In light of recent events … Blackwater, China, Israel, etc

In light of recent events … Blackwater, China, Israel, etc

ACTION ALERT NOTICE : <> for more on these subjects, and newer material, please  see


http://inlightofrecentevents.wordpress.com/

thats>

http://inlightofrecentevents.wordpress.com/

Hmm ,,, an ongoing project,,,

Recent events, always an interesting subject, but sometimes interesting can be along the lines of …

may you live in interesting times;

Proverbial Chinese curse;

and

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you;

Leon Trotsky: Russian Marxist, ideologue , and communist “evil empire” revolutionary; anarchist who along with communist cohorts  and wannabees, was a major player in the execution of the the worldwide 20th century of destruction;

so here we present some interesting articles;

just for further study and investigation, since its always better to see what hits you rather than not,

and our greeting and hope  is “salam”  peace as we are commanded to love peace and ensue for peace and incline to peace; as Allah the Most Almighty and Most Majestic said:

 

“But if they incline toward peace, do you (also) incline to peace, and trust in Allah.

Should they intend to deceive or cheat you, …[ Qur’an : al-Anfal:8:61]:

and our hope  is “Dar-us-Salaam” Home of Peace:

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Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for UAE

Sunday 15 May 2011
by: Mark Mazzetti and Emily B. Hager, The New York Times News Service | Report

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”

Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.

Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years.

The U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for Mr. Prince also did not comment.

For Mr. Prince, the foreign battalion is a bold attempt at reinvention. He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. He sold the company last year, but in April, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

To help fulfill his ambitions, Mr. Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, obtained another multimillion-dollar contract to protect a string of planned nuclear power plants and to provide cybersecurity. He hopes to earn billions more, the former employees said, by assembling additional battalions of Latin American troops for the Emiratis and opening a giant complex where his company can train troops for other governments.

Knowing that his ventures are magnets for controversy, Mr. Prince has masked his involvement with the mercenary battalion. His name is not included on contracts and most other corporate documents, and company insiders have at times tried to hide his identity by referring to him by the code name “Kingfish.” But three former employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements, and two people involved in security contracting described Mr. Prince’s central role.

The former employees said that in recruiting the Colombians and others from halfway around the world, Mr. Prince’s subordinates were following his strict rule: hire no Muslims.

Muslim soldiers, Mr. Prince warned, could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.

A Lucrative Deal

Last spring, as waiters in the lobby of the Park Arjaan by Rotana Hotel passed by carrying cups of Turkish coffee, a small team of Blackwater and American military veterans huddled over plans for the foreign battalion. Armed with a black suitcase stuffed with several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of dirhams, the local currency, they began paying the first bills.

The company, often called R2, was licensed last March with 51 percent local ownership, a typical arrangement in the Emirates. It received about $21 million in start-up capital from the U.A.E., the former employees said.

Mr. Prince made the deal with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates. The two men had known each other for several years, and it was the prince’s idea to build a foreign commando force for his country.

Savvy and pro-Western, the prince was educated at the Sandhurst military academy in Britain and formed close ties with American military officials. He is also one of the region’s staunchest hawks on Iran and is skeptical that his giant neighbor across the Strait of Hormuz will give up its nuclear program.

“He sees the logic of war dominating the region, and this thinking explains his near-obsessive efforts to build up his armed forces,” said a November 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi that was obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

For Mr. Prince, a 41-year-old former member of the Navy Seals, the battalion was an opportunity to turn vision into reality. At Blackwater, which had collected billions of dollars in security contracts from the United States government, he had hoped to build an army for hire that could be deployed to crisis zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He even had proposed that the Central Intelligence Agency use his company for special operations missions around the globe, but to no avail. In Abu Dhabi, which he praised in an Emirati newspaper interview last year for its “pro-business” climate, he got another chance.

Mr. Prince’s exploits, both real and rumored, are the subject of fevered discussions in the private security world. He has worked with the Emirati government on various ventures in the past year, including an operation using South African mercenaries to train Somalis to fight pirates. There was talk, too, that he was hatching a scheme last year to cap the Icelandic volcano then spewing ash across Northern Europe.

The team in the hotel lobby was led by Ricky Chambers, known as C. T., a former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who had worked for Mr. Prince for years; most recently, he had run a program training Afghan troops for a Blackwater subsidiary called Paravant.

He was among the half-dozen or so Americans who would serve as top managers of the project, receiving nearly $300,000 in annual compensation. Mr. Chambers and Mr. Prince soon began quietly luring American contractors from Afghanistan, Iraq and other danger spots with pay packages that topped out at more than $200,000 a year, according to a budget document. Many of those who signed on as trainers — which eventually included more than 40 veteran American, European and South African commandos — did not know of Mr. Prince’s involvement, the former employees said.

Mr. Chambers did not respond to requests for comment.

He and Mr. Prince also began looking for soldiers. They lined up Thor Global Enterprises, a company on the Caribbean island of Tortola specializing in “placing foreign servicemen in private security positions overseas,” according to a contract signed last May. The recruits would be paid about $150 a day.

Within months, large tracts of desert were bulldozed and barracks constructed. The Emirates were to provide weapons and equipment for the mercenary force, supplying everything from M-16 rifles to mortars, Leatherman knives to Land Rovers. They agreed to buy parachutes, motorcycles, rucksacks — and 24,000 pairs of socks.

To keep a low profile, Mr. Prince rarely visited the camp or a cluster of luxury villas near the Abu Dhabi airport, where R2 executives and Emirati military officers fine-tune the training schedules and arrange weapons deliveries for the battalion, former employees said. He would show up, they said, in an office suite at the DAS Tower — a skyscraper just steps from Abu Dhabi’s Corniche beach, where sunbathers lounge as cigarette boats and water scooters whiz by. Staff members there manage a number of companies that the former employees say are carrying out secret work for the Emirati government.

Emirati law prohibits disclosure of incorporation records for businesses, which typically list company officers, but it does require them to post company names on offices and storefronts. Over the past year, the sign outside the suite has changed at least twice — it now says Assurance Management Consulting.

While the documents — including contracts, budget sheets and blueprints — obtained by The Times do not mention Mr. Prince, the former employees said he negotiated the U.A.E. deal. Corporate documents describe the battalion’s possible tasks: intelligence gathering, urban combat, the securing of nuclear and radioactive materials, humanitarian missions and special operations “to destroy enemy personnel and equipment.”

One document describes “crowd-control operations” where the crowd “is not armed with firearms but does pose a risk using improvised weapons (clubs and stones).”

People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks and put down uprisings inside the country’s sprawling labor camps, which house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of the country’s work force. The foreign military force was planned months before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.

An Eye on Iran

Although there was no expectation that the mercenary troops would be used for a stealth attack on Iran, Emirati officials talked of using them for a possible maritime and air assault to reclaim a chain of islands, mostly uninhabited, in the Persian Gulf that are the subject of a dispute between Iran and the U.A.E., the former employees said. Iran has sent military forces to at least one of the islands, Abu Musa, and Emirati officials have long been eager to retake the islands and tap their potential oil reserves.

The Emirates have a small military that includes army, air force and naval units as well as a small special operations contingent, which served in Afghanistan, but over all, their forces are considered inexperienced.

In recent years, the Emirati government has showered American defense companies with billions of dollars to help strengthen the country’s security. A company run by Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser during the Clinton and Bush administrations, has won several lucrative contracts to advise the U.A.E. on how to protect its infrastructure.

Some security consultants believe that Mr. Prince’s efforts to bolster the Emirates’ defenses against an Iranian threat might yield some benefits for the American government, which shares the U.A.E.’s concern about creeping Iranian influence in the region.

“As much as Erik Prince is a pariah in the United States, he may be just what the doctor ordered in the U.A.E.,” said an American security consultant with knowledge of R2’s work.

The contract includes a one-paragraph legal and ethics policy noting that R2 should institute accountability and disciplinary procedures. “The overall goal,” the contract states, “is to ensure that the team members supporting this effort continuously cast the program in a professional and moral light that will hold up to a level of media scrutiny.”

But former employees said that R2’s leaders never directly grappled with some fundamental questions about the operation. International laws governing private armies and mercenaries are murky, but would the Americans overseeing the training of a foreign army on foreign soil be breaking United States law?

Susan Kovarovics, an international trade lawyer who advises companies about export controls, said that because Reflex Responses was an Emirati company it might not need State Department authorization for its activities.

But she said that any Americans working on the project might run legal risks if they did not get government approval to participate in training the foreign troops.

Basic operational issues, too, were not addressed, the former employees said. What were the battalion’s rules of engagement? What if civilians were killed during an operation? And could a Latin American commando force deployed in the Middle East really be kept a secret?

Imported Soldiers

The first waves of mercenaries began arriving last summer. Among them was a 13-year veteran of Colombia’s National Police force named Calixto Rincón, 42, who joined the operation with hopes of providing for his family and seeing a new part of the world.

“We were practically an army for the Emirates,” Mr. Rincón, now back in Bogotá, Colombia, said in an interview. “They wanted people who had a lot of experience in countries with conflicts, like Colombia.”

Mr. Rincón’s visa carried a special stamp from the U.A.E. military intelligence branch, which is overseeing the entire project, that allowed him to move through customs and immigration without being questioned.

He soon found himself in the midst of the camp’s daily routines, which mirrored those of American military training. “We would get up at 5 a.m. and we would start physical exercises,” Mr. Rincón said. His assignment included manual labor at the expanding complex, he said. Other former employees said the troops — outfitted in Emirati military uniforms — were split into companies to work on basic infantry maneuvers, learn navigation skills and practice sniper training.

R2 spends roughly $9 million per month maintaining the battalion, which includes expenditures for employee salaries, ammunition and wages for dozens of domestic workers who cook meals, wash clothes and clean the camp, a former employee said. Mr. Rincón said that he and his companions never wanted for anything, and that their American leaders even arranged to have a chef travel from Colombia to make traditional soups.

But the secrecy of the project has sometimes created a prisonlike environment. “We didn’t have permission to even look through the door,” Mr. Rincón said. “We were only allowed outside for our morning jog, and all we could see was sand everywhere.”

The Emirates wanted the troops to be ready to deploy just weeks after stepping off the plane, but it quickly became clear that the Colombians’ military skills fell far below expectations. “Some of these kids couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,” said a former employee. Other recruits admitted to never having fired a weapon.

Rethinking Roles

As a result, the veteran American and foreign commandos training the battalion have had to rethink their roles. They had planned to act only as “advisers” during missions — meaning they would not fire weapons — but over time, they realized that they would have to fight side by side with their troops, former officials said.

Making matters worse, the recruitment pipeline began drying up. Former employees said that Thor struggled to sign up, and keep, enough men on the ground. Mr. Rincón developed a hernia and was forced to return to Colombia, while others were dismissed from the program for drug use or poor conduct.

And R2’s own corporate leadership has also been in flux. Mr. Chambers, who helped develop the project, left after several months. A handful of other top executives, some of them former Blackwater employees, have been hired, then fired within weeks.

To bolster the force, R2 recruited a platoon of South African mercenaries, including some veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts or suppressing rebellions against African strongmen in the 1990s. The platoon was to function as a quick-reaction force, American officials and former employees said, and began training for a practice mission: a terrorist attack on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. They would secure the situation before quietly handing over control to Emirati troops.

But by last November, the battalion was officially behind schedule. The original goal was for the 800-man force to be ready by March 31; recently, former employees said, the battalion’s size was reduced to about 580 men.

Emirati military officials had promised that if this first battalion was a success, they would pay for an entire brigade of several thousand men. The new contracts would be worth billions, and would help with Mr. Prince’s next big project: a desert training complex for foreign troops patterned after Blackwater’s compound in Moyock, N.C. But before moving ahead, U.A.E. military officials have insisted that the battalion prove itself in a “real world mission.”

That has yet to happen. So far, the Latin American troops have been taken off the base only to shop and for occasional entertainment.

On a recent spring night though, after months stationed in the desert, they boarded an unmarked bus and were driven to hotels in central Dubai, a former employee said. There, some R2 executives had arranged for them to spend the evening with prostitutes.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Abu Dhabi and Washington, and Emily B. Hager from New York. Jenny Carolina González and Simon Romero contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia. Kitty Bennett contributed research from Washington.

The article “Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder” originally appeared in The New York Times. 

© 2011 The New York Times Company
Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license.

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Blackwater Worldwide [US Mercenary Inc]

(now called Xe,

and dozens of other names in affiliates, sub contractors, fronts )

800px-Blackwater_casa212_over_afghanistan

{ Blackwater CASA 212 over Afghanistan dropping supplies to U.S. Army troops }

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Worldwide

<>

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder:

“… men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company ….  also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life….

Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe”:

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill

Iraq_for_sale_poster

<> Ex-guards’ statements implicate Blackwater founder in Iraq crimes CNN August 4, 2009

•     Story Highlights

•     Statements are part of civil suit brought by Iraqi families who’ve lost loved ones

•     The witnesses — “John Doe No. 1” and “John Doe No. 2” — fear retaliatory “violence”

•     Affidavits say founder Erik Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader”

•     Company statement says plaintiffs ignore “actual facts” and “slander” Prince

updated 10:47 p.m. EDT, Tue August 4, 2009

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/08/04/iraq.blackwater.lawsuit/

<>

Blackwater Rebrands But Some Are Still Skeptical NPR

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103108471&ft=1&f=1003

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Audit Finds That U.S. Overpaid Blackwater JUNE 17, 2009

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124511068419617063.html#mod=todays_us_page_one

(Newser Summary) – The US overpaid Blackwater by $55 million for its security work in Iraq, a government audit has found. The company, since renamed Xe, didn’t employ enough guards, medics, and other personnel to protect high-level officials but still collected full payment from the State Department, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Insufficient manning exposed the department to unnecessary risk,” the auditors said. Blackwater also overcharged for airfare to Iraq.

A rep for the company said it’s been “fully compliant with the terms and conditions of the contract.” In 2007, a Blackwater security team was involved in a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis. Iraq refused to renew its operating license, and the company has pulled out of the country. But Xe is seeking new government contracts in Afghanistan. —Sarah Quinn

http://www.newser.com/story/61976/blackwater-bilked-us-out-of-55m-for-iraq-security-audit.html?commentid=144989#comment_144989

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Pakistan Expels Blackwater Mercenary?

“…CAII told Pakistani authorities it needed to hire security guards for protection. The security guards, it turns out, were none other than Blackwater’s military-trained hired guns. They were used the CAII cover to conduct a range of covert activities in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province….A large number of retired Pakistani military officers, academics and even journalists have been quietly recruited at generous compensations by several US government agencies. These influential Pakistanis are supposed to provide information, analysis, contacts and help in pleading the case for US interests in the Pakistani media, in subtle ways. Pakistanis would be surprised that some prominent names well known to television audiences are in this list…”

http://thecurrentaffairs.com/pakistan-expels-blackwater-mercenary.html

and

http://www.defence.pk/forums/general-images-multimedia/31233-blackwater-crusaders-msnbc-news-coverage.html

blackwat-2009-08-01_CAII+(2)

<> Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill

from reviews “Jeremy Scahill has written a meticulously documented book about an all-too-real threat to democracy. And not just in war zones, where Blackwater operates in concert with U.S. forces, but without the accountability, however flawed, of the official military. They appeared, as Scahill documents, on the streets of New Orleans and around the Gulf Coast as a security force.

<> http://www.blackwaterwatch.com/

<> Keith Olberman and Jeremy Scahill Discuss Blackwater’s Christian Crusade to Exterminate Muslims

http://rebelreports.com/

<> Erik Prince’s father co-founded the Family Research Council with Gary Bauer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Prince

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<> ‘Family’: Fundamentalism, Friends In High Places

In the book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, author Jeff Sharlet examines the power wielded by a secretive Christian group known as the Family, or the Fellowship.

Excerpt: ‘The Family’ by Jeff Sharlet

“….David Coe….”You guys, David said, ‘are here to learn how to rule the world.'”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106115324

family_200

<>  Blackwater Worldwide (XE) From Right Web { http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/ }

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/beta/profile/Blackwater_Worldwide/

<>>>>>

 

Q: What’s the difference between Daniel Boyd and

Blackwater’s Erik Prince?

A: Prince worked on behalf of the U.S. government. Boyd is in jail.

 

12 AUG 2009

In an affidavit filed last week in federal court in Virginia, FBI informants made allegations against Erik Prince, president of N.C.-based company Blackwater (in a feat of PR-scrubbing, now renamed Xe), that are strikingly similar to, and even exceed, those lodged against suspected terrorist Daniel Boyd.

The differences: Taxpayers footed the bill for Prince’s alleged terrorist activities. Prince is free; Boyd is in jail. Prince is a Christian, not a Muslim. Boyd’s foreign target was allegedly Israel; Prince’s was Iraq. —Lisa Sorg

⇒ See related storyA new—and timely—biography of the man behind Blackwater USA

⇒ Download table JPG (464 KB) PDF (427 KB)

 

Daniel Boyd and his seven co-defendants Erik Prince and Blackwater
FBI informer says Boyd wanted to go on Jihad to fight the Kuffar. FBI informer says Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.”
FBI sources say Boyd radicalized Muslim youth and encouraged them to go on Jihad. FBI informers say Prince “intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, known and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis.”
FBI alleges that Boyd intended to give material support to unnamed overseas terrorists. FBI informers say that Prince illegally transported weapons to Iraq. These weapons are thought to have been sold on the black market to the PKK, a Kurdistan group the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.
FBI informers allege Boyd and his followers practiced and trained in military tactics. One of the accused allegedly bought a book on military sniper tactics. Blackwater operates a camp in Moyock, N.C., that trains people in military sniper tactics.
Boyd and his co-defendants allegedly had money that they intended to use for Jihad. Until the U.S. State Department nullified its contract with Blackwater, the company had entered into more than $1 billion in federal government contracts from 2004-2008.
FBI informer alleges that Boyd and Co. “conspired to kidnap, maim and harm” people in a foreign country. Blackwater has participated in extraordinary rendition and has been accused of interrogating people in foreign countries.
Boyd is accused of conspiring to kill foreigners— “intending to go to Israel and commit violent Jihad”—even though there is no evidence he committed any violence. A Blackwater employee pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and five more employees have been indicted in connection with the Nisour Square massacre in Iraq. Blackwater and Prince have also been accused by an FBI informer of murdering or ordering the murder of federal witnesses.
Sources: CNN, The Nation, MSNBC, The New York Times, BBC and the federal indictment against Daniel Boyd and his co-defendantshttp://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A399355

Lets see that again please!!!!

Download table at >>>


JPG (464 KB)

or

PDF (427 KB)

Sources: CNN, The Nation, MSNBC, The New York Times, BBC and the federal indictment against Daniel Boyd and his co-defendants


http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A399355


We can add to these differences:

https://supportdanielboyd.wordpress.com/what%E2%80%99s-the-difference-between-boyd-and-blackwater%E2%80%99s-prince

<> Reports CIA hired Blackwater to help assassinate terrorists

The agency employed the controversial firm to assist with ‘planning, training, and surveillance’ – and possibly to kill and capture – Al Qaeda operatives, according to news reports.

By Arthur Bright from the August 20, 2009 edition

A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The CIA in 2004 outsourced portions of a secret program to kidnap or assassinate terrorists to the controversial private security firm Blackwater USA, now called Xe Services, according to news reports.

The New York Times reports that according to current and former government officials, Blackwater’s involvement was a key factor in CIA Director Leon Panetta’s decision to cancel the program and divulge it to Congress during an emergency meeting with Congress in June. Congress had not been informed previously of the program’s existence, allegedly under orders from then-Vice President Dick Cheney, as The Christian Science Monitor reported last month.

The New York Times reports:

Executives from Blackwater, which has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects….

It is unclear whether the C.I.A. had planned to use the contractors to actually capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance in the program. American spy agencies have in recent years outsourced some highly controversial work, including the interrogation of prisoners. But government officials said that bringing outsiders into a program with lethal authority raised deep concerns about accountability in covert operations.

The Washington Post reports that the program existed in three iterations over eight years, and Blackwater became involved after several former CIA officials joined the firm.

“Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong,” said a retired intelligence officer intimately familiar with the assassination program.

The contract was awarded to Blackwater … in part because of its close ties to the CIA and because of its record in carrying out covert assignments overseas, the officials said. The security contractor’s senior management has included high-ranking former CIA officials – among them J. Cofer Black, the agency’s former top counterterrorism official, who joined the company in early 2005, three months after retiring from government service.

The Post adds that although the program never became operational, “the Blackwater phase involved ‘lots of time spent training,’ mostly near the CIA’s covert facility near Williamsburg,” according to a former government official.

The Times and Post reports came after Joseph Finder, an author of espionage thrillers, claimed in The Daily Beast earlier this week that Mr. Panetta jumped the gun when he brought the assassination program to the attention of Congress earlier this year, as the program “wasn’t much more than a PowerPoint presentation and a task force assigned to think it through.”

It wasn’t really a coherent program at all so much as a collection of schemes, each attempting to achieve the same objective: to kill terrorists. This was one of perhaps dozens of ideas that had been kicked around at Langley since September 2001, when George W. Bush issued a presidential “finding” authorizing the agency to use deadly force against Osama bin Laden or other terrorists.

Under three successive CIA directors, these plans for paramilitary hit squads had been given three different names…. But they never got off the ground. The logistical, legal, and political obstacles proved to be insurmountable. George Tenet gave up on it — too many moving parts. Porter Goss took another stab at it, but nothing, and then Gen. Michael V. Hayden’s team studied it for a while but envisioned nothing but trouble. So there was a reason that none of the last three CIA directors had briefed Congress about it: There was nothing to brief.

Mr. Finder says that as a result of misunderstanding the status of the assassination program, Panetta incorrectly accused the CIA of lying to Congress. But the CIA said Finder’s article is incorrect, writes Congressional Quarterly’s SpyTalk blog.

“This story rests on the mistaken premise that Director Panetta told the Congress the CIA had broken the law,” [CIA spokesman George] Little told SpyTalk.

“He did not. It’s also wrong to suggest that the Director said the Agency had misled the Congress. He did no such thing. He decided that the time had come to brief Congress on a counterterrorism effort that was, in fact, much more than a PowerPoint presentation.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0820/p99s01-duts.html

<>  C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill Jihadists

C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill

Jihadists

By MARK MAZZETTI

Published: August 19, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

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Blackwater security contractors flew over Baghdad in 2007. For years, Blackwater played a significant role in the Iraq operation.

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Leon E. Panetta, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, canceled a program to locate and kill the leaders of Al Qaeda.

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Executives from Blackwater, which has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects.

The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.’s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.

It is unclear whether the C.I.A. had planned to use the contractors to actually capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance in the program. American spy agencies have in recent years outsourced some highly controversial work, including the interrogation of prisoners. But government officials said that bringing outsiders into a program with lethal authority raised deep concerns about accountability in covert operations.

Officials said the C.I.A. did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program but instead had individual agreements with top company officials, including the founder, Erik D. Prince, a politically connected former member of the Navy Seals and the heir to a family fortune. Blackwater’s work on the program actually ended years before Mr. Panetta took over the agency, after senior C.I.A. officials themselves questioned the wisdom of using outsiders in a targeted killing program.

Blackwater, which has changed its name, most recently to Xe Services, and is based in North Carolina, in recent years has received millions of dollars in government contracts, growing so large that the Bush administration said it was a necessary part of its war operation in Iraq.

It has also drawn controversy. Blackwater employees hired to guard American diplomats in Iraq were accused of using excessive force on several occasions, including shootings in Baghdad in 2007 in which 17 civilians were killed. Iraqi officials have since refused to give the company an operating license.

Several current and former government officials interviewed for this article spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing details of a still classified program.

Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to provide details about the canceled program, but he said that Mr. Panetta’s decision on the assassination program was “clear and straightforward.”

“Director Panetta thought this effort should be briefed to Congress, and he did so,” Mr. Gimigliano said. “He also knew it hadn’t been successful, so he ended it.”

A Xe spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, also declined to give details of the program. But she praised Mr. Panetta for notifying Congress. “It is too easy to contract out work that you don’t want to accept responsibility for,” she said.

The C.I.A. this summer conducted an internal review of the assassination program that recently was presented to the White House and the Congressional intelligence committees. The officials said that the review stated that Mr. Panetta’s predecessors did not believe that they needed to tell Congress because the program was not far enough developed.

The House Intelligence Committee is investigating why lawmakers were never told about the program. According to current and former government officials, former Vice President Dick Cheney told C.I.A. officers in 2002 that the spy agency did not need to inform Congress because the agency already had legal authority to kill Qaeda leaders.

One official familiar with the matter said that Mr. Panetta did not tell lawmakers that he believed that the C.I.A. had broken the law by withholding details about the program from Congress. Rather, the official said, Mr. Panetta said he believed that the program had moved beyond a planning stage and deserved Congressional scrutiny.

“It’s wrong to think this counterterrorism program was confined to briefing slides or doodles on a cafeteria napkin,” the official said. “It went well beyond that.”

Current and former government officials said that the C.I.A.’s efforts to use paramilitary hit teams to kill Qaeda operatives ran into logistical, legal and diplomatic hurdles almost from the outset. These efforts had been run by the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center, which runs operations against Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

In 2002, Blackwater won a classified contract to provide security for the C.I.A. station in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the company maintains other classified contracts with the C.I.A., current and former officials said.

Over the years, Blackwater has hired several former top C.I.A. officials, including Cofer Black, who ran the C.I.A. counterterrorism center immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.

C.I.A. operatives also regularly use the company’s training complex in North Carolina. The complex includes a shooting range used for sniper training.

An executive order signed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 barred the C.I.A. from carrying out assassinations, a direct response to revelations that the C.I.A. had initiated assassination plots against Fidel Castro of Cuba and other foreign politicians.

The Bush administration took the position that killing members of Al Qaeda, a terrorist group that attacked the United States and has pledged to attack it again, was no different from killing enemy soldiers in battle, and that therefore the agency was not constrained by the assassination ban.

But former intelligence officials said that employing private contractors to help hunt Qaeda operatives would pose significant legal and diplomatic risks, and they might not be protected in the same way government employees are.

Some Congressional Democrats have hinted that the program was just one of many that the Bush administration hid from Congressional scrutiny and have used the episode as a justification to delve deeper into other Bush-era counterterrorism programs.

But Republicans have criticized Mr. Panetta’s decision to cancel the program, saying he created a tempest in a teapot.

“I think there was a little more drama and intrigue than was warranted,” said Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

Officials said that the C.I.A. program was devised partly as an alternative to missile strikes using drone aircraft, which have accidentally killed civilians and cannot be used in urban areas where some terrorists hide.

Yet with most top Qaeda operatives believed to be hiding in the remote mountains of Pakistan, the drones have remained the C.I.A.’s weapon of choice. Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has embraced the drone campaign because it presents a less risky option than sending paramilitary teams into Pakistan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/us/20intel.html?_r=1&hp

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Former CIA Intelligence Officer in charge of Blackwater Xe in Peshawar

Written by Faisal Muqadam Local Nov 4, 2009

Fomer CIA Intelligence Officer Steven Cash is in charge of Blackwater operations in Peshawar. The Blackwater supervisory team in Peshawar includes James Bill William, Copper, Steven Cash, Roderick Christopher and Alisha Cambel. They have hired several Pakistani government officials and retired army personnel at remunerations as high as $2,000 per day.

Various journalists have been approached and offered bribes by these officials to implement the PSYOPs in newspapers and electronic media in Pakistan. They are pushing journalists to publish news stories of Talibans, as the Psychological Operations group of US Army has planned.

They are paying as high as $1000 per published news story to journalists. Meetings are held in various houses rented in University Town, Peshawar and residents have reported activities with tinted glasses jeeps during late night hours.

Steven Cash is a former senior U.S. government official. Mr. Cash served as an Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, first as an Assistant General Counsel, and then with the Directorate of Operations.

He also served as Chief Counsel to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and as Minority Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. From 2001 to 2003 he was a Professional Staff Member and Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

http://www.daily.pk/former-cia-intelligence-officer-in-charge-of-blackwater-xe-in-peshawar-12870/

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Top al Qaeda leader blames Blackwater for Peshawar blasts

From Saad Abedine
CNN

November 12, 2009 — Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)

Pakistani police stand beside the wreckage from a suicide car bomb in Peshawar on November 10.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Audio message said to be from Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda’s commander of operations in Afghanistan
  • Said muslims not behind the attacks because they are fighting to protect the honor and lives of other Muslims
  • Critics of Blackwater cite the company’s actions in Iraq as evidence of its malevolent intents
  • Iraq refused to renew the license of the company after its guards killed 17 civilians two years ago

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(CNN) — A senior al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan has blamed the U.S. security firm formerly known as Blackwater as being behind the recent spate of deadly attacks in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

An audio message said to be from Mustafa Abu Yazid, released Thursday, said Muslims could not have been behind the attacks, because they are fighting to protect the honor and lives of other Muslims.

The mujahadeen, as Yazid called the militants, target only security forces who are far from civilian gathering places, he said.

“Today, everyone knows what Blackwater and the criminal security contractors are doing after they came to Pakistan with the support of the criminal, corrupt government and its intelligence and security apparatus,” Yazid said.

“They are the ones who commit these heinous acts, then accuse the mujahadeen of their crimes.”

Yazid is al Qaeda’s commander of operations in Afghanistan and its No. 3 man.

The tape was posted on several Islamist Web sites, known to carry statements from the radical Islamic group.

CNN could not immediately determine the authenticity of the tape.

Blackwater, now known as Xe, is a ready bogeyman for Pakistanis who cite the company’s actions in Iraq as evidence of its malevolent intents in their country.

Iraq refused to renew the license of the private security company after its security guards killed 17 civilians two years ago.

Peshawar — the capital of the North West Frontier Province — has repeatedly come under attack in recent days. Intelligence officials say the attacks are retaliation against an army offensive to rout militants from their havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

On Tuesday, a suicide car bomber struck a congested traffic circle outside Peshawar, killing at least 26 people — including children — and wounding 60 others.

A suicide bombing at a police checkpoint on Peshawar’s Ring Road killed at least three people Monday. A suicide car bombing killed 17 people in the city Sunday, including an area mayor.

And on October 28, a massive car bomb tore through the heart of a bustling marketplace in Peshawar, killing at least 100 people and wounding at least 200 others.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/11/12/pakistan.peshawar.blasts.blackwater/

Pakistani-Pashtuns Say Blackwater USA (Xe Services) Responsible for Peshawar Bomb

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Xinhua
October 30, 2009

Chief of Pakistani- Pashtun Movement in Pakistan Hakimullah Mehsud has blamed the controversial American private firm Blackwater [Xe Services] for the bomb blast in Peshawar which killed over 117 [Pakistani] people, local news agency NNI reported Thursday.

The bomb, exploded at a crowded market at Chowk Yadgar [in Peshawar, Pakistan] on Wednesday [28 October 2009], also injured more than 250 [Pakistani] people.

Hakimullah Mehsud told media that if Pakistani-Pashtuns can carry out attacks in Islamabad and target Pakistan Army’s headquarters, then why they should target general public.

He claimed that American security agency Blackwater [Xe Services] and Pakistani agencies are involved in attacks in public places to [maliciously] blame the militants.

When asked that the people also think that the militants are involved in such attacks, the Pakistani-Pashtun leader was quoted as saying: “Our war is against the [PPP-ANP-MQM-JUIF corrupt and tyrannical] government and the security forces [of Pakistan] and not against the [Pakistani] people. We are not involved in blasts.”

Azam Tariq, the Pakistani-Pashtun spokesman, who was accompanying Hakimullah [Mehsud], warned that those [corrupt] media organizations [Geo News TV, ARY News TV, Dawn News TV, Dunya News TV, Samaa TV, Express News TV, Aaj TV, Business Plus TV, Channel 5 TV, Indus News TV, News One TV, PTV,  Radio Pakistan, and other corrupt mercenary media of Pakistan] could be targeted which are [illegally and maliciously] defaming Pakistani-Pakhtoons.

Information Minister of Northwest Frontier Province [NWFP] Iftikhar Hussain and the Pakistan Army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas had [falsely, fraudulently and maliciously] blamed militants [without any legal evidence or prosecutable proof] for the Peshawar blast, [wrongly] saying that the militants are facing defeat in South Waziristan tribal region and are now targeting the people.

Pakistan Car Bomb Toll Passes 100

LONDON, UK, 29 October 2009 (BBC) – The head of the Pakistani-Pakhtoon Movement has denied responsibility for the [U.S. drone-missile or bomb] attack [of 28 October 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan].

Hakimullah Mehsud told the BBC that the latest attack was orchestrated by the Americans and Pakistani intelligence agencies “to malign the name of the Pakistani-Pakhtoons”.

“If we are able to attack sensitive installations… as well as the [Pakistan Army] General Headquarters [GHQ], then why would we need to attack ordinary people?” he asked in brief telephone interview.

“Our war is only against the [corrupt and tyrannical PPP-ANP-MQM-JUIF] government and the security forces [of Pakistan]. The common people are not part of it”, he replied.

Pakistan Car Bomb Toll Passes 100

LONDON, UK, 29 October 2009 (BBC) – The head of the Pakistani-Pakhtoon Movement has denied responsibility for the [U.S. drone-missile or bomb] attack [of 28 October 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan].

Hakimullah Mehsud told the BBC that the latest attack was orchestrated by the Americans and Pakistani intelligence agencies “to malign the name of the Pakistani-Pakhtoons”.

“If we are able to attack sensitive installations… as well as the [Pakistan Army] General Headquarters [GHQ], then why would we need to attack ordinary people?” he asked in brief telephone interview.

“Our war is only against the [corrupt and tyrannical PPP-ANP-MQM-JUIF] government and the security forces [of Pakistan]. The common people are not part of it”, he replied.

The BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad [Pakistan] says that Mr. [Hakimullah] Mehsud’s denial of Pakistani-Pashtuns’ involvement is likely to be met with much scepticism, even though an increasing number of people do not rule out the involvement of U.S. security agencies in attacks in the country.

Can American War Criminal Hillary Rodham Clinton Control U.S. CIA in illegally Occupied Afghanistan?

http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/article_detail.php?id=842

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Taliban blame ‘Blackwater’ for

Peshawar bombings

By Bill Roggio October 30, 2009 10:35 AM

A street is ablaze in the aftermath of the blast in Peshawar. AFP photo.

The Taliban have denied involvement in this week’s deadly bombing near a bazaar in Peshawar that has now killed 119 people and wounded 500 more. Instead, Hakeemullah Mehsud said, the US contracting firm “Blackwater” (which changed its name and is now known Xe) and “Pakistani agencies” carried out the deadly attack. An excerpt from the report at Outlook India is below.

Pakistani Taliban chief Haemullah Mehsud has claimed that the controversial American security firm Blackwater was behind the deadly bomb attack on a market in Peshawar that killed over 100 people.

Hakeemullah questioned why the Taliban should target the public when it was capable of carrying out attacks in Islamabad and targeting the army’s General Headquarters.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, he claimed Blackwater and “Pakistani agencies” were involved in attacks in public places to discredit the militants.

Reports in the Pakistani media have claimed that Blackwater has established a presence in the country by tying up with local security firms but these allegations have been rejected by the US administration.

When Hakeemullah was asked about the perception among people that militants are involved in attacks on public places, he said: “Our war is against the government and the security forces and not against the people. We are not involved in blasts.”

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq, who was present along with Hakeemullah, warned that the militants could target media organisations that are “defaming” the Taliban.

A couple of points:

1) It is humorous that Hakeemullah and spokesman Tariq Azam express shock that the Taliban could possibly be accused of conducting such an attack on a civilian target, then they turn around and threaten the Pakistani media for “defaming” the Taliban.

2) According to Indian terrorism expert B. Raman, the Taliban may actually have a degree of plausible deniability. “Sources in the ANP [the Awami National Party, the ruling Pashtun arty in the Northwest Frontier Province] seem to believe that the repeated attacks on civilians in Peshawar are being carried out by elements in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), another Uzbek group, both allied to Al Qaeda,” Raman reported. “This serves the purpose of discrediting the ANP-led Government in the NWFP and at the same time sparing the TTP [the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] of unpopularity for slaughtering innocent Pashtun civilians.” Even if the IMU and IJU have targeted civilians and the Taliban have not played a role (highly unlikely), the Taliban provides them sanctuary and thus are complicit.

3) By blaming “Blackwater,” Hakeemullah is tapping into the very dangerous conspiratorial current that is running through Pakistan. Many Pakistanis believe that US contracting firms are secretly plotting to take over the state and are fighting a shadow war within the country (see articles here, here, and here in The Nation, for a small taste). This conspiratorial attitude is encouraged by Pakistani officials who insist on blaming the US, India, Israel, and anyone but the terrorists in their own midst who are actually conducting the attacks.
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/10/taliban_blame_blackwater_for_p.php#ixzz0Wfz4Lgyh

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/10/taliban_blame_blackwater_for_p.php

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Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan

By Jeremy Scahill

November 23, 2009

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

Blackwater

The Rachel Maddow Show : The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill on the revelation that Blackwater bribed local Iraqis following the Nisour Square massacre.

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Blackwater

Jeremy Scahill: Inside sources reveal that the firm works with the US military in Karachi to plan targeted assassinations and drone bombings, among other sensitive counterterrorism operations.

Blackwater

Jeremy Scahill: Top Blackwater staff authorized attempted bribes of Iraqi officials in the wake of the 2007 Nisour Square massacre, the New York Times has reported.

US Military

Jeremy Scahill: Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Carol Shea-Porter argue that since Adam Hermanson died while working on a Defense Department contract, the DoD is obliged to investigate.

The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater’s involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so “compartmentalized” that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.

The White House did not return calls or email messages seeking comment for this story. Capt. John Kirby, the spokesperson for Adm. Michael Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Nation, “We do not discuss current operations one way or the other, regardless of their nature.” A defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan. “We don’t have any contracts to do that work for us. We don’t contract that kind of work out, period,” the official said. “There has not been, and is not now, contracts between JSOC and that organization for these types of services.”

The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program that the agency’s director, Leon Panetta, announced he had canceled in June 2009. “This is a parallel operation to the CIA,” said the source. “They are two separate beasts.” The program puts Blackwater at the epicenter of a US military operation within the borders of a nation against which the United States has not declared war–knowledge that could further strain the already tense relations between the United States and Pakistan. In 2006, the United States and Pakistan struck a deal that authorized JSOC to enter Pakistan to hunt Osama bin Laden with the understanding that Pakistan would deny it had given permission. Officially, the United States is not supposed to have any active military operations in the country.

Blackwater, which recently changed its name to Xe Services and US Training Center, denies the company is operating in Pakistan. “Xe Services has only one employee in Pakistan performing construction oversight for the U.S. Government,” Blackwater spokesperson Mark Corallo said in a statement to The Nation, adding that the company has “no other operations of any kind in Pakistan.”

A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the military intelligence source’s claim that the company is working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC, the premier counterterrorism and covert operations force within the military. He said that Blackwater is also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan. This arrangement, the former executive said, allows the Pakistani government to utilize former US Special Operations forces who now work for Blackwater while denying an official US military presence in the country. He also confirmed that Blackwater has a facility in Karachi and has personnel deployed elsewhere in Pakistan. The former executive spoke on condition of anonymity.

His account and that of the military intelligence source were borne out by a US military source who has knowledge of Special Forces actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When asked about Blackwater’s covert work for JSOC in Pakistan, this source, who also asked for anonymity, told The Nation, “From my information that I have, that is absolutely correct,” adding, “There’s no question that’s occurring.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me because we’ve outsourced nearly everything,” said Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, when told of Blackwater’s role in Pakistan. Wilkerson said that during his time in the Bush administration, he saw the beginnings of Blackwater’s involvement with the sensitive operations of the military and CIA. “Part of this, of course, is an attempt to get around the constraints the Congress has placed on DoD. If you don’t have sufficient soldiers to do it, you hire civilians to do it. I mean, it’s that simple. It would not surprise me.”

The Counterterrorism Tag Team in Karachi

The covert JSOC program with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to at least 2007, according to the military intelligence source. The current head of JSOC is Vice Adm. William McRaven, who took over the post from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC from 2003 to 2008 before being named the top US commander in Afghanistan. Blackwater’s presence in Pakistan is “not really visible, and that’s why nobody has cracked down on it,” said the source. Blackwater’s operations in Pakistan, he said, are not done through State Department contracts or publicly identified Defense contracts. “It’s Blackwater via JSOC, and it’s a classified no-bid [contract] approved on a rolling basis.” The main JSOC/Blackwater facility in Karachi, according to the source, is nondescript: three trailers with various generators, satellite phones and computer systems are used as a makeshift operations center. “It’s a very rudimentary operation,” says the source. “I would compare it to [CIA] outposts in Kurdistan or any of the Special Forces outposts. It’s very bare bones, and that’s the point.”

Blackwater’s work for JSOC in Karachi is coordinated out of a Task Force based at Bagram Air Base in neighboring Afghanistan, according to the military intelligence source. While JSOC technically runs the operations in Karachi, he said, it is largely staffed by former US special operations soldiers working for a division of Blackwater, once known as Blackwater SELECT, and intelligence analysts working for a Blackwater affiliate, Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), which is owned by Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince. The military source said that the name Blackwater SELECT may have been changed recently. Total Intelligence, which is run out of an office on the ninth floor of a building in the Ballston area of Arlington, Virginia, is staffed by former analysts and operatives from the CIA, DIA, FBI and other agencies. It is modeled after the CIA’s counterterrorism center. In Karachi, TIS runs a “media-scouring/open-source network,” according to the source. Until recently, Total Intelligence was run by two former top CIA officials, Cofer Black and Robert Richer, both of whom have left the company. In Pakistan, Blackwater is not using either its original name or its new moniker, Xe Services, according to the former Blackwater executive. “They are running most of their work through TIS because the other two [names] have such a stain on them,” he said. Corallo, the Blackwater spokesperson, denied that TIS or any other division or affiliate of Blackwater has any personnel in Pakistan.

The US military intelligence source said that Blackwater’s classified contracts keep getting renewed at the request of JSOC. Blackwater, he said, is already so deeply entrenched that it has become a staple of the US military operations in Pakistan. According to the former Blackwater executive, “The politics that go with the brand of BW is somewhat set aside because what you’re doing is really one military guy to another.” Blackwater’s first known contract with the CIA for operations in Afghanistan was awarded in 2002 and was for work along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

One of the concerns raised by the military intelligence source is that some Blackwater personnel are being given rolling security clearances above their approved clearances. Using Alternative Compartmentalized Control Measures (ACCMs), he said, the Blackwater personnel are granted clearance to a Special Access Program, the bureaucratic term used to describe highly classified “black” operations. “With an ACCM, the security manager can grant access to you to be exposed to and operate within compartmentalized programs far above ‘secret’–even though you have no business doing so,” said the source. It allows Blackwater personnel that “do not have the requisite security clearance or do not hold a security clearance whatsoever to participate in classified operations by virtue of trust,” he added. “Think of it as an ultra-exclusive level above top secret. That’s exactly what it is: a circle of love.” Blackwater, therefore, has access to “all source” reports that are culled in part from JSOC units in the field. “That’s how a lot of things over the years have been conducted with contractors,” said the source. “We have contractors that regularly see things that top policy-makers don’t unless they ask.”

According to the source, Blackwater has effectively marketed itself as a company whose operatives have “conducted lethal direct action missions and now, for a price, you can have your own planning cell. JSOC just ate that up,” he said, adding, “They have a sizable force in Pakistan–not for any nefarious purpose if you really want to look at it that way–but to support a legitimate contract that’s classified for JSOC.” Blackwater’s Pakistan JSOC contracts are secret and are therefore shielded from public oversight, he said. The source is not sure when the arrangement with JSOC began, but he says that a spin-off of Blackwater SELECT “was issued a no-bid contract for support to shooters for a JSOC Task Force and they kept extending it.” Some of the Blackwater personnel, he said, work undercover as aid workers. “Nobody even gives them a second thought.”

The military intelligence source said that the Blackwater/JSOC Karachi operation is referred to as “Qatar cubed,” in reference to the US forward operating base in Qatar that served as the hub for the planning and implementation of the US invasion of Iraq. “This is supposed to be the brave new world,” he says. “This is the Jamestown of the new millennium and it’s meant to be a lily pad. You can jump off to Uzbekistan, you can jump back over the border, you can jump sideways, you can jump northwest. It’s strategically located so that they can get their people wherever they have to without having to wrangle with the military chain of command in Afghanistan, which is convoluted. They don’t have to deal with that because they’re operating under a classified mandate.”

In addition to planning drone strikes and operations against suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Pakistan for both JSOC and the CIA, the Blackwater team in Karachi also helps plan missions for JSOC inside Uzbekistan against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to the military intelligence source. Blackwater does not actually carry out the operations, he said, which are executed on the ground by JSOC forces. “That piqued my curiosity and really worries me because I don’t know if you noticed but I was never told we are at war with Uzbekistan,” he said. “So, did I miss something, did Rumsfeld come back into power?”

Pakistan’s Military Contracting Maze

Blackwater, according to the military intelligence source, is not doing the actual killing as part of its work in Pakistan. “The SELECT personnel are not going into places with private aircraft and going after targets,” he said. “It’s not like Blackwater SELECT people are running around assassinating people.” Instead, US Special Forces teams carry out the plans developed in part by Blackwater. The military intelligence source drew a distinction between the Blackwater operatives who work for the State Department, which he calls “Blackwater Vanilla,” and the seasoned Special Forces veterans who work on the JSOC program. “Good or bad, there’s a small number of people who know how to pull off an operation like that. That’s probably a good thing,” said the source. “It’s the Blackwater SELECT people that have and continue to plan these types of operations because they’re the only people that know how and they went where the money was. It’s not trigger-happy fucks, like some of the PSD [Personal Security Detail] guys. These are not people that believe that Barack Obama is a socialist, these are not people that kill innocent civilians. They’re very good at what they do.”

The former Blackwater executive, when asked for confirmation that Blackwater forces were not actively killing people in Pakistan, said, “that’s not entirely accurate.” While he concurred with the military intelligence source’s description of the JSOC and CIA programs, he pointed to another role Blackwater is allegedly playing in Pakistan, not for the US government but for Islamabad. According to the executive, Blackwater works on a subcontract for Kestral Logistics, a powerful Pakistani firm, which specializes in military logistical support, private security and intelligence consulting. It is staffed with former high-ranking Pakistani army and government officials. While Kestral’s main offices are in Pakistan, it also has branches in several other countries.

A spokesperson for the US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is responsible for issuing licenses to US corporations to provide defense-related services to foreign governments or entities, would neither confirm nor deny for The Nation that Blackwater has a license to work in Pakistan or to work with Kestral. “We cannot help you,” said department spokesperson David McKeeby after checking with the relevant DDTC officials. “You’ll have to contact the companies directly.” Blackwater’s Corallo said the company has “no operations of any kind” in Pakistan other than the one employee working for the DoD. Kestral did not respond to inquiries from The Nation.

According to federal lobbying records, Kestral recently hired former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega, who served in that post from 2003 to 2005, to lobby the US government, including the State Department, USAID and Congress, on foreign affairs issues “regarding [Kestral’s] capabilities to carry out activities of interest to the United States.” Noriega was hired through his firm, Vision Americas, which he runs with Christina Rocca, a former CIA operations official who served as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 2001 to 2006 and was deeply involved in shaping US policy toward Pakistan. In October 2009, Kestral paid Vision Americas $15,000 and paid a Vision Americas-affiliated firm, Firecreek Ltd., an equal amount to lobby on defense and foreign policy issues.

For years, Kestral has done a robust business in defense logistics with the Pakistani government and other nations, as well as top US defense companies. Blackwater owner Erik Prince is close with Kestral CEO Liaquat Ali Baig, according to the former Blackwater executive. “Ali and Erik have a pretty close relationship,” he said. “They’ve met many times and struck a deal, and they [offer] mutual support for one another.” Working with Kestral, he said, Blackwater has provided convoy security for Defense Department shipments destined for Afghanistan that would arrive in the port at Karachi. Blackwater, according to the former executive, would guard the supplies as they were transported overland from Karachi to Peshawar and then west through the Torkham border crossing, the most important supply route for the US military in Afghanistan.

According to the former executive, Blackwater operatives also integrate with Kestral’s forces in sensitive counterterrorism operations in the North-West Frontier Province, where they work in conjunction with the Pakistani Interior Ministry’s paramilitary force, known as the Frontier Corps (alternately referred to as “frontier scouts”). The Blackwater personnel are technically advisers, but the former executive said that the line often gets blurred in the field. Blackwater “is providing the actual guidance on how to do [counterterrorism operations] and Kestral’s folks are carrying a lot of them out, but they’re having the guidance and the overwatch from some BW guys that will actually go out with the teams when they’re executing the job,” he said. “You can see how that can lead to other things in the border areas.” He said that when Blackwater personnel are out with the Pakistani teams, sometimes its men engage in operations against suspected terrorists. “You’ve got BW guys that are assisting… and they’re all going to want to go on the jobs–so they’re going to go with them,” he said. “So, the things that you’re seeing in the news about how this Pakistani military group came in and raided this house or did this or did that–in some of those cases, you’re going to have Western folks that are right there at the house, if not in the house.” Blackwater, he said, is paid by the Pakistani government through Kestral for consulting services. “That gives the Pakistani government the cover to say, ‘Hey, no, we don’t have any Westerners doing this. It’s all local and our people are doing it.’ But it gets them the expertise that Westerners provide for [counterterrorism]-related work.”

The military intelligence source confirmed Blackwater works with the Frontier Corps, saying, “There’s no real oversight. It’s not really on people’s radar screen.”

In October, in response to Pakistani news reports that a Kestral warehouse in Islamabad was being used to store heavy weapons for Blackwater, the US Embassy in Pakistan released a statement denying the weapons were being used by “a private American security contractor.” The statement said, “Kestral Logistics is a private logistics company that handles the importation of equipment and supplies provided by the United States to the Government of Pakistan. All of the equipment and supplies were imported at the request of the Government of Pakistan, which also certified the shipments.”

Who is Behind the Drone Attacks?

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated, the United States has expanded drone bombing raids in Pakistan. Obama first ordered a drone strike against targets in North and South Waziristan on January 23, and the strikes have been conducted consistently ever since. The Obama administration has now surpassed the number of Bush-era strikes in Pakistan and has faced fierce criticism from Pakistan and some US lawmakers over civilian deaths. A drone attack in June killed as many as sixty people attending a Taliban funeral.

In August, the New York Times reported that Blackwater works for the CIA at “hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft.” In February, The Times of London obtained a satellite image of a secret CIA airbase in Shamsi, in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan, showing three drone aircraft. The New York Times also reported that the agency uses a secret base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to strike in Pakistan.

The military intelligence source says that the drone strike that reportedly killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, his wife and his bodyguards in Waziristan in August was a CIA strike, but that many others attributed in media reports to the CIA are actually JSOC strikes. “Some of these strikes are attributed to OGA [Other Government Agency, intelligence parlance for the CIA], but in reality it’s JSOC and their parallel program of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] because they also have access to UAVs. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes.” The Pentagon has stated bluntly, “There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan.”

The military intelligence source also confirmed that Blackwater continues to work for the CIA on its drone bombing program in Pakistan, as previously reported in the New York Times, but added that Blackwater is working on JSOC’s drone bombings as well. “It’s Blackwater running the program for both CIA and JSOC,” said the source. When civilians are killed, “people go, ‘Oh, it’s the CIA doing crazy shit again unchecked.’ Well, at least 50 percent of the time, that’s JSOC [hitting] somebody they’ve identified through HUMINT [human intelligence] or they’ve culled the intelligence themselves or it’s been shared with them and they take that person out and that’s how it works.”

The military intelligence source says that the CIA operations are subject to Congressional oversight, unlike the parallel JSOC bombings. “Targeted killings are not the most popular thing in town right now and the CIA knows that,” he says. “Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don’t care. If there’s one person they’re going after and there’s thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That’s the mentality.” He added, “They’re not accountable to anybody and they know that. It’s an open secret, but what are you going to do, shut down JSOC?”

In addition to working on covert action planning and drone strikes, Blackwater SELECT also provides private guards to perform the sensitive task of security for secret US drone bases, JSOC camps and Defense Intelligence Agency camps inside Pakistan, according to the military intelligence source.

Mosharraf Zaidi, a well-known Pakistani journalist who has served as a consultant for the UN and European Union in Pakistan and Afghanistan, says that the Blackwater/JSOC program raises serious questions about the norms of international relations. “The immediate question is, How do you define the active pursuit of military objectives in a country with which not only have you not declared war but that is supposedly a front-line non-NATO ally in the US struggle to contain extremist violence coming out of Afghanistan and the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan?” asks Zaidi, who is currently a columnist for The News, the biggest English-language daily in Pakistan. “Let’s forget Blackwater for a second. What this is confirming is that there are US military operations in Pakistan that aren’t about logistics or getting food to Bagram; that are actually about the exercise of physical violence, physical force inside of Pakistani territory.”

JSOC: Rumsfeld and Cheney’s Extra Special Force

Colonel Wilkerson said that he is concerned that with General McChrystal’s elevation as the military commander of the Afghan war–which is increasingly seeping into Pakistan–there is a concomitant rise in JSOC’s power and influence within the military structure. “I don’t see how you can escape that; it’s just a matter of the way the authority flows and the power flows, and it’s inevitable, I think,” Wilkerson told The Nation. He added, “I’m alarmed when I see execute orders and combat orders that go out saying that the supporting force is Central Command and the supported force is Special Operations Command,” under which JSOC operates. “That’s backward. But that’s essentially what we have today.”

From 2003 to 2008 McChrystal headed JSOC, which is headquartered at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Blackwater’s 7,000-acre operating base is also situated. JSOC controls the Army’s Delta Force, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, as well as the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron. JSOC performs strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas and special intelligence missions. Blackwater, which was founded by former Navy SEALs, employs scores of veteran Special Forces operators–which several former military officials pointed to as the basis for Blackwater’s alleged contracts with JSOC.

Since 9/11, many top-level Special Forces veterans have taken up employment with private firms, where they can make more money doing the highly specialized work they did in uniform. “The Blackwater individuals have the experience. A lot of these individuals are retired military, and they’ve been around twenty to thirty years and have experience that the younger Green Beret guys don’t,” said retired Army Lieut. Col. Jeffrey Addicott, a well-connected military lawyer who served as senior legal counsel for US Army Special Forces. “They’re known entities. Everybody knows who they are, what their capabilities are, and they’ve got the experience. They’re very valuable.”

“They make much more money being the smarts of these operations, planning hits in various countries and basing it off their experience in Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Ethiopia,” said the military intelligence source. “They were there for all of these things, they know what the hell they’re talking about. And JSOC has unfortunately lost the institutional capability to plan within, so they hire back people that used to work for them and had already planned and executed these [types of] operations. They hired back people that jumped over to Blackwater SELECT and then pay them exorbitant amounts of money to plan future operations. It’s a ridiculous revolving door.”

While JSOC has long played a central role in US counterterrorism and covert operations, military and civilian officials who worked at the Defense and State Departments during the Bush administration described in interviews with The Nation an extremely cozy relationship that developed between the executive branch (primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and JSOC. During the Bush era, Special Forces turned into a virtual stand-alone operation that acted outside the military chain of command and in direct coordination with the White House. Throughout the Bush years, it was largely General McChrystal who ran JSOC. “What I was seeing was the development of what I would later see in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Special Operations forces would operate in both theaters without the conventional commander even knowing what they were doing,” said Colonel Wilkerson. “That’s dangerous, that’s very dangerous. You have all kinds of mess when you don’t tell the theater commander what you’re doing.”

Wilkerson said that almost immediately after assuming his role at the State Department under Colin Powell, he saw JSOC being politicized and developing a close relationship with the executive branch. He saw this begin, he said, after his first Delta Force briefing at Fort Bragg. “I think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times, perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good,” says Wilkerson. “I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions.” He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld “built up initially because Rumsfeld didn’t get the responsiveness. He didn’t get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse’s mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the [administration] doing things the executive branch–read: Cheney and Rumsfeld–wanted it to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very alarming for me as a conventional soldier.”

Wilkerson said the JSOC teams caused diplomatic problems for the United States across the globe. “When these teams started hitting capital cities and other places all around the world, [Rumsfeld] didn’t tell the State Department either. The only way we found out about it is our ambassadors started to call us and say, ‘Who the hell are these six-foot-four white males with eighteen-inch biceps walking around our capital cities?’ So we discovered this, we discovered one in South America, for example, because he actually murdered a taxi driver, and we had to get him out of there real quick. We rendered him–we rendered him home.”

As part of their strategy, Rumsfeld and Cheney also created the Strategic Support Branch (SSB), which pulled intelligence resources from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA for use in sensitive JSOC operations. The SSB was created using “reprogrammed” funds “without explicit congressional authority or appropriation,” according to the Washington Post. The SSB operated outside the military chain of command and circumvented the CIA’s authority on clandestine operations. Rumsfeld created it as part of his war to end “near total dependence on CIA.” Under US law, the Defense Department is required to report all deployment orders to Congress. But guidelines issued in January 2005 by former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone stated that Special Operations forces may “conduct clandestine HUMINT operations…before publication” of a deployment order. This effectively gave Rumsfeld unilateral control over clandestine operations.

The military intelligence source said that when Rumsfeld was defense secretary, JSOC was deployed to commit some of the “darkest acts” in part to keep them concealed from Congress. “Everything can be justified as a military operation versus a clandestine intelligence performed by the CIA, which has to be informed to Congress,” said the source. “They were aware of that and they knew that, and they would exploit it at every turn and they took full advantage of it. They knew they could act extra-legally and nothing would happen because A, it was sanctioned by DoD at the highest levels, and B, who was going to stop them? They were preparing the battlefield, which was on all of the PowerPoints: ‘Preparing the Battlefield.'”

The significance of the flexibility of JSOC’s operations inside Pakistan versus the CIA’s is best summed up by Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Every single intelligence operation and covert action must be briefed to the Congress,” she said. “If they are not, that is a violation of the law.”

Blackwater: Company Non Grata in Pakistan

For months, the Pakistani media has been flooded with stories about Blackwater’s alleged growing presence in the country. For the most part, these stories have been ignored by the US press and denounced as lies or propaganda by US officials in Pakistan. But the reality is that, although many of the stories appear to be wildly exaggerated, Pakistanis have good reason to be concerned about Blackwater’s operations in their country. It is no secret in Washington or Islamabad that Blackwater has been a central part of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the company has been involved–almost from the beginning of the “war on terror”–with clandestine US operations. Indeed, Blackwater is accepting applications for contractors fluent in Urdu and Punjabi. The US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, has denied Blackwater’s presence in the country, stating bluntly in September, “Blackwater is not operating in Pakistan.” In her trip to Pakistan in October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dodged questions from the Pakistani press about Blackwater’s rumored Pakistani operations. Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, said on November 21 he will resign if Blackwater is found operating anywhere in Pakistan.

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that Blackwater “provides security for a US-backed aid project” in Peshawar, suggesting the company may be based out of the Pearl Continental, a luxury hotel the United States reportedly is considering purchasing to use as a consulate in the city. “We have no contracts in Pakistan,” Blackwater spokesperson Stacey DeLuke said recently. “We’ve been blamed for all that has gone wrong in Peshawar, none of which is true, since we have absolutely no presence there.”

Reports of Blackwater’s alleged presence in Karachi and elsewhere in the country have been floating around the Pakistani press for months. Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist who rose to fame after his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden, claimed in a recent interview that Blackwater is in Karachi. “The US [intelligence] agencies think that a number of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders are hiding in Karachi and Peshawar,” he said. “That is why [Blackwater] agents are operating in these two cities.” Ambassador Patterson has said that the claims of Mir and other Pakistani journalists are “wildly incorrect,” saying they had compromised the security of US personnel in Pakistan. On November 20 the Washington Times, citing three current and former US intelligence officials, reported that Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, has “found refuge from potential U.S. attacks” in Karachi “with the assistance of Pakistan’s intelligence service.”

In September, the Pakistani press covered a report on Blackwater allegedly submitted by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to the federal interior ministry. In the report, the intelligence agencies reportedly allege that Blackwater was provided houses by a federal minister who is also helping them clear shipments of weapons and vehicles through Karachi’s Port Qasim on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The military intelligence source did not confirm this but did say, “The port jives because they have a lot of [former] SEALs and they would revert to what they know: the ocean, instead of flying stuff in.”

The Nation cannot independently confirm these allegations and has not seen the Pakistani intelligence report. But according to Pakistani press coverage, the intelligence report also said Blackwater has acquired “bungalows” in the Defense Housing Authority in the city. According to the DHA website, it is a large residential estate originally established “for the welfare of the serving and retired officers of the Armed Forces of Pakistan.” Its motto is: “Home for Defenders.” The report alleges Blackwater is receiving help from local government officials in Karachi and is using vehicles with license plates traditionally assigned to members of the national and provincial assemblies, meaning local law enforcement will not stop them.

The use of private companies like Blackwater for sensitive operations such as drone strikes or other covert work undoubtedly comes with the benefit of plausible deniability that places an additional barrier in an already deeply flawed system of accountability. When things go wrong, it’s the contractors’ fault, not the government’s. But the widespread use of contractors also raises serious legal questions, particularly when they are a part of lethal, covert actions. “We are using contractors for things that in the past might have been considered to be a violation of the Geneva Convention,” said Lt. Col. Addicott, who now runs the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. “In my opinion, we have pressed the envelope to the breaking limit, and it’s almost a fiction that these guys are not in offensive military operations.” Addicott added, “If we were subjected to the International Criminal Court, some of these guys could easily be picked up, charged with war crimes and put on trial. That’s one of the reasons we’re not members of the International Criminal Court.”

If there is one quality that has defined Blackwater over the past decade, it is the ability to survive against the odds while simultaneously reinventing and rebranding itself. That is most evident in Afghanistan, where the company continues to work for the US military, the CIA and the State Department despite intense criticism and almost weekly scandals. Blackwater’s alleged Pakistan operations, said the military intelligence source, are indicative of its new frontier. “Having learned its lessons after the private security contracting fiasco in Iraq, Blackwater has shifted its operational focus to two venues: protecting things that are in danger and anticipating other places we’re going to go as a nation that are dangerous,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

About Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!. more…

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091207/scahill

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Blackwater launching missions from Karachi’

* US paper says Blackwater assisting CIA in assassinations of Taliban, Al Qaeda operatives, ‘sensitive action inside, outside Pakistan’
* Blackwater’s help to secret US military drone attacks runs parallel to well-documented CIA predator strikes

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Members of an elite division of Blackwater (Xe Services) are conducting a secret programme from Karachi in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigative report by US-based newspaper The Nation has revealed.

Citing a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus, the paper said the covert forward operating base, run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), is assisted by Blackwater operatives in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.

The source, which The Nation said has worked on covert US military programmes for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, had direct knowledge of Blackwater’s involvement.

The source told the paper that the programme was so “compartmentalised” that senior figures within President’s Barack Obama’s administration and the US military chain of command might not be aware of its existence.

The White House did not comment on the story, The Nation said.

A defence official denied that Blackwater worked on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan, saying they “don’t have any contracts to do that work for us. We don’t contract that kind of work out, period”.

The paper’s source said the Blackwater programme was distinct from the CIA assassination programme that the agency’s director, Leon Panetta, announced he had cancelled in June 2009.

A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the source’s claim that the company was working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC.

He even said Blackwater was also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm “that puts Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces”.

The Nation said the covert JSOC programme with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to at least 2007, according to the source. Blackwater’s work for JSOC in Karachi is coordinated out of a Task Force based at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, according to the military intelligence source.

“While JSOC technically runs the operations in Karachi,” he said, “it is largely staffed by former US special operations soldiers working for a division of Blackwater, once known as Blackwater SELECT, and intelligence analysts working for a Blackwater affiliate, Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), which is owned by Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince”.

Home | National

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\11\26\story_26-11-2009_pg7_14

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The Nation: Blackwater involved in secret war in Pakistan

By Troy Reimink | The Grand Rapids Press

November 25, 2009, 6:17PM

The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill is reporting on the “secret war” waged in Pakistan by Blackwater, the security firm founded by Holland native Erik Prince. The story begins:

“At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found.”
He also reports that the company is involved in a previously undisclosed drone program similar to CIA predator strikes.

The White House is not answering questions. A spokesman for Blackwater (now called Xe) denies the program exists. A defense official denies that any contracts with Blackwater exist in Pakistan.

Scahill, who wrote “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and who previously broke news of allegations of murder and weapons smuggling, quotes anonymous sources within the government and the company.

He writes: “The program puts Blackwater at the epicenter of a US military operation within the borders of a nation against which the United States has not declared war–knowledge that could further strain the already tense relations between the United States and Pakistan.”

Democracy Now! interviewed Scahill about his story.

Some other recent Blackwater headlines:

• U.S. to drop manslaughter, weapons charges against Blackwater guard for 2007 shooting in Baghdad

• New York Times: Blackwater paid $1 million in bribes to Iraqi officials after civilian shootings in 2007

Explosive allegations place Blackwater founder Erik Prince in the crosshairs — again

• Reports: Ex-Blackwater guards implicate Erik Prince in lawsuit statements

• AP source: CIA hired Blackwater in 2004 to kill al-Qaida leaders

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/11/the_nation_blackwater_involved.html

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‘Blackwater’ men nabbed, released

By: Ashraf Javed | Published: December 09, 2009

LAHORE – Security agencies arrested four suspected members of notorious Blackwater agency while they were trying to force their entry into the Cantonment Area here on Tuesday evening, sources informed.
However, they were released two hours later on the intervention of the US Consulate.
According to well-placed sources, the officials of security agencies intercepted three vehicles with tinted glasses near Sherpao Bridge, as security was on high alert, a day after twin bomb blasts hit Moon Market, Lahore’s leading shopping mall, leaving more than 54 people dead and 150 others wounded.
The arrested suspects believed to be Cobra operatives failed to produce authentic identification and their purpose for entering into the most sensitive area during cross-questioning with the security agency officials. The sources revealed that the suspects were apparently foreigners and they had no proper travel documents. However, the suspects refused to go with the security agencies for further interrogation and started arguing with security agency personnel, creating a terrible traffic mess at the leading artery of the City. Hundreds of motorists remained trapped in the traffic mess for about two hours.
The news of arrest of members of notorious and private spy agency, Blackwater, spread in the City like jungle fire as people stared calling one another to share the development.
Meanwhile, on the intervention of the US Consulate, the law enforcement agencies released the vehicles after the
Consulate personnel arrived and produced the documents.
It is important to mention here that whenever the security agencies nab such private spies, they are released on the intervention of US Embassy or Consulate.
When contacted, spokesperson for US Consulate, Jami Dragon, admitted that the vehicles impounded for some hours belonged to the US Consulate Lahore.
He said that three diplomatic vehicles of the Consulate were stopped at a check-post for routine checking in Cantonment area, which later were released when the some US Consulate staff members reached the spot and produced documents and identification.
Ironically, Jami Dragon very naively said that he did not know about the law and regulations regarding prohibition on the use of tinted glasses in Pakistan.
The spokesman did not know whether the vehicles were taken to any other place. However he said, the checking took a couple of hours, for which he said, he did not know the reason.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/09-Dec-2009/Blackwater-men-nabbed-released

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Proofs of Blackwater (Xe Services) Presence in Karachi

Blackwater’s activities are at the Peak.
*
The notorious mercenary forces are enjoying the support of the most powerful party in the city.
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Office bearers of the two major political parties are providing [not known whether in their individual capacity or with party lines] to Blackwater besides helping them in getting houses.
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Nearly half dozen of the houses are provided by a federal minister who is also helping them in clearing the shipments [weapons and hummer] at Port Qasim.
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Black water has acquired dozens of houses while its strength has reached to 60, 32 out of which are retired officers of Pakistani Law enforcement agencies. No need to mention that the owner of disband Inter Risk is also a retired Captain of Pakistan Army.
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Blackwater has also acquired the seventh floor of five stars Hotel in the Karachi which is believed to be the new operational Headquarter. Previously a Bungalow in the Khyaban-e-Shamshir area of DHA was used as operational centre.
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The American School in KDA scheme one has 8 housing units. One house is used by a senior American diplomat while the remaining seven houses are given to Xe Services (Blackwater) for their lodging.
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Blackwater has got seven houses near the houses of Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf and Gen Moinuddin Hayder in the General colony, near Zamzama DHA. Some Japanese and Koreans are hired and accommodated there to doge Pakistani agencies.
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Another house is acquired in Karsaz Area which is situated near the Muslim League House. The street has been blocked.
*
Two Vehicles of BB and BD numbers are used by Blackwater in Karachi, the numbers which are assigned to the MNAs and MPAs only. No one will be able to stop them.
*
According to Ummat, the plot reserved for children park in China ground [Kashmir Road] is also given to Xe Services (Blackwater)

http://www.pakistaniscandals.com/post/477/Proofs-of-Blackwater-%28Xe-Services%29-Presence-in-Karachi-.html

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Blackwater black ops behind Pakistan terror wave?

Submitted by WW4 Report on Sun, 12/06/2009 – 01:07.

The Lahore High Court chief justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif served notice on Pakistan‘s Interior Ministry for not replying to a petition demanding full disclose on the activities of Blackwater in the country, and warned that if the interior secretary does not reply by Dec. 14 he could be prosecuted for contempt of court. Sharif also called for a detailed report from the Foreign Ministry on a request to search of the US embassy to recover illegal weapons. Hashim Shaukat Khan, president of Pakistan’s Watan Party, had filed the petition. His attorney, Barrister Zafarullah, said the day Blackwater stepped into Pakistan, terrorism and suicide attacks stepped up. He also alleged that illegal arms are being stored in the US embassy, which were being used for “sabotage acts” in the country. (Pakistan Daily Times, Dec. 5)

At least 40 were killed and scores injured Dec. 4 when a pair of suicide bombers stormed a crowded mosque in Rawalpindi during Friday prayers, joined by assailants who hurled grenades and sprayed gunfire among the worshipers. (WP, Dec. 5) Another three were killed in a blast at a KFC outlet in Peshawar. (BBC News, Dec. 5)

A tip of the hat to the relentlessly paranoid Citizens for Legitimate Government for these news tips.

Xe Services (aka Blackwater)

Submitted by cstalberg (not verified) on Tue, 12/08/2009 – 08:47.

Xe Services (aka Blackwater) is associated with assassinations, kidnapping, prostitution, tax evasion, gun running, weapons stockpiling, recruiting death squad paramilitary personnel from Latin America and defrauding US taxpayers. Blackwater operates without oversight, transparency or accountability. For more information visit http://xewatch.info

http://www.ww4report.com/node/8034

http://freedetainees.org/7547

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US Blackwater nightmare for Peshawaris

US Blackwater Nightmare for Peshawaris
By  Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

PESHAWAR — Already shaken by a spate of unrest in their homeland, people in Peshawar now have another source of fear on their city’s streets, the notorious US security firm Blackwater.

“We are deeply scared by their presence and movement as they have posed a serious threat to our lives and properties,” Ahmed Yar Khan, a local businessman, told IslamOnline.net.

According to intelligence sources, the company, which gained world notoriety over involvement in dozens of unprovoked civilian killings in Iraq, has set up different stations in Peshawar and its vicinity.

Sporting black gaggles and carrying sophisticated assault rifles, Blackwater members move freely in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and its adjoining districts.

They are often seen in their black-colored armored vehicles carrying diplomatic number plates.

“Officially, Blackwater is providing security to the US, European and Afghan diplomats and officials working on various development projects financed by the US government in federally administered tribal areas,” a senior intelligence official told IOL, requesting anonymity for not being authorized to discuss the issue with the media.

But residents say that Blackwater agents spur fear and awe, with many of them openly standing guard on the streets and behaving rudely with the locals.

“If they are stuck in a traffic jam, they don’t allow any vehicle to come near them. And if someone mistakenly does that, they shout and point guns at them,” fumed Khan.

Some residents have even filed complaints with the authorities over mistreatment by Blackwater members, but officials turned deaf ears.

“Nothing has so far happened despite several complaints,” Khan lamented. “It seems as if these streets have been sold out to Blackwater.”

Established 10 years ago by Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL, the South Carolina-based security firm has grown into what US investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill describes as the “world’s most powerful mercenary army.”

Riding machine-gun mounted utility vehicles, Blackwater’s armed contractors have gained notoriety for shooting first and not bothering to ask questions later.

A US congressional report has blamed Blackwater of involvement in 195 shooting incidents since 2005, mostly unprovoked.

Taliban Showdown

Peshawar residents also fear a possible showdown between Taliban groups and Blackwater.

“We have sent a detailed report to the higher authorities that the free movement of Blackwater members is posing a serious threat to the security of Peshawar,” the senior intelligence official said.

One main task for Blackwater recently was tracking down Taliban fighters.

They are reportedly running a spy network in the tribal belt with the aim of hunting down Taliban.

“We have concrete information that mercenaries are involved in covert operations ranging from distribution of funds among anti-Taliban tribesmen to hiring of former military officers and commandoes to work for them,” said the intelligence official.

Blackwater has also hired the services of some local security agencies to work for them in some of the province’s areas where white-skinned agents cannot enter, he added.

“Taliban may carry out suicide bombings in the residential areas, where they (Blackwater members), are stationed.”

Some 18 people were killed and 46 injured on June 9 in a suicide attack at Pearl Continental Hotel Peshawar, which was believed to be a headquarters for Blackwater.

The US embassy in Islamabad denied the killing of any Blackwater members in the attack.

But government and intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the deaths of several agents.

Some residents are so fearful of troubles because of the presence of Blackwater that they decided to leave Peshawar.

“We are trying to sell our house, but no one is ready to buy even at a much cheaper price,” said Khan, the local businessman.

“We are sure that the day is very near when a suicide bomber will rock our area because of them.”

It is true XE is in Islamabad

IT IS TRUE XE IS IN ISLAMABAD
Dear All, i have lived in Islamabad all my life and I vouch, that yes these people are really in Islamabad now. I know from an Islamabad airport security gaurd that one aircraft per day is coming with Americans and equipment on board and they move from the airprot with no checking of any sort. i have seen several houses turned into forts for these people in different sectors of Islamabad. Even the closed down American Center Library has been renovated and is being fortified. This govt has sold the entire nation to these mercenaries, plz is there no one in Pakistan who can overthrow this govt and get us a true and honest ruler??? I am sick of being barricaded in my own home city while govt officials and these mercenaries do as they like….am i a slave??? is pakistan a free country any more???? i want to cry …..my country has been sold out,…we are once again heading toward GORA rule…..f..k this govt…they are selling us out!!!!!
BlackWater for USA = AlQaeda for UIM
BlackWater is to the USA what AlQaeda is to the United Islamic Militancy. . . BlackWater’s founder is a us army special forces son of a billionaire. . . A Qaeda’s founder is an Islamic militant special forces leader and son of a billionaire family. . . AlQaida accused of illegal militant activities. Blackwater accused of illegal militant activities. AlQaida clandestine operations. Blackwater clandestine operations even the CIA cannot do. Difference. AlQaida illegal because no backing. BlackWate backed by the Americans backed by NATO. . .

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1248187485512&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

See also

http://blackwaterwatch.net/

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C.I.A. Agents Going Rogue: Is Erik Prince another Osama bin Ladin?

The Nation | By Jeremy Scahill | 4 December 2009

Is Erik Prince ‘Graymailing’ the US Government?

The in-depth Vanity Fair profile of the infamous owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is remarkable on many levels–not least among them that Prince appeared to give the story’s author, former CIA lawyer Adam Ciralsky, unprecedented access to information about sensitive, classified and lethal operations not only of Prince’s forces, but Prince himself. In the article, Prince is revealed not just as owner of a company that covertly provided contractors to the CIA for drone bombings and targeted assassinations, but as an actual CIA asset himself. While the story appears to be simply a profile of Prince, it might actually be the world’s most famous mercenary’s insurance policy against future criminal prosecution. The term of art for what Prince appears to be doing in the VF interview is graymail: a legal tactic that has been used for years by intelligence operatives or assets who are facing prosecution or fear they soon will be. In short, these operatives or assets threaten to reveal details of sensitive or classified operations in order to ward off indictments or criminal charges, based on the belief that the government would not want these details revealed. “The only reason Prince would do this [interview] is that he feels he is in very serious jeopardy of criminal charges,” says Scott Horton, a prominent national security and military law expert. “He absolutely would not do these things otherwise.”

There is no doubt Prince is in the legal cross-hairs: There are reportedly two separate Grand Juries investigating Blackwater on a range of serious charges, ranging from gun smuggling to extralegal killings; multiple civil lawsuits alleging war crimes and extrajudicial killings; and Congress is investigating the assassination program in which Prince and his company were central players. “Obviously, Prince does know a lot and the government has to realize that once they start prosecuting him,” says Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “In some ways, graymail is what any good defense lawyer would do. This is something that’s in your arsenal.”

Perhaps the most prominent case of graymail was by Oliver North when he and his lawyers used it to force dismissal of the most serious charges against him stemming from his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair. In another case, known as Khazak-gate, a US businessman, James Giffen, allegedly paid $78 million in bribes to former Khazakh Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbayev in an attempt to win contracts for western oil companies to develop the Tengiz oil fields in the 1990s. In 1993, he was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the largest overseas bribery case in history. After Giffen was indicted, he claimed that if he did what he was accused of, he did it in the service of US intelligence agencies. The case has been in limbo ever since.

“This is as old as the hills as a tactic and it has a long track record of being very effective against the government,” says Horton. “It’s basically a threat to the government that if you prosecute me, I’ll disclose all sorts of national security-sensitive information. The bottom line here is it’s like an act of extortion or a threat: you do X and this is what I’m going to do.” Horton said that the Vanity Fair article was Prince “essentially putting out the warning to the Department of Justice: ‘You prosecute me and all this stuff will be out on the record.’”

According to Ciralsky’s article, Prince was a “full-blown asset” of “the C.I.A.’s National Resources Division [which] recruited Prince in 2004 to join a secret network of American citizens with special skills or unusual access to targets of interest:”

Two sources familiar with the arrangement say that Prince’s handlers obtained provisional operational approval from senior management to recruit Prince and later generated a “201 file,” which would have put him on the agency’s books as a vetted asset. It’s not at all clear who was running whom, since Prince says that, unlike many other assets, he did much of his work on spec, claiming to have used personal funds to road-test the viability of certain operations…

Prince was developing unconventional means of penetrating “hard target” countries–where the C.I.A. has great difficulty working either because there are no stations from which to operate or because local intelligence services have the wherewithal to frustrate the agency’s designs. “I made no money whatsoever off this work,” Prince contends. He is unwilling to specify the exact nature of his forays. “I’m painted as this war profiteer by Congress. Meanwhile I’m paying for all sorts of intelligence activities to support American national security, out of my own pocket.”

“I think that [Prince] will use all of his information and his knowledge of these secret dealings in basically what is an extortion play: ‘You come after me, and I’ll spill the beans on everything,’” says Horton. “That’s the essence of graymail and the Department of Justice will usually get its feathers all ruffled up and they’ll say, ‘You can’t deal with the government like this. This is unfair and improper.’ But in the end, it usually works.”

In the Vanity Fair article, Prince alleges that he was outed–by whom he does not say, but the implication is that CIA Director Leon Panetta named him in a closed door hearing of the Intelligence Committee last June, and then the name was leaked by one of the attendees of that hearing. Sloan, the former federal prosecutor, said that if what Prince says in the Vanity Fair article about his role in secret CIA programs is true, he has a case that laws were broken in revealing his identity. “I’m not his fan, but he’s not wrong. For somebody to leak his identity as a CIA asset clearly merits a criminal investigation,” Sloan said. “Whether they should have ever hired Erik Prince or made him into an asset is a separate question. Assuming he really was a CIA asset, basically a spy, an undercover operative, and somebody decided to leak that, that’s not acceptable and that is a violation of the same law that leaking Valerie [Plame]’s identity was. If you can’t leak one person, you can’t leak any person, not just the people you like versus the people you don’t like.”

While much of the focus in the Vanity Fair story was on Prince’s work with the CIA, the story also confirmed that Blackwater has an ongoing relationship with the US Special Forces, helping plan missions and providing air support. As The Nation reported, Blackwater has for years been working on a classified contract with the Joint Special Operations Command in a drone bombing campaign in Pakistan, as well as planning snatch-and-grab missions and targeted assassinations. Part of what may be happening behind closed doors is that the CIA is, to an extent, cutting Blackwater and Prince off. But, as sources have told The Nation, the company remains a central player in US Special Forces operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prince’s choice of Adam Ciralsky to tell his story is an interesting one as well. Ciralsky was a CIA lawyer who in 1997 was suspended under suspicion he was having unauthorized contacts with possible Israeli intelligence agents. Ciralsky vehemently denied the allegations, saying he was the victim of a “witch-hunt” at the Agency. In any case, there is no question that Prince would view Ciralsky through the lens of his own struggle against the CIA. “When I saw the article, the first thing that just leapt off the page was his name. I thought, ‘My god, why would he go to Adam?’” said Horton. “And then I read the article and I thought, of course he’d go to Adam. There is this legal theme being developed in the article and Adam, as a lawyer who had dealt with the CIA, fully understands that. I mean I think he fully understood he was going to do a piece that would help Prince develop his legal defense and that’s what this is. The amazing thing to me is that Vanity Fair printed it. Do the editors of Vanity Fair not understand what’s going on here?”

Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!.

Source: The Nation

http://afpakwar.com/blog/2009/12/10/c-i-a-agents-going-rogue-is-erik-prince-another-osama-bin-ladin/


Is Erik Prince ‘Graymailing’ the US Government?

By Jeremy Scahill

December 4, 2009

The in-depth Vanity Fair profile of the infamous owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is remarkable on many levels–not least among them that Prince appeared to give the story’s author, former CIA lawyer Adam Ciralsky, unprecedented access to information about sensitive, classified and lethal operations not only of Prince’s forces, but Prince himself. In the article, Prince is revealed not just as owner of a company that covertly provided contractors to the CIA for drone bombings and targeted assassinations, but as an actual CIA asset himself. While the story appears to be simply a profile of Prince, it might actually be the world’s most famous mercenary’s insurance policy against future criminal prosecution. The term of art for what Prince appears to be doing in the VF interview is graymail: a legal tactic that has been used for years by intelligence operatives or assets who are facing prosecution or fear they soon will be. In short, these operatives or assets threaten to reveal details of sensitive or classified operations in order to ward off indictments or criminal charges, based on the belief that the government would not want these details revealed. “The only reason Prince would do this [interview] is that he feels he is in very serious jeopardy of criminal charges,” says Scott Horton, a prominent national security and military law expert. “He absolutely would not do these things otherwise.”

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·         Contractors Watching Contractors

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Jeremy Scahill: The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan has hired a firm with ties to a powerful ex-Republican congressman to help prepare oversight reports on other corporations.

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Jeremy Scahill: Did Blackwater’s owner speak to Vanity Fair to send a message to the Justice Department about the government secrets he could reveal?

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Jeremy Scahill: Inside sources reveal that the firm works with the US military in Karachi to plan targeted assassinations and drone bombings, among other sensitive counterterrorism operations.

There is no doubt Prince is in the legal cross-hairs: There are reportedly two separate Grand Juries investigating Blackwater on a range of serious charges, ranging from gun smuggling to extralegal killings; multiple civil lawsuits alleging war crimes and extrajudicial killings; and Congress is investigating the assassination program in which Prince and his company were central players. “Obviously, Prince does know a lot and the government has to realize that once they start prosecuting him,” says Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “In some ways, graymail is what any good defense lawyer would do. This is something that’s in your arsenal.”

Perhaps the most prominent case of graymail was by Oliver North when he and his lawyers used it to force dismissal of the most serious charges against him stemming from his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair. In another case, known as Khazak-gate, a US businessman, James Giffen, allegedly paid $78 million in bribes to former Khazakh Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbayev in an attempt to win contracts for western oil companies to develop the Tengiz oil fields in the 1990s. In 1993, he was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the largest overseas bribery case in history. After Giffen was indicted, he claimed that if he did what he was accused of, he did it in the service of US intelligence agencies. The case has been in limbo ever since.

“This is as old as the hills as a tactic and it has a long track record of being very effective against the government,” says Horton. “It’s basically a threat to the government that if you prosecute me, I’ll disclose all sorts of national security-sensitive information. The bottom line here is it’s like an act of extortion or a threat: you do X and this is what I’m going to do.” Horton said that the Vanity Fair article was Prince “essentially putting out the warning to the Department of Justice: ‘You prosecute me and all this stuff will be out on the record.'”

According to Ciralsky’s article, Prince was a “full-blown asset” of “the C.I.A.’s National Resources Division [which] recruited Prince in 2004 to join a secret network of American citizens with special skills or unusual access to targets of interest:”

Two sources familiar with the arrangement say that Prince’s handlers obtained provisional operational approval from senior management to recruit Prince and later generated a “201 file,” which would have put him on the agency’s books as a vetted asset. It’s not at all clear who was running whom, since Prince says that, unlike many other assets, he did much of his work on spec, claiming to have used personal funds to road-test the viability of certain operations…

Prince was developing unconventional means of penetrating “hard target” countries–where the C.I.A. has great difficulty working either because there are no stations from which to operate or because local intelligence services have the wherewithal to frustrate the agency’s designs. “I made no money whatsoever off this work,” Prince contends. He is unwilling to specify the exact nature of his forays. “I’m painted as this war profiteer by Congress. Meanwhile I’m paying for all sorts of intelligence activities to support American national security, out of my own pocket.”

“I think that [Prince] will use all of his information and his knowledge of these secret dealings in basically what is an extortion play: ‘You come after me, and I’ll spill the beans on everything,'” says Horton. “That’s the essence of graymail and the Department of Justice will usually get its feathers all ruffled up and they’ll say, ‘You can’t deal with the government like this. This is unfair and improper.’ But in the end, it usually works.”

In the Vanity Fair article, Prince alleges that he was outed–by whom he does not say, but the implication is that CIA Director Leon Panetta named him in a closed door hearing of the Intelligence Committee last June, and then the name was leaked by one of the attendees of that hearing. Sloan, the former federal prosecutor, said that if what Prince says in the Vanity Fair article about his role in secret CIA programs is true, he has a case that laws were broken in revealing his identity. “I’m not his fan, but he’s not wrong. For somebody to leak his identity as a CIA asset clearly merits a criminal investigation,” Sloan said. “Whether they should have ever hired Erik Prince or made him into an asset is a separate question. Assuming he really was a CIA asset, basically a spy, an undercover operative, and somebody decided to leak that, that’s not acceptable and that is a violation of the same law that leaking Valerie [Plame]’s identity was. If you can’t leak one person, you can’t leak any person, not just the people you like versus the people you don’t like.”

While much of the focus in the Vanity Fair story was on Prince’s work with the CIA, the story also confirmed that Blackwater has an ongoing relationship with the US Special Forces, helping plan missions and providing air support. As The Nation reported, Blackwater has for years been working on a classified contract with the Joint Special Operations Command in a drone bombing campaign in Pakistan, as well as planning snatch-and-grab missions and targeted assassinations. Part of what may be happening behind closed doors is that the CIA is, to an extent, cutting Blackwater and Prince off. But, as sources have told The Nation, the company remains a central player in US Special Forces operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prince’s choice of Adam Ciralsky to tell his story is an interesting one as well. Ciralsky was a CIA lawyer who in 1997 was suspended under suspicion he was having unauthorized contacts with possible Israeli intelligence agents. Ciralsky vehemently denied the allegations, saying he was the victim of a “witch-hunt” at the Agency. In any case, there is no question that Prince would view Ciralsky through the lens of his own struggle against the CIA. “When I saw the article, the first thing that just leapt off the page was his name. I thought, ‘My god, why would he go to Adam?'” said Horton. “And then I read the article and I thought, of course he’d go to Adam. There is this legal theme being developed in the article and Adam, as a lawyer who had dealt with the CIA, fully understands that. I mean I think he fully understood he was going to do a piece that would help Prince develop his legal defense and that’s what this is. The amazing thing to me is that Vanity Fair printed it. Do the editors of Vanity Fair not understand what’s going on here?”

About Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!. more…

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091221/scahill2

<>


Re-branded Blackwater firm bids to train police force despite legal woes

An Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sept. 25, 2007.View related photos

//

Khalid Mohammed / AP

WASHINGTON – Blackwater Worldwide’s legal woes haven’t dimmed the company’s prospects in Afghanistan, where it’s a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama’s strategy for stabilizing the country.

Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force. Xe has been shifting to training, aviation and logistics work after its security guards were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.

Yet even with a new name and focus, the expanded role would seem an unlikely one for Xe because Democrats have held such a negative opinion of the company following the Iraqi deaths, which are still reverberating in Baghdad and Washington.

During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Obama’s secretary of state, backed legislation to ban Blackwater and other private security contractors from Iraq.

Xe eventually lost its license to operate as guardian of U.S. diplomats in Iraq and the State Department, with Clinton at the helm, elected not to rehire the company when the contract expired in 2009. Delays in getting a new company in place led to a temporary extension of the State contract.

A federal judge on New Year’s Eve dismissed criminal charges against five of the Blackwater guards, citing repeated missteps by federal prosecutors. The Iraqi government has vowed to pursue the case, a new strain on relations between the U.S. and Iraq.

Xe on Wednesday reached a settlement in a series of civil lawsuits in which dozens of Iraqis accused the company of cultivating a reckless culture that allowed innocent civilians to be killed. On Thursday, however, two former Blackwater contractors were arrested on murder charges in the shootings of two Afghans after a traffic accident last year.

Reliance on Xe
Despite the scrutiny, the U.S. relies heavily on Xe — pronounced “zee” — for support in Afghanistan and the workload may grow significantly.

Xe spokesman Mark Corallo declined to comment on whether the company, based in Moyock, N.C., is bidding for the Afghan police training contract. But a U.S. official knowledgeable of the deliberations said Xe is competing. The official requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information about the federal contracting process.

Xe provides security services in Afghanistan, though on a smaller scale than it did in Iraq. As of November, Xe had more than 200 security personnel on the ground in Afghanistan, according to documents highlighting Xe’s operations.

Two Xe guards were killed Dec. 30 during a suicide bombing attack at a CIA base in southeastern Afghanistan, again raising questions about services the company provides for the CIA.

Late last year, CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated the use of Xe personnel in loading and other logistics for airborne drones used to hunt militants in Pakistan.

Click for related content

2 ex-Blackwater guards charged with murder
Blackwater settles lawsuits over shootings
Judge dismisses Blackwater shooting charges

Prolific provider of aviation services
Xe is also a prolific provider of aviation services in Afghanistan, where travel on land is complicated by the country’s rugged terrain and roadside bombs. In airplanes and helicopters, Xe has ferried thousands of passengers and millions of pounds of cargo and mail under contracts with U.S. Transportation Command with a potential value of more than $750 million, according to the company documents.

In 2009 alone, Xe projected total revenues at $669 million, the documents state, and three-quarters of the total stems from federal contracts to support U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Afghan national police training contract is expected to be awarded soon and Xe is among five companies eligible to compete.

Obama is ramping up efforts to expand and improve the Afghan army and national police into a force able to handle the country’s security burden so U.S. troops can begin withdrawing in July 2011. The private sector’s help is needed because the U.S. doesn’t have a deep enough pool of trainers and mentors with law enforcement experience.

Xe Services aims for $1 billion Afghan deal


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Border police training
Under an existing defense contract, Xe already trains the Afghan border police — an arm of the national police — and drug interdiction units in volatile southern Afghanistan, according to the documents.

The Defense Department’s plan is to fold the border police training into the broader contract.

Charles Tiefer, a professor of government contracting at the University of Baltimore Law School, says Xe’s foothold in Afghanistan could give it an edge over other competitors. And defense officials considering bids for the police training work may pay more attention to Xe’s resume in Afghanistan than as a security contractor in Iraq, he added.

Story continues below ↓


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“Blackwater’s current contract for the border police means it already has assets — experience, a proven record and existing capacity and personnel in Afghanistan — for a contract to train the Afghan national police,” said Tiefer, a member of the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting.

The top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wants to build the Afghan national police to a force of 160,000 by 2013 — up from the roughly 94,000 now.

The Afghan army is in better shape than the national police, an organization riddled with corruption and generally unable to control crime or combat the Taliban.

Distancing itself from Blackwater brand
At a hearing in December held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Fred Roitz, Xe’s executive vice president of contracts and sales, sought to burnish the company’s credentials. He said the company trains Afghan law enforcement units to operate effectively “in one of the most dangerous border regions in the world.”

Roitz added that Xe has a new chief executive officer, Joseph Yorio, who replaced the company’s founder, Erik Prince, in March. Prince’s decision to step aside underscored the company’s efforts to distance itself from the Blackwater brand.

Since 2003, DynCorp International of Falls Church, Va., has held a large State Department contract for training Afghanistan’s national police. The most recent installment of the training contract was awarded in August 2008 and it generates about $20 million in revenue a month for DynCorp, according to company spokesman Douglas Ebner.

But a decision by McChrystal to give U.S. military officials control over all police training contracts is ending DynCorp’s run and creating a major opportunity for Xe and the other companies.

DynCorp has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, alleging that the approach is “procedurally and legally flawed,” according to company vice president Donald Ryder.

Military authorities gave responsibility for managing the expanded contract to a Navy office in Dahlgren, Va. The Counter NarcoTerrorism Technology Program Office has five pre-approved vendors: Xe, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and ARINC Engineering Services.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34778920/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

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Army to be sued for war crimes over

its role in Fallujah attacks

Parents of children with birth defects

say Britain knew of US chemical weapons use

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor Tuesday, 4 May 2010

 

MUHANNAD FALA’AH/GETTY

Four-year-old Yousif Hamed and his sister, Inas, both of whom suffer from birth defects, at their home in Fallujah

Allegations that Britain was complicit in the use of chemical weapons linked to an upsurge in child deformity cases in Iraq, are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence.

The case raises serious questions about the UK’s role in the American-led offensive against the city of Fallujah in the autumn of 2004 where hundreds of Iraqis died. After the battle, in which it is alleged that a range of illegal weaponry was used, evidence has emerged of large numbers of children being born with severe birth defects.

Iraqi families who believe their children’s deformities are caused by the deployment of the weapons have now begun legal proceedings against the UK Government. They accuse the UK Government of breaching international law, war crimes and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.

Related articles

Lawyers for the Iraqis have sent a letter before action to the MoD asking the Government to disclose what it knows about the Army’s role in the offensive, the presence of prohibited weapons and the legal advice given to Tony Blair, Prime Minister at the time.

Legal actions against America are blocked by US federal immunity laws and the US government’s boycott of the International Criminal Court.

The offensive against Fallujah, codenamed Phantom Fury, in 2004 was described as the most bitter fighting experienced by American soldiers since the war in Vietnam. But US forces were assisted by British units.

On 21 October, British soldiers were ordered by the Cabinet to help US forces throw a “ring of steel” around Fallujah. Six days later, a British battle group of 850 troops made up of the armoured infantry from the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch, an armoured reconnaissance squadron from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, elements of 40 Commando Royal Marines and supporting specialists including Royal Engineers and Royal Military Police were redeployed from Basra.

The battle group established a base at Camp Dogwood on the eastern approach to Fallujah where they provided essential aid and assistance to the subsequent attacks on the city.

Before the attack the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith is alleged to have warned Mr Blair about the legal dangers of committing British forces to the attack.

Public Interest Lawyers, the law firm representing the Iraqi families, wants the Government to release this advice in full and say whether any British soldiers were involved in the fighting or supplied or helped fire prohibited weapons. During the attack coalition forces are alleged to have used weapons including white phosphorus, a modern form of napalm, and depleted uranium.

The World Health Organisation, after reports first broadcast by Sky News two years ago, has begun investigating evidence of a worrying rise in the incidence of birth defects in the city, which Iraqi doctors attribute to the use of chemical weapons during the battle.

Malak Hamdan, a British Iraqi researcher working with doctors in Fallujah, told The Independent: “Doctors in Fallujah are witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects, miscarriages and cancer cases. Now, according to gynaecologists, paediatricians and neurologists in Fallujah, the numbers of these cases have been increasing rapidly since 2005.”

She explained that the most common birth defects involve the heart and the nervous system but there have also been reported cases of babies being born with two heads, upper and lower limb defects and eye abnormalities.

“What is more disturbing is that pregnant women are completely unaware that they are carrying an abnormal child until the day they give birth – traumatising the mother and the rest of the family,” said Ms Malak.

Mazin Younis, a UK-based Iraqi human rights activist who visited the city before the attack, said: “When I visited Fallujah a few weeks before the attack, I was shocked to see the majority of people had not left the city. Many of them had no one to go to…. We attacked this city ruthlessly without any concern for the fate of tens of thousands of civilians who were still living there. The unlawful use of white phosphorus in built-up areas was… never objected to by the British Government who assisted in the attack on Fallujah.”

Phil Shiner, the UK lawyer leading the legal challenge, said: “The rate and severity of both foetal abnormalities and inexplicable illnesses such as leukaemia or those suffered by our clients in infants born to mothers in Fallujah has been the subject of numerous reports and letters to governments…. The full extent of the emerging public health crisis is unknown…. Doctors report a “massive, unprecedented number” of congenital health problems. The media investigation found that the incidence of birth defects in Fallujah has reached a rate 13 times higher than in Europe.”

An MoD spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we are in receipt of this letter from Public Interest Lawyers and will respond in due course. The MoD treats issues such as this very seriously but allegations must not be taken as fact.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/army-to-be-sued-for-war-crimes-over-its-role-in-fallujah-attacks-1961475.html

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( Leave a comment )

hmm, is that the vile stench of hypocrisy?

lsi_92 wrote:

Monday, 3 May 2010 at 11:22 pm (UTC)

…not to forget that Hussein’s use of chemical weapons was one of the reasons he was attacked (and executed).

Link | Reply | Thread | Expand

(no subject)itkonlyyou39 – Monday, 3 May 2010 at 11:55 pm (UTC) Expand

Nope, it’s just burning flesh.

razboz wrote:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 at 12:08 am (UTC)

Genocide does not justify genocide, no matter how many times Israel says it does. The fact that Saddam used chemical weapons does not justify their use against people whose only crime is livign in the same country as him. What is vile is your implication that Saddam Hussein is in some way responsible for the US and UK armies using the most disgusting weapons known to mankind against a civilian population, or any people. The siege of Falluja was excessive, brutal and an act of sadism.

Link | Reply | Parent | Thread

Re: Nope, it’s just burning flesh.

sleepyscholar wrote:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 at 04:52 am (UTC)

I didn’t get that implication. I understood lsi_92’s message to be saying that it is the US/UK that are hypocritical, because although Saddam’s alleged possession of chemical weapons were used as a pretext for the war, in fact the only people who used them were the US/UK. So I don’t think you actually have anything to disagree with here.

Link | Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)iuigysfdg – Tuesday, 4 May 2010 at 01:32 am (UTC) Expand

Re: hmm, is that the vile stench of hypocrisy?

sketchley wrote:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 at 09:08 am (UTC)

No, it’s the vile stench of ignorance, yours. Iraq was never attacked for its alleged use of chemical weapons. It was attacked as a result of the pressure exerted by Israel and its fifth columnists inside the US, who had seen for some time Iraq as one of its biggest threats in the ME.

The Iraq invasion was forced on the world by the neo-cons in the Bush Administration. Many of the neo-cons are Jewish, though not all of them. But when it comes to US Mideast policy, there is virtually no disagreement among them.

A number of key figures among the neo-con wing of the Bush Administration were involved in writing an advisory paper for the Netanyahu government in 1996 entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”.
http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

This paper listed removing Saddam Hussein from power as an “an important Israeli strategic objective.” It defies logic to believe that the same people, in their push toward war on Iraq, simply didn’t think about this. Writers involved in the “Clean Break” paper included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David and Meyrav Wurmser and James Colbert. All of them were powerful proponents, in and out of government, for the war on Iraq.

A Guardian (UK) report on the undermining of US intelligence agencies in order to provide “evidence” to support the invasion described how Americans working outside the CIA worked with Israelis operating outside of the Mossad to help produce that “evidence.” It was called the Office of Special Plans and had a direct line to Sharon’s office, whcih also had a direct line to Tony Blair’s office.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,999669,00.html

Reports before the war indicated that Israel was playing a key role in preparing for the invasion, and other reports indicate that Israeli operatives have been working among Iraqi Kurds.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-11-03-israel-usat_x.htm
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040628fa_fact

Let’s also not forget the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), one of the USA’s most extreme neo-con think-tanks, (now disbanded) it was behind what has been described as the ‘blueprint’ for US global domination — a document called Rebuilding America’s Defences.
http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

Founded by Israeli-first cheerleaders Robert Kagan and William Kristol, the many prominent signatories to its Statement of Principles included: Vice-President Dick Cheney; Bush’s younger brother Jeb; Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century#Persons_associated_with_the_PNAC

The Rebuilding America’s Defences document stated: ‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’

The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great-power rival and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’. It also calls for America to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ and describes US armed forces as ‘the calvary on the new American frontier’. The UN is sidelined as well, with the PNAC saying that peace-keeping missions demand ‘American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations’.

It’s now universally accepted – except by the war criminals and their supporters – that the invasion of Iraq was the ‘supreme war crime’ , an unprovoked attack. Fallujah is but one of the many horrendous crimes resultant from that initial crime.


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CIA Etc

C.I.A. Interrogations

Updated: Aug. 12, 2009

After the attacks of Sept. 11, President Bush signed a series of directives authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct a covert war against Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, Al Qaeda. The directives empowered the agency to kill or capture Al Qaeda leaders.

The C.I.A. began jailing suspects in 2002, creating a detention and interrogation program from scratch to deal with so-called “high value detainees” of the war on terror. Its detention program for Al Qaeda leaders was the most secretive component of an extensive regime of detention and interrogation put into place by the United States government after the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan.

In its scramble to create a system, the agency made the momentous decision to use harsh methods that the government had long condemned. It borrowed its techniques from an American military training program modeled on the torture repertories of the Soviet Union and other cold-war adversaries, a lineage that would come to haunt the agency.

It located its overseas jails based largely on which foreign governments were most accommodating and rushed to relocate the prisoners when word of the sites leaked.

The C.I.A. operated its detention system under a series of secret legal opinions by agency and Justice Department lawyers. Those rules provided a legal basis for the use of questionable interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which was used on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11.

The prison network remained cloaked in secrecy until Mr. Bush confirmed its existence during a speech in September 2006: he announced that the 14 remaining inmates in C.I.A. prisons would be transferred to Guantánamo. When Mr. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act the following month, the White House released a statement calling the agency’s detention program “one of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history.” The act would “ensure that we can continue using this vital tool to protect the American people for years to come,” Mr. Bush said.

The C.I.A. interrogation techniques were fully confirmed by the Obama administration in April 2009, when they released Justice Department memos that authorized a range of brutal interrogation techniques, including forced sleeplessness and waterboarding.

Seven months after President Obama ordered the C.I.A. interrogation program closed, its fallout still commands attention. In August 2009, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to decide whether to begin a criminal torture investigation. The Justice Department ethics office is expected to complete its report on the lawyers who pronounced the methods legal. And the C.I.A. will soon release the highly critical 2004 report on the program by the agency’s inspector general.

Read More…

Abu Zubaydah

The C.I.A.’s interrogation program seemed to show early results with the capture of Abu Zubaydah in April 2002. Mr. Zubaydah, a close associate of Mr. bin Laden, had run Al Qaeda’s recruiting, bringing in young men from other countries to training camps in Afghanistan.

Mr. Zubaydah identified Jose Padilla, a low-level Qaeda convert who was arrested in May 2002 in connection with an effort to build a dirty bomb. He also helped identify Mr. Mohammed as a crucial figure in the 9/11 plot. Mr. Zubaydah was later flown to Thailand and held at the first of the “black sites,” the C.I.A. interrogation facilities for major Qaeda figures.

It was there that the agency would first try physical pressure to get information, including the near-drowning technique of waterboarding. The methods involved came from the military’s SERE training program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape), in which for decades American service members were given a sample of the brutal treatment they might face if captured. A small version of SERE had long operated at the C.I.A.’s Virginia training site known as The Farm.

Mr. Zubaydah was subjected to repeated waterboarding. Senior Federal Bureau of Investigation officials thought such methods unnecessary and unwise. Their agents got Mr. Zubaydah talking without using force and he revealed the central role of Mr. Mohammed in the 9/11 plot. They correctly predicted that harsh methods would darken the nation’s reputation and complicate future prosecutions. Many C.I.A. officials also voiced doubts, and the agency used contract employees with military experience for much of the work.

With Mr. Zubaydah’s case, the pattern was set. With a new prisoner, the interrogators would open the questioning. If officers believed the prisoner was holding out, paramilitary officers who had taken a crash course in the SERE techniques but who knew little about Al Qaeda would move in to manhandle the prisoner. Aware that they were on tenuous legal ground, agency officials at headquarters insisted on approving each new step — a night without sleep, a session of waterboarding, even a “belly slap” — in an exchange of encrypted messages. A doctor or medic was always on hand.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

Within days of his capture, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was flown to Afghanistan and then to Poland, where the most important unit of the black sites was located.

Mr. Mohammed met his captors at first with cocky defiance, telling one veteran C.I.A. officer, a former Pakistan station chief, that he would talk only when he got to New York and was assigned a lawyer — the experience of his nephew and partner in terrorism, Ramzi Yousef, after Mr. Yousef’s arrest in 1995.

But the rules had changed, and the tough treatment began shortly after Mr. Mohammed arrived. By several accounts, he proved especially resistant, chanting from the Koran, doling out innocuous information or obvious fabrications. The Times reported in 2007 that the intensity of his treatment — various harsh techniques, including waterboarding, were used about 100 times over a period of two weeks — prompted worries that officers might have crossed the boundary into illegal torture.

The intelligence riches ultimately gleaned from Mr. Mohammed were reflected in the report of the national 9/11 commission, whose footnotes credit his interrogations 60 times for facts about Al Qaeda and its plotting  —  while also occasionally noting assertions by him that were “not credible.” The interrogations the commission cited began just 11 days after Mr. Mohammed’s capture and ended just days before its report was published in mid 2004. Mr. Mohammed claimed a role in a long list of completed and thwarted attacks. Human rights advocates have questioned some of his claims, including the beheading of  Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, suggesting that they may have been false statements made to stop the torture.

Legal Justifications and Challenges

Since its inception, the C.I.A. interrogation and detention program has been a subject of intense debate at the highest levels of American government.

A fierce dispute erupted between the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. over interrogation practices during the spring and summer of 2002; the F.B.I. officials objected to the harsh treatment and later withdrew from the questioning of Mr. Zubaydah. Senior White House officials played a central role in deliberations about whether the C.I.A. could legally use the techniques. The meetings were led by Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, and attended by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top Bush administration officials.

At one point that summer, current and former intelligence officials have said, C.I.A. lawyers ordered that the use of such techniques by C.I.A. personnel be suspended until the Justice Department formally authorized them. That authorization came in a secret memo dated Aug. 1, 2002, written by John Yoo, a legal advisor in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and signed by Jay S. Bybee, head of the office.

After Mr. Bybee and Mr. Yoo left the Justice Department, the new head of the office, Jack L. Goldsmith, advised government departments not to rely on that opinion, which was formally withdrawn in June 2004. After the C.I.A. raised further questions about the legality of its interrogation methods, Mr. Goldsmith’s successor, Steven G. Bradbury, issued new opinions approving harsh methods in 2005.

In June 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which sets out a minimum standard for the treatment of captured fighters and others in conflicts that do not involve nation states, should apply to all detainees. The Military Commission Act of 2006 made illegal several broadly defined abuses of detainees, while leaving it to the president to establish specific permissible interrogation techniques. In July 2007, an executive order signed by Mr. Bush allowed the C.I.A. to use some methods banned for military interrogators but which the Justice Department determined were not violations of the Geneva Conventions.

On his second full day in office in January 2009, President Barack Obama instructed officials not to rely on any opinions on interrogation issued by the Justice Department since 2001. The executive order ended the secret overseas prisons, banned coercive interrogation methods and set a year timeline for closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

Assessments and Disclosures

Confirmation of previous reporting about harsh C.I.A. interrogation tactics was provided by a long-secret report prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which reached the public in April 2009, and from the release of long-secret Bush administration legal memos.

On April 16, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the A.C.L.U. led to the release of the 2002 and 2005 memos by the Bush administration Office of Legal Counsel signed by Mr. Bybee and Mr. Bradbury. In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — including a previously unknown tactic: the C.I.A. proposed exploiting Mr. Zubaydah’s fears by placing him in a box with insects.

President Obama said that C.I.A. officers who were acting on the Justice Department’s legal advice would not be prosecuted, but left open the possibility that anyone who acted without legal authorization could still face criminal penalties. The three Bush administration lawyers who signed the interrogation memos — Mr. Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and Steven G. Bradbury — are the subject of a coming report by the Justice Department’s ethics office that officials say is very critical of their work. The office has the power to recommend disbarment or other professional penalties or, less likely, to refer cases for criminal prosecution.

One of the four secret legal memos that Mr. Obama ordered released was a 2005 Justice Department document, which was made public on April 2, 2009. It disclosed that C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding 266 times on the two key Al Qaeda prisoners, far more than had been previously reported. Agency officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Mr. Zubaydah. They used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Mr. Mohammed.

A New York Times article, published April 22, 2009, reported how a series of high-level meetings in 2002 led to an official embracing of harsh interrogation methods  — without a single dissent from cabinet members or lawmakers. The extraordinary consensus was possible largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials pushing the program, not the senior aides to Mr. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.

No one was aware, for example, that the SERE methods had wrung false confessions from Americans. No one knew that some veteran trainers from the SERE program itself had warned in internal memorandums that, morality aside, the methods were ineffective. Nor were most of the officials aware that the former military psychologists who played a central role in persuading C.I.A. officials to use the harsh methods had never conducted a real interrogation, or that the Justice Department lawyer most responsible for declaring the methods legal had idiosyncratic ideas that even the Bush Justice Department would later renounce.

The consensus of top administration officials about the C.I.A. interrogation program, which they had approved without debate or dissent in 2002, began to fall apart the next year. Acutely aware that the agency would be blamed if the policies lost political support, nervous C.I.A. officials began to curb its practices much earlier than most Americans know: no one was waterboarded after March 2003, and coercive interrogation methods were shelved altogether in 2005.

A turning point came on May 7, 2004, the day the C.I.A. inspector general, John L. Helgerson, completed a devastating report. In thousands of pages, it challenged the legality of some interrogation methods, found that interrogators were exceeding the rules imposed by the Justice Department and questioned the effectiveness of the entire program.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/cia_interrogations/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier

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In Baghram

Soldiers In Afghanistan Given Bibles, Told To “Hunt

People For Jesus” (VIDEO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/04/soldiers-in-afghanistan-g_n_195674.html

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A Mass Grave In Afghanistan Raises Questions

dashtremains=00=

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106890883

<> How the Bush administration tried to cover up mass murder
Fresh Air, NPR, July 23, 2009

Dr. Jennifer Leaning, Nathaniel Raymond and Dr. Nizam Peerwani of Physicians for Human Rights discuss with Terry Gross their investigation of the alleged massacre of hundreds or possibly thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners at Dasht-i-Leili in Afghanistan in December 2001

http://warincontext.org/

<>  What It’s Like to Discover a Mass Grave: Jennifer Leaning, MD

“…In November 2001, as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners are believed to have been killed in container trucks by US-allied Afghan troops and buried in a mass grave in Dasht-e Leili, Afghanistan. These Afghan troops were operating jointly with American forces, who were allegedly present at the scene of the crime. PHR investigators discovered the mass grave in 2002. (More…)

afgh-mass grave-banner

http://afghanistan.phrblog.org/tag/nizam-peerwani/


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And in August 2009 the USA public relations

nightmare when the warlord himself …..

as an article title reports below:

Notorious Afghan warlord (Dostom) returns to help

Karzai

2009-08-18

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/73809.html

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The warlord and the Taliban POWs

NY Times:

http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2009/07/warlord-and-teh-taliban-pows.html

A NATION CHALLENGED: THE CAPTIVES; Prison Packed With Taliban Raises Concern

By CARLOTTA GALL with MARK LANDLER  Published: Saturday, January 5, 2002

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/05/world/a-nation-challenged-the-captives-prison-packed-with-taliban-raises-concern.html

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Study Hints at Mass Killing of the Taliban

By CARLOTTA GALL   Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2002

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/01/world/study-hints-at-mass-killing-of-the-taliban.html

Hmm,,,,

<> Secret Prisons and Sovereignty

Saturday 22 August 2009

by: Bernard Keenan  |  Visit article original @ The Guardian UK

bagram-082409C

A plane flies over an electrical fence at Bagram prison in Afghanistan. (Photo: Getty Images)

Legal black holes such as Bagram are the physical manifestation of the “state of exception” beloved of leaders throughout history.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) demanded that the Obama administration release information on 600 detainees held at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. The request mirrors that made to the Bush administration seven years before, regarding the men held in Guantánamo Bay.

The continued use of secret prisons to hold detainees – some not captured in the Afghan conflict, but brought to Bagram from elsewhere – seems contrary to the announcement of 23 January 2009 when the Obama administration, fresh into office, declared that the indefinite detention of foreign prisoners at Guantánamo Bay would end. In April, the CIA announced that it had ceased operating its network of secret prisons. Publicly at least, it seemed that the extraordinary powers claimed for the president following 11 September 2001 had been a historical anomaly, gone with Bush and his cabal.

But while the US has publicly declared a commitment to the rule of law and the closure of Guantánamo Bay, existing “black sites” like Bagram airbase and other secret locations around the world, particularly the Horn of Africa, are expected to grow. The work of organisations like the ACLU, Amnesty International and Reprieve to gain information on such places and provide legal help to detainees will become even more difficult. No detainee at Bagram has yet gained access to a US court.

Has Obama simply adopted a doctrine of the Bush administration, or does the ongoing existence of secret prisons and extralegal detention reveal something more about the limits of law itself? Jurists in the early 20th century, much like their Roman predecessors, were much preoccupied by the conditions under which the law could be suspended to preserve it. Europe was a very different place to the heavily regulated, legally dense creation of the past 40 years. In times of war, it is generally agreed that the executive branch of government could adopt emergency powers to suspend the normal legal order. The rationale is to deal with a crisis effectively, defeat the enemy or quickly distribute aid and supplies. In such a “state of exception”, as investigated by Italian theorist Giorgio Agamben, normal legal rules are superseded by facts of life. The distinction between legal rule and bare necessity becomes blurred.

In a time of emergency, the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt wrote, “sovereign is he who decides on the state of exception”. No sooner had Hitler come to power than he declared personal liberties contained in the constitution of the Weimar republic to be suspended, to bring about the Third Reich. His decree was never repealed, and so the entire 12 years of his rule was, in legal terms, a state of exception during which his word was law. The definition of a sovereign, for Schmitt, is the legal power to suspend legality itself.

Interest in Schmitt was understandably renewed following the declaration by the US president George W Bush in November 2001 that “enemy combatants” would be detained without access to normal courts. The ordinary laws of war would not apply to them. This decision fitted Schmitt’s concept of sovereign power to the letter. But in Agamben’s reading, this is not simply a particular doctrine adopted by the Nazis and the Bush administration. Rather it is inherent in the structure of sovereignty and law. For Agamben, the “state of exception” is in fact the normal situation. The power to create legal black holes is not so much an abuse of executive power; it is something built into the nature of executive power itself.

We can think of examples closer to home. Northern Ireland was governed from the moment of its creation in 1922 with the aid of the Special Powers Act, a set of executive measures that later gave the authority for internment in 1971. The lineage from the Defence of the Realm Act 1914, via the Special Powers Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Acts to the contemporary raft of counter-terrorist legislation of the past decade is easy to trace. At all points the executive has reserved the power to decide on enemies or threats to the normal order, people who are designated as outside the sphere of law, and therefore subject to detention, torture, or even death.

The secret prison is, like the concentration camp, the physical manifestation of the state of exception, a place where law cannot penetrate. But those subject to such powers are not limited to the detainees of the “war on terror”, against whom torture and extra-judicial imprisonment are said to be not only justified, but necessary. The paradigm provides a different way of thinking about, for example, the unlawful detention and violent removal of immigration detainees from the UK, under the powers invested in the secretary of state. It also offers insight into the deployment of counter-terrorist powers by the police against civil protests in our cities and at climate camp.

In contemporary sovereignty there is always a hint of dictatorship in the power to decide who is outside the law. It is against this that those who believe in the rule of law, civil liberties, human rights and equality must struggle.

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Comments

This is a moderated forum.  It may take a little while for comments to go live. Be civil and on-topic, don’t threaten or advocate violence, please keep it under 300 words. Thanks for participating.

NOBODY has the right to

Mon, 08/24/2009 – 16:06 — Anonymous (not verified)

NOBODY has the right to violate other people’s human rights, especially not governments.

Perhaps one of the clearest

Mon, 08/24/2009 – 19:38 — Anonymous (not verified)

Perhaps one of the clearest indices that America has not quite descended into fascism, is the existence and work of the ACLU. Bravo! Having said that, perhaps one of the surest signs that America has degenerated into fascism, is that despite what the ACLU may do, fascist institutions such as Bagram Air Base continue to operate with impunity, with no end in sight. Quite simply, the fascist paradigm seems to operate transparently, on a meta level in America. What we have is an operational fascism, without the appearance, or the classic visible regalia of fascism. The ruling elites, the Pentagon and their politicians, both Bush and Obama, know in advance that anything the ACLU may do, that the buck stops clearly at Supreme Court of the United States. Fail safe fascism, made to order. A bona fide majority of criminals and torturers at the highest levels of the state! –(Jill Bains).

http://www.truthout.org/082409C

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<>   CIA drug trafficking

# 1 Vietnam Era
# 2 Soviet Afghanistan
# 3 Iran Contra Affair
# 4 Venezuelan National Guard Affair
etc, etc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_drug_trafficking

afgh-_45815709_poppy_ap226b

<> Drugs trade the ‘third largest economy’
[That’s worldwide!!!!!]  [and if your add alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prostitution, and pornography, then the largest by far ]

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/drugs-trade-the-third-largest-economy-1072489.html

<> Drugs, thugs and bugs

search that one!

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>>> Some more books on the CIA and Drugs connection >>>

<> Dark Alliance : The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion by Gary Webb

…drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years during the 1980s, Webb discovered, Contra elements shuttled thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States, with the profits going toward the funding of Contra rebels attempting a counterrevolution in their Nicaraguan homeland. Even more chilling, Webb quickly realized, was that the massive drug-dealing operation had the implicit approval–and occasional outright support–of the CIA, the very organization entrusted to prevent illegal drugs from being brought into the United States.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1888363681/$%7B0%7D

<>Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press by Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair

The specific revelations are not, perhaps, entirely new; many know, for example, that even before there was a CIA, the WWII-era Office of Strategic Services enlisted the aid of gangster “Lucky” Luciano in arranging support among the Sicilian Mafia for the American invasion of Italy, or that the CIA was actively involved in the Southeast Asian opium trade during the Vietnam War. But Cockburn and St. Clair persuasively argue that the traditional explanation for such events–“rogue elements”–is deliberately misleading, and that the mainstream “liberal” press plays an active role in this obfuscation (noting, for example, that Webb’s three biggest attackers were the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post). By providing an overarching narrative rather than treating these incidents as isolated, the authors present a damning indictment of the CIA–but one that fully admits that the agency was not acting on its own, but was merely fulfilling the mandates of the American government. –Ron Hogan  –

“This is largely a story of criminal conduct, much of it by the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a story of how many in the US press have been complicit in covering the Agency’s tracks. When compelled to concede the Agency’s criminal activities such journalists often take refuge in the notion of ‘rogue agents’ or, as a last resort, of a ‘rogue agency.’ we do not accept this separation of the CIA’s activities from the policies and directives of the US government. Whether it was Truman’s meddling in China, which created the Burmese opium kings; or the Kennedy brothers’ obsession with killing Fidel Castro; or Nixon’s command for ‘more assassinations’ in Vietnam, the CIA has always been the obedient executor of the will of the US government, starting with the White House.”…From the Preface

Chapter One of WHITEOUT sets the theme and tone of the entire book via describing the career assassination attempts on Gary Webb, an investigative journalist for the San Jose Mercury News who uncovered unavoidable proof of the CIA’s involvement in the Nicaraguan Contra drug trade of the 80’s. They, with the help of the CIA, deliberately planted tons of cocaine into the Black communities of Los Angeles which became converted and marketed in its cheap, hard rock form–ushering in the Crack era from which the whole of Black America has never recovered…

But the core of “Whiteout” has a more historical perspective, as the authors set out to review the underside of the history of the CIA and its precursor, the OSS. And an ugly picture it is, too, as we see these agencies:

-recruiting the Mafia to assassinate foreign leaders.

-recruiting Nazi scientists to conduct experiments (often on blacks) in torture and mind control.

-helping war criminal Klaus Barbie escape Europe, and justice, to become a South American drug lord, arms dealer and apparent CIA operative.

-allying with the opium and heroin traders of Southeast Asia.

http://www.amazon.com/Whiteout-Drugs-Press-Alexander-Cockburn/dp/1859842585/ref=pd_sim_b_5

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Cocaine Politics:

Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central

America by Peter Dale Scott

This important, explosive report forcefully argues that the “war on drugs” is largely a sham, as the U.S. government is one of the world’s largest drug pushers. The

authors unearth close links between the CIA and Latin American drug networks which provide U.S. covert operations with financing, political leverage and intelligence….

http://www.amazon.com/Cocaine-Politics-Central-America-Updated/dp/0520214498/ref=pd_sim_b_3

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Kill the Messenger:

How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy

Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb by Nick Schou

Schou personally knew Gary Webb, the reporter with the San Jose Mercury News whose 1996 series of articles linked the CIA to the nation’s crack-cocaine plague. Schou, who had spent eight years following a similar story, worried that Webb’s suicide in 2004 would cause reporters to shy away from uncovering government involvement in drug trafficking. Schou offers a portrait of a dogged reporter, a motorcycle-driving rebel who was occasionally arrogant and had a history of depression. But Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, also had a reputation for meticulous research. Schou retraces Webb’s exhaustive research, which connected crack cocaine sold on the streets of L.A and CIA operations in Nicaragua. Schou also recalls other reporters who faced attacks by the government, lack of support by editors, drug-possession setups, and death threats for investigating CIA involvement in drug trafficking. He also details the personal ruin Webb suffered when his series was greeted first with silence by the journalistic community and later attacked, a series that Schou maintains was on target. An impressive look at the intersection of clandestine government operations and a free press. Vanessa Bush

http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Messenger-Crack-Cocaine-Controversy-Journalist/dp/1560259302

<>Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina by Peter Dale Scott

Peter Dale Scott’s brilliantly researched tour de force illuminates the underlying forces that drive U.S. global policy from Vietnam to Colombia and now to Afghanistan and Iraq. He brings to light the intertwined patterns of drugs, oil politics, and intelligence networks that have been so central to the larger workings of U.S. intervention and escalation in Third World countries through al liances with drug-trafficking proxies. The result has been a staggering increase in global drug traffic. Thus, the author argues, the exercise of power by cover t means, or parapolitics, often metastasizes into deep politics – the interplay of unacknowledged forces that spin out of the control of the original policy ini tiators. Scott contends that we must recognize that U.S. influence is grounded n ot just in military and economic superiority but also in so-called soft power. W e need a soft politics of persuasion and nonviolence, especially as America is e mbroiled in yet another disastrous intervention, this time in Iraq…..

….a brilliant account of a drug-trafficking empire. He shows how US protection for their drug-runner allies has led to the huge increase in drug trafficking in the last 50 years.

The US strategy of opposing national self-determination involves alliances with drug-traffickers like the Sicilian Mafia, the Triads in South-East Asia, the Contras in Nicaragua, the Kosovo Liberation Army in Europe, the death squads in Colombia and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. As President Johnson’s Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, the USA “should employ whatever means … arms here, opium there.”

From the 1870s to the 1960s, the British rulers of Malaya farmed the opium franchise to the Triads. The US state first copied this strategy in 1949, when it armed the defeated Kuomintang’s drug networks in Burma and Laos, after the victorious Chinese revolution began to eliminate Chinese opium, then the source of 85% of the world’s heroin.

The US state encouraged its allies to enrich themselves through drugs, while it blamed the communist enemy for the evils that its allies were committing. From 1949 until at least 1964, the US told the UN Narcotics Commission that China was responsible for drug imports into the USA. In fact, the drugs were trafficked from Burma and Thailand, under the protection of the Kuomintang troops backed by the CIA. The Hong Kong authorities stated that they “were not aware of a traffic in narcotics from the mainland of China through Hong Kong” but “quantities of narcotics reached Hong Kong via Thailand.”

The US state assaulted the whole region of South East Asia between 1950 and 1975, just as it is attacking the Middle East today. An earlier effort at regime change in Laos in 1959-60 was a disaster, putting drug traffickers in power. Opium production soared during the years of US intervention, the 1950s and 1960s, and plummeted in 1975 after the Vietnamese people kicked US forces out of the region.

US military interventions lead to bigger drug flows into the USA. After the US intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, the Afghani-produced proportion of heroin consumed in the USA went from zero in 1979 to 52% in 1984.

Later, the Taliban government cut opium production from 3,656 tons in 2000 (90% of Europe’s heroin supply) to 74 tons in 2001 (US State Department figures), wiping out 70% of the world’s illicit opium production. US forces, in alliance with a drug trafficking network, the Northern Alliance, defeated Al Qa’ida, another drug trafficking network. The US funded the Northern Alliance warlord and terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, making him the world’s biggest heroin trafficker.

Under US occupation, Afghan opium production has risen from 3,700 tons in 2002, to 3,400 tons in 2003, to 4,200 tons last year. The Financial Times wrote, “The U.S. and UN have ignored repeated calls by the international antidrugs community to address the increasing menace of Afghanistan’s opium cultivation.” It is now the world’s leading producer of illicit drugs, producing 90% of the heroin sold in Britain and Europe. President Karzai of Afghanistan has made Rashid Dostum, a warlord, drug runner and terrorist, his military chief of staff.

According to the Colombian government, the antigovernment guerrillas of FARC (the supposed target of the `war on drugs’) had 2.5% of Colombia’s cocaine trade; the government’s allies, the paramilitary death squads, had 40%. Drug production in Colombia and its drug imports to the USA have now doubled to a new record….

Scott illuminates the connection between American business interests and American foreign policy with a factual depth that leaves little room for doubt. Scott also documents the CIA involvement–often via drug proxies–in furthering covert American interests. The details and references contained within the text add immeasurably to what is already an incredibly valuable and insightful history……

http://www.amazon.com/Drugs-Oil-War-Afghanistan-Indochina/dp/0742525228/ref=pd_sim_b_5

<>The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade by Alfred W. McCoy

Nearly 20 years ago, McCoy wrote The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia , which stirred up considerable controversy, alleging that the CIA was intimately involved in the Vietnamese opium trade. In the current volume, a substantially updated and longer work, he argues that pk the situation basically hasn’t changed over the past two decades; however the numbers have gotten bigger. McCoy writes, “Although the drug pandemic of the 1980s had complex causes, the growth in global heroin supply could be traced in large part to two key aspects of U.S. policy: the failure of the DEA’s interdiction efforts and the CIA’s covert operations.” He readily admits that the CIA’s role in the heroin trade was an “inadvertent” byproduct of “its cold war tactics,” but he limns convincingly the path by which the agency and its forebears helped Corsican and Sicilian mobsters reestablish the heroin trade after WW II and, most recently, “transformed southern Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin.” Scrupulously documented, almost numbingly so at times, this is a valuable corrective to the misinformation being peddled by anti-drug zealots on both sides of the aisle. First serial to the Progressive.

Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title…..

CIA policy is indicted for protecting drug lords in the name of national security, and for directly contradicting Drug Enforcement Agency’s efforts to interdict major traffickers. Worse, he sees a growing tolerance for narcotics as an informal weapon of covert warfare whose trajectory now extends beyond Cold War confines. Considering the evidence amassed of at least indirect CIA complicity in a variety of hot spots, such conclusions are hardly overblown. However, his hope for both a reformed CIA and domestic War on Drugs are, it would seem, tenuous at best, given the global size of wealth and power that is at stake. As his book has shown, Cold War or no, the political economy of illegal narcotics, with its often useful underworld connections and expanded instruments of repression, is simply too powerful a tool for empire builders of any stripe to surrender…..

http://www.amazon.com/Politics-Heroin-Complicity-Global Trade/dp/1556524838/ref=pd_sim_b_2

<> Robert Kaplan, a neo-con ideologue promoting the Bush pretexts for the war in Iraq, writes in 2004 Wall Street Journal article entitled “Indian Country,” “an overlooked truth about the war on terrorism” is that “the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians.” He notes that Iraq, “is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard.”

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005673

His book, ‘Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground’ [President Bush reportedly read it], he is unabashedly for militant American empire, and points out that “‘Welcome to Injun Country’ was the refrain I heard from troops from Colombia to the Philippines, including Afghanistan and Iraq…. The War on Terrorism was really about taming the frontier.”

We read in the editorial review: “Welcome to Injun Country,” is the catchphrase Kaplan hears from all the U.S. soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors we meet. In the view of American troops, they are taming an “unruly” frontier in the tradition of General George Custer and, later, to the Native Americans whom the 7th Cavalry was sent out to pacify.”

http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Grunts-American-Military-Ground/dp/1400061326

<> It is noteworthy that ten days before the “Battle at Wounded Knee” in which the 7th USA Cavalry massacred 300 people over two-thirds of them women and children, L. Frank Baum the editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer (and the famous author of the story “The Wizard of Oz” later made into the classic iconic film) urged the extermination of all native Americans, writing these memorable words: “The nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians…. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they should die than live miserable wretches that they are.” After the slaughter of Wounded Knee he approved it saying: “we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up … and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.”

[See L. Frank Baum’s Editorials on the Sioux Nation http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/hsmt/courses_reading/undergraduate/authority_of_nature/week_7/baum.pdf And: “Native Americans and weapons of mass destruction Part V, The Last Battle: Wounded Knee,” written 03/19/98,

http://www.thewinds.org/1998/03/weapons_of_destruction1.html ,

and also The genocide of native Americans THE COLONISTS: From Columbus to Roosevelt, there’s only one word to describe the way white settlers in North America have treated their hosts, by Ben Kiernan, author of “The Pol Pot Regime”  (Yale/ Silkworm,  1996), and Whitney Griswold Professor of History and Director of the Genocide Studies Programme at Yale University.

[ http://search.bangkokpost.co.th/bkkpost/2001/july2001/bp20010729/290701_Perspective09.html ]

One book giving the human side on this American form of institutionalized, officially sponsored governmental terrorism, described by Stannard

[American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, by David E. Stannard ]

as the greatest genocide in human history (a debatable point),

is:

Bury my heart at Wounded Kneeby Dee Brown;

[See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bury_My_Heart_at_Wounded_Knee ]

a very moving and factual book of living testimonials that shook me as a teenager, along the lines of

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong”  by James W. Loewen, a classic work which documents that, as one reviewer noted:

“Columbus was almost certainly not the first European to discover or colonize North America. He tortured and mutilated the native population of Haiti and eventually exterminated it by working the inhabitants to death searching for gold. All of these facts are available in the journals of Columbus and his colleagues. Prior to the arrival of white settlers, North America was thickly settled with tens of millions of Indian tribes that formed a complex civilization consisting of advanced agricultural techniques (guess where white settlers learned it from), trade, roads, villages, and government. The white settlers wiped out most of these people at first inadvertently by spreading disease, and then deliberately through wars of extermination. History text books often present Indians as sparse, primitive, violent (it was actually white people who scalped Indians), and inevitable victims of progress.”

[ http://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Teacher-Told-Everything/dp/0684818868 ]

<> Ever wonder why “Columbus Day” is not celebrated by the “Indians,” and the facts are hided from many people,  see from among hordes other writings

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<> Avram Noam Chomsky (pronounced /noʊm ˈtʃɑmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher,[2][3][4] cognitive scientist, political activist, author, and lecturer.

  • (1986). Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World
  • (1993). Year 501: The Conquest Continues
  • (1994). Secrets, Lies, and Democracy
  • on and on….

In Year 501: The Conquest Continues Chomsky says:

“…The Iberian empires suffered further blows as English pirates, marauders and slave traders swept the seas, perhaps the most notorious, Sir Francis Drake. The booty that Drake brought home “may fairly be considered the fountain and origin of British foreign investment,” John Maynard Keynes wrote: “Elizabeth paid out of the proceeds the whole of her foreign debt and invested a part of the balance…were the main foundations of England’s foreign connections.” In the Atlantic, the entire English operation prior to 1630 was a “predatory drive of armed traders and marauders to win by fair means or foul a chare of the Atlantic wealth of the Iberian nations”(Kenneth Andrews). The adventure who laid the basis for the merchant empires of the 17th-18th  centuries “continued a long European tradition of the union of warfare and trade,” Thomas Brady adds, as “the European state’s growth as a military enterprise” gave rise to “the quintessentially European figure of the warrior-merchant.” Later, the newly consolidated English state took over the task of “wars for markets” from “the plunder raids of Elizabethan sea-dogs” (Christopher hill). The British East India Company was granted its charter in 1600, extended indefinitely in 1609, providing the Company with a monopoly over trade with the East on the authority of the British Crown. There followed brutal wars, frequently conducted with unspeakable barbarism, among the European rivals, drawing in native populations drove the Portuguese from the straits of Hormuz, “the key of all India,” and ultimately won that great prize. Much of the rest of the world was ultimately parcelled out in a manner that is well known. (p. 6)…

From mid-17th century, England was powerful enough to the Navigation Acts (1651, 1662), barring foreign traders from its colonies and giving British shipping “the monopoly of the trade of their own country” (imports), either “by absolute prohibitions” or “heavy burdens” on others (Adam Smith, who reviews these measures with mixed reservations and approval). The “twin goals” of these initiatives were “strategic power and economic wealth through shipping and colonial monopoly,” the Cambridge Economic History of Europe relates. Britain’s goal in the Anglo Dutch wars from 1650 to 1676 was to restrict or destroy Dutch trade and shipping and gain control over the lucrative slave trade. The focus was the Atlantic, where the colonies of the New World offered enormous riches. The Acts and wars expanded the trading areas dominated by English merchants, who were able to enrich themselves through the slave trade and their “plunder-trade with America, Africa and Asia” (Hill), assisted by “state-sponsored colonial wars” and the various devices of economic management by which state power has forged the way to private wealth and a particular from of development shaped by its requirements.

As Adam Smith observed, European success was a tribute to its mastery of the means and immersion in the culture of violence. “Warfare in India was still a sport,” John Keay observes: “in Europe it had become a science.” From a European perspective, the global conquests were “small wars,” and were so considered by military authorities, Groffrey Parker writes, pointing out that “Cortes conquered Mexico with perhaps 500 Spaniard; Pizarro overthrew the Inca empire with less than 200; and the entire Portuguese empire [from Japan to southern Africa] was administered and defended by less than 10,000 Europeans.” Robert Clive was outnumbered 10 to 1 at the crucial battle of plassey in 1757, which opened the way to the takeover of Bengal by the East India Company, then to British rule over India. A few years later the British were able to reduce the numerical odds against them by mobilizing native mercenaries, who constituted 90 percent of the British forces that held India and also formed the core of the British armies that invaded China in the mid-19th century, the failure of the North American colonies to provide “military force towards the support of Empire” was one of Adam Smith’s main reasons for advocating that British should “free herself” from them.

Europeans “fought to kill,” and they had the means to satisfy their blood lust. In the American colonies, the natives were astonished by the savagery of the Spanish and British. “Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the peoples of Indonesia were equally appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare,” Parker adds. Europeans ad put far behind them the days described by a 12th century Spanish pilgrim to Mecca, when “The warriors are engaged in their wars, while the people are at ease.” The Europeans may have come to trade, but they stayed to conquer: “trade cannot be maintained without war, not war without trade,” one of the Dutch conquerors of the East Indies wrote in 1614. Only China and Japan were able to keep the West out at the time, because “they already knew the rules of the game.” European domination of the world “ relied critically upon the constant use of force,” Parker writes: “It was thanks to their military superiority, rather than to any social, moral or natural advantage, that the white peoples of the world managed to create and control, however briefly, the first global hegemony in History.” The temporal qualification is open to question. (p. 7-8) .…

With some reason, Bismarck had described the Monroe Doctrine in 1898 as a “species of arrogance, peculiarly American and inexcusable.”

Wilson’s predecessor, President Taft, had foreseen that “the day is not far distant” when “the whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally.” Given the awesome power that the US had achieved by the mid-1940s, Washington saw no reason to tolerate any interference in “our little region over here” (Stimson).

In the global order of 1945, Haines continues, the goal was “to eliminate all foreign competition” from Latin America. The US undertook to displace its French, British, and Canadian rivals so as “to maintain the area as an important market for U.S. surplus industrial production and private investments, to exploit its vast reserves of raw materials, and to keep international communism out.” Here the term “communist” is to be understood in its usual technical sense: those who appeal to “the poor people [who] have always wanted to plunder the rich,” in John Foster Dulles’s phrase. Plans were similar for the Middle East, to which the US extended the Monroe Doctrine after World War II, with enormous consequences for southern Europe, North Africa, and the region itself. (P. 158) …

Quite generally, Haines observes, US leaders “opposed major industrialization plans of the Third World economies integrated “into their U.S.-dominated free trade system”; the concept of “mercantilist free trade” captures nicely the doctrinal framework. The US “tried to guide and control Brazilian industrial development for the benefit of private U.S. corporations and to fit Brazil into its regional economic plans.” The humanitarian Point Four program, which was to be “a model for all Latin America,” was designed “to develop larger and more efficient sources of supply for the American economy. As well as create expanded markets for U.S, exports and expanded opportunities for the investment of American capital.” (p. 159)  …

The notions were refined in the Kennedy years, under the impetus of the president’s well-known fascination with unconventional warfare. US military manuals and “antiterrorism experts” of the period advocate “the tactic of intimidating, kidnapping, or assassinating carefully selected members of the opposition in a manner that will reap the maximum psychological benefit,” the objective being “to frighten everyone from collaborating with the guerrilla movement,” Respected American historians and moralists were later to provide the intellectual and moral underpinnings, notably Guenter Lewy, who explains in his much-admired history of the Vietnam war that the US was guilty of no crimes against “innocent civilians,” indeed could not be. Those who joined our righteous cause were free from harm’s way (except by inadvertence, at worst a crime of involuntary manslaughter). Those who failed to cooperate with the “legitimate government” imposed by US violence are not innocent, by definition; they lose any such claim if they refuse to fleet to the “safety” provided by their liberator: infants in a village in the Meking Delta of inner Cambodia, for example. They therefore deserve their fate.

Some lack innocence because they happened to be in the wrong place; for example, the population of the city of Vinh, “the Vietnamese Dresden,” Philip Shenon casually observes in a Times Magazine cover story in the belated victory of capitalism in Vietnam: it was “leveled by American B-52 bombers” because it was “cursed by location” and hence “was a natural target” for the bombers, much like Rotterdam and Coventry. This city of 60,000 was “flattened” in 1965, Canadian officials reported, while vast surrounding areas were turned into a moonscape. One could learn the facts outside the mainstream, where they were generally ignored, or even flatly denied; for example, by Lewy, who assures us, on the authority of US government pronouncements, that the bombing was aimed at military targets and damaged to civilians was minimal. (p. 242-243) …

The very idea of an American intellectual judging others on how they come to terms with their history is so astounding as to leave one virtually speechless. Who among us, from the earliest days, has failed to come to terms with the truth about slavery of the extermination of the native population? Can there by a resident of civilized New England, for example, who has not committed to memory the gruesome details of the first major act of genocide, the slaughter of the Pequot Indians in 1673, the remnants sold into slavery? Who has not learned the proud words of the 1643 Puritan account of these inspiring acts, describing the official dissolution of the Pequot nation by the colonial authorities, who outlawed even the designation Pequot “so that the name of the Pequot (as of Amalech) is blotted out from under heaven, there being not one that is, of (at least) dare call himself a Pequot”? surely every American child who pledges allegiance to our nation “under God” is instructed as to how the Puritans borrowed the rhetoric and imaginary of the Old Testament, consciously modeling themselves on His Chosen People as they followed God’s command, “smiting the Canaanites and driving them from the Promised Land” (Neil Salisbury). Who has not shown … while studying the chroniclers who extolled out revered forebears as they did they Lord’s work in accord with the admonitions of their religious leaders, fulfilling their “divine mission” with a pre-dawn surprise attack on the main Pequot village while most of the men were away, slaughtering women, children, and old men in true Biblical style? In their own words, the Puritans turned the huts into a “fiery Oven” in which the victims of “the most terrible death that may be” were left “frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same,” while the servants of the Lord “gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.” Can there be anyone who has not asked whether our history might offer some later resonance of this exultation over the extermination of those who had “exalted themselves in their great Pride,” arrogantly refusing to grant us what they have? (p.262-263) …. ”

And on and on …. (-) (-) (-) ( -) – (- ) *

<> Anti-Democratic Nature of US Capitalism is Being Exposed, Noam Chomsky
Bretton Woods was the system of global financial management set up at the end of the second World War to ensure the interests of capital did not smother wider social concerns in post-war democracies. It was hated by the US neoliberals – the very people who created the banking crisis writes Noam Chomsky.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/10/10-4

<>

AFGHANISTAN US MARINES

Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit patrol through a poppy field May 1 near the town of Garmser, Afghanistan. Marines are not eradicating any poppies, which produce a resin that can be turned into heroin, but they have established a checkpoint near where Afghan farmers walk out to their fields. As about 10 men moved through, the troops belatedly identified two who they thought could be Taliban scouts. “It’s the world’s greatest guessing game,” said Staff Sgt. Tyree Adams.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/05/gns_afghanmarines_050208/

<> Poppies for “Poppy” Bush (George HW Bush)

www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/030103_opium.html
Let’s see now…
The Taliban in Afghanistan destroys their entire opium crop in January of 2001.
The United States bombs, attacks and has occupied Afghanistan since Oct 2001.
Now Afghanistan is the top heroin producer…
Hmmm…it’s not about controlling drug profits, or is it?
– From The Wilderness

Afghanistan: pipelines, poppies, al-Qaeda and control of Eurasia

http://www.oilempire.us/afghanistan.html

<> Who benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade? by Michel Chossudovsky

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3294

<>   The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade by Michel Chossudovsky

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050614&articleId=91

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<> China: Too Many Men

With more than a billion people, China has too many men. According to the latest census, an average of 120 boys are born for every 100 girls, the greatest imbalance in the world. As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, the root of the problem is a traditional preference for sons. In China, as in other Asian countries, it is sons, not daughters, who usually take care of their parents in old age. To deal with its population explosion, China imposed its strict and harshly enforced one-child policy in the 1980s, and that’s when things started going out of whack,…”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/60minutes/main1496589.shtml

<> China’s gender imbalance ‘likely to get worse’
Problem of too many men is exacerbating as rural women ‘marry out’ into cities, says researcher

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/19/china-gender-ratio-women-men

<> Chinese Bias for Baby Boys Creates a Gap of 32 Million

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/11/world/asia/11china.html

<> The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 8-24, 2008

http://en.beijing2008.cn/

<> Fire in the Sky: picture below [2008 Beijing Summer Olympics ]

olympics_opening_10

It is estimated that the Opening Ceremonies, directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou, will be seen by 4 billion television viewers around the world.

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1830773_1747659,00.html

olympics_opening_09Giant Craft
Performers wave props symbolizing the oars of a ship of Chinese explorer Zheng He, a 14th century admiral whose ships sailed all the way to Africa from China.

opening-harmony-typeThe “Moving Type” ceremony

opening-Img214516904The “Moving Type” ceremony

opening-type-oly12The “Moving Type” ceremony

open -fu-img214517050-thumbMartial artists perform Kung Fu during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing.

Below: Hong Cong, China

hong kong aerial view

<>

Beijing Seeks Paradigm Shift in Geopolitics

Publication: China Brief Volume: 10 Issue: 5

March 5, 2010 10:37 AM Age: 12 hrs

Category: China Brief, Willy’s Corner, Home Page, Foreign Policy, Economics, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific

By: Willy Lam

 

China’s on-going tussle with the United States over issues including Taiwan, Tibet and trade is in a sense nothing new. For more than two decades, Sino-U.S. relations have periodically gone through rough patches over these and related causes of disagreement. What is new is China’s much-enhanced global clout in the wake of the world financial crisis, which is coupled with a marked decline in America’s hard and soft power. More importantly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership is gunning for a paradigm shift in geopolitics, namely, new rules of the game whereby the fast-rising quasi-superpower will be playing a more forceful role. In particular, Beijing has served notice that it won’t be shy about playing hardball to safeguard what it claims to be “core national interests.”

The pugilistic turn in China’s Great Leap Outward is stated by several well-known academics and advisers to the Chinese government. According to the Li Wei, president of the high-profile China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), there is a reawakened resolve on the part of Beijing to do whatever it takes to defend “core interests” such as Taiwan and Tibet. Referring to the country’s new-look foreign policy since late last year, Li said: “We have become a more pro-active and much more mature [global player].” Professor Yuan Peng, an America expert at CICIR, which is affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, is even more forthright about his country’s global strategy. He said Beijing’s unusually harsh reactions to Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan and President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama amounted to a game changer. “China wants to change the rules of the game,” said Professor Yuan. “The U.S. leadership had sold arms to Taiwan and met with the Dalai Lama, and we had scolded the U.S. before. But this time, it’s real rebuke and real fanzhi (counter-control)” (Global Times [Beijing], February 3; Sina.com.cn, February 22).

Likewise, Central Party School strategist Gong Li said Beijing should “not yield a single inch” as far as matters such as Taiwan and Tibet are concerned. Professor Gong said while China is not yet a superpower that can throw its weight around on a global scale, Beijing should “brandish the sword” in areas affecting the country’s “core values and major interests.” According to Yang Yi, a well-known scholar at the Beijing-based National Defense University, China has been thrust to the forefront of the global stage by force of circumstances. “Under such circumstances, it’s better that we take the initiative and be proactive and creative,” said General Yang. When faced with challenges and provocations, China should “show the flag and hit hard [at opponents],” he added. “While we may suffer temporary damage, it is imperative that our opponent be dealt a blow that it cannot sustain” (China News Service, February 27; Sina.com.cn, February 22).

Central to Beijing’s novel modus operandi is cracking the whip on whoever dares impinge upon the country’s vital interests. In reaction to perceived provocations from Washington, the CCP administration has as in the past scaled down diplomatic exchanges particularly in the military sphere. A planned American tour by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of the General Staff General Chen Bingde has been indefinitely postponed. For the first time, however, Beijing has threatened to penalize American businesses, for example, Boeing and other companies that are manufacturing weapons due to be sold to Taiwan. Moreover, the leadership under President Hu Jintao seems to have injected aspects of Chairman Mao’s “people’s war” into its diplomatic struggle against the United States. For instance, several official media and websites have urged citizens, particularly China’s famously nationalistic fenqing (“angry young men and women”) to join on-line signature campaigns to condemn the alleged “anti-China” and “belligerent” policies of the Obama administration (China Daily, February 24; Ta Kung Pao [pro-Beijing Hong Kong daily], February 26; Global Times, February 1).

An equally potent punitive measure is to stop helping the United States on the Iran and North Korea fronts, two key areas where Beijing’s contributions or at least acquiescence are eagerly sought by Washington. This is despite the fact that shortly before his first China visit last November, Obama had sent two senior aides from the National Security Council to Beijing to secure the Hu administration’s assistance in reining in the nuclear programs of Tehran and Pyongyang. And it was apparently due to Beijing’s positive response that Obama steered clear of controversial issues such as human rights during his China tour. Soon after Obama left Beijing, Beijing joined 25 other members of the International Atomic Energy Agency in rebuking Iran for concealing a uranium enrichment facility (New York Times, February 25; Washington Post, November 26, 2009). Since early this year, however, Chinese diplomats have pulled back from active cooperation with the United States in putting pressure on Iran and North Korea regarding their nuclear gambits. For example, Beijing indicated last month that it was opposed to sanctions against Iran, whose energy cooperation with China has become more entrenched than ever (New York Times, February 5; The Telegraph [London], February 28).

Also intriguing is the enhancement of the quasi-alliance relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang. The Hu leadership has approved more economic aid and investment in the DPRK, which is reportedly poised to lease two islands to Chinese entrepreneurs for 50 years. Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il is due to visit Beijing later this year. While meeting Kim Yong-Il, director of the North Korean Workers Party’s International Department in Beijing last week, President Hu indicated that Beijing was prepared to “further develop the traditional China-Korean friendship and raising China-Korean friendly ties to new levels.” More significantly, the Chinese supremo did not say a single word about either denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula or the Six-Party Talks on resolving the Korean crisis. This has raised fears that while Beijing is officially committed to reviving the Six-Party Talks, it is not about to pressurize the wily Kim into make any substantial concessions (Xinhua News Agency, February 23; Wall Street Journal, February 26).

Beijing’s hardened diplomatic posture is not confined to the United States – or to issues relating to thwarting so-called secessionist conspiracies in Tibet or Taiwan. Since late 2009, Chinese cadres have used strong-armed tactics to counter perceived efforts by foreign governments, institutions and companies to “infiltrate and subvert” the socialist order. The CCP administration’s on-going row with Google and a host of multinational IT companies is partly predicated upon fears that, in the words of Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu, “the Internet has become a major vehicle through which anti-China forces infiltrate and subvert” the country (The Guardian [London], January 13; Ming Pao [Hong Kong] February 23).

CCP authorities have also displayed more zealousness in curbing apparent efforts by respected international institutions to give moral and other kinds of support to the country’s dissident community. Chinese diplomats based in Oslo have leaned heavily on the Norwegian government not to allow famous dissident Liu Xiaobo – who was given an 11-year jail term last December for “inciting subversion” against the Communist regime – to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize later this year. This is despite the fact that Norwegian authorities have no control over the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. In late 2009, the Chinese government also pulled out all the stops to oblige the organizers of the Frankfurt Bookfair to withdraw invitations to two moderate dissident writers, Dai Qing and Bei Ling, to give talks at the global cultural event (Apple Daily [Hong Kong], February 9; Asianews.It.com, February 4). These big-bully tactics appear to constitute a breach of the CCP administration’s time-honored principle of “non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.” Beijing has invoked this principle when telling foreign governments and human rights watchdogs not to criticize the country’s human rights record.

There are indications, however, that the Hu leadership’s assessment of China’s unprecedented power projection has been less than satisfactory – and that the foreign-policy establishment has at least temporary switched back to a more moderate if not conciliatory stance. For example, Beijing has so far not announced specific punitive measures against U.S. corporations. And while military-to-military exchanges have been suspended, the Foreign Ministry last month allowed the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to make a port call on Hong Kong (Wall Street Journal, February 19; AFP, February 11). More significantly, senior officials have sought to reassure the global community that China is not harboring “hegemonic” aspirations. On his recent European tour, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reiterated the familiar doctrine that China’s rise will not upset the global order. “The logic that ‘a strong country will become hegemonic’ is contrary to China’s history,” Yang said. “This is also against the intention of the Chinese people.” Citing Confucius’ famous dictum, Yang added that “‘maintaining harmony in the midst of differences’ is a value much treasured by the Chinese people” (China Daily, February 8; China News Service, February 6).

A likely factor behind the apparent softening of Beijing’s diplomatic gambit could be fears of a backlash from countries that have been burnt by the fire-spitting dragon. General Yang Yi has warned of the danger of the emergence of an “anti-China coalition” in the West. “Some Western nations may adopt the formula of ‘making individual moves to produce the effect of concerted action’ – and join the ‘contain China’ camp one after the other,” he said. Under this scenario, the well-known strategist added, “[anti-China] measures may come one after the other the rest of the year.” A late February commentary by the Beijing-run Hong Kong journal Bauhinia also drew attention to the possible worsening of the international climate this year. The monthly magazine noted that Western countries’ dependence on China might lessen in the wake of the global economic recovery. “It is possible the West will put more pressure on China over issues such as Tibet, Xinjiang, human rights, the value of the Renminbi as well as trade protectionism,” the commentary said. “Forces calling for the ‘containment of China’ may also rear their head” (China News Service, February 27; Xinhuatimes.net, February 4).

Irrespective of the trajectory of Beijing’s bid to change the rules of the game of global intercourse, a number of disturbing questions have been raised about the means as well as the end of geopolitics with Chinese characteristics. The CCP leadership’s apparent willingness to acquiesce in the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea – if only in the context of punishing the Obama administration – smacks of shortsightedness if not failure to live up to its international responsibilities. Saber rattling against the U.S. may also constrict Beijing’s room for maneuver. Take, for example, the issue of the Renminbi, which has been pegged to the U.S. dollar for more than a year. If only for the purpose of not being seen as succumbing to American pressure, Beijing has refused to entertain even a moderate appreciation of the Chinese currency (Wall Street Journal, February 19; China News Service, February 4). This is despite the fact that a mild concession on this front could reap a bonanza of goodwill from not only the United States and the European Union but also dozens of the nation’s trading partners.

There are also fears that in his eagerness to stir up nationalistic fervor, President and Commander-in-Chief Hu may have given too much leeway to his generals to express irresponsible anti-American sentiments. A case in point is recent threats issued by several hawkish PLA officers to penalize Washington by dumping China’s holdings of American government bonds (Asia Times [Hong Kong], February 9; Washingtonindependent.com, February 10). While Beijing may seem justified in expecting Western countries to make certain adjustments in their dealings with a much-strengthened China, the CCP administration must first make sure that its commitment to global fair play is not compromised by what critics consider to be the overweening ambitions of a geopolitical parvenu.

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China Assesses its Gold Reserve Strategy

Publication: China Brief Volume: 10 Issue: 5

March 5, 2010 10:34 AM Age: 12 hrs

Category: China Brief, In a Fortnight, Home Page, Economics, China and the Asia-Pacific

By: Russell Hsiao

 

Chinese Gold Bar

As the U.S. economy dithers through a fragile global recovery, Chinese leaders are convening in Beijing for the annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC)—China’s ceremonial legislature—that begins March 5. The purpose of the meeting is to “hammer” out, among other things, a blueprint for the Renminbi’s (or Yuan) ascendancy. China’s 2010 economic blueprint, which was officially unveiled at the plenary’s opening, set the country’s target growth rate to the proverbial 8 percent—which is the rate Chinese economists deem sufficient to generate enough domestic demand to make up for dwindling exports to regions such as the United States and Europe. The 8 percent growth target has remained the same since 2004 and is also widely seen as politically necessary to create enough jobs to stave off social unrest. While the world’s largest economy—United States—struggles to stem the bleeding of jobs in its ailing economy, its biggest creditor—China—has been quietly increasing its gold reserves in an apparent effort to hedge the weakening value of the U.S. dollar and stabilize the value of its massive foreign exchange (FOREX) reserves. Depending on the pace and scope of China’s FOREX reserves diversification strategy, this trend will have broad implications for the internationalization of the Renminbi (RMB) and China’s $2.27 trillion FOREX reserves that are mostly parked in U.S. treasuries.

One of the key issues that Chinese leaders will have to tackle is whether to let the RMB rise to restructure the domestic economy and rebalance the global economy. If Chinese leaders decide to allow the RMB to appreciate against the dollar and other currencies, gold may increasingly become an attractive alternative to include within the ‘basket’ of China’s FOREX reserves. As one of the world’s largest holder of U.S. treasury bills—the general estimate is that China owns close to one trillion dollars of U.S. Treasury securities—senior Chinese leaders have become more vocal in expressing their concerns over the United States’ fiscal discipline and calling for an alternative international reserve currency. From the outset of 2009, Beijing has taken pains to diversify its monetary risks, which include signing multiple bilateral currency swaps and actively pushing for the restructuring of international financial institutions. Another instrument less discussed in mainstream analysis, but has long term implications for the viability of the dollar as the universal reserve currency, can be gleaned from the fact that in 2009 China reportedly bought 454.1 tons of gold from its domestic market, which is equivalent to nearly 50 percent of the total purchases of 890 tons of gold made by the world’s central banks in the same year (China Review News, December 30, 2009).

In 2009, citing the head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), Hu Xiaolian, the official-Xinhua News Agency reported that China increased its gold reserves by 76 percent in six years (2003) to 1,054 tons (China Daily, April 24, 2009). By comparison, the U.S. gold reserves totaled 8133.5 tons in September 2008, accounting for 76.5 percent of its total FOREX reserves. While Japan’s 765.2 tons accounted for 1.9 percent of its total FOREX reserves. China’s holdings of 1,054 tons of gold make up about 1.2 percent of its total FOREX reserves (Market Watch, March 3; United Daily News [Taiwan], February 24).

An unconfirmed 2008 report from a Guangzhou-based newspaper, Guangzhou Daily, reported that China’s central bank was considering to raise its gold reserve by 4,000 metric tons from the then-600 tons to diversify risks brought by the country’s huge FOREX reserves, which is largely based on T-bills (Dow Jones Newswire, November 19, 2008). Another report in mid-2009, which cited the chair of the supervisory board for big state-owned companies under the Chinese State Council’s state assets commission, Ji Xiaonan, reported that “China’s gold reserves should reach 6,000 tons in the next 3-5 years and perhaps 10,000 tons in 8-10 years” (China Post, December 1, 2009).

According to statistics released by the World Gold Council (WGC)—an industry association of the world’s leading gold mining companies—in 2007, China surpassed South Africa as the world’s largest gold producer, and in 2009, China surpassed India as the world’s largest consumer of gold (China Economic Net, February 4). While China bought nearly 50 percent of the total gold purchases by central banks in 2009, the volume of China’s gold reserve in terms of its FOREX reserves only ranks fifth in the world, and is well below the global average. According to some experts, in light of the uncertainty posed by the global financial crisis, as a large FOREX reserves holder with a small gold reserve, China’s FOREX reserve is at risk and the stability of its value is in question. Thus, increasing China’s gold reserve is critically important for the currency’s long-term prospect and the country’s comprehensive national strength (United Daily News, February 24).

A senior official from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) suggested, “China should formulate a long-term plan and constantly and secretly increase its gold holdings, claiming that at present the percentage of gold in China’s total reserve was too low … PBoC should try to buy as much gold as possible from China’s annual gold output of almost 300 tons, while the gold needed by industries and residents could be imported” (China Stakes, April 27, 2009).

Since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced its plans to sell 191.3 metric tons of gold on February 17, which is a part of its decision to sell off 1/8 of its holdings of a total volume limited to 403.3 metric tons, there have been speculations galore about whether China would purchase the remaining lot. The IMF has not officially commented on the prospect (United Daily News, February 24; Economic Daily News [Taiwan], March 2). Soon after India (and Sri Lanka) bought IMF gold in late 2009, Wei Benhua, former deputy head of SAFE, said in an interview with the reputable Chinese-business journal Caijing that, “At present we should not buy. Instead we should wait for the IMF to sell gold next time, when the price of gold drops to a relatively low level …” (Caijing, November 2009). Although Chinese leaders may have avoided buying from the international gold market before to steer clear of triggering market fluctuation, there is clearly a growing chorus that supports abandoning this conservative strategy.

According to Xia Bin, the director of the Financial Research Institute of the Chinese State Council—the Chinese government’s executive branch—China should continue long-term buying of gold and take advantage of when the international price is low to increase the volume of China’s gold reserves, which will help strengthen the position of the RMB as an international reserve currency and China’s long term economic development. Furthermore, Xia and other Chinese economists recommended that China allow its private enterprises to purchase gold from the international market (Economic Daily News, March 2; Money.163.com, February 26). In either case, the long-term implications of Chinese debates to increase its gold reserves will have far-reaching impact on the stability of China’s FOREX reserves and the RMB’s position of becoming the next reserve currency of the world—the question for Chinese leaders now appears no longer if but how.


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The war on baby girls

Mar 4th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION

IMAGINE you are one half of a young couple expecting your first child in a fast-growing, poor country. You are part of the new middle class; your income is rising; you want a small family. But traditional mores hold sway around you, most important in the preference for sons over daughters. Perhaps hard physical labour is still needed for the family to make its living. Perhaps only sons may inherit land. Perhaps a daughter is deemed to join another family on marriage and you want someone to care for you when you are old. Perhaps she needs a dowry.

Now imagine that you have had an ultrasound scan; it costs $12, but you can afford that. The scan says the unborn child is a girl. You yourself would prefer a boy; the rest of your family clamours for one. You would never dream of killing a baby daughter, as they do out in the villages. But an abortion seems different. What do you do?

For millions of couples, the answer is: abort the daughter, try for a son. In China and northern India more than 120 boys are being born for every 100 girls. Nature dictates that slightly more males are born than females to offset boys’ greater susceptibility to infant disease. But nothing on this scale.

For those who oppose abortion, this is mass murder. For those such as this newspaper, who think abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” (to use Bill Clinton’s phrase), a lot depends on the circumstances, but the cumulative consequence for societies of such individual actions is catastrophic. China alone stands to have as many unmarried young men—“bare branches”, as they are known—as the entire population of young men in America. In any country rootless young males spell trouble; in Asian societies, where marriage and children are the recognised routes into society, single men are almost like outlaws. Crime rates, bride trafficking, sexual violence, even female suicide rates are all rising and will rise further as the lopsided generations reach their maturity (see article).

It is no exaggeration to call this gendercide. Women are missing in their millions—aborted, killed, neglected to death. In 1990 an Indian economist, Amartya Sen, put the number at 100m; the toll is higher now. The crumb of comfort is that countries can mitigate the hurt, and that one, South Korea, has shown the worst can be avoided. Others need to learn from it if they are to stop the carnage.

The dearth and death of little sisters

Most people know China and northern India have unnaturally large numbers of boys. But few appreciate how bad the problem is, or that it is rising. In China the imbalance between the sexes was 108 boys to 100 girls for the generation born in the late 1980s; for the generation of the early 2000s, it was 124 to 100. In some Chinese provinces the ratio is an unprecedented 130 to 100. The destruction is worst in China but has spread far beyond. Other East Asian countries, including Taiwan and Singapore, former communist states in the western Balkans and the Caucasus, and even sections of America’s population (Chinese- and Japanese-Americans, for example): all these have distorted sex ratios. Gendercide exists on almost every continent. It affects rich and poor; educated and illiterate; Hindu, Muslim, Confucian and Christian alike.

Wealth does not stop it. Taiwan and Singapore have open, rich economies. Within China and India the areas with the worst sex ratios are the richest, best-educated ones. And China’s one-child policy can only be part of the problem, given that so many other countries are affected.

In fact the destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces: the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a fetus. In societies where four or six children were common, a boy would almost certainly come along eventually; son preference did not need to exist at the expense of daughters. But now couples want two children—or, as in China, are allowed only one—they will sacrifice unborn daughters to their pursuit of a son. That is why sex ratios are most distorted in the modern, open parts of China and India. It is also why ratios are more skewed after the first child: parents may accept a daughter first time round but will do anything to ensure their next—and probably last—child is a boy. The boy-girl ratio is above 200 for a third child in some places.

How to stop half the sky crashing down

Baby girls are thus victims of a malign combination of ancient prejudice and modern preferences for small families. Only one country has managed to change this pattern. In the 1990s South Korea had a sex ratio almost as skewed as China’s. Now, it is heading towards normality. It has achieved this not deliberately, but because the culture changed. Female education, anti-discrimination suits and equal-rights rulings made son preference seem old-fashioned and unnecessary. The forces of modernity first exacerbated prejudice—then overwhelmed it.

But this happened when South Korea was rich. If China or India—with incomes one-quarter and one-tenth Korea’s levels—wait until they are as wealthy, many generations will pass. To speed up change, they need to take actions that are in their own interests anyway. Most obviously China should scrap the one-child policy. The country’s leaders will resist this because they fear population growth; they also dismiss Western concerns about human rights. But the one-child limit is no longer needed to reduce fertility (if it ever was: other East Asian countries reduced the pressure on the population as much as China). And it massively distorts the country’s sex ratio, with devastating results. President Hu Jintao says that creating “a harmonious society” is his guiding principle; it cannot be achieved while a policy so profoundly perverts family life.

And all countries need to raise the value of girls. They should encourage female education; abolish laws and customs that prevent daughters inheriting property; make examples of hospitals and clinics with impossible sex ratios; get women engaged in public life—using everything from television newsreaders to women traffic police. Mao Zedong said “women hold up half the sky.” The world needs to do more to prevent a gendercide that will have the sky crashing down.

from PRINT EDITION | Leaders

Gendercide

Mar 4th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION

XINRAN XUE, a Chinese writer, describes visiting a peasant family in the Yimeng area of Shandong province. The wife was giving birth. “We had scarcely sat down in the kitchen”, she writes (see article), “when we heard a moan of pain from the bedroom next door…The cries from the inner room grew louder—and abruptly stopped. There was a low sob, and then a man’s gruff voice said accusingly: ‘Useless thing!’

“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me,” Miss Xinran remembers. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. ‘Don’t move, you can’t save it, it’s too late.’

“‘But that’s…murder…and you’re the police!’ The little foot was still now. The policemen held on to me for a few more minutes. ‘Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here,’ [an] older woman said comfortingly. ‘That’s a living child,’ I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. ‘It’s not a child,’ she corrected me. ‘It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it. Around these parts, you can’t get by without a son. Girl babies don’t count.’”

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed what can happen to a country when girl babies don’t count. Within ten years, the academy said, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women—a figure unprecedented in a country at peace.

The number is based on the sexual discrepancy among people aged 19 and below. According to CASS, China in 2020 will have 30m-40m more men of this age than young women. For comparison, there are 23m boys below the age of 20 in Germany, France and Britain combined and around 40m American boys and young men. So within ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide.

Gendercide—to borrow the title of a 1985 book by Mary Anne Warren—is often seen as an unintended consequence of China’s one-child policy, or as a product of poverty or ignorance. But that cannot be the whole story. The surplus of bachelors—called in China guanggun, or “bare branches”— seems to have accelerated between 1990 and 2005, in ways not obviously linked to the one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979. And, as is becoming clear, the war against baby girls is not confined to China.

Parts of India have sex ratios as skewed as anything in its northern neighbour. Other East Asian countries—South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan—have peculiarly high numbers of male births. So, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, have former communist countries in the Caucasus and the western Balkans. Even subsets of America’s population are following suit, though not the population as a whole.

The real cause, argues Nick Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank in Washington, DC, is not any country’s particular policy but “the fateful collision between overweening son preference, the use of rapidly spreading prenatal sex-determination technology and declining fertility.” These are global trends. And the selective destruction of baby girls is global, too.

Boys are slightly more likely to die in infancy than girls. To compensate, more boys are born than girls so there will be equal numbers of young men and women at puberty. In all societies that record births, between 103 and 106 boys are normally born for every 100 girls. The ratio has been so stable over time that it appears to be the natural order of things.

That order has changed fundamentally in the past 25 years. In China the sex ratio for the generation born between 1985 and 1989 was 108, already just outside the natural range. For the generation born in 2000-04, it was 124 (ie, 124 boys were born in those years for every 100 girls). According to CASS the ratio today is 123 boys per 100 girls. These rates are biologically impossible without human intervention.

The national averages hide astonishing figures at the provincial level. According to an analysis of Chinese household data carried out in late 2005 and reported in the British Medical Journal*, only one region, Tibet, has a sex ratio within the bounds of nature. Fourteen provinces—mostly in the east and south—have sex ratios at birth of 120 and above, and three have unprecedented levels of more than 130. As CASS says, “the gender imbalance has been growing wider year after year.”

The BMJ study also casts light on one of the puzzles about China’s sexual imbalance. How far has it been exaggerated by the presumed practice of not reporting the birth of baby daughters in the hope of getting another shot at bearing a son? Not much, the authors think. If this explanation were correct, you would expect to find sex ratios falling precipitously as girls who had been hidden at birth start entering the official registers on attending school or the doctor. In fact, there is no such fall. The sex ratio of 15-year-olds in 2005 was not far from the sex ratio at birth in 1990. The implication is that sex-selective abortion, not under-registration of girls, accounts for the excess of boys.

Other countries have wildly skewed sex ratios without China’s draconian population controls (see chart 1). Taiwan’s sex ratio also rose from just above normal in 1980 to 110 in the early 1990s; it remains just below that level today. During the same period, South Korea’s sex ratio rose from just above normal to 117 in 1990—then the highest in the world—before falling back to more natural levels. Both these countries were already rich, growing quickly and becoming more highly educated even while the balance between the sexes was swinging sharply towards males.

South Korea is experiencing some surprising consequences. The surplus of bachelors in a rich country has sucked in brides from abroad. In 2008, 11% of marriages were “mixed”, mostly between a Korean man and a foreign woman. This is causing tensions in a hitherto homogenous society, which is often hostile to the children of mixed marriages. The trend is especially marked in rural areas, where the government thinks half the children of farm households will be mixed by 2020. The children are common enough to have produced a new word: “Kosians”, or Korean-Asians.

China is nominally a communist country, but elsewhere it was communism’s collapse that was associated with the growth of sexual disparities. After the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, there was an upsurge in the ratio of boys to girls in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Their sex ratios rose from normal levels in 1991 to 115-120 by 2000. A rise also occurred in several Balkan states after the wars of Yugoslav succession. The ratio in Serbia and Macedonia is around 108. There are even signs of distorted sex ratios in America, among various groups of Asian-Americans. In 1975, calculates Mr Eberstadt, the sex ratio for Chinese-, Japanese- and Filipino-Americans was between 100 and 106. In 2002, it was 107 to 109.

But the country with the most remarkable record is that other supergiant, India. India does not produce figures for sex ratios at birth, so its numbers are not strictly comparable with the others. But there is no doubt that the number of boys has been rising relative to girls and that, as in China, there are large regional disparities. The north-western states of Punjab and Haryana have sex ratios as high as the provinces of China’s east and south. Nationally, the ratio for children up to six years of age rose from a biologically unexceptionable 104 in 1981 to a biologically impossible 108 in 2001. In 1991, there was a single district with a sex ratio over 125; by 2001, there were 46.

Conventional wisdom about such disparities is that they are the result of “backward thinking” in old-fashioned societies or—in China—of the one-child policy. By implication, reforming the policy or modernising the society (by, for example, enhancing the status of women) should bring the sex ratio back to normal. But this is not always true and, where it is, the road to normal sex ratios is winding and bumpy.

Not all traditional societies show a marked preference for sons over daughters. But in those that do—especially those in which the family line passes through the son and in which he is supposed to look after his parents in old age—a son is worth more than a daughter. A girl is deemed to have joined her husband’s family on marriage, and is lost to her parents. As a Hindu saying puts it, “Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbours’ garden.”

“Son preference” is discernible—overwhelming, even—in polling evidence. In 1999 the government of India asked women what sex they wanted their next child to be. One third of those without children said a son, two-thirds had no preference and only a residual said a daughter. Polls carried out in Pakistan and Yemen show similar results. Mothers in some developing countries say they want sons, not daughters, by margins of ten to one. In China midwives charge more for delivering a son than a daughter.

Chasing puppy-dogs’ tails

The unusual thing about son preference is that it rises sharply at second and later births (see chart 2). Among Indian women with two children (of either sex), 60% said they wanted a son next time, almost twice the preference for first-borns. This reflected the desire of those with two daughters for a son. The share rose to 75% for those with three children. The difference in parental attitudes between first-borns and subsequent children is large and significant.

Until the 1980s people in poor countries could do little about this preference: before birth, nature took its course. But in that decade, ultrasound scanning and other methods of detecting the sex of a child before birth began to make their appearance. These technologies changed everything. Doctors in India started advertising ultrasound scans with the slogan “Pay 5,000 rupees ($110) today and save 50,000 rupees tomorrow” (the saving was on the cost of a daughter’s dowry). Parents who wanted a son, but balked at killing baby daughters, chose abortion in their millions.

The use of sex-selective abortion was banned in India in 1994 and in China in 1995. It is illegal in most countries (though Sweden legalised the practice in 2009). But since it is almost impossible to prove that an abortion has been carried out for reasons of sex selection, the practice remains widespread. An ultrasound scan costs about $12, which is within the scope of many—perhaps most—Chinese and Indian families. In one hospital in Punjab, in northern India, the only girls born after a round of ultrasound scans had been mistakenly identified as boys, or else had a male twin.

The spread of fetal-imaging technology has not only skewed the sex ratio but also explains what would otherwise be something of a puzzle: sexual disparities tend to rise with income and education, which you would not expect if “backward thinking” was all that mattered. In India, some of the most prosperous states—Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat—have the worst sex ratios. In China, the higher a province’s literacy rate, the more skewed its sex ratio. The ratio also rises with income per head.

In Punjab Monica Das Gupta of the World Bank discovered that second and third daughters of well-educated mothers were more than twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday as their brothers, regardless of their birth order. The discrepancy was far lower in poorer households. Ms Das Gupta argues that women do not necessarily use improvements in education and income to help daughters. Richer, well-educated families share their poorer neighbours’ preference for sons and, because they tend to have smaller families, come under greater pressure to produce a son and heir if their first child is an unlooked-for daughter**.

So modernisation and rising incomes make it easier and more desirable to select the sex of your children. And on top of that smaller families combine with greater wealth to reinforce the imperative to produce a son. When families are large, at least one male child will doubtless come along to maintain the family line. But if you have only one or two children, the birth of a daughter may be at a son’s expense. So, with rising incomes and falling fertility, more and more people live in the smaller, richer families that are under the most pressure to produce a son.

In China the one-child policy increases that pressure further. Unexpectedly, though, it is the relaxation of the policy, rather than the policy pure and simple, which explains the unnatural upsurge in the number of boys.

In most Chinese cities couples are usually allowed to have only one child—the policy in its pure form. But in the countryside, where 55% of China’s population lives, there are three variants of the one-child policy. In the coastal provinces some 40% of couples are permitted a second child if their first is a girl. In central and southern provinces everyone is permitted a second child either if the first is a girl or if the parents suffer “hardship”, a criterion determined by local officials. In the far west and Inner Mongolia, the provinces do not really operate a one-child policy at all. Minorities are permitted second—sometimes even third—children, whatever the sex of the first-born (see map).

The provinces in this last group are the only ones with close to normal sex ratios. They are sparsely populated and inhabited by ethnic groups that do not much like abortion and whose family systems do not disparage the value of daughters so much. The provinces with by far the highest ratios of boys to girls are in the second group, the ones with the most exceptions to the one-child policy. As the BMJ study shows, these exceptions matter because of the preference for sons in second or third births.

For an example, take Guangdong, China’s most populous province. Its overall sex ratio is 120, which is very high. But if you take first births alone, the ratio is “only” 108. That is outside the bounds of normality but not by much. If you take just second children, however, which are permitted in the province, the ratio leaps to 146 boys for every 100 girls. And for the relatively few births where parents are permitted a third child, the sex ratio is 167. Even this startling ratio is not the outer limit. In Anhui province, among third children, there are 227 boys for every 100 girls, while in Beijing municipality (which also permits exceptions in rural areas), the sex ratio reaches a hard-to-credit 275. There are almost three baby boys for each baby girl.

Ms Das Gupta found something similar in India. First-born daughters were treated the same as their brothers; younger sisters were more likely to die in infancy. The rule seems to be that parents will joyfully embrace a daughter as their first child. But they will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure subsequent children are sons.

The hazards of bare branches

Throughout human history, young men have been responsible for the vast preponderance of crime and violence—especially single men in countries where status and social acceptance depend on being married and having children, as it does in China and India. A rising population of frustrated single men spells trouble.

The crime rate has almost doubled in China during the past 20 years of rising sex ratios, with stories abounding of bride abduction, the trafficking of women, rape and prostitution. A study into whether these things were connected concluded that they were, and that higher sex ratios accounted for about one-seventh of the rise in crime. In India, too, there is a correlation between provincial crime rates and sex ratios. In “Bare Branches”††, Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer gave warning that the social problems of biased sex ratios would lead to more authoritarian policing. Governments, they say, “must decrease the threat to society posed by these young men. Increased authoritarianism in an effort to crack down on crime, gangs, smuggling and so forth can be one result.”

Violence is not the only consequence. In parts of India, the cost of dowries is said to have fallen (see article). Where people pay a bride price (ie, the groom’s family gives money to the bride’s), that price has risen. During the 1990s, China saw the appearance of tens of thousands of “extra-birth guerrilla troops”—couples from one-child areas who live in a legal limbo, shifting restlessly from city to city in order to shield their two or three children from the authorities’ baleful eye. And, according to the World Health Organisation, female suicide rates in China are among the highest in the world (as are South Korea’s). Suicide is the commonest form of death among Chinese rural women aged 15-34; young mothers kill themselves by drinking agricultural fertilisers, which are easy to come by. The journalist Xinran Xue thinks they cannot live with the knowledge that they have aborted or killed their baby daughters.

Some of the consequences of the skewed sex ratio have been unexpected. It has probably increased China’s savings rate. This is because parents with a single son save to increase his chances of attracting a wife in China’s ultra-competitive marriage market. Shang-Jin Wei of Columbia University and Xiaobo Zhang of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC, compared savings rates for households with sons versus those with daughters. “We find not only that households with sons save more than households with daughters in all regions,” says Mr Wei, “but that households with sons tend to raise their savings rate if they also happen to live in a region with a more skewed sex ratio.” They calculate that about half the increase in China’s savings in the past 25 years can be attributed to the rise in the sex ratio. If true, this would suggest that economic-policy changes to boost consumption will be less effective than the government hopes.

Over the next generation, many of the problems associated with sex selection will get worse. The social consequences will become more evident because the boys born in large numbers over the past decade will reach maturity then. Meanwhile, the practice of sex selection itself may spread because fertility rates are continuing to fall and ultrasound scanners reach throughout the developing world.

Yet the story of the destruction of baby girls does not end in deepest gloom. At least one country—South Korea—has reversed its cultural preference for sons and cut the distorted sex ratio (see chart 3). There are reasons for thinking China and India might follow suit.

South Korea was the first country to report exceptionally high sex ratios and has been the first to cut them. Between 1985 and 2003, the share of South Korean women who told national health surveyors that they felt “they must have a son” fell by almost two-thirds, from 48% to 17%. After a lag of a decade, the sex ratio began to fall in the mid-1990s and is now 110 to 100. Ms Das Gupta argues that though it takes a long time for social norms favouring sons to alter, and though the transition can be delayed by the introduction of ultrasound scans, eventually change will come. Modernisation not only makes it easier for parents to control the sex of their children, it also changes people’s values and undermines those norms which set a higher store on sons. At some point, one trend becomes more important than the other.

It is just possible that China and India may be reaching that point now. The census of 2000 and the CASS study both showed the sex ratio stable at around 120. At the very least, it seems to have stopped rising. Locally, Ms Das Gupta argues†††, the provinces which had the highest sex ratios (and have two-thirds of China’s population) have seen a deceleration in their ratios since 2000, and provinces with a quarter of the population have seen their ratios fall. In India, one study found that the cultural preference for sons has been falling, too, and that the sex ratio, as in much of China, is rising more slowly. In villages in Haryana, grandmothers sit veiled and silent while men are present. But their daughters sit and chat uncovered because, they say, they have seen unveiled women at work or on television so much that at last it seems normal to them.

Ms Das Gupta points out that, though the two giants are much poorer than South Korea, their governments are doing more than it ever did to persuade people to treat girls equally (through anti-discrimination laws and media campaigns). The unintended consequences of sex selection have been vast. They may get worse. But, at long last, she reckons, “there seems to be an incipient turnaround in the phenomenon of ‘missing girls’ in Asia.”

* “China’s excess males, sex selective abortion and one child policy”, by Wei Xing Zhu, Li Lu and Therese Hesketh. BMJ 2009** “Why is son preference so persistent in East and South Asia?” By Monica Das Gupta, Jiang Zhenghua, Li Bohua, Xie Zhenming, Woojin Chung and Bae Hwa-Ok. World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper 2942.

† “Sex ratios and crime: evidence from China’s one-child policy”, by Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li, Junjian Yi and Junsen Zhang. Institute for the Study of Labour, Bonn. Discussion Paper 3214

†† “Bare Branches”, by Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer. MIT Press, 2004

††† “Is there an incipient turnaround in Asia’s “missing girls” phenomenon?” By Monica Das Gupta, Woojin Chung and Li Shuzhuo. World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper 4846.

from PRINT EDITION | International

http://www.economist.com/node/15636231

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<> Chalmers Johnson and The Blowback trilogy

Johnson sees that the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War II the US has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. A long-time Cold Warrior he applauded the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was a cold warrior. There’s no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so.[1] But at the same time he experienced a political awakening after the USSR 1989 collapse, noting that instead of demobilizing its armed forces, the US accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political. The result of this militarism (as distinct from actual domestic defense) is more terrorism against the US and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. The books of the trilogy are:

  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
  • Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalmers_Johnson

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Can We End the American Empire Before It Ends Us?

Brilliant historian and essayist Chalmers Johnson argues that unless we face up to the tremendous strain our empire is having on America, we will lose our democracy, and then it will not matter much what else we lose.

May 17, 2007 |

In politics, as in medicine, a cure based on a false diagnosis is almost always worthless, often worsening the condition that is supposed to be healed. The United States, today, suffers from a plethora of public ills. Most of them can be traced to the militarism and imperialism that have led to the near-collapse of our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, none of the remedies proposed so far by American politicians or analysts addresses the root causes of the problem.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released on April 26, 2007, some 78% of Americans believe their country to be headed in the wrong direction. Only 22% think the Bush administration’s policies make sense, the lowest number on this question since October 1992, when George H. W. Bush was running for a second term — and lost. What people don’t agree on are the reasons for their doubts and, above all, what the remedy — or remedies — ought to be.

The range of opinions on this is immense. Even though large numbers of voters vaguely suspect that the failings of the political system itself led the country into its current crisis, most evidently expect the system to perform a course correction more or less automatically. As Adam Nagourney of the New York Times reported, by the end of March 2007, at least 280,000 American citizens had already contributed some $113.6 million to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, or John McCain.

If these people actually believe a presidential election a year-and-a-half from now will significantly alter how the country is run, they have almost surely wasted their money. As Andrew Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism, puts it: “None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of check and balances…. The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them.”

George W. Bush has, of course, flagrantly violated his oath of office, which requires him “to protect and defend the constitution,” and the opposition party has been remarkably reluctant to hold him to account. Among the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that, under other political circumstances, would surely constitute the Constitutional grounds for impeachment are these: the President and his top officials pressured the Central Intelligence Agency to put together a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s nuclear weapons that both the administration and the Agency knew to be patently dishonest. They then used this false NIE to justify an American war of aggression. After launching an invasion of Iraq, the administration unilaterally reinterpreted international and domestic law to permit the torture of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, at Guant·namo Bay, Cuba, and at other secret locations around the world.

Nothing in the Constitution, least of all the commander-in-chief clause, allows the president to commit felonies. Nonetheless, within days after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush had signed a secret executive order authorizing a new policy of “extraordinary rendition,” in which the CIA is allowed to kidnap terrorist suspects anywhere on Earth and transfer them to prisons in countries like Egypt, Syria, or Uzbekistan, where torture is a normal practice, or to secret CIA prisons outside the United States where Agency operatives themselves do the torturing.

On the home front, despite the post-9/11 congressional authorization of new surveillance powers to the administration, its officials chose to ignore these and, on its own initiative, undertook extensive spying on American citizens without obtaining the necessary judicial warrants and without reporting to Congress on this program. These actions are prima-facie violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (and subsequent revisions) and of Amendment IV of the Constitution.

These alone constitute more than adequate grounds for impeachment, while hardly scratching the surface. And yet, on the eve of the national elections of November 2006, then House Minority Leader, now Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), pledged on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” that “impeachment is off the table.” She called it “a waste of time.” And six months after the Democratic Party took control of both houses of Congress, the prison at Guant·namo Bay was still open and conducting drumhead courts martial of the prisoners held there; the CIA was still using “enhanced interrogation techniques” on prisoners in foreign jails; illegal intrusions into the privacy of American citizens continued unabated; and, more than fifty years after the CIA was founded, it continues to operate under, at best, the most perfunctory congressional oversight.

Promoting Lies, Demoting Democracy

Without question, the administration’s catastrophic war in Iraq is the single overarching issue that has convinced a large majority of Americans that the country is “heading in the wrong direction.” But the war itself is the outcome of an imperial presidency and the abject failure of Congress to perform its Constitutional duty of oversight. Had the government been working as the authors of the Constitution intended, the war could not have occurred. Even now, the Democratic majority remains reluctant to use its power of the purse to cut off funding for the war, thereby ending the American occupation of Iraq and starting to curtail the ever-growing power of the military-industrial complex.

One major problem of the American social and political system is the failure of the press, especially television news, to inform the public about the true breadth of the unconstitutional activities of the executive branch. As Frederick A. O. Schwarz and Aziz Z. Huq, the authors of Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror, observe, “For the public to play its proper checking role at the ballot box, citizens must know what is done by the government in their names.”

Instead of uncovering administration lies and manipulations, the media actively promoted them. Yet the first amendment to the Constitution protects the press precisely so it can penetrate the secrecy that is the bureaucrat’s most powerful, self-protective weapon. As a result of this failure, democratic oversight of the government by an actively engaged citizenry did not — and could not — occur. The people of the United States became mere spectators as an array of ideological extremists, vested interests, and foreign operatives — including domestic neoconservatives, Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi exiles, the Israeli Lobby, the petroleum and automobile industries, warmongers and profiteers allied with the military-industrial complex, and the entrenched interests of the professional military establishment — essentially hijacked the government.

Some respected professional journalists do not see these failings as the mere result of personal turpitude but rather as deep structural and cultural problems within the American system as it exists today. In an interview with Matt Taibbi, Seymour Hersh, for forty years one of America’s leading investigative reporters, put the matter this way:

“All of the institutions we thought would protect us — particularly the press, but also the military, the bureaucracy, the Congress — they have failedÖ So all the things that we expect would normally carry us through didn’t. The biggest failure, I would argue, is the press, because that’s the most glaringÖ. What can be done to fix the situation? [long pause] You’d have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives.”

Veteran analyst of the press (and former presidential press secretary), Bill Moyers, considering a classic moment of media failure, concluded: “The disgraceful press reaction to Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations [on February 5, 2003] seems like something out of Monty Python, with one key British report cited by Powell being nothing more than a student’s thesis, downloaded from the Web — with the student later threatening to charge U.S. officials with ‘plagiarism.'”

As a result of such multiple failures (still ongoing), the executive branch easily misled the American public.

A Made-in-America Human Catastrophe

Of the failings mentioned by Hersh, that of the military is particularly striking, resembling as it does the failures of the Vietnam era, thirty-plus years earlier. One would have thought the high command had learned some lessons from the defeat of 1975. Instead, it once again went to war pumped up on our own propaganda — especially the conjoined beliefs that the United States was the “indispensable nation,” the “lone superpower,” and the “victor” in the Cold War; and that it was a new Rome the likes of which the world had never seen, possessing as it did — from the heavens to the remotest spot on the planet — “full spectrum dominance.” The idea that the U.S. was an unquestioned military colossus athwart the world, which no power or people could effectively oppose, was hubristic nonsense certain to get the country into deep trouble — as it did — and bring the U.S. Army to the point of collapse, as happened in Vietnam and may well happen again in Iraq (and Afghanistan).

Instead of behaving in a professional manner, our military invaded Iraq with far too small a force; failed to respond adequately when parts of the Iraqi Army (and Baathist Party) went underground; tolerated an orgy of looting and lawlessness throughout the country; disobeyed orders and ignored international obligations (including the obligation of an occupying power to protect the facilities and treasures of the occupied country — especially, in this case, Baghdad’s National Museum and other archaeological sites of untold historic value); and incompetently fanned the flames of an insurgency against our occupation, committing numerous atrocities against unarmed Iraqi civilians.

According to Andrew Bacevich, “Next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq. It no longer lies within the capacity of the United States to determine the outcome of events there.” Our former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas W. Freeman, says of President Bush’s recent “surge” strategy in Baghdad and al-Anbar Province: “The reinforcement of failure is a poor substitute for its correction.”

Symbolically, a certain sign of the disaster to come in Iraq arrived via an April 26th posting from the courageous but anonymous Sunni woman who has, since August 2003, published the indispensable blog Baghdad Burning. Her family, she reported, was finally giving up and going into exile — joining up to two million of her compatriots who have left the country. In her final dispatch, she wrote:

“There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends…. And to what?”

Retired General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division in the first Iraq war and a consistent cheerleader for Bush strategies in the second, recently radically changed his tune. He now says, “No Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO, nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi, without heavily armed protection.” In a different context, Gen. McCaffrey has concluded: “The U.S. Army is rapidly unraveling.”

Even military failure in Iraq is still being spun into an endless web of lies and distortions by the White House, the Pentagon, military pundits, and the now-routine reporting of propagandists disguised as journalists. For example, in the first months of 2007, rising car-bomb attacks in Baghdad were making a mockery of Bush administration and Pentagon claims that the U.S. troop escalation in the capital had brought about “a dramatic drop in sectarian violence.” The official response to this problem: the Pentagon simply quit including deaths from car bombings in its count of sectarian casualties. (It has never attempted to report civilian casualties publicly or accurately.) Since August 2003, there have been over 1,050 car bombings in Iraq. One study estimates that through June 2006 the death toll from these alone has been a staggering 78,000 Iraqis.

The war and occupation George W. Bush unleashed in Iraq has proved unimaginably lethal for unarmed civilians, but reporting the true levels of lethality in Iraq, or the nature of the direct American role in it was, for a long time, virtually taboo in the U.S. media. As late as October 2006, the journal of the British Medical Association, The Lancet, published a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad estimating that, since March 2003, there were some 601,027 more Iraqi deaths from violence than would have been expected without a war. The British and American governments at first dismissed the findings, claiming the research was based on faulty statistical methods — and the American media ignored the study, played down its importance, or dismissed its figures.

On March 27, 2007, however, it was revealed that the chief scientific adviser to the British Ministry of Defense, Roy Anderson, had offered a more honest response. The methods used in the study were, he wrote, “close to best practice.” Another British official described them as “a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones.” Over 600,000 violent deaths in a population estimated in 2006 at 26.8 million — that is, one in every 45 individuals — amounts to a made-in-America human catastrophe.

One subject that the government, the military, and the news media try to avoid like the plague is the racist and murderous culture of rank-and-file American troops when operating abroad. Partly as a result of the background racism that is embedded in many Americans’ mental make-up and the propaganda of American imperialism that is drummed into recruits during military training, they do not see assaults on unarmed “rag heads” or “hajis” as murder. The cult of silence on this subject began to slip only slightly in May 2007 when a report prepared by the Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team was leaked to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Based on anonymous surveys and focus groups involving 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines, the study revealed that only 56% of soldiers would report a unit member for injuring or killing an innocent noncombatant, while a mere 40% of Marines would do so. Some militarists will reply that such inhumanity to the defenseless is always inculcated into the properly trained soldier. If so, then the answer to this problem is to ensure that, in the future, there are many fewer imperialist wars of choice sponsored by the United States.

The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Many other aspects of imperialism and militarism are undermining America’s Constitutional system. By now, for example, the privatization of military and intelligence functions is totally out of control, beyond the law, and beyond any form of Congressional oversight. It is also incredibly lucrative for the owners and operators of so-called private military companies — and the money to pay for their activities ultimately comes from taxpayers through government contracts. Any accounting of these funds, largely distributed to crony companies with insider connections, is chaotic at best. Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, estimates that there are 126,000 private military contractors in Iraq, more than enough to keep the war going, even if most official U.S. troops were withdrawn. “From the beginning,” Scahill writes, “these contractors have been a major hidden story of the war, almost uncovered in the mainstream media and absolutely central to maintaining the U.S. occupation of Iraq.”

America’s massive “military” budgets, still on the rise, are beginning to threaten the U.S. with bankruptcy, given that its trade and fiscal deficits already easily make it the world’s largest net debtor nation. Spending on the military establishment — sometimes mislabeled “defense spending” — has soared to the highest levels since World War II, exceeding the budgets of the Korean and Vietnam War eras as well as President Ronald Reagan’s weapons-buying binge in the 1980s. According to calculations by the National Priorities Project, a non-profit research organization that examines the local impact of federal spending policies, military spending today consumes 40% of every tax dollar.

Equally alarming, it is virtually impossible for a member of Congress or an ordinary citizen to obtain even a modest handle on the actual size of military spending or its impact on the structure and functioning of our economic system. Some $30 billion of the official Defense Department (DoD) appropriation in the current fiscal year is “black,” meaning that it is allegedly going for highly classified projects. Even the open DoD budget receives only perfunctory scrutiny because members of Congress, seeking lucrative defense contracts for their districts, have mutually beneficial relationships with defense contractors and the Pentagon. President Dwight D. Eisenhower identified this phenomenon, in the draft version of his 1961 farewell address, as the “military-industrial-congressional complex.” Forty-six years later, in a way even Eisenhower probably couldn’t have imagined, the defense budget is beyond serious congressional oversight or control.

The DoD always tries to minimize the size of its budget by representing it as a declining percentage of the gross national product. What it never reveals is that total military spending is actually many times larger than the official appropriation for the Defense Department. For fiscal year 2006, Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calculated national security outlays at almost a trillion dollars — $934.9 billion to be exact — broken down as follows (in billions of dollars):

Department of Defense: $499.4

Department of Energy (atomic weapons): $16.6
Department of State (foreign military aid): $25.3
Department of Veterans Affairs (treatment of wounded soldiers): $69.8
Department of Homeland Security (actual defense): $69.1
Department of Justice (1/3rd for the FBI): $1.9
Department of the Treasury (military retirements): $38.5
NASA (satellite launches): $7.6

Interest on war debts, 1916-present: $206.7

Totaled, the sum is larger than the combined sum spent by all other nations on military security.

This spending helps sustain the national economy and represents, essentially, a major jobs program. However, it is beginning to crowd out the civilian economy, causing stagnation in income levels. It also contributes to the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs to other countries. On May 1, 2007, the Center for Economic and Policy Research released a series of estimates on “the economic impact of the Iraq war and higher military spending.” Its figures show, among other things, that, after an initial demand stimulus, the effect of a significant rise in military spending (as we’ve experienced in recent years) turns negative around the sixth year.

Sooner or later, higher military spending forces inflation and interest rates up, reducing demand in interest-sensitive sectors of the economy, notably in annual car and truck sales. Job losses follow. The non-military construction and manufacturing sectors experience the largest share of these losses. The report concludes, “Most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.”

Imperial Liquidation?

Imperialism and militarism have thus begun to imperil both the financial and social well-being of our republic. What the country desperately needs is a popular movement to rebuild the Constitutional system and subject the government once again to the discipline of checks and balances. Neither the replacement of one political party by the other, nor protectionist economic policies aimed at rescuing what’s left of our manufacturing economy will correct what has gone wrong. Both of these solutions fail to address the root cause of our national decline.

I believe that there is only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge (still growing) military establishment that undergirds it. It is a task at least comparable to that undertaken by the British government when, after World War II, it liquidated the British Empire. By doing so, Britain avoided the fate of the Roman Republic — becoming a domestic tyranny and losing its democracy, as would have been required if it had continued to try to dominate much of the world by force.

For the U.S., the decision to mount such a campaign of imperial liquidation may already come too late, given the vast and deeply entrenched interests of the military-industrial complex. To succeed, such an endeavor might virtually require a revolutionary mobilization of the American citizenry, one at least comparable to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Even to contemplate a drawing back from empire — something so inconceivable to our pundits and newspaper editorial writers that it is simply never considered — we must specify as clearly as possible precisely what the elected leaders and citizens of the United States would have to do. Two cardinal decisions would have to be made. First, in Iraq, we would have to initiate a firm timetable for withdrawing all our military forces and turning over the permanent military bases we have built to the Iraqis. Second, domestically, we would have to reverse federal budget priorities.

In the words of Noam Chomsky, a venerable critic of American imperialism: “Where spending is rising, as in military supplemental bills to conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would sharply decline. Where spending is steady or declining (health, education, job training, the promotion of energy conservation and renewable energy sources, veterans benefits, funding for the UN and UN peacekeeping operations, and so on), it would sharply increase. Bush’s tax cuts for people with incomes over $200,000 a year would be immediately rescinded.”

Such reforms would begin at once to reduce the malevolent influence of the military-industrial complex, but many other areas would require attention as well. As part of the process of de-garrisoning the planet and liquidating our empire, we would have to launch an orderly closing-up process for at least 700 of the 737 military bases we maintain (by official Pentagon count) in over 130 foreign countries on every continent except Antarctica. We should ultimately aim at closing all our imperialist enclaves, but in order to avoid isolationism and maintain a capacity to assist the United Nations in global peacekeeping operations, we should, for the time being, probably retain some 37 of them, mostly naval and air bases.

Equally important, we should rewrite all our Status of Forces Agreements — those American-dictated “agreements” that exempt our troops based in foreign countries from local criminal laws, taxes, immigration controls, anti-pollution legislation, and anything else the American military can think of. It must be established as a matter of principle and law that American forces stationed outside the U.S. will deal with their host nations on a basis of equality, not of extraterritorial privilege.

The American approach to diplomatic relations with the rest of the world would also require a major overhaul. We would have to end our belligerent unilateralism toward other countries as well as our scofflaw behavior regarding international law. Our objective should be to strengthen the United Nations, including our respect for its majority, by working to end the Security Council veto system (and by stopping using our present right to veto). The United States needs to cease being the world’s largest supplier of arms and munitions — a lethal trade whose management should be placed under UN supervision. We should encourage the UN to begin outlawing weapons like land mines, cluster bombs, and depleted-uranium ammunition that play particularly long-term havoc with civilian populations. As part of an attempt to right the diplomatic balance, we should take some obvious steps like recognizing Cuba and ending our blockade of that island and, in the Middle East, working to equalize aid to Israel and Palestine, while attempting to broker a real solution to that disastrous situation. Our goal should be a return to leading by example — and by sound arguments — rather than by continual resort to unilateral armed force and repeated foreign military interventions.

In terms of the organization of the executive branch, we need to rewrite the National Security Act of 1947, taking away from the CIA all functions that involve sabotage, torture, subversion, overseas election rigging, rendition, and other forms of clandestine activity. The president should be deprived of his power to order these types of operations except with the explicit advice and consent of the Senate. The CIA should basically devote itself to the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence. We should eliminate as much secrecy as possible so that neither the CIA, nor any other comparable organization ever again becomes the president’s private army.

In order to halt our economic decline and lessen our dependence on our trading partners, the U.S. must cap its trade deficits through the perfectly legal use of tariffs in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, and it must begin to guide its domestic market in accordance with a national industrial policy, just as the leading economies of the world (particularly the Japanese and Chinese ones) do as a matter of routine. Even though it may involve trampling on the vested interests of American university economics departments, there is simply no excuse for a continued reliance on an outdated doctrine of “free trade.”

Normally, a proposed list of reforms like this would simply be rejected as utopian. I understand this reaction. I do want to stress, however, that failure to undertake such reforms would mean condemning the United States to the fate that befell the Roman Republic and all other empires since then. That is why I gave my book Nemesis the subtitle “The Last Days of the American Republic.”

When Ronald Reagan coined the phrase “evil empire,” he was referring to the Soviet Union, and I basically agreed with him that the USSR needed to be contained and checkmated. But today it is the U.S. that is widely perceived as an evil empire and world forces are gathering to stop us. The Bush administration insists that if we leave Iraq our enemies will “win” or — even more improbably — “follow us home.” I believe that, if we leave Iraq and our other imperial enclaves, we can regain the moral high ground and disavow the need for a foreign policy based on preventive war. I also believe that unless we follow this path, we will lose our democracy and then it will not matter much what else we lose. In the immortal words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Chalmers Johnson is the author of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007). It is the final volume of his Blowback Trilogy.

http://www.alternet.org/story/51975/?page=entire

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<><><> Some thoughts and quotes for consideration:

Isn’t it the case that US Israeli dual citizens (estimated at from 50,000 to 500,000 in 1985, and God knows how many now after decades) who are conscripted into the Israeli armed forces by Israeli law, must by command engage in violent activities in the Israeli armed forces.  Some of these activities definitely run directly counter to stated USA policy objectives, like illegal settler expansion in occupied territory, using prohibited war materials (white phosphorus, etc) , engaging in illegal activities in occupied territories, etc, etc.

For instance read “Contradictions of Dual Citizenship” By Robert G. Hazo

http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/071585/850715003.html

One wonders how the oath of US naturalization, as below, compares to the oaths of fidelity and service in foreign governments and armies?

A citizen in the USA swears solemnly:  “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty. I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

This open contradiction is not just an abstract concern.

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US, is a dual Israeli/US national.

One wonders how his activities are not a conflict of interest?

What Israeli oath to office must he make and must he abide by?

How can he argue for those Israeli policies that clearly contradict USA policy?

Is he a US citizen when he argues for those Israeli policies that clearly contradict USA policy, or an Israeli citizen?

If he can take positions directly against the stated US policy, some of which are illegal actions by international law and UN resolutions, then how is this rationalized by the US state department and justice department?

And it is reported from London, concerning the Israeli invasion of Gaza in January 2009:

“…Israeli occupation forces (so-called Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers from Europeans, US and other nationalities might be returning back to their countries after taking part in the Gaza War and might have committed war crimes.”  See British Jews Serving in Israeli Occupation Forces By Dr Shahid Qureshi The London Post, July 18, 2009:

http://www.ccun.org/Opinion%20Editorials/2009/July/18%20o/British%20Jews%20Serving%20in%20Israeli%20Occupation%20Forces%20By%20Dr%20Shahid%20Qureshi.htm

The accusation of Israeli war crimes in the 2009 invasion Gaza and their usage of white phosphorus and illegal materials and tactics in Gaza, is an ongoing scenario, to be watched in the forums of international justice.

Note that Section 349 of the INA [8 USC § 1481] specifies several conditions under which US citizenship may be lost, the so called “expatriating acts,” which are notably service in a foreign army or in a foreign government. Since 1990 the State Department officially has presumed that even these acts do not imply an intention to give up U.S. citizenship, yet they remain expatriating acts.

Yes it is also noted that “mere performance of the above (or certain other) acts was enough to cause loss of US citizenship; however, the Supreme Court overturned this concept in the Afroyim and Terrazas cases, and Congress amended the law in 1986 to require that loss of citizenship would result only when a potentially “expatriating” (citizenship-losing) action was performed voluntarily and “with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality”. “

See http://www.richw.org/dualcit/law.html

Apparently this above is why the US state department advises American-Israeli dual nationals traveling to Israel as follows:

“American-Israeli dual nationals of military age, including females, who do not wish to serve in the Israeli armed forces should contact the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. to learn more about an exemption or deferment from Israeli military service before going to Israel.  Without this exemption or deferment document, such dual nationals may not be able to leave Israel without completing military service or may be subject to criminal penalties for failure to serve.”

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1064.html

As it is famously said when talking about “terrorism”, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, for one day a person like Begin, Shamir, Mandela or Arafat is a terrorist for some and an honored freedom fighter for others, and then the next day he becomes exonerated and a statesmen courted by diplomats and politicians.

For one telling example, what is the history behind the modern state of Israel?

Historians agree unanimously that state of Israel was born through the efforts of proudly self avowed “terrorist” gangs and groups, paramilitary groups, like the Jewish Legion, Haganah (Defense; with its military arm Bamach), the Irgun, the Lehi (Lohamei Herut Yisrael, or Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, also known as the Stern Gang), who conducted terrorist acts in the state building process leading to the declaration of Israel. This is well known and some of the acts against the British, Arabs, and co-religionist Jews during the British Mandate in Palestine after WWI up to the declaration of Israel and thereafter are well documented. These nation building acts are well documented as terrorist activities.  Some of these same “terrorists” as the British authorities would call them at the time, became famous Israeli statement and leaders, for example, Menachim Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon.

But then again the British called the American rebels terrorists up top the 13 colonies USA Declaration of Independence, and they later became respected and revered founding fathers [ but that’s another story].

A revealing book on this is by Livia Rokach: Livia Rokach: Israel’s Sacred Terrorism: A Study Based on Moshe Sharett’s Personal Diary and Other Documents (Belmont, Massachusetts: Association of Arab American University Graduates, 1980; Third Edition 1986.

And just a few samples as revealing quotes:

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and a noteworthy Zionist terrorist said:

“Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war… We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle. First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today…”

[Yitzhak Shamir writing in an August 1943 article titled “Terror”, written for Hazit the journal of Lehi, the terrorist organization he belonged to at the time, (Lohamei Herut Yisrael, or Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), also known as the Stern Gang]

Menachim Begin, former Israeli Prime Minister, states about the infamous massacre at Dair Yasin of unarmed villagers: “This operation yielded great and unexpected results. After the news of Dair Yasin got out, the Arabs were stricken with terror and began fleeing for their lives.”

[ Menachem Begin, The Revolt, London, 1st Edition, 1972, p. 165 ]

And  in crystal clear terms we hear from Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli PM, who is personally responsible for the El-Bureig, the Qibyah, the Shabra and Shatila, and Jenin massacres of civilians, among many others.  He said in an interview with the respected Israeli Journalist, Amos Os, in the Israeli daily “Davar” in 1982, in what can be called “Sharon Policy” ever since:

“Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don’t care. And I don’t mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal… What you lot don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it.”

<> British anger at terror celebration [i.e. of King David Hotel bombing which Netanyahu attending in 2006]

British anger at terror celebration
The commemoration of Israeli bombings that killing 92 people has caused offence

By Ned Parker and Stephen Farrell
Recommend?
The rightwingers, including Binyamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister, are commemorating the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the headquarters of British rule, that killed 92 people and helped to drive the British from Palestine.
They have erected a plaque outside the restored building, and are holding a two-day seminar with speeches and a tour of the hotel by one of the Jewish resistance fighters involved in the attack.
Simon McDonald, the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv, and John Jenkins, the Consul-General in Jerusalem, have written to the municipality, stating: “We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated.”
In particular they demanded the removal of the plaque that pays tribute to the Irgun, the Jewish resistance branch headed by Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister, which carried out the attack on July 22, 1946.
The plaque presents as fact the Irgun’s claim that people died because the British ignored warning calls. “For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated,” it states.
Mr McDonald and Dr Jenkins denied that the British had been warned, adding that even if they had “this does not absolve those who planted the bomb from responsibility for the deaths”. On Monday city officials agreed to remove the language deemed offensive from the blue sign hanging on the hotel’s gates, though that had not been done shortly before it was unveiled last night.
The controversy over the plaque and the two-day celebration of the bombing, sponsored by Irgun veterans and the right-wing Menachem Begin Heritage Centre, goes to the heart of the debate over the use of political violence in the Middle East. Yesterday Mr Netanyahu argued in a speech celebrating the attack that the Irgun were governed by morals, unlike fighters from groups such as Hamas.
“It’s very important to make the distinction between terror groups and freedom fighters, and between terror action and legitimate military action,” he said. “Imagine that Hamas or Hezbollah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, ‘We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area’.”
But the view of the attack was very different in 1946 when The Times branded the Irgun “terrorists in disguise”. Decades later, Irgun veterans are unrepentant. Sarah Agassi, 80, remembers spying in the King David Hotel.
She and a fellow agent posed as a couple. They danced tangos and waltzes, sipped whisky and wine while they cased out the hotel.
On the day her brother and his fellow fighters posed as Arabs delivering milk and brought seven milk churns, each containing 50kg of explosives, into the building. Ms Agassi waited across the street until her brother rushed out. She said that she then made the warning call to the British command in the hotel.
Sitting in the luxurious hotel lobby, she expressed no regret. “We fought for our independence. We thought it was the right way . . . If I had to fight for Israel, I swear even now I would do anything.”
TWO VERSIONS
The original wording:
The Hotel housed the Mandate Secretariat as well as the Army Headquarters. On July 1946 (sic) Irgun fighters at the order of the Hebrew Resistance Movement planted explosives in the basement. Warning phone calls had been made urging the hotel’s occupants to leave immediately. For reasons known only to the British the hotel was not evacuated and after 25 minutes the bombs exploded, and to the Irgun’s regret and dismay 91 persons were killed.
The amended version
. . .Warning phone calls had been made to the hotel, the Palestine Post and the French Consulate, urging the hotel’s occupants to leave immediately.
The hotel was not evacuated, and after 25 minutes the bombs exploded. The entire western wing was destroyed, and to the Irgun’s regret 92 persons were killed.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article690085.ece

Below: King David Hotel after the bombing:

king david bomb-170px-KD_1946

A 2006 Cambridge University Press book on political terrorism theorized that it provided a model for the terrorist bombings of the 1980s.[30] Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues called the attack one of the best historical examples of successful terrorism and that it produced everything that Irgun had wanted. The author compared the bombing aftermath to that of Carlos Marighella‘s campaign with the Brazilian Communist Party.[27]

Binyamin Netanyahu called the bombing a legitimate act against a military target, and he distinguished it from an act of terror which intends to harm civilians. He said, “Imagine that Hamas or Hizbullah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, ‘We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area.’ They don’t do that. That is the difference.”[28] In his book The Revolt, Menachem Begin described the bombing as “a blow within the fortified headquarters of a military regime.”[12]

In July 2006, Israelis, including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former members of Irgun, attended a 60th anniversary celebration of the bombing, which was organized by the Menachem Begin Centre.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_bombing

<> Reflective truth Jul. 26, 2006 Eetta Prince-Gibson , THE JERUSALEM POST

‘We will meet at the barricades! We will meet at the barricades!” Leaning heavily on his walker, standing at attention as best he could, his voice hoarse with emotion and age, “Danny” – who still sometimes uses his underground nom de guerre – sang the Irgun Zvai Leumi (IZL) hymn, his voice hoarse with age and emotion.

“Gun to gun, bullet to bullet, we will meet in blood and fire,” he sang resoundingly, tired perhaps, but very excited and happy.

Saturday, July 22nd marked the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the British headquarters in the King David Hotel by the IZL fighters. Despite telephone calls by the IZL, warning of the imminent bombing [see box], 91 people died, among them 28 British, 41 Arabs and 17 Jews. One IZL fighter was killed inside the hotel, after the explosives had been set.

To this day, the bombing of the King David Hotel remains the explosion that caused the greatest number of casualties in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

In commemoration, some 250 former fighters, academic historians and politicians convened last week for a two-day conference sponsored by the Menachem Begin Heritage House, the University of Haifa and the Association of IZL Fighters.

They came, they said, to tell their stories. But it was clear they came for more.

The former fighters sought recognition for their role in the establishment of the State of Israel, legitimization of their bombing in which so many people were killed and vindication for their war against the British occupation.

The academics came to demand recognition for their contribution to the historiography of the State and legitimization of their field of research.

“The bombing of the British headquarters [in the King David Hotel],” Danny declared, “was the most important event of the pre-state period. It led to the establishment of the state. We helped to drive out the British Empire, because the British realized that we Jews could fight and that we would. And I would do it again, in a second.”

Like all the former IZL underground fighters, Danny refused to accept any responsibility or express any remorse for the loss of life.

“We warned them to get out. They didn’t. It’s their own fault,” he said flatly.

The academics asserted the importance of the underground movements, the IZL and the Lehi, which, they contended, had been shut out and shut up by the establishment. History, they quoted, is written by the strong and the victorious, and not by splinter movements such as the IZL.

But that is finally changing, they contended.

“The version of the history of the establishment of the State of Israel presented by the ‘others’ – in this case, anyone who wasn’t Mapai – is finally being heard,” proclaimed Udi Lebel from the Ben-Gurion Institute at Beersheba University. “The stigmas that have been attached to those others – stigmas that never matched reality – are finally being removed.”

Lebel dismissed post-modern movements that “escape history by running away to narratives and experiential perceptions of reality.” He then continued, “Information has been withheld; the studies have not been done on the IZL or the underground movements.”

Michael Cohen from Bar-Ilan University warned that, “Enlisted history isn’t over. Each camp is still presenting its own version. It’s quite nice and makes us all happy to look back at history nostalgically – but now, 60 years later, history can prove the truth and provide an objective perspective.”

And that truthful, objective perspective, the participants were convinced, will point to the importance of the bombing of the British headquarters at the King David Hotel.

But the process won’t be easy, Cohen warned. “Anyone who thinks it’s easy should see what the ‘new historians’ have done with the history of the mainstream movements, such as the Hagana and the other institutions of the Yishuv.”

The crowd of former fighters was clearly not interested in theoretical discussions, the politics of knowledge or the search for a single, objective truth. As far as they were concerned, they knew the truth then and they know it now.

When a lecturer dared to criticize the break-away splinter movements such as the IZL and the Lehi, an elderly man, frail but enraged and red in the face, screamed out, “But the Palmah was founded by the British!”

And when Motti Golani from the University of Haifa noted obliquely that on June 29, 1946, the British authorities had arrested almost all of the leaders of the Yishuv, while on June 29, 2006, the Israeli authorities arrested almost all the leaders of Hamas, an incensed woman screamed out from the audience, “It’s not healthy to make those kinds of comparisons.”

“Leftist,” muttered another elderly woman who still retains a heavy American accent. “He should tell this to [Hizbullah chief Hassan] Nasrallah.”

The Hagana and almost all leaders of the Yishuv condemned the bombing in the strongest terms, distancing themselves morally and militarily from the IZL and ending the brief period of cooperation between the resistance movements. The IZL and many researchers have continued to insist that the Hagana directly authorized the bombing.

“Everything was coordinated with the Hagana,” declared former prime minister and IZL leader Menachem Begin in a film clip from the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s “Scroll of Fire” series.

The audience applauded.

Convened as Israel was fighting Hizbullah in Lebanon, the participants took great pains to distinguish between terror groups and freedom fighters. Former prime minister and current Likud MK Binyamin Netanyahu, popular as ever at the conference, said, “The difference is expressed in the fact that the terrorists intend to harm civilians whereas legitimate combatants try to avoid that.”

“Imagine that Hamas or Hizbullah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, ‘We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area.’ They don’t do that. That is the difference.”

“The warning was given early enough,” insisted Menachem Begin in the same clip.

SARAH AGASSI, 77, who, like “Danny,” prefers to use her nom de guerre and identified herself as “Yael,” said she knows the phone calls were made in due time – she and another woman, “Tehiya,” were the ones assigned the task of calling The Palestine Post, the French Consulate and the hotel dispatcher to warn them of the coming explosion.

“We chose a place ahead of time and made sure that we had change for the telephones. We watched and waited until we saw the last of the fighters come out. I didn’t know it until that moment, but one of the last of the fighters was my brother. Then we made the phone calls.

“While we were waiting, a British soldier came up to me and asked me my name. I think he was trying to pick me up. I told him my name was Mary and I thought to myself, ‘In a few minutes he’ll really know what kind of a Mary I am.'”

The crowd tittered.

And she repeated the frequently-quoted version of the events, according to which the British chief secretary of the government of Palestine, Sir John Shaw, when informed of the warning, retorted, “I don’t take orders from Jews. I give orders to Jews.”

At the time, Shaw denied this, as does the official British position to this day. But the former fighters hold to the story, saying it reinforces their perception of the arrogant, oppressive British occupation forces as the chief obstacle in the way of the establishment of the Jewish state.

Months earlier, “Gidi” [Amichai Feiglin, operations officer for the IZL] had sent Yael and three others to the hotel on an intelligence-gathering mission.

They had no idea of the purpose of the mission, she recalls, because activities within the IZL were kept secret even from most of the fighters themselves.

“We were two women who dressed up fancy and went with two fighters who dressed up as wealthy Arabs,” she recalled.

“I borrowed silk stockings and wore a fancy dress. I was quite a looker then,” she said with a still-coquettish smile.

“It was quite an experience. I was only 17. The place was amazing. I remember the dance floor, the chandeliers and the wonderful orchestra. I remember the deep green velvet curtains. Everything was beautiful and sparkled. It was shining and beautiful. I had never seen anything like that. No one I knew had such luxuries in their home, and good Jewish girls wouldn’t usually go to such places and didn’t mix with Arab or British men.”

They returned another time to complete their mission. They danced tangos and waltzes, enjoyed the expensive wine and food – and memorized the location of the kitchens, the support beams, possible escape routes and anything else that might be useful, as they were instructed.

But when a British official invited Yael to dance, she refused.

“I would never dance with a British man,” she declared. And so they had to retreat quickly, since their escorts were disguised as Arabs.

“We realized that I might have attracted attention – after all, what Jewish girl would agree to dance with an ‘Arab’ but not with a British official?”

“Of course it’s sad that so many people were killed, especially the innocent Jews,” she continued. “But we warned them. We gave them time to evacuate the building. The British were arrogant, they chose not to [evacuate]. We fought for our independence. It was the right thing to do. I would do anything for our country now, too.”

Shraga Alis also told his personal recollection of the planning of the bombing.

Almost matter-of-factly, with a certain glory and certainly no reflection, he seemed to enjoy telling every detail of how the fighters entered the building, dressed as Arabs, and dragged the seven heavy milk cans, filled with 350 kg. of explosives, across the lengthy hallways of the King David, passed the unsuspecting guards and workers, and placed them strategically around a support beam next to the elegant Regency club on the ground floor of the southern wing.

The years have not added complexity to his understanding. “We did what we had to do.”

Ya’acov Elazar, a member of the technical branch of the IZL and then a professor at the Technion, had been involved with the most precise details of the bombing. At the conference, he carried a miniature replica of a large tin milk can, a knowing smile on his resolute face.

Before the conference ended with a tour of the hotel and the dedication of the commemorative plaque, he insisted on reading out the names of each and every member of the IZL who was involved, directly or indirectly, with the bombing, citing them by their underground names and positions and noting whether they are still alive today, 60 years later. The crowd listened patiently.

Before the conference dispersed, most of the crowd walked the few blocks to the King David Hotel. The conference organizers provided buses for those too frail or elderly to walk.

Walking through the underground hallways, past bewildered maintenance crews and hotel staff, they stopped at each point along the way and members of the Begin Heritage Center, like guides on a high school hike, explained the events of that day.

Then they listened to the dedication of the plaque in the presence of Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa who had fought in the Old City, and Jerusalem Yigal Amedi, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

Most of the attendees weren’t interested in the speeches. They were interested in the wording of the plaque, which had been changed at the insistence of the British ambassador and consul.

The original wording had presented as fact the IZL’s claim that people died because the British ignored the warning calls.

“Warning phone calls had been made, urging the hotel’s occupants to leave immediately. For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated,” it read.

But the British authorities still deny that they were ever warned and, even if they were, Ambassador Simon McDonald and Consul Dr. John Jenkins wrote in a letter to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, “This does not absolve those who planted the bomb from responsibility for their deaths.

To prevent a diplomatic incident, and over the objections of MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), who brought the matter up in the Knesset, the text was changed – especially in the English version.

In English, the text now reads, “Warning phone calls has [sic] been made to the hotel, The Palestine Post and the French Consulate, urging the hotel’s occupants to leave immediately. The hotel was not evacuated and after 25 minutes the bombs exploded… to the Irgun’s regret, 92 persons were killed.”
The count of 92 includes Avraham Abramovitz, the IZL fighter who was killed inside the hotel. But only the Hebrew version makes that clear.

“I don’t care about the English,” said Yael. “I only care about the Hebrew, because that’s our language. And the Hebrew tells the truth.”

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153292005916&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

<> Absurd Atrocity,  Written by Yvonne Ridley,  Wednesday, 26 July 2006

On October 12 1984 there was a direct attack on the British Government at the Conservative party conference in the seaside resort of Brighton.

A 100 pound bomb maimed and killed as it tore apart the Brighton Grand Hotel where members of Margaret Thatcher’s government were staying.

The Iron Lady herself narrowly escaped injury but five were murdered in the blast caused by the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s chief explosives officer Patrick Magee.

Magee was found guilty of five counts of murder and received eight life sentences with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 35 years.

So by my reckoning he would not be a free man until he is 70 – but thanks to the April 1998 Good Friday Agreement he was released along with scores of other convicted IRA terrorists.

When Patrick Magee walked free he publicly declared: “I stand by what I did”.

I remember the moment very well because my late father called him ‘a murdering Catholic bas***d’ while I remarked that one man’s freedom fighter was another man’s terrorist. I’m not sure my father ever forgave me for what he saw as the defense of the indefensable.

Magee’s actions and his reaction on being released certainly polarised people regardless of their faiths, culture or beliefs.

But even a bleeding heart liberal like myself would find it very hard to stomach if Magee and his supporters rolled up at the Brighton hotel 60 years on to hold a two-day party to celebrate.

Or do you think the peace-loving islanders of Bali would enjoy a good knees up to commemorate the bombings which devastated their tourist trade and took hundreds of innocent, mainly Australian, lives on October 12 2002?

Yep, exactly the same calendar date but 18 years apart.

Now I really want you to let your imaginations go wild … try and picture Usama bin Ladin and fellow Mujahideen gathering at the site of the Twin Towers on 9/11 2061 to erect a commemorative plaque marking America’s biggest ever (so far) terrorist strike.

Sick and twisted? Yes, I can see the headlines in the New York Times now, but that is exactly what a bunch of terrorist has-beens did a few days ago.

And furthermore, as they returned to the scene of the crime many of them proudly declared they would do it all over again, showing not one ounce of guilt or regret for the blood of innocents on their hands.

Right-wingers including Binyamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister met up with a few of his terrorist pals to commemorate the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in which 92 people died.

How on earth the Zionists and their supporters are going to justify this one is beyond me but their naked hypocrisy has been ripped wide open leaving them exposed, unrepentant and undeniably repugnant.

As Israel set about dispossessing nearly one million Lebanese people of their homes, killing hundreds including scores of children over the last two weeks, the Zionist State kept citing terrorists in Hizb’Allah as the reason for the totally disproportionate aggression.

Every other word being uttered from defenders of Israel is ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorism’.

Hmm, interesting … I didn’t realise there were terrorists in the UN yet their office was shelled killing four workers on July 24.

Unbelievably, just a few days earlier, as the bloodshed in Lebanon continued a group of right-wing Israelis celebrated a specific act of terrorism which they unleashed 60 years ago.

The act of terrorism was, like the IRA’s Brighton Bombing, against British rule.

The geriatric gang even erected a plaque outside the restored building before launching their two-day junket.

It was all too much for British Ambassador in Tel Aviv and the Consul-General in Jerusalem John Jenkins who both expressed their disgust in a letter to the authorities stating: “We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated.”

They, not unreasonably, demanded the removal of the blue plaque that paid tribute to the Irgun, the Jewish terror cell headed by Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister. Irgun carried out the attack on July 22, 1946.

The plaque presents as fact Irgun’s claim that people died because the British ignored warning calls. “For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated,” it states.

Typical isn’t it? As I’ve said in previous columns, the Israelis could start a fight in an empty room and still blame everyone else for the fall out. There were no warning calls made in the cowardly attack, and even if Irgun members showed an uncharacteristic ounce of mercy and made a single warning call, it would not absolve them from slaughtering the innocents.

For ten days, the British Engineering Corps cleared the wreckage, and on July 31 it was officially announced that 91 people had been killed in the explosion: 28 Britons, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and 5 others. The controversy over the plaque and the two-day celebration of the bombing, sponsored by Irgun veterans and the right-wing Menachem Begin Heritage Center, goes to the heart of the debate over the use of political violence in the Middle East.

A po-faced Netanyahu argued in a speech celebrating the attack that Irgun was governed by morals, unlike fighters from groups such as Hamas. What is it with these deluded folk? Do they get a frontal lobotomy at the same time they are circumcised?

I nearly choked as he maintained a straight face, and said in all seriousness: “It’s very important to make the distinction between terror groups and freedom fighters, and between terror action and legitimate military action. Imagine that Hamas or Hizb’Allah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, ‘We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area’.”

Oh, terribly sorry Mr Netanyahu, but what about those 18 civilians in southern Lebanon who were burnt alive when missiles from an Israeli helicopter gunship slammed into their fleeing convoy … they had fled from their homes in south Lebanon, before you even thought about making a courtesy call.

And I suppose the seven civilians killed in other raids against bridges and gas stations in eastern and southern Lebanon, have only themselves to blame.

An unrepentant Israeli spy, Sarah Agassi, 80, remembers how she danced tangos and waltzes, sipped whisky and wine while casing out the King David hotel.

Sixty years ago, her brother and his fellow accomplices posed as local Arabs delivering milk in seven churns, each containing 50kg of explosives.

Sitting in the five-star splendour of the hotel, the grand old dame of terror expressed no regret. “We fought for our independence. We thought it was the right way … If I had to fight for Israel, I swear even now I would do anything.”

Yes Sarah, I’ve heard those sentiments expressed many times before … from the lips of every Palestinian your vile state has brutalised, tortured and disposessed.

Remember the Palestinians, Sarah? The people whose land you stole?

You are not, and never will be a freedom fighter. You have no dignity nor respect Sarah, and despite your Octogenarian status you deserve neither. You are simply a sad, old, deluded Irgun terrorist who thought nothing about killing your own.

By the way, just because someone reaches a ripe old age, does not entitle them to automatic respect. Sarah was obviously a nasty little piece of work as a young Zionist spy, and I don’t imagine she has improved with age. Perhaps she and her veteran colleagues would be better served recalling the poignant words of French philosopher Voltaire, who once said: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Sarah’s dreams of a Zionist state was indeed an absurd mistake, created in 1917 in 26 words by Lord Balfour, the then British Foreign Minister who thought up the idea of establishing a Jewish homeland.

The Zionists immediately seized upon his statement, which they interpreted to mean support for a Jewish state. At the time of Balfour’s declaration, Jews comprised less than 10% of the population and owned 2.5% of the land of Palestine.

The creation of the Zionist project was an absurdity and what has followed since its inception is atrocity after atrocity … it has been responsible for decades of death, warfare and terrorism.

Israel is probably now the most loathed state in the world today as it fights Hizb’Allah in the north and Hamas in the south … trying to claw back land which it has already given away. Now just how absurd is that?

http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/absurd-atrocity-4.html

<> Remember this picture of the “Guard” at Abu Ghuraib prison in Iraq, but well , of course they have lots of experience interrogating Palestinians  in Arabic Language and water boarding and other torture techniques  etc.

guard_abu_ghraib_prison<>

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<>  Good Thing We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

By: John Caruso

[ Question posed: does glorification of terrorism has disqualified Netanyahu from discussions with U.S. officials?]

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002911.html

<> SEE IT NOW IN 2009:

… handout image provided by the US Embassy Tel Aviv, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Prime Minister-designate Benyamin Netanyahu pose before their meeting at the King David Hotel on March 3, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Hillary Clinton is at the start of a two-day visit to the region during which she will hold talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Designate Binyamin Netanyahu before meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas.

Hillary+Clinton+Meets+Israeli+Palestinian+0bkduQDmxP9l

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/QLMXRA_j6qs/Hillary+Clinton+Meets+Israeli+Palestinian/0bkduQDmxP9/Benyamin+Netanyahu

<> NOTE that Binyamin Netanyahu, said at the time of commemoration – celebration:

“It’s very important to make the distinction between terror groups and freedom fighters, and between terror action and legitimate military action.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jul/21/sixtyyearssincethekingdav

hmm,,,, doesn’t sound like a repentant terrorist to me, but well,,,,,,,  celebrating ,,,

<> Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques – IDF fashion 2009 – -Israeli newspaper Haaretz

By Uri Blau

The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit’s insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” A “graduation” shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, “No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.”

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies – such as “confirming the kill” (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants. In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan “Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands!” had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.”It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town,” he explains. “The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.”Does the design go to the commanders for approval?The Givati soldier: “Usually the shirts undergo a selection process by some officer, but in this case, they were approved at the level of platoon sergeant. We ordered shirts for 30 soldiers and they were really into it, and everyone wanted several items and paid NIS 200 on average.”What do you think of the slogan that was printed?

“I didn’t like it so much, but most of the soldiers wanted it.”

Many controversial shirts have been ordered by graduates of snipers courses, which bring together soldiers from various units. In 2006, soldiers from the “Carmon Team” course for elite-unit marksmen printed a shirt with a drawing of a knife-wielding Palestinian in the crosshairs of a gun sight, and the slogan, “You’ve got to run fast, run fast, run fast, before it’s all over.” Below is a drawing of Arab women weeping over a grave and the words: “And afterward they cry, and afterward they cry.” [The inscriptions are riffs on a popular song.] Another sniper’s shirt also features an Arab man in the crosshairs, and the announcement, “Everything is with the best of intentions.”

G., a soldier in an elite unit who has done a snipers course, explained that, “it’s a type of bonding process, and also it’s well known that anyone who is a sniper is messed up in the head. Our shirts have a lot of double entendres, for example: ‘Bad people with good aims.’ Every group that finishes a course puts out stuff like that.”

When are these shirts worn?

G. “These are shirts for around the house, for jogging, in the army. Not for going out. Sometimes people will ask you what it’s about.”

Of the shirt depicting a bull’s-eye on a pregnant woman, he said: “There are people who think it’s not right, and I think so as well, but it doesn’t really mean anything. I mean it’s not like someone is gonna go and shoot a pregnant woman.”

What is the idea behind the shirt from July 2007, which has an image of a child with the slogan “Smaller – harder!”?

“It’s a kid, so you’ve got a little more of a problem, morally, and also the target is smaller.”

Do your superiors approve the shirts before printing?

“Yes, although one time they rejected some shirt that was too extreme. I don’t remember what was on it.”

These shirts also seem pretty extreme. Why draw crosshairs over a child – do you shoot kids?

‘We came, we saw’

“As a sniper, you get a lot of extreme situations. You suddenly see a small boy who picks up a weapon and it’s up to you to decide whether to shoot. These shirts are half-facetious, bordering on the truth, and they reflect the extreme situations you might encounter. The one who-honest-to-God sees the target with his own eyes – that’s the sniper.”

Have you encountered a situation like that?

“Fortunately, not involving a kid, but involving a woman – yes. There was someone who wasn’t holding a weapon, but she was near a prohibited area and could have posed a threat.”

What did you do?

“I didn’t take it” (i.e., shoot).

You don’t regret that, I imagine.

“No. Whomever I had to shoot, I shot.”

A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: “We came, we saw, we destroyed!” – alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.

A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: “If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!”

Y., a soldier/yeshiva student, designed the shirt. “You take whoever [in the unit] knows how to draw and then you give it to the commanders before printing,” he explained.

What is the soldier holding in his hand?

Y. “A mosque. Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque – I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn’t look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, ‘Is that what you’ve got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?’ I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn’t worth it for them to go on shooting. So that’s the idea of ‘we’re coming to destroy’ in the drawing.”

According to Y., most of these shirts are worn strictly in an army context, not in civilian life. “And within the army people look at it differently,” he added. “I don’t think I would walk down the street in this shirt, because it would draw fire. Even at my yeshiva I don’t think people would like it.”

Y. also came up with a design for the shirt his unit printed at the end of basic training. It shows a clenched fist shattering the symbol of the Paratroops Corps.

Where does the fist come from?

“It’s reminiscent of [Rabbi Meir] Kahane’s symbol. I borrowed it from an emblem for something in Russia, but basically it’s supposed to look like Kahane’s symbol, the one from ‘Kahane Was Right’ – it’s a sort of joke. Our company commander is kind of gung-ho.”

Was the shirt printed?

“Yes. It was a company shirt. We printed about 100 like that.”

This past January, the “Night Predators” demolitions platoon from Golani’s Battalion 13 ordered a T-shirt showing a Golani devil detonating a charge that destroys a mosque. An inscription above it says, “Only God forgives.”

One of the soldiers in the platoon downplays it: “It doesn’t mean much, it’s just a T-shirt from our platoon. It’s not a big deal. A friend of mine drew a picture and we made it into a shirt.”

What’s the idea behind “Only God forgives”?

The soldier: “It’s just a saying.”

No one had a problem with the fact that a mosque gets blown up in the picture?

“I don’t see what you’re getting at. I don’t like the way you’re going with this. Don’t take this somewhere you’re not supposed to, as though we hate Arabs.”

After Operation Cast Lead, soldiers from that battalion printed a T-shirt depicting a vulture sexually penetrating Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied by a particularly graphic slogan. S., a soldier in the platoon that ordered the shirt, said the idea came from a similar shirt, printed after the Second Lebanon War, that featured Hassan Nasrallah instead of Haniyeh.

“They don’t okay things like that at the company level. It’s a shirt we put out just for the platoon,” S. explained.

What’s the problem with this shirt?

S.: “It bothers some people to see these things, from a religious standpoint …”

How did people who saw it respond?

“We don’t have that many Orthodox people in the platoon, so it wasn’t a problem. It’s just something the guys want to put out. It’s more for wearing around the house, and not within the companies, because it bothers people. The Orthodox mainly. The officers tell us it’s best not to wear shirts like this on the base.”

The sketches printed in recent years at the Adiv factory, one of the largest of its kind in the country, are arranged in drawers according to the names of the units placing the orders: Paratroops, Golani, air force, sharpshooters and so on. Each drawer contains hundreds of drawings, filed by year. Many of the prints are cartoons and slogans relating to life in the unit, or inside jokes that outsiders wouldn’t get (and might not care to, either), but a handful reflect particular aggressiveness, violence and vulgarity.

Print-shop manager Haim Yisrael, who has worked there since the early 1980s, said Adiv prints around 1,000 different patterns each month, with soldiers accounting for about half. Yisrael recalled that when he started out, there were hardly any orders from the army.

“The first ones to do it were from the Nahal brigade,” he said. “Later on other infantry units started printing up shirts, and nowadays any course with 15 participants prints up shirts.”

From time to time, officers complain. “Sometimes the soldiers do things that are inside jokes that only they get, and sometimes they do something foolish that they take to an extreme,” Yisrael explained. “There have been a few times when commanding officers called and said, ‘How can you print things like that for soldiers?’ For example, with shirts that trashed the Arabs too much. I told them it’s a private company, and I’m not interested in the content. I can print whatever I like. We’re neutral. There have always been some more extreme and some less so. It’s just that now more people are making shirts.”

Race to be unique

Evyatar Ben-Tzedef, a research associate at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism and former editor of the IDF publication Maarachot, said the phenomenon of custom-made T-shirts is a product of “the infantry’s insane race to be unique. I, for example, had only one shirt that I received after the Yom Kippur War. It said on it, ‘The School for Officers,’ and that was it. What happened since then is a product of the decision to assign every unit an emblem and a beret. After all, there used to be very few berets: black, red or green. This changed in the 1990s. [The shirts] developed because of the fact that for bonding purposes, each unit created something that was unique to it.

“These days the content on shirts is sometimes deplorable,” Ben-Tzedef explained. “It stems from the fact that profanity is very acceptable and normative in Israel, and that there is a lack of respect for human beings and their environment, which includes racism aimed in every direction.”

Yossi Kaufman, who moderates the army and defense forum on the Web site Fresh, served in the Armored Corps from 1996 to 1999. “I also drew shirts, and I remember the first one,” he said. “It had a small emblem on the front and some inside joke, like, ‘When we die, we’ll go to heaven, because we’ve already been through hell.'”

Kaufman has also been exposed to T-shirts of the sort described here. “I know there are shirts like these,” he says. “I’ve heard and also seen a little. These are not shirts that soldiers can wear in civilian life, because they would get stoned, nor at a battalion get-together, because the battalion commander would be pissed off. They wear them on very rare occasions. There’s all sorts of black humor stuff, mainly from snipers, such as, ‘Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired’ – with a drawing of a Palestinian boy, not a terrorist. There’s a Golani or Givati shirt of a soldier raping a girl, and underneath it says, ‘No virgins, no terror attacks.’ I laughed, but it was pretty awful. When I was asked once to draw things like that, I said it wasn’t appropriate.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office comments on the phenomenon: “Military regulations do not apply to civilian clothing, including shirts produced at the end of basic training and various courses. The designs are printed at the soldiers’ private initiative, and on civilian shirts. The examples raised by Haaretz are not in keeping with the values of the IDF spirit, not representative of IDF life, and are in poor taste. Humor of this kind deserves every condemnation and excoriation. The IDF intends to take action for the immediate eradication of this phenomenon. To this end, it is emphasizing to commanding officers that it is appropriate, among other things, to take discretionary and disciplinary measures against those involved in acts of this sort.”

Shlomo Tzipori, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves and a lawyer specializing in martial law, said the army does bring soldiers up on charges for offenses that occur outside the base and during their free time. According to Tzipori, slogans that constitute an “insult to the army or to those in uniform” are grounds for court-martial, on charges of “shameful conduct” or “disciplinary infraction,” which are general clauses in judicial martial law.

Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University, author of “Identities in Uniform: Masculinities and Femininities in the Israeli Military,” said that the phenomenon is “part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing, and the soldiers are at its forefront. I think that ever since the second intifada there has been a continual shift to the right. The pullout from Gaza and its outcome – the calm that never arrived – led to a further shift rightward.

“This tendency is most strikingly evident among soldiers who encounter various situations in the territories on a daily basis. There is less meticulousness than in the past, and increasing callousness. There is a perception that the Palestinian is not a person, a human being entitled to basic rights, and therefore anything may be done to him.”

Could the printing of clothing be viewed also as a means of venting aggression?

Sasson-Levy: “No. I think it strengthens and stimulates aggression and legitimizes it. What disturbs me is that a shirt is something that has permanence. The soldiers later wear it in civilian life; their girlfriends wear it afterward. It is not a statement, but rather something physical that remains, that is out there in the world. Beyond that, I think the link made between sexist views and nationalist views, as in the ‘Screw Haniyeh’ shirt, is interesting. National chauvinism and gender chauvinism combine and strengthen one another. It establishes a masculinity shaped by violent aggression toward women and Arabs; a masculinity that considers it legitimate to speak in a crude and violent manner toward women and Arabs.”

Col. (res.) Ron Levy began his military service in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando force before the Six-Day War. He was the IDF’s chief psychologist, and headed the army’s mental health department in the 1980s.

Levy: “I’m familiar with things of this sort going back 40, 50 years, and each time they take a different form. Psychologically speaking, this is one of the ways in which soldiers project their anger, frustration and violence. It is a certain expression of things, which I call ‘below the belt.'”

Do you think this a good way to vent anger?

Levy: “It’s safe. But there are also things here that deviate from the norm, and you could say that whoever is creating these things has reached some level of normality. He gives expression to the fact that what is considered abnormal today might no longer be so tomorrow.”

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072466.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/20/israeli-army-tshirts-mock_n_177574.html

Below: A T-shirt printed at the request of an IDF soldier in the sniper unit reading ‘I shot two kills.

IDF_Ishot2kills{i.e Israeli Soldier celebrating killing of shows Muslim Palestinian Women }

{One example of many “celebration” tee shirts celebrating bombing Mosques, killing women and children and other non combatants }

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<> Breaking The Silence Former Israeli Soldiers Call Gaza War Reckless

STEVE WEIZMAN | 07/15/09 03:27 PM |

JERUSALEM — Israeli soldiers who fought in last winter’s Gaza War say the military used Palestinians as human shields, improperly fired incendiary white phosphorous shells over civilian areas and used overwhelming firepower that caused needless deaths and destruction, according to a report released Wednesday.

The testimonies were by far the strongest allegations to come from war veterans that the army used excessive force during the three-week offensive and echoed claims already leveled by Palestinian and human rights groups. The military rebutted the report, saying the accounts were anonymous and impossible to verify.

The accounts of 26 war veterans were collected by Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army reservists critical of their country’s treatment of Palestinians. They described demolishing buildings, vandalizing homes and using more than essential firepower, given the relatively light resistance they encountered. One said the army needlessly used white phosphorous, a masking agent that can cause severe burns, for smokescreens. Others said regulations for opening fire were vague, and that soldiers were expected to do whatever was necessary to protect themselves.

“There were no clear red lines,” one soldier told the group. “If you’re not sure, kill. Fire power was insane,” said another.

Military officers have acknowledged that rules of engagement were relaxed to minimize army casualties but insisted civilians were never targeted.

Israel launched the blistering offensive last December after thousands of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants on southern Israel over an eight-year period. More than 1,400 Palestinians, including at least 900 civilians, were killed in the fighting, thousands of homes were destroyed and Gaza’s infrastructure was battered, according to Gaza health officials and human rights groups. Israel puts the death toll closer to 1,100 and says most were armed fighters. Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians who died from rocket fire.

Wednesday’s report was sure to fuel a debate that still rages six months after the offensive over whether Israel violated the rules of war. International rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have said the degree of force and heavy civilian death toll constituted war crimes, and the U.N. has launched a probe, headed by a respected war crimes prosecutor, into the actions of Israel and Hamas. Human rights groups say Hamas committed war crimes by firing rockets at civilian areas in Israel.

Israel maintains that responsibility for the carnage lies with Hamas, which it says cached ammunition in schools and mosques, blended in with the general population and used civilian areas and public buildings for cover.

The Israeli military said it “regrets the fact that yet another human rights organization is presenting to Israel and the world a report based on anonymous and general testimonies, without investigating their details or credibility.” The military also said that since no identifying details were given, it was impossible to verify the accounts. It urged soldiers to come forward and register official complaints.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated his belief that the Israeli military “is one of the world’s most moral armies and operates according to the highest moral code.”

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, said the report “reflects the crimes committed in Gaza,” and called on “human rights bodies and international groups” to put Israel’s leaders on trial.

Wednesday’s 110-page report, which also included videotaped testimonies in which soldiers’ faces were blurred out, did not represent a cross-section of the army. Rather, they were troops who approached the group or were reached through acquaintances of group members. Two were junior officers and the rest were lower-ranking personnel. It did not examine Hamas’ actions.

Many questioned the overwhelming use of force. One soldier said the army used weapons like mortars and white phosphorous “to show off its strength.” Another soldier said white phosphorus artillery shells were used to ignite a house suspected of housing munitions. “The house went up in flames,” he said.

Israel has said it used white phosphorus munitions only outside of crowded areas and only as a smokescreen to protect forces. But New York-based Human Rights Watch says Israel fired white phosphorous shells indiscriminately over densely populated areas in what amounts to a war crime.

Breaking the Silence said it decided to protect the identity of the soldiers, noting that many are still in the military and could face punishment for speaking out. But spokesman Mikhael Manekin said the accounts included enough information for the army to figure out which units were involved.

“If there is ever an inquiry, the witnesses will gladly testify,” he said. An internal military probe earlier this year found no systematic wrongdoing on the part of the army.

A few other soldiers have come forward with similar second-hand testimony since the operation. But overall, the Israeli public believes the Gaza operation was necessary to halt the rocket fire and think their military is singled out for unfair criticism.

Some testimonies provided a glimpse at the complex battlefield the soldiers faced as they pushed into densely populated territory, fearing booby-trapped houses and alleyway ambushes and unable to tell civilians from combatants. Hamas had promised to make Gaza a “graveyard” for the Israelis.

One soldier quoted his commander as saying, “I am not willing to allow a soldier of mine to risk himself by hesitating.”

But most focused on what they saw as improper behavior, like the vandalism of Palestinian property or the use of civilians as human shields – a practice the army itself has banned.

“Sometimes the force would enter while placing rifle barrels on a civilian’s shoulder, advancing into a house and using him as a human shield. Commanders said these were the instructions and we had to do it,” one soldier said.

Another said that soldiers would shoot at houses and water tanks from boredom.

“At one point, an officer decided to give a grenade-throwing training exercise. He put the soldiers in a house and they threw grenades inside until it was completely destroyed,” he said. Other accounts described soldiers drawing obscene graffiti on the walls of occupied houses, or using bulldozers to systematically destroy homes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/15/breaking-the-silence-form_n_232991.html

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<> Netanyahu’s attempts to silence Breaking the Silence

Posted on August 8 2009 by Rob Lipton under Censorship , Free speech , Gaza , Israeli peace groups.

Netanyahu’s attempts to silence Breaking the Silence

Netanyahu has asked Spain, Britain and The Netherlands to stop directly funding the Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence (BTS).  BTS has been releasing IDF soldier testimony on the invasion/massacre in Gaza.  The accounts by the soldiers are harrowing and document war crimes.  The Israeli government claims that governmental support of “politicized” NGOs undermines democracy in the Jewish state.  Netanyahu is    “contemplating legislation that would ban foreign government funding for groups such as Breaking the Silence.”   The main argument is that foreign governmental funding of non-governmental institutions that are ostensibly working “against” the interests of the duly elected government are undemocratic.  Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s senior political adviser, was quoted as saying that funding from foreign embassies for the group amounted to “blatant and unacceptable” intervention in Israel’s internal affairs.

But Don Futterman (program director, Israel, of the Moriah Fund, a private American foundation working in Israel to support civil society and democracy, immigrant absorption and education.) has a different take,

“If our defense minister (Avigor Lieberman) wants us to live up to the claim that the IDF is “the most moral army on earth,” he should welcome soldiers who speak out about illegal acts that they have witnessed or were asked to perform. In our post-war rush to elections, we unfortunately – and perhaps, conveniently – skipped over any discussion concerning the morality of what the army has done. But even our fears of one-sided international condemnation of our actions in Gaza cannot justify official attempts to silence the messenger, especially when that messenger is us.”

He also argues that: BTS is not an advocacy organization, It is made up of IDF reservists who have served in the territories during their regular military service over the last nine years. In addition to recognizing the harm we are doing to our Palestinian neighbors, the organization urges us to look closely at the damage we are doing to our own soldiers when they are asked to engage in acts of questionable morality or legality. BTS gathers and then publicizes testimony in both words and pictures from soldiers who are willing to come forward. The organization makes every effort to check the veracity of these testimonies, and will not publish any soldier’s comments unless it has corroborating testimony from at least one other reliable source.”

Indeed, a senior Israeli official objected to friendly nations funding “opposition bodies” inside Israel. IDF soldiers are now considered “in opposition” who do not go along with the government line on Gaza. Futterman, in my opinion gets to the heart of this matter.

“Presumably, what the official meant is that the government and the IDF find intolerable opposition to their attempts to control the discourse concerning Israel’s behavior in the territories”

Democracy is not just the process of voting, selecting representation etc, it is also about discourse freely exchanged.

“Some Jewish organizational officials counter that a ban on foreign government support of NGOs is more characteristic of a dictatorship, and would undermine U.S. efforts to support NGOs in Iran and other countries with poor human rights records.

One senior official at a centrist Jewish organization said such an initiative was profoundly counterintuitive, considering how much the Israeli and Jewish establishments had reaped from Western government backing for NGOs assisting Jews in the Soviet Union during the Cold War — and how such support continues today in Iran and the former Soviet Union.

“It’s a little surprising,” said the official, who spoke anonymously to avoid embarrassing Israel’s government. “All over the world, NGOs are accused of taking other governments’ dollars and being tainted by that — the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the National Republican Institute. If the Israeli government says we’re going to only let certain human rights groups operate, it makes it harder to make our case” elsewhere.”

The good news is that the government’s heavy handed attempts to silence BTS has only emboldened soldiers to come forward.

Futterman continues:

our government (Israel) should welcome other expressions of foreign support for our civil society, not attempt to control it. If the United Kingdom or Spain or any other state wants to be a true friend to Israeli democracy, it will renew its commitment to BTS.

Akiva Elder also brings up the point from Gush Shalom that:

“the discriminatory blocking of European government funding to a specific group of legal and legitimate NGOs may well result in a public backlash in the EU, which would force your government to cut all funding to Israeli NGOs, including to universities and hospitals.”

Further, such NGO mettling could effect Chrisian Zionist organizations in the EU supporting settlement activity in the West Bank.

Presently, partially as a result of this effort to stop the funding of BTS there is a move by EU based human rights groups to pressure EU governments and the European commission to stop all funding to Israeli NGO’s. This is a definite “shoot yourself in the foot moment.” Not that surprising for the Netanyahu/Lieberman government, but certainly something that would have real effects on Israeli civil society.

Some of the arguments in support of such a ban are either manifest-destiny-loony or racist. For example, one “pro Israel” critic of such NGO support said that “the difference is that Israel is a first world democracy — democracies meddling in the business of other democracies is inappropriate.”   By implication, those places

defined, by whatever arbitrary process, as not being first world can be meddled with because they are not democratic so its okay for first world democracies to act undemocratically as long as they are doing so in undemocratic/non-first world counties.

Its really the cliché about who’s ox is being gored, trying to limit such support in a supposedly democratic system in order to limit the free speech rights of a specific group will almost always end badly and undermines the core tenants of any functioning democratic system.

Robert Lipton of > MuzzleWatch Tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy

http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2009/08/08/netanyahus-attempts-to-silence-breaking-the-silence/

<> Group that exposed ‘IDF crimes’ in Gaza slams Israel bid to choke off its funds

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Last update – 17:22 26/07/2009

An organization that alleged Israeli troops used Palestinians as human shields in Gaza accused the Foreign Ministry on Sunday of “endangering democracy,” following a Haaretz report that the ministry had asked the Netherlands to freeze funds to the group.

Acting on instructions from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Harry Knei-Tal, met last week with the director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry and complained about the Dutch embassy’s funding of Breaking the Silence.

The group said Sunday that the ministry and the establishment were conducting a “witch hunt…only a part of which was exposed in the Haaretz report,” that it claimed was testimony to the “erosion of democratic culture in the State of Israel.”

Breaking the Silence added: “The attempts to silence voices from Israeli civil society are dangerous. As opposed to reports, the IDF has never denied the [validity of the] testimonies and it and the foreign ministry’s virulent reaction… only strengthens the position of the testifying soldiers, who are not willing to be exposed.”

“It looks like the ministry draws ideas from shady regimes, in which those who point out internal failures are considered traitors.”

In the meeting last week between Knei-Tal and the director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Israeli ambassador suggested that the Netherlands’ funding of the organization should be terminated, according to a source.

“The Dutch taxpayer’s money could be better used to promote peace and human rights,” the source quoted Knei-Tal as saying.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen – considered one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in the European Union – did not know that the embassy in Tel Aviv was funding Breaking the Silence. He learned about it after the organization’s funding sources were published in an article in The Jerusalem Post.

Sources say Verhagen reproached senior figures in the Dutch Foreign Ministry upon learning this and gave instructions to launch an internal investigation on the matter. It showed that the embassy in Israel gave Breaking the Silence 19,995 euros to help put together its 2009 report, which discusses Operation Cast Lead and was released earlier this month. Had this figure been five euros higher, it would have required approval from The Hague.

The director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry told the Israeli ambassador that in light of the probe, funding for Breaking the Silence would be reevaluated because of the political sensitivities of the issues covered by the organization.

Breaking the Silence, which was founded by Israel Defense Forces veterans, has collected what it says are damning testimonies from soldiers who took part in the January offensive against Hamas in Gaza. The report contains almost 30 anonymous testimonies.

An Israeli diplomat said that in the meeting last week, Knei-Tal said Israel was a democratic country and that such funds should go to places without democracy. Breaking the Silence was a legal and legitimate organization, he said, according to sources, but its funding by the Dutch was unreasonable “in light of the political sensitivities.”

According to a senior Israeli official: “A friendly government cannot fund opposition bodies. We are not a third world country.”

The director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Spain had also funded Breaking the Silence. A diplomat in Jerusalem said Breaking the Silence had also been funded by the British government. Israel has not yet approached Spain or Britain on the matter.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102793.html

<> See also the Official breaking the Silence website of IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers  :

http://breakingthesilence.org.il/index_e.asp

() <> () <> () ,,,, diamonds and pearls ,,,,

<>

()

() <> <> () <> () <> <> () <> <> () <> () <> <> () <> <> () <> () <> <> () <> <> () <> () <> <> () <> <> () <> () <> <> ()

<> Few Examples: Kidnappings, Beatings, Murders and Hangings Attacks by the Irgun and Stern Gang

http://britains-smallwars.com/Palestine/kidnap.htm

<>  UN releases Gaza attack photos

…The United Nations has released images of what it believes are white phosphorus munitions raining down on one of its compounds during Israel’s war on Gaza….

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported a brigade of paratroop reservists fired about 20 white phosphorus shells into the built-up area of Beit Lahiya on January 17, which landed in the UN-run compound where the two Palestinian children were killed and severe burns were inflicted on 14 other people.

Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, has accused Israel of war crimes over its use of the munitions in heavily populated areas….

Below: UN released picture of white phosphorous

isr-phos-200912292913320734_5

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200912284850930973.html

See also

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7831424.stm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5521925.ece

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/15/israel-shells-un-headquar_n_158078.html

<> <>

<> Soldier says rabbis pushed “religious war” in Gaza

Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:54am EDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January’s Gaza offensive they were fighting a “religious war” against gentiles, according to one army commander’s account published Friday.

“Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land,” he said.

The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier’s identity, was published by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper in the second day of revelations that have rocked the Israeli military. (www.haaretz.com “Shooting and Crying, 2009”).

They were leaked from a Feb 13 meeting of armed forces members to share their Gaza experiences.

Some veterans, alumni of an Israel Defense Force (IDF) military academy, told of the killing of civilians and their impression that deep contempt for Palestinians pervaded the ranks of the Israeli forces….

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE52J36V20090320

<> >>>>>>  64% of Israelis want Temple rebuilt –  Even half of secular Jews say time is right

Whats that again:

What??! – AGAIN PLEASE?! I missed that since its too

small

64% of Israelis want Temple Built – Even half of

Secular Jews say time is right

[!!!]

Posted: August 01, 2009 12:40 am Eastern © 2009 WorldNetDaily

….Nearly two-thirds of Israelis say the time is right to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, according to a Ynet-Gesher survey. Even half of non-religious Jews favor rebuilding the Holy Temple – an idea politically unthinkable in Israel just 10 or 20 years ago. The poll was release on the saddest day on the Jewish calendar – the fasting day of Tisha B’Av, or the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. It commemorates a series of tragedies that befell the Jewish people all on the same day, most significantly the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart on the same day. Jewish tradition calls for the reading

of Lamentations…..The rebuilding of the Temple is an extremely controversial idea in Israel because currently Jewish access to the Temple Mount is restricted by the Muslim Waqf, which was granted administrative authority over the Jews’ holiest sites, which are occupied by Muslim shrines. Some Jewish leaders believe access to Jews should be restricted until the Third Temple is built…..

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=105629

<> Jews hail birth of red cow as sign to start third temple

By Con Coughlin in Jerusalem

THE birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

A team of rabbinical experts last week confirmed that the animal, born six months ago on a religious kibbutz near the north Israeli port of Haifa, meets the correct Biblical criteria for a genuine holy cow. According to the Book of Numbers (XIX: 2-7), the animal is needed for an ancient Jewish purification ritual.

“The Lord hath commanded saying: Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke,” says the fourth book of the Old Testament, also part of Jewish holy scripture, the Torah.

The heifer will be slaughtered and burned, and its ashes made into a liquid paste and used in a ceremony which religious Jews believe they must undergo before they can enter the old Temple site in Jerusalem to start building a new structure. Since Herod’s Temple was destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus in AD 70, no flawless red heifer has been born within the biblical land of Israel, according to rabbinical teaching.

The birth of the animal, to a black-and-white mother and a dun-coloured bull, is being hailed as a “miracle” by activists who want to rebuild the Third Temple and prepare the way for the Jewish messiah’s entry to Jerusalem. The faithful will need to wait until the heifer is at least three before it can be used in a ritual sacrifice. That would enable religious Jews to start the new millennium (a Christian event, but still regarded as portentous) in a state of purity.

News of the red heifer’s appearance, however, will not be well received by Muslims. The site of the old Jewish temples in the Holy City is now occupied by one of Islam’s holiest shrines, the Dome of the Rock. Jewish extremists want to destroy the Dome and the adjoining Al-Aqsa mosque to make way for a new temple. In 1985 a group of Jewish terrorists were jailed in Israel for planning to destroy the Dome with high explosives.

But Jewish activists say they regard it as their divine mission to build a new Temple. “We have been waiting 2,000 years for a sign from God, and now he has provided us with a red heifer,” said Yehudah Etzion, the ringleader of the Eighties’ plot to blow up the Dome, who was present at last week’s inspection of the red heifer at Kfar Hassidim. “There were a couple of little white hairs which worried us, but the rabbis are satisfied that it is the red heifer referred to in the Bible,” said Mr Etzion.

http://www.cfga.force9.co.uk/TeleRH.htm

Red Heifer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Heifer

<> The Mystery of the Red Heifer: Divine Promise of Purity by Rabbi Chaim Richman

http://www.templemount.org/heifer.html

and Below: >>>> hmm,,,

temple-tomorrow_gallery

Above: Future vision of Temple Mount (Haram al-Quds – Masjid al-Aqsa- Masjid as-Sakhrah) according to  http://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm > under tomorrow in>  gallery

3rd temple-0-0

Above: another view of this dream

isr-temp-diggggggg

Above: cartoon on Israeli excavations and archeological digs in Jerusalem

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Above: Al-Haram Al-Qudsi:  Masjid al-Aqsa and Masjid as-Sakhrah in the Sacred City of Jerusalem

jerusalem--0

Above: Jerusalem: the Holy City

<> Only ONE thing stands in their way: Allah’s protection of the faithful Muslims, and all praise if for Allah.

See:

https://supportdanielboyd.wordpress.com/allah-the-prophet-and-islam-and-some-misconceptions/

>>>>>> <>  Hmmm,,,,, some of the US teens are of the Israeli illegal and legal settlers,,,,

US TEENS Join Hardline Israel Settlers

(Newser Summary) – Young Americans are joining a movement of hardline Jewish settlers who vow to battle both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants to protect West Bank settlements, Matt McAllester writes in Details. Tired of pleading and rock-throwing, they say they plan to fight fire with fire, shooting at Israeli troops, if necessary, and bombing Palestinians. “If they use violence, then we’re justified doing the same,” says a 21-year-old Brooklynite. “A lot of kids have got no authority, just them and God out there on the hills,” says an older settler.

“I very much believe I’m a threat to my own government,” says a 15-year-old Israeli who grew up in New Rochelle, New York, now in a militant group called Hilltop Youth.  “There will be no giving up.”  Others advocate destroying the mosque on the Temple Mount to spark an all-out Arab-Israeli war, which would no doubt draw in US forces. Quips one settler: “How does it feel to meet a Jewish terrorist?”—Neal Colgrass

http://www.newser.com/story/66967/us-teens-join-hardline-israeli-settlers.html

> excerpts from original article:

AMERICAN TEENS ARE FIGHTING BACK IN ISRAEL

U.S. kids aren’t going to Israel just to live on a kibbutz these days—some of these are willing to take on the Israeli military in the West Bank

… There are now more than a quarter of a million Jewish settlers living among almost 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank—and many of the radicals resisting Obama’s wishes are American. The approximately 100,000 U.S. immigrants in the West Bank and Israel have been influential from the beginning of the movement, and many of them have been among the most extreme of the pioneers: Kahane founded a political party that was deemed racist and banned from the Knesset before he was assassinated in Manhattan in 1990; Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein shot dead 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994; and a group of settlers in Hebron, whose spokesman is New Jersey–born David Wilder, was involved in a violent confrontation with the Israeli military last year….

…”God’s with me,” he says. “This land has been ours forever.”…
… Like many other hard-line settlers, Lenny is not hesitant to express views that most Israelis would consider abhorrent.

….”I want them to bomb all of Gaza, even if they kill all the civilians,” Lenny says. “You have to firebomb all of Gaza and not let one Jew get hurt.”….

….”We can erase them in no time,” Yehuda says of the Palestinians. “But the government won’t let us do it.”….

…”How does it feel to meet a Jewish terrorist?” asks Yekutiel Ben Yaakov, the guard-dog trainer, laughing, when we meet at a café in the large settlement of Ariel. ….

http://men.style.com/details/features/full?id=content_10397

<> Website of note: Volunteering in Israel Defense Forces for overseas enthusiast from USA, UK etc is very easy and facilitated now, just visit: Mahal IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Volunteers org

Mahal IDF Volunteers org (how to volunteer for Israel Defense Forces)

Some excepts “….The following programs enable young Jews from all over the world to volunteer for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). The programs aim to contribute to Israel’s defense and to provide experienced and enthusiastic young leaders for Jewish communities…..

…Mahal-IDF-Volunteers.org statistics: 150,630 visits and 3,091,841 hits in the last 12 months – Mar 16, 2009….

…. Ministry of Defense/IDF rule allowing the enlistment of those non-Israelis through the IDF Mahal programs (i.e. without acquiring Israeli citizenship) who do not qualify for regular Mahal due to their close link to Israel – details here. – July 17, 2008….”

http://www.mahal-idf-volunteers.org/

Volunteering Step-by-Step [i.e. non-Israeli overseas

enthusiasts  for IDF Israeli Defense Force]

[i.e. from overseas enthusiasts Volunteering in Israel Defense Forces] Mahal IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Volunteers org

The informations on this page refers to overseas non-Israeli volunteers eligible for the Mahal, Mahal Nahal Haredi and Mahal Hesder IDF programs. The process for overseas Israelis is similar…..

http://www.mahal-idf-volunteers.org/about/stepbystep.htm

<>

<>

<>

Q.

What is the White Elephant in the Nuclear Negotiation Room whose existence no one is willing to  even admit:

A.

Israel has refused inspection of its nuclear facilities for 30 Years!!!

ElBaradei says nuclear Israel number one threat to Mideast: report
www.chinaview.cn 2009-10-04 22:44:00
TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that “Israel is number one threat to Middle East” with its nuclear arms, the official IRNA news agency reported.At a joint press conference with Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30years, the report said.”Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East given the nuclear arms it possesses,” ElBaradei was quoted as saying.Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear capabilities, although it refuses to confirm or deny the allegation.”This (possession of nuclear arms) was the cause for some proper measures to gain access to its (Israel’s) power plants … and the U.S. president has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen,” said ElBaradei.

ElBaradei arrived in Iran Saturday for talks with Iranian officials over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Leaders of the United States, France and Britain have condemned Iran’s alleged deception to the international community involving covert activities in its new underground nuclear site.

Last month, Iran confirmed that it is building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near its northwestern city of Qom. In reaction, the IAEA asked Tehran to provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

On Sunday, ElBaradei said the UN nuclear watchdog would inspect Iran’s new uranium plant near Qom on Oct. 25.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/04/content_12181647.htm

September 29, 2009

Chutzpah, Thy Name Is Israel

Posted by David Kramer on September 29, 2009 02:18 PM

ISRAEL ‘DEPLORES’ IAEA CALL TO JOIN NPT

The Israeli government has officially said that it “deplores” the vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states to call on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and submit their nuclear facilities to the same oversight as the rest of the world does. The vote narrowly passed, 49-45, and was generally opposed by Western nations while being supported by UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China, as well as most of the nations in the Middle East. The United States ambassador Glyn Davies publicly rejected the resolution, calling it “redundant” and claiming that calling on Israel to join the NPT as every other nation in the Middle East has unfairly singled them out.

The issue of Israel as a nuclear power and a non-signatory of the NPT has been controversial, and when a US State Department official said in May that the US wanted everyone to join the NPT Israel reacted with shock and outrage.

I guess as far as Israel is concerned, it’s “NPT for thee, but not for me.” Oh, but I keep forgetting—Israel “doesn’t have” any nuclear weapons.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/037662.html

<>

Israeli DM Rejects Nuclear Arms Ban, Citing Muslims

Barak Insists “There Can Be No Debate on Nuclear Disarmament”

by Jason Ditz, September 17, 2009

Email This | Print This | // Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted today that his government will not consider signing any treaty calling for a nuclear-free Middle East because of the “unruly” nature of the Muslim nations in the region.

Ehud Barak

Until the Muslim world from Marakesh (Morocco) to Bangladesh behaves like Western Europe, there can be no debate on nuclear disarmament,” Barak declared in an editorial published by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israel is actually the only country in the Middle East which possesses a nuclear arsenal, though it only occasionally admits that this is the case. The nation launched a 1981 attack on Iraq over suspicions it might be attempting to acquire a nuclear weapon. It has already repeatedly threatened to attack Iran over its civilian nuclear program.

The IAEA assembly voted 100-1 today to support a nuclear free Middle East, with only Israel voting against the draft. The United States abstained though it insists that it supports the idea.

http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/17/israeli-dm-rejects-nuclear-arms-ban-citing-muslims/

Israel ‘Deplores’ IAEA Call to Join NPT

US Rejects Vote, Canada Tries to Block Resolution

by Jason Ditz, September 18, 2009

Email This | Print This | // Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum

The Israeli government has officially said that it “deplores” the vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states to call on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and submit their nuclear facilities to the same oversight as the rest of the world does.

The vote narrowly passed, 49-45, and was generally opposed by Western nations while being supported by UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China, as well as most of the nations in the Middle East.

The United States ambassador Glyn Davies publicly rejected the resolution, calling it “redundant” and claiming that calling on Israel to join the NPT as every other nation in the Middle East has unfairly singled them out.

Canada went one step further, trying to block the vote entirely and condemning it as “unbalanced.” Votes on similar resolutions had been successfully blocked in 2007 and 2008, but this year’s attempt at blocking it failed.

The issue of Israel as a nuclear power and a non-signatory of the NPT has been controversial, and when a US State Department official said in May that the US wanted everyone to join the NPT Israel reacted with shock and outrage.

Related Stories

http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/18/israel-deplores-iaea-call-to-join-npt/

Below: Nuclear Explosion

nuke

Nuclear Explosion at Bikini Atoll Above: Nuclear Explosion “experiment” at Bikini Atoll

Damage13-hiroshima-c

Above: Some of the Devastation from the Atomic Bomb in Japan in 1945:

In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second. Some 13 square kilometres of the city were obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries. Three days after Hiroshima’s destruction, the US dropped an Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out. Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births, etc etc.

<>

<>

SECRET US-ISRAEL ACCORD to HIDE

ISRAELI NUKES!

EXCLUSIVE:

Secret U.S.-Israel nuclear accord in jeopardy

Eli Lake Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EXCLUSIVE:

President Obama’s efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel’s nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials and nuclear specialists say.

The issue will likely come to a head when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mr. Obama on May 18 in Washington. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to seek assurances from Mr. Obama that he will uphold the U.S. commitment and will not trade Israeli nuclear concessions for Iranian ones.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, speaking Tuesday at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Israel should join the treaty, which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

“Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, … remains a fundamental objective of the United States,” Ms. Gottemoeller told the meeting, according to Reuters.

RELATED MATERIAL:
• Sidebar: America has protected Israeli nuke program for 40 years
• Click here to see the National Security Archives at George Washington University.
• Click here to download the May 4 statement by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee of 2010 NPT Review Conference.
• Click here to download a PDF of a memo that has been declassified by the Nixon library.

She declined to say, however, whether the Obama administration would press Israel to join the treaty.

A senior White House official said the administration considered the nuclear programs of Israel and Iran to be unrelated “apples and oranges.”

Asked by The Washington Times whether the administration would press Israel to join the NPT, the official said, “We support universal adherence to the NPT. [It] remains a long-term goal.”

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Avner Cohen, author of “Israel and the Bomb” and the leading expert outside the Israeli government on the history of Israel’s nuclear program, said Mr. Obama’s “upcoming meeting with Netanyahu, due to the impending discussions with Iran, will be a platform for Israel to ask for reassurances that old understandings on the nuclear issue are still valid.”

For the past 40 years, Israel and the U.S. have kept quiet about an Israeli nuclear arsenal that is now estimated at 80 to 200 weapons. Israel has promised not to test nuclear weapons while the U.S. has not pressed Israel to sign the nuclear NPT, which permits only five countries – the U.S., France, Britain, China and Russia – to have nuclear arms.

The U.S. also has opposed most regional calls for a “nuclear-free Middle East.” The accord was forged at a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Nixon on Sept. 25, 1969, according to recently released documents, but remains so secret that there is no explicit record of it. Mr. Cohen has referred to the deal as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” because it commits both the U.S. and Israel never to acknowledge in public Israels nuclear arsenal.

When asked what the Obama administration’s position was on the 1969 understanding, the senior White House official offered no comment.

Over the years, demands for Israel to come clean have multiplied.

The Iran factor

Iranian leaders have long complained about being subjected to a double standard that allows non-NPT members India and Pakistan, as well as Israel, to maintain and even increase their nuclear arsenals but sanctions Tehran, an NPT member, for not cooperating fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign MinisterMohammad Ali Hosseini told a U.N. meeting preparing for a major review of the NPT next year that nuclear cooperation by the U.S., France and Britain with Israel is “in total disregard with the obligations under the treaty and commitments undertaken in 1995 and 2000, and a source of real concern for the international community, especially the parties to the treaty in the Middle East.”

The Obama administration is seeking talks with Iran on its nuclear program and has dropped a precondition for negotiations that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment program.

“What the Israelis sense, rightly, is that Obama wants to do something new on Iran and this may very well involve doing something new about Israel’s program,” said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a Washington think tank.

Bruce Riedel, a former senior director for the Middle East and South Asia on the White House National Security Council, said, “If you’re really serious about a deal with Iran, Israel has to come out of the closet. A policy based on fiction and double standards is bound to fail sooner or later. What’s remarkable is that it’s lasted so long.” Mr. Riedel headed the Obama administration’s review of strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan but does not hold a permanent administration position and has returned to private life as a scholar at the Brookings Institution.

The open secret

Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser for the George W. Bush administration, said that administration resisted international efforts to pressure Israel on the nuclear front.

“We did not want to accept any operational language that would put Israel at a disadvantage and raise the question of whether Israel was a nuclear power,” he said. “That was not a discussion that we thought was helpful. We allowed very general statements about the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East as long that language was hortatory.”

Israel began its nuclear program shortly after the state was founded in 1948 and produced its first weapons, according to Mr. Cohen’s book, on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli defense doctrine considers the nuclear arsenal to be a strategic deterrent against extinction. But its nuclear monopoly is increasingly jeopardized by Iranian advances and the possibility that Iran’s program could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.

Israel’s arsenal has also been an open secret for decades, despite the fact that Israeli law forbids Israeli journalists from referring to the state’s nuclear weapons unless they quote non-Israeli sources.

In 1986, the Israeli nuclear scientist, Mordecai Vanunu disclosed in the Sunday Times of London photographs and the first insider account of Dimona, the location of Israels primary nuclear facility. Israel responded by convicting him of treason. He was released in 2004 after spending 18 years in prison but has continued to talk about the program on occasion. The government has barred Mr. Vanunu from leaving Israel.

‘Nuclear-free’ zone

References to a “nuclear-free Middle East,” meanwhile, have cropped up increasingly in international resolutions and conferences. For example, the 1991 U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, which sanctioned Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, noted “the objective of achieving balanced and comprehensive control of armaments in the region.” More recently, a March 2006 IAEA resolution, in referring Iran to the Security Council, noted “that a solution to the Iranian issue would contribute to global nonproliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.”

U.S. allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia also have pressed the U.S. to link Israel’s weapons to Iran’s as part of a plan to implement a nuclear-free Middle East.

A proposal to introduce a Security Council resolution declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone and calling for sanctions against those countries that did not comply was broached in a 2006 strategic dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the United States, said Turki al-Faisal, who was Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

“When I talked to American officials about that when I was ambassador here, and before that to British officials in the U.K., the immediate response was, ‘Israel is not going to accept,’ ” Prince Turki told editors and reporters of The Washington Times last month. “And my immediate response was, ‘So what?’ If Israel doesnt accept, it doesnt mean its a bad idea.”

A balancing act

Mr. Netanyahu, whose meeting with Mr. Obama on May 18 will be the first since both took office, raised the issue of the nuclear understanding during a previous tenure as prime minister.

Israeli journalists and officials said Mr. Netanyahu asked for a reaffirmation and clarification of the Nixon-Meir understanding in 1998 at Wye River, where the U.S. mediated an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu wanted a personal commitment from President Clinton because of concerns about a treaty that Mr. Clinton supported to bar production of fissile materials that can be used to make weapons. Israel was worried that the treaty would apply to de facto nuclear states, including Israel, and might oblige it to allow inspections of Dimona.

In 2000, Israeli journalist Aluf Benn disclosed that Mr. Clinton at Wye River promised Mr. Netanyahu that “Israels nuclear capability will be preserved.” Mr. Benn described as testy an exchange of letters between the two leaders over the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. He said Mr. Netanyahu wrote Mr. Clinton: “We will never sign the treaty, and do not delude yourselves – no pressure will help. We will not sign the treaty because we will not commit suicide.”

The Bush administration largely dropped the treaty in its first term and reopened negotiations in its second term with a proposal that did not include verification.

The Obama agenda

Mr. Obama has made nuclear disarmament a bigger priority in part to undercut Iran’s and North Korea’s rationale for proliferation. His administration has begun negotiations with Russia on a new treaty to reduce U.S. and Russian arsenals. He also has expressed support for the fissile material treaty.

“To cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons,” he said last month in Prague. “If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade materials that create them.”

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank, said such a treaty would be the first step toward limiting the Israeli nuclear program.

“The question is how much of a priority is this for the Obama administration?” he said.

John R. Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador and undersecretary of state, said Israel was right to be concerned.

“If I were the Israeli government, I would be very worried about the Obama administration’s attitude on their nuclear deterrent,” he said. “You can barely raise the subject of nuclear weapons in the Middle East without someone saying: ‘What about Israel?’ If Israel’s opponents put it on the table, it is entirely possible Obama will pick it up.”

Asked about the issue, Jonathan Peled, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said, “We don’t discuss the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel.” The White House had no immediate comment.

However, Ms. Gottemoeller endorsed the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East in a 2005 paper that she co-authored, “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.”

“Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,” she wrote.

The paper recommends that Israel take steps to disarm in exchange for its neighbors getting rid of chemical and biological weapons programs as well as Iran forgoing uranium enrichment.

• Barbara Slavin and Erin Spiegel contributed to this report from Washington.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/us-weighs-forcing-israel-to-disclose-nukes//print/

<>

<>

America has protected Israeli nuke program for 40 years

By Eli Lake

The origins of the U.S. shield of Israel’s nuclear program date to a 1969 summit between President Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, documents released in the past few years show.

There is no one piece of paper that actually describes the accord. However, the closest acknowledgment of the deal came in 2007, when the Nixon Library declassified many of the papers of former National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. A July 7, 1969, memorandum to Mr. Nixon titled, “Israeli Nuclear Program,” said that by the end of 1970, Israel would likely have 24 to 30 French surface-to-surface missiles, 10 of which would have nuclear warheads.

Mr. Kissinger, who later became secretary of state, wrote that ideally, the U.S. would prefer Israel to have no nuclear weapons, but that was not attainable.

He added that “public knowleadge is almost as dangerous as possession itself,” arguing that an Israeli announcement of its arsenal or a nuclear test could prompt the Soviet Union to offer Arab states a nuclear guarantee.

“What this means is that: While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact,” Mr. Kissinger wrote.

In December 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted publicly at this reality.

Responding to a question about the Iranian program in light of Israels nuclear arsenal, he said: “Israel is a democracy, Israel doesn’t threaten any country with anything, never did. The most that we tried to get for ourselves is to try to live without terror, but we never threaten another nation with annihilation. Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/america-has-protected-israeli-nuke-program-for-40-/

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Wait a minute!!!!

Isn’t the USA prohibited by law from providing funds to countries engaged in nuclear proliferation?

YES it is ,,,

Nevertheless billions go to Israel in aid every year, and it is the largest recipient of USA aid: EVERY YEAR!

US Taxpayers money, again US law (unless the president want to circumvent it of course, his prerogative), and the stated US policy of nuclear non-proliferation.

Hmm,,,

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Nuclear weapons and Israel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

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Israeli Nukes, US Foreign Aid and the Symington Amendment

(i.e. “strategic ambiguity” meaning, sort of like don’t ask don’t tell policy)

Documents

The following document case file reveals the slow decline of  the policy of “strategic ambiguity” whereby US and Israeli officials deny the existence of the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal in order to continue unfettered US military aid.

Document/File Date Contents
1960 (PDF) CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate released on June 5, 2009.  Israel’s nukes and role in foreign policy “assertiveness.””Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence, and assertiveness…Israel would be less inclined than ever to make concessions…”
1963 President John F. Kennedy insists on US inspections of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in a secret letter to Prime Minister Levi Eskol.
1970 Treaty on the Non proliferation of Nuclear Weapons enters into force.
1976 The US passes the Symington Amendment of  1976. Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
1977 Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to aid to countries that import reprocessing technology.
1986 The Sunday Times publishes “The secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal/ Atomic technician Mordechai Vanunu reveals secret weapons production.”
2008 Former president Jimmy Carter names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.
2008 The US Army names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.
2009 AIPAC and ZOA lobby for $2.775 billion in US military aid for Israel
2009 Congress advised (via fax) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment.
2009 President Barak Obama advised (via letter) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment

http://www.irmep.org/ila/nukes/

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THE THIRD TEMPLE’S HOLY OF HOLIES:


ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army

The Counterproliferation Papers

Future Warfare Series No. 2

USAF Counterproliferation Center

Air War College

Air University

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

September 1999

The Counterproliferation Papers Series was established by the USAF Counterproliferation Center to provide information and analysis to U.S. national security policy-makers and USAF officers to assist them in countering the threat posed by adversaries equipped with weapons of mass destruction.  Copies of papers in this series are available from the USAF Counterproliferation Center, 325 Chennault Circle, Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6427.  The fax number is (334) 953-7538; phone (334) 953-7538.

Counterproliferation Paper No. 2
USAF Counterproliferation Center
Air War College

Air University
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama 36112-6427

The internet address for the USAF Counterproliferation Center is:
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-cps.htm

Contents:

Page

Disclaimer i

The Author ii

Acknowledgments iii

Abstract iv

I.  Introduction 1

II.  1948-1962:  With French Cooperation 3

III.  1963-1973:  Seeing the Project Through to Completion 9

IV.  1974-1999:  Bringing the Bomb Up the Basement Stairs 15

Appendix:  Estimates of the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal 23

Notes 25

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this publication are those solely of the author and are not a statement of official policy or position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, or the USAF Counterproliferation Center.

The Author

Colonel Warner D. “Rocky” Farr, Medical Corps, Master Flight Surgeon, U.S. Army, graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama before becoming the Command Surgeon, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He also serves as the Surgeon for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.  With thirty-three years of military service, he holds an Associate of Arts from the State University of New York, Bachelor of Science from Northeast Louisiana University, Doctor of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Masters of Public Health from the University of Texas, and has completed medical residencies in aerospace medicine, and anatomic and clinical pathology.  He is the only army officer to be board certified in these three specialties.  Solo qualified in the TH-55A Army helicopter, he received flight training in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft as part of his USAF School of Aerospace Medicine residency.

Colonel Farr was a Master Sergeant Special Forces medic prior to receiving a direct commission to second lieutenant.  He is now the senior Special Forces medical officer in the U.S. Army with prior assignments in the 5th, 7th, and 10th Special Forces Groups (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in Vietnam, the United States, and Germany.  He has advised the 12th and 20th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) in the reserves and national guard, served as Division Surgeon, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), and as the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the assistance, guidance and encouragement from my Air War College (AWC) faculty research advisor, Dr. Andrew Terrill, instructor of the Air War College Arab-Israeli Wars course.  Thanks are also due to the great aid of the Air University librarians.  The author is also indebted to Captain J. R. Saunders, USN and Colonel Robert Sutton, USAF. Who also offered helpful suggestions.

Abstract

This paper is a history of the Israeli nuclear weapons program drawn from a review of unclassified sources.  Israel began its search for nuclear weapons at the inception of the state in 1948.  As payment for Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, France provided nuclear expertise and constructed a reactor complex for Israel at Dimona capable of large-scale plutonium production and reprocessing.  The United States discovered the facility by 1958 and it was a subject of continual discussions between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers.  Israel used delay and deception to at first keep the United States at bay, and later used the nuclear option as a bargaining chip for a consistent American conventional arms supply.  After French disengagement in the early 1960s, Israel progressed on its own, including through several covert operations, to project completion. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices.  By the 1973 Yom Kippur War Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered using them.  The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons.  Israel has most probably conducted several nuclear bomb tests.  They have continued to modernize and vertically proliferate and are now one of the world’s larger nuclear powers.  Using “bomb in the basement” nuclear opacity, Israel has been able to use its arsenal as a deterrent to the Arab world while not technically violating American nonproliferation requirements.

The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies:
Israel’s Nuclear Weapons

Warner D. Farr

I. Introduction

This is the end of the Third Temple.

– Attributed to Moshe Dayan

during the Yom Kippur War[1]

As Zionists in Palestine watched World War II from their distant sideshow, what lessons were learned?  The soldiers of the Empire of Japan vowed on their emperor’s sacred throne to fight to the death and not face the inevitability of an American victory.  Many Jews wondered if the Arabs would try to push them into the Mediterranean Sea.  After the devastating American nuclear attack on Japan, the soldier leaders of the empire reevaluated their fight to the death position.  Did the bomb give the Japanese permission to surrender and live?  It obviously played a military role, a political role, and a peacemaking role.  How close was the mindset of the Samurai culture to the Islamic culture?  Did David Ben-Gurion take note and wonder if the same would work for Israel?[2]  Could Israel find the ultimate deterrent that would convince her opponents that they could never, ever succeed?  Was Israel’s ability to cause a modern holocaust the best way to guarantee never having another one?

The use of unconventional weapons in the Middle East is not new.  The British had used chemical artillery shells against the Turks at the second battle of Gaza in 1917.  They continued chemical shelling against the Shiites in Iraq in 1920 and used aerial chemicals in the 1920s and 1930s in Iraq.[3]

Israel’s involvement with nuclear technology starts at the founding of the state in 1948.  Many talented Jewish scientists immigrated to Palestine during the thirties and forties, in particular, Ernst David Bergmann.  He would become the director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and the founder of Israel’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.  Bergmann, a close friend and advisor of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, counseled that nuclear energy could compensate for Israel’s poor natural resources and small pool of military manpower.  He pointed out that there was just one nuclear energy, not two, suggesting nuclear weapons were part of the plan.[4]  As early as 1948, Israeli scientists actively explored the Negev Desert for uranium deposits on orders from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.  By 1950, they found low-grade deposits near Beersheba and Sidon and worked on a low power method of heavy water production.[5]

The newly created Weizmann Institute of Science actively supported nuclear research by 1949, with Dr. Bergmann heading the chemistry division.  Promising students went overseas to study nuclear engineering and physics at Israeli government expense.  Israel secretly founded its own Atomic Energy Commission in 1952 and placed it under the control of the Defense Ministry.[6]   The foundations of a nuclear program were beginning to develop.

II. 1948-1962: With French Cooperation

It has always been our intention to develop a nuclear potential.

– Ephraim Katzir[7]

In 1949, Francis Perrin, a member of the French Atomic Energy Commission, nuclear physicist, and friend of Dr. Bergmann visited the Weizmann Institute.  He invited Israeli scientists to the new French nuclear research facility at Saclay.  A joint research effort was subsequently set up between the two nations.  Perrin publicly stated in 1986 that French scientists working in America on the Manhattan Project and in Canada during World War II were told they could use their knowledge in France provided they kept it a secret.[8]  Perrin reportedly provided nuclear data to Israel on the same basis.[9] One Israeli scientist worked at the U.S. Los Alamos National Laboratory and may have directly brought expertise home.[10]

After the Second World War, France’s nuclear research capability was quite limited.  France had been a leading research center in nuclear physics before World War II, but had fallen far behind the U.S., the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and even Canada.  Israel and France were at a similar level of expertise after the war, and Israeli scientists could make significant contributions to the French effort.  Progress in nuclear science and technology in France and Israel remained closely linked throughout the early fifties.  Israeli scientists probably helped construct the G-1 plutonium production reactor and UP-1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule.[11]  France profited from two Israeli patents on heavy water production and low-grade uranium enrichment.[12]  In the 1950s and into the early 1960s, France and Israel had close relations in many areas.  France was Israel’s principal arms supplier, and as instability spread through French colonies in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained from contacts with sephardic Jews in those countries.

The two nations collaborated, with the United Kingdom, in planning and staging the Suez Canal-Sinai operation against Egypt in October 1956.  The Suez Crisis became the real genesis of Israel’s nuclear weapons production program.  With the Czech-Egyptian arms agreement in 1955, Israel became worried.  When absorbed, the Soviet-bloc equipment would triple Egyptian military strength.  After Egypt’s President Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran in 1953, Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion ordered the development of chemical munitions and other unconventional munitions, including nuclear.[13]  Six weeks before the Suez Canal operation, Israel felt the time was right to approach France for assistance in building a nuclear reactor.  Canada had set a precedent a year earlier when it had agreed to build a 40-megawatt CIRUS reactor in India.  Shimon Peres, the Director-General of the Defense Ministry and aide to Prime Minister (and Defense Minister) David Ben-Gurion, and Bergmann met with members of the CEA (France’s Atomic Energy Commission).  During September 1956, they reached an initial understanding to provide a research reactor.  The two countries concluded final agreements at a secret meeting outside Paris where they also finalized details of the Suez Canal operation.[14]

For the United Kingdom and France, the Suez operation, launched on October 29, 1956, was a total disaster.  Israel’s part was a military success, allowing it to occupy the entire Sinai Peninsula by 4 November, but the French and British canal invasion on 6 November was a political failure.  Their attempt to advance south along the Suez Canal stopped due to a cease-fire under fierce Soviet and U.S. pressure.  Both nations pulled out, leaving Israel to face the pressure from the two superpowers alone.  Soviet Premier Bulganin and President Khrushchev issued an implicit threat of nuclear attack if Israel did not withdraw from the Sinai.

On 7 November 1956, a secret meeting was held between Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and French foreign and defense ministers Christian Pineau and Maurice Bourges-Manoury.  The French, embarrassed by their failure to support their ally in the operation, found the Israelis deeply concerned about a Soviet threat.  In this meeting, they substantially modified the initial understanding beyond a research reactor.  Peres secured an agreement from France to assist Israel in developing a nuclear deterrent.  After further months of negotiation, agreement was reached for an 18-megawatt (thermal) research reactor of the EL-3 type, along with plutonium separation technology.  France and Israel signed the agreement in October 1957.[15]  Later the reactor was officially upgraded to 24 megawatts, but the actual specifications issued to engineers provided for core cooling ducts sufficient for up to three times this power level, along with a plutonium plant of similar capacity.  Data from insider reports revealed in 1986 would estimate the power level at 125-150 megawatts.[16]  The reactor, not connected to turbines for power production, needed this increase in size only to increase its plutonium production.  How this upgrade came about remains unknown, but Bourges-Maunoury, replacing Mollet as French prime minister, may have contributed to it.[17]  Shimon Peres, the guiding hand in the Israeli nuclear program, had a close relationship with Bourges-Maunoury and probably helped him politically.[18]

Why was France so eager to help Israel?  DeMollet and then de Gaulle had a place for Israel within their strategic vision.  A nuclear Israel could be a counterforce against Egypt in France’s fight in Algeria.  Egypt was openly aiding the rebel forces there.  France also wanted to obtain the bomb itself.  The United States had embargoed certain nuclear enabling computer technology from France.  Israel could get the technology from America and pass it through to France.  The U.S. furnished Israel heavy water, under the Atoms for Peace program, for the small research reactor at Soreq.  France could use this heavy water.  Since France was some years away from nuclear testing and success, Israeli science was an insurance policy in case of technical problems in France’s own program.[19]  The Israeli intelligence community’s knowledge of past French (especially Vichy) anti-Semitic transgressions and the continued presence of former Nazi collaborators in French intelligence provided the Israelis with some blackmail opportunities.[20]  The cooperation was so close that Israel worked with France on the preproduction design of early Mirage jet aircraft, designed to be capable of delivering nuclear bombs.[21]

French experts secretly built the Israeli reactor underground at Dimona, in the Negev desert of southern Israel near Beersheba.  Hundreds of French engineers and technicians filled Beersheba, the biggest town in the Negev.  Many of the same contractors who built Marcoule were involved.  SON (a French firm) built the plutonium separation plants in both France and Israel.  The ground was broken for the EL-102 reactor (as it was known to France) in early 1958.

Israel used many subterfuges to conceal activity at Dimona.  It called the plant a manganese plant, and rarely, a textile plant.  The United States by the end of 1958 had taken pictures of the project from U-2 spy planes, and identified the site as a probable reactor complex.  The concentration of Frenchmen was also impossible to hide from ground observers.  In 1960, before the reactor was operating, France, now under the leadership of de Gaulle, reconsidered and decided to suspend the project.  After several months of negotiation, they reached an agreement in November that allowed the reactor to proceed if Israel promised not to make nuclear weapons and to announce the project to the world.  Work on the plutonium reprocessing plant halted.  On 2 December 1960, before Israel could make announcements, the U.S. State Department issued a statement that Israel had a secret nuclear installation.  By 16 December, this became public knowledge with its appearance in the New York Times.  On 21 December, Ben-Gurion announced that Israel was building a 24-megawatt reactor “for peaceful purposes.”[22]

Over the next year, relations between the U.S. and Israel became strained over the Dimona reactor.  The U.S. accepted Israel’s assertions at face value publicly, but exerted pressure privately.  Although Israel allowed a cursory inspection by well known American physicists Eugene Wigner and I. I. Rabi, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion consistently refused to allow regular international inspections.  The final resolution between the U.S. and Israel was a commitment from Israel to use the facility for peaceful purposes, and to admit an U.S. inspection team twice a year.  These inspections began in 1962 and continued until 1969.  Inspectors saw only the above ground part of the buildings, not the many levels underground and the visit frequency was never more than once a year.  The above ground areas had simulated control rooms, and access to the underground areas was kept hidden while the inspectors were present.  Elevators leading to the secret underground plutonium reprocessing plant were actually bricked over.[23]  Much of the information on these inspections and the political maneuvering around it has just been declassified.[24]

One interpretation of Ben-Gurion’s “peaceful purposes” pledge given to America is that he interpreted it to mean that nuclear weapon development was not excluded if used strictly for defensive, and not offensive purposes.  Israel’s security position in the late fifties and early sixties was far more precarious than now.  After three wars, with a robust domestic arms industry and a reliable defense supply line from the U.S., Israel felt much more secure.  During the fifties and early sixties a number of attempts by Israel to obtain security guarantees from the U.S. to place Israel under the U.S. nuclear umbrella like NATO or Japan, were unsuccessful.  If the U.S. had conducted a forward-looking policy to restrain Israel’s proliferation, along with a sure defense agreement, we could have prevented the development of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

One common discussion in the literature concerns testing of Israeli nuclear devices.  In the early phases, the amount of collaboration between the French and Israeli nuclear weapons design programs made testing unnecessary.  In addition, although their main efforts were with plutonium, the Israelis may have amassed enough uranium for gun-assembled type bombs which, like the Hiroshima bomb, require no testing.  One expert postulated, based on unnamed sources, that the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one—such was the depth of collaboration.]25]   There were several Israeli observers at the French nuclear tests and the Israelis had “unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data.”[26]    Israel also supplied essential technology and hardware.[27]  The French reportedly shipped reprocessed plutonium back to Israel as part of their repayment for Israeli scientific help.

However, this constant, decade long, French cooperation and support was soon to end and Israel would have to go it alone.

III. 1963-1973: Seeing the Project to Completion

To act in such a way that the Jews who died in the gas chambers would be the last Jews to die without defending themselves.

– Golda Meir[28 ]

Israel would soon need its own, independent, capabilities to complete its nuclear program.  Only five countries had facilities for uranium enrichment: the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China.  The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, or NUMEC, in Apollo, Pennsylvania was a small fuel rod fabrication plant.  In 1965, the U.S. government accused Dr. Zalman Shapiro, the corporation president, of “losing” 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium.  Although investigated by the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies and inquiring reporters, no answers were available in what was termed the Apollo Affair.[29]   Many remain convinced that the Israelis received 200 pounds of enriched uranium sometime before 1965.[30]  One source links Rafi Eitan, an Israeli Mossad agent and later the handler of spy Jonathan Pollard, with NUMEC.[31]   In the 1990s when the NUMEC plant was disassembled, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found over 100 kilograms of plutonium in the structural components of the contaminated plant, casting doubt on 200 pounds going to Israel.[32]

The joint venture with France gave Israel several ingredients for nuclear weapons construction: a production reactor, a factory to extract plutonium from the spent fuel, and the design.  In 1962, the Dimona reactor went critical; the French resumed work on the underground plutonium reprocessing plant, and completed it in 1964 or 1965.  The acquisition of this reactor and related technologies was clearly intended for military purposes from the outset (not “dual-use”), as the reactor has no other function.  The security at Dimona (officially the Negev Nuclear Research Center) was particularly stringent.  For straying into Dimona’s airspace, the Israelis shot down one of their own Mirage fighters during the Six-Day War.  The Israelis also shot down a Libyan airliner with 104 passengers, in 1973, which had strayed over the Sinai.[33]  There is little doubt that some time in the late sixties Israel became the sixth nation to manufacture nuclear weapons.  Other things they needed were extra uranium and extra heavy water to run the reactor at a higher rate.  Norway, France, and the United States provided the heavy water and “Operation Plumbat” provided the uranium.

After the 1967 war, France stopped supplies of uranium to Israel.  These supplies were from former French colonies of Gabon, Niger, and the Central Africa Republic.[34]  Israel had small amounts of uranium from Negev phosphate mines and had bought some from Argentina and South Africa, but not in the large quantities supplied by the French.  Through a complicated undercover operation, the Israelis obtained uranium oxide, known as yellow cake, held in a stockpile in Antwerp.  Using a West German front company and a high seas transfer from one ship to another in the Mediterranean, they obtained 200 tons of yellow cake.  The smugglers labeled the 560 sealed oil drums “Plumbat,” which means lead, hence “Operation Plumbat.”[35]  The West German government may have been involved directly but remained undercover to avoid antagonizing the Soviets or Arabs.[36]  Israeli intelligence information on the Nazi past of some West German officials may have provided the motivation.[37]

Norway sold 20 tons of heavy water to Israel in 1959 for use in an experimental power reactor.  Norway insisted on the right to inspect the heavy water for 32 years, but did so only once, in April 1961, while it was still in storage barrels at Dimona.  Israel simply promised that the heavy water was for peaceful purposes.  In addition, quantities much more than what would be required for the peaceful purpose reactors were imported.  Norway either colluded or at the least was very slow to ask to inspect as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules required.[38]  Norway and Israel concluded an agreement in 1990 for Israel to sell back 10.5 tons of the heavy water to Norway.  Recent calculations reveal that Israel has used two tons and will retain eight tons more.[39]

Author Seymour Hersh, writing in the Samson Option says Prime Minister Levi Eshkol delayed starting weapons production even after Dimona was finished.[40]  The reactor operated and the plutonium collected, but remained unseparated.  The first extraction of plutonium probably occurred in late 1965.  By 1966, enough plutonium was on hand to develop a weapon in time for the Six-Day War in 1967.  Some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, occurred on November 2, 1966.  After this time, considerable collaboration between Israel and South Africa developed and continued through the 1970s and 1980s.  South Africa became Israel’s primary supplier of uranium for Dimona. A Center for Nonproliferation Studies report lists four separate Israel-South Africa “clandestine nuclear deals.”  Three concerned yellowcake and one was tritium.[41]  Other sources of yellowcake may have included Portugal.[42]

Egypt attempted unsuccessfully to obtain nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union both before and after the Six-Day War.  President Nasser received from the Soviet Union a questionable nuclear guarantee instead and declared that Egypt would develop its own nuclear program.[43 ] His rhetoric of 1965 and 1966 about preventive war and Israeli nuclear weapons coupled with overflights of the Dimona rector contributed to the tensions that led to war.  The Egyptian Air Force claims to have first overflown Dimona and recognized the existence of a nuclear reactor in 1965.[44 ] Of the 50 American HAWK antiaircraft missiles in Israeli hands, half ringed Dimona by 1965.[45]   Israel considered the Egyptian overflights of May 16, 1967 as possible pre-strike reconnaissance.  One source lists such Egyptian overflights, along with United Nations peacekeeper withdrawal and Egyptian troop movements into the Sinai, as one of the three “tripwires” which would drive Israel to war.[46]  There was an Egyptian military plan to attack Dimona at the start of any war but Nasser vetoed it.[47]  He believed Israel would have the bomb in 1968.[48]  Israel assembled two nuclear bombs and ten days later went to war.[49]  Nasser’s plan, if he had one, may have been to gain and consolidate territorial gains before Israel had a nuclear option.[50]  He was two weeks too late.

The Israelis aggressively pursued an aircraft delivery system from the United States.  President Johnson was less emphatic about nonproliferation than President Kennedy-or perhaps had more pressing concerns, such as Vietnam.  He had a long history of both Jewish friends and pressing political contributors coupled with some first hand experience of the Holocaust, having toured concentration camps at the end of World War II.[51]  Israel pressed him hard for aircraft (A-4E Skyhawks initially and F-4E Phantoms later) and obtained agreement in 1966 under the condition that the aircraft would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons.  The State Department attempted to link the aircraft purchases to continued inspection visits.  President Johnson overruled the State Department concerning Dimona inspections.[52]  Although denied at the time, America delivered the F-4Es, on September 5, 1969, with nuclear capable hardware intact.[53]

The Samson Option states that Moshe Dayan gave the go-ahead for starting weapon production in early 1968, putting the plutonium separation plant into full operation.  Israel began producing three to five bombs a year.  The book Critical Mass asserts that Israel had two bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel’s first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War.[54]  Avner Cohen in his recent book, Israel and the Bomb, agrees that Israel had a deliverable nuclear capability in the 1967 war.  He quotes Munya Mardor, leader of Rafael, the Armament Development Authority, and other unnamed sources, that Israel “cobbled together” two deliverable devices.[55]

Having the bomb meant articulating, even if secretly, a use doctrine.  In addition to the “Samson Option” of last resort, other triggers for nuclear use may have included successful Arab penetration of populated areas, destruction of the Israeli Air Force, massive air strikes or chemical/biological strikes on Israeli cities, and Arab use of nuclear weapons.[56]

In 1971, Israel began purchasing krytrons, ultra high-speed electronic switching tubes that are “dual-use,” having both industrial and nuclear weapons applications as detonators.  In the 1980s, the United States charged an American, Richard Smith (or Smyth), with smuggling 810 krytrons to Israel.[57]  He vanished before trial and reportedly lives outside Tel Aviv.  The Israelis apologized for the action saying that the krytrons were for medical research.[58]  Israel returned 469 of the krytrons but the rest, they declared, had been destroyed in testing conventional weapons.  Some believe they went to South Africa.[59]  Smyth has also been reported to have been involved in a 1972 smuggling operation to obtain solid rocket fuel binder compounds for the Jericho II missile and guidance component hardware.[60]  Observers point to the Jericho missile itself as proof of a nuclear capability as it is not suited to the delivery of conventional munitions.[61]

On the afternoon of 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in a coordinated surprise attack, beginning the Yom Kippur War.  Caught with only regular forces on duty, augmented by reservists with a low readiness level, Israeli front lines crumbled.  By early afternoon on 7 October, no effective forces were in the southern Golan Heights and Syrian forces had reached the edge of the plateau, overlooking the Jordan River.  This crisis brought Israel to its second nuclear alert.

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, obviously not at his best at a press briefing, was, according to Time magazine, rattled enough to later tell the prime minister that “this is the end of the third temple,” referring to an impending collapse of the state of Israel.  “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons.  Prime Minister Golda Meir and her “kitchen cabinet” made the decision on the night of 8 October.  The Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.  The number and in fact the entire story was later leaked by the Israelis as a great psychological warfare tool.  Although most probably plutonium devices, one source reports they were enriched uranium bombs.  The Jericho missiles at Hirbat Zachariah and the nuclear strike F-4s at Tel Nof were armed and prepared for action against Syrian and Egyptian targets.  They also targeted Damascus with nuclear capable long-range artillery although it is not certain they had nuclear artillery shells.[62]

U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was notified of the alert several hours later on the morning of 9 October.  The U.S. decided to open an aerial resupply pipeline to Israel, and Israeli aircraft began picking up supplies that day.  Although stockpile depletion remained a concern, the military situation stabilized on October 8th and 9th as Israeli reserves poured into the battle and averted disaster.  Well before significant American resupply had reached Israeli forces, the Israelis counterattacked and turned the tide on both fronts.

On 11 October, a counterattack on the Golan broke the back of Syria’s offensive, and on 15 and 16 October, Israel launched a surprise crossing of the Suez Canal into Africa.  Soon the Israelis encircled the Egyptian Third Army and it was faced with annihilation on the east bank of the Suez Canal, with no protective forces remaining between the Israeli Army and Cairo.  The first U.S. flights arrived on 14 October.[63]  Israeli commandos flew to Fort Benning, Georgia to train with the new American TOW anti-tank missiles and return with a C-130 Hercules aircraft full of them in time for the decisive Golan battle.  American commanders in Germany depleted their stocks of missiles, at that time only shared with the British and West Germans, and sent them forward to Israel.[64]

Thus started the subtle, opaque use of the Israeli bomb to ensure that the United States kept its pledge to maintain Israel’s conventional weapons edge over its foes.[65]  There is significant anecdotal evidence that Henry Kissinger told President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear.”[66]

A similar Soviet pipeline to the Arabs, equally robust, may or may not have included a ship with nuclear weapons on it, detected from nuclear trace emissions and shadowed by the Americans from the Dardanelles.  The Israelis believe that the Soviets discovered Israeli nuclear preparations from COSMOS satellite photographs and decided to equalize the odds.[67]  The Soviet ship arrived in Alexandria on either 18 or 23 October (sources disagree), and remained, without unloading, until November 1973.  The ship may have represented a Soviet guarantee to the Arab combatants to neutralize the Israeli nuclear option.[68]  While some others dismiss the story completely, the best-written review article concludes that the answer is “obscure.”  Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev threatened, on 24 October, to airlift Soviet airborne troops to reinforce the Egyptians cut off on the eastern side of the Suez Canal and put seven Soviet airborne divisions on alert.[69]  Recent evidence indicates that the Soviets sent nuclear missile submarines also.[70]  Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine claimed that the two Soviet SCUD brigades deployed in Egypt each had a nuclear warhead.  American satellite photos seemed to confirm this.  The U.S. passed to Israel images of trucks, of the type used to transport nuclear warheads, parked near the launchers.[71]  President Nixon’s response was to bring the U.S. to worldwide nuclear alert the next day, whereupon Israel went to nuclear alert a third time.[72]  This sudden crisis quickly faded as Prime Minister Meir agreed to a cease-fire, relieving the pressure on the Egyptian Third Army.

Shimon Peres had argued for a pre-war nuclear demonstration to deter the Arabs.  Arab strategies and war aims in 1967 may have been restricted because of a fear of the Israeli “bomb in the basement,” the undeclared nuclear option.  The Egyptians planned to capture an eastern strip next to the Suez Canal and then hold.  The Syrians did not aggressively commit more forces to battle or attempt to drive through the 1948 Jordan River border to the Israeli center.  Both countries seemed not to violate Israel proper and avoided triggering one of the unstated Israeli reasons to employ nuclear weapons.[73]  Others discount any Arab planning based on nuclear capabilities.[74]  Peres also credits Dimona with bringing Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem to make peace.[75]  This position was seemingly confirmed by Sadat in a private conversation with Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman.[76]

At the end of the Yom Kippur War (a nation shaking experience), Israel has her nuclear arsenal fully functional and tested by a deployment.  The arsenal, still opaque and unspoken, was no longer a secret, especially to the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

IV. 1974-1999: Bringing the Bomb up the Basement Stairs

Never Again!

– Reportedly welded on the
first Israeli nuclear bomb[77]

Shortly after the 1973 war, Israel allegedly fielded considerable nuclear artillery consisting of American 175 mm and 203 mm self-propelled artillery pieces, capable of firing nuclear shells.  If true, this shows that Dimona had rapidly solved the problems of designing smaller weapons since the crude 1967 devices.  If true, these low yield, tactical nuclear artillery rounds could reach at least 25 miles.  The Israeli Defense Force did have three battalions of the 175mm artillery (36 tubes), reportedly with 108 nuclear shells and more for the 203mm tubes.  Some sources describe a program to extend the range to 45 miles.  They may have offered the South Africans these low yield, miniaturized, shells described as, “the best stuff we got.”[78]  By 1976, according to one unclassified source, the Central Intelligence Agency believed that the Israelis were using plutonium from Dimona and had 10 to 20 nuclear weapons available.[79]

In 1972, two Israeli scientists, Isaiah Nebenzahl and Menacehm Levin, developed a cheaper, faster uranium enrichment process.  It used a laser beam for isotope separation.  It could reportedly enrich seven grams of Uranium 235 sixty percent in one day.[80]  Sources later reported that Israel was using both centrifuges and lasers to enrich uranium.[81]

Questions remained regarding full-scale nuclear weapons tests.  Primitive gun assembled type devices need no testing.  Researchers can test non-nuclear components of other types separately and use extensive computer simulations.  Israel received data from the 1960 French tests, and one source concludes that Israel accessed information from U.S. tests conducted in the 1950s and early 1960s.  This may have included both boosted and thermonuclear weapons data.[82]  Underground testing in a hollowed out cavern is difficult to detect.  A West Germany Army Magazine, Wehrtechnik, in June 1976, claimed that Western reports documented a 1963 underground test in the Negev.  Other reports show a test at Al-Naqab, Negev in October 1966.[83]

A bright flash in the south Indian Ocean, observed by an American satellite on 22 September 1979, is widely believed to be a South Africa-Israel joint nuclear test.  It was, according to some, the third test of a neutron bomb.  The first two were hidden in clouds to fool the satellite and the third was an accident—the weather cleared.[84]  Experts differ on these possible tests.  Several writers report that the scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory believed it to have been a nuclear explosion while a presidential panel decided otherwise.[85]  President Carter was just entering the Iran hostage nightmare and may have easily decided not to alter 30 years of looking the other way.[86]  The explosion was almost certainly an Israeli bomb, tested at the invitation of the South Africans.  It was more advanced than the “gun type” bombs developed by the South Africans.[87]  One report claims it was a test of a nuclear artillery shell.[88]  A 1997 Israeli newspaper quoted South African deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, as confirming it was an Israeli test with South African logistical support.[89]

Controversy over possible nuclear testing continues to this day.  In June 1998, a Member of the Knesset accused the government of an underground test near Eilat on May 28, 1998.  Egyptian “nuclear experts” had made similar charges.  The Israeli government hotly denied the claims.[90]

Not only were the Israelis interested in American nuclear weapons development data, they were interested in targeting data from U.S. intelligence.  Israel discovered that they were on the Soviet target list.  American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the Soviet Union, allowing Israel to target accurately Soviet cities.  This showed Israel’s intention to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent political lever, or retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union itself.  Israel also used American satellite imagery to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor at Osiraq, Iraq.  This daring attack, carried out by eight F-16s accompanied by six F-15s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli election).  It delivered 15 delay-fused 2000 pound bombs deep into the reactor structure (the 16th bomb hit a nearby hall).  The blasts shredded the reactor and blew out the dome foundations, causing it to collapse on the rubble.  This was the world’s first attack on a nuclear reactor.[91]

Since 19 September 1988, Israel has worked on its own satellite recon- naissance system to decrease reliance on U.S. sources.  On that day, they launched the Offeq-1 satellite on the Shavit booster, a system closely related to the Jericho-II missile.  They launched the satellite to the west away from the Arabs and against the earth’s rotation, requiring even more thrust.  The Jericho-II missile is capable of sending a one ton nuclear payload 5,000 kilometers.  Offeq-2 went up on 3 April 1990.  The launch of the Offeq-3 failed on its first attempt on 15 September 1994, but was successful 5 April 1995.[92]

Mordechai Vanunu provided the best look at the Israeli nuclear arsenal in 1985 complete with photographs.[93]  A technician from Dimona who lost his job, Vanunu secretly took photographs, immigrated to Australia and published some of his material in the London Sunday Times.  He was subsequently kidnapped by Israeli agents, tried and imprisoned.  His data shows a sophisticated nuclear program, over 200 bombs, with boosted devices, neutron bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads, and Jericho warheads.[94]   The boosted weapons shown in the Vanunu photographs show a sophistication that inferred the requirement for testing.[95]  He revealed for the first time the underground plutonium separation facility where Israel was producing 40 kilograms annually, several times more than previous estimates.  Photographs showed sophisticated designs which scientific experts say enabled the Israelis to build bombs with as little as 4 kilograms of plutonium.  These facts have increased the estimates of total Israeli nuclear stockpiles (see Appendix A).[96]  In the words of one American, “[the Israelis] can do anything we or the Soviets can do.”[97]  Vanunu not only made the technical details of the Israeli program and stockpile public but in his wake, Israeli began veiled official acknowledgement of the potent Israeli nuclear deterrent.  They began bringing the bomb up the basement stairs if not out of the basement.

Israel went on full-scale nuclear alert again on the first day of Desert Storm, 18 January 1991.  Seven SCUD missiles were fired against the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa by Iraq (only two actually hit Tel Aviv and one hit Haifa).  This alert lasted for the duration of the war, 43 days.  Over the course of the war, Iraq launched around 40 missiles in 17 separate attacks at Israel.  There was little loss of life: two killed directly, 11 indirectly, with many structures damaged and life disrupted.[98]  Several supposedly landed near Dimona, one of them a close miss.[99]  Threats of retaliation by the Shamir government if the Iraqis used chemical warheads were interpreted to mean that Israel intended to launch a nuclear strike if gas attacks occurred.  One Israeli commentator recommended that Israel should signal Iraq that “any Iraqi action against Israeli civilian populations, with or without gas, may leave Iraq without Baghdad.”[100]  Shortly before the end of the war the Israelis tested a “nuclear capable” missile which prompted the United States into intensifying its SCUD hunting in western Iraq to prevent any Israeli response.[101]  The Israeli Air Force set up dummy SCUD sites in the Negev for pilots to practice on—they found it no easy task.[102]  American government concessions to Israel for not attacking (in addition to Israeli Patriot missile batteries) were:

  • Allowing Israel to designate 100 targets inside Iraq for the coalition to destroy,
  • Satellite downlink to increase warning time on the SCUD attacks (present and future),
  • “Technical parity with Saudi jet fighters in perpetuity.”[103]

All of this validated the nuclear arsenal in the minds of the Israelis.  In particular the confirmed capability of Arab states without a border with Israel, the so-called “second tier” states, to reach out and touch Israel with ballistic missiles confirmed Israel’s need for a robust first strike capability.][104]  Current military contacts between Israel and India, another nuclear power, bring up questions of nuclear cooperation.[105]  Pakistani sources have already voiced concerns over a possible joint Israeli-Indian attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.[106]  A recent Parameters article speculated on Israel’s willingness to furnish nuclear capabilities or assistance to certain states, such as Turkey.[107]   A retired Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Amnon Shahak, has declared, “all methods are acceptable in withholding nuclear capabilities from an Arab state.”[108]

As the Israeli bomb comes out of the basement, open discussion, even in Israel, is occurring on why the Israelis feel they need an arsenal not used in at least two if not three wars.  Avner Cohen states: “It [Israel] must be in a position to threaten another Hiroshima to prevent another holocaust.”[109]  In July 1998 Shimon Peres was quoted in the Jordan Times as saying, “We have built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima, but to have an Oslo,”[110] referring to the peace process.

One list of current reasons for an Israeli nuclear capability is:

  • To deter a large conventional attack,
  • To deter all levels of unconventional (chemical, biological, nuclear) attacks,
  • To preempt enemy nuclear attacks,
  • To support conventional preemption against enemy nuclear assets,
  • To support conventional preemption against enemy non-nuclear (conventional, chemical, biological) assets,
  • For nuclear warfighting,
  • The “Samson Option” (last resort destruction).[111]

The most alarming of these is the nuclear warfighting.  The Israelis have developed, by several accounts, low yield neutron bombs able to destroy troops with minimal damage to property.[112]  In 1990, during the Second Gulf War, an Israeli reserve major general recommended to America that it “use non-contaminating tactical nuclear weapons” against Iraq.[113]  Some have speculated that the Israelis will update their nuclear arsenal to “micronukes” and “tinynukes” which would be very useful to attack point targets and other tactical or barrier (mining) uses.[114]  These would be very useful for hardened deeply buried command and control facilities and for airfield destruction without exposing Israeli pilots to combat.[115]  Authors have made the point that Israeli professional military schools do not teach nuclear tactics and would not use them in the close quarters of Israel.  Many Israeli officers have attended American military schools where they learned tactical use in crowded Europe.[116]

However, Jane’s Intelligence Review has recently reported an Israeli review of nuclear strategy with a shift from tactical nuclear warheads to long range missiles.[117]  Israel always has favored the long reach, whether to Argentina for Adolph Eichmann, to Iraq to strike a reactor, Entebbe for hostages, Tunisia to hit the PLO, or by targeting the Soviet Union’s cities.  An esteemed Israeli military author has speculated that Israel is pursuing an R&D program to provide MIRVs (multiple independent reentry vehicles) on their missiles.[118]

The government of Israel recently ordered three German Dolphin Class 800 submarine, to be delivered in late 1999.  Israel will then have a second strike capability with nuclear cruise missiles, and this capability could well change the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.[119]  Israeli rhetoric on the new submarines labels them “national deterrent” assets.  Projected capabilities include a submarine-launched nuclear missile with a 350-kilometer range.[120]  Israel has been working on sea launch capability for missiles since the 1960s.[121]  The first basing options for the new second-strike force of nuclear missile capable submarines include Oman, an Arab nation with unofficial Israeli relations, located strategically near Iran.[122]  A report indicates that the Israel Defense Ministry has formally gone to the government with a request to authorize a retaliatory nuclear strike if Israel was hit with first strike nuclear weapons.  This report comes in the wake of a recent Iran Shihab-3 missile test and indications to Israel that Iran is two to three years from a nuclear warhead.[123]  Israeli statements stress that Iran’s nuclear potential would be problem to all and would require “American leadership, with serious participation of the G-7 . . . .”[124]

A recent study highlighted Israel’s extreme vulnerability to a first strike and an accompanying vulnerability even to a false alarm.[125]  Syria’s entire defense against Israel seems to rest on chemical weapons and warheads.[126]   One scenario involves Syria making a quick incursion into the Golan and then threatening chemical strikes, perhaps with a new, more lethal (protective-mask-penetrable) Russian nerve gas if Israel resists.[127]  Their use would drive Israel to nuclear use.  Israeli development of an anti- missile defense, the Arrow, a fully fielded (30-50[128]) Jericho II ballistic missile, and the soon-to-arrive strategic submarine force, seems to have produced a coming change in defense force structure.  The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, quotes the Israeli Chief of Staff discussing the establishment of a “strategic command to . . . prepare an adequate response to the long term threats. . . ”[129]

The 1994 accord with Jordan, allowing limited Israeli military presence in Jordanian skies, could make the flying distance to several potential adversaries considerably shorter.[130]  Israel is concerned about Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons and become a regional leader, coupled with large numbers of Shiite Moslems in southern Lebanon.  The Israeli Air Force commanding general issued a statement saying Israel would “consider an attack” if any country gets “close to achieving a nuclear capability.”[131]  The Israelis are obviously considering actions capable of stopping such programs and are buying aircraft such as the F-15I with sufficient operational range.  At the first delivery of these 4,000 kilometer range fighters, the Israeli comment was, “the aircraft would help counter a growing nuclear threat.”[132]  They consider such regional nation nuclear programs to be a sufficient cause for war.  Their record of accomplishment is clear: having hit the early Iraqi nuclear effort, they feel vindicated by Desert Storm.  They also feel that only the American and Israeli nuclear weapons kept Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from using chemical or biological weapons against Israel.[133]

Israel, like Iran, has desires of regional power.  The 1956 alliance with France and Britain might have been a first attempt at regional hegemony.  Current debate in the Israeli press considers offering Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and perhaps Syria (after a peace agreement) an Israeli nuclear umbrella of protection.[134]  A nuclear Iran or Iraq might use its nuclear weapons to protect some states in the region, threaten others, and attempt to control oil prices.[135]

Another speculative area concerns Israeli nuclear security and possible misuse.  What is the chain of decision and control of Israel’s weapons?  How susceptible are they to misuse or theft?  With no open, frank, public debate on nuclear issues, there has accordingly been no debate or information on existing safeguards.  This has led to accusations of “monolithic views and sinister intentions.”[1360]  Would a right wing military government decide to employ nuclear weapons recklessly?  Ariel Sharon, an outspoken proponent of “Greater Israel” was quoted as saying, “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”[137]  Could the Gush Emunim, a right wing religious organization, or others, hijack a nuclear device to “liberate” the Temple Mount for the building of the third temple?  Chances are small but could increase as radicals decry the peace process.[138]  A 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against,  a religious, right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases.[139 ]

Israel is a nation with a state religion, but its top leaders are not religious Jews.  The intricacies of Jewish religious politics and rabbinical law do affect their politics and decision processes.  In Jewish law, there are two types of war, one obligatory and mandatory (milkhemet mitzvah) and the one authorized but optional (milkhemet reshut).[140]  The labeling of Prime Minister Begin’s “Peace for Galilee” operation as a milchemet brera (“war of choice”) was one of the factors causing it to lose support.[141]  Interpretation of Jewish law concerning nuclear weapons does not permit their use for mutual assured destruction.  However, it does allow possession and threatening their use, even if actual use is not justifiable under the law.  Interpretations of the law allow tactical use on the battlefield, but only after warning the enemy and attempting to make peace.  How much these intricacies affect Israeli nuclear strategy decisions is unknown.[142]

The secret nature of the Israeli nuclear program has hidden the increasing problems of the aging Dimona reactor and adverse worker health effects.  Information is only now public as former workers sue the government.  This issue is now linked to continued tritium production for the boosted anti-tank and anti-missile nuclear warheads that Israeli continues to need.  Israel is attempting to obtain a new, more efficient, tritium production technology developed in India.[143]

One other purpose of Israeli nuclear weapons, not often stated, but obvious, is their “use” on the United States.  America does not want Israel’s nuclear profile raised.[144]  They have been used in the past to ensure America does not desert Israel under increased Arab, or oil embargo, pressure and have forced the United States to support Israeli diplomatically against the Soviet Union.  Israel used their existence to guarantee a continuing supply of American conventional weapons, a policy likely to continue.[145]

Regardless of the true types and numbers (see Appendix A) of Israeli nuclear weapons, they have developed a sophisticated system, by myriad methods, and are a nuclear power to be reckoned with.  Their nuclear ambiguity has served their purposes well but Israel is entering a different phase of visibility even as their nuclear capability is entering a new phase.  This new visibility may not be in America’s interest.[146]  Many are predicting the Israeli nuclear arsenal will become less useful “out of the basement” and possibly spur a regional arms race.  If so, Israel has a 5-10 year lead time at present before mutual assured destruction, Middle East style, will set in.  Would regional mutual second strike capability, easier to acquire than superpower mutual second strike capability, result in regional stability?  Some think so.[147]   Current Israeli President Ezer Weizman has stated “the nuclear issue is gaining momentum [and the] next war will not be conventional.[148]

Appendix A

Estimates of the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal

Notes

1.  Hersh, Seymour M.,  The Samson Option.  Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (New York: Random House, 1991), 223.

2.  Aronson, Slomo and Brosh, Oded,  The Politics and Strategy of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, the Opacity Theory, and Reality, 1960-1991-An Israeli Perspective (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1992), 20.

3.  Karsh, Efraim,  Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 82.

4.  Cohen, Avner,  Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 16.

5.  Cordesman, Anthony,  Perilous Prospects: The Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli Military Balance (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996), 118.

6.  Pry, Peter,  Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 5-6.

7.  Quoted in Weissman, Steve and Krosney, Herbert.  The Islamic Bomb: The Nuclear Threat to Israel and the Middle East.  (New York, New York: Times Books, 1981), 105.

8.  “Former Official Says France Helped Build Israel’s Dimona Complex.”  Nucleonics Week October 16, 1986, 6.

9.  Milhollin, Gary,  “Heavy Water Cheaters.”  Foreign Policy (1987-88): 101-102.

10.  Cordesman, 1991, 127.

11.  Federation of American Scientists,  “Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program.” 10 December 1997, n.p.  On-line.  Internet, 27 October 1998.  Available from http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Israel/Isrhist.html.

12.  Nashif, Taysir N.,  Nuclear Weapons in Israel (New Delhi: S. B. Nangia Books, 1996), 3.

13.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, 48-49.

14.  Bennett, Jeremy,  The Suez Crisis.  BBC Video.  n.d.  Videocassette and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi.  Every Spy a Prince.  The Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community.  (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), 63-69.

15.  Weissman and Krosney, 112.

16.  “Revealed: The Secrets of Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal” (London) Sunday Times No. 8,461, 5 October 1986, 1, 4-5.

17.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, 57-59.

18.  Peres, Shimon,  Battling for Peace.  A Memoir (New York, New York: Random House, 1995), 122.

19.  Pry, 10.

20.  Loftus, John and Aarons, Mark,  The Secret War Against the Jews.  How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994), 287-303.

21.  Green, Stephen,  Taking Sides.  America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984), 152.

22.  Cohen, Avner,  “Most Favored Nation.”  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 51, no. 1 (January-February 1995): 44-53.

23.  Hersh, The Samson Option, 196.

24.  See Cohen, Avner,  “Israel’s Nuclear History: The Untold Kennedy-Eshkol Dimona Correspondence.”  Journal of Israeli History, 1995 16, no. 2, 159-194 and Cohen, Avner, Comp.  “Recently Declassified 1963 Correspondence between President Kennedy and Prime Ministers Ben-Gurion and Eshkol.”  Journal of Israeli History, 1995 16, no. 2, 195-207.  Much of the documentation has been posted to http:\www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/israel.

25.  Weissman  and Krosney, op. cit.,114-117

26.  Cohen, op. cit.,  Israel and the Bomb, 82-83.

27.  Spector, Leonard S.,  The Undeclared Bomb (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishers, 1988), 387 (n.22).

28.  Quoted in Stevens, Elizabeth.  “Israel’s Nuclear Weapons—A Case Study.”  14 pages.  On line. Internet, 23 October 1998.  Available from
http://infomanage.com/nonproliferation/najournal/israelinucs.html.

29.  Green, Taking Sides, 148-179 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 197-198.

30.  Weissman and Krosney, 119-124.

31.  Black, Ian and Morris, Benny,  Israel’s Secret Wars.  A history of Israel’s Intelligence Services (New York, New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), 418-419.

32.  Hersh,  257.

33.  Green, Stephen,  Living by the Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East, 1968-1987 (London: Faber, 1988), 63-80.

34.  Cordesman, 1991, 120.

35.  Weissman and Krosney, 124-128 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 198-199.

36.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, 395(n. 57).98-199

37.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 58.

38.  Milhollin, 100-119.

39.  Stanghelle, Harold,  “Israel to sell back 10.5 tons.”  Arbeiderbladet, Oslo, Norway, 28 June 1990 in: Center for Nonproliferation Studies, “Nuclear Developments,” 28 June 1990, 34-35; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

40.  Hersh, op. cit., 139.

41.  Center for Nonproliferation Studies.  “Israeli Friends,” ISIS Report, May 1994, 4; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

42.  Abecasis, Rachel,  “Uranium reportedly offered to China, Israel.”  Radio Renascenca, Lisbon, 9 December 1992 quoted in Center for Nonproliferation, “Proliferation Issues,” 23 December, 1992, 25; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

43.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 231-232 and 256-257.

44.  Nordeen, Lon O., Nicolle, David,  Phoenix over the Nile (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996), 192-193.

45.  O’Balance, Edgar, The Third Arab-Israeli War (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), 54.

46.  Brecher, Michael, Decision in Crisis.  Israel, 1967 and 1973 (Berkley, California: University of California Press, 1980), 104, 230-231.

47.  Cohen, Avner.  “Cairo, Dimona, and the June 1967 War.”  Middle East Journal 50, no. 2 (Spring 1996), 190-210.

48.  Creveld, Martin van.  The Sword and the Olive.  A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Force (New York, New York: Public Affairs, 1998), 174.

49.  Burrows, William E. and Windrem, Robert, Critical Mass.  The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World (New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), 282-283.

50.  Aronson, Shlomo,  Israel’s Nuclear Options, ACIS Working Paper No. 7. Los Angeles, California: University of California Center for Arms Control and International Security, 1977, 3, and Sorenson, David S., “Middle East Regional Studies-AY99,”  Air War College: Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, 542.

51.  Hersh, op. cit., 126-128.

52.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 210-213.

53.  Spector, Leonard S.,  “Foreign-Supplied Combat Aircraft: Will They Drop the Third World Bomb?”  Journal of International Affairs 40, no. 1(1986): 145 (n. 5) and Green, Living by the Sword, op. cit., 18-19.

54.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 280.

55.  Cohen, op. cit.,  Israel and the Bomb, 237.

56.  Ibid.,  273-274.

57.  Milhollin, op. cit., 103-104.

58.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, Friend in Deed:  Inside the U.S.-Israel Alliance (New York New York: Hyperion, 1994), 299.

59.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 464-465 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, op. cit., 1990, 304-305.

60.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 179.

61.  Dowty, Alan.  “Israel and Nuclear Weapons.”  Midstream 22, no. 7 (November 1976), 8-9.

62.  Hersh, op. cit., 217, 222-226, and Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 107.

63.  Green, op. cit., Living by the Sword, 90-99.

64.  Loftus and Aarons, op. cit., 316-317.

65  Smith, Gerard C. and Cobban, Helena.  “A Blind Eye To Nuclear Proliferation.”  Foreign Affairs  68, no. 3(1989), 53-70.

66.  Hersh, op. cit., 230-231.

67.  O’Balance, Edgar, No Victor, No Vanquished.  The Yom Kippur War (San Rafael, California: Presido Press, 1978), 175.

68.  Ibid.,  234-235 and Aronson, S, op. cit., 15-18.

69.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 396 (n. 62); Garthoff, Raymond L.,  Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute, 1994), 426, n76 and Bandmann, Yona and Cordova, Yishai.  “The Soviet Nuclear Threat Towards the Close of the Yom Kippur War.”  Jerusalem Journal of International Relations 1980 5, no. 1, 107-9.

70.  Cherkashin, Nikolai, “On Moscow’s Orders.”  Russian Life, 39, no. 10 (October 1996), 13-15.

71.  Brownlow, Cecil.  “Soviets poise three-front global drive.  Nuclear weapons in Egypt, artillery buildup at Guantanamo, Communist concentrations in Vietnam aimed at political gains.” Aviation Week and Space Technology 99, no. 19 (5 November 1973), 12-14; Holt, Robert.  “Soviet Power Play.”  Aviation Week and Space Technology 99, no. 19 (5 November 1973), 7 and Gur-Arieh, Danny, “A non-Conventional Look at Israel During ’73 War.”  IsraelWire Tuesday, October 6, 1998 17, 23; on-line, Internet 20 November 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com/new/981006/9810068.html.

72.  Hersh, op. cit., 321-235.

73.  Creveld, 1998, op. cit., 220-221.

74.  Evron, Yair, Israel’s Nuclear Dilemma (Ithaca, New York: Cornell Publishing, 1994), 62-74.

75.  Cohen, Avner,  “Peres:  Peacemaker, Nuclear Pioneer.”  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  52, no. 3 (May/June 1996), 16-17 and Aronson, S, op. cit., 11-12.

76.  Karsh, op. cit., 86.

77.  Quoted in Hersh, op. cit., 180 and Stevens, op. cit., 1-14.

78.  Hersh, op. cit., 216, 276 and  Kaku, Michio.  “Contingency Plans: Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War.”  In Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order, Bennis, Phyllis and Moushabeck, Michel, Eds. (New York, New York: 1993), 66.

79.  Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 109.

80.  Gillette, Robert, “Uranium Enrichment: Rumors of Israeli Progress with Lasers.”  Science 183, no. 4130 (22 March 1974), 1172-1174.

81.  Barnaby, Frank, The Invisible Bomb:  The Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 1988), 25.

82.  “Israel: The Covert Connection.”  Frontline, PBS Network, May 16, 1989, quoted in Spector, Leonard S., and McDonough, Mark G., with Medeiros, Evan S.,  Tracking Nuclear Proliferation.  A Guide in Maps and Charts, 1995 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1995).

83.  Nashif, Taysir N., Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East: Dimensions and Responsibilities (Princeton, New Jersey: Kingston Press, 1984), 22-23.

84.  Hersh, op. cit., 216.

85.  Barnaby, Frank,  “Capping Israel’s Nuclear Volcano,” Between War and Peace.  Dilemmas of Israeli Security, edited by Efraim Karsh (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 98.

86.  Hersh, op. cit., 271-275.

87.  Nashif, op. cit., 32.

88.  Gaffney, Mark, Dimona:  The Third Temple?  The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation (Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books, 1989), 100-101.

89.  Pedatzur, Re’uven, “South African Statement On Nuclear Test Said to Serve Israel,”  Ha’aretz, 29 July 1997.  On line:  Internet, 22 November 1998 and Kelley, Robert.  “The Iraqi and South African Nuclear W”ôNuclear Abstracts,” 1 March 1996, or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, both available from http://cns.miis.edu.

90.  “Was there a Nuclear Test near Eilat?”  IsraelWire, 16 June 1998, or on line Internet, 22 November, 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com and “Deputy Defense Minister Denies Israeli Nuclear Testing.”  Israeli Wire, June 18, 1998, or on-line.  Internet, 13 October 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com/New/980618/9806184.html.

91.  McKinnon, Dan.  Bullseye One Reactor.  The Story of Israel’s Bold Surprise Air Attack That Destroyed Iraqi’s Nuclear Bomb Facility (Shrewsbury, England: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1987).

92.  “Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Report on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Moscow, 1993.”  Journal of Palestine Studies XXII, no. 4 (Summer 1993): 135-140; Creveld, Martin van,  Nuclear Proliferation and the Future Of Conflict (New York: The Free Press, 1993), 105; and Clark, Philip. “ôThird successful Israeli satellite launch.”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 7, no. 6 (June 1995), 25-26.

93.  Sunday Times, London, op. cit., 1,4-5.

94.  Toscano, Louis,  Triple Cross: Israel, the Atomic Bomb and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990).

95.  Green, Living by the Sword, op. cit., 134.

96.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 165-166.

97.  Hersh, op. cit., 291.

98.  Levran, Aharon,  Israeli Strategy after Desert Storm: Lessons from the Second Gulf War (London: Frank Cass, 1997), 1-10.

99.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 278.

100.  Cohen, Avner and Miller, Marvin,  Nuclear Shadows in the Middle East: Prospects for Arms Control in the Wake of the Gulf Crisis (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990), 10.

101.  Aronson and Brosh, op. cit., 276.

102.  Raviv and Melman, op. cit., 399.

103.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 297n and Creveld, 1998, op. cit., 321-322.

104.  Levran, op. cit., 8-10.

105.  Ahmar, Moonis,  “Pakistan and Israel: Distant Adversaries or Neighbors?”  Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 1996, 20, no.1, 43-44.

106.  “Nuclear proliferation didn’t start in 1998 . . .and not in Pakistan nor with Islam,”  Middle East Realities, or on-line,  Internet, 21 September 1998, available from http://www.middleeast.org/1998_06_28.htm.

107.  Garrity, Patrick J.  “The Next Nuclear Questions.”  Parameters, XXV, no. 4 (Winter 1995-96), 92-111.

108.  Cohen, Eliezer.  Israel’s best defense: the First Full Story of the Israeli Air Force,  (New York, New York: Random House, 1993), 495.

109.  Cohen and Miller, op. cit., 18.

110.  “Before Meeting with King, Peres Claims Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal was built for Peace,” Jordan Times, July 14, 1998.  Quoted in Sorenson, op. cit., 542.

111.  Beres, Louis Rene,  “Israel’s Bomb in the Basement: A revisiting of `Deliberate Ambiguity’ vs. `Disclosure’, Between War and Peace:  Dilemmas of Israeli Security, edited by Efraim Harsh (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 113-133.

112.  Hersh, op. cit., 319.

113.  Amos, Deborah, Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 105.

114.  Dowler, Thomas W. and Howard II, Joseph H., “Countering the threat of the well-armed tyrant: A modest proposal for small nuclear weapons,”  Strategic Review, XIX, no. 4 (Fall 1991), 34-40.

115.  Beres, Louis Rene,  “Israel’s bomb in the basement: A revisiting of `Deliberate Ambiguity’ vs. `Disclosure.’ ”  In Karsh, Efraim, op. cit., Editor,  Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 116.

116.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 265.

117.  Hough, Harold, “Israel reviews its nuclear deterrent,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 10, no.11 (November 1998), 11-13.

118.  Creveld, op. cit., 1993, 105.

119.  Burrows, and Windrem, op. cit., 311-312 and “Israel begins test of nuclear missile submarines,”  The Irish Times, July 2, 1998, or on-line, Internet, 24 December 1998,  available from http://www.irish-times.com/irish-times/paper/1998/0702/wor13.html.

120.  Melman, Yossi, “Swimming with the Dolphins,”  Ha’aretz, Tuesday, June 9, 1998, and “Report: Israel to get Subs with Nuclear Strike Capability,”  Jerusalem Post, I July 3, 1998, 3 and Sorenson, op. cit., 543.

121.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, op. cit., 1990, 344-345, 422-423.

122.  Shahak, Israel,  Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies (London: Pluto Press, 1997), 72-73.

123.  Davis, Douglas,  “Defense Officials Said Urging Nuclear Second-Strike Capability,”  Jerusalem Post, 6 August 1998, 3; or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

124.  Inbar, Efraim, “Israel’s security in a new international environment,” in Karsh, Efraim, Editor, Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 41.

125.  Hough, Harold,  “Could Israel’s Nuclear Assets Survive a First Strike?”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, September 1997, 407-410.

126.  Terrill, W. Andrew,  “The Chemical Warfare Legacy of the Yemen War.”  Comparative Strategy, 10 (1991), 109-119.

127.  Boyne, Sean, “Across the Great Divide.  Will Assad go for the Golan?”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, 10, no. 4 (April 1998), 21-24 and Cordesman, 1996, op. cit., 254.

128.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 243.

129,  Harel, Amos and Barzilai, Amnon,  “Mordechai says Arrow alone cannot protect against missiles,”  Ha’aretz, 13 January 1999, or on-line,  Internet, 13 January 1999,  available from http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/htmls/3_9.htm

130.  Shahak, op. cit., 78-79.

131.  Chubin, Shahram, “Does Iran Want Nuclear Weapons?”  Survival 37, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 91-93.

132.  O’Sullivan, Arich, “New F-15I Warplanes Expand Israel’s Reach,” The Jerusalem Post, 19 January 1997, or on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://www.jpost.co.il.

133.  Karsh, op. cit., 9.

134.  Shahak, op. cit., 4-5.

135.  Garrity, op. cit., 92-111.

136.  Dowty, op. cit., 8.

137.  Gaffney, op. cit., 165.

138.  Ibid., 37-38 and Friedman, Robert I.  Zealots for Zion:  Inside Israel’s West Bank Settlement Movement (New York, New York: Random House, 1992), 132-52.

139.  Blanche, Ed,  “Is the Myth Fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 1.”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, 8, no. 12 (December 1996), 547-550 and Blanche, Ed.  “Is the myth fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 2,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 9, no. 1 (January 1997), 25-28.

140.  Cohen, Stuart A.,  The Scroll or the Sword?  Dilemmas of Religion and Military Service in Israel (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997), 11-24.

141.  Creveld, op. cit., 1998, 298.

142.  Broyde, Michael J.,  “Fighting the War and the Peace: Battlefield Ethics, Peace Talks, Treaties, and Pacifism in the Jewish Tradition,” or on-line,  Internet, 20 November 1998, available from http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/war3.html.

143.  Hough, Harold, op. cit., 1998, 11-12 and Berger, Julian,  “Court Fury At Israeli Reactor.”  Guardian, 13 October 1997, in Center for Nonproliferation, “Nuclear Abstracts,” 13 October 1997, or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

144.  Creveld, op. cit., 1998, 252.

145.  Valry, Nicholas,  “Israel’s Silent Gamble with the Bomb,”  New Scientist (12 December 1974), 807-09.

146.  Harden, Major James D.,  Israeli Nuclear Weapons and War in the Middle East,  Master’s Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, December 1997.

147.  Dowdy, op. cit., 20.

148.  Aronson, Geoffrey,  “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, 46, no. 4 (Autumn 1992), 619-630.

149.  Data from Time, 12 April 1976, quoted in Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 107.

150.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 280 and Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 273-274.

151.  Tahtinen, Dale R.,  The Arab-Israel Military Balance Today (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1973), 34.

152.  “How Israel Got the Bomb.”  Time, 12 April 1976, 39.

153.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 302.

154.  Kaku, op. cit., 66 and Hersh, op. cit., 216.

155.  Valéry, op. cit., 807-09.

156.  Data from CIA, quoted in Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 109.

157.  Ottenberg, Michael, “Estimating Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities,” Command, 30 (October 1994), 6-8.

158.  Pry, op. cit., 75.

159.  Ibid., 111.

160.  Data from NBC Nightly News, quoted in Milhollin, op. cit., 104 and Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 308.

161.  Data from Vanunu quoted in Milhollin, op. cit., 104.

162.  Harkavy, Robert E.  “After the Gulf War: The Future of the Israeli Nuclear Strategy,” The Washington Quarterly (Summer 1991), 164.

163.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 308.

164.  Albright, David, Berkhout, Frans and Walker, William, Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996.  World Inventories, Capabilities, and Policies (New York: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute And Oxford University Press, 1997), 262-263.

165.  Hough, Harold,  “Israel’s Nuclear Infrastructure,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 6, no. 11 (November 1994), 508.

166.  Ibid., 262-263.

167.  Spector, and McDonough, with Medeiros, op. cit., 135.

168.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 283-284.

169.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 234.

170.  Ibid., 234.

171.  Ibid., 230, 243.

172.  Brower, Kenneth S., “A Propensity for Conflict:  Potential Scenarios and Outcomes of War in the Middle East,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, Special Report no. 14,  (February 1997), 14-15.

173.  Albright, Berkhout, and Walker, op. cit., 262-263.

USAF Counterproliferation Center

The USAF Counterproliferation Center was established in 1998 to provide education and research to the present and future leaders of the USAF, and thereby help them better prepare to counter the threat from weapons of mass destruction.

Barry R. Schneider, Director
USAF Counterproliferation Center
325 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6427k

(334) 953-7538 (DSN (493-7538)

Email:  Barry.Schneider@maxwell,af.mil

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/farr.htm

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BELOW: Israeli nuclear bomb factory

israeli-nuclear-bomb-factory

BELOW: IKONOS image of the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona

phot_2000_dimona

See the image at: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spiesfly/phot_09.html

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Israel’s Bomb out of the Shadows

Nuclear Offer to Apartheid Regime Blows Diplomatic Cover

by Jonathan Cook
May 26th, 2010,
Dissident voice

Israel faces unprecedented pressure to abandon its official policy of “ambiguity” on its possession of nuclear weapons as the international community meets at the United Nations in New York this week to consider banning such arsenals from the Middle East.

Israel’s equivocal stance on its atomic status was shattered by reports on Monday that it offered to sell nuclear-armed Jericho missiles to South Africa’s apartheid regime back in 1975.

The revelations are deeply embarrassing to Israel given its long-standing opposition to signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, arguing instead that it is a “responsible power” that would never misuse nuclear weapons technologies if it acquired them.

Reports of Israel’s nuclear dealings with apartheid South Africa will also energise a draft proposal from Egypt to the UN non-proliferation review conference that Israel — as the only nuclear power in the region — be required to sign the treaty.

Israeli officials are already said to be discomfited by Washington’s decision earlier this month to agree to a statement with other UN Security Council members calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear arms.

The policy is chiefly aimed at Iran, which is believed by the US and Israel to be secretly developing a nuclear bomb, but would also risk ensnaring Israel. The US has supported Israel’s ambiguity policy since the late 1960s.

Oversight of Israel’s programme is also due to be debated at a meeting of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna next month.

The administration of US President Barack Obama is reported to have held high-level discussions with Israel at the weekend to persuade it to consent to proposals for a 2012 conference to outlaw weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

As pressure mounts on Israel, local analysts have been debating the benefits of maintaining the ambiguity policy, with most warning that an erosion of the principle would lead inexorably to Israel being forced to dismantle its arsenal.

Echoing the Israeli security consensus, Yossi Melman, a military intelligence correspondent for the Haaretz newspaper, also cautioned that declaring Israel’s nuclear status “would play into Iran’s hands” by focusing attention on Tel Aviv rather than Tehran.

Israel refused to sign the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, having developed its first warhead a few years earlier with help from Britain and France.

Tom Segev, an Israeli historian, reported that Israel briefly considered showing its nuclear hand in 1967 when Shimon Peres, Israel’s current president, proposed publicly conducting a nuclear test to prevent the impending Six-Day War. However, the test was overruled by Levi Eshkol, the prime minister of the time.

Mr Peres, who master-minded the nuclear programme, later formulated the policy of ambiguity, in which Israel asserts only that it will “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East”.

That stance — and a promise not to conduct nuclear tests — was accepted by the US administration of Richard Nixon in 1969.

According to analysts, the agreement between Israel and the US was driven in part by concerns that Washington would not be able to give Israel foreign aid — today worth billions of dollars — if Israel declared itself a nuclear state but refused international supervision.

Nonetheless, revelations over the years have made it increasingly difficult for the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s arsenal.

Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear energy plant in the Negev, provided photographic evidence and detailed descriptions of the country’s weapons programme in 1986. Today the Israeli arsenal is estimated at more than 200 warheads.

In 2006 Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister, let slip Israel’s nuclear status during an interview with German TV when he listed “America, France, Israel and Russia” as countries with nuclear arms.

Even more damaging confirmation was provided this week by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which published documents unearthed for a new book — The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, an American historian — on relations between Israel and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The top-secret papers reveal that in 1975 Mr Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, met with his South African counterpart, P. W. Botha, to discuss selling the regime nuclear-armed missiles. The deal fell through partly because South Africa could not afford the weapons. Pretoria later developed its own bomb, almost certainly with Israel’s help.

Israel, Mr Polakow-Suransky said, had fought to prevent declassification of the documents.

Despite publication by the Guardian of a photographed agreement bearing the date and the signatures of both Mr Peres and Mr Botha, Mr Peres’ office issued a statement on Monday denying the report.

Israel’s increasingly transparent nuclear status is seen as an obstacle to US efforts both to impose sanctions on Iran and to damp down a wider potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

This month the US surprised officials in Tel Aviv by failing to keep Israel’s nuclear programme off the agenda of the IAEA’s next meeting, on June 7. The issue has only ever been discussed twice before, in 1988 and 1991.

Aware of the growing pressure of Israel to come clean, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, declined an invitation to attend a nuclear security conference in Washington last month at which participants had threatened to question Israel about its arms.

At the meeting, US President Barack Obama called on all countries, including Israel, to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A draft declaration being considered at the UN review conference later this week again demands that Israel — and two other states known to have nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan — sign the treaty.

Egypt has proposed that the 189 states that have signed the treaty, including the US, pledge not to transfer nuclear equipment, information, material or professional help to Israel until it does so.

Reuven Pedatzur, an Israeli defence analyst, warned recently in Haaretz that there was a danger the Egyptian proposal might be adopted by the US, or that it might be used as a stick to browbeat a recalcitrant Israel into accepting greater limitations on its arsenal. He suggested ending what he called the “ridiculous fiction” of the ambiguity policy.

Emily Landau, an arms control expert at Tel Aviv University, however, said that those who believed Israel should be more transparent were “misguided”. Ending ambiguity, she said, would eventually lead to calls for Israel’s “total and complete disarmament”.

The last Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, five years ago, failed when the US repudiated pledges to disarm and refused to pressure Israel over its nuclear programme.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan’s website

http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/israel%E2%80%99s-bomb-out-of-the-shadows/

http://islamdaily.org/en/Contents.aspx?AID=8453

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Top Sweden newspaper says

IDF kills Palestinians for their organs

 

By Morten Berthelsen and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Tags: IDF Jewish World

 

A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.

“They plunder the organs of our sons,” read the headline in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.

(Click here for the original article in Swedish)

The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.

“‘Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,’ relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.

Boström’s article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

(Click here for the opinion piece in Swedish)

Boström also cites an incident of alleged organ snatching from 1992, during the time of the first Palestinian intifada. He says that the IDF seized a young man known for throwing stones at Israeli troops in the Nablus area, who was shot in the chest, both legs, and the stomach before being taken to a military helicopter which transported him to “a place unknown to his loved ones”.

Five nights later, Boström says, the young man’s body was returned, wrapped in green hospital sheets.

“The sharp sounds from the shovels were mixed with the occasional laughter from the soldiers who were joking with each other, waiting to go home. When Bilal was put into his grave, his chest was revealed and suddenly it became clear to the present what abuse he had been put through. Bilal was far from the only one who was buried cut-up from his stomach to his chin and the speculations about the reason why had already started,” he writes.

But the liberal Sydsvenskan – southern Sweden’s major daily – had harsh criticism for the rival paper, running an opinion piece under the headline “Antisemitbladet” (a play on the name Aftonbladet).

“We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever,” writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.

“Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything,” the opinion piece says. “Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”

The Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the report. Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the newspaper’s decision to publish the story is “a mark of disgrace” for the Swedish press.

“In a democratic country, there should be no place for dark blood libels out of the Middle Ages of this type,” Palmor said. “This is an article that shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press.”

A Foreign Ministry official said that Israel’s embassy in Stockholm have communicated a harsh condemnation to the Swedish government and the newspaper itself.

 

Anna Ekström and Mikael Tossavainen contributed to this report

 

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1108384.html

|<>| hmm,,, is there a connection to the New Jersey Rabbi organ transplant and money laundering ring??

<> Rabbi Caught in New Jersey Corruption Sting Called Himself Kidney ‘Matchmaker’

Saturday, July 25, 2009       AP

July 23: FBI agents lead arrested suspects from their headquarters as part of a corruption investigation in Newark, N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. —  Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn called himself a “matchmaker,” but his business wasn’t romance.

Instead, authorities say, he brokered the sale of black-market kidneys, buying organs from vulnerable people from Israel for $10,000 and selling them to desperate patients in the U.S. for as much as $160,000.

The alleged decade-long scheme, exposed this week by an FBI sting, rocked the nation’s transplant industry. If true, it would be the first documented case of organ trafficking in the U.S., transplant experts said Friday.

“There’s certainly cross-national activity, but it hasn’t touched the United States or we haven’t known about it until now,” said University of Pennsylvania medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, who is co-directing a U.N. task force on international organ trafficking.

Rosenbaum was arrested Thursday, 10 days after meeting in his basement with a government informant and an FBI agent posing as the informant’s secretary. The agent claimed to be searching for a kidney for a sick uncle on dialysis who was on a transplant list at a Philadelphia hospital.

// “I am what you call a matchmaker,” Rosenbaum said in a secretly recorded conversation. “I bring a guy what I believe, he’s suitable for your uncle.” Asked how many organs he had brokered, he said: “Quite a lot,” the most recent two weeks earlier.

As part of the scheme, the organ donors were brought from Israel to this country, where they underwent surgery to remove the kidneys, authorities said. Prosecutors did not identify which hospitals in the U.S. received the donors and their kidneys.

“The allegations about an organ trafficking ring in the United States are appalling,” said John Davis, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation.

Israel Medical Association spokeswoman Orna Cohen said the organization had no reports there of Israelis selling organs. “If it’s true, then it’s shocking,” she said.

Related Stories

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israel’s national police force, said Israeli police were not involved in the investigation, and he would not comment further.

Under 1984 federal law, it is illegal for anyone to knowingly buy or sell organs for transplant. The practice is illegal just about everywhere else in the world, too.

But demand for kidneys far outstrips the supply, with 4,540 people dying in the U.S. last year while waiting for a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. As a result, there is a thriving black market for kidneys around the world.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an anthropology professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of an upcoming book on human organ trafficking, said that she has been tracking the Brooklyn-connected ring for 10 years and that her contacts in Israel have called Rosenbaum “the top man” in the United States.

Scheper-Hughes said she was told Rosenbaum carried a gun, and when a potential organ seller would get cold feet, Rosenbaum would use his finger to simulate firing a gun at the person’s head.

Scheper-Hughes said she was also told that some of the kidney transplants using sellers procured by Rosenbaum were performed at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

The hospital said it is aware Rosenbaum has been charged but that its transplant screening process is rigorous and that it assesses each donor’s motivation.

“All donors are clearly advised that it is against the law to receive money or gifts for being an organ donor,” spokeswoman Brenda Perez wrote in an e-mail. “… The pre-transplant evaluation may not detect premeditated and skillful attempts to subvert and defraud the evaluation process.”

Rosenbaum was arrested in a sweeping federal case that began as an investigation into money laundering and trafficking in kidneys and fake designer bags. It mushroomed into a political corruption probe, culminating in the arrests this week of 44 people, including three New Jersey mayors, various other officials, and five rabbis. The politicians and rabbis were not accused of involvement in the organ trafficking.

Rosenbaum, 58, is a member of the Orthodox Jewish community in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, where he told neighbors he was in the construction business.

For someone who was not a surgeon, Rosenbaum seemed in his recorded conversations to have a thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of kidney donations, including how to fool hospitals into believing the donor was acting solely out of compassion for a friend or loved one.

He was recorded saying that money had to be spread around liberally, to Israeli doctors, visa preparers and those who cared for the organ donors in this country. “One of the reasons it’s so expensive is because you have to shmear (pay others) all the time,” he was quoted as saying.

“So far, I’ve never had a failure,” he bragged on tape. “I’m doing this a long time.”

At a 2008 meeting with the undercover agent, Rosenbaum claimed he had an associate who worked for an insurance company in Brooklyn who could take the recipient’s blood samples, store them on dry ice and send them to Israel, where they would be tested to see if they matched the prospective donor, authorities said.

Four checks totaling $10,000, a down payment on the fictitious uncle’s new kidney, were deposited in the bank account of a charity in Brooklyn, prosecutors said.

An after-hours phone call to Rosenbaum’s lawyer, Ronald Kleinberg, was not immediately returned Friday.

Dr. Francis Delmonico, a Harvard professor, transplant surgeon and board member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of Directors, said similar trafficking is going on elsewhere around the world. He said an estimated 10 percent of kidney transplants — 5,000 to 6,000 each year — are done illegally. Hot spots are Pakistan, the Philippines and China, where it is believed organs are obtained from executed prisoners, he said.

Caplan, the University of Pennsylvania ethicist, said he expects the U.N. task force to make recommendations in October that would hold hospitals worldwide accountable for establishing the origins of each organ they transplant and whether it was freely donated without compensation.

“There is a black market, almost exclusively in kidneys,” Caplan said. “All international medical groups and governments ought to condemn any marketing in body parts. It’s simply too exploitative of the poor and vulnerable. The quality of the organs is questionable. People lie to get the money. The middle men are irresponsible and often criminals. They don’t care about the people who sell.”

Scheper-Hughes said her research has uncovered hundreds of cases of illegal organ transactions brokered by and for Israelis in Israel, South Africa, Turkey and other countries, with sellers recruited from poor communities in Moldova, Brazil and elsewhere.

In 2003 and 2004, 17 people were arrested in Brazil and South Africa on suspicion of participating in an international human organ trafficking organization. Investigators said Brazilians who passed a medical checkup were flown to South Africa, where their kidneys were extracted.

A few transplant surgeons support changing the law to allow a system of regulated compensation to increase the pool of donor kidneys.

Arthur Matas, a transplant surgeon who directs the kidney transplant service at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said donors could be compensated with some combination of lifetime access to medical care, life insurance, a tax credit, help with college and a small direct payment.

“It would minimize the extraordinary black market and exploitation of impoverished people internationally,” Matas said.

Martin Weinfeld, who lives around the corner from Rosenbaum in Brooklyn, said the allegations bring shame on the community.

“It puts a bad name on good people,” he said. “Religion is supposed to be about God, helping others, not about the cash.”

Rabbi 1_61_072409_nj_corruptionAP:

July 23: FBI agents lead arrested suspects from their headquarters as part of a corruption investigation in Newark, N.J.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,534838,00.html

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Jewish rabbinic text or a call to terror

[www.haaretz.com ]

Last update – 11:02 22/01/2010

The King’s Torah: a rabbinic text or a call to terror?  By Daniel Estrin, The Forward  Tags: Israel news

The marble-patterned, hardcover book embossed with gold Hebrew letters looks like any other religious commentary you’d find in an Orthodox Judaica bookstore – but reads like a rabbinic instruction manual outlining acceptable scenarios for killing non-Jewish babies, children and adults.

The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,” write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them ?curb their evil inclination,? while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since ?it is clear that they will grow to harm us.?

“The King’s Torah (Torat Hamelech), Part One: Laws of Life and Death between Israel and the Nations,” a 230-page compendium of Halacha, or Jewish religious law, published by the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, garnered a front-page exposé in the Israeli tabloid Ma’ariv, which called it the stuff of ?Jewish terror.?

Now, the yeshiva is in the news again, with a January 18 raid on Yitzhar by more than 100 Israeli security officials who forcibly entered Od Yosef Chai and arrested 10 Jewish settlers. The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, suspects five of those arrested were involved in the torching and vandalizing of a Palestinian mosque last month in the neighboring Palestinian village of Yasuf. The arson provoked an international outcry and condemnation by Israeli religious figures, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who visited the village to personally voice his regret.

Yet, both Metzger and his Sephardic counterpart, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, have declined to comment on the book, which debuted in November, while other prominent rabbis have endorsed it – among them, the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Sephardic Jewry’s preeminent leader. Also, despite the precedent set by previous Israeli attorneys general in the last decade and a half to file criminal charges against settler rabbis who publish commentaries supporting violence against non-Jews, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has so far remained mum about “The King’s Torah.”

“Sometimes the public arena deals with the phenomenon and things become settled by themselves,” Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen told the Forward.

A coalition of religious Zionist groups, the “Twelfth of Heshvan,” ? named after the Hebrew date of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, has asked Israel’s Supreme Court to order Mazuz to confiscate the books and arrest its authors.

“You open the book, and you feel that you read a halachic book. And it’s a trap,” said Gadi Gvaryahu, a religious Jewish educator who heads the coalition. It was, in fact, “a guidebook [on] how to kill,” he charged.

Family members who answered phone calls placed to the homes of both authors said they did not wish to comment.

In 2008, author Shapira was suspected of involvement in a crude rocket attack directed at a Palestinian village. Israeli police investigated but made no arrests.

Co-author Elitzur wrote an article in a religious bulletin a month after the book’s release saying that “the Jews will win with violence against the Arabs.”

In 2003, the head of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, was charged by then-Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein with incitement to racism for authoring a book calling Arabs a “cancer.”

In 2006-2007, the Israeli Ministry of Education gave about a quarter of a million dollars to the yeshiva, and in 2007-2008 the yeshiva received about $28,000 from the American nonprofit Central Fund of Israel.

“The King’s Torah” reflects a fringe viewpoint held by a minority of rabbis in the West Bank, said Avinoam Rosenak, a Hebrew University professor specializing in settler theology. Asher Cohen, a Bar Ilan University political science professor, thought its influence would be “zero” because it appeals only to extreme ideologues.

But the book’s wide dissemination and the enthusiastic endorsements of prominent rabbis have spotlighted what might have otherwise remained an isolated commentary.

At the entrance to Moriah, a large Jewish bookstore steps from the Western Wall, copies of “The King’s Torah” were displayed with children?s books and other halachic commentaries. The store manager, who identified himself only as Motti, said the tome has sold “excellently.”

Other stores carrying the book include Robinson Books, a well-known, mostly secular bookshop in a hip Tel Aviv shopping district; Pomeranz Bookseller, a major Jewish book emporium near the Ben Yehuda mall in downtown Jerusalem; and Felhendler, a Judaica store on the main artery of secular Rehovot, home of the Weizmann Institute.

The yeshiva declined to comment on publication statistics. But Itzik, a Tel Aviv-area book distributor hired by the yeshiva who declined to give his last name because of the book?s nature, said the yeshiva had sold 1,000 copies to individuals and bookstores countrywide. He said an additional 1,000 copies were now being printed.

Mendy Feldheim, owner of Feldheim Publishers, Israel’s largest Judaica publishing house, said he considered this a “nice” sales figure for a tome of rabbinic Halacha in Israel. He said his own company, which distributes to 200 bookstores nationwide, is not distributing “The King’s Torah” because the book’s publishers did not approach the company.

Prominent religious figures wrote letters of endorsement that preface the book. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, blessed the authors and wrote that many “disciples of Torah are unfamiliar with these laws.” The elder Yosef has not commented on his son’s statement.

Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a respected figure among many mainstream religious Zionists, noted that the book is “very relevant especially in this time.”

Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, one of the country?s most respected rabbinic commentators, initially endorsed the book, but rescinded his approval a month after its release, saying that the book includes statements that “have no place in human intelligence.”

A handful of settler rabbis echoed Goldberg’s censure, including Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim, who said he had “no patience” to read the book, and spoke out against it to his students.

Previously, Israel has arrested settler rabbis who publish commentaries supporting the killing of non-Jews. In addition to Ginsburgh, the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva head, in 1994, the government jailed Rabbi Ido Elba of Hebron for writing a 26-page article proclaiming it a “mitzva to kill every non-Jew from the nation that is fighting the Jew, even women and children.”

“The atmosphere has changed,” said Yair Sheleg, senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, who specializes in issues of religion and state. Previous governments took a tougher stance against such publications, he said, but “paradoxically, because the tension between the general settler population and the Israeli judicial system?is high now, the attorney general is careful not to heighten the tension.”

It is not uncommon for some settler rabbis, in the unique conditions of West Bank settlement life, to issue religious decrees, or psakim, that diverge from normative Jewish practice. In 2008, Avi Gisser, considered a moderate rabbi from the settlement of Ofra, ruled that Jews may violate Sabbath laws and hire non-Jews to build hilltop settlements. And In 2002, Yediot Aharanot reported that former Israeli Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu sanctioned Jewish harvesting of Palestinian-owned olive trees.

Contact Daniel Estrin at feedback@forward.com

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1144482.html

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<> See also

“Everyone Wanted a Piece of the Action”

The Kidney Broker and the Money Laundering Rabbis

By SAUL LANDAU

http://counterpunch.org/landau08072009.html

<> If Americans knew about Palestine Israel org

An excellent websites of factual presentation of comparisons

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

<>

<>

In Gaza, signs of Israeli  war crimes,

like the criminal use of White  Phosphorus:

and then this conclusive evidence of US conclusion to the crimes below

ABOVE:

The light gray 155mm rounds are marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munition. This photo was made by The Times reporter at an Israeli artillery position bombarding Gaza in January 2009.

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UN Finds Israeli War Crimes

UN Finds Israeli War Crimes

The report by the UN fact finding mission on the Gaza conflict released on September 15 brings to light numerous war crimes committed by Tzahal against Palestinian civilians. A few quotes from the UN report:

The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

The mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility…

It [the US mission] also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.

(source: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, UNO, Sept. 15, 2009)

etc

etc

etc

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Israel deflects pressure on nuclear weapons

Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 13:14 UK

Printable version

Dimona is understood to be the source of plutonium for Israel’s weapons

By Tim Franks BBC News, Jerusalem

As the UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation draws to a close, the most contentious area remains a region with no nuclear power stations, and no country which has declared that it has nuclear weapons: the Middle East.

There have been renewed efforts, at the conference, to have the Middle East declared a “nuclear-free zone”. But such a push is drawing stiff opposition from Israel and its allies.

Israel is one of only four states (along with North Korea, India and Pakistan) not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is widely believed to have atomic bombs, although there has never been any certainty or clarity about Israel’s nuclear capabilities.

It would be very foolish to ask us to disarm, because we won’t. I am at the age where the Holocaust is very, very fresh in my memory

Uzi Even, Professor of chemistry at Tel Aviv University

The single whistle-blower there was, Mordechai Vanunu, paid a heavy price. He passed details to the Sunday Times newspaper about the highly secret nuclear research facility he worked at, next to the southern Israeli town of Dimona. After being snatched by Israeli agents abroad, in 1986, he spent 18 years in prison.

But the global consensus has overtaken the official Israeli refusal to confirm or deny whether the country holds nuclear weapons. Only this week, Henry Kissinger, the former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State to two US presidents, spoke, on the BBC, about “Israeli nuclear weapons”.

‘Pressure premature’

Uzi Even worked at the Dimona nuclear facility back in the 1960s. He is now a professor of chemistry at Tel Aviv University.

Mr Even will not talk about what Israel’s military nuclear capability might be, but defence analysts at the London-based Jane’s Group assess that Israel has enough fissile material for between 100 and 300 warheads.

Mr Even argues, though, that Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity – essentially never confirming their existence, but allowing others to believe that Israel has nuclear weapons – has in the past proved very worthwhile.

KEY BACKGROUND

Continue reading the main story Could Middle East be nuclear-free? Nuclear power in the Middle East Israel’s nuclear programme Q&A: Nuclear disarmament

Whatever pressure might be exerted at the NPT conference in New York, Mr Even says that talk of a nuclear-free Middle East is premature.

His view on Israel’s need for nuclear weapons is common in Israel and goes some way to explaining Israeli attitudes on the issue: “There is no country in the world like Israel, which feels as threatened as Israel.

“And there is no country in the world which has any justification to keep nuclear weapons, except for Israel.

“It would be very foolish to ask us to disarm, because we won’t. I am at the age where the Holocaust is very, very fresh in my memory.”

But at this point, Mr Even departs from the Israeli establishment view. He says that the posture of the past – nuclear ambiguity – belongs in the past.

The Dimona reactor is, he says, reaching the end of its life, now that it is more than 40 years old, and should be shut down. There is also such a widespread belief, around the world, that Israel has nuclear weapons, there is no further need for nods and winks.

And Israel, he argues, needs access to new nuclear technology. Climate change demands that Israel build a nuclear power station, perhaps in a joint project with Jordan. All of which means that “damage from (nuclear) ambiguity outweighs its benefit”.

‘Safe for conventional war’

There would be a further benefit, Mr Even argues, to Israel now signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It would force Iran to cede the moral high ground over its own nuclear ambitions.

But Iran is also one of the big reasons why the Israeli government has no plans to change its nuclear policy right now.

Dore Gold is an Israeli former ambassador to the United Nations, and president of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. He says that not just Iran, but Iraq, Libya and Syria have all pursued a military nuclear capability, despite being signatories to the NPT.

As Dore Gold puts it, making Israel sign, would just “make the region safe for conventional war”.

Having Israel change its posture of nuclear ambiguity, he says, “would satisfy a small community of arms control experts in Washington and London, but it might leave the Middle East a much more dangerous place”.

And that is why the Israeli government insists that the time to push for a nuclear-free Middle East is only after the region is covered by a comprehensive peace agreement.

At the moment, such a goal appears to belong in the category of Very Long-term Ambition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10183302.stm

Israel ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’

Mr Carter was speaking at the UK’s Hay-on-Wye literature festival

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter has said Israel has at least 150 atomic weapons in its arsenal.

The Israelis have never confirmed they have nuclear weapons, but this has been widely assumed since a scientist leaked details in the 1980s.

Mr Carter made his comments on Israel’s weapons at a press conference at the annual literary Hay Festival in Wales.

He also described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth”.

Mr Carter gave the figure for the Israeli nuclear arsenal in response to a question on US policy on a possible nuclear-armed Iran, arguing that any country newly armed with atomic weapons faced overwhelming odds.

“The US has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union (sic) has about the same; Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more,” he said.

Israel’s Dimona reactor is understood to provide plutonium for the country’s nuclear weaponsNuclear power in the Middle East

Israeli PM dismisses nuclear row

Israel’s nuclear programme

“We have a phalanx of enormous capabilities, not only of weaponry but also of rockets to deliver every one of those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target.”

Most experts estimate that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

The US, a key ally of Israel, has in general followed the country’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity”, neither confirming or denying the existence of its assumed arsenal.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included Israel among a list of nuclear states in comments in December 2006, a week after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates used a similar form of words during a Senate hearing.

Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told Reuters news agency he considered Mr Carter’s comments “irresponsible”.

“The problem is that there are those who can use these statements when it comes to discussing the international effort to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons,” he said.

‘Imprisonment’

During the press briefing, Mr Carter expressed his support for Israel as a country, but criticised its domestic and foreign policy.

“One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth is the starvation and imprisonment of 1.6m Palestinians,” he said.

The former US president cited statistics which he said showed the nutritional intake of some Palestinian children was below that of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as saying the European position on Israel could be best described as “supine”.

Mr Carter, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, brokered the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state.

In April he controversially held talks in the Syrian capital Damascus with Khaled Meshaal, leader of the militant Palestinian movement Hamas.

The former US president’s Carter Center was unavailable for further comment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7420573.stm

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How US Weapons Grade Uranium was Diverted

to Israel

Declassified GAO Report Exposes

Fatally Flawed Israel Investigations

by Grant Smith, May 10, 2010

Email This | Print This | // Share This | Antiwar Forum

The 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is underway at UN Headquarters in New York. A working paper calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. It would require member states of the NPT to “disclose in their national reports on the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East all information available to them on the nature and scope of Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.” On May 6, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (formerly known as the General Accounting Office) released the previously secret 1978 report “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” [.pdf]. It fills in important historic gaps about weapons-grade uranium diversions from the U.S. to Israel.

U.S. presidents have long acquiesced to “strategic ambiguity” – a policy of neither confirming nor denying that Israel even possesses nuclear weapons. This pretext has allowed the U.S. to deliver the lion’s share of its foreign assistance budget to Israel, despite clear legal prohibitions imposed by the Glenn and Symington amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. UN member countries have long suspected that the United States either turns a blind eye or actively supports the transfer of know-how, weapons-grade uranium, and dual-use technology to Israel. The 62-page General Accounting Office investigation and correspondence confirms the United States refuses to mount credible investigations that would enable warranted prosecutions of the perpetrators.

“Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” investigates the period between 1957 and 1967 when the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) received over 22 tons of uranium-235 – the key material used to fabricate nuclear weapons. NUMEC’s founder and president Zalman M. Shapiro was head of a local Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) chapter and a sales agent for the Defense Ministry of Israel in the U.S. In the early 1960s the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began documenting suspicious lapses in security at NUMEC’s plant at Apollo, Pa. In 1965 an AEC audit found NUMEC could no longer account for over 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium. Subsequent estimates spiraled to almost 600 pounds.

The GAO was chartered by Congress to investigate four allegations about what happened to the uranium. The first was that “the material was illegally diverted to Israel by NUMEC management for use in nuclear weapons.” This was a result of early AEC and FBI investigations into the activities of Zalman Shapiro. The second theory “the material was diverted to Israel by NUMEC management with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)” came from the CIA’s silence and demonstrated lack of interest in the entire matter. The final theories explored by GAO were more general, that “the material was diverted to Israel with the acquiescence of the United States Government” or “there has been a cover-up of the NUMEC incident by the United States Government.”

GAO solicited all available information developed by the CIA, FBI, Department of Energy, and AEC, but was “continually denied necessary reports and documentation … by the CIA and FBI.” GAO attempted to fill in gaps or outright refusals to cooperate by directly interviewing FBI special agents. The GAO also intended to make the report public, in order to respond to growing public concerns. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, who requested the inquiry, was assured six months before it was issued that only the most sensitive areas in the report would be classified. The CIA and FBI insisted that the entire report be classified at the “secret” level over the objections of Dingell, who said, ”I think it is time that the public be informed about the facts surrounding the … affair and the possible diversion of bomb-grade uranium to Israel.”

The GAO report lambastes the FBI’s on-again off-again approach to investigating NUMEC: “The FBI, which had the responsibility and authority to investigate the alleged incident, did not focus on the question of a possible nuclear diversion until May 1976 – nearly 11 years later. Initially, the FBI declined DOE’s request to conduct an investigation of the diversion possibility even though they are required to conduct such investigations under the Atomic Energy Act….”

The FBI’s initial investigation during the 1960s quickly zeroed in on NUMEC management, but FBI recommendations for action were stymied. According to the GAO, “The FBI became so concerned about the security risks posed by NUMEC’s president that they asked DOE whether it planned to terminate his security clearance or stop the flow of materials to NUMEC. According to the FBI’s liaison with GAO, the FBI recommended that NUMEC’s operating license be taken away….” When the FBI request was ignored, it dropped the entire investigation between 1969 and 1976.

It took a direct order from President Gerald Ford in 1976 for the FBI and Department of Justice to “address the diversion aspect.” The renewed investigation soon led to reversals of official U.S. government positions on NUMEC. According to the GAO report, “until the summer of 1977, the only publicized Government view on the NUMEC incident was that there was no evidence to indicate that a diversion of nuclear material had occurred.” By February 1978, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it had “reconsidered” its previous position that there had been “no evidence” to support diversion.

But the 11-year gap “obviously hampered” the effort. The GAO revealed that the DOE’s nuclear materials safeguards, which before 1967 tracked the monetary value rather than the precise mass of the uranium, were seriously flawed. NUMEC claimed key records covering a period of heavy uranium loss were destroyed during a “labor dispute” in 1964. NUMEC paid a $1.1 million fine for 206 pounds of missing uranium in 1966, which closed the DOE case. NUMEC also hired away one of the DOE’s chief on-site investigators to enhance the appearance of serious materials control and accountability. The GAO found that even by 1978 the FBI had not contacted key individuals in the affair. An FBI agent-in-charge told the GAO it did not investigate the source of funds to pay NUMEC’s DOE fine anticipating “legal difficulties.” So the GAO investigated the matter, placing its own telephone calls to Mellon Bank.

The GAO report is highly critical of the CIA: “From interviews with a former CIA official and with former and current officials and staff of DOE and the FBI we concluded that the CIA did not fully cooperate with DOE or the FBI in attempting to resolve the NUMEC matter.” The report is inconclusive about exactly what happened at NUMEC, but not about the agencies involved in the investigation through 1978. “We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so.”

The passage of time has removed any remaining doubts that NUMEC diverted uranium to Israel. Rafael Eitan, who visited NUMEC in 1968, was later revealed as the top Israeli spy targeting U.S. nuclear, national defense, and economic targets when his agent (U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard) was arrested spying for Israel in 1985. According to Anthony Cordesman, “there is no conceivable reason for Eitan to have gone [to the Apollo plant] but for the nuclear material.” CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden called NUMEC “an Israeli operation from the beginning,” a conclusion supported by its startup financing and initial ties to Israeli intelligence. Why both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations failed to credibly investigate NUMEC as a diversion challenge is also now obvious.

John F. Kennedy’s direct diplomatic pressures for U.S. inspections of Israel’s Dimona reactor grew throughout 1962-1963. During a Dec. 27, 1963, meeting with Foreign Minister Golda Meir, Kennedy expressed his hope that the relationship was a “two-way street.” Meir reassured President Kennedy that there “would not be any difficulty between us on the Israeli nuclear reactor.” Kennedy delivered a final ultimatum to Israel on July 5, 1963, insisting that Dimona undergo serial inspections “in accord with international standards” in order to verify its “peaceful intent.” Simultaneously, the Kennedy Justice Department was waging an intense battle behind closed doors to register and regulate Israel’s elite U.S. lobby, the American Zionist Council, which was bringing in funds from overseas to lobby. Kennedy’s assassination in November traumatized the nation and led to the complete and permanent reversal of both initiatives.

According to Avner Cohen, in 1958 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion had arranged with Abraham Feinberg, a “major Democratic fund-raiser,” to secretly finance a nuclear weapons program among “benedictors” in America. Abraham Feinberg, who backed Harry S. Truman’s successful whistle-stop election campaign, was personally succinct about his role in the U.S. political system: “My path to power was cooperation in terms of what they needed – campaign money.” Feinberg opened doors in Congress for up and coming leaders of the Israel lobby, including AIPAC founder Isaiah L. Kenen. According to Seymour Hersh, “there is no question that Feinberg enjoyed the greatest presidential access and influence in his 20 years as a Jewish fund-raiser and lobbyist with Lyndon Johnson. Documents at the Johnson Library show that even the most senior members of the National Security Council understood that any issue raised by Feinberg had to be answered.” His power and role in financing Lyndon B. Johnson’s election prospects temporarily quashed scrutiny of Israel’s nuclear weapons program – in the U.S. and abroad – at a critical moment.

On Oct. 14, 1964, less than three weeks before the 1964 presidential elections, Johnson’s top administrative assistant Walter Jenkins was arrested in a public restroom on sexual solicitation charges. At least $250,000 Abraham Feinberg raised for Johnson was located in Jenkins’ office safe. Johnson phoned his trusted aides Bill Moyers and Myer Feldman with orders to move the cash, which they did with the help of a heavy briefcase. Israel would later replenish Feinberg’s coffers (as it had with Zalman Shapiro through sales commissions) with multi-million dollar favors, such as major ownership in the nation’s Coca-Cola franchise.

In 1968 as Israel noticeably ramped up activities at the Dimona nuclear weapons facility, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford placed a final urgent call to Johnson, “Mr. President, I don’t want to live in a world where the Israelis have nuclear weapons.” President Johnson was abrupt before he hung up on Clifford, “Don’t bother me with this anymore.” By the time Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier lobbied President Nixon to redefine U.S. non-proliferation policy as “ambiguity” toward Israeli nuclear weapons, Israel’s stockpile and number of deployed weapons was steadily growing.

The report reveals why the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference at the UN – like the GAO – isn’t really capable of challenging the true drivers of Middle East nuclear proliferation. “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” is a report so unique and noble in intent that there will probably never be another like it. While it leaves unexplored the ongoing presence, influence, and effect of Israel’s lobbyists working at the center of U.S. presidential administrations, for concerned Americans the GAO provides a snapshot of a moment in time before their Congress, aspiring politicians, and mid-level management of government agencies all “got the memo.”

In 2010 that unwritten memo reads something like this: Crimes committed in the name of Israel – no matter how audacious – will never be properly investigated, let alone prosecuted… so don’t waste your time.

Read more by Grant Smith

http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2010/05/09/declassified-gao-report/

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and then there is Fallujah in Iraq, where we hear that…

U.S. Marine comes forward, says military used

white phosphorus in Fallujah.

Italian broadcasting agency RAI has released a documentary “The Hidden Massacre” that clearly indicates that the U.S. military used white phosphorus offensively during their attack on Fallujah in November, 2004. (Click here to watch the documentary, or here to download it. Democracy Now is also providing the documentary, too, along with interviews. Easier streaming.)

The broadcast shows video of a U.S. helicopter repeatedly raining down a bombardment of white phosporus across Fallujah at night. The U.S. State Department had previously released a statement categorically denying all use of white phosporus during the battle of Fallujah except for illumination purposes. This confirms several firsthand reports from news sources at the time of the invasion.

In the video, Jeff Englehart, a Marine who served in Fallujah and who maintains a weblog at http://www.ftssoldier.blogspot.com , claims that there was widespread, indicriminate use of white phosphorus in last year’s attack on Fallujah.

The white phosporus hits, burning at over 3000 degrees, effecting an area approximately a quarter of a mile wide — over a tenth of a mile in all directions. Classified as an incendiary by the US military, modern white phosphorus ordinance is often mixed with rubber or plastic to prevent its fire from being extinguished, even if doused in water. It scatters and burns indiscrimiately — if it makes contact with skin, it will burn down to the bone.

Englehart heard officers approve requests for use of white phosphorus on a wide scale throughout the assault. “It comes across the radio as a general transmission… we have speakers in our trucks. ‘We’re going to drop some Willy Pete.’ ‘Roger. Commence bombing'”

“We were told going into Fallujah that every single person going into the combat area that was walking, talking, breatheing was an enemy combattant. . . It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs. It looked like just a massive killing. . . Burned bodies. Burned children. Burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately.”

Englehart also reported that the invasion of Fallujah was intentionally delayed by the Bush administration until after the election. “It’s was definitely the case. Even in the military ranks, we knew what was going on. They told us…”

———————–

UPDATE:

More confirmation of non-illumination use of white phosphorus during the Battle of Fallujah, this time from the Army itself, via the article “The Fight for Fallujah – TF2-2 IN FSE AAR: Indirect Fires in the Battle of Fallujah” in the March/April ’05 edition of Field Artillery Magazine :

“The munitions we brought to this fight were . . . illumination
and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825), with point-detonating (PD), delay, time and variable-time (VT) fuzes.”

“WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.”

This according to Captain James T. Cobb, First Lieutenant Christopher A. LaCour, and Sergeant First Class William H. Hight, the authors of the article. Their article fundamentally disagrees with the statement by the U.S. State Department on the matter.

There are also numerous reports from embedded journalists that WP was fired on Fallujah, such as this one from the North County Times:

“Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused.

The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call “shake ‘n’ bake” into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.”

http://insomnia.livejournal.com/630212.html

and they even have a very convincing video clip, with a take below,

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And now some years later….  (after allegations about depleted uranium) …

Huge rise in birth defects in Fallujah

Iraqi former battle zone sees abnormal clusters of infant tumours and deformities

The children of Falluja Link to this video

Doctors in Iraq‘s war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants, compared to a year ago, and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja’s over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems – are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women’s affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

“We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies,” said Falluja general hospital’s director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais. “Before 2003 [the start of the war] I was seeing sporadic numbers of deformities in babies. Now the frequency of deformities has increased dramatically.”

The rise in frequency is stark – from two admissions a fortnight a year ago to two a day now. “Most are in the head and spinal cord, but there are also many deficiencies in lower limbs,” he said. “There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of less than two years [old] with brain tumours. This is now a focus area of multiple tumours.”

After several years of speculation and anecdotal evidence, a picture of a highly disturbing phenomenon in one of Iraq’s most battered areas has now taken shape. Previously all miscarried babies, including those with birth defects or infants who were not given ongoing care, were not listed as abnormal cases.

The Guardian asked a paediatrician, Samira Abdul Ghani, to keep precise records over a three-week period. Her records reveal that 37 babies with anomalies, many of them neural tube defects, were born during that period at Falluja general hospital alone.

Dr Bassam Allah, the head of the hospital’s children’s ward, this week urged international experts to take soil samples across Falluja and for scientists to mount an investigation into the causes of so many ailments, most of which he said had been “acquired” by mothers before or during pregnancy.

Other health officials are also starting to focus on possible reasons, chief among them potential chemical or radiation poisonings. Abnormal clusters of infant tumours have also been repeatedly cited in Basra and Najaf – areas that have in the past also been intense battle zones where modern munitions have been heavily used.

Falluja’s frontline doctors are reluctant to draw a direct link with the fighting. They instead cite multiple factors that could be contributors.

“These include air pollution, radiation, chemicals, drug use during pregnancy, malnutrition, or the psychological status of the mother,” said Dr Qais. “We simply don’t have the answers yet.”

The anomalies are evident all through Falluja’s newly opened general hospital and in centres for disabled people across the city. On 2 November alone, there were four cases of neuro-tube defects in the neo-natal ward and several more were in the intensive care ward and an outpatient clinic.

Falluja was the scene of the only two setpiece battles that followed the US-led invasion. Twice in 2004, US marines and infantry units were engaged in heavy fighting with Sunni militia groups who had aligned with former Ba’athists and Iraqi army elements.

The first battle was fought to find those responsible for the deaths of four Blackwater private security contractors working for the US. The city was bombarded heavily by American artillery and fighter jets. Controversial weaponry was used, including white phosphorus, which the US government admitted deploying.

Statistics on infant tumours are not considered as reliable as new data about nervous system anomalies, which are usually evident immediately after birth. Dr Abdul Wahid Salah, a neurosurgeon, said: “With neuro-tube defects, their heads are often larger than normal, they can have deficiencies in hearts and eyes and their lower limbs are often listless. There has been no orderly registration here in the period after the war and we have suffered from that. But [in relation to the rise in tumours] I can say with certainty that we have noticed a sharp rise in malignancy of the blood and this is not a congenital anomaly – it is an acquired disease.”

Despite fully funding the construction of the new hospital, a well-equipped facility that opened in August, Iraq’s health ministry remains largely disfunctional and unable to co-ordinate a response to the city’s pressing needs.

The government’s lack of capacity has led Falluja officials, who have historically been wary of foreign intervention, to ask for help from the international community. “Even in the scientific field, there has been a reluctance to reach out to the exterior countries,” said Dr Salah. “But we have passed that point now. I am doing multiple surgeries every day. I have one assistant and I am obliged to do everything myself.”

Additional reporting: Enas Ibrahim.

• This article was amended on 26 November 2009, to make clear in the opening sentence over what period an increase of up to 15 times the number of deformaties was observed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/13/falluja-cancer-children-birth-defects

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William Blum US War Crimes Fallujah ThreeHeaded Babies etc

War Crimes: “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was Fallujah.”

The United States Takes the Matter of Three-Headed Babies Very Seriously.

by William Blum

 

 

Global Research, April 6, 2010

The Anti-Empire Report – 2010-04-05

 

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When did it begin, all this “We take your [call/problem/question] very seriously”? With answering-machine hell? As you wait endlessly, the company or government agency assures you that they take seriously whatever reason you’re calling. What a kind and thoughtful world we live in.

 

The BBC reported last month that doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the United States during its fierce onslaughts of 2004 and subsequently, which left much of the city in ruins. “It was like an earthquake,” a local engineer who was running for a national assembly seat told the Washington Post in 2005. “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was Fallujah.” Now, the level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than in Europe.

 

The BBC correspondent also saw children in the city who were suffering from paralysis or brain damage, and a photograph of one baby who was born with three heads. He added that he heard many times that officials in Fallujah had warned women that they should not have children. One doctor in the city had compared data about birth defects from before 2003 — when she saw about one case every two months — with the situation now, when she saw cases every day. “I’ve seen footage of babies born with an eye in the middle of the forehead, the nose on the forehead,” she said.

 

A spokesman for the US military, Michael Kilpatrick, said it always took public health concerns “very seriously”, but that “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues.” 1

 

One could fill many large volumes with the details of the environmental and human horrors the United States has brought to Fallujah and other parts of Iraq during seven years of using white phosphorous shells, depleted uranium, napalm, cluster bombs, neutron bombs, laser weapons, weapons using directed energy, weapons using high-powered microwave technology, and other marvelous inventions in the Pentagon’s science-fiction arsenal … the list of abominations and grotesque ways of dying is long, the wanton cruelty of American policy shocking. In November 2004, the US military targeted a Fallujah hospital “because the American military believed that it was the source of rumors about heavy casualties.” 2 That’s on a par with the classic line from the equally glorious American war in Vietnam: “We had to destroy the city to save it.”

 

How can the world deal with such inhumane behavior? (And the above of course scarcely scratches the surface of the US international record.) For this the International Criminal Court (ICC) was founded in Rome in 1998 (entering into force July 1, 2002) under the aegis of the United Nations. The Court was established in The Hague, Netherlands to investigate and indict individuals, not states, for “The crime of genocide; Crimes against humanity; War crimes; or The crime of aggression.” (Article 5 of the Rome Statute) From the very beginning, the United States was opposed to joining the ICC, and has never ratified it, because of the alleged danger of the Court using its powers to “frivolously” indict Americans.

 

So concerned about indictments were the American powers-that-be that the US went around the world using threats and bribes against countries to induce them to sign agreements pledging not to transfer to the Court US nationals accused of committing war crimes abroad. Just over 100 governments so far have succumbed to the pressure and signed an agreement. In 2002, Congress, under the Bush administration, passed the “American Service Members Protection Act”, which called for “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by … the International Criminal Court.” In the Netherlands it’s widely and derisively known as the “Invasion of The Hague Act”. 3 The law is still on the books.

 

Though American officials have often spoken of “frivolous” indictments — politically motivated prosecutions against US soldiers, civilian military contractors, and former officials — it’s safe to say that what really worries them are “serious” indictments based on actual events. But they needn’t worry. The mystique of “America the Virtuous” is apparently alive and well at the International Criminal Court, as it is, still, in most international organizations; indeed, amongst most people of the world. The ICC, in its first few years, under Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine, dismissed many hundreds of petitions accusing the United States of war crimes, including 240 concerning the war in Iraq. The cases were turned down for lack of evidence, lack of jurisdiction, or because of the United States’ ability to conduct its own investigations and trials. The fact that the US never actually used this ability was apparently not particularly significant to the Court. “Lack of jurisdiction” refers to the fact that the United States has not ratified the accord. On the face of it, this does seem rather odd. Can nations commit war crimes with impunity as long as they don’t become part of a treaty banning war crimes? Hmmm. The possibilities are endless. A congressional study released in August, 2006 concluded that the ICC’s chief prosecutor demonstrated “a reluctance to launch an investigation against the United States” based on allegations regarding its conduct in Iraq. 4 Sic transit gloria International Criminal Court.

 

As to the crime of aggression, the Court’s statute specifies that the Court “shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once a provision is adopted … defining the crime and setting out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime.” In short, the crime of aggression is exempted from the Court’s jurisdiction until “aggression” is defined. Writer Diana Johnstone has observed: “This is a specious argument since aggression has been quite clearly defined by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3314 in 1974, which declared that: ‘Aggression is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State’, and listed seven specific examples,” including:

 

The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof; and

 

Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State.

 

The UN resolution also stated that: “No consideration of whatever nature, whether political, economic, military or otherwise, may serve as a justification for aggression.”

 

The real reason that aggression remains outside the jurisdiction of the ICC is that the United States, which played a strong role in elaborating the Statute before refusing to ratify it, was adamantly opposed to its inclusion. It is not hard to see why. It may be noted that instances of “aggression”, which are clearly factual, are much easier to identify than instances of “genocide”, whose definition relies on assumptions of intention. 5

 

There will be a conference of the ICC in May, in Kampala, Uganda, in which the question of specifically defining “aggression” will be discussed. The United States is concerned about this discussion. Here is Stephen J. Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, speaking to the ICC member nations (111 have ratified thus far) in The Hague last November 19:

 

I would be remiss not to share with you my country’s concerns about an issue pending before this body to which we attach particular importance: the definition of the crime of aggression, which is to be addressed at the Review Conference in Kampala next year. The United States has well-known views on the crime of aggression, which reflect the specific role and responsibilities entrusted to the Security Council by the UN Charter in responding to aggression or its threat, as well as concerns about the way the draft definition itself has been framed. Our view has been and remains that, should the Rome Statute be amended to include a defined crime of aggression, jurisdiction should follow a Security Council determination that aggression has occurred.

 

Do you all understand what Mr. Rapp is saying? That the United Nations Security Council should be the body that determines whether aggression has occurred. The same body in which the United States has the power of veto. To prevent the adoption of a definition of aggression that might stigmatize American foreign policy is likely the key reason the US will be attending the upcoming conference.

 

Nonetheless, the fact that the United States will be attending the conference may well be pointed out by some as another example of how the Obama administration foreign policy is an improvement over that of the Bush administration. But as with almost all such examples, it’s a propaganda illusion. Like the cover of Newsweek magazine of March 8, written in very large type: “Victory at last: The emergence of a democratic Iraq”. Even before the current Iraqi electoral farce — with winning candidates arrested or fleeing 6— this headline should have made one think of the interminable jokes Americans made during the Cold War about Pravda and Izvestia.

 

The forbidden “P” word

“Back now at 8:11 with one of our favorite families, the Duggars. Parents Jim Bob and Michelle became the proud parents of their 19th child back in December. This morning we have an exclusive first look at their daughter, Josie Brooklyn. She was born three and a half months premature, but we are happy to report both mom and baby are doing well.” — Meredith Vieira, “The Today Show,”, NBC, January 28, 2010

Wow, ain’t that just real neat! Their 19th child! Wow, and mom and baby are doing so well!

 

Wow, the Duggars and their children were featured on a TV reality show called “19 Kids & Counting.” Wow, just a newborn and already on a reality show! Pass me some more pizza.

 

Wow, if it was up to me, I would have had mom and/or Jim Bob sterilized after their third child. Wow. Or maybe after their second. Just tie their damn tubes or something!

 

“D.C. area’s population is still blooming: Data shows brisk growth 163,000 gain in 2 years” — This is the Washington Post (March 24) exulting over the fact that the District of Columbia has undergone a sharp increase in population in recent years. Wow, the more the better for the city, right? We all love big crowds and jammed trains and waiting a long time for everything, don’t we? In their online version of the same story, the Post headline was: “Washington area population rises faster than other regions”. Wow, even better than I thought. We’re winning the population contest! Is there a Super Bowl we can be invited to? Is everyone crazy?

 

Wow, people, we’re suffocating in people, we’re drowning in people. So much of importance, so much that we value and take pleasure in, is being choked to death by too many people. But no politician dares touch upon this. Rarely does the mainstream media do so. In fact, rarely does the alternative media do so. Population growth is a driving force behind carbon dioxide-emission increases, but it wasn’t on the agenda at the international environment conference in Copenhagen last December or at any of the climate talks since then. It appears to be an idea that can not be entertained in polite society.

 

Imagine there were 25 million fewer cars on American roads. Imagine the effect on travel time, on air pollution, on accidents, on road rage, on finding a parking space. Imagine what we could build on the huge amount of space now devoted to parking lots.

 

There is overwhelming evidence that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved if population growth is not curbed. These goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, combating HIV/AIDS, and ensuring environmental sustainability. A lot of the work of NGOs and other activists all over the world is nullified by population increases.

 

Many Marxists insist that there’s no pressing need to control population if we just change the economic system — eliminate private ownership of the means of production, get rid of the profit motive, curtail all the unnecessary economic “growth”, revise our economic priorities so as to run society on a rational, humane basis. Enough food is already produced in the world, they say, to cover the needs of everyone; it’s the distribution of the food that’s the problem. There’s a lot to what they say, but I think the many serious problems caused by overpopulation — from food and water and transportation to housing, soil erosion, sanitation and much more will continue to plague the world as long as we continue inexorably toward a world of billions more vulnerable beings. ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, imagine the quality of life in the United States with 100 million fewer people. Imagine Chinese society with an additional 400 million people. This is what the Chinese government estimates is what the result would be today if its one-child policy had not been adopted in the 1970s. 7

 

So I’m advocating a one- or a two-child per family maximum. This law would not be retroactive.

 

But I’m not advocating support of US foreign policy, even though it does its share of population control by killing people on a regular basis, currently at war against five countries.

 

All of you who are activists in any way, I urge you to not be afraid to mention the “P” word. Be inspired by Britain’s Prince Philip who once said: “If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” 8

 

One final point. Everyone knows of the unspeakable sadness of losing a child. Do parents ever get over it? But when did you see this kind of grief over the loss of an embryo or fetus? Who mourns a fetus in the same personal way and to the same degree? That’s why I have no hesitation in fully supporting abortion on demand. Abortion on demand will be an important part of population control in my brave new world.

 

Free files

 

My apartment is running out of space. Would anyone like some FBI files I received under the Freedom of Information Act?

 

Liberation News Service (the Associated Press of the left), late 1960s, early 1970s, about 800 pages.

 

Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, mid-1970s, about 1,000 pages. From their website:

“In 1974, the Weather Underground Organization published a book entitled ‘Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism.’ Discussion groups sprang up around the country to discuss the book. In response, Prairie Fire formed in cities across the U.S.”

 

Notes

 

1. BBC, March 4, 2010; Washington Post, December 3, 2005

 

2. New York Times, November 8, 2004

 

3. Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2009

 

4. Washington Post, November 7, 2006

 

5. Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch, January 27/28, 2007

 

6. Washington Post, April 2, 2010

 

7. Associated Press, March 2, 2008

 

8. The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), August 10, 2003

 

 

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org. Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.


William Blum is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by William Blum

War Crimes: “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was Fallujah.”

The United States Takes the Matter of Three-Headed Babies Very Seriously.

By William Blum

Global Research, April 6, 2010

The Anti-Empire Report – 2010-04-05

Notes

1. BBC, March 4, 2010; Washington Post, December 3, 2005

2. New York Times, November 8, 2004

3. Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2009

4. Washington Post, November 7, 2006

5. Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch, January 27/28, 2007

6. Washington Post, April 2, 2010

7. Associated Press, March 2, 2008

8. The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), August 10, 2003

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org. Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.


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The Opium Wars in Afghanistan

Can Anyone Pacify the

World’s Number One Narco-State?

by Alfred W. McCoy


Global Research, April 6, 2010

The Asia-Pacific Journal and Tom Dispatch – 2010-03-30

 

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In ways that have escaped most observers, the Obama administration is now trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and death in Afghanistan from which there is neither an easy end nor an obvious exit.

After a year of cautious debate and costly deployments, President Obama finally launched his new Afghan war strategy at 2:40 am on February 13, 2010, in a remote market town called Marja in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. As a wave of helicopters descended on Marja’s outskirts spitting up clouds of dust, hundreds of U.S. Marines dashed through fields sprouting opium poppies toward the town’s mud-walled compounds.

After a week of fighting, U.S. war commander General Stanley A. McChrystal choppered into town with Afghanistan’s vice-president and Helmand’s provincial governor. Their mission: a media roll-out for the general’s new-look counterinsurgency strategy based on bringing government to remote villages just like Marja.

At a carefully staged meet-and-greet with some 200 villagers, however, the vice-president and provincial governor faced some unexpected, unscripted anger.  “If they come with tractors,” one Afghani widow announced to a chorus of supportive shouts from her fellow farmers, “they will have to roll over me and kill me before they can kill my poppy.”

For these poppy growers and thousands more like them, the return of government control, however contested, brought with it a perilous threat: opium eradication.

Throughout all the shooting and shouting, American commanders seemed strangely unaware that Marja might qualify as the world’s heroin capital — with hundreds of laboratories, reputedly hidden inside the area’s mud-brick houses, regularly processing the local poppy crop into high-grade heroin.  After all, the surrounding fields of Helmand Province produce a remarkable 40% of the world’s illicit opium supply, and much of this harvest has been traded in Marja. Rushing through those opium fields to attack the Taliban on day one of this offensive, the Marines missed their real enemy, the ultimate force behind the Taliban insurgency, as they pursued just the latest crop of peasant guerrillas whose guns and wages are funded by those poppy plants. “You can’t win this war,” said one U.S. Embassy official just back from inspecting these opium districts, “without taking on drug production in Helmand Province.”

Indeed, as Air Force One headed for Kabul Sunday, National Security Adviser James L. Jones assured reporters that President Obama would try to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to prioritize “battling corruption, taking the fight to the narco-traffickers.” The drug trade, he added, “provides a lot of the economic engine for the insurgents.”

Just as these Marja farmers spoiled General McChrystal’s media event, so their crop has subverted every regime that has tried to rule Afghanistan for the past 30 years. During the CIA’s covert war in the 1980s, opium financed the mujahedeen or “freedom fighters” (as President Ronald Reagan called them) who finally forced the Soviets to abandon the country and then defeated its Marxist client state.

In the late 1990s, the Taliban, which had taken power in most of the country, lost any chance for international legitimacy by protecting and profiting from opium — and then, ironically, fell from power only months after reversing course and banning the crop. Since the US military intervened in 2001, a rising tide of opium has corrupted the government in Kabul while empowering a resurgent Taliban whose guerrillas have taken control of ever larger parts of the Afghan countryside.

These three eras of almost constant warfare fueled a relentless rise in Afghanistan’s opium harvest — from just 250 tons in 1979 to 8,200 tons in 2007.  For the past five years, the Afghan opium harvest has accounted for as much as 50% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provided the prime ingredient for over 90% of the world’s heroin supply.

The ecological devastation and societal dislocation from these three war-torn decades has woven opium so deeply into the Afghan grain that it defies solution by Washington’s best and brightest (as well as its most inept and least competent). Caroming between ignoring the opium crop and demanding its total eradication, the Bush administration dithered for seven years while heroin boomed, and in doing so helped create a drug economy that corrupted and crippled the government of its ally, President Karzai.  In recent years, opium farming has supported 500,000 Afghan families, nearly 20% of the country’s estimated population, and funds a Taliban insurgency that has, since 2006, spread across the countryside.

To understand the Afghan War, one basic point must be grasped: in poor nations with weak state services, agriculture is the foundation for all politics, binding villagers to the government or warlords or rebels. The ultimate aim of counterinsurgency strategy is always to establish the state’s authority. When the economy is illicit and by definition beyond government control, this task becomes monumental. If the insurgents capture that illicit economy, as the Taliban have done, then the task becomes little short of insurmountable.

Opium is an illegal drug, but Afghanistan’s poppy crop is still grounded in networks of social trust that tie people together at each step in the chain of production.  Crop loans are necessary for planting, labor exchange for harvesting, stability for marketing, and security for shipment. So dominant and problematic is the opium economy in Afghanistan today that a question Washington has avoided for the past nine years must be asked: Can anyone pacify a full-blown narco-state?

The answer to this critical question lies in the history of the three Afghan wars in which Washington has been involved over the past 30 years — the CIA covert warfare of the 1980s, the civil war of the 1990s (fueled at its start by $900 million in CIA funding), and since 2001, the U.S. invasion, occupation, and counterinsurgency campaigns. In each of these conflicts, Washington has tolerated drug trafficking by its Afghan allies as the price of military success — a policy of benign neglect that has helped make Afghanistan today the world’s number one narco-state.

CIA Covert Warfare, Spreading Poppy Fields, and Drug Labs: the 1980s

Opium first emerged as a key force in Afghan politics during the CIA covert war against the Soviets, the last in a series of secret operations that it conducted along the mountain rim-lands of Asia which stretch for 5,000 miles from Turkey to Thailand. In the late 1940s, as the Cold War was revving up, the United States first mounted covert probes of communism’s Asian underbelly. For 40 years thereafter, the CIA fought a succession of secret wars along this mountain rim — in Burma during the 1950s, Laos in the 1960s, and Afghanistan in the 1980s. In one of history’s ironic accidents, the southern reach of communist China and the Soviet Union had coincided with Asia’s opium zone along this same mountain rim, drawing the CIA into ambiguous alliances with the region’s highland warlords.

Washington’s first Afghan war began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded the country to save a Marxist client regime in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Seeing an opportunity to wound its Cold War enemy, the Reagan administration worked closely with Pakistan’s military dictatorship in a ten-year CIA campaign to expel the Soviets.

This was, however, a covert operation unlike any other in the Cold War years. First, the collision of CIA secret operations and Soviet conventional warfare led to the devastation of Afghanistan’s fragile highland ecology, damaging its traditional agriculture beyond immediate recovery, and fostering a growing dependence on the international drug trade. Of equal import, instead of conducting this covert warfare on its own as it had in Laos in the Vietnam War years, the CIA outsourced much of the operation to Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), which soon became a powerful and ever more problematic ally.

When the ISI proposed its Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, as overall leader of the anti-Soviet resistance, Washington — with few alternatives — agreed. Over the next 10 years, the CIA supplied some $2 billion to Afghanistan’s mujahedeen through the ISI, half to Hekmatyar, a violent fundamentalist infamous for throwing acid at unveiled women at Kabul University and, later, murdering rival resistance leaders. As the CIA operation was winding down in May 1990, the Washington Post published a front-page article charging that its key ally, Hekmatyar, was operating a chain of heroin laboratories inside Pakistan under the protection of the ISI.

Although this area had zero heroin production in the mid-1970s, the CIA’s covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world’s largest heroin producing region. As mujahedeen guerrillas captured prime agricultural areas inside Afghanistan in the early 1980s, they began collecting a revolutionary poppy tax from their peasant supporters.

Once the Afghan guerrillas brought the opium across the border, they sold it to hundreds of Pakistani heroin labs operating under the ISI’s protection.  Between 1981 and 1990, Afghanistan’s opium production grew ten-fold — from 250 tons to 2,000 tons. After just two years of covert CIA support for the Afghan guerrillas, the U.S. Attorney General announced in 1981 that Pakistan was already the source of 60% of the American heroin supply. Across Europe and Russia, Afghan-Pakistani heroin soon captured an even larger share of local markets, while inside Pakistan itself the number of addicts soared from zero in 1979 to 1.2 million just five years later.

After investing $3 billion in Afghanistan’s destruction, Washington just walked away in 1992, leaving behind a thoroughly ravaged country with over one million dead, five million refugees, 10-20 million landmines still in place, an infrastructure in ruins, an economy in tatters, and well-armed tribal warlords prepared to fight among themselves for control of the capital. Even when Washington finally cut its covert CIA funding at the end of 1991, however, Pakistan’s ISI continued to back favored local warlords in pursuit of its long-term goal of installing a Pashtun client regime in Kabul.

Druglords, Dragon’s Teeth, and Civil Wars: the 1990s

Throughout the 1990s, ruthless local warlords mixed guns and opium in a lethal brew as part of a brutal struggle for power.  It was almost as if the soil had been sown with those dragons’ teeth of ancient myth that can suddenly sprout into an army of full-grown warriors, who leap from the earth with swords drawn for war.

When northern resistance forces finally captured Kabul from the communist regime, which had outlasted the Soviet withdrawal by three years, Pakistan still backed its client Hekmatyar.  He, in turn, unleashed his artillery on the besieged capital.  The result: the deaths of an estimated 50,000 more Afghans. Even a slaughter of such monumental proportions, however, could not win power for this unpopular fundamentalist.  So the ISI armed a new force, the Taliban and in September 1996, it succeeded in capturing Kabul, only to fight the Northern Alliance for the next five years in the valleys to the north of the capital.

During this seemingly unending civil war, rival factions leaned heavily on opium to finance the fighting, more than doubling the harvest to 4,600 tons by 1999. Throughout these two decades of warfare and a twenty-fold jump in drug production, Afghanistan itself was slowly transformed from a diverse agricultural ecosystem — with herding, orchards, and over 60 food crops — into the world’s first economy dependent on the production of a single illicit drug. In the process, a fragile human ecology was brought to ruin in an unprecedented way.

Located at the northern edge of the annual monsoon rains, where clouds arrive from the Arabian Sea already squeezed dry, Afghanistan is an arid land.  Its staple food crops have historically been sustained by irrigation systems that rely on snowmelt from the region’s high mountains. To supplement staples such as wheat, Afghan tribesmen herded vast flocks of sheep and goats hundreds of miles every year to summer pasture in the central uplands. Most important of all, farmers planted perennial tree crops — walnut, pistachio, and mulberry — which thrived because they sink their roots deep into the soil and are remarkably resistant to the region’s periodic droughts, offering relief from the threat of famine in the dry years.

During these two decades of war, however, modern firepower devastated the herds, damaged snowmelt irrigation systems, and destroyed many of the orchards. While the Soviets simply blasted the landscape with firepower, the Taliban, with an unerring instinct for their society’s economic jugular, violated the unwritten rules of traditional Afghan warfare by cutting down the orchards on the vast Shamali plain north of Kabul.

All these strands of destruction knit themselves into a veritable Gordian knot of human suffering to which opium became the sole solution.  Like Alexander’s legendary sword, it offered a straightforward way to cut through a complex conundrum. Without any aid to restock their herds, reseed their fields, or replant their orchards, Afghan farmers — including some 3 million returning refugees — found sustenance in opium, which had historically been but a small part of their agriculture.

Since poppy cultivation requires nine times more labor per hectare than wheat, opium offered immediate seasonal employment to more than a million Afghans — perhaps half of those actually employed at the time. In this ruined land and ravaged economy, opium merchants alone could accumulate capital rapidly and so give poppy farmers crop loans equivalent to more than half their annual incomes, credit critical to the survival of many poor villagers.

In marked contrast to the marginal yields the country’s harsh climate offers most food crops, Afghanistan proved ideal for opium.  On average, each hectare of Afghan poppy land produces three to five times more than its chief competitor, Burma.  Most important of all, in such an arid ecosystem, subject to periodic drought, opium uses less than half the water needed for staples such as wheat.

After taking power in 1996, the Taliban regime encouraged a nationwide expansion of opium cultivation, doubling production to 4,600 tons, then equivalent to 75% of the world’s heroin supply. Signaling its support for drug production, the Taliban regime began collecting a 20% tax from the yearly opium harvest, earning an estimated $100 million in revenues.

In retrospect, the regime’s most important innovation was undoubtedly the introduction of large-scale heroin refining in the environs of the city of Jalalabad.  There, hundreds of crude labs set to work, paying only a modest production tax of $70 on every kilo of heroin powder. According to U.N. researchers, the Taliban also presided over bustling regional opium markets in Helmand and Nangarhar provinces, protecting some 240 top traders there.

During the 1990s, Afghanistan’s soaring opium harvest fueled an international smuggling trade that tied Central Asia, Russia, and Europe into a vast illicit market of arms, drugs, and money-laundering.  It also helped fuel an eruption of ethnic insurgency across a 3,000-mile swath of land from Uzbekistan in Central Asia to Bosnia in the Balkans.

In July 2000, however, the Taliban leader Mullah Omar suddenly ordered a ban on all opium cultivation in a desperate bid for international recognition.  Remarkably enough, almost overnight the Taliban regime used the ruthless repression for which it was infamous to slash the opium harvest by 94% to only 185 metric tons.

By then, however, Afghanistan had become dependent on poppy production for most of its taxes, export income, and employment. In effect, the Taliban’s ban was an act of economic suicide that brought an already weakened society to the brink of collapse. This was the unwitting weapon the U.S. wielded when it began its military campaign against the Taliban in October 2001.  Without opium, the regime was already a hollow shell and essentially imploded at the bursting of the first American bombs.

The Return of the CIA, Opium, and Counterinsurgency: 2001-

To defeat the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11, the CIA successfully mobilized former warlords long active in the heroin trade to seize towns and cities across eastern Afghanistan.  In other words, the Agency and its local allies created ideal conditions for reversing the Taliban’s opium ban and reviving the drug traffic. Only weeks after the collapse of the Taliban, officials were reporting an outburst of poppy planting in the heroin-heartlands of Helmand and Nangarhar. At a Tokyo international donors’ conference in January 2002, Hamid Karzai, the new Prime Minister put in place by the Bush administration, issued a pro forma ban on opium growing — without any means of enforcing it against the power of these resurgent local warlords.

After investing some three billion dollars in Afghanistan’s destruction during the Cold War, Washington and its allies now proved parsimonious in the reconstruction funds they offered. At that 2002 Tokyo conference, international donors promised just four billion dollars of an estimated $10 billion needed to rebuild the economy over the next five years. In addition, the total U.S. spending of $22 billion for Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007 turned out to be skewed sharply toward military operations, leaving, for instance, just $237 million for agriculture.  (And as in Iraq, significant sums from what reconstruction funds were available simply went into the pockets of Western experts, private contractors, and their local counterparts.)

Under these circumstances, no one should have been surprised when, during the first year of the U.S. occupation, Afghanistan’s opium harvest surged to 3,400 tons. Over the next five years, international donors would contribute $8 billion to rebuild Afghanistan, while opium would infuse nearly twice that amount, $14 billion, directly into the rural economy without any deductions by either those Western experts or Kabul’s bloated bureaucracy.

While opium production continued its relentless rise, the Bush administration downplayed the problem, outsourcing narcotics control to Great Britain and police training to Germany. As the lead agency in Allied operations, Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department regarded opium as a distraction from its main mission of defeating the Taliban (and, of course, invading Iraq). Waving away the problem in late 2004, President Bush said he did not want to “waste another American life on a narco-state.” Meanwhile, in their counterinsurgency operations, U.S. forces worked closely with local warlords who proved to be leading druglords.

After five years of the U.S. occupation, Afghanistan’s drug production had swelled to unprecedented proportions.  In August 2007, the U.N. reported that the country’s record opium crop covered almost 500,000 acres, an area larger than all the coca fields in Latin America. From a modest 185 tons at the start of American intervention in 2001, Afghanistan now produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country’s GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.

In this way, Afghanistan became the world’s first true “narco-state.” If a cocaine traffic that provided just 3% of Colombia’s GDP could bring in its wake endless violence and powerful cartels capable of corrupting that country’s government, then we can only imagine the consequences of Afghanistan’s dependence on opium for more than 50% of its entire economy.

At a drug conference in Kabul this month, the head of Russia’s Federal Narcotics Service estimated the value of Afghanistan’s current opium crop at $65 billion.  Only $500 million of that vast sum goes to Afghanistan’s farmers, $300 million to the Taliban guerrillas, and the $64 billion balance “to the drug mafia,” leaving ample funds to corrupt the Karzai government in a nation whose total GDP is only $10 billion.

Indeed, opium’s influence is so pervasive that many Afghan officials, from village leaders to Kabul’s police chief, the defense minister, and the president’s brother, have been tainted by the traffic.  So cancerous and crippling is this corruption that, according to recent U.N. estimates, Afghans are forced to spend a stunning $2.5 billion in bribes. Not surprisingly, the government’s repeated attempts at opium eradication have been thoroughly compromised by what the U.N. has called “corrupt deals between field owners, village elders, and eradication teams.”

Not only have drug taxes funded an expanding guerrilla force, but the Taliban’s role in protecting opium farmers and the heroin merchants who rely on their crop gives them real control over the core of the country’s economy. In January 2009, the U.N. and anonymous U.S. “intelligence officials” estimated that drug traffic provided Taliban insurgents with $400 million a year. “Clearly,” commented Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “we have to go after the drug labs and the druglords that provide support to the Taliban and other insurgents.”

In mid-2009, the U.S. embassy launched a multi-agency effort, called the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, to cut Taliban drug monies through financial controls. But one American official soon compared this effort to “punching jello.” By August 2009, a frustrated Obama administration had ordered the U.S. military to “kill or capture” 50 Taliban-connected druglords who were placed on a classified “kill list.”

Since the record crop of 2007, opium production has, in fact, declined somewhat — to 6,900 tons last year (still over 90% of the world’s opium supply). While U.N. analysts attribute this 20% reduction largely to eradication efforts, a more likely cause has been the global glut of heroin that came with the Afghan opium boom, and which had depressed the price of poppies by 34%. In fact, even this reduced Afghan opium crop is still far above total world demand, which the U.N. estimates at 5,000 tons per annum.

Preliminary reports on the 2010 Afghan opium harvest, which starts next month, indicate that the drug problem is not going away. Some U.S. officials who have surveyed Helmand’s opium heartland see signs of an expanded crop. Even the U.N. drug experts who have predicted a continuing decline in production are not optimistic about long-term trends. Opium prices might decline for a few years, but the price of wheat and other staple crops is dropping even faster, leaving poppies as by far the most profitable crop for poor Afghan farmers.

Ending the Cycle of Drugs and Death

With its forces now planted in the dragon’s teeth soil of Afghanistan, Washington is locked into what looks to be an unending cycle of drugs and death. Every spring in those rugged mountains, the snows melt, the opium seeds sprout, and a fresh crop of Taliban fighters takes to the field, many to die by lethal American fire.  And the next year, the snows melt again, fresh poppy shoots break through the soil, and a new crop of teen-aged Taliban fighters pick up arms against America, spilling more blood. This cycle has been repeated for the past ten years and, unless something changes, can continue indefinitely.

Is there any alternative? Even were the cost of rebuilding Afghanistan’s rural economy — with its orchards, flocks, and food crops — as high as $30 billion or, for that matter, $90 billion dollars, the money is at hand. By conservative estimates, the cost of President Obama’s ongoing surge of 30,000 troops alone is $30 billion a year. So just bringing those 30,000 troops home would create ample funds to begin the rebuilding of rural life in Afghanistan, making it possible for young farmers to begin feeding their families without joining the Taliban’s army.

Short of another precipitous withdrawal akin to 1991, Washington has no realistic alternative to the costly, long-term reconstruction of Afghanistan’s agriculture. Beneath the gaze of an allied force that now numbers about 120,000 soldiers, opium has fueled the Taliban’s growth into an omnipresent shadow government and an effective guerrilla army. The idea that our expanded military presence might soon succeed in driving back that force and handing over pacification to the illiterate, drug-addicted Afghan police and army remains, for the time being, a fantasy. Quick fixes like paying poppy farmers not to plant, something British and Americans have both tried, can backfire and end up actually promoting yet more opium cultivation. Rapid drug eradication without alternative employment, something the private contractor DynCorp tried so disastrously under a $150 million contract in 2005, would simply plunge Afghanistan into more misery, stoking mass anger and destabilizing the Kabul government further.

So the choice is clear enough: we can continue to fertilize this deadly soil with yet more blood in a brutal war with an uncertain outcome — for both the United States and the people of Afghanistan. Or we can begin to withdraw American forces while helping renew this ancient, arid land by replanting its orchards, replenishing its flocks, and rebuilding the irrigation systems ruined in decades of war.

At this point, our only realistic choice is this sort of serious rural development — that is, reconstructing the Afghan countryside through countless small-scale projects until food crops become a viable alternative to opium. To put it simply, so simply that even Washington might understand, you can only pacify a narco-state when it is no longer a narco-state.

Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which probes the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over half a century. His latest book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, explores the influence of overseas counterinsurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures at home.

Recommended citation: Alfred W. McCoy, “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State? The Opium Wars in Afghanistan,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 14-4-10, April 5, 2010.

Related Articles

See also: Peter Dale Scott, America’s Drug-Addicted War in Afghanistan: Time to Fight the Drug Problem In Washington, Not Just in Kabul

See the following articles on related subjects: Peter Dale Scott, America’s Afghanistan: The National Security and a Heroin-Ravaged State

Peter Dale Scott, Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and the Afghan and Iraq Wars

Jeremy Kuzmarov, American Police Training and Political Violence: From the Philippines Conquest to the Killing Fields of Afghanistan and Iraq

MK Bhadrakumar, Afghanistan, Iran and US-Russian Conflict

Peter Van Agtmael, All You Need is Heroin: U.S. Troops in Their Own Hand


Alfred W. McCoy is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research Articles by Alfred W. McCoy

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18523

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Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Paul Joseph Watson

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not content with savaging American taxpayers with two huge new financial burdens during an economic recession, in the form of health care reform and cap and trade, close allies of Barack Obama have proposed a new war surtax that will force Americans to foot the bill for the cost of protecting opium fields in Afghanistan, paying off drug lords, and bribing the Taliban.

Warning that the cost of occupying Afghanistan is a threat to the Democrats’ plan to overhaul health care, lawmakers have announced their plan to make Americans pay an additional war tax that will be taken directly from their income, never mind the fact that around 36 per cent of federal taxes already go to paying for national defense.

“Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for,” the lawmakers, all prominent Democratic allies of Obama, said in a joint statement on the “Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010 (PDF),” reports AFP.

The move is being led by the appropriately named House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, Representative John Murtha, who chairs that panel’s defense subcommittee; and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

The tax would apply to anyone earning as little as $22,600 per year in 2011.

The proposal is described as “heavily symbolic” with little chance of passing, but it once again illustrates the hypocrisy of an administration that swept to power on the promise of “change” to the Neo-Con imperial agenda and a resolve to reduce U.S. military involvement overseas. In reality, there are more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan now under Obama that at any time during the Bush administration.

At the height of the Bush administration’s 2007 “surge” in Iraq, there were 26,000 US troops in Afghanistan and 160,000 in Iraq, a total of 186,000.

According to DoD figures cited by The Washington Post last month, there are now around 189,000 and rising deployed in total. There are now 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, over double the amount deployed there when Bush left office.

What precisely would this extra tax be used to pay for? Namely, bribing the Taliban, paying off CIA drug lords, and protecting heroin-producing opium fields.

Numerous reports over the past two weeks have confirmed that the U.S. military is paying off the Taliban with bags of gold to prevent them from attacking vehicle convoys, proving that there is no real “war” in Afghanistan, merely a business agreement that allows the occupiers to continue their lucrative control of record opium exports while they finalize construction of dozens of new military bases from which to launch new wars.

The Afghan opium trade has exploded since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, following a lull after the Taliban had imposed a crackdown. According to the U.N., the drug trade is now worth $65 billion. Afghanistan produces 92 per cent of the world’s opium, with the equivalent of at least 3,500 tonnes leaving the country each year.

This racket is secured by drug kingpins like the brother of disputed president Hamid Karzai. As a New York Times report revealed last month, Ahmed Wali Karzai, a Mafia-like figure who expanded his influence over the drug trade with the aid of U.S. efforts to eliminate his competitors, is on the CIA payroll.

As Professor Michel Chossudovsky has highlighted in a series of essays, the explosion of opium production after the invasion was about the CIA’s drive to restore the lucrative Golden Crescent opium trade that was in place during the time when the Agency were funding the Mujahideen rebels to fight the Soviets, and flood the streets of America and Britain with cheap heroin, destroying lives while making obscene profits.

Any war surtax will merely go straight to maintaining the agenda that Obama inherited from Bush, the continued looting of Afghanistan under the pretext of a “war on terror” that, as revelations about bribing the Taliban prove, doesn’t even exist.

Source

 

 

Afghanistan opium poppy cultivation 1994-2007

The Taliban has almost eradicated the poppy fields. No sooner did the war begin and the poppy fields wee reborn.

 

Children work the poppy fields young as 8 or 9

 

Narco-Nation Building

By Paul L. Williams, Ph.D

July 7 2009

Hey, guys, don’t pick the poppies.

That’s the order from the Obama Administration to the 4,000 Marines presently engaged in Operation Khanjar or “Strike of the Sword,” an invasion of the Taliban infested Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.

The Marines of Bravo’s Company 1st Platoon sleep beside groves of poppies Troops of the 2nd Platoon walk through the fields on strict orders not to swat the heavy opium bulbs. The Afghan farmers and laborers, who are engaged in scraping the resin from the bulbs, smile and wave at the passing soldiers.

The Helmand province is the world’s largest cultivator of opium poppies – the crop used to make heroin.

Afghanistan grew 93 percent of the world’s poppy crop last year, with Helmand alone responsible for more than half of the opium production in the country, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Heroin, as it turns out, represents the only staple of the Afghan economy. The country manufactures no domestic products for exportation and the rocky terrain yields no cash crops – – except, of course, the poppies.

The poppies fuel the great jihad against the United States and the Western world. More than 3,500 tons of raw opium is gleaned from the poppy crops every year, producing annual revenues for the Taliban and al Qaeda that range from $5 billion to $16 billion.

Destroying the fields could very well put an end to terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But the Obama Administration remains intent upon protecting the poppies so that the Afghan farmers and local drug lords can reap the benefits of what purports to be a bumper crop.

Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation.

Jason Striuszko a journalist embedded with the U.S. Marines in Garmser, reports that many of the leathernecks are scratching their heads at the apparent contradictions — calling in airstrikes and artillery on the elusive Taliban while assuring farmers and drug lords that they will protect the poppies.

“Of course,” Striuszko says, “those fields will be harvested and some money likely used to help fuel the Taliban, and the Marines are thinking, essentially, ‘huh?’”

“It’s kind of weird. We’re coming over here to fight the Taliban. We see this. We know it’s bad. But at the same time we know it’s the only way locals can make money,” said 1st Lt. Adam Lynch, 27, of Barnstable, Mass.

Richard Holbrooke, the Obama Administration’s top envoy in Afghanistan, says that poppy eradication – for years a cornerstone of U.S. and U.N. anti-drug efforts in the country – has only resulted in driving Afghan farmers into the hands of the Taliban.

The new approach, Holbrooke maintains, will try to wean the farmers of the lucrative cash crop by giving them help to grow other produce, like wheat, corn and pomegranates.

Most of the 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan operate in the east, where the poppy problem is not as great. But the 2,400-strong 24th Marines, have taken the field in this southern growing region during harvest season.

An expert on Afghanistan’s drug trade, Barnett Rubin, complained that the Marines are being put in such a situation by a “one-dimensional” military policy that fails to integrate political and economic considerations into long-range planning.

“All we hear is, not enough troops, send more troops,” said Rubin, a professor at New York University. “Then you send in troops with no capacity for assistance, no capacity for development, no capacity for aid, no capacity for governance.”

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Stover, whose platoon is sleeping beside a poppy crop planted in the interior courtyard of a mud-walled compound, said the Marines’ mission is to get rid of the “bad guys,” and “the locals aren’t the bad guys.”

“Poppy fields in Afghanistan are the cornfields of Ohio,” said Stover, 28, of Marion, Ohio. “When we got here they were asking us if it’s OK to harvest poppy and we said, ‘Yeah, just don’t use an AK-47.’”

Source

 

 

 

U.S. soldiers inspect a cache of opium that was seized at a border police station on the outskirts of Herat,  October 23 2007. Afghan border police in the western Afghan city have seized 644 kilograms of opium. Afghanistan accounts for over 93 percent of the world’s supply of opium, the main ingredient in heroin, a lucrative trade whose proceeds in part fund some of the Taliban-led insurgency.    AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

They don’t tell you about this, about Afghanistan’s growing domestic drug problem – an estimated 1.5 million addicts, including 120,000 women, according to the Ministry of Narcotics – all those advocates of legalizing the country’s robust opium crop – a yield that provides some 93 per cent of the world’s heroin. This heroin, which is refined opium, ends up on streets across the globe but also is destroying families here. Source

They also fail to mention the problem now in Iran , Iraq,
Russia, Europe and North America.

There are millions of new heroin addicts around the world.

Karima leaned to one side and rubbed her temples with half-painted pink fingernails. The smile that was wide and infectious for her visitors had now surrendered to the internal darkness that ruled her addiction.

The day had started like most in her life: With an opium tea that she drinks to “feel happy.” On bad days, she needs it three or four times.

Karima is 13.

She is bright, and confident, but left school during fourth grade. From the two narrow rooms they call home in an otherwise abandoned building, she cannot see a future that is either clean or normal — a hard assessment for a girl who is barely a teenager.

“There is no one but me to support the family and we have nothing to live easily,” she said. “I feel sad most of the time and the tea makes me feel better.”

Her mother, Najiba, raised five children on a steady diet of narcotics to ease their hunger pains and winter chills and her own grief from losing a son. The whole family has been through drug treatment — twice — and Najiba claims to be healthy.

Karima is still addicted. She buys the drugs herself with money from her father and boils the opium tea the way her mother long did for her.

Her wild-eyed youngest sister, Raisa, is three years old and clicks her tongue while fidgeting with a red patent purse. Raisa had opium in her veins before she was born. Najiba cut her off months ago, but Raisa remembers the “dizzy” tea and craves it. I asked her why.

“Because I miss it,” she said in the tiniest voice. “I like it.” Source

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials. Source

Opium production is one of the chief sources of revenue for the warlords that occupy the Afghan parliament and is one of the main reasons why the government is seen as corrupt by the Afghan people. As long as NATO continues to bomb civilians in an effort to extend the control of those warlords, the Afghan people will continue to join the resistance to the foreign occupation.

This reality led to the recent resignation of Matthew Hoh, a former US army captain and Foreign Service official in Zabul province. Hoh resigned because he said that the presence of the foreign troops was the main reason why the resistance was growing and he believed that the war needed to end.  Source

They have never connected Bin Laden to 9/11

Bin Laden has been dead since December of 2001

9/11 was just an excuse to go to war in Afghanistan nothing more.

The results of the invasion of Afghanistan is devastating to say the least.

The radiation will have a very devastating impact on Afghans. The testing proved the use of radioactive weapons. Source

The end result will be as it is in Iraq and other countries Nato and the US have invaded.

Doctors report “unprecedented” rise in deformities, cancers in Iraq

Kosovo

Since its dealings with the Meo tribesmen in Laos during the Vietnam era, the CIA has protected narcotics traffic in key locations in order partly to finance its covert operations. The scale of international narcotics traffic today is such that major US banks such as Citigroup are reported to derive a significant share of their profits from laundering the proceeds. Source

CIA Drug  Operations a little history

Bush – Cheney and drugs

Pipelines in the Middle East Afghanistan included/ Maps as well

http://rainbowwarrior2005.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/afghanistan-troops-guarding-the-poppy-fields/

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Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.

NYT

By DEXTER FILKINS, MARK MAZZETTI and JAMES RISEN October 28, 2009

KABUL, AfghanistanAhmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.

The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House.

The ties to Mr. Karzai have created deep divisions within the Obama administration. The critics say the ties complicate America’s increasingly tense relationship with President Hamid Karzai, who has struggled to build sustained popularity among Afghans and has long been portrayed by the Taliban as an American puppet. The C.I.A.’s practices also suggest that the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

More broadly, some American officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai, the most powerful figure in a large area of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, undermines the American push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw.

“If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves,” said Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the senior American military intelligence official in Afghanistan.

Ahmed Wali Karzai said in an interview that he cooperated with American civilian and military officials, but did not engage in the drug trade and did not receive payments from the C.I.A.

The relationship between Mr. Karzai and the C.I.A. is wide ranging, several American officials said. He helps the C.I.A. operate a paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force, that is used for raids against suspected insurgents and terrorists. On at least one occasion, the strike force has been accused of mounting an unauthorized operation against an official of the Afghan government, the officials said.

Mr. Karzai is also paid for allowing the C.I.A. and American Special Operations troops to rent a large compound outside the city — the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s founder. The same compound is also the base of the Kandahar Strike Force. “He’s our landlord,” a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Karzai also helps the C.I.A. communicate with and sometimes meet with Afghans loyal to the Taliban. Mr. Karzai’s role as a go-between between the Americans and the Taliban is now regarded as valuable by those who support working with Mr. Karzai, as the Obama administration is placing a greater focus on encouraging Taliban leaders to change sides.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment for this article.

“No intelligence organization worth the name would ever entertain these kind of allegations,” said Paul Gimigliano, the spokesman.

Some American officials said that the allegations of Mr. Karzai’s role in the drug trade were not conclusive.

“There’s no proof of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s involvement in drug trafficking, certainly nothing that would stand up in court,” said one American official familiar with the intelligence. “And you can’t ignore what the Afghan government has done for American counterterrorism efforts.”

At the start of the Afghan war, just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, American officials paid warlords with questionable backgrounds to help topple the Taliban and maintain order with relatively few American troops committed to fight in the country. But as the Taliban has become resurgent and the war has intensified, Americans have increasingly viewed a strong and credible central government as crucial to turning back the Taliban’s advances.

Now, with more American lives on the line, the relationship with Mr. Karzai is setting off anger and frustration among American military officers and other officials in the Obama administration. They say that Mr. Karzai’s suspected role in the drug trade, as well as what they describe as the mafialike way that he lords over southern Afghanistan, makes him a malevolent force.

These military and political officials say the evidence, though largely circumstantial, suggests strongly that Mr. Karzai has enriched himself by helping the illegal trade in poppy and opium to flourish. The assessment of these military and senior officials in the Obama administration dovetails with that of senior officials in the Bush administration.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money are flowing through the southern region, and nothing happens in southern Afghanistan without the regional leadership knowing about it,” a senior American military officer in Kabul said. Like most of the officials in this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the information.

“If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck,” the American officer said of Mr. Karzai. “Our assumption is that he’s benefiting from the drug trade.”

American officials say that Afghanistan’s opium trade, the largest in the world, directly threatens the stability of the Afghan state, by providing a large percentage of the money the Taliban needs for its operations, and also by corrupting Afghan public officials to help the trade flourish.

The Obama administration has repeatedly vowed to crack down on the drug lords who are believed to permeate the highest levels of President Karzai’s administration. They have pressed him to move his brother out of southern Afghanistan, but he has so far refused to do so.

Other Western officials pointed to evidence that Ahmed Wali Karzai orchestrated the manufacture of hundreds of thousands of phony ballots for his brother’s re-election effort in August. He is also believed to have been responsible for setting up dozens of so-called ghost polling stations — existing only on paper — that were used to manufacture tens of thousands of phony ballots.

“The only way to clean up Chicago is to get rid of Capone,” General Flynn said.

In the interview in which he denied a role in the drug trade or taking money from the C.I.A., Ahmed Wali Karzai said he received regular payments from his brother, the president, for “expenses,” but said he did not know where the money came from. He has, among other things, introduced Americans to insurgents considering changing sides. And he has given the Americans intelligence, he said. But he said he was not compensated for that assistance.

“I don’t know anyone under the name of the C.I.A.,” Mr. Karzai said. “I have never received any money from any organization. I help, definitely. I help other Americans wherever I can. This is my duty as an Afghan.”

Mr. Karzai acknowledged that the C.I.A. and Special Operations troops stayed at Mullah Omar’s old compound. And he acknowledged that the Kandahar Strike Force was based there. But he said he had no involvement with them.

A former C.I.A. officer with experience in Afghanistan said the agency relied heavily on Ahmed Wali Karzai, and often based covert operatives at compounds he owned. Any connections Mr. Karzai might have had to the drug trade mattered little to C.I.A. officers focused on counterterrorism missions, the officer said.

“Virtually every significant Afghan figure has had brushes with the drug trade,” he said. “If you are looking for Mother Teresa, she doesn’t live in Afghanistan.”

The debate over Ahmed Wali Karzai, which began when President Obama took office in January, intensified in June, when the C.I.A.’s local paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force, shot and killed Kandahar’s provincial police chief, Matiullah Qati, in a still-unexplained shootout at the office of a local prosecutor.

The circumstances surrounding Mr. Qati’s death remain shrouded in mystery. It is unclear, for instance, if any agency operatives were present — but officials say the firefight broke out when Mr. Qati tried to block the strike force from freeing the brother of a task force member who was being held in custody.

“Matiullah was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr. Karzai said in the interview.

Counternarcotics officials have repeatedly expressed frustration over the unwillingness of senior policy makers in Washington to take action against Mr. Karzai — or even begin a serious investigation of the allegations against him. In fact, they say that while other Afghans accused of drug involvement are investigated and singled out for raids or even rendition to the United States, Mr. Karzai has seemed immune from similar scrutiny.

For years, first the Bush administration and then the Obama administration have said that the Taliban benefits from the drug trade, and the United States military has recently expanded its target list to include drug traffickers with ties to the insurgency. The military has generated a list of 50 top drug traffickers tied to the Taliban who can now be killed or captured.

Senior Afghan investigators say they know plenty about Mr. Karzai’s involvement in the drug business. In an interview in Kabul this year, a top former Afghan Interior Ministry official familiar with Afghan counternarcotics operations said that a major source of Mr. Karzai’s influence over the drug trade was his control over key bridges crossing the Helmand River on the route between the opium growing regions of Helmand Province and Kandahar.

The former Interior Ministry official said that Mr. Karzai was able to charge huge fees to drug traffickers to allow their drug-laden trucks to cross the bridges.

But the former officials said it was impossible for Afghan counternarcotics officials to investigate Mr. Karzai. “This government has become a factory for the production of Talibs because of corruption and injustice,” the former official said.

Some American counternarcotics officials have said they believe that Mr. Karzai has expanded his influence over the drug trade, thanks in part to American efforts to single out other drug lords.

In debriefing notes from Drug Enforcement Administration interviews in 2006 of Afghan informants obtained by The New York Times, one key informant said that Ahmed Wali Karzai had benefited from the American operation that lured Hajji Bashir Noorzai, a major Afghan drug lord during the time that the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, to New York in 2005. Mr. Noorzai was convicted on drug and conspiracy charges in New York in 2008, and was sentenced to life in prison this year.

Habibullah Jan, a local military commander and later a member of Parliament from Kandahar, told the D.E.A. in 2006 that Mr. Karzai had teamed with Haji Juma Khan to take over a portion of the Noorzai drug business after Mr. Noorzai’s arrest.

Dexter Filkins reported from Kabul, and Mark Mazzetti and James Risen from Washington. Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/world/asia/28intel.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

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The Spoils of War:

Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Washington’s Hidden Agenda:

Restore the Drug Trade

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, May 5, 2005
– 2005-06-14

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Since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade has soared. According to the US media, this lucrative contraband is protected by Osama, the Taliban, not to mention, of course, the regional warlords, in defiance of the “international community”.

The heroin business is said to  be “filling the coffers of the Taliban”. In the words of the US State Department:

“Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups… [C]utting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism,” (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production in Afghanistan in 2003 is estimated at 3,600 tons, with an estimated area under cultivation of the order of 80,000 hectares. (UNODC at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/index.html ).An even larger bumper harvest is predicted for 2004.

The State Department suggests that up to 120 000 hectares were under cultivation in 2004. (Congressional Hearing, op cit):

“We could be on a path for a significant surge. Some observers indicate perhaps as much as 50 percent to 100 percent growth in the 2004 crop over the already troubling figures from last year.”(Ibid)

“Operation Containment”

In response to the post-Taliban surge in opium production, the Bush administration has boosted its counter terrorism activities, while allocating substantial amounts of public money to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s West Asia initiative, dubbed “Operation Containment.”

The various reports and official statements are, of course, blended in with the usual “balanced” self critique that “the international community is not doing enough”, and that what we need is “transparency”.

The headlines are “Drugs, warlords and insecurity overshadow Afghanistan’s path to democracy”. In chorus, the US media is accusing the defunct “hard-line Islamic regime”, without even acknowledging that the Taliban  –in collaboration with the United Nations– had imposed a successful ban on poppy cultivation in 2000. Opium production declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.

The success of Afghanistan’s 2000 drug eradication program under the Taliban had been acknowledged at the October 2001 session of the UN General Assembly (which took place barely a few days after the beginning of the 2001 bombing raids). No other UNODC member country was able to implement a comparable program:

“Turning first to drug control, I had expected to concentrate my remarks on the implications of the Taliban’s ban on opium poppy cultivation in areas under their control… We now have the results of our annual ground survey of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This year’s production [2001] is around 185 tons. This is down from the 3300 tons last year [2000], a decrease of over 94 per cent. Compared to the record harvest of 4700 tons two years ago, the decrease is well over 97 per cent.

Any decrease in illicit cultivation is welcomed, especially in cases like this when no displacement, locally or in other countries, took place to weaken the achievement” (Remarks on behalf of UNODC Executive Director at the UN General Assembly, Oct 2001, http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/speech_2001-10-12_1.html )

United Nations’ Coverup

In the wake of the US invasion, shift in rhetoric. UNODC is now acting as if the 2000 opium ban had never happened:

“the battle against narcotics cultivation has been fought and won in other countries and it [is] possible to do so here [in Afghanistan], with strong, democratic governance, international assistance and improved security and integrity.” ( Statement of the UNODC Representative in Afghanistan at the :February 2004  International Counter Narcotics Conference, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/afg/afg_intl_counter_narcotics_conf_2004.pdf , p. 5).

In fact, both Washington and the UNODC now claim that the objective of the Taliban in 2000 was not really “drug eradication” but a devious scheme to trigger “an artificial shortfall in supply”, which would drive up World prices of heroin.

Ironically, this twisted logic, which now forms part of a new “UN consensus”, is refuted by a report of the UNODC office in Pakistan, which confirmed, at the time, that there was no evidence of stockpiling by the Taliban. (Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah. 5 October 2003)
Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade

In the wake of the 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan, the British government of Tony Blair was entrusted by the G-8 Group of leading industrial nations to carry out a drug eradication program, which would, in theory, allow Afghan farmers to switch out of poppy cultivation into alternative crops. The British were working out of Kabul in close liaison with the US DEA’s “Operation Containment”.

The UK sponsored crop eradication program is an obvious smokescreen. Since October 2001, opium poppy cultivation has skyrocketed.   The presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan did not result in the eradication of poppy cultivation. Quite the opposite.

The Taliban prohibition had indeed caused “the beginning of a heroin shortage in Europe by the end of 2001”, as acknowledged by the UNODC.

Heroin is a multibillion dollar business supported by powerful interests, which requires a steady and secure commodity flow. One of the “hidden” objectives of the war was precisely to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes.

Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.

In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing  to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.

While highlighting Karzai’s patriotic struggle against the Taliban, the media fails to mention that Karzai collaborated with the Taliban. He had also been on the payroll of a major US oil company, UNOCAL. In fact, since the mid-1990s, Hamid Karzai had acted as a consultant and lobbyist for UNOCAL in negotiations with the Taliban. According to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan:

“Karzai has been a Central Intelligence Agency covert operator since the 1980s. He collaborated with the CIA in funneling U.S. aid to the Taliban as of 1994 when the Americans had secretly and through the Pakistanis [specifically the ISI] supported the Taliban’s assumption of power.” (quoted in Karen Talbot, U.S. Energy Giant Unocal Appoints Interim Government in Kabul, Global Outlook, No. 1, Spring 2002. p. 70. See also  BBC Monitoring Service, 15 December 2001)

History of the Golden Crescent Drug trade

It is worth recalling the history of  the Golden Crescent drug trade, which is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations in the region since the onslaught of the Soviet-Afghan war and its aftermath.

Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989), opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).

The Afghan narcotics economy was a carefully designed project of the CIA, supported by US foreign policy.

As revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit  International (BCCI) scandals, CIA covert operations in support of the Afghan Mujahideen had been funded through the laundering of drug money.  “Dirty money” was recycled –through a number of banking institutions (in the Middle East) as well as through anonymous CIA shell companies–, into  “covert money,” used to finance various insurgent groups during the Soviet-Afghan war, and its aftermath:

“Because the US wanted to supply the Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer. (“The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.)

Researcher Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA’s covert operation in Afghanistan in 1979,

“the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer, supplying 60 per cent of U.S. demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went from near zero in 1979  to 1.2 million by 1985, a much steeper rise than in any other nation.”

“CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests.

U.S. officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there.  In 1995, the former CIA director of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War. ‘Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,’ I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout.  There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.'”(McCoy, op cit)

The role of the CIA, which is amply documented, is not mentioned in official UNODC publications, which focus on internal social and political factors. Needless to say, the historical roots of the opium trade have been grossly distorted.

(See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf

According to the UNODC, Afghanistan’s opium production has increased, more than 15-fold since 1979. In the wake of the Soviet-Afghan war, the growth of the narcotics economy has continued unabated. The Taliban, which were supported by the US, were initially instrumental in the further growth of opiate production until the 2000 opium ban.

(See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf

This recycling of drug money was used to finance the post-Cold War insurgencies in Central Asia and the Balkans including Al Qaeda. (For details, see Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2002,  http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html )
Narcotics: Second to Oil and the Arms Trade

The revenues generated from the CIA sponsored Afghan drug trade are sizeable. The Afghan trade in opiates constitutes a large share of the worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, which was estimated by the United Nations to be of the order of $400-500 billion. (Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a Changing World, Technical document No. 4, 1998, Vienna UNDCP, p. 4. See also United Nations Drug Control Program, Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1999, E/INCB/1999/1 United Nations, Vienna 1999, p. 49-51, and Richard Lapper, UN Fears Growth of Heroin Trade, Financial Times, 24 February 2000). At the time these UN figures were first brought out (1994), the (estimated) global trade in drugs was of the same order of magnitude as the global trade in oil.

The IMF estimated global money laundering to be between 590 billion and 1.5 trillion dollars a year, representing 2-5 percent of global GDP. (Asian Banker, 15 August 2003). A large share of global money laundering as estimated by the IMF is linked to the trade in narcotics.

Based on recent figures (2003), drug trafficking  constitutes “the third biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade.” (The Independent, 29 February 2004).

Moreover, the above figures including those on money laundering, confirm that the bulk of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics are not appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords, as suggested by the UNODC report.

There are powerful business and financial interests behind narcotics. From this standpoint, geopolitical and military control over  the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil pipelines.

However, what distinguishes narcotics from legal commodity trade is that narcotics constitutes a major source of wealth formation not only for organised crime but also for the US intelligence apparatus, which increasingly constitutes a powerful actor in the spheres of finance and banking.

In turn, the CIA, which protects the drug trade, has developed complex business and undercover links to major criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade.

In other words, intelligence agencies and powerful business syndicates allied with organized crime, are competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes. The multi-billion dollar revenues of narcotics are deposited in the Western banking system. Most of the large international banks together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large amounts of narco-dollars.

This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have “political friends in high places.”  Legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between “businesspeople” and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions.

Where does the money go?  Who benefits from the Afghan opium trade?

This trade is characterized by a complex web of intermediaries. There are various stages of the drug trade, several interlocked markets, from the impoverished poppy farmer in Afghanistan to the wholesale and retail heroin markets in Western countries. In other words, there is a “hierarchy of prices” for opiates.

This hierarchy of prices is acknowledged by the US administration:

“Afghan heroin sells on the international narcotics market for 100 times the price farmers get for their opium right out of the field”.(US State Department quoted by the Voice of America (VOA), 27 February 2004).

According to the UNODC, opium in Afghanistan generated in 2003 “an income of one billion US dollars for farmers and US$ 1.3 billion for traffickers, equivalent to over half of its national income.”

Consistent with these UNODC estimates, the average price for fresh opium was $350 a kg. (2002); the 2002 production was 3400 tons.  (http://www.poppies.org/news/104267739031389.shtml ).

The UNDOC estimate, based on local farmgate and wholesale prices constitutes, however, a very small percentage of the total turnover of the multibillion dollar Afghan drug trade. The UNODC, estimates “the total annual turn-over of international trade” in Afghan opiates at US$ 30 billion. An examination of the wholesale and retail prices for heroin in the Western countries suggests, however, that the total revenues generated, including those at the retail level, are substantially higher.
Wholesale Prices of Heroin in Western Countries

It is estimated that one kilo of opium produces approximately 100 grams of (pure) heroin. The US DEA confirms that “SWA [South West Asia meaning Afghanistan] heroin in New York City was selling in the late 1990s for $85,000 to $190,000 per kilogram wholesale with a 75 percent purity ratio (National Drug Intelligence Center, http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/648/ny_econ.htm ).

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “the price of SEA [South East Asian] heroin ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 per unit (700 grams) and the purity of SEA heroin ranges from 85 to 90 percent” (ibid). The SEA unit of 700 gr (85-90 % purity) translates  into a wholesale price per kg. for pure heroin ranging between $115,000 and $163,000.

The DEA figures quoted above, while reflecting the situation in the 1990s, are broadly consistent with recent British figures. According to a report published in the Guardian (11 August 2002), the wholesale price of (pure) heroin in London (UK) was of the order of 50,000 pounds sterling, approximately $80,000 (2002).

Whereas as there is competition between different sources of heroin supply, it should be emphasized that Afghan heroin represents a rather small percentage of the US heroin market, which is largely supplied out of Colombia.
Retail Prices

US

“The NYPD notes that retail heroin prices are down and purity is relatively high. Heroin previously sold for about $90 per gram but now sells for $65 to $70 per gram or less. Anecdotal information from the NYPD indicates that purity for a bag of heroin commonly ranges from 50 to 80 percent but can be as low as 30 percent. Information as of June 2000 indicates that bundles (10 bags) purchased by Dominican buyers from Dominican sellers in larger quantities (about 150 bundles) sold for as little as $40 each, or $55 each in Central Park. DEA reports that an ounce of heroin usually sells for $2,500 to $5,000, a gram for $70 to $95, a bundle for $80 to $90, and a bag for $10. The DMP reports that the average heroin purity at the street level in 1999 was about 62 percent.”  (National Drug Intelligence Center, http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/648/ny_econ.htm ).

The NYPD and DEA retail price figures seem consistent. The DEA price of $70-$95, with a purity of 62 percent translates into $112 to $153 per gram of pure heroin. The NYPD figures are roughly similar with perhaps lower estimates for purity.

It should be noted that when heroin is purchased in very small quantities,  the retail price tends to be much higher. In the US, purchase is often by “the bag”; the typical bag according to Rocheleau and Boyum contains 25 milligrams of pure heroin.(http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/drugfact/american_users_spend/appc.html )

A $10 dollar bag in NYC (according to the DEA figure quoted above) would convert into a price of $400 per gram, each bag containing 0.025gr. of pure heroin. (op cit). In other words, for very small purchases marketed by street pushers, the retail margin tends to be significantly higher. In the case of the $10 bag purchase, it is roughly 3 to 4 times the corresponding retail price per gram.($112-$153)

UK

In Britain, the retail street price per gram of heroin, according to British Police sources, “has fallen from £74 in 1997 to £61 [in 2004].” [i.e. from approximately $133 to $110, based on the 2004 rate of exchange] (Independent, 3 March 2004). In some cities it was as low as £30-40 per gram with a low level of purity. (AAP News, 3 March 2004). According to Drugscope (http://www.drugscope.org.uk/ ), the average price for a gram of heroin in Britain is between £40 and £90 ($72- $162 per gram) (The report does not mention purity). The street price of heroin was £60 per gram in April 2002 according to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

(See:http://www.drugscope.org.uk/druginfo/drugsearch/ds_results.asp?file=%5Cwip%5C11%5C1%5C1%5Cheroin_opiates.html )

The Hierarchy of Prices

We are dealing with a hierarchy  of prices, from the farmgate price in the producing country, upwards, to the final retail street price. The latter is often 80-100 times the price paid to the farmer.

In other words, the opiate product transits through several markets from the producing country to the transshipment country(ies), to the consuming countries. In the latter, there are wide margins between “the landing price” at the point of entry, demanded by the drug cartels and the wholesale prices and the retail street prices, protected by Western organized crime.

The Global Proceeds of the Afghan Narcotics Trade

In Afghanistan, the reported production of 3600 tons of opium in 2003 would allow for the production of approximately 360,000 kg of pure heroin. Gross revenues accruing to Afghan farmers are roughly estimated by the UNODC to be of the order of $1 billion, with 1.3 billion accruing to local traffickers.

When sold in Western markets at a heroin wholesale price of the order of $100,000 a kg (with a 70 percent purity ratio), the global wholesale proceeds (corresponding to 3600 tons of Afghan opium) would be of the order of 51.4 billion dollars. The latter constitutes a conservative estimate based on the various figures for wholesale prices in the previous section.

The total proceeds of the Afghan narcotics trade (in terms of total value added) is estimated using the final heroin retail price. In other words, the retail value of the trade is ultimately the criterion for measuring the importance of the drug trade in terms of revenue generation and wealth formation.

A meaningful estimate of the retail value, however, is almost impossible to ascertain due to the fact that retail prices vary considerably within urban areas, from one city to another and between consuming countries, not to mention variations in purity and quality (see above).

The evidence on retail margins, namely the difference between wholesale and retail values in the consuming countries, nonetheless, suggests that a large share of the total (money) proceeds of the drug trade are generated at the retail level.

In other words, a significant portion of the proceeds of the drug trade accrues to criminal and business syndicates in Western countries involved in the local wholesale and retail narcotics markets. And the various criminal gangs involved in retail trade are invariably protected by the “corporate” crime syndicates.

90 percent of heroin consumed in the UK is from Afghanistan. Using the British retail price figure from UK police sources of $110 a gram (with an assumed 50 percent purity level), the total retail value of the Afghan narcotics trade  in 2003 (3600 tons of opium) would be the order of 79.2 billion dollars. The latter should be considered as a simulation rather than an estimate.

Under this assumption (simulation), a billion dollars gross revenue to the farmers in Afghanistan (2003) would generate global narcotics earnings, –accruing at various stages and in various markets– of the order of 79.2 billion dollars. These global proceeds accrue to business syndicates, intelligence agencies, organized crime, financial institutions, wholesalers, retailers, etc. involved directly or indirectly in the drug trade.

In turn, the proceeds of this lucrative trade are deposited in Western banks, which constitute an essential mechanism in the laundering of dirty money.

A very small percentage accrues to farmers and traders in the producing country. Bear in mind that the net income accruing to Afghan farmers is but a fraction of the estimated 1 billion dollar amount. The latter does not include payments of farm inputs, interest on loans to money lenders, political protection, etc. (See also UNODC, The Opium Economy in Afghanistan,  http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf , Vienna, 2003, p. 7-8)
The Share of the Afghan Heroin in the Global Drug Market

Afghanistan produces over 70 percent of the global supply of heroin and heroin represents a sizeable fraction of the global narcotics market, estimated by the UN to be of the order of $400-500 billion.

There are no reliable estimates on the distribution of the global narcotics trade between the main categories: Cocaine, Opium/Heroin, Cannabis, Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), Other Drugs.
The Laundering of Drug Money

The proceeds of the drug trade are deposited in the banking system. Drug money is laundered in the numerous offshore banking havens in Switzerland, Luxembourg, the British Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands and some 50 other locations around the globe.  It is here that the criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade and the representatives of the world’s largest commercial banks interact. Dirty money is deposited in these offshore havens, which are controlled by the major Western commercial banks. The latter have a vested interest in maintaining and sustaining the drug trade. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, The Crimes of Business and the Business of Crimes, Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1996)

Once the money has been laundered, it can be recycled into bona fide investments not only in real estate, hotels, etc, but also in other areas such as the services economy and manufacturing. Dirty and covert money is also funneled into various financial instruments including the trade in derivatives, primary commodities, stocks, and government bonds.
Concluding Remarks: Criminalization of US Foreign Policy

US foreign policy supports the workings of a thriving criminal economy in which the demarcation between organized capital and organized crime has become increasingly blurred.

The heroin business is not  “filling the coffers of the Taliban” as claimed by US government and the international community: quite the opposite! The proceeds of this illegal trade are the source of wealth formation, largely reaped by powerful business/criminal interests within the Western countries. These interests are sustained by US foreign policy.

Decision-making in the US State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon is instrumental in supporting this highly profitable multibillion dollar trade, third in commodity value after oil and the arms trade.

The Afghan drug economy is “protected”.

The heroin trade was part of the war agenda. What this war has achieved is to restore a compliant narco-State, headed by a US appointed puppet.

The powerful financial interests behind narcotics are supported by the militarisation of the world’s major drug triangles (and transshipment routes), including the Golden Crescent and the Andean region of South America (under the so-called Andean Initiative).

Table 1

Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan

Year                         Cultivation in hectares               Production (tons)

1994                                 71,470                                    3,400

1995                                 53,759                                    2,300

1996                                 56,824                                    2,200

1997                                 58,416                                    2,800

1998                                 63,674                                    2,700

1999                                 90,983                                    4,600

2000                                 82,172                                    3,300

2001                                   7,606                                       185

2002                                 74 000                                    3400

2003                                 80 000                                    3600

Source: UNDCP, Afghanistan, Opium Poppy Survey, 2001, UNOCD, Opium Poppy Survey, 2002. http://www.unodc.org/pdf/afg/afg_opium_survey_2002.pdf

See also Press Release: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/press_release_2004-03-31_1.html , and 2003 Survey:  http://www.unodc.org/pdf/afg/afghanistan_opium_survey_2003.pdf

Since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade has soared. According to the US media, this lucrative contraband is protected by Osama, the Taliban, not to mention, of course, the regional warlords, in defiance of the “international community”.

The heroin business is said to  be “filling the coffers of the Taliban”. In the words of the US State Department:

“Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups… [C]utting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism,” (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production in Afghanistan in 2003 is estimated at 3,600 tons, with an estimated area under cultivation of the order of 80,000 hectares. (UNODC at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/index.html ).An even larger bumper harvest is predicted for 2004.

The State Department suggests that up to 120 000 hectares were under cultivation in 2004. (Congressional Hearing, op cit):

“We could be on a path for a significant surge. Some observers indicate perhaps as much as 50 percent to 100 percent growth in the 2004 crop over the already troubling figures from last year.”(Ibid)

“Operation Containment”

In response to the post-Taliban surge in opium production, the Bush administration has boosted its counter terrorism activities, while allocating substantial amounts of public money to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s West Asia initiative, dubbed “Operation Containment.”

The various reports and official statements are, of course, blended in with the usual “balanced” self critique that “the international community is not doing enough”, and that what we need is “transparency”.

The headlines are “Drugs, warlords and insecurity overshadow Afghanistan’s path to democracy”. In chorus, the US media is accusing the defunct “hard-line Islamic regime”, without even acknowledging that the Taliban  –in collaboration with the United Nations– had imposed a successful ban on poppy cultivation in 2000. Opium production declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.

The success of Afghanistan’s 2000 drug eradication program under the Taliban had been acknowledged at the October 2001 session of the UN General Assembly (which took place barely a few days after the beginning of the 2001 bombing raids). No other UNODC member country was able to implement a comparable program:

“Turning first to drug control, I had expected to concentrate my remarks on the implications of the Taliban’s ban on opium poppy cultivation in areas under their control… We now have the results of our annual ground survey of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This year’s production [2001] is around 185 tons. This is down from the 3300 tons last year [2000], a decrease of over 94 per cent. Compared to the record harvest of 4700 tons two years ago, the decrease is well over 97 per cent.

Any decrease in illicit cultivation is welcomed, especially in cases like this when no displacement, locally or in other countries, took place to weaken the achievement” (Remarks on behalf of UNODC Executive Director at the UN General Assembly, Oct 2001, http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/speech_2001-10-12_1.html )

United Nations’ Coverup

In the wake of the US invasion, shift in rhetoric. UNODC is now acting as if the 2000 opium ban had never happened:

“the battle against narcotics cultivation has been fought and won in other countries and it [is] possible to do so here [in Afghanistan], with strong, democratic governance, international assistance and improved security and integrity.” ( Statement of the UNODC Representative in Afghanistan at the :February 2004  International Counter Narcotics Conference, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/afg/afg_intl_counter_narcotics_conf_2004.pdf , p. 5).

In fact, both Washington and the UNODC now claim that the objective of the Taliban in 2000 was not really “drug eradication” but a devious scheme to trigger “an artificial shortfall in supply”, which would drive up World prices of heroin.

Ironically, this twisted logic, which now forms part of a new “UN consensus”, is refuted by a report of the UNODC office in Pakistan, which confirmed, at the time, that there was no evidence of stockpiling by the Taliban. (Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah. 5 October 2003)
Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade

In the wake of the 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan, the British government of Tony Blair was entrusted by the G-8 Group of leading industrial nations to carry out a drug eradication program, which would, in theory, allow Afghan farmers to switch out of poppy cultivation into alternative crops. The British were working out of Kabul in close liaison with the US DEA’s “Operation Containment”.

The UK sponsored crop eradication program is an obvious smokescreen. Since October 2001, opium poppy cultivation has skyrocketed.   The presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan did not result in the eradication of poppy cultivation. Quite the opposite.

The Taliban prohibition had indeed caused “the beginning of a heroin shortage in Europe by the end of 2001”, as acknowledged by the UNODC.

Heroin is a multibillion dollar business supported by powerful interests, which requires a steady and secure commodity flow. One of the “hidden” objectives of the war was precisely to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes.

Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.

In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing  to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.

While highlighting Karzai’s patriotic struggle against the Taliban, the media fails to mention that Karzai collaborated with the Taliban. He had also been on the payroll of a major US oil company, UNOCAL. In fact, since the mid-1990s, Hamid Karzai had acted as a consultant and lobbyist for UNOCAL in negotiations with the Taliban. According to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan:

“Karzai has been a Central Intelligence Agency covert operator since the 1980s. He collaborated with the CIA in funneling U.S. aid to the Taliban as of 1994 when the Americans had secretly and through the Pakistanis [specifically the ISI] supported the Taliban’s assumption of power.” (quoted in Karen Talbot, U.S. Energy Giant Unocal Appoints Interim Government in Kabul, Global Outlook, No. 1, Spring 2002. p. 70. See also  BBC Monitoring Service, 15 December 2001)

History of the Golden Crescent Drug trade

It is worth recalling the history of  the Golden Crescent drug trade, which is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations in the region since the onslaught of the Soviet-Afghan war and its aftermath.

Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989), opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).

The Afghan narcotics economy was a carefully designed project of the CIA, supported by US foreign policy.

As revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit  International (BCCI) scandals, CIA covert operations in support of the Afghan Mujahideen had been funded through the laundering of drug money.  “Dirty money” was recycled –through a number of banking institutions (in the Middle East) as well as through anonymous CIA shell companies–, into  “covert money,” used to finance various insurgent groups during the Soviet-Afghan war, and its aftermath:

“Because the US wanted to supply the Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer. (“The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.)

Researcher Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA’s covert operation in Afghanistan in 1979,

“the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer, supplying 60 per cent of U.S. demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went from near zero in 1979  to 1.2 million by 1985, a much steeper rise than in any other nation.”

“CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests.

U.S. officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there.  In 1995, the former CIA director of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War. ‘Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,’ I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout.  There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.'”(McCoy, op cit)

The role of the CIA, which is amply documented, is not mentioned in official UNODC publications, which focus on internal social and political factors. Needless to say, the historical roots of the opium trade have been grossly distorted.

(See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf

According to the UNODC, Afghanistan’s opium production has increased, more than 15-fold since 1979. In the wake of the Soviet-Afghan war, the growth of the narcotics economy has continued unabated. The Taliban, which were supported by the US, were initially instrumental in the further growth of opiate production until the 2000 opium ban.

(See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf

This recycling of drug money was used to finance the post-Cold War insurgencies in Central Asia and the Balkans including Al Qaeda. (For details, see Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2002,  http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html )
Narcotics: Second to Oil and the Arms Trade

The revenues generated from the CIA sponsored Afghan drug trade are sizeable. The Afghan trade in opiates constitutes a large share of the worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, which was estimated by the United Nations to be of the order of $400-500 billion. (Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a Changing World, Technical document No. 4, 1998, Vienna UNDCP, p. 4. See also United Nations Drug Control Program, Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1999, E/INCB/1999/1 United Nations, Vienna 1999, p. 49-51, and Richard Lapper, UN Fears Growth of Heroin Trade, Financial Times, 24 February 2000). At the time these UN figures were first brought out (1994), the (estimated) global trade in drugs was of the same order of magnitude as the global trade in oil.

The IMF estimated global money laundering to be between 590 billion and 1.5 trillion dollars a year, representing 2-5 percent of global GDP. (Asian Banker, 15 August 2003). A large share of global money laundering as estimated by the IMF is linked to the trade in narcotics.

Based on recent figures (2003), drug trafficking  constitutes “the third biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade.” (The Independent, 29 February 2004).

Moreover, the above figures including those on money laundering, confirm that the bulk of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics are not appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords, as suggested by the UNODC report.

There are powerful business and financial interests behind narcotics. From this standpoint, geopolitical and military control over  the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil pipelines.

However, what distinguishes narcotics from legal commodity trade is that narcotics constitutes a major source of wealth formation not only for organised crime but also for the US intelligence apparatus, which increasingly constitutes a powerful actor in the spheres of finance and banking.

In turn, the CIA, which protects the drug trade, has developed complex business and undercover links to major criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade.

In other words, intelligence agencies and powerful business syndicates allied with organized crime, are competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes. The multi-billion dollar revenues of narcotics are deposited in the Western banking system. Most of the large international banks together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large amounts of narco-dollars.

This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have “political friends in high places.”  Legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between “businesspeople” and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions.

Where does the money go?  Who benefits from the Afghan opium trade?

This trade is characterized by a complex web of intermediaries. There are various stages of the drug trade, several interlocked markets, from the impoverished poppy farmer in Afghanistan to the wholesale and retail heroin markets in Western countries. In other words, there is a “hierarchy of prices” for opiates.

This hierarchy of prices is acknowledged by the US administration:

“Afghan heroin sells on the international narcotics market for 100 times the price farmers get for their opium right out of the field”.(US State Department quoted by the Voice of America (VOA), 27 February 2004).

According to the UNODC, opium in Afghanistan generated in 2003 “an income of one billion US dollars for farmers and US$ 1.3 billion for traffickers, equivalent to over half of its national income.”

Consistent with these UNODC estimates, the average price for fresh opium was $350 a kg. (2002); the 2002 production was 3400 tons.  (http://www.poppies.org/news/104267739031389.shtml ).

The UNDOC estimate, based on local farmgate and wholesale prices constitutes, however, a very small percentage of the total turnover of the multibillion dollar Afghan drug trade. The UNODC, estimates “the total annual turn-over of international trade” in Afghan opiates at US$ 30 billion. An examination of the wholesale and retail prices for heroin in the Western countries suggests, however, that the total revenues generated, including those at the retail level, are substantially higher.
Wholesale Prices of Heroin in Western Countries

It is estimated that one kilo of opium produces approximately 100 grams of (pure) heroin. The US DEA confirms that “SWA [South West Asia meaning Afghanistan] heroin in New York City was selling in the late 1990s for $85,000 to $190,000 per kilogram wholesale with a 75 percent purity ratio (National Drug Intelligence Center, http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/648/ny_econ.htm ).

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “the price of SEA [South East Asian] heroin ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 per unit (700 grams) and the purity of SEA heroin ranges from 85 to 90 percent” (ibid). The SEA unit of 700 gr (85-90 % purity) translates  into a wholesale price per kg. for pure heroin ranging between $115,000 and $163,000.

The DEA figures quoted above, while reflecting the situation in the 1990s, are broadly consistent with recent British figures. According to a report published in the Guardian (11 August 2002), the wholesale price of (pure) heroin in London (UK) was of the order of 50,000 pounds sterling, approximately $80,000 (2002).

Whereas as there is competition between different sources of heroin supply, it should be emphasized that Afghan heroin represents a rather small percentage of the US heroin market, which is largely supplied out of Colombia.
Retail Prices

US

“The NYPD notes that retail heroin prices are down and purity is relatively high. Heroin previously sold for about $90 per gram but now sells for $65 to $70 per gram or less. Anecdotal information from the NYPD indicates that purity for a bag of heroin commonly ranges from 50 to 80 percent but can be as low as 30 percent. Information as of June 2000 indicates that bundles (10 bags) purchased by Dominican buyers from Dominican sellers in larger quantities (about 150 bundles) sold for as little as $40 each, or $55 each in Central Park. DEA reports that an ounce of heroin usually sells for $2,500 to $5,000, a gram for $70 to $95, a bundle for $80 to $90, and a bag for $10. The DMP reports that the average heroin purity at the street level in 1999 was about 62 percent.”  (National Drug Intelligence Center, http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/648/ny_econ.htm ).

The NYPD and DEA retail price figures seem consistent. The DEA price of $70-$95, with a purity of 62 percent translates into $112 to $153 per gram of pure heroin. The NYPD figures are roughly similar with perhaps lower estimates for purity.

It should be noted that when heroin is purchased in very small quantities,  the retail price tends to be much higher. In the US, purchase is often by “the bag”; the typical bag according to Rocheleau and Boyum contains 25 milligrams of pure heroin.(http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/drugfact/american_users_spend/appc.html )

A $10 dollar bag in NYC (according to the DEA figure quoted above) would convert into a price of $400 per gram, each bag containing 0.025gr. of pure heroin. (op cit). In other words, for very small purchases marketed by street pushers, the retail margin tends to be significantly higher. In the case of the $10 bag purchase, it is roughly 3 to 4 times the corresponding retail price per gram.($112-$153)

UK

In Britain, the retail street price per gram of heroin, according to British Police sources, “has fallen from £74 in 1997 to £61 [in 2004].” [i.e. from approximately $133 to $110, based on the 2004 rate of exchange] (Independent, 3 March 2004). In some cities it was as low as £30-40 per gram with a low level of purity. (AAP News, 3 March 2004). According to Drugscope (http://www.drugscope.org.uk/ ), the average price for a gram of heroin in Britain is between £40 and £90 ($72- $162 per gram) (The report does not mention purity). The street price of heroin was £60 per gram in April 2002 according to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

(See: http://www.drugscope.org.uk/druginfo/drugsearch/ds_results.asp?file=%5Cwip%5C11%5C1%5C1%5Cheroin_opiates.html )

The Hierarchy of Prices

We are dealing with a hierarchy  of prices, from the farmgate price in the producing country, upwards, to the final retail street price. The latter is often 80-100 times the price paid to the farmer.

In other words, the opiate product transits through several markets from the producing country to the transshipment country(ies), to the consuming countries. In the latter, there are wide margins between “the landing price” at the point of entry, demanded by the drug cartels and the wholesale prices and the retail street prices, protected by Western organized crime.

The Global Proceeds of the Afghan Narcotics Trade

In Afghanistan, the reported production of 3600 tons of opium in 2003 would allow for the production of approximately 360,000 kg of pure heroin. Gross revenues accruing to Afghan farmers are roughly estimated by the UNODC to be of the order of $1 billion, with 1.3 billion accruing to local traffickers.

When sold in Western markets at a heroin wholesale price of the order of $100,000 a kg (with a 70 percent purity ratio), the global wholesale proceeds (corresponding to 3600 tons of Afghan opium) would be of the order of 51.4 billion dollars. The latter constitutes a conservative estimate based on the various figures for wholesale prices in the previous section.

The total proceeds of the Afghan narcotics trade (in terms of total value added) is estimated using the final heroin retail price. In other words, the retail value of the trade is ultimately the criterion for measuring the importance of the drug trade in terms of revenue generation and wealth formation.

A meaningful estimate of the retail value, however, is almost impossible to ascertain due to the fact that retail prices vary considerably within urban areas, from one city to another and between consuming countries, not to mention variations in purity and quality (see above).

The evidence on retail margins, namely the difference between wholesale and retail values in the consuming countries, nonetheless, suggests that a large share of the total (money) proceeds of the drug trade are generated at the retail level.

In other words, a significant portion of the proceeds of the drug trade accrues to criminal and business syndicates in Western countries involved in the local wholesale and retail narcotics markets. And the various criminal gangs involved in retail trade are invariably protected by the “corporate” crime syndicates.

90 percent of heroin consumed in the UK is from Afghanistan. Using the British retail price figure from UK police sources of $110 a gram (with an assumed 50 percent purity level), the total retail value of the Afghan narcotics trade  in 2003 (3600 tons of opium) would be the order of 79.2 billion dollars. The latter should be considered as a simulation rather than an estimate.

Under this assumption (simulation), a billion dollars gross revenue to the farmers in Afghanistan (2003) would generate global narcotics earnings, –accruing at various stages and in various markets– of the order of 79.2 billion dollars. These global proceeds accrue to business syndicates, intelligence agencies, organized crime, financial institutions, wholesalers, retailers, etc. involved directly or indirectly in the drug trade.

In turn, the proceeds of this lucrative trade are deposited in Western banks, which constitute an essential mechanism in the laundering of dirty money.

A very small percentage accrues to farmers and traders in the producing country. Bear in mind that the net income accruing to Afghan farmers is but a fraction of the estimated 1 billion dollar amount. The latter does not include payments of farm inputs, interest on loans to money lenders, political protection, etc. (See also UNODC, The Opium Economy in Afghanistan,  http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf , Vienna, 2003, p. 7-8)
The Share of the Afghan Heroin in the Global Drug Market

Afghanistan produces over 70 percent of the global supply of heroin and heroin represents a sizeable fraction of the global narcotics market, estimated by the UN to be of the order of $400-500 billion.

There are no reliable estimates on the distribution of the global narcotics trade between the main categories: Cocaine, Opium/Heroin, Cannabis, Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), Other Drugs.
The Laundering of Drug Money

The proceeds of the drug trade are deposited in the banking system. Drug money is laundered in the numerous offshore banking havens in Switzerland, Luxembourg, the British Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands and some 50 other locations around the globe.  It is here that the criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade and the representatives of the world’s largest commercial banks interact. Dirty money is deposited in these offshore havens, which are controlled by the major Western commercial banks. The latter have a vested interest in maintaining and sustaining the drug trade. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, The Crimes of Business and the Business of Crimes, Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1996)

Once the money has been laundered, it can be recycled into bona fide investments not only in real estate, hotels, etc, but also in other areas such as the services economy and manufacturing. Dirty and covert money is also funneled into various financial instruments including the trade in derivatives, primary commodities, stocks, and government bonds.
Concluding Remarks: Criminalization of US Foreign Policy

US foreign policy supports the workings of a thriving criminal economy in which the demarcation between organized capital and organized crime has become increasingly blurred.

The heroin business is not  “filling the coffers of the Taliban” as claimed by US government and the international community: quite the opposite! The proceeds of this illegal trade are the source of wealth formation, largely reaped by powerful business/criminal interests within the Western countries. These interests are sustained by US foreign policy.

Decision-making in the US State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon is instrumental in supporting this highly profitable multibillion dollar trade, third in commodity value after oil and the arms trade.

The Afghan drug economy is “protected”.

The heroin trade was part of the war agenda. What this war has achieved is to restore a compliant narco-State, headed by a US appointed puppet.

The powerful financial interests behind narcotics are supported by the militarisation of the world’s major drug triangles (and transshipment routes), including the Golden Crescent and the Andean region of South America (under the so-called Andean Initiative).

.unodc.org/pdf/afg/afghanistan_opium_survey_2003.pdf

Notice the dip in 2001

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050614&articleId=91

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Fueling the Afghan War By Aram Roston

The Nation
April 21, 2010

Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

AVENGING ANGELS

In Napoleon Bonaparte’s day an army may have marched on its belly, as the French emperor famously quipped, but the modern-day American military campaign in Afghanistan needs not just food but also fuel. Diesel for the MRAPs and Humvees, aviation fuel for the planes and helicopters–that’s the fodder for the military surge under way in Afghanistan. Fuel is precious there–they call it liquid gold–and the effort to keep it flowing has created an array of bizarre monopolies, strange alliances and allegations of corruption entangling the US government.

Robert Dreyfuss: Obama has conducted two major reviews of Afghan policy; Karzai’s new intractability calls for a third.

A Withdrawal Plan for Afghanistan Afghanistan War

Tom Hayden: Russ Feingold and Jim McGovern are expected to introduce legislation as early as next week calling for a “flexible timetable” for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

Aram Roston: Has a major military contractor in Afghanistan created an Astroturf organization to promote long-term US engagement?

This is the story of two interlinked and secretive offshore companies run by a former Army intelligence officer. The firms run a specialized monopoly of massive proportions. Their niche: supplying aviation fuel for US military operations in Afghanistan–enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools each and every day of the year.

The companies’ names are Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp. In Afghanistan, Red Star Enterprises has a sole source contract worth more than $1 billion, won without competition, to deliver fuel to Bagram Air Base, that central hub of the war effort. The Nation has obtained an unusual “memorandum of agreement” between Red Star and the US military authorities, giving the firm exclusive ownership of a fuel pipeline that feeds directly into the base.

Similarly, in nearby Kyrgyzstan, a staging ground for the Afghan war, Mina has another sole source contract, awarded without any announcement, to provide fuel to a huge and controversial base. The contract has been at the center of corruption and kickback allegations, and the companies have been accused of enriching the families of two successive heads of state, both of whom presided over kleptocratic and repressive regimes–an arrangement that fostered great resentment in the country. Violence exploded on the streets in early April, leaving eighty protesters dead, and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced to flee. The new, provisional government sees Red Star and Mina in a very specific light. The chief of staff, Edil Baisalov, tells The Nation that the firms have served as “an indirect way for the Pentagon to bribe the ruling families of Kyrgyzstan.” (These allegations are the subject of a Congressional hearing tomorrow, convened by the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.)

Baisalov’s charge is a serious one but not new, nor as outlandish as it may seem, although the companies deny it. The eight-year saga of high-stakes contracts and secretive deals raises serious questions about how the Afghan campaign has been run, not only by the Bush administration but also under President Barack Obama. Sole source contracts have continued under the current administration, and if the Kyrgyz authorities are correct, the Pentagon contractors are still doing what they did under Bush. After all, the thirst for oil and fuel can only grow as President Obama’s Afghan surge ramps up.

The man in charge of Red Star’s and Mina’s operations is a good-natured retired Army lieutenant colonel named Chuck Squires, now 56 years old. A lanky and broad-shouldered fellow with a good sense of humor, he has a graduate degree in Russian studies from Harvard. Before 9/11, he was the defense attaché at the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Back then, when he was still in the military, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan was just another impoverished and mountainous ex-Soviet republic, with a per capita income a little higher than that of Cambodia. It was just one pawn in the Great Game between Russia and the United States, and it was not easily accessible, bordered by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on the south, west and north, respectively, and by China on the east. Nor was it strategically important, although its huge inland lake did serve as a testing site for advanced Russian torpedoes.

Squires, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article, had left Bishkek by September 11, 2001. One source says he was gone from the military by then too, but his experience there would serve him well in the private sector in the future.

That is because shortly after 9/11, Kyrgyzstan agreed to host a US air base. At the time, Kyrgyzstan’s president was Askar Akayev, who presented himself as an innovative reformer and economist. The United States did not pay much for the base rights, although this was a source of controversy within the country and a matter of concern for the State Department. At the time, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon was holding sway over Colin Powell’s State Department. The Defense Department insisted it was in charge of all negotiations, and the State Department’s input wasn’t wanted. “You stay out of it” is how a former State Department official remembers the Pentagon’s tone.

The Manas base, dubbed the Ganci base, after a firefighter killed on 9/11, was like the FedEx hub through which the US military flies material and people to Afghanistan from around the world. The base hosts tankers and other planes, and operates as a transfer facility for troops.

Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp. soon appeared on the scene like mysterious strangers. They had a rather ethereal, offshore quality and some intriguing connections. For example, Red Star had the same London address and phone number as Iraq Today, a purportedly independent and short-lived newspaper launched in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. The paper had been set up by a former journalist who worked with Mina Corp.–which, of course, was connected to Red Star.

Over the years neither Red Star nor Mina seems to have even bothered to put up a website. They both have offices in London, but they are both incorporated on the island of Gibraltar, a British territory off Spain with impenetrable secrecy laws for corporations. Various private investigators have been unable to determine who really owns them.

Though Red Star had no apparent track record, it was hired by the Pentagon to supply the base’s massive fuel needs. Red Star’s director of operations: the now retired Lieutenant Colonel Squires. Squires returned to Bishkek as a civilian, coordinating Red Star’s contract work. The Pentagon’s Defense Energy Support Center hired Red Star to supply its fuel. It was a huge contract, totaling $240 million over three years.

Even if the Kyrgyz government wasn’t getting paid much for the base, the Akayev family was reaping tens of millions. It was heavily involved in business at the airport, running the two companies that operated as Red Star’s subcontractors. One of them was run by Akayev’s son, and the other by his son-in-law, and from 2002 to 2005 Red Star, operating on its US government contract, paid the firms about $120 million.

It may have just been business, but the way Kyrgyz investigators later saw it, Red Star, the prime contractor, was the cut out for funneling funds to the Akayev family.

It was all cozy until violence hit the streets of Bishkek in 2005, foreshadowing what was to come five years later. The “Tulip Revolution” forced Akayev to flee and abdicate, and then the secrets of the Akayev regime began to tumble out, in scandal after scandal. The new government, headed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, even asked the US government for help investigating the former regime. The FBI’s Eurasian Unit churned out an extraordinary report that laid bare a “vast amount of potential criminal activities associated with the Akaev Organization.” The president and his family were accused of “siphoning off at least $1 billion from the Kyrgyz state budget.” It was as if the Kyrgyz government had been some kind of criminal enterprise within which the United States ran a military base.

After the revolt, people thought things might be different. The new government seemed to bring a fresh sense of integrity for a short while, before it began to stack its own skeletons in the closet. Despite his claims to be a reformer, Bakiyev appeared to go about replicating the patterns of his predecessor in a deliberate manner. “He really didn’t think twice. They inherited this,” says one consultant who dealt with Bakiyev shortly after the revolution. “We really in great detail uncovered the scheme. And I think the moment they figured out how it worked, they went and did it.”

Peter Zalmayev of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative puts it this way: “Bakiyev came in under the premise he would clean [the government] up and make it more transparent. But he replaced the structure they had with Akayev and his son with his own family.” Word quickly spread that Bakiyev’s youngest son, Maksim, was in business too. The insiders said he was taking over “Manas International”–through frontmen.

Meanwhile, Bakiyev’s associates were making powerful US connections. For example, one of his allies set up a bank called AsiaUniversalBank (AUB) in Bishkek. On its board were two august former US senators: former US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, currently associated with the lobbying firm Alston & Bird, and J. Bennett Johnston, the longtime Louisiana senator, who has his own firm. Dole was paid several hundred thousand dollars for his role, which included one trip to Bishkek and a few board meetings in Washington.

Meanwhile, what mattered to the United States was the base at Manas. There, the airfield was still lined with squadrons of KC-135 Stratotankers, which needed constant filling for their missions over the skies of Afghanistan.

Red Star kept up its work, supplying fuel.

But Red Star was also busy elsewhere at the same time. Chuck Squires and Red Star were now focused not just on Kyrgyzstan but directly on Afghanistan. To do business with the US military in Afghanistan usually means operating at Bagram Air Base, the sprawling compound–a virtual military city–about an hour north of Kabul.

Col. Jonathan Ives was then the base commander at Bagram. Red Star, he says, was synonymous with aviation fuel, trucking it down from Uzbekistan along an old and treacherous route through the mountains from Mazar-i-Sharif to Kabul, passing at one point through the Salang Pass, a 1.5-mile tunnel through a mountain. Ives says Red Star trucked in more than 250,000 gallons of the precious stuff each day–a staggering amount. Each tanker truck can carry a maximum of 9,000 gallons, so Red Star would have had convoys of about thirty tractor-trailers per day.

In October 2007 Red Star scored a remarkable coup. Squires signed a deal with Ives that allowed Red Star to build and own a pipeline that ran from the base for all that fuel. Ives says that Red Star had purchased land near Bagram Air Base. “It was farmland, so they purchased the land and the rights.” In the memorandum of agreement between Red Star and the military, obtained by The Nation, Red Star promises it “will install, at no cost to the United States Government (USG), a petroleum pipeline for transfer of TS-1 jet fuel.” Significantly, the agreement says, “Red Star will retain ownership of the pipeline.”

It is intriguing that the firm signed such a document rather than an ordinary contract. “It is very unusual–very unusual,” said professor Charles Tiefer, an expert on contract law at the University of Baltimore School of Law who sits on the US government’s eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting. I asked him who would regulate such an agreement. “Nobody,” he answered. “There is no regulation of it because it’s not supposed to happen, because it is trying to create a loophole where there is none in the Competition in Contracting Act.”

Whatever the legal basis for the contract, not only the fuel pipeline but the land underneath it was owned by Red Star. Indeed, trucks would be able to gain access to the pipeline only through Red Star property. Red Star, in other words, controlled all access to the pipeline that would bring fuel to the thirsty US air base. It was as if the company offered to build a door to a US base and then controlled anything that went through the door. “I think it is pretty clever, if you want to say that,” says Ives. “It is shrewd business,” he added, a bit ruefully. He says he thought the pipeline was a good idea because it limited fuel trucks’ access to the base and made things safe. He didn’t realize, he says, that the pipeline Red Star built would give it a monopoly.

But that’s what it did. Within four months of that memorandum of agreement, the United States announced it planned to offer a sole source contract to Red Star for 194 million gallons of fuel over two years. There were some complaints by a potential competitor, but it had no access to the pipeline. That summer, in August 2008, Red Star was awarded the contract for $720 million. It had locked in the monopoly.

On March 4, 2009, barely six weeks in office, Barack Obama pledged to crack down on government procurement waste and fraud, and “to dramatically reform the way we do business on contracts across the entire government.” Standing next to Senator John McCain, his adversary in the election but an advocate of contract reform as well, he said, “We need more competition for contracts and more oversight as they are carried out.” That day he sent out a memo asking all federal agencies to work on a way to end sole source contracts.

But when it came to Red Star and Mina, things stayed very much the same. On July 29, about five months after the president’s speech, the Defense Department did not bother issuing a solicitation or requesting bids for the fuel contract. Instead, it quietly issued a new, $243 million contract to Mina to keep selling fuel to the base at Manas. The government used an unusual clause in the federal rules to justify this: the “national security” exemption. Under that provision, “Full and open competition need not be provided for when the disclosure of the agency’s needs would compromise the national security.”

“It went from competitive to sole source,” says lawyer Ronald Uscher, who represents a competitor to Red Star and Mina called IOTC. In 2007 Mina had actually won the contract through a process that ostensibly included competitive bidding–though it beat out IOTC, whose bid had been almost 3 percent lower. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Uscher tried to obtain information about Mina’s bid, but the Defense Department refused to tell him how Mina and Red Star gauged their price changes. Normally these are based on worldwide fuel prices, but not in Kyrgyzstan. Here it would be kept a secret. “There is nothing secretive about the price of jet fuel in 99.9 percent of the world,” says Uscher, “except at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, apparently!” Then, in 2009, Uscher complains, “You have a sole source secret contract to supply fuel to Manas awarded to Mina with no other competitors having oversight and no citizens having oversight.”

Why the secrecy? And what was the national security requirement that dictated avoiding competition? Did Mina’s source for fuel have anything to do with it?

Officials in Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government say it straight out: Mina Corp., the affiliate of Red Star, was paying funds to Maksim Bakiyev, the president’s son. The new government’s chief of staff Baisalov says that in order to keep the air base secure and supplied with fuel, the United States essentially “bribed the Kyrgyz ruling family. First it was Akayev and then it was Bakiyev. On one hand, the White House and the US State Department, they announce these noble goals, democracy, good government, and on the other hand, the military comes in and overrides everyone else.” The Defense Logistics Agency, which oversees the Defense Energy Support Center, wouldn’t comment specifically on that, even to deny it. “We can’t speak to that,” said DLA spokesman Dennis Gauci. “You’ll have to speak to Mina Corp.”

A representative of Mina, who asked not to be named, denied any wrongdoing. “There was no consideration given to the ownership interests of any supplier.” If Maksim Bakiyev did have any ownership interest, he said, Mina didn’t know about it. The company, he told me, was reaching out to the interim Kyrgyz government to try to explain it to them. (Mina emphasizes it does vital work “by providing mission-critical fuel supplies to the troops and civilians that are carrying out the mission in Afghanistan.”)

With the collapse of the Bakiyev regime, a whole web of money and power has been exposed. That bank, AUB, on whose board sat ex-Senators Dole and Johnston? Its accounts have been frozen, and the new government says it was laundering money.

The provisional government in Kyrgyzstan says it will leave the base open for now. And the United States, with the Afghan surge under way, needs that base now more than ever. But the Kyrgyz government is making a new demand: it is launching a criminal investigation of the Bakiyev regime and its profits–and it wants the US government to help.

About Aram Roston

Aram Roston is an investigative journalist and the author of The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi (Nation Books). more..

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>>>>> Blowback: blown not too far back. Or is it a blowing towards us.

Ideas to open up the thread for discussion and conversation.

Truth and justice will prevail.

The truthful, just and righteous shall inherit the earth.

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Each piece of truth is like finding a diamond, a pearl;  and the truth will set you free

seek, ask, reflect, repent,

Ask and you will receive

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the_biggest_diamond

Pearl1

 

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