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Everything posted by Warmoog

  1. One troubling turn of events after another. Berbera has been the seemingly accursed subject of recurring American interest for a number of years. In December, it was even reported in the Washington Post that there was debate within the US government over whether to continue supporting the TFG or shift support to Somaliland and basically use it as a new launch pad in its global War of Terror. Then there was the announcement last month when Riyaale said he invited the US to use Berbera as a military base. Now this. Nothing good will come of it.
  2. UN Human Rights Official Wants Investigation into US Government Role in 9/11 Steven Watson April 10, 2008 InfoWars.net John Bolton: "This is exactly why we voted against the new human rights council." An official in the newly formed UN Human Rights Council has called for a fresh investigation into the events of 9/11 in order to examine the possible role that neoconservatives may have played in the attacks. The New York Sun picked up the story today, explaining that Richard Falk, a professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, and an expert on human rights was assigned to a new position within the council on March 26. His role is to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Two days prior to the announcement, Falk appeared on former University of Wisconsin lecturer Kevin Barrett's radio show and spoke of how he is keen to see a fresh investigation into 9/11 in order to address inconsistencies in the official account of what happened. Mr. Falk told Barrett, "It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don't think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess." Falk previously penned the preface to Professor David Ray Griffin's groundbreaking 2004 book The New Pearl Harbor, in which the theologian catalogued scores of unexplained facets surrounding 9/11 and inconsistencies in the official government version of events. Falk has also published a number of notable books and essays analyzing the legality of the Vietnam War and other military operations, including the Iraq invasion. A year ago he played a prominent role in a as a tribunal testifier. Of the Invasion he has previously written: "inescapable that an objective observer would reach the conclusion that this Iraq war is a war of aggression, and as such, that it amounts to a Crime against Peace of the sort for which surviving German leaders were indicted, prosecuted and punished at the Nuremberg trials conducted shortly after the Second World War." Falk's appointment to the Human Rights Council has also hit headlines due to the fact that he has previously slammed the Israeli occupation of Palestine and compared the Zionist government's treatment of Palestinian Arabs to the Nazi treatment of Jews in the holocaust. The Israeli government announced Tuesday that it will deny Falk a visa to enter Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Despite this and the now customary attacks from the Anti-Defamation League, Falk has stood by his comments, telling the BBC: "If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison," The New York Sun reports that former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton commented on Falk's recent appointment to the Human Rights Council: "This is exactly why we voted against the new human rights council." Bolton is clearly worried that like Falk, some of the officials within the council are legal experts that recognize war crimes when they see them and may actually attempt to do something about it. Last month Japanese member of Parliament Yukihisa Fujita told the Alex Jones Show that a potential new investigation of the 9/11 cover-up may be coordinated by individuals within the United Nations. It remains to be seen whether the Human Rights Council is composed of enough well meaning individuals to have a significant impact or whether, like much of the rest of the UN, it becomes a part of the establishment left arm of the global elite system.
  3. As far as I know, there is no ikhtilaaf between al-Shabaab and Isbahaysiga Dib-u-Xoreynta. Rather, there is a distinct group of individuals who were part of al-Shabaab, as it existed under the ICU, but who are no longer associated with either the ICU or the Asmara-based leadership. Although still active in the resistance, they have disassociated themselves from both the Asmara-based leadership and the rest of the ICU in Somalia. The individuals quoted are from that group, so I think it would be a mistake to assume that they speak on behalf of everyone else, even al-Shabaab elements that are still part of the ICU, and then (wrongfully) surmise that there is discord between al-Shabaab and Isbahaysiga Dib-u-Xoreynta. Whether these individuals speak for anyone but themselves is questionable, in my opinion. I agree with MMA in saying it is of no benefit to the resistance for people to make these kind of remarks in the media. Common sense dictates that you preserve the unity of the resistance, that you not do things that will play into the hands of the enemy or say things that may confuse and demoralize your people. The resistance is stronger than ever today. I can only hope that Allah unites the freedom fighters and fills their ranks with sincere, well-meaning people.
  4. This is one of the most farcical developments I have heard of in recent months. An ill-conceived act of desperation, it is political pandering at its worst. Though I doubt it will have the desired effect of gaining the ruling party new supporters, it has set the region up for problems that will undoubtedly surface, if left unremedied by the next administration.
  5. Those of you scouring the annals of Islamic history for cop-out material would be wise to first place something like the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in context, instead of conveniently pulling it out of your back pockets like readymade fluff for arguments. Ask yourselves if the circumstances surrounding it were in any way analogous to what people in Somalia are currently experiencing. In particular, do the lessons of that historical milestone speak to the situation of, say, Muslims in the West, who, like the people of the Prophet's (saw) time, live as minorities in predominantly non-Muslim societies, or to that of Muslims in places like Somalia, who are being massacred in their own lands by the forces of invaders? The folks spearheading the resistance in Somalia believe jihad is compulsory for them and any other group of Muslims whose land has been invaded. If the Qur'aan and Sunnah say anything, anything at all, to contradict the knowledge those brave men and women are working with, the onus of pointing that out is on the 'third path' Buddhas in our midst. And for the record, the current conflict in Somali is not a 'civil war,' as Baashi craftily put it, nor is it one caused by the segmentary lineage system.
  6. The Neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet – The New Pearl Harbour Michael Salla November 19, 2007 Voltaire Network The U.S. plans for an attack on Iran envision to sacrifice the Fifth Fleet in order to justify a nuclear retaliation. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but a real option being discussed within the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff cabinet. According to our sources, admiral William Fallon made clear that if such an order was given, he would refuse to follow it and would hand in his resignation along with the entire Centcom headquarter's. So far only the Navy and Army's superior officers' resistance has prevented the neoconservatives and the Air Force to launch the operations. The Bush administration has covered up and ignored dissenting Pentagon war games analysis that suggests an attack on Iran's nuclear or military facilities will lead directly to the annihilation of the Navy's Fifth Fleet now stationed in the Persian Gulf. Lt. General Paul Van Riper led a hypothetical Persian Gulf state in the 2002 Millennium Challenge war-games that resulted in the destruction of the Fifth Fleet. His experience and conclusions regarding the vulnerability of the Fifth Fleet to an asymmetrical military conflict and the implications for a war against Iran have been ignored. Neoconservatives within the Bush administration are currently aggressively promoting a range of military actions against Iran that will culminate in it attacking the US Navy's Fifth Fleet with sophisticated cruise anti-ship missiles. They are ignoring Van Riper's experiences in the Millennium Challenge and how it applies to the current nuclear conflict with Iran. Iran has sufficient quantities of cruise missiles to destroy much or all of the Fifth Fleet which is within range of Iran's mobile missile launchers strategically located along its mountainous terrain overlooking the Persian Gulf. The Bush administration is deliberately downplaying the vulnerability of the Fifth Fleet to Iran's advanced missile technology which has been purchased from Russia and China since the late 1990's. The most sophisticated of Iran's cruise missiles are the 'Sunburn' and 'Yakhonts.' These are missiles against which U.S. military experts conclude modern warships have no effective defense. By deliberately provoking an Iranian retaliation to U.S. military actions, the neoconservatives will knowingly sacrifice much or all of the Fifth Fleet. This will culminate in a new Pearl Harbor that will create the right political environment for total war against Iran, and expanded military actions in the Persian Gulf region. The Fifth Fleet's Vulnerability to Iran's Anti-Ship Missile Arsenal The U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet is headquartered in the Gulf State of Bahrain which is responsible for patrolling the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Suez Canal and parts of the Indian Ocean. The Fifth Fleet currently comprises a carrier group and two helicopter carrier ships. Its size peaked at five aircraft carrier groups and six helicopter carriers in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq. Presently, it is led by the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier commissioned in 1961, and on November 2, began participating in a Naval exercise in the Persian Gulf . The Fifth Fleet's base in Bahrain, is only 150 miles away from the Iranian coast, and would itself be in range of Iran's new generation of anti-ship cruise missiles. Also, any Naval ships in the confined terrain of the Persian Gulf would have difficulty in maneuvering and would be within range of Iran's rugged coastline which extends all along the Persian Gulf to the Arabian sea. Iran began purchasing advanced military technology from Russia soon after the latter pulled out in 2000 from the Gore-Chernomyrdin Protocol, which limited Russia's sales of military equipment to Iran. Russia subsequently began selling Iran military technology that could be used in any military conflict with the U.S. This included air defense systems and anti-ship cruise missiles in which Russia specialized to offset the U.S. large naval superiority. The SS-N-22 or 'Sunburn' has a speed of Mach 2.5 or 1500 miles an hour, uses stealth technology and has a range up to 130 miles. It contains a conventional warhead of 750 lbs that can destroy most ships. Of even greater concern is Russia's SSN-X-26 or 'Yakhonts' cruise missile which has a range of 185 miles which makes all US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf vulnerable to attack. More importantly the Yakhonts has been specifically developed for use against Carrier groups, and has been sold by Russia on the international arms trade. Both the Yakhonts and the Sunburn missiles are designed to defeat the Aegis radar defense currently used on U.S. Navy ships by using stealth technology and low ground hugging flying maneuvers. In their final approaches these missiles take evasive maneuvers to defeat anti-ship missile defenses. So great is the threat posed by the Sunburn, Yakhonts and other advanced anti-ship missiles being developed by Russia and sold to China, Iran and other countries, that the Pentagon's weapons testing office in 2007 moved to halt production on further aircraft carriers until an effective defense was developed. Iran has purchased sufficient quantities of both the Sunbeam and Yakhonts to destroy much or all of the Fifth Fleet anywhere in the Persian Gulf from its mountainous coastal terrain. Millennium Challenge Wargames The "Millennium Challenge" was one of the largest wargames ever conducted and wargames involved 13,500 troops spread out at over 17 locations. The wargames involved heavy usage of computer simulations, extended over a three week period and cost $250 million. Millennium Challenge involved asymmetrical warfare between the U.S military forces, led by General William Kernan, and an unnamed state in the Persian Gulf. According to General Kernan, the wargames "would test a series of new war-fighting concepts recently developed by the Pentagon." Using a range of asymmetrical attack strategies using disguised civilian boats for launching attacks, planes in Kamikaze attacks, and Silkworm cruise missiles, much of the Fifth Fleet was sunk. The games revealed how asymmetrical strategies could exploit the Fifth Fleet's vulnerability against anti-ship cruise missiles in the confined waters of the Persian Gulf. In a controversial decision, the Pentagon decided to simply 'refloat' the Fifth Fleet to continue the exercise which led to the eventual defeat of the Persian Gulf state. The sinking of the Fifth Fleet was ignored and the wargames declared a success for the "new war-fighting concepts" adopted by Gen. Kernan. This led to Lt General Paul Van Riper, the commander of the mythical Gulf State, calling the official results "empty sloganeering." In a later television interview, General Riper declared "when the concepts that the command was testing failed to live up to their expectations, the command at that point began to script the exercise in order to prove these concepts. This was my critical complaint." Most significant was General Riper's claims of the effectiveness of the older Cruise missile technology, the Silkworm missile which were used to sink an aircraft carrier and two helicopter-carriers loaded with marines in the total of 16 ships sunk. When asked to confirm Riper's claims, General Kernar replied: "Well, I don't know. To be honest with you. I haven't had an opportunity to assess what happened. But that's a possibility... The specifics of the cruise-missile piece... I really can't answer that question. We'll have to get back to you." The Millennium Challenge war-games clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the US Fifth Fleet to Silkworm cruise missile attacks. This replicated the experience of the British during the 1980 Falklands war where two ships were sunk by three Exocet missiles. Both the Exocet and Silkworm cruise missiles were an older generation of anti-ship missile technology that were far surpassed by the Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. If the Millennium Challenge was a guide to an asymmetrical war with Iran, much of the U.S Fifth Fleet would be destroyed. It is not surprising Millennium Challenge was eventually scripted so that this embarrassing fact was hidden. To date, there has been little public awareness of the vulnerability of the US Fifth Fleet while stationed in the Persian Gulf. It appears that the Bush administration had scripted an outcome to the war-games that would promote its neoconservative agenda for the Middle East. The Neo-Conservative Strategy to Attack Iran Neoconservatives share a political philosophy that US dominance of the international system as the world’s sole superpower needs to be extended indefinitely into the 21st century. In early 2006 neoconservatives within the Bush administration began vigorously promoting a new war against Iran due to the alleged threat posed by its nuclear development program. Iran has consistently maintained that its nuclear development is lawful and in compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Since 2004, The Bush administration has been citing intelligence data that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons and must under no circumstances be allowed to do this. Much of Iran's nuclear development has occurred in underground facilities built at a depth of 70 feet with hardened concrete overhead that protect them from any known conventional attack. This led to the Bush administration arguing in early 2006 that tactical nuclear weapons would need to be used to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. This culminated in a fierce debate between leading neo-conservatives such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff which remained adamantly opposed. Seymour Hersh in May 2006, reported the opposition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Subsequent efforts by the neo-conservatives to justify a conventional military attack have been handicapped by widespread public skepticism by the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program, and Iran's compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty according to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA. ElBaradei cites U.S. military assessments that Iran is a few years away from developing weapons grade nuclear fuel that could be used for nuclear weapons. The Bush administration, frustrated by the determined opposition both within the U.S bureaucracy, military and the international community to its plans has adopted a three pronged track strategy for its goal of 'taking out' Iran. The first strategy is to drive up public perceptions of an international security crisis by warning of a Third World War if Iran's nuclear program is not stopped. In a Press Conference speech on October 17, President Bush declared: "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them [iranians] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." Bush's startling rhetoric was followed soon after by Vice President Cheney on October 23 who warned in a speech that the US and its allies were "prepared to impose serious consequences" on Iran. The second strategy has been shift emphasis from removing Iran's nuclear facilities, to emphasizing its support for terrorism. Given widespread military and political opposition to attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Bush administration is now depicting Iran as a supporter of terrorism in Iraq." The change in strategy was given a powerful boost by the passage of the Kyle-Lieberman Amendment by the U.S. Senate on September 26 which designated "the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization." This would enable the Bush administration to authorize strikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard facilities inside Iran on the basis that they are supporting Iraqi terrorist groups targeting U.S. military forces. The third and most dangerous strategy used by the Bush administration is to sanction a covert mission that would create the necessary political environment for a war against Iran. This is arguably best evidenced in the infamous B-52 'Bent Spear' incident on August 30, 2007 where five (later changed to six) nuclear armed cruise missiles were found en route to the Middle East for a covert mission. The nuclear warheads had adjustable yields of between 5 to 150 kilotons, and would have been ideal for use against Iran's underground nuclear facilities or in a false flag operation that would be blamed on Iran. However, Air Force personnel stood down 'illegal' orders that most likely came from the White House, and averted what could have been the detonation of one or more nuclear devices in the Persian Gulf region. Consequences of Iran being Attacked In an effort to intimidate Iran, the Bush administration has regularly placed two aircraft carrier group formations in the Persian Gulf. The size and timing of possible U.S. military attacks on Iran's nuclear and/or military facilities, will influence the speed and scale of an Iranian response. Iran's response will predictably result in a military escalation that culminates in Iran using its arsenal of anti-ship cruise missiles on the U.S. Fifth Fleet and closing off the Strait of Hormuz to all shipping. Iran's ability to hide and launch cruise missiles from mountainous positions all along the Persian Gulf will make all Fifth Fleet ships in the Persian Gulf vulnerable. The Fifth Fleet would be trapped and unable to escape to safer waters. The Millennium Challenge wargames in 2002 witnessed the sinking of most of the Fifth fleet. If an attack on Iran were to occur before the end of 2007, it would lead to the destruction of the USS Enterprise with its complement of 5000 personnel on board. Further losses in terms of support ships and other Fifth Fleet naval forces in the Persian Gulf would be catastrophic. An Iranian cruise missile attack would replicate losses at Pearl Harbor where the sinking of five ships, destruction of 188 aircraft and deaths of 2,333 quickly led to a declaration of total war against Imperial Japan by the U.S. Congress. The declaration of total war against Iran by the U.S. Congress would lead to a sustained bombing campaign and eventual military invasion to bring about regime change in Iran. Military conscription would occur in order to provide personnel for the invasion of Iran, and to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that would come under greater pressure. Tensions would rapidly escalate with other major powers such as Russia and China who have supplied Iran with sophisticated weapons systems that could be used against U.S. military assets. The closing of the Strait of Hormuz to all shipping and total war conditions in the U.S. would lead to a collapse of the world economy, and further erosion of civil liberties in a U.S. engaged in total war. Conclusions The above scenario is very plausible given the military capacities of Iran's anti-ship cruise missiles and the U.S. Navy's vulnerability to these while operating in the Persian Gulf. The Bush administration has hidden from the American public the full extent of the Fifth Fleet's vulnerability, and how it could be trapped and destroyed in a full scale conflict with Iran. This is best evidenced by the controversial decision to downplay the real results of the Millennium Challenge wargames and the dissenting views of Lt. General Van Riper over the lessons to be learned. This culminated in General Van Riper joining a group of retired generals in calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. Neo-conservatives within the Bush administration are fully aware of the vulnerability of the Fifth Fleet, yet have at times tried to place up to three carrier groups in the Persian Gulf which would only augment U.S. losses in any war with Iran. Yet the Bush administration has still attempted to move forward with plans for nuclear, conventional and/or covert attacks on Iran which would precipitate much of the terrible scenario described above. A reasonable conclusion to draw is that neoconservatives within the Bush administration are willing to sacrifice much or all of the U.S. Fifth Fleet by militarily provoking Iran to launch its anti-ship cruise missile arsenal in order to justify 'total war' against Iran, and force regime change. A new Pearl Harbor can be averted by making accountable Bush administration officials willing to sacrifice the Fifth Fleet in pursuit of a neoconservative agenda. Michael Salla Dr. Michael Salla is an internationally recognized scholar in international politics, conflict resolution, US foreign policy and the new field of 'exopolitics.' He is author/editor of five books; and held academic appointments in the School of International Service& the Center for Global Peace, American University, Washington DC (1996-2004); the Department of Political Science, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (1994-96); and the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C., (2002). He has a PhD in Government from the University of Queensland, Australia, and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has conducted research and fieldwork in the ethnic conflicts in East Timor, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Sri Lanka, and organized peacemaking initiatives involving mid to high level participants from these conflicts. This author's articles.
  7. Originally posted by Armchair Politician: I don't buy the 9/11 conspiracy theory chiefly because it is unnecessary. The USA has never needed any justification for invading other countries. That's a first. Tell me, what is the whole "war on terror," launched on the heels of 9/11 (even though all the evidence shows it was planned out long before then), if not justification for perpetual war, preemptive strikes, sweeping crackdowns on civil liberties, massive human rights abuses, and other sinister plans inline with an agenda of domination and tyranny? What were the events of that fateful day, if not justification for the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan? What was the big lie about WMDs, not to mention the other lie linking the late Saddam Hussein to 9/11, if not (bogus) justification with which to wage war on Iraq? No offence intended, but you should consider taking your head out of the sand long enough to look back and figure out what has been going on in the world for the last six years or more. As for 9/11 itself, here is a novel idea: do a little research. Everything you would ever want to know about it, and then some, is already at your fingertips. Look at all of the evidence and weigh the truth-value of the different theories explaining what took place that day. See if the official story holds water. See if it stands up to the basic laws of science. Then, try to draw sound conclusions from everything. Your comments bring up the 'why' questions, which are of course important, but I think the sensible thing to do is to try to figure out what happened before moving on to those.
  8. Crisis in the US: "Plan B"? Richard C. Cook November 11, 2007 Global Research Strange events are taking place in the U.S. By August 2007, a lot of very smart people were reading the tea leaves, convinced that the upper echelons of the U.S. government had their own hidden reasons for forecasting an event even more heinous than the attacks of September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff had been hinting that another 9/11 could be coming. Figures from the U.S. military had also projected a 9/11-type event. On April 23, 2006, for instance, the Washington Post published a statement by an unnamed Pentagon source that, “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets.” 9/11 was a turning point in history, and not just because it provided a pretext for the Bush administration to use off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The 9/11 Commission criticized the government for failing to do enough to act on danger signs that attacks may have been afoot. But a movement has formed which argues that the reality was worse—that 9/11 was an inside job staged to further the geopolitical ambitions of an elite seeking to use U.S. military power to advance its own imperialistic agenda. What is indisputable is that from the 2000 presidential election through the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman termed a "revolutionary power" took control of the U.S. government. Krugman's statement, contained in the introduction to his 2005 book The Great Unraveling, has not been taken seriously enough. George W. Bush had lost the popular vote to Al Gore but was named to office by a Supreme Court that rubber-stamped what Greg Palast and others have proven was an extended process of electoral fraud in Florida. The subsequent actions and policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have been in accord with its dubious beginnings. From the emergence of the Neocons as an ideological power base dominant over U.S. foreign policy, to destruction wreaked on the Bill of Rights by illegal surveillance of citizens, to the senseless creation of the bureaucratically monstrous Department of Homeland Security and passage of the Patriot Acts, to the initiation of "wars of choice" leading to the devastation of two nations and the killing or displacement of perhaps a million Middle Eastern non-combatants, to violation of international treaties and conventions against wars of aggression and torture of prisoners, to presiding over an economy ruined by the continued export of manufacturing jobs and the creation and deflation of the housing bubble, to the wrecking of the federal budget by over a trillion dollars of wartime expenditure, to the abandonment of the city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, to tax cuts for the most wealthy while the income of the middle class has drastically eroded, and to threats to start another war, this time against Iran, based on deceptions similar to those which preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe. What is now being asked is whether there was a plan that was to take place in September-October 2007 whereby the rest of the job would have been done. Speculation was that a nuclear device was to have been detonated in a U.S. city, perhaps one of the six attached to cruise missiles that were "inadvertently" carried by the Air Force B-52 bomber that flew from South Dakota to Louisiana just before Labor Day. Check this link from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the official explanation of the incident: (source). According to the Air Force's report, the missiles were being mothballed due to "a treaty," but ground personnel at Minot Air Force Base "grabbed the wrong ones" and loaded missiles with nuclear warheads by mistake. Some have argued that these nukes were secretly bound for Iran to prepare for a nuclear attack on that country. But would such a Keystone Cops routine have been necessary to prepare for military action as a contingency to implement a possible decision coming from the highest political levels? Suppose, on the other hand, that one of the nukes was targeted for a false-flag domestic attack, perhaps a city like Portland, Oregon, where military exercises simulating a major terrorist incident had been scheduled and where residents actually were warning each other to leave town. Was the attack to trigger an economic collapse, leading as a side-effect to a payoff of billions of dollars for the placers of the "bin Laden bets" that were reportedly made in the financial markets anticipating a fifty percent decline in stock prices? Of course such an attack would be blamed on foreign terrorists. The trail of the explosion would be found to lead to Iran, resulting in war against that nation. Would the Constitution then have been suspended and martial law declared? Would citizens have been rounded up and herded into prison camps? Such a scenario seems unfathomable, horrendous, even incredible. But it still may have been in character for a regime whose actions have led the world to view the U.S. as the greatest existing threat to peace. Rumors about such possible events have been churning on the internet for months. But the rumors have not been confined to "conspiracy theorists." Regarding President Bush’s commitment to the sanctity of constitutional processes, Congressman John Olver expressed the prevailing view in government circles when he told twenty of his constituents at a private meeting in Massachusetts on July 5, 2007, that he could not support a movement to impeach Bush. According to an attendee, the reason the Congressman gave was that, "The President would declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and suspend the 2008 elections." Therefore we might ask if it is true, as some sources have alleged, that the reason these events have not taken place was that there was a revolt by the U.S. military, which refused to carry out the false-flag attack that may have been intended? What then has happened differently which indicates that events may have altered or postponed such a sinister denouement to the nightmare of the last seven years? What has happened appears to be that the U.S. establishment has decided to move to "Plan B." This may be defined as a decision that the sway of the Bush/Cheney regime must end and that some semblance of normality should be restored, at least in appearance, by making Hillary Clinton the next President. Of course part and parcel of any Hillary Clinton presidency would be the presence and participation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. We may rightly speak of "the Clintons" as a unit in this context. The signs that Hillary Clinton is the President-designee have been appearing in droves. These include her rise in the polls, especially in Iowa, the emergence of an anti-Bush surge in the mega-media, especially on MSNBC, and the appointment of Democrats with ties to the Clintons at the Defense and Treasury Departments. Other signs include the emergence of a campaign by certain well-connected websites to keep tabs on pro-Neocon news commentators and offensives being launched against some particularly obnoxious right-wing media figures such as Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The way Hillary Clinton is being portrayed in the mega-media is of decisive importance, because media-owning conglomerates such as GE, Viacom, and Disney serve the interests of the establishment, not the public. Nothing makes it to the airwaves without the approval of the financial interests which control these giants. Also decisive was the appearance of Hillary and Bill on the cover of the October 6 edition of The Economist, long the keystone publication of the Anglo-American international financial empire. The Washington Post, another establishment house organ, has noted that Hillary herself is couching her election in terms of "when, not if." The theme she is projecting is that of an anointed insider calling for "national unity." For this she is being duly attacked by her competitors, most notably John Edwards. The best example of how the mega-media is telegraphing establishment intent was Chris Mathews' lead story on Hardball on Monday night, November 5, which displayed MSNBC's "Power Rankings" for presidential candidates. The segment began with an adulatory profile of Hillary's campaign. Mathews then set a record for premature declaration of victory by predicting her as "the most likely winner of the Democratic nomination and presidential election" a full year before the election is even to take place. Mathews repeated his judgment several times in what was obviously rehearsed language, even as the members of his three-person panel of commentators were trying in vain to raise objections, including the view that Hillary might not even win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. Mathews repeatedly overrode his own experts with his insistence that Hillary was the MSMBC pick. Oh yes, we will have the formality of a presidential election. Doubtless some fur will fly, because Hillary will always be the Clinton the right-wing most loves to hate. So we won't see a coronation. It is certain, however, that the current regime will exact a price for accepting at least temporary defeat. So far the price seems to be agreement by Hillary Clinton that the conquest of Iraq is a fait accompli, that the building of the Baghdad supersize embassy will continue, that permanent military bases in Iraq will be maintained a lá Korea, and that the option of an attack on Iran will remain "on the table." She has not raised her voice against any of this. The vehicle by which Clinton signed on to a possible attack on Iran was her vote in favor of the Senate resolution naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist sponsor. Perhaps there is also an understanding between the Clintons and the Bush/Cheney camp that the latter will not be prosecuted for crimes committed in office. No matter who becomes president in 2008, that person will be left with a nation in disarray. This includes a foreign policy that has been sacrificed to militaristic interests, the rise of a militant Russia now allied with China through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and a Latin America in open revolt against U.S. domination. Even maintaining a post-Bush foreign policy will be a challenge, given Condoleezza Rice's legacy of a State Department whose morale is in shreds due to a vicious Neocon takeover of the foreign service that will persist for a generation or more. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a wreck, with out-of-control debt, the housing collapse in full flower, continued erosion of manufacturing jobs, a sinking dollar, a crumbling physical infrastructure, soaring oil and food prices, out-of-control illegal immigration, and hordes of well-heeled foreigners buying U.S. assets with rapidly depreciating dollars. The economy is in much worse shape today than when Bill Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1992. It will be a miracle if the next president is able to keep the U.S. from sinking into a depression. The only qualification to this assessment lies with the large companies heavily invested in the growing Chinese economy—GM, GE, IBM, etc. But a majority of the stock of these and other corporations is owned by financial institutions, while the trickle-down effect of dividends will provide only a fraction of the purchasing power needed to keep the U.S. economy afloat. While the views of the American public still seem to register to a slight degree, the Democrats have failed to respond to their restoration by the electorate to power in Congress by ending the Iraq War. But by their votes in 2006 and by consistently giving George W. Bush such low ratings in the polls, Americans have delivered a message. So have the many internet sites covering the real news of the war and the economy. As well have the two maverick presidential candidates, Ron Paul the Republican and Dennis Kucinich the Democrat, who have been saying things not heard in the supine world of American politics for a long time. Things like getting rid of the inept handling of credit by the Federal Reserve and stopping the war in Iraq by exiting right now, without any more lies or excuses. But it is by no means certain that there is much immediate hope of salvaging the nation from the current debacle. The interests of millions of Americans have been severely damaged by the financial and political malfeasance that has gone on for so long. Abroad, the deaths or ruin of large numbers of people in the Middle East must be accounted for. That region is now less stable than ever, as the situation in Pakistan shows. A negotiated two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream. Finally, sane multilateral systems for sharing of the world's resources among nations or dealing with global warming are nowhere in sight. And a nuclear holocaust involving the U.S. vs. Russia and possibly China is a growing danger. Further, the U.S. economy can't simply be "fixed." It is too far gone for that. The elite began their takedown of the economy during the 1970s and show no signs of being able to reverse course. It started with the removal of the gold-peg to the dollar in 1971 and continued with the explosion of U.S. currency on the international scene due to the petrodollar, soaring trade and fiscal deficits, action to permanently mortgage us to military-backed dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil, a permanent tilt in favor of Israel vs. the Islamic world, and, finally, the galloping 1970s inflation. These events led to the Fed-induced crash of 1979-83 which left us with today’s travesty of a "service" economy. Now in 2007 the Fed is trying to engineer a "soft landing" of an economy trapped in unsustainable debt and collapsing bubbles, at least until the 2008 election. But everyone knows a crash is coming, particularly as China and other nations dump the plummeting dollar as their reserve currency. So what are the Clintons and their government-in-waiting planning? You would think they had something in mind. But maybe not. During the 1990s, Bill Clinton acted in full accord with the globalists’ agenda by continuing with the Reagan/Bush I privatization of the economy, with downsizing of government, and with promotion of the dot.com bubble that ended with the 2000 market crash. Unfortunately, it will not be as simple to engineer a repeat performance of even the ephemeral prosperity of the 1990s when what is lacking today is a real economic driver. The grievous condition of the U.S. is reflected in an epidemic of mental and emotional illness and a rising violent crime rate. It is reflected in a USA Today poll, where 72 percent of Americans say the nation is moving in the wrong direction (74 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll). And who knows what disasters global warming has in store? To face all this will require a decisive reorientation of U.S. governance. There is little in the history of the Clintons, their opportunistic style, and their passivity to the financier elite that justifies this much optimism. The financial controllers today exert more power over the U.S. economy and the nation's politics than at any time in history. They are not giving up this power. In fact, Hillary is their "safest" choice among the Democrats in maintaining control. Perhaps we may want to indulge in a sigh of relief at how much worse things could have been—or may still be—if Bush/Cheney unleash even more disasters. But stay tuned. The next four years are likely to be decisive—particularly because the plan to elevate Hillary Clinton may be a trap by which she is left holding the bag for an economic collapse that would make it much easier than at present for the Neocon storm troopers to rush back in. What is absolutely certain is that the people of the world do not want war, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. The people of the world want economic fairness. The people of the world want to live by honest labor, not bank credit. And the people of the world want an environment that is clean and safe for future generations. The only people who do not appear to want these things have been those who are currently in charge of the U.S. government. The question now is what are the American people willing to do to assure that what is truly in the best interests of the nation will prevail? Will they continue to be manipulated by the fear which has been the basis of the Bush/Cheney mode of governance? Will they continue to act as obedient puppets as it becomes harder and harder to earn a living and raise a family in an economy throttled by debt and a declining standard of living? Will they simply vote for whom they are told to support by the media and the pollsters? Or will some decide that enough is enough and resolve to take America back in 2008? But even if they do, can they succeed? While Hillary Clinton is likely the designated Democratic nominee, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls for the Republicans. Giuliani, with his own group of Neocon advisers and his militant outbursts promising more war, is the ideological godson of Bush/Cheney. Whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is likely obvious to them that to allow a character like Giuliani to step in while so many raw nerves are exposed among the American populace could lead to a premature explosion. Especially since Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a prosecutor putting people in jail. It's hardly a time in the nation's life when what is needed as head of state is an expert at slamming people into detention. So what if Giuliani actually threatens to defeat Hillary while the establishment has decided to support her, perhaps just to buy time? The establishment is taking precautions. It seems to be doing so by starting to promote a plan that could see Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. You can see this unfolding, for instance, in his favorable treatment on CNN's "Situation Room." And could Dr. Paul really have begun suddenly to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash without someone in the establishment giving a green light? Ron Paul as a candidate would obviously generate enormous excitement. But he could end up playing the same role as Ross Perot in the 1992 election, where Perot allowed disgruntled voters to let off steam while drawing enough votes to allow Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush. One way or the other, the fix is on. Finally, we should note that the "revolutionary power" Paul Krugman refers to is not just the Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. They are only the most visible recent manifestation. The true "revolutionary power" is much less visible but may reasonably be identified with the higher echelons of the "financier elite" and "establishment" referred to throughout this article. The underlying agenda of this group seems to be to destroy the U.S. as the world's greatest industrial democracy, turn it into a province of a globalist system under their control, and use its land and population as muscle for world monetary and military dominance. Can anything be done? Of course. The underlying problem is that the power and wealth acquired by the U.S. after World War II has eroded—has perhaps been squandered—as the rest of the world has grown up. Certainly, if the right people were in charge the U.S. could accept the inevitable, rebuild its failed domestic economy on democratic principles, and assume its rightful place as one of several major world powers, with the responsibility this would entail. Instead, we have been trying to hold onto what has slipped away by a continued resort to financial aggression combined with force of arms, rather than altruistic action based on enlightened ideals. It's a failed mission. What has happened to America in the last decade is turning into the greatest tragedy of modern history. And what can ordinary people do while all this is unfolding? The best advice seems to be not to try to hoard paper assets, which the elite are able easily to manipulate or devalue. It's to get out of debt, hone our manual skills, invest in a small business, grow our own food, stay positive, help others, work hard, eschew the consumption lifestyle, pray and meditate, be sober, and learn to think for ourselves. We might try to work within the political system if we can and want to, but should not count on easy successes, because, as the man said, "It's a hard rain's gonna fall." Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at www.richardccook.com. Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook.
  9. Iran isn't the only country snubbing the U.S. dollar. Several other countries, including Saudi Arabia itslef, are distancing themselves from it. Seven Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and What It Means) Jessica Hupp November 6, 2007 Currency Trading It's no secret that the dollar is on a downward spiral. Its value is dropping, and the Fed isn't doing a whole lot to change that. As a result, a number of countries are considering a shift away from the dollar to preserve their assets. These are seven of the countries currently considering a move from the dollar, and how they’ll have an effect on its value and the US economy. Saudi Arabia: The Telegraph reports that for the first time, Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates along with the US Federal Reserve. This is seen as a signal that a break from the dollar currency peg is imminent. The kingdom is taking "appropriate measures" to protect itself from letting the dollar cause problems for their own economy. They're concerned about the threat of inflation and don't want to deal with "recessionary conditions" in the US. Hans Redeker of BNP Paribas believes this creates a "very dangerous situation for the dollar," as Saudi Arabia alone has management of $800 billion. Experts fear that a break from the dollar in Saudi Arabia could set off a "stampede" from the dollar in the Middle East, a region that manages $3,500 billion. South Korea: In 2005, Korea announced its intention to shift its investments to currencies of countries other than the US. Although they're simply making plans to diversify for the future, that doesn't mean a large dollar drop isn't in the works. There are whispers that the Bank of Korea is planning on selling $1 billion US bonds in the near future, after a $100 million sale this past August. China: After already dropping the dollar peg in 2005, China has more trouble up its sleeve. Currently, China is threatening a "nuclear option" of huge dollar liquidation in response to possible trade sanctions intended to force a yuan revaluation. Although China "doesn’t want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order," their large sum of US dollars does serve as a "bargaining chip." As we've noted in the past, China has the power to take the wind out of the dollar. Venezuela: Venezuela holds little loyalty to the dollar. In fact, they've shown overt disapproval, choosing to establish barter deals for oil. These barter deals, established under Hugo Chavez, allow Venezuela to trade oil with 12 Latin American countries and Cuba without using the dollar, shorting the US its usual subsidy. Chavez is not shy about this decision, and has publicly encouraged others to adopt similar arrangements. In 2000, Chavez recommended to OPEC that they "take advantage of high-tech electronic barter and bi-lateral exchanges of its oil with its developing country customers," or in other words, stop using the dollar, or even the euro, for oil transactions. In September, Chavez instructed Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to change its dollar investments to euros and other currencies in order to mitigate risk. Sudan: Sudan is, once again, planning to convert its dollar holdings to the euro and other currencies. Additionally, they've recommended to commercial banks, government departments, and private businesses to do the same. In 1997, the Central Bank of Sudan made a similar recommendation in reaction to US sactions from former President Clinton, but the implementation failed. This time around, 31 Sudanese companies have become subject to sanctions, preventing them from doing trade or financial transactions with the US. Officially, the sanctions are reported to have little effect, but there are indications that the economy is suffering due to these restrictions. A decision to move Sudan away from the dollar is intended to allow the country to work around these sanctions as well as any implemented in the future. However, a Khartoum committee recently concluded that proposals for a reduced dependence on the dollar are "not feasible." Regardless, it is clear that Sudan's intent is to attempt a break from the dollar in the future. Iran: Iran is perhaps the most likely candidate for an imminent abandonment of the dollar. Recently, Iran requested that its shipments to Japan be traded for yen instead of dollars. Further, Iran has plans in the works to create an open commodity exchange called the Iran Oil Bourse. This exchange would make it possible to trade oil and gas in non-dollar currencies, the euro in particular. Athough the oil bourse has missed at least three of its announced opening dates, it serves to make clear Iran’s intentions for the dollar. As of October 2007, Iran receives non-dollar currencies for 85% of its oil exports, and has plans to move the remaining 15% to currencies like the United Arab Emirates dirham. Russia: Iran is not alone in its desire to establish an alternative to trading oil and other commodities in dollars. In 2006, Russian President Vladmir Putin expressed interest in establishing a Russian stock exchange which would allow "oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for in Roubles." Russia's intentions are no secret–in the past, they've made it clear that they're wary of holding too many dollar reserves. In 2004, Russian central bank First Deputy Chairmain Alexei Ulyukayev remarked, "Most of our reserves are in dollars, and that's a cause for concern." He went on to explain that, after considering the dollar's rate against the euro, Russia is "discussing the possibility of changing the reserve structure." Then in 2005, Russia put an end to its dollar peg, opting instead to move towards a euro alignment. They've discussed pricing oil in euros, a move that could provide a large shift away from the dollar and towards the euro, as Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter. What does this all mean? Countries are growing weary of losing money on the falling dollar. Many of them want to protect their financial interests, and a number of them want to end the US oversight that comes with using the dollar. Although it's not clear how many of these countries will actually follow through on an abandonment of the dollar, it is clear that its status as a world currency is in trouble. Obviously, an abandonment of the dollar is bad news for the currency. Simply put, as demand lessens, its value drops. Additionally, the revenue generated from the use of the dollar will be sorely missed if it's lost. The dollar's status as a cheaply-produced US export is a vital part of our economy. Losing this status could rock the financial lives of both Americans and the worldwide economy. The author referenced many news articles. Readers can see the source if they are interested in checking those out.
  10. Pentagon Plans 100-Year War in the Cities Nick Turse October 17, 2007 Black Agenda Report Weapons that take out one floor of a city building, but leave the structure standing. Robot spies that look like dragonflies that can fly into your apartment to scope its contents. Intensity sound transmitters--already tentatively deployed in the United States--to cause excruciating pain to crowds of thousands. Sensors that can "see" every person in an apartment building, and take out those targeted. The global spread of mega-cities, largely shanty towns of the dispossessed in poorer nations, and the rulers' unease at growing public discontent even in the developed world, have caused Pentagon planners and their hip-joined private contractors to conclude that urban warfare is the future. Duane Schattle doesn’t mince words. "The cities are the problem," he says. A retired Marine infantry lieutenant colonel who worked on urban warfare issues at the Pentagon in the late 1990s, he now serves as director of the Joint Urban Operations Office at U.S. Joint Forces Command. He sees the war in the streets of Iraq's cities as the prototype for tomorrow’s battlespace. "This is the next fight," he warns. "The future of warfare is what we see now." He isn't alone. "We think urban is the future," says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. "Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment." And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired Army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle's operation, has a similar assessment, "We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years." Last month, in a hotel nestled behind a medical complex in Washington, D.C., Schattle, Lasswell, and Hall, along with Pentagon power-brokers, active duty and retired U.S. military personnel, foreign coalition partners, representatives of big and small defense contractors, and academics who support their work gathered for a "Joint Urban Operations, 2007" conference. Some had served in Iraq or Afghanistan; others were involved in designing strategy, tactics, and concepts, or in creating new weaponry and equipment, for the urban wars in those countries. And here, in this hotel conference center, they're talking about military technologies of a sort you’ve only seen in James Cameron's 2000-2002 television series Dark Angel. I'm the oddity in this room of largely besuited defense contractors, military retirees, and camouflage-fatigue-clad military men at a conference focused on strategies for battling it out in the labyrinthine warrens of what urbanologist Mike Davis calls "the planet of slums." The hulking guy who plops down next to me as the meeting begins is a caricature of just the attendee you might imagine would be at such a meeting. "I sell guns," he says right off. Over the course of the conference, this representative of one of the world's best known weapons manufacturers will suggest that members of the media be shot to avoid bad press and he’ll call a local tour guide he met in Vietnam a "*******" for explaining just how his people thwarted U.S. efforts to kill them. But he's an exception. Almost everyone else seems to be a master of serene anodyne-speak. Even the camo-clad guys seem somehow more academic than warlike. In his tour de force book Planet of Slums, Davis observes, "The Pentagon’s bestminds have dared to venture where most United Nations, World Bank or Department of State types fear to go... [T]hey now assert that the 'feral, failed cities' of the Third World--especially their slum outskirts--will be the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century." Pentagon war-fighting doctrine, he notes, "is being reshaped accordingly to support a low-intensity world war of unlimited duration against criminalized segments of the urban poor." But the mostly male conference-goers planning for a multi-generational struggle against the global South's slums aren't a gang of urban warfare cowboys talking non-stop death and destruction; and they don't look particularly bellicose either, as they munch on chocolate-chip cookies during our afternoon snack breaks in a room where cold cuts and brochures for the Rapid Wall Breaching Kit--which allows users to blast a man-sized hole in the side of any building--are carefully laid out on the tables. Instead, these mild-mannered men speak about combat restraint, "less than lethal weaponry," precision targeting, and (harking back to the Vietnam War) "winning hearts and minds." The Men of Urban Warfare Take Dr. Russell W. Glenn, a thin, bespectacled RAND Senior Policy Researcher who looks for all the world like some bookish college professor Hollywood dreamed up. You'd never guess he went to the Army's airborne, ranger, and pathfinder schools and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. You'd also never suspect that he might be the most prolific planner for the Pentagon's century-long slum fight of tomorrow. In Planet of Slums, Davis notes that the RAND Corporation, a non-profit think-tank established by the Air Force in 1948, has been a key player in pioneering the conceptual framework that has led to the current generation of what’s called, in the jargon of this meeting, "urban operations" or, more familiarly, UO. Glenn, it so happens, is their main man in the field. He travels the planet studying counterinsurgency warfare. Of late, he's been to the Solomon Islands, where an island rebellion occurred in the late 1990s, the Philippines, where an insurgency has been raging for decades (if not since the U.S. occupation at the dawn of the twentieth century), and, of course, Iraq. He's co-authored well over 20 UO studies for RAND including, most recently, "People Make the City": Joint Urban Operations Observations and Insights from Afghanistan and Iraq (publicly available in 86-page executive summary form) and the still-classified A Tale of Three Cities: Analyzing Joint Urban Operations with a Focus on Fallujah, Al Amara, and Mosul. On the technological front, the Pentagon's blue-skies research outfit, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sent its grandfatherly-looking deputy director, Robert F. Leheny, to talk about such UO-oriented technology as the latest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sense-through-walls technologies that allow troops to see people and objects inside buildings. While Leheny noted that 63% of DARPA's $3 billion yearly budget ($600 million of it dedicated to UO technologies in the coming years) is funneled to industry partners, DARPA is only a part of the story when it comes to promoting corporate assistance in this 100-year-war growth area. The largest contractors in the military-corporate complex are already hard at work helping the Pentagon prepare for future urban occupations. Raytheon, L-3 Communications, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)--the 5th, 7th, and 10th largest Pentagon contractors last year, taking in a combined $18.4-plus billion from the Department of Defense--have all signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with the U.S. Joint Forces Command, according to Berry "Dan" Fox, the Deputy Director of Science and Technology at its Joint Urban Operations Office. As you might imagine, smaller contractors are eager to climb aboard the urban warfare gravy train. At the conference, Lite Machines Corporation was a good example of this. It was vigorously marketing a hand-launched, low-flying UAV so light that it resembled nothing more than a large, plastic toy water rocket with miniature helicopter rotors. The company envisions a profitably privacy-free future in which urban zones are besieged by "swarms" of such small UAVs that not only peek into city windows, but even invade homes. According to a company spokesman, "You could really blanket a ground area with as many UAVs as you want… penetrate structures, see through a window or even break a window," in order to fly inside a house or apartment and troll around. DARPA's Leheny also extolled hovering UAVs, specifically the positively green-sounding Organic Micro Air Vehicle which brings to mind the "spinners" in Blade Runner or, even earlier in blow-your-mind futuristic movie history, V.I.N.CENT from Disney's The Black Hole. This drone, Leheny noted, has "perch and stare" capabilities that allow it to lie in wait for hours before fixing on a target and guiding in extended-line-of-sight or beyond-line-of-sight weapons. He also described in detail another DARPA-pioneered unmanned aerial vehicle, the WASP--a tiny, silent drone that spies on the sly and can be carried in a soldier's pack. Leheny noted that there are now "a couple hundred of these flying in Iraq." In addition to endless chatter about the devastated "urban canyons" of Iraq and Afghanistan, the specters of past battleground cities--some of them, anyway--were clearly on many minds. There were constant references to urban battle zones of history like Stalingrad and Grozny or such American examples as Manila in 1945 and Panama City in 1989. Curiously neglected, however, were the flattened cities of Germany and Japan in World War II, not to speak of the bombed-out cities of Korea and Vietnam. Perhaps the Korean and Vietnam Wars weren’t on the agenda because "restraint" and "precision" were such watchwords of the meeting. No one seemed particularly eager to discuss the destruction visited on the Iraqi city of Fallujah either--three-quarters of its buildings and mosques were damaged in an American assault in November 2004. During James Lasswell's presentation, he was quite specific about the non-Fallujah-like need to be "very discriminate" in applying firepower in an urban environment. As an example of the ability of technology to aid in such efforts, he displayed a photo of the aftermath of an Israeli strike on a three-story Lebanese building. The third floor of the structure had been obliterated, while the roof above and the floors below appeared relatively unscathed. In an aside, Lasswell mentioned that, while the effort had been a discriminating one, the floor taken out "turned out to be the wrong floor." A rumble of knowing chuckles swept the room. Fighting in the City of Your Choice, 2045 Discrimination, it turned out, didn’t mean legal constraint. Speakers and conference-goers alike repeatedly lamented the way international law and similar hindrances stood in the way of unleashing chemical agents and emerging technologies. Microwave-like pain rays and other directed energy weapons--such as the Active Denial System which inflicts an intense burning sensation on victims--were reoccurring favorites of the gathering. During their PowerPoint presentation, the men from Lite Machines, for instance, showed a computer rendering of their micro-UAVs attacking an unarmed crowd gathered in a town square with a variety of less-than-lethal weapons like disorienting laser dazzlers and chemical gases (vomiting and tear-gas agents), while a company spokesman regretfully mentioned that international regulations have made it impossible to employ such gases on the battlefield. Undoubtedly, this was a reference to the scorned Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been binding for the last decade. RAND's Glenn similarly brought up the possibility of reassessing such international conventions and overcoming fears that chemical weapons might fall into the "wrong hands." Saddam Hussein was his example of such "wrong hands," but the hands responsible for Abu Ghraib, Mahmudiyah, Hamdania, Haditha, or the invasion of Iraq itself--to find non-existent banned weapons--seemed to give him no pause. While the various speakers at the conference focused on the burgeoning inhabitants of the developing world's slum cities as targets of the Pentagon's 100-year war, it was clear that those in the "homeland" weren't about to escape some of its effects either. For example, back in 2004, Marines deploying to Iraq brought the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) with them. A futuristic non-lethal weapon alluded to multiple times at the conference, it emits a powerful tone which can bring agonizing pain to those within earshot. Says Woody Norris, chairman of the American Technology Corporation, which manufactures the device: "It will knock [some people] on their knees." That very same year, the LRAD was deployed to the streets of the Big Apple (but apparently not used) by the New York Police Department as a backup for protests against the Republican National Convention. In 2005, it was shipped to "areas hit by Hurricane Katrina" for possible "crowd control" purposes and, by 2006, was in the hands of U.S. Border Patrol agents. In that same year, it was also revealed that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had begun testing the use of remote-controlled surveillance UAVs--not unlike those now operating above Iraqi cities--over their own megalopolis. When it came to the "homeland," conference participants were particularly focused on moving beyond weaponry aimed at individuals, like rubber bullets. Needed in the future, they generally agreed, were technologies that could target whole crowds at once--not just rioters but even those simply attending "demonstrations that could go violent." Other futuristic UO concepts are also coming home. According to Dan Fox of the Joint Urban Operations Office, the Department of Justice, like the military, is currently working on sense-through-wall technologies. His associate Duane Schattle is collaborating with the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)--set up by the Bush administration in 2002 and whose area of operations is "America's homefront"--on such subjects as "sharing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, command and control capabilities." He also spoke at the conference about developing synergy between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security in regard to urban-operations technologies. He, too, expressed his hope that microwave weapon technology would be made available for police use in this country. A specific goal of DARPA, as a slide in deputy chief Leheny's presentation made clear, is to "make a foreign city as familiar as the soldier's backyard." This would be done through the deployment of intrusive sensor, UAV, and mapping technologies. In fact, there were few imaginable technologies, even ones that not so long ago inhabited the wildest frontiers of science fiction, that weren't being considered for the 100-year battle these men are convinced is ahead of us in the planet’s city streets. The only thing not evidently open to discussion was the basic wisdom of planning to occupy foreign cities for a century to come. Even among the most thoughtful of these often brainy participants, there wasn't a nod toward, or a question asked of, the essential guiding principle of the conference itself. With their surprisingly bloodless language, antiseptic PowerPoint presentations, and calm tones, these men--only one woman spoke--are still planning Iraq-style wars of tomorrow. What makes this chilling is not only that they envision a future of endless urban warfare, but that they have the power to drive such a war-fighting doctrine into that future; that they have the power to mold strategy and advance weaponry that can, in the end, lock Americans into policies that are unlikely to make it beyond these conference-room doors, no less into public debate, before they are unleashed. These men may be mapping out the next hundred years for urban populations in cities across the planet. At the conference, at least, which ones exactly seemed beside the point. Who could know, after all, whether in, say, 2045, the target would be Mumbai, Lagos, or Karachi--though one speaker did offhandedly mention Jakarta, Indonesia, a city of nine million today, as a future possibility. Along with the lack of even a hint of skepticism about the basic premise of the conference went a fundamental belief that being fought to a standstill by a ragtag insurgency in Iraq was an issue to be addressed by merely rewriting familiar tactics, strategy, and doctrine and throwing multi-billions more in taxpayer dollars--in the form of endless new technologies--at the problem. In fact, listening to the presentations in that conference room, with its rows of white-shrouded tables in front of a small stage, it would not have been hard to believe that the U.S. had defeated North Korea, had won in Vietnam, had never rushed out of Beirut or fled Mogadishu, or hadn't spent markedly more time failing to achieve victory in Afghanistan than it did fighting the First and Second World Wars combined. To the rest of the world, at least, it's clear enough that the Pentagon knows how to redden city streets in the developing world, just not win wars there; but in Washington--by the evidence of this "Joint Urban Operations, 2007" conference--it matters little. Advised, outfitted, and educated by these mild-mannered men who sipped sodas and noshed on burnt egg rolls between presentations, the Pentagon has evidently decided to prepare for 100 years more of the same: war against various outposts of a restless, oppressed population of slum-dwellers one billion strong and growing at an estimated rate of 25 million a year. All of these UO experts are preparing for an endless struggle that history suggests they can’t win, but that is guaranteed to lead to large-scale destruction, destabilization, and death. Unsurprisingly, the civilians of the cities that they plan to occupy, whether living in Karachi, Jakarta, or Baghdad, have no say in the matter. No one thought to invite any of them to the conference. Nick Turse is the associate editor and research director of Tomdispatch.com. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Nation, the Village Voice, and regularly for Tomdispatch.com. His first book, The Complex, an exploration of the new military-corporate complex in America, is due out in the American Empire Project series by Metropolitan Books in 2008. His new website NickTurse.com (up only in rudimentary form) will fully launch in the coming months.
  11. Martial Law Threat is Real Dave Lindorff CounterPunch The looming collapse of the US military in Iraq, of which a number of generals and former generals, including former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, have warned, is happening none too soon, as it my be the best hope for preventing military rule here at home. From the looks of things, the Bush/Cheney regime has been working assiduously to pave the way for a declaration of military rule, such that at this point it really lacks only the pretext to trigger a suspension of Constitutional government. They have done this with the active support of Democrats in Congress, though most of the heavy lifting was done by the last, Republican-led Congress. The first step, or course, was the first Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in September 2001, which the president has subsequently used to claim-improperly, but so what?--that the whole world, including the US, is a battlefield in a so-called "War" on Terror, and that he has extra-Constitutional unitary executive powers to ignore laws passed by Congress. As constitutional scholar and former Reagan-era associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein observes, that one claim, that the US is itself a battlefield, is enough to allow this or some future president to declare martial law, "since you can always declare martial law on a battlefield. All he'd need would be a pretext, like another terrorist attack inside the U.S." The 2001 AUMF was followed by the PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001, which undermined much of the Bill of Rights. Around the same time, the president began a campaign of massive spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, conducted without any warrants or other judicial review. It was and remains a program that is clearly aimed at American dissidents and at the administration's political opponents, since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would never have raised no objections to spying on potential terrorists. (And it, and other government spying programs, have resulted in the government's having a list now of some 325,000 "suspected terrorists"!) The other thing we saw early on was the establishment of an underground government-within-a-government, though the activation, following 9-11, of the so-called "Continuity of Government" protocol, which saw heads of federal agencies moved secretly to an underground bunker where, working under the direction of Vice President Dick Cheney, the "government" functioned out of sight of Congress and the public for critical months. It was also during the first year following 9-11 that the Bush/Cheney regime began its programs of arrest and detention without charge-mostly of resident aliens, but also of American citizens-and of kidnapping and torture in a chain of gulag prisons overseas and at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay. The following year, Attorney General John Ashcroft began his program to develop a mass network of tens of millions of citizen spies-Operation TIPS. That program, which had considerable support from key Democrats (notably Sen. Joe Lieberman), was curtailed by Congress when key conservatives got wind of the scale of the thing, but the concept survives without a name, and is reportedly being expanded today. Meanwhile, last October Bush and Cheney, with the help of a compliant Congress, put in place some key elements needed for a military putsch. There was the overturning of the venerable Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which barred the use of active duty military inside the United States for police-type functions, and the revision of the Insurrection Act, so as to empower the president to take control of National Guard units in the 50 states even over the objections of the governors of those states. Put this together with the wholly secret construction now under way--courtesy of a $385-million grant by the US Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc--of detention camps reportedly capable of confining as many as 400,000 people, and a recent report that the Pentagon has a document, dated June 1, 2007, classified Top Secret, which declares there to be a developing "insurgency" within the U.S, and which lays out a whole martial law counterinsurgency campaign against legal dissent, and you have all the ingredients for a military takeover of the United States. As we go about our daily lives--our shopping, our escapist movie watching, and even our protesting and political organizing-we need to be aware that there is a real risk that it could all blow up, and that we could find ourselves facing armed, uniformed troops at our doors. Bruce Fein isn't an alarmist. He says he doesn't see martial law coming tomorrow. But he is also realistic. "Really, by declaring the US to be a battlefield, Bush already made it possible for himself to declare martial law, because you can always declare martial law on a battlefield," he says. "All he would need would be a pretext, like another terrorist attack on the U.S." Indeed, the revised Insurrection Act (10. USC 331-335) approved by Congress and signed into law by Bush last October, specifically says that the president can federalize the National Guard to "suppress public disorder" in the event of "national disorder, epidemic, other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident." That determination, the act states, is solely the president's to make. Congress is not involved. Fein says, "This is all sitting around like a loaded gun waiting to go off. I think the risk of martial law is trivial right now, but the minute there is a terrorist attack, then it is real. And it stays with us after Bush and Cheney are gone, because terrorism stays with us forever." (It may be significant that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, has called for the revocation of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq, but not of the earlier 2001 AUMF which Bush claims makes him commander in chief of a borderless, endless war on terror.) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has added an amendment to the upcoming Defense bill, restoring the Insurrection Act to its former version-a move that has the endorsement of all 50 governors--but Fein argues that would not solve the problem, since Bush still claims that the U.S. is a battlefield. Besides, a Leahy aide concedes that Bush could sign the next Defense Appropriations bill and then use a signing statement to invalidate the Insurrection Act rider. Fein argues that the only real defense against the looming disaster of a martial law declaration would be for Congress to vote for a resolution determining that there is no "War" on terror. "But they are such cowards they will never do that," he says. That leaves us with the military. If ordered to turn their guns and bayonets on their fellow Americans, would our "heroes" in uniform follow their consciences, and their oaths to "uphold and defend" the Constitution of the United States? Or would they follow the orders of their Commander in Chief? It has to be a plus that National Guard and Reserve units are on their third and sometimes fourth deployments to Iraq, and are fuming at the abuse. It has to be a plus that active duty troops are refusing to re-enlist in droves-especially mid-level officers. If we are headed for martial law, better that it be with a broken military. Maybe if it's broken badly enough, the administration will be afraid to test the idea.
  12. Barack Obama is a chump, a spineless imperialist stooge-in-waiting. I personally would not vote for him if I were a sensible African-American and I sure as hell would not vote for him as a Muslim, thinking his heritage—whatever that really is—might have made him more Islam/Muslim-friendly or, at least, a tad less decidedly anti-Islam than others. Siddiqui seems awfully enamoured with the subject of his article. He should know better. Really now, do all these inconsequential aspects of Obama's personal history make his irksome character and politics more acceptable to Siddiqui? Does he seriously believe Obama will clean up after Bush? Obama wants to expand the military-industrial complex, and he makes increasingly aggressive threats against both Iran and Pakistan in his shameless quest to gain the approval of The Powers That Be—making it quite clear that if TPTB anoint him as the new lame duck figurehead, er, 'president' of the U.S., it would merely put another black face on imperialist policies, which will of course remain unchanged. Going by Siddiqui's unquestioning drivel, though, I suppose Obama's disturbing plans—of creating a bigger war machine, bombing more countries—are perfectly okay because the fool used to live in Indonesia and wear a sarong as a young boy.
  13. Bush Pens Dictatorship Directive, Few Notice Kurt Nimmo May 30, 2007 Global Research It is hardly surprising not a single corporate newspaper reported the death of the Constitution. Go to Google News and type in "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive" and hit enter. Google returns ten paltry results, not one from the New York Times, the Washington Post, or related corporate media source. Google Trends rates the story as "mild," that is to say it warrants nary a blip on the news radar screen. Of course, another death blow to the Constitution, already long on life support, is hardly news. Few understand we now live in a dictatorship, or maybe it should be called a decidership. "The Bush administration has released a directive called the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive. The directive released on May 9th, 2007 has gone almost unnoticed by the mainstream and alternative media. This is understandable considering the huge Ron Paul and immigration news but this story is equally as huge. In this directive, Bush declares that in the event of a 'Catastrophic Emergency' the President will be entrusted with leading the activities to ensure constitutional government. The language in this directive would in effect make the President a dictator in the case of such an emergency," writes Lee Rogers for Global Research. "The language written in the directive is disturbing because it doesn’t say that the President will work with the other branches of government equally to ensure a constitutional government is protected. It says clearly that there will be a cooperative effort among the three branches that will be coordinated by the President. If the President is coordinating these efforts it effectively puts him in charge of every branch. The language in the directive is entirely Orwellian in nature making it seem that it is a cooperative effort between all three branches but than it says that the President is in charge of the cooperative effort." In short, Bush may now declare himself absolute ruler at any moment and Congress can like it or lump it. Naturally, this act of betrayal is of so little importance and consequence, the corporate media believes you are better served knowing Justin Timberlake is in love. "This directive on its face is unconstitutional because each branch of government the executive, legislative and judicial are supposed to be equal in power," Lee continues. "By putting the President in charge of coordinating such an effort to ensure constitutional government over all three branches is effectively making the President a dictator allowing him to tell all branches of government what to do." So much for the first three articles of the Constitution, designed to make sure there remains a separation of power between branches of government. "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," declared James Madison in the Federalist Papers. Madison, in his original draft of the Bill of Rights, included a proposed amendment that would make the separation of powers explicit, but this proposal was rejected, primarily because his fellow members of Congress thought the separation of powers principle was obvious in the Constitution. There was no way for them to read the future, or predict the wholesale selling and buying of Congress, a judiciary stacked with reactionary troglodytes from the Federalist Society, and a largely brain dead public apparently more interested in Britney Spears lip-sync concerts than preserving the Constitution, let alone comprehending it. Bush, of course, takes his marching orders from higher up on the food chain, more specifically the World Economic Forum, the club of billionaires and transnational corporations that meet annually in Davos, Switzerland, where they plot our future. In January, the Forum, "with numerous links to business networks, policy-makers and government, NGOs and think-tanks," at the behest of Merrill Lynch, Swiss Re and the Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes, and Wharton School, produced Global Risks 2007, a report containing various dire "global risk" scenarios, including "a full-blown [influenza] pandemic, with one million deaths worldwide." Other possible "global risk" scenarios include "international terrorism" and "climate change." But what does all of this have to do with Bush and the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive? "The Directive slipped out relatively unnoticed by the mainstream media, yet it has important and positive implications for the future resiliency of public sector operations in the United States," reports Continuity Central. "The concepts of a National Continuity Coordinator and a centrally directed National Continuity Implementation Plan are to be welcomed in principle and are something which other countries should look seriously at emulating." Earlier in the year the World Economic Forum called for such a position to be set up in every government in its 'Global Risks 2007' report. This championed the appointment of 'Country Risk Officers' who would provide a focal point in government for mitigating global risks across departments, learning from private-sector approaches and escaping a 'silo-based' approach. As for the position of National Continuity Coordinator, it went to Frances Fragos Townsend, chair of the Homeland Security Council, who reports to Bush, or rather the neocons and a scattering of neolibs who tell Dubya what to say and do every morning. "Townsend, as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, by virtue of the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive signed May 9, 2007, by President Bush, is also National Continuity Coordinator," notes SourceWatch. The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive states: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination." In essence, the globalist oligarchy, from on-high in Davos, through "business networks, policy-makers... NGOs and think-tanks," are driving policies designed to reduce the Constitution to an irrelevancy. Of course, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are but the last impediment to establishing a globalist soviet in the United States, soon to be merged into a North American Union, itself but a component of larger "trading" blocs carved out by the globalists. Considering all of this, it makes perfect sense the corporate media ignored the rollout of the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, same as they ignore the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, even though the latter involves the direct participation of Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Naturally, any talk of conspiracy to sell out the nation and dismantle the Constitution and the Bill of Rights relegates one to the tinfoil hat brigade, for if such things are not reported upon or discussed at Fox News, they naturally fall in the province of kooky conspiracy theories.
  14. ^ Indeed, sister. Odaygii yaraa wuu is ceebeeyey. He was so desperately trying to do damage control and downplay the gravity of the matter (by telling flat-out lies, at times) when he could have simply been honest and forthright about what he knows of Bashiir's situation and whether his government is prepared to address the case or not. Judging from the news reports that have been written about some of them, the people being held in these secret detention centres in Ethiopia seem to be of diverse backgrounds. As the CBC broadcaster pointed out though, Oromos and Somalis who hail from Kilinka Shanaad face the greatest risk of being harmed. Ilaahey ha u gargaaro dhamaantood.
  15. Here is an excerpt from an older but informative article by Jeremy Scahill himself (go to the source to read the rest): Bush's Shadow Army Jeremy Scahill March 15, 2007 The Nation The often overlooked subplot of the wars of the post-9/11 period is their unprecedented scale of outsourcing and privatization. From the moment the US troop build-up began in advance of the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon made private contractors an integral part of the operations. Even as the government gave the public appearance of attempting diplomacy, Halliburton was prepping for a massive operation. When US tanks rolled into Baghdad in March 2003, they brought with them the largest army of private contractors ever deployed in modern war. By the end of Rumsfeld's tenure in late 2006, there were an estimated 100,000 private contractors on the ground in Iraq--an almost one-to-one ratio with active-duty American soldiers. To the great satisfaction of the war industry, before Rumsfeld resigned he took the extraordinary step of classifying private contractors as an official part of the US war machine. In the Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Review, Rumsfeld outlined what he called a "road map for change" at the DoD, which he said had begun to be implemented in 2001. It defined the "Department's Total Force" as "its active and reserve military components, its civil servants, and its contractors--constitut[ing] its warfighting capability and capacity. Members of the Total Force serve in thousands of locations around the world, performing a vast array of duties to accomplish critical missions." This formal designation represented a major triumph for war contractors--conferring on them a legitimacy they had never before enjoyed. Contractors have provided the Bush Administration with political cover, allowing the government to deploy private forces in a war zone free of public scrutiny, with the deaths, injuries and crimes of those forces shrouded in secrecy. The Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress in turn have shielded the contractors from accountability, oversight and legal constraints. Despite the presence of more than 100,000 private contractors on the ground in Iraq, only one has been indicted for crimes or violations. "We have over 200,000 troops in Iraq and half of them aren't being counted, and the danger is that there's zero accountability," says Democrat Dennis Kucinich, one of the leading Congressional critics of war contracting. While the past years of Republican monopoly on government have marked a golden era for the industry, those days appear to be ending. Just a month into the new Congressional term, leading Democrats were announcing investigations of runaway war contractors. Representative John Murtha, chair of the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense, after returning from a trip to Iraq in late January, said, "We're going to have extensive hearings to find out exactly what's going on with contractors. They don't have a clear mission and they're falling all over each other." Two days later, during confirmation hearings for Gen. George Casey as Army chief of staff, Senator Jim Webb declared, "This is a rent-an-army out there." Webb asked Casey, "Wouldn't it be better for this country if those tasks, particularly the quasi-military gunfighting tasks, were being performed by active-duty military soldiers in terms of cost and accountability?" Casey defended the contracting system but said armed contractors "are the ones that we have to watch very carefully." Senator Joe Biden, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, has also indicated he will hold hearings on contractors. Parallel to the ongoing investigations, there are several bills gaining steam in Congress aimed at contractor oversight. Occupying the hot seat through these deliberations is the shadowy mercenary company Blackwater USA. Unbeknownst to many Americans and largely off the Congressional radar, Blackwater has secured a position of remarkable power and protection within the US war apparatus. This company's success represents the realization of the life's work of the conservative officials who formed the core of the Bush Administration's war team, for whom radical privatization has long been a cherished ideological mission. Blackwater has repeatedly cited Rumsfeld's statement that contractors are part of the "Total Force" as evidence that it is a legitimate part of the nation's "warfighting capability and capacity." Invoking Rumsfeld's designation, the company has in effect declared its forces above the law--entitled to the immunity from civilian lawsuits enjoyed by the military, but also not bound by the military's court martial system. While the initial inquiries into Blackwater have focused on the complex labyrinth of secretive subcontracts under which it operates in Iraq, a thorough investigation into the company reveals a frightening picture of a politically connected private army that has become the Bush Administration's Praetorian Guard. And here is a more recent update on a case related to the Fallujah incident, which is what put the limelight on Blackwater's presence in Iraq: Blackwater Heavies Sue Families of Slain Employees [...] to Suppress Their Story Daniel J. Callahan and Marc P. Miles June 8, 2007 AlterNet The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men's estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.
  16. CBC Radio covered Bashiir Makhtal's story once, as far as I know. One of his relatives (a cousin, if memory serves me right), a human rights advocate working on his case, and a rather clownish representative from the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa were interviewed on the program. I haven't seen coverage of the case on television, however. What a shame.
  17. My heartfelt condolences, Sophist. May Allah (s.w.t.) bestow mercy and forgiveness upon your father. The loss of a parent is such a trying experience. I wish you and your family continued strength and steadfastness of faith.
  18. Originally posted by Elysian: I’m afraid we won’t see a democratic election... Originally posted by Libaax-Sankataabte: Riyaale is a sorcerer. Expect more tricks from the former NSS head. You two summed it up neatly with these forecasts. The upcoming elections will be anything but free and fair. The gloves are already off and the claws are out! Don't just expect tricks though, recognize them. Schemes and slights-of-hand are already being used in various forms. What do you think the NEC debacle and even the Dhahar conflict were about--'upholding the constitution' and 'securing the borders', respectively? Heh. Tall tales. PS – Elysian, Riyaale is reprehensible. In all fairness, however, he is not running a one-man show. Certainly, the measure of responsibility he bares for wrongdoings is unlike any other because he holds the single-most important position of power (in an administration that has obviously ushered in a great deal of corruption and mischief), but it must also be kept in mind that governmental corruption is an institution, not something that can be attributed solely to the unwholesome characters and conduct of particular individuals.
  19. This and the related topic-starter were both enjoyable reads. Rather than looking it as just a critique of the views of a particular nomad, though, I think Kashafa's line of reasoning can be read in very general terms as an indictment of the thought, pretensions, and typically hollow rhetoric of many people: namely, the types I -- as one who generally considers nationalism a false concept -- tend to view as chest-beating ideologues and desktop nationalists. What I like most about the brother's argument is the fact that it seems to be fueled by a serious consideration of identity politics, which, needless to say, is a very relevant subject in this day and age. It seems to me as though the underlying issue in the topic-starter is, what are we going to emphasize, elevate, and uphold as the primary marker of our collective identity? Religion or ethnicity? From this springs the big question of what our politics should henceforth be based upon. Some of us (myself included) have a problem with the ideas of people who argue that we should glorify, and in turn base our politics on, something other than Islam. In any case, I hope that nomads either continue to engage in a general, open discussion of identity politics here or, as might be deemed more appropriate, in a new thread. There is a lot to talk about. By the way, harping on and on about Somaliland or its secession movement -- this new internal nationalism -- distracts us from what we really need to be doing, which is critically analyzing and reckoning with the falsity of all nationalisms.
  20. The Ethiopian regime is trying to spin its occupation of Somalia as a war against a particular group not necessarily because 'it was a tribal all along,' but more so because this argument -- as pathetic as it appears -- is its most convenient one right now. Its old excuses are gradually being discarded in favour of new ones. It initially tried to justify its invasion of Somalia by saying it sought to 'neutralize' the ICU, once supposedly a swarming nest of 'Islamic radicals,' which it insisted were a threat to everyone and their grandma (i.e., a threat to its pet project, the TFG; to its own national security; to the whole region, Africa, etc). Now it is trying to argue that it has somehow 'liberated' the Somali people from the tyranny and tutelage of a particular clan -- in part because it wants the world to think it is doing Somalis a favour and, more importantly, because it wants to isolate the resistance movement and prevent Somalis from building a united front against the occupying forces. Zenawi & Company have obviously taken a lot of notes from Uncle Sam's handbook on farcical imperialist manoeuvring and posturing. In the case of the stooges, however, you can most definitely say their motivations are a mixture of tribal vendettas, greed, the lure of power and personal gain, and whatever else that keeps such immoral nitwits going.
  21. The Imperial System: Hierarchy, Networks, and Clients The Case of Somalia Author: Professor James Petras Dated: February 8, 2007 (on author's site) Source: Axis of Logic The structure of power of the world imperial system can best be understood through a classification of countries according to their political, economic, diplomatic and military organization. Introduction: The imperial system is much more complex than what is commonly referred to as the "US Empire". The US Empire, with its vast network of financial investments, military bases, multi-national corporations and client states, is the single most important component of the global imperial system.1 Nevertheless, it is overly simplistic to overlook the complex hierarchies, networks, follower states and clients that define the contemporary imperial system.2 To understand empire and imperialism today requires us to look at the complex and changing system of imperial stratification. Hierarchy of Empire The structure of power of the world imperial system can best be understood through a classification of countries according to their political, economic, diplomatic and military organization. The following is a schema of this system: I. Hierarchy of Empire (from top to bottom) A. Central Imperial States (CIS) B. Newly Emerging Imperial Powers (NEIP) C. Semi-autonomous Client Regimes (SACR) D. Client Collaborator Regimes (CCR) II. Independent States: A. Revolutionary Cuba and Venezuela B. Nationalist Sudan, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea III. Contested Terrain and Regimes in Transition Armed resistance, elected regimes, social movements At the top of the imperial system are those imperial states whose power is projected on a world scale, whose ruling classes dominate investment and financial markets and who penetrate the economies of the rest of the world. At the apex of the imperial system stand the US, the European Union (itself highly stratified) and Japan. Led by the US they have established networks of 'follower imperial states' (largely regional hegemons) and client or vassal states which frequently act as surrogate military forces. Imperial states act in concert to break down barriers to penetration and takeovers, while at the same time, competing to gain advantages for their own state and multinational interests. Just below the central imperial states are newly emerging imperial powers (NEIP), namely China, India, Canada, Russia and Australia. The NEIP states are subject to imperial penetration, as well as expanding into neighboring and overseas underdeveloped states and countries rich in extractive resources. The NEIP are linked to the central imperial states (CIS) through joint ventures in their home states, while they increasingly compete for control over extractive resources in the underdeveloped countries. They frequently 'follow' in the footsteps of the imperial powers, and in some cases take advantage of conflicts to better their own position. For example, China and India's overseas expansion focuses on investments in extractive mineral and energy sectors to fuel domestic industrialization, similar to the earlier (1880-1950’s) imperial practices of the US and Europe. Similarly China invests in African countries, which are in conflict with the US and EU, just as the US developed ties with anti-colonial regimes (Algeria, Kenya and Francophone Africa) in conflict with their former European colonial rulers in the 1950s and 1960s. Further down the hierarchy of the imperial system are the 'semi-autonomous client regimes' (SACR). These include Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Chile and lately Bolivia. These states have a substantial national economic base of support, through public or private ownership of key economic sectors. They are governed by regimes, which pursue diversified markets, though highly dependent on exports to the emerging imperial states. On the other hand these states are highly dependent on imperial state military protection (Taiwan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia) and provide regional military bases for imperial operations. Many are resource-dependent exporters (Saudi Arabia, Chile, Nigeria and Bolivia) who share revenues and profits with the multi-nationals of the imperial states. They include rapidly industrialized countries (Taiwan and South Korea), as well as relatively agro-mineral export states (Brazil, Argentina and Chile). The wealthy oil states have close ties with the financial ruling classes of the imperial counties and invest heavily in real estate, financial instruments and Treasury notes which finance the deficits in the US and England. On key issues such as imperial wars in the Middle East, the invasion of Haiti, destabilizing regimes in Africa, support for global neo-liberal policies and imperial takeovers of strategic sectors, they collaborate with rulers from the CIS and the NEIP. Nevertheless, because of powerful elite interests and in some cases of powerful national social movements, they come into limited conflicts with the imperial powers. For example, Brazil, Chile and Argentina disagree with the US efforts to undermine the nationalist Venezuelan government. They have lucrative trade, energy and investment relations with Venezuela. In addition they do not wish to legitimize military coups, which might threaten their own rule and legitimacy in the eyes of an electorate partial to President Chavez. While structurally deeply integrated into the imperial system, the SACR regimes retain a degree of autonomy in formulating foreign and domestic policy, which may even conflict or compete with imperial interests. Despite their 'relative autonomy', the regimes also provide military and political mercenaries to serve the imperialist countries. This is best illustrated in the case of Haiti. Subsequent to the US invasion and overthrow of the elected Aristide Government in 2004, the US succeeded in securing an occupation force from its outright client and 'semi-autonomous' client regimes. President Lula of Brazil sent a major contingent. A Brazilian General headed the entire mercenary military force. Chile's Gabriel Valdez headed the United Nations occupation administration as the senior official overseeing the bloody repression of Haitian resistance movements. Other 'semi-autonomous' clients, such as Uruguay and Bolivia, added military contingents along with soldiers from client regimes such as Panama, Paraguay, Colombia and Peru. President Evo Morales justified Bolivia’s continued military collaboration with the US in Haiti under his presidency by citing its 'peacekeeping role', knowing full well that between December 2006 and February 2007 scores of Haitian poor were slaughtered during a full-scale UN invasion of Haiti's poorest and most densely populated slums. The key theoretical point is that given Washington current state of being tied down in two wars in the Middle East and West Asia, it depends on its clients to police and repress anti-imperialist movements elsewhere. Somalia, as in Haiti, was invaded by mercenaries by Ethiopia, trained, financed, armed and directed by US military advisers. Subsequently, during the occupation, Washington succeeded in securing its African clients (via the so-called Organization of African Unity according to the White House's stooge, Ugandan Army spokesman Captain Paddy Ankunda) to send a mercenary occupation army to prop up its unpopular client Somali warlord ruler. Despite opposition from its Parliament, Uganda is sending 1500 mercenaries along with contingents from Nigeria, Burundi, Ghana and Malawi. At the bottom of the imperial hierarchy are the client collaborator regimes (CCR). These include Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States, Central American and Caribbean Island states, the Axis of Sub-Saharan States (A.S.S.) (namely Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana), Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Eastern European states (in and out of the European Union), former states of the USSR (Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, etc), Philippines, Indonesia, North Africa and Pakistan. These countries are governed by authoritarian political elites dependent on the imperial or NEIP states for arms, financing and political support. They provide vast opportunities for exploitation and export of raw materials. Unlike the SACR, exports from client regimes have little value added, as industrial processing of raw materials takes place in the imperial countries, particularly in the NEIP. Predator, rentier, comprador and kleptocratic elites who lack any entrepreneurial vocation rule the CCR. They frequently provide mercenary soldiers to service imperial countries intervening, conquering, occupying and imposing client regimes in imperial targeted countries. The client regimes thus are subordinate collaborators of the imperial powers in the plunder of wealth, the exploitation of billions of workers and the displacement of peasants and destruction of the environment. The structure of the imperial system is based on the power of ruling classes to exercise and project state and market power, retain control of exploitative class relations at home and abroad and to organize mercenary armies from among its client states. Led and directed by imperial officials, mercenary armies collaborate in destroying autonomous popular, nationalist movements and independent states. Client regimes form a crucial link in sustaining the imperial powers. They complement imperial occupation forces, facilitating the extraction of raw materials. Without the ‘mercenaries of color’ the imperial powers would have to extend and over-stretch their own military forces, provoking high levels of internal opposition, and heightening overseas resistance to overt wars of re-colonization. Moreover client mercenaries are less costly in terms of financing and reduce the loss of imperial soldiers. There are numerous euphemistic terms used to describe these client mercenary forces: United Nations, Organization of American States and Organization of African Unity 'peacekeepers', the 'Coalition of the Willing' among others. In many cases a few white imperial senior officers command the lower officers and soldiers of color of the client mercenary armies. Independent States and Movements The imperial system while it straddles the globe and penetrates deeply into societies, economies and states is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Challenges to the imperial system come from two sources: relatively independent states and powerful social and political movements. The 'independent' states are largely regimes, which are in opposition to and targeted by the imperial states. They include Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe. What defines these regimes as 'independent' is their willingness to reject the policies of the imperial powers, particularly imperial military interventions. They also reject imperialist demands for unconditional access to markets, resources and military bases. These regimes differ widely in terms of social policy, degree of popular support, secular-religious identities, economic development and consistency in opposing imperialist aggression. All face immediate military threats and/or destabilization programs, designed to replace the independent governments with client regimes. Contested Terrain The imperial hierarchy and networks are based on class and national relations of power. This means that the maintenance of the entire system is based on the ruling classes dominating the underlying population – a very problematical situation given the unequal distribution of costs and benefits between the rulers and the ruled. Today massive armed resistance and social movements in numerous countries challenge the imperial system. Contested terrain includes: Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Palestine, Sudan and Lebanon where armed resistance is intent on defeating imperial clients. Sites of mass confrontations include Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Iran where the imperial powers are intent on overthrowing newly elected independent regimes. Large scale social movements organized to combat client regimes and the imperial patrons have recently emerged in Mexico, Palestine, Lebanon, China, Ecuador and elsewhere. Inside the imperial states there is mass opposition to particular imperial wars and policies, but only small and weak anti-imperialist movements. The Anomaly: Israel in the Imperial System Israel is clearly a colonialist power, with the fourth or fifth biggest nuclear arsenal and the second biggest arms exporter in the world. Its population size, territorial spread and economy however are puny in comparison with the imperial and newly emerging imperial powers. Despite these limitations Israel exercises supreme power in influencing the direction of United States war policy in the Middle East via a powerful Zionist political apparatus, which permeates the State, the mass media, elite economic sectors and civil society.3a Through Israel’s direct political influence in making US foreign policy, as well as through its overseas military collaboration with dictatorial imperial client regimes, Israel can be considered part of the imperial power configuration despite its demographic constraints, its near universal pariah diplomatic status, and its externally sustained economy. Regimes in Transition The imperial system is highly asymmetrical, in constant disequilibrium and therefore in constant flux – as wars, class and national struggles break out and economic crises bring down regimes and raise new political forces to power. In recent times we have seen the rapid conversion of Russia from a world hegemonic contender (prior to 1989), converted into an imperial client state subject to unprecedented pillage (1991-1999) to its current position as a newly emerging imperial state. While Russia is one of the most dramatic cases of rapid and profound changes in the world imperialist system, other historical experiences exemplify the importance of political and social changes in shaping countries' relationship to the world imperial system. China and Vietnam, former bulwarks as independent, anti-imperialist states, have seen the rise of liberal-capitalist elites, the dismantling of the socialized economy and China's incorporation as a newly emerging imperialist power and Vietnam as a semi-autonomous client regime. The major transitions during the 1980s–1990s involved the conversion of independent anti-imperialist states into imperial client regimes. In the Western hemisphere, these transitions include Nicaragua, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Jamaica and Grenada. In Africa, they include Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Algeria, Ethiopia and Libya, all converted into kleptocratic client regimes. In Asia similar processes are afoot in Indo-China. Because of the disastrous consequences of imperial-centered policies administered by client regimes, the first decade of the new millennium witnessed a series of massive popular upheavals and regime changes, especially in Latin America. Popular insurrections in Argentina and Bolivia led to regime shifts from client to semi-autonomous clients. In Venezuela after a failed coup and destabilization campaign, the Chavez regime moved decisively from semi-autonomous client to an independent anti-imperialist position. Ongoing conflicts between imperial and anti-imperialist states, between client regimes and nationalist movements, between imperial and newly emerging imperial states, will change the structure of the imperial system. The outcomes of these conflicts will produce new coalitions among the principal forces, which compose the imperial hierarchy and its adversaries. What is clear from this account is that there is no singular omnipotent 'imperial state' that unilaterally defines the international or even the imperial system. Even the most powerful imperial state has proven incapable of unilaterally (or with clients or imperial partners) defeating or even containing the popular anti-colonial resistance in Iraq or Afghanistan. The major imperial political successes have occurred where the imperial states have been able to activate the military forces of semi-autonomous and client regimes, secure a regional (OAS, OAU and NATO) or UN cover to legitimate its conquests. Collaborator elites from the client and semi-autonomous states are essential links to the maintenance and consolidation of the imperial system and in particular the US empire. A specific case is the US intervention and overthrow of the Somali Islamic regime. The Case of Somalia: Black Masks - White Faces The recent Ethiopian invasion of Somalia (December 2006) and overthrow of the de-facto governing Islamic Courts Union (ICU)or Supreme Council of Islamic Courts and imposition of a self-styled 'transitional government' of warlords is an excellent case study of the centrality of collaborator regimes in sustaining and expanding the US empire. From 1991 with the overthrow of the government of Siad Barre until the middle of 2006, Somalia was ravaged by conflicts between feuding warlords based in clan-controlled fiefdoms.3 During the US/UN invasion and temporary occupation of Mogadishu in the mid-1990’s there were massacres of over 10,000 Somali civilians and the killing and wounding of a few dozen US/UN soldiers.4 During the lawless 1990's small local groups, whose leaders later made up the ICU, began organizing community-based organizations against warlord depredations. Based on its success in building community-based movements, which cut across tribal and clan allegiances; the ICU began to eject the corrupt warlords ending extortion payments imposed on businesses and households.5 In June 2006 this loose coalition of Islamic clerics, jurists, workers, security forces and traders drove the most powerful warlords out of the capital, Mogadishu. The ICU gained widespread support among a multitude of market venders and trades people. In the total absence of anything resembling a government, the ICU began to provide security, the rule of law and protection of households and property against criminal predators.6 An extensive network of social welfare centers and programs, health clinics, soup kitchens and primary schools, were set up serving large numbers of refugees, displaced peasants and the urban poor. This enhanced popular support for the ICU. After having driven the last of the warlords from Mogadishu and most of the countryside, the ICU established a de-facto government, which was recognized and welcomed by the great majority of Somalis and covered over 90% of the population.7a All accounts, even those hostile to the ICU, pointed out that the Somali people welcomed the end of warlord rule and the establishment of law and order under the ICU. The basis of the popular support for the Islam Courts during its short rule (from June to December 2006) rested on several factors. The ICU was a relatively honest administration, which ended warlord corruption and extortion. Personal safety and property were protected, ending arbitrary seizures and kidnappings by warlords and their armed thugs. The ICU is a broad multi-tendency movement that includes moderates and radical Islamists, civilian politicians and armed fighters, liberals and populists, electoralists and authoritarians.7 Most important, the Courts succeeded in unifying the country and creating some semblance of nationhood, overcoming clan fragmentation. In the process of unifying the country, the Islamic Courts government re-affirmed Somali sovereignty and opposition to US imperialist intervention in the Middle East and particularly in the Horn of Africa via its Ethiopian client regime. US Intervention: The United Nations, Military Occupation, Warlords and Proxies The recent history of US efforts to incorporate Somalia into its network of African client states began during the early 1990's under President Clinton.8 While most commentators today rightly refer to Bush as an obsessive war-monger for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they forget that President Clinton, in his time, engaged in several overlapping and sequential acts of war in Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Yugoslavia. Clinton’s military actions and the embargoes killed and maimed thousands of Somalis, resulted in 500,000 deaths among Iraqi children alone and caused thousands of civilian deaths and injuries in the Balkans. Clinton ordered the destruction of Sudan’s main pharmaceutical plant producing vital vaccines and drugs essential for both humans and their livestock leading to a critical shortage of these essential vaccines and treatments.9 President Clinton dispatched thousands of US troops to Somalia to occupy the country under the guise of a 'humanitarian mission' in 1994.10 Washington intervened to bolster its favored pliant war-lord against another, against the advice of the Italian commanders of the UN troops in Somalia. Two-dozen US troops were killed in a botched assassination attempt and furious residents paraded their mutilated bodies in the streets of the Somali capital. Washington sent helicopter gunships, which shelled heavily, populated areas of Mogadishu, killing and maiming thousands of civilians in retaliation. The US was ultimately forced to withdraw its soldiers as Congressional and public opinion turned overwhelmingly against Clinton’s messy little war. The United Nations, which no longed needed to provide a cover for US intervention, also withdrew. Clinton’s policy turned toward securing one subset of client warlords against the others, a policy which continued under the Bush Administration. The current ‘President’ of the US puppet regime, dubbed the ‘Transitional Federal Government’, is Abdullahi Yusuf. He is a veteran warlord deeply involved in all of the corrupt and lawless depredations which characterized Somalia between 1991 to 2006.12 Yusuf had been President of the self-styled autonomous Puntland breakaway state in the 1990’s. Despite US and Ethiopian financial backing, Abdullahi Yusuf and his warlord associates were finally driven out of Mogadishu in June 2006 and out of the entire south central part of the country. Yusuf was holed up and cornered in a single provincial town on the Ethiopian border and lacked any social basis of support even from most of the remaining warlord clans in the capital.13 Some warlords had withdrawn their support of Yusuf and accepted the ICU’s offers to disarm and integrate into Somali society underscoring the fact that Washington’s discredited and isolated puppet was no longer a real political or military factor in Somalia. Nevertheless, Washington secured a UN Security Council resolution recognizing the warlord’s tiny enclave of Baidoa as the legitimate government. This was despite the fact that the TFG’s very existence depended on a contingent of several hundred Ethiopian mercenaries financed by the US. As the ICU troops moved westward to oust Yusuf from his border outpost – comprising less than 5% of the country – the US increased its funding for the dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia to invade Somalia.14 Despite the setbacks, scores of US military advisers prepared the Ethiopian mercenaries for a large-scale air and ground invasion of Somalia in order to re-impose their puppet-warlord Yusuf. Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian dictator, depends heavily on US military and police weaponry, loans and advisors to retain power for his ethnic 'Tigrayan' based regime and to hold onto disputed Somali territory. The Tigrayan ethnic group represents less than 10% of the Ethiopian multi-ethnic population. Meles faced growing armed opposition from the Oromo and [somali]* liberation movements.15 His regime was despised by the influential Amhara population in the capital for rigging the election in May 2005, for killing 200 student protesters in October 2006 and jailing tens of thousands.16 Many military officials opposed him for engaging in a losing border war with Eritrea. Meles, lacking popular backing, has become the US most loyal and subservient client in the region. Embarrassingly parroting Washington’s imperial ‘anti-terrorist’ rhetoric for his attack on Somalia, Meles sent over 15,000 troops, hundreds of armored vehicles, dozens of helicopters and warplanes into Somalia.17 Claiming that he was engaged in the ‘war against terrorism’ Meles terrorized the people of Somalia with aerial bombardment and a scorched earth policy. In the name of ‘national security’ Meles sent his troops to the rescue of the encircled war lord and US puppet, Abdullahi Yusuf. Washington co-coordinated its air and naval forces with the advance of the invading Ethiopian military juggernaut. As the US advised-Ethiopian mercenaries advanced by land, the US air force bombed fleeing Somalis killing scores, supposedly in hunting ‘Al Queda; sympathizers.18 According to reliable reports, which were confirmed later by US and Somali puppet sources, US and Somali military forces have failed to identify a single Al Queda leader after examining scores of dead and captured fighters and refugees.19 Once again the pretext to invade Somalia used by Washington and its Ethiopian client – that the ICU was attacked because it sheltered Al Queda terrorists - was demonstrated to be false. US naval forces illegally interdicted all ships off the coast of Somalia in pursuit of fleeing Somali leaders. In Kenya, Washington directed its Nairobi client to capture and return Somalis crossing the border. Under Washington’s direction both the United Nations and the Organization of African 'Unity' (sic) agreed to send an occupation army of 'peace-keepers' to protect the Ethiopian imposed puppet Yusuf regime. Given Meles precarious internal position, he could not afford to keep his occupying army of 15,000 mercenaries in Somalia for long.20 Somali hatred for the Ethiopian occupiers surged from the first day they entered Mogadishu. There were massive demonstrations on a daily basis and increasing incidents of armed resistance from the re-grouped ICU fighters, local militants and anti-Yusuf warlords.21 The US directed Ethiopian occupation was followed in its wake by the return of the same warlords who had pillaged the country between 1991-2005.22 Most journalists, experts and independent observers recognize that without the presence of 'outside' support – namely the presence of at least 10,000 US and EU financed African mercenaries ('peacekeepers') the Yusuf regime will collapse in a matter of days if not hours. Washington counts on an informal coalition of African clients – a kind of 'Association of Sub-Saharan Stooges' (A.S.S.) – to repress the mass unrest of the Somali population and to prevent the return of the popular Islamic Courts. The United Nations declared it would not send an occupation army until the 'A.S.S.' military contingents of the Organization of African Unity had 'pacified' the country.23 The A.S.S., however willing their client rulers in offering mercenary troops to do the bidding of Washington, found it difficult to actually send troops. Since it was transparently a 'made-in-Washington' operation it was unpopular at home and likely to set A.S.S. forces against growing Somali national resistance. Even Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Washington's subservient client, encountered resistance among his 'loyal' rubber-stamp congress.24 The rest of the A.S.S. countries refused to move their troops, until the EU and US put the money up front and the Ethiopians secured the country for them. Facing passive opposition from the great majority of Somalis and active militant resistance from the Courts, the Ethiopian dictator began to withdraw his mercenary troops. Washington, recognizing that its Somali puppet, 'President Yusuf', is totally isolated and discredited, sought to co-opt the most conservative among the Islamic Court leaders.25 Yusuf, ever fearful of losing his fragile hold on power, refused to comply with Washington's tactic of splitting the ICU. The Somali Invasion: the Empire and its Networks The Somali case illustrates the importance of client rulers, warlords, clans and other collaborators as the first line of defense of strategic geo-political positions for extending and defending the US empire. The Somali experience underlines the importance of the intervention by regional and client rulers of neighboring states in defense of the empire. Client regimes and collaborator elites greatly lower the political and economic cost of maintaining the outposts of empire. This is especially the case given the overextension of US ground forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and in their impending confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Given the 'over-extension' of the US ground forces, the empire relies on air and sea assaults combined with regional mercenary ground forces to oust an independent regime with popular backing. Without the Ethiopian invasion, the puppet Somali warlord Abdullahi Yusuf would have been easily driven out of Somalia, the country unified and Washington would no longer control the coastal areas facing a major maritime oil transport route. The loss of a Somali puppet regime would have deprived Washington of a coastal platform for threatening Sudan and Eritrea. From a practical perspective however, Washington's strategic plans for control over the Horn of Africa are deeply flawed. To secure maximum control over Somali, the White House chose to back a deeply detested veteran warlord with no social base in the country and dependent on discredited warring clans and criminal warlords. Isolated and discredited puppet rulers are a fragile thread on which to construct strategic policies of regional intervention (military bases and advisory missions). Secondly Washington chose to use a neighboring country (Ethiopia) hated by the entire Somali population to prop up its Somali puppet. Ethiopia had attacked Somalia as late as 1979 over the independence of [Zone Five]**, whose population is close to Somalis. Washington relied on the invading army of a regime in Addis Ababa, which was facing increasing popular and national unrest and was clearly incapable of sustaining a prolonged occupation. Finally, Washington counted on verbal assurances from the A.S.S. regimes to promptly send troops to protect its re-installed client. Client regimes always tell their imperial masters what they want to hear even if they are incapable of prompt and full compliance. This is especially the case when clients fear internal opposition and prolonged costly overseas entanglements, which further discredit them. The Somali experience demonstrates the gap between the empire's strategic projection of power and its actual capacity to realize its goals. It also exemplifies how imperialists, impressed by the number of clients, their 'paper' commitments and servile behavior, fail to recognize their strategic weakness in the face of popular national liberation movements. US empire building efforts in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia, demonstrate that even with elite collaborators and client regimes, mercenary armies and A.S.S. regional allies, the empire encounters great difficulty in containing or defeating popular national liberation movements. The failure of the Clinton policy of intervention in Somalia between 1993-1994 demonstrated this. The human and economic cost of prolonged military invasions with ground troops has repeatedly driven the US public to demand withdrawal (and even accept defeat) as was proven in Korea, Indochina and increasingly in Iraq. Financial and diplomatic support, including UN Security Council decisions, and military advisory teams are not sufficient to establish stable client regimes. The precariousness of the mercenary-imposed Yusuf warlord dictatorship demonstrates the limits of US sponsored UN fiats. The Somali experience in failed empire-building reveals another even darker side of imperialism: A policy of 'rule or ruin'. The Clinton regime's failure to conquer Somalia was followed by a policy of playing off one brutal warlord against another, terrorizing the population, destroying the country and its economy until the ascent of the Islamic Courts Union. The 'rule or ruin' policy is currently in play in Iraq and Afghanistan and will come into force with the impending Israeli-backed US air and sea attack on Iran. The origins of 'rule or ruin' policies are rooted in the fact that conquests by imperial armies do not result in stable, legitimate and popular regimes. Originating as products of imperial conquest, these client regimes are unstable and depend on foreign armies to sustain them. Foreign occupation and the accompanying wars on nationalist movements provoke mass opposition. Mass resistance results in imperial repression targeting entire populations and infrastructure. The inability to establish a stable occupation and client regime leads inevitable to imperial rulers deciding to scorch the entire country with the after thought that a weak and destroyed adversary is a consolation for a lost imperial war. Faced with the rise of Islamic and secular anti-imperialist movements and states in Africa and possessing numerous client regimes in North Africa and the A.S.S. grouping, Washington is establishing a US military command for Africa. The Africa Command will serve to tighten Washington's control over African military forces and expedite their dispatch to repress independence movements or to overthrow anti-imperialist regimes. Given the expanded, highly competitive presence of Chinese traders, investors and aid programs, Washington is bolstering its reliable allies among the African client elites and generals.26 ....................................................................................................................................................................... * Tribe name omitted. ** Tribe name omitted. The author was referring to the Somali Galbeed region, but more politically correct terms abound. See source for author's footnotes.
  22. A Warning to Africa: The New U.S. Imperial Grand Strategy Author: John Bellamy Foster Dated: February 9, 2007 Source: Centre for Research on Globalization Imperialism is constant for capitalism. But it passes through various phases as the system evolves. At present the world is experiencing a new age of imperialism marked by a U.S. grand strategy of global domination. One indication of how things have changed is that the U.S. military is now truly global in its operations with permanent bases on every continent, including Africa, where a new scramble for control is taking place focused on oil. Elite opinion in the United States in the decade immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union often decried the absence of a U.S. grand strategy comparable to what George Kennan labelled "containment," under the mantle of which the United States intervened throughout the Cold War years. The key question, as posed in November 2000 by national-security analyst Richard Haass, was that of determining how the United States should utilize its current "surplus of power" to reshape the world. Haass's answer, which doubtless contributed to his being hired immediately after as director of policy planning for Colin Powell's State Department in the new Bush administration, was to promote an "Imperial America" strategy aimed at securing U.S. global dominance for decades to come. Only months before, a similar, if even more nakedly militaristic, grand strategy had been presented by the Project for the New American Century, in a report authored by future top Bush-administration figures Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby, among others.1 This new imperial grand strategy became a reality, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, in the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq — and was soon officially enshrined in the White House's National Security Strategy statement of 2002. Summing up the new imperial thrust in Harvard Magazine, Stephen Peter Rosen, director of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard and a founding member of the Project for the New American Century, wrote: A political unit that has overwhelming superiority in military power, and uses that power to influence the internal behavior of other states, is called an empire. Because the United States does not seek to control territory or govern the overseas citizens of the empire, we are an indirect empire, to be sure, but an empire nonetheless. If this is correct, our goal is not combating a rival, but maintaining our imperial position, and maintaining imperial order. Planning for imperial wars is different from planning for conventional international wars... Imperial wars to restore order are not so constrained [by deterrence considerations]. The maximum amount of force can and should be used as quickly as possible for psychological impact — to demonstrate that the empire cannot be challenged with impunity... (I)mperial strategy focuses on preventing the emergence of powerful, hostile challengers to the empire: by war if necessary, but by imperial assimilation if possible.2 Commenting in late 2002 in Foreign Policy, John Lewis Gaddis, professor of military and naval history at Yale, stated that the goal of the impending war on Iraq was one of inflicting an "Agincourt on the banks of the Euphrates." This would be a demonstration of power so great that, as in Henry V's famous fifteenth-century victory in France, the geopolitical landscape would be changed for decades to come. What was ultimately at issue, according to Gaddis, was "the management of the international system by a single hegemon" — the United States. This securing of hegemony over the entire world by the United States by means of preemptive actions was, he contended, nothing less than "a new grand strategy of transformation."3 The Nature of Grand Strategy Since the time of Clausewitz, tactics has been designated in military circles as "the art of using troops in battle"; strategy as "the art of using battles to win the war."4 In contrast, the idea of "grand strategy" as classically promoted by military strategists and historians, such as Edward Meade Earle and B. H. Liddell Hart, refers to the integration of the war-making potential of a state with its larger political-economic ends. As historian Paul Kennedy observed in Grand Strategies in War and Peace (1991): "a true grand strategy” is "concerned with peace as much as (perhaps even more than) with war... about the evolution or integration of policies that should operate for decades, or even for centuries."5 Grand strategies are geopolitical in orientation, geared to domination of whole geographical regions — including strategic resources such as minerals and waterways, economic assets, populations, and vital military positions. The most successful grand strategies of the past are seen as those of long-standing empires, which have been able to maintain their power over large geographical expanses for extended periods of time. Hence, historians of grand strategy commonly focus on the nineteenth-century British Empire (Pax Britannica) and even the ancient Roman Empire (Pax Romana). For the United States today what is at stake is no longer control of a mere portion of the globe, but a truly global Pax Americana. Although some commentators have seen the latest U.S. imperial thrust as the work of a small cabal of neoconservatives within the Bush administration, the reality is one of broad concurrence within the U.S. power structure on the necessity of expanding the U.S. empire. One recent collection, including contributions by administration critics, is entitled The Obligation of Empire: United States' Grand Strategy for a New Century.6 Ivo. H. Daalder (senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former foreign policy advisor to Howard Dean) and James M. Lindsay (vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, previously employed by Clinton's National Security Council) argue in their book America Unbound that the United States has long had a "secret empire," disguised by multilateralism. The Bush White House's unilateral policy of building "empire on American power alone" has changed things only to the extent that it has stripped away the empire's hidden character and reduced its overall force by relying less on vassal states. According to Daalder and Lindsay, the United States is now under the command of "hegemonist" thinkers who want to ensure that the United States dominates the entire globe — both in its own national self-interest and in order to reshape the world in tune with "democratic imperialism." But such an aggressive posture, they point out, is not outside the historic range of U.S. policy. A unilateralist imperial thrust can be traced back to Theodore Roosevelt and was present from the beginning of the Cold War era in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Still, Daalder and Lindsay hold out the possibility of a more cooperative strategy, with the other great powers falling in behind the United States, as a superior approach to running an empire.7 Such cooperative imperialism, however, becomes more difficult to achieve once the hegemon's power begins to wane. Not only is the United States suffering increased economic competition, but with the demise of the Soviet Union the NATO alliance has weakened: Washington's European vassals do not always follow its lead, even though they are unable to challenge it directly. The temptation facing a waning hegemonic power — still armed and dangerous — caught in such circumstances is to attempt to rebuild and even expand its power by acting unilaterally and monopolizing the spoils. The War for the 'New American Century' Capitalism is a system that is worldwide in its economic scope but divided politically into competing states that develop economically at different rates. The contradiction of uneven capitalist development was classically expressed by Lenin in 1916 in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: There can be no other conceivable basis under capitalism for the division of spheres of influence, of interests, of colonies, etc., than a calculation of the strength of the participants in the division, their general economic, financial, military strength, etc. And the strength of these participants in the division does not change to an equal degree, for under capitalism the development of different undertakings, trusts, branches of industry, or countries cannot be even. Half a century ago, Germany was a miserable, insignificant country, as far as its capitalist strength was concerned, compared with the strength of England at that time. Japan was similarly insignificant compared with Russia. Is it "conceivable" that in ten or twenty years' time the relative strength of the imperialist powers will have remained unchanged? Absolutely inconceivable.8 It is now widely acknowledged that the world is undergoing a global economic transformation. Not only is the growth rate of the world economy as a whole slowing, but the relative economic strength of the United States is continuing to weaken. In 1950 the United States accounted for about half of world GDP, falling to a little over a fifth by 2003. Likewise it accounted for almost half of the world's stock of global foreign direct investment in 1960, compared to a little over 20 percent at the beginning of this century. According to projections of Goldman Sachs, China could overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2039.9 This growing threat to U.S. power is fueling Washington's obsession with laying the groundwork for a "New American Century." Its current interventionism is aimed at taking advantage of its present short-term economic and military primacy to secure strategic assets that will provide long-term guarantees of global supremacy. The goal is to extend U.S. power directly while depriving potential competitors of those vital strategic assets that might allow them eventually to challenge it globally or even within particular regions. The National Security Strategy of the United States of 2002 gave notice that "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States." But grand strategy extends beyond mere military power. Economic advantages vis-à-vis potential rivals are the real coin of intercapitalist competition. Hence, U.S. grand strategy integrates military power with the struggle to control capital, trade, the value of the dollar, and strategic raw materials. Perhaps the clearest ordering of U.S. strategic objectives has been provided by Robert J. Art, professor of international relations at Brandeis and a research associate of the Olin Institute, in A Grand Strategy for America. "A grand strategy," he writes, "tells a nation's leaders what goals they should aim for and how best they can use their country's military power to attain these goals." In conceptualizing such a grand strategy for the Untied States, Art presents six "overarching national interests" in order of importance: First, prevent an attack on the American homeland; First, prevent an attack on the American homeland; Second, prevent great-power Eurasian wars and, if possible, the intense security competitions that make them more likely; Third, preserve access to a reasonably priced and secure supply of oil; Fourth, preserve an open international economic order; Fifth, foster the spread of democracy and respect for human rights abroad, and prevent genocide or mass murder in civil wars; Sixth, protect the global environment, especially from the adverse effects of global warming and severe climate change. After national defense proper, i.e., defense of "the homeland" against external attack, the next three highest strategic priorities are thus: (1) the traditional geopolitical goal of hegemony over the Eurasian heartland seen as the key to world power, (2) securing control over world oil supplies, and (3) promoting global-capitalist economic relations. In order to meet these objectives, Art contends, Washington should "maintain forward-based forces" in Europe and East Asia (the two rimlands of Eurasia with great power concentrations) and in the Persian Gulf (containing the bulk of world oil reserves). "Eurasia is home to most of the world's people, most of its proven oil reserves, and most of its military powers, as well as a large share of its economic growth." It is therefore crucial that the U.S. imperial grand strategy be aimed at strengthening its hegemony in this region, beginning with the key oil regions of South-Central Asia.10 With the wars on and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq still unresolved, Washington has been stepping-up its threats of a "preemptive" attack on these states' more powerful neighbor, Iran. The main justification offered for this is Iran's uranium-enrichment program, which could eventually allow it to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Yet, there are other reasons that the United States is interested in Iran. Like Iraq before it, Iran is a leading oil power, now with the second largest proven oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of Iraq. Control of Iran is thus crucial to Washington's goal of dominating the Persian Gulf and its oil. Iran's geopolitical importance, moreover, stretches far beyond the Middle East. It is a key prize (as in the case also of Afghanistan) in the New Great Game for control of all of South-Central Asia, including the Caspian Sea Basin with its enormous fossil fuel reserves. U.S. strategic planners are obsessed with fears of an Asian energy-security grid, in which Russia, China, Iran, and the Central Asian countries (possibly also including Japan) would come together economically and in an energy accord to break the U.S. and Western stranglehold on the world oil and gas market — creating the basis for a general shift of world power to the East. At present China, the world's fastest growing economy, lacks energy security even as its demand for fossil fuels is rapidly mounting. It is attempting to solve this partly through greater access to the energy resources of Iran and the Central Asian states. Recent U.S. attempts to establish a stronger alliance with India, with Washington bolstering India's status as a nuclear power, are clearly part of this New Great Game for control of South-Central Asia — reminiscent of the nineteenth-century Great Game between Britain and Russia for control of this part of Asia.11 The New Scramble for Africa If there is a New Great Game afoot in Asia there is also a "New Scramble for Africa" on the part of the great powers.12 The National Security Strategy of the United States of 2002 declared that "combating global terror" and ensuring U.S. energy security required that the United States increase its commitments to Africa and called upon "coalitions of the willing" to generate regional security arrangements on that continent. Soon after the U.S. European Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany — in charge of U.S. military operations in Sub-Saharan Africa — increased its activities in West Africa, centering on those states with substantial oil production and/or reserves in or around the Gulf of Guinea (stretching roughly from the Ivory Coast to Angola). The U.S. military's European Command now devotes 70 percent of its time to African affairs, up from almost nothing as recently as 2003.13 As pointed out by Richard Haass, now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in his foreword to the 2005 council report entitled More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa: "By the end of the decade sub-Saharan Africa is likely to become as important as a source of U.S. energy imports as the Middle East."14 West Africa has some 60 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Its oil is the low sulfur, sweet crude prized by the U.S. economy. U.S. agencies and think tanks project that one in every five new barrels of oil entering the global economy in the latter half of this decade will come from the Gulf of Guinea, raising its share of U.S. oil imports from 15 to over 20 percent by 2010, and 25 percent by 2015. Nigeria already supplies the United States with 10 percent of its imported oil. Angola provides 4 percent of U.S. oil imports, which could double by the end of the decade. The discovery of new reserves and the expansion of oil production are turning other states in the region into major oil exporters, including Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Principe, Gabon, Cameroon, and Chad. Mauritania is scheduled to emerge as an oil exporter by 2007. Sudan, bordering the Red Sea in the east and Chad to the west, is an important oil producer. At present the main, permanent U.S. military base in Africa is the one established in 2002 in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, giving the United States strategic control of the maritime zone through which a quarter of the world's oil production passes. The Djibouti base is also in close proximity to the Sudanese oil pipeline. (The French military has long had a major presence in Djibouti and also has an air base at Abeche, Chad on the Sudanese border.) The Djibouti base allows the United States to dominate the eastern end of the broad oil swath cutting across Africa that it now considers vital to its strategic interests — a vast strip running southwest from the 994-mile Higleig-Port Sudan oil pipeline in the east to the 640-mile Chad-Cameroon pipeline and the Gulf of Guinea in the West. A new U.S. forward-operating location in Uganda gives the United States the potential of dominating southern Sudan, where most of that country's oil is to be found. In West Africa, the U.S. military's European Command has now established forward-operating locations in Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and Gabon — as well as Namibia, bordering Angola on the south — involving the upgrading of airfields, the pre-positioning of critical supplies and fuel, and access agreements for swift deployment of U.S. troops.15 In 2003 it launched a counterterrorism program in West Africa, and in March 2004 U.S. Special Forces were directly involved in a military operation with Sahel countries against the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat — on Washington's list of terrorist organizations. The U.S. European Command is developing a coastal security system in the Gulf of Guinea called the Gulf of Guinea Guard. It has also been planning the construction of a U.S. naval base in São Tomé and Principe, which the European Command has intimated could rival the U.S. naval base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The Pentagon is thus moving aggressively to establish a military presence in the Gulf of Guinea that will allow it to control the western part of the broad trans-Africa oil strip and the vital oil reserves now being discovered there. Operation Flintlock, a start-up U.S. military exercise in West Africa in 2005, incorporated 1,000 U.S. Special Forces. The U.S. European Command will be conducting exercises for its new rapid-reaction force for the Gulf of Guinea this summer. Here the flag is following trade: the major U.S. and Western oil corporations are all scrambling for West African oil and demanding security. The U.S. military's European Command, the Wall Street Journal reported in its April 25th issue, is also working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to expand the role of U.S. corporations in Africa as part of an "integrated U.S. response." In this economic scramble for Africa's petroleum resources the old colonial powers, Britain and France, are in competition with the United States. Militarily, however, they are working closely with the United States to secure Western imperial control of the region. The U.S. military buildup in Africa is frequently justified as necessary both to fight terrorism and to counter growing instability in the oil region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2003 Sudan has been torn by civil war and ethnic conflict focused on its southwestern Darfur region (where much of the country's oil is located), resulting in innumerable human rights violations and mass killings by government-linked militia forces against the population of the region. Attempted coups recently occurred in the new petrostates of São Tomé and Principe (2003) and Equatorial Guinea (2004). Chad, which is run by a brutally oppressive regime shielded by a security and intelligence apparatus backed by the United States, also experienced an attempted coup in 2004. A successful coup took place in Mauritania in 2005 against U.S.-supported strongman Ely Ould Mohamed Taya. Angola's three-decade-long civil war — instigated and fueled by the United States, which together with South Africa organized the terrorist army under Jonas Savimbi's UNITA — lasted until the ceasefire following Savimbi's death in 2002. Nigeria, the regional hegemon, is rife with corruption, revolts, and organized oil theft, with considerable portions of oil production in the Niger Delta region being siphoned off — up to 300,000 barrels a day in early 2004.16 The rise of armed insurgency in the Niger Delta and the potential of conflict between the Islamic north and non-Islamic south of the country are major U.S. concerns. Hence there are incessant calls and no lack of seeming justifications for U.S. "humanitarian interventions" in Africa. The Council on Foreign Relations report More than Humanitarianism insists that "the United States and its allies must be ready to take appropriate action" in Darfur in Sudan "including sanctions and, if necessary, military intervention, if the Security Council is blocked from doing so." Meanwhile the notion that the U.S. military might before long need to intervene in Nigeria is being widely floated among pundits and in policy circles. Atlantic Monthly correspondent Jeffrey Taylor wrote in April 2006 that Nigeria has become "the largest failed state on earth," and that a further destabilization of that state, or its takeover by radical Islamic forces, would endanger "the abundant oil reserves that America has vowed to protect. Should that day come, it would herald a military intervention far more massive than the Iraqi campaign."17 Still, U.S. grand strategists are clear that the real issues are not the African states themselves and the welfare of their populations but oil and China's growing presence in Africa. As the Wall Street Journal noted in "Africa Emerges as a Strategic Battlefield," "China has made Africa a front line in its pursuit of more global influence, tripling trade with the continent to some $37 billion over the last five years and locking up energy assets, closing trade deals with regimes like Sudan’s and educating Africa’s future elites at Chinese universities and military schools." In More than Humanitarianism, the Council on Foreign Relations likewise depicts the leading threat as coming from China: "China has altered the strategic context in Africa. All across Africa today, China is acquiring control of natural resource assets, outbidding Western contractors on major infrastructure projects, and providing soft loans and other incentives to bolster its competitive advantage."18 China imports more than a quarter of its oil from Africa, primarily Angola, Sudan, and Congo. It is Sudan’s largest foreign investor. It has provided heavy subsidies to Nigeria to increase its influence and has been selling fighter jets there. Most threatening from the standpoint of U.S. grand strategists is China's $2 billion low-interest loan to Angola in 2004, which has allowed Angola to withstand IMF demands to reshape its economy and society along neoliberal lines. For the Council on Foreign Relations, all of this adds up to nothing less than a threat to Western imperialist control of Africa. Given China's role, the council report says, "the United States and Europe cannot consider Africa their chasse gardé [private hunting ground], as the French once saw francophone Africa. The rules are changing as China seeks not only to gain access to resources, but also to control resource production and distribution, perhaps positioning itself for priority access as these resources become scarcer." The council report on Africa is so concerned with combating China through the expansion of U.S. military operations in the region, that none other than Chester Crocker, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the Reagan administration, charges it with sounding "wistfully nostalgic for an era when the United States or the West was the only major influence and could pursue its... objectives with a free hand."19 What is certain is that the U.S empire is being enlarged to encompass parts of Africa in the rapacious search for oil. The results could be devastating for Africa's peoples. Like the old scramble for Africa this new one is a struggle among great powers for resources and plunder — not for the development of Africa or the welfare of its population. A Grand Strategy of Enlargement Despite the rapidly evolving strategic context and the shift to a more naked imperialism in recent years, there is a consistency in U.S. imperial grand strategy, which derives from the broad agreement at the very top of the U.S. power structure that the United States should seek "global supremacy," as President Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski put it.20 The Council on Foreign Relations' 2006 report on More Than Humanitarianism, which supports the enlargement of U.S. grand strategy to take in Africa, was cochaired by Anthony Lake, National Security Advisor to Clinton from 1993–1997 and Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Bush. As Clinton's National Security Advisor, Lake played a leading role in defining the U.S. grand strategy in the Clinton administration. In a speech entitled "From Containment to Enlargement," delivered to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University on September 21, 2003, he declared that with the collapse of the Soviet Union the United States was the world's "dominant power... we have the world's strongest military, its largest economy and its most dynamic, multiethnic society... We contained a global threat to market democracies; now we should seek to enlarge, their reach. The successor to a doctrine of containment must be a strategy of enlargement." Translated this meant an expansion of the sphere of world capitalism under the U.S. military-strategic umbrella. The chief enemies of this new world order were characterized by Lake as the "backlash states," especially Iraq and Iran. Lake's insistence, in the early Clinton era, on a grand "strategy of enlargement" for the United States is being realized today in the enlargement of the U.S. military role not only in Central Asia and the Middle East, but also in Africa.21 U.S. imperial grand strategy is less a product of policies generated in Washington by this or that wing of the ruling class, than an inevitable result of the power position that U.S. capitalism finds itself in at the commencement of the twenty-first century. U.S. economic strength (along with that of its closest allies) has been ebbing fairly steadily. The great powers are not likely to stand in the same relation to each other economically two decades hence. At the same time U.S. world military power has increased relatively with the demise of the Soviet Union. The United States now accounts for about half of all of the world’s military spending — a proportion two or more times its share of world output. The goal of the new U.S. imperial grand strategy is to use this unprecedented military strength to preempt emerging historical forces by creating a sphere of full-spectrum dominance so vast, now encompassing every continent, that no potential rivals will be able to challenge the United States decades down the line. This is a war against the peoples of the periphery of the capitalist world and for the expansion of world capitalism, particularly U.S. capitalism. But it is also a war to secure a "New American Century" in which third world nations are viewed as "strategic assets" within a larger global geopolitical struggle. The lessons of history are clear: attempts to gain world dominance by military means, though inevitable under capitalism, are destined to fail and can only lead to new and greater wars. It is the responsibility of those committed to world peace to resist the new U.S. imperial grand strategy by calling into question imperialism and its economic taproot: capitalism itself. ............................................................................................................................................................ See source for Author's Notes.
  23. Originally posted by BloomDeyr: Xaasidin Ilaa xasada--- ********** supporters will always hate a peace in our part of somalia. shame on you all. you should be ashamed of yourselves. A tribally-charged dig? How unsightly. It is against the rules of this forum, and it says more about you than anyone else. No wonder the Politics corner is considered the sordid underbelly of SOL. Just when you think people have finally mastered the basic rules of netiquette, they let slip something that harkens back to their days in the misty jungles of SomaliNet. I cannot quite put my finger on exactly what may have gone awry, but this little forum of ours has changed (in a bad way). [ February 02, 2007, 03:26 AM: Message edited by: Miskiin-Macruuf-Aqiyaar ]
  24. Say it together now kids: "I loves my gun, loves my gun." So the disbarment is proving unsuccessful. Is it any wonder, considering all that is going on in southern Somalia at the moment? Today, Muqdisho is more dangerous and chaotic than it has been in months; the disgraced, Mafioso-like warlords are moving back into their old turf; and Ethiopian soldiers, whom the average pedestrian views as foreign occupiers, are stomping all over the place with their owns weapons in plain sight. In the midst of all this, you have some nutcases in a puppet regime that is now more mistrusted than ever before telling 'the people', whose interests they clearly do not serve, to hand over their weapons? C'mon. It is easy to bemoan the presently unsuccessful disarmament from the comfort of one's home in the West, but most sane people would not give up their arms in that kind of a situation.
  25. Hiiraan Online picked the right man. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the title than Sheikh Shariif. Kudos and all the best to him!