do not know the full dimensions of the scandals behind Iraq and Katrina, because the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives abdicated the traditional congressional duties of oversight and investigation. It is due to their dereliction that neither the president nor any of his associates have seemed even mildly chastened in the wake of catastrophe. With a single party monopolizing power yet evading responsibility, there was nobody with the constitutional power to hold the White House accountable.

Bolstered by political impunity, especially in a time of war, perhaps any group of politicians would be tempted to abuse power. But this party and these politicians, unchecked by normal democratic constraints, proved to be particularly dangerous. The name for what is wrong with them -- the threat embedded within the Bush administration, the Republican congressional leadership, and the current leaders of the Republican Party -- is authoritarianism.

The most obvious symptoms can be observed in the regime's style, which features an almost casual contempt for democratic and lawful norms; an expanding appetite for executive control at the expense of constitutional balances; a reckless impulse to corrupt national institutions with partisan ideology; and an ugly tendency to smear dissent as disloyalty. The most troubling effects are matters of substance, including the suspension of traditional legal rights for certain citizens; the imposition of secrecy and the inhibition of the free flow of information; the extension of domestic spying without legal sanction or warrant; the promotion of torture and other barbaric practices, in defiance of American and international law; and the collusion of government and party with corporate interests and religious fundamentalists.

What worries many Americans even more is that the authoritarians can excuse their excesses as the necessary response to an enemy that every American knows to be real. For the past five years, the Republican leadership has argued that the attacks of September 11, 2001 -- and the continuing threat from jihadist groups such as al Qaeda -- demand permanent changes in American government, society, and foreign policy. Are those changes essential to preserve our survival -- or merely useful for unscrupulous politicians who still hope to achieve permanent domination by their own narrowly ideological party? Not only liberals and leftists, but centrists, libertarians, and conservatives, of every party and no party, have come to distrust the answers given by those in power.

The most salient dissent to be heard in recent years, and especially since Bush's reelection in 2004, has been voiced not by the liberals and moderates who never trusted the Republican leadership, but by conservatives who once did.

Former Republican congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who served as one of the managers of the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the House of Representatives, has joined the American Civil Liberties Union he once detested. In the measures taken by the Bush administration and approved by his former colleagues, Barr sees the potential for "a totalitarian type regime."

Paul Craig Roberts, a longtime contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a former Treasury official under Reagan, perceives the "main components of a police state" in the Bush administration's declaration of plenary powers to deny fundamental rights to suspected terrorists. Bruce Fein, who served as associate attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, believes that the Bush White House is "a clear and present danger to the rule of law," and that the president "cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses." Syndicated columnist George Will accuses the administration of pursuing a "monarchical doctrine" in its assertion of extraordinary war powers.

In the 2006 midterm election, disenchanted conservatives joined with liberals and centrists to deliver a stinging rebuke to the regime by overturning Republican domination in both houses of Congress. For the first time since 1994, Democrats control the Senate and the House of Representatives. But the Democratic majority in the upper chamber is as narrow as possible, depending on the whims of Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, a Republican-leaning Democrat elected on an independent ballot line, who has supported the White House on the occupation of Iraq, abuse of prisoners of war, domestic spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, military tribunals, far-right judicial nominations, and other critical constitutional issues. Nor is Lieberman alone among the Senate Democrats in his supine acquiescence to the abuses of the White House.

Even if the Democrats had won a stronger majority in the Senate, it would be naive to expect that a single election victory could mend the damage inflicted on America's constitutional fabric during the past six years. While the Bush administration has enjoyed an extraordinary immunity from Congressional oversight until now, the deepest implication of its actions and statements, as explored in the pages that follow, is that neither legislators nor courts can thwart the will of the unitary executive. When Congress challenges that presidential claim, as inevitably it will, then what seems almost certain to follow is not "bipartisanship" but confrontation. The election of 2006 was not an end but another beginning.

The question that we face in the era of terror alerts, religious fundamentalism, and endless warfare is whether we are still the brave nation preserved and rebuilt by the generation of Sinclair Lewis -- or whether our courage, and our luck, have finally run out. America is not yet on the verge of fascism, but democracy is again in danger. The striking resemblance between Buzz Windrip [the demagogic villain of Lewis's novel] and George W. Bush and the similarity of the political forces behind them is more than a literary curiosity. It is a warning on yellowed pages from those to whom we owe everything.

From "It Can Happen Here" by Joe Conason. Copyright (c) 2007 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: Love of profits vs. the Love of the Prophet (part 2) Reply with quote

Keeping it real,

http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board/viewtopic.php?t=10998

So much for the "Love of the prophet"


Heres how I see it ;

Finally it all fell together, and I remembered who I was. And it was so simple, really. I was life. I was Being. I was the vibrant force that filled the room, and was the room. I was the world, the universe. I was everything. I was that which always was and always would be. I was Jim, and Jim was me, and we were everybody else; and everybody else was us, and all of us put together were the same thing, and that same thing was the only thing there was. We were not God. We were simply all that there was, and all that there was wasn't God. It was us, alone. And we were each other, and nowhere anywhere was there anything else but us, and we were always the same, the one and only truth.


http://www.psychedelic-library.org/bradenp.htm

I hope there isn't a Fatwah imminent.

And BTW Yas, and with respect, Im about the Truth.

I deplore what is going down in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and throughout the entire world in fact.

And hopefully without being offensive, I hold organised religion to blame for a big percentage of this suffering.

How about you ?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

Hi Abandoned Ego,

I do not wish to ignore your post and comments however on the otherhand neither will I waste time on divertions from the TRUTH ride I am engaged in. As far as the treatment of the Egyptian blogger you refer to I agree with you that censorship and any type of police brutality is unacceptable. I have read that link and the blogger intends to be a legal champion for women's rights in Egypt. There is nothing wrong with that and indeed is laudable to rectify imbalances in that society. However, from that incident you generalise and start pointing the finger at religion being the cause of that particular problem and indeed everything. Indeed you start quoting a philosophical tract eulogising human DIVINITY and basically ATHEISM. You also impugn the phrase , Love of the Prophet it is clear that you have NOT studied the biography of Muhammad ibn Abdullah and the living legacy for humanity which he bequeathed. You have no appreciation of the diversity of Islamic philosophy, thought and praxis. If you are striving for truth let us at least not do so from a position of ignorance as that is like banging your head against a brick wall. Neither prejudging everything from an atheistic perspective will help. Being an atheist is your right and opinion however, as mentioned before most people in the world subscribe and have always subscribed to a faith and still do and this fact should be acknowledged. Faith and religion can be a two edged sword which can suffocate or liberate humanity pending on interpretation. On this forum your contribution would be relevant if you focussed on the relationship between the PTB and the NWO and the manipulation of religion by ruling elites who execute orders from above.
The classic example of this relationship is the House of Saud and the White House. Go and dig for the truth rather than peddle your prejudices here. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:42 am    Post subject: Love of profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

AMERICAN PLUTOCRACY AND THE WAR ON WORKERS

Charles Sullivan
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17191.htm


During the height of chattel slavery in America, the plantation owners did not allow their slaves to be educated. An educated slave, they knew, was a dangerous slave who posed a threat to the status quo. Knowledge is power in the hands of an oppressed people. The ruling clique has always found mass ignorance to their benefit. An ignorant public, they know, is an easily deceived and easily controlled citizenry created to do the bidding of Plutocratic rulers.

Thus we have the commercial media, the church, and the public education system in all their incarnations, not as public servants, but as the tools of Plutocracy and empire. Their purpose is not to inform but to dominate and propagandize, which they do only too well.

We must continue to tell our own story in our own words or the official authors of history will tell it for us and render its accounts falsely. The history of working people is that of class struggle and oppression; a fight for equal footing and social justice against the owner merchant class of old, and the ruling clique of today.

The American workplace is a strange and foreboding environment in which the worker enjoys few freedoms and protections. It is a decidedly undemocratic place where, strangely, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights hold but little sway. Anyone who doubts this should take a job at Target or Wal-Mart and openly discuss forming a union. I have been escorted from more than one workplace for attempting to organize the workers. I speak from experience.

Typically, the American workplace has a hierarchal structure, usually with a white male presiding at the top of the organization, dictating policy and issuing orders. The workers, who produce the wealth by manufacturing a product or performing services, have little or no say in company policy or how the work is performed. While few workers are willing to view the workplace in such austere terms for reasons that should be obvious, the American place of work is essentially a plantation, a dictatorship, with a master and a bevy of slaves following orders in exchange for subsistence wages.

The vast majority of American workers are ‘at will’ employees, which effectively makes them the disposable property of their employers. At will employees can be terminated without just cause or provocation. If the employer does not like one’s clothes or the cut of one’s hair, or the employee’s politics, they can be terminated. The worker has little, if any, recourse to the courts for redress of their grievances; unless the workplace is unionized, as so few of them are these days.

Workers with strong union representation are not relegated to being at will employees, and they enjoy rights that at will employees do not, including greater job security, better working conditions, higher wages and more benefits.

The American workplace is sharply divided by class, like society as a whole, as part of the organizational hierarchy. The chain of command consists of owners, managers, and workers. The higher one is placed within the hierarchy, the greater his/her socio-economic status. The pecking order can be further subdivided into two broad categories: White collar jobs and blue collar jobs. White collar jobs typically require more refined skills than blue collar jobs. They tend to offer better pay and more benefits, but also result in more stress, greater responsibility, and longer hours. The lowest level in the hierarchy are the drones, the workers—the producers of nearly all of the wealth. It is with this group that I am most concerned in this essay.

Under this arrangement, workers receive only a small percentage of the wealth they create for their employers, which is why capitalists created the private ownership of economic production. Such an arrangement provides inordinate power to property holders and leaves non property owners with little besides their labor to sell to the lowest bidder.

Social cooperatives, while imperfect and still forced to compete in capital markets, have provided considerable improvement and a measure of relief for workers over more conventional business models. The largest and most widely known example is the Mondragon cooperative in Spain.

The American worker, like the chattel slave before him, is kept in a state of perpetual ignorance by the Plutocracy for fear that he/she might awaken and rebel. Rebellion was the greatest fear that haunted the dreams of the plantation owners, and the uprisings led by Nat Turner and John Brown continues to trouble the dreams of the ruling clique, which explains why we are under constant surveillance by the government. They are looking for signs of trouble, the tell-tale smoke of social upheaval born of organization.

Students of American history, especially labor history, cannot help but come to the realization that we have been had, sold a defective bill of goods that can never work for us or the rest of the world.

The American dream is a myth that was fabricated in the corporate board rooms of America and perpetuated in the corporate media. Ninety-five percent of the people will never have pie in the sky, no matter how long and hard they work. A life of ease is something that is reserved for the privileged few who do not work and produce nothing. The myth was created to keep the workers striving, and to keep the rabble in line. It is a myth with the power of a paradigm and it has been extremely effective as a method of control and motivation.

If the people ever earnestly study labor history, they are in for an awakening. They will learn about events that transpired in places like Haymarket Square, in Chicago; at Ludlow, Colorado, and in the hills of Matewan, West Virginia; the steel mills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the knitting mills of Massachusetts, and the rail yards at Martinsburg, West Virginia. The blood of striking workers was spilled at each of these sites by hired thugs—Baldwin-Felts detectives, or state and federal militias and in thousands of other locations across this nation. These events are curiously omitted from the curriculum in our public schools because they might empower the people.

We owe something to those courageous souls and we should never allow their remembrance to lapse into an Orwellian memory hole created by historical revisionists. Through their example, we know that America was not always so tame, so indifferent, cowardly, or complacent in the face of injustice. Because of the fierce resistance of workers, we know that we have origins born of struggle and a fighting spirit to be free; a spirit that mostly lies dormant, but is not wholly dead. It is a history that might be re-awakened and taken to heart if we have the courage and the wisdom to embrace it, and to be as strong and tenacious as were our ancestors.

You see, the working people—the men, women, and children who built America’s railroads and highways, who harvested our crops and rendered our meat, and created the economic infrastructure, who fought and died in our imperial wars, have never enjoyed the same rights and privileges as the economic elite and property owners who paid their wages. They were never meant to, not even by the framers of the Constitution.

The struggles of the working people were immortalized in the songs of Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and many others. They deserve to be remembered because the stories they tell were based upon actual events. They are as relevant today as the day they were written, but they are no longer widely known. Matewan, West Virginia, and downtown Baghdad share more in common than one might think.

The economic, social, and environmental costs of corporate globalization are felt by workers around the world. Corporate profits and CEO compensation have risen to record levels, while poverty and economic hardship have followed a similar, but downward arc, for the producers. The wealthiest people on earth are enjoying obscene profits by exploiting workers worldwide, especially in war torn parts of the world.

Just as it did in America, capitalism is not eradicating poverty and raising living standards in the rest of the world, as its proponents so boldly proclaim; it is spreading deepening poverty, environmental degradation and economic and social disparity, while it intensifies socio-economic class divisions, and foments war after imperial war in its quest for profits and hegemony.

As championed by the captains of industry, capitalism has always waged class war on the workers. The war on workers has resulted in a permanent war economy in the U.S., the demonization of revolutionary labor unions by corporate America and its media whores, and a steady supply of cannon fodder for imperial wars and occupations. Working people must realize that foreign wars are an extension of the class war at home and refuse to take up arms in them.

Current events, including the occupation of Iraq, are the result that the ignorance of history condemns us to repeat, until we have finally learned its lessons and say, “No More!”

As we look to the democrats in Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and to divert another impending disaster in Iran, we must recognize that, like the commercial media, these people are working for the Plutocracy, not for the public good. Will funding continue for the occupation? The answer is a resounding “yes” as long as workers allow themselves to be the pawns of the ruling clique and maintain a slavish mentality toward their oppressors in government and the Military Industrial Complex.

All hell broke loose in the streets of France when employers attempted to place at will tags on its workers last year. The worker’s retribution was swift and fierce. In America, where the people always bow their heads to illegitimate authority, hardly a whimper of protest was heard.

Each year the American worker cedes more ground to the ruling clique without offering resistance. That ground was hard won with the blood and guts of our ancestors in organized labor—a lesson we seem to have forgotten in this age of capitulation and moral cowardice. Thus we find ourselves as a class, and as a nation, falling deeper into the throes of darkening corporate and state fascism.

It is time to reclaim the fighting spirit that once characterized the American worker. It is time to bring back Revolutionary Unionism and the radical advocacy of worker’s rights, including the public ownership of the mechanisms of production.

If we are serious about democracy in America, the workplace would be a good place to start. But we prefer to talk about democracy rather than to actually implement it.

We have yet to learn the songs of Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger—songs that are deeply rooted in the class struggles of working people against their oppressors. And we have yet to learn the lessons of history, which condemns us to repeat them in an endless cycle of want and waste, war and famine. Until we do, nothing much is going to change.

Charles Sullivan is an architectural millwright, photographer, free-lance writer and social agitator residing in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at csullivan@phreego.com
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Abandoned Ego
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: Love of Profits Vs Love of the Prophet Part 2 Reply with quote

moeen yaseen wrote:
Hi Abandoned Ego,

I do not wish to ignore your post and comments however on the otherhand neither will I waste time on divertions from the TRUTH ride I am engaged in. As far as the treatment of the Egyptian blogger you refer to I agree with you that censorship and any type of police brutality is unacceptable. I have read that link and the blogger intends to be a legal champion for women's rights in Egypt. There is nothing wrong with that and indeed is laudable to rectify imbalances in that society. However, from that incident you generalise and start pointing the finger at religion being the cause of that particular problem and indeed everything. Indeed you start quoting a philosophical tract eulogising human DIVINITY and basically ATHEISM. You also impugn the phrase , Love of the Prophet it is clear that you have NOT studied the biography of Muhammad ibn Abdullah and the living legacy for humanity which he bequeathed. You have no appreciation of the diversity of Islamic philosophy, thought and praxis. If you are striving for truth let us at least not do so from a position of ignorance as that is like banging your head against a brick wall. Neither prejudging everything from an atheistic perspective will help. Being an atheist is your right and opinion however, as mentioned before most people in the world subscribe and have always subscribed to a faith and still do and this fact should be acknowledged. Faith and religion can be a two edged sword which can suffocate or liberate humanity pending on interpretation. On this forum your contribution would be relevant if you focussed on the relationship between the PTB and the NWO and the manipulation of religion by ruling elites who execute orders from above.
The classic example of this relationship is the House of Saud and the White House. Go and dig for the truth rather than peddle your prejudices here. Laughing


Hi Moeen,

Thanks for your reply and thanks for your courtesy. Both are much appreciated.

Just a couple of thoughts, and then I will leave you to continue your good work and honorable endeavours.

Firstly, and with respect to the above, since you suggest you are on a truth ride, and speak of the basic problems religion as originating from political manipulation of the teachings of others, perhaps a better title for this thread might be "Love of profits Vs Love of the truth ? Wink

Secondly, the quote I placed in my post, is IMHO, far from atheistic. Were you to send me a distilled version of the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, I would suggest with absolute certainty, that I would find him saying more or less exactly what is contained within my quote, albeit in a different form.

I can certainly find this in the Bible.

The passage begins, "I am the way the truth, the life....if you wish to see the father, then look inside of me, for I am in the father as he is in me ( to paraphrase the latter part)

I can find it repeated in the Gnostic Gospel of St Thomas, where ( allegedly )Jesus again says; "Lift up a stone, and I am there, Cleave thee a stick and I am there"

Im sure we'd both agree that the historical teachings of Jesus dont smack of Atheism, so unless Im missing something, Im wondering what is different in the above statement as compared to the quote I have taken from above ?

And of course the really interesting thing about all of the above, is that this is being confirmed by much of the latest physics ( quantum theory), Heisenberg, etc.

Anyways, enough. Thanks for your time Moeen.

Good luck
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