Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where Is Genghis Khan ?

According to legend, when Genghis Khan died in 1227 in what is now northern China, his lieutenants wanted to keep the death a secret from the Mongols’ enemies. So as the party accompanying his body made its way back to Mongolia, they killed every person they saw on the way - more than 20,000 - so news of the death wouldn’t spread. Then, when they buried Genghis, they either redirected a river to cover the site, or set horses to trample the ground so no trace would be seen, or killed all the people who buried him, and then killed those killers.

There is no hard evidence that any of those things happened. It may well be that they are after-the-fact embellishments designed to explain a remarkable circumstance of history: the location of Genghis’ tomb remains a mystery.

The Mongol Empire receded almost as fast as it spread -- a fact that may have played a big role in keeping Genghis’ final resting place a secret. For centuries, the people of Mongolia retained a traditional, nomadic lifestyle that left little time to contemplate the distant past. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union dominated Mongolia and, while it modernized the country, it feared Mongolian nationalism, and so discouraged any deep look into the nation’s history.

But the last 20 years have seen a burst of interest in Genghis Khan. Abroad, his reputation as a bloodthirsty barbarian has undergone a substantial revision, thanks in part to books like the bestselling Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Meanwhile, a new, high-budget museum exhibition is touring the United States that emphasizes some innovations developed by Genghis Khan, including intercontinental commerce, religious pluralism and meritocracy.

In Mongolia, Ghengis is revered to a degree approaching that of a deity. His image appears everywhere, including on a tapestry in Ulaanbaatar’s main monastery, as well as a statue in front of the parliament building. Ulaanbaatar’s airport and popular brands of beer and vodka are named after him.

Given the revival of his legacy, it’s not surprising that there has been an awakening of interest in finding his grave.

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The newest team to mount a search for the grave of Genghis Khan is relying on state-of-the-art technology that combines massive computing power with a creative crowd-sourcing technique. This innovative method, organizers hope, will allow their team to succeed where earlier expeditions failed.

The Valley of the Khans project is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and members refuse to grant media interviews. But the group’s website links to a YouTube video in which the group’s head, Albert Yu-Min Lin, outlines his team’s search strategy. [For additional information click here]. In the video, Lin describes his first visit to Burkhan Kaldun, the most likely site of the grave, at the end of 2008 to take GPS readings. The group is also collecting satellite data from GeoEye, whose Ikonos satellite, launched in September 2008, offers the highest resolution satellite images available to civilians, Lin said. To get even more detailed images the group plans to use unmanned drone airplanes to take aerial photography and geophysical tools like electromagnetic induction and ground-penetrating radar, pioneered by the mining industry, to get images of what might be under the ground.

The data gathered by those tools will be processed and put online so that amateur web surfers - attracted by a game with a title like "Help Find the Tomb of Genghis Khan" - can scan through the images. They will look for anomalies, like right angles, that might indicate the possibility of human activity on the landscape or underground. Then the images of those anomalies will be analyzed in greater detail by Lin and his team. Astronomers successfully used a similar scheme, called Galaxy Zoo, to help classify more than a million galaxies that were photographed by telescopes scanning vast swaths of the sky, Lin said. (Another initiative, somewhat similar to Lin’s idea, to find the wreckage of the airplane of adventurer Steve Fossett, failed.)

"This is how you find the needle without touching the hay," Lin said. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2011.

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In Hohhot, the capital of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, there is a brand new Genghis Khan Square, featuring a huge equestrian statue of the conqueror, and next to it runs Genghis Khan Boulevard, where the feature nominally Mongol motifs, like domes on the roofs and blue and white color schemes.

That China would so honor Genghis Khan, whose Mongol armies overwhelmed China in the 13th century and ruled it for more than a century, would seem unlikely. But Beijing, in an attempt to keep a close hold on its Mongolian minority, now reasons that since Genghis conquered China, he can be treated as a Chinese hero.

And that gives the search for Genghis Khan’s grave a bit of a geopolitical flavor. Asked why the tomb of Genghis Khan should be found, Mongolians can give several answers, like finding the right place to worship the great hero, or to draw the world’s attention to him and to Mongolia. But perhaps the most often cited justification is the need to prove that Genghis Khan belongs to Mongolia.

On the prairie of Inner Mongolia, which borders Mongolia, and which is home to most of China’s Mongolian minority, (and more ethnic Mongolians than are in Mongolia proper), stands the Genghis Khan Mausoleum. The name notwithstanding, virtually no one claims that Genghis is actually buried there. But the "mausoleum" is nevertheless a significant monument to the Mongolian leader, and one that China uses to bolster its claim to Genghis’s legacy.

The current mausoleum is the modern descendent of a tradition that began shortly after the death of Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Because the location of his tomb was secret, Genghis’s heirs created a mobile memorial, originally a set of white tents called ordos, where Mongolians could venerate him. The tents first centered on Burkhan Khaldun, the holy mountain in northern Mongolia where Genghis is presumed to be buried. Through circumstances not recorded, they eventually ended up in what is today China.

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For Mongolia, where income from tourism accounts for nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product, Genghis Khan is already a major draw, with tour operators aggressively promoting the opportunity to "follow in Genghis’ footsteps." Finding his grave, boosters say, will only increase the country’s appeal.

Already, private companies are creating ambitious projects to generate income from Genghis’ legacy. One company, GENCO Tours, built a 40-meter stainless steel statue about an hour’s drive from Ulaanbaatar. It is a popular destination for Mongolians and foreign tourists. (Ironically, the steel for this symbol of the Mongolian nation was obtained in Russia and the statue was constructed in China; only the final assembly took place in Mongolia.) The same company also recently opened a living history museum that depicts life in Mongolia in the 13th century, a time when the Mongol Empire was at its height.

The most ambitious project, however, is a planned theme park on the road approaching Burkhan Khaldun, the holy mountain where Genghis is widely believed to be buried. It just broke ground in September and when it is completed in 2015, it will include temples, palaces, hotels and museums devoted to Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. It will cost upwards of $70 million, with four Mongolian companies providing investment capital, said Gerel D., general manager of the project.

The project is privately financed, but it enjoys the backing of the Mongolian government, Gerel said. Project officials now are negotiating with the government about improving the road to the site, which is now nearly 100 km from the nearest paved road. The complex’s appeal, Gerel said, would be as a place to pay respects to Genghis Khan.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Israeli Bulldozers Building An Apartheid State ?

Why Does the US Turn a Blind Eye to Israeli Bulldozers?

Most of the West Bank is under rule which amounts to apartheid by paper

by Robert Fisk

"Palestine" is no more. Call it a "peace process" or a "road map"; blame it on Barack Obama's weakness, his pathetic, childish admission - like an optimistic doctor returning a sick child to its parents without hope of recovery - that a Middle East peace was "more difficult" to reach than he imagined.

But the dream of a "two-state" Israeli-Palestinian solution, a security-drenched but noble settlement to decades of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians is as good as dead.

Both the United States and Europe now stand idly by while the Israeli government effectively destroys any hope of a Palestinian state; even as you read these words, Israel's bulldozers and demolition orders are destroying the last chance of peace; not only in the symbolic centre of Jerusalem itself but - strategically, far more important - in 60 per cent of the vast, biblical lands of the occupied West Bank, in that largest sector in which Jews now outnumber Muslims two to one.

This majority of the West Bank - known under the defunct Oslo Agreement's sinister sobriquet as "Area C" - has already fallen under an Israeli rule which amounts to apartheid by paper: a set of Israeli laws which prohibit almost all Palestinian building or village improvements, which shamelessly smash down Palestinian homes for which permits are impossible to obtain, ordering the destruction of even restored Palestinian sewage systems. Israeli colonists have no such problems; which is why 300,000 Israelis now live - in 220 settlements which are all internationally illegal - in the richest and most fertile of the Palestinian occupied lands.

When Obama's elderly envoy George Mitchell headed home in humiliation this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated his departure by planting trees in two of the three largest Israeli colonies around Jerusalem. With these trees at Gush Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim, he said, he was sending "a clear message that we are here. We will stay here. We are planning and we are building." These two huge settlements, along with that of Ariel to the north of Jerusalem, were an "indisputable part of Israel forever."

It was Netanyahu's victory celebration over the upstart American President who had dared to challenge Israel's power not only in the Middle East but in America itself. And while the world this week listened to Netanyahu in the Holocaust memorial commemoration for the genocide of six million Jews, abusing Iran as the new Nazi Germany - Iran's loony president supposedly as evil as Hitler - the hopes of a future "Palestine" continued to dribble away. President Ahmadinejad of Iran is no more Adolf Hitler than the Israelis are Nazis. But the "threat" of Iran is distracting the world. So is Tony Blair yesterday, trying to wriggle out of his bloody responsibility for the Iraq disaster. The real catastrophe, however, continues just outside Jerusalem, amid the fields, stony hills and ancient caves of most of the West Bank.

Sun Tzu- -Eikenberry- -Mc Chrystal

By Franklin C. Spinney

Turning Sun Tzu on His Head

In the opening line of Book 1 of Sun Tzu's classic, The Art of War (circa 400 BC), the first treatise ever written on the subject, the Chinese master said,"War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life and death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied." He then goes on to describe a systematic method for assembling the information needed to make a rational decision to go to war.

Today, in Pentagonese, we would call his method a "net assessment," that is to say Sun Tzu described a very thoughtful way to perform a comparative analysis of one's own strengths and weaknesses with those of the adversary. Sun Tzu's strategic outlook is amazingly relevant to contemporary circumstances; indeed, it is timeless, and I submit it provides the gold standard for for evaluating our own efforts to grapple with the question of going to war or to escalate a war -- basically, his advice was simple: know your enemy and know yourself before plunging into war.

When the wisdom of Sun Tzu's gold standard is compared to the crude domestic political machinations used to steamroller President Obama into escalating the war in Afghanistan, a horrifying picture emerges at the most basic of level decision making. The public debate concentrated on only one side of that net assessment -- the side advocating escalation, and even the argument for that side was conceptually flawed in that it did not examine its own strengths and weaknesses.

The recently leaked cables by Ambassador Karl Eikenberry bring this imbalance into sharp relief. Eikenberry raised some thoughtful objections to the McChrystal/Petraeus/Gates/Clinton escalation plan from the perspective of its limitations on "knowing ourselves" (US, Karzai government, and the Afghan security forces). He did not really address the strengths and weaknesses on other side of the net assessment--i.e., those of our adversaries. But his analysis is damning enough. Eikenberry's objections were sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in secret cables. Presumably President Obama studied them prior to his decision to accede to the escalation pressures. Eikenberry's analyses are both an interesting and important counterpoints to what I still believe was an ill advised decision.

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The troop escalation was Obama's way of "staying the course" for his self proclaimed "just war".

This decision was made long ago. Shillary, Gates, Patreus, and Mc Chrystal are all war hawks. They forge ahead searching for justification. Obama is now a [war president]. He did not inherit this escalation, he called it well in advance. Now he must live with the consequences.

We will have troops in Iraq, and Afghanistan for a long time to come. Do not be fooled with this exit rhetoric. "Conditions on the ground" will be their loophole.

Will they have an Afghanization process? Making peace with the Taliban? Will they recognize Mullah Omar, and bring him to the peace table?

Or is their aim to Balkanize Afghanistan, and Pakistan? I believe it is. Baluchistan is one of their main targets. It is a choke point, and an energy transit hub.

Energy can not flow through Afghanistan as long as there is war. And that is what this is all about.

It never has been about 9/11, democracy, freedom, human rights,or any of that other nonsense. It has been about modern day colonialism.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Iraq War Trials in U.K. : Why Not In The U.S. ?

Glenn Greenwald

Remember the illegal destruction of Iraq?

British political news has been consumed for the last several weeks by a formal inquiry into the illegality and deceit behind Tony Blair's decision to join the U.S. in invading Iraq. Today, Blair himself is publicly testifying before the investigative commission and is being grilled about numerous false claims he made in the run-up to the war, not only about Iraqi weapons programs (his taxi-cab-derived "45-minutes-to-launch!!" warning) and Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda, but also about secret commitments he made to join the U.S. at a time when he and Bush were still pretending that they were undecided and awaiting the outcome of the U.N. negotiations and the inspection process.

A major focus of the investigation is the illegality of the war. Some of the most embarrassing details that have emerged concern the conclusions by the British Government's own legal advisers that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal without U.N. approval. The top British legal officer had concluded that the war would be illegal, only to change his mind under substantial pressure shortly before the invasion. Several weeks ago, a formal investigation in the Netherlands -- whose government had supported the invasion -- produced the first official adjudication of the legality of the war, and found it illegal, with "no basis in international law."

As Digby notes, all of this stands in stark and shameful contrast to the U.S., which pointedly refuses to "look back" or concern itself with whether it waged an illegal (and horribly destructive) war. The British inquiry has been widely criticized for being too passive and deferential and lacking any credible threat of accountability (other than disclosure of facts). Still, one can barely even imagine George Bush and Dick Cheney being hauled before an investigative body and forced, under oath, to testify publicly about what they did as a means of determining the legality or illegality of that war. Doing that would fundamentally conflict with two leading principles in American political life: (1) our highest political leaders must never be accountable for actions they take while in power; and (2) whether something they do is "illegal" -- especially the starting of wars -- is utterly irrelevant. Instead of formally investigating whether they broke the law, we treat them like elder statesmen who deserve a life of luxury and media reverence. Tony Blair -- who had no discernible expertise or experience in banking -- himself is showered with riches for a "part-time" job by JP Morgan and by other institutions who benefited substantially from his acts in office.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iran: Target For Regime Change--Again--?

Sanctions, regime change take center stage
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - With the United States Senate set to take up major sanctions legislation against Iran by mid-February, neo-conservative and other hawks are calling on the administration of President Barack Obama to pursue a more aggressive course of "regime change" in Tehran.

In recent days, their call was unexpectedly bolstered by a Newsweek column authored by the president of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Richard Haass.

Haass is a long-time protege of realists, such as former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and secretary of state Colin Powell, who advocate a policy of broad engagement with Iran over its nuclear program and other issues.

Citing the unprecedented and persistent unrest generated by the disputed June elections in Iran, Haass argued, "Iran may be closer to profound political change than at any time since the revolution that ousted the shah 30 years ago." He added that "the United States, European governments and others should shift their Iran policy towards increasing the prospects for [that] change".

"Even a realist should recognize that it's an opportunity not to be missed," he concluded.

Haass' change of heart was quickly seized on by leading neo-conservatives who have long favored a regime-change policy toward Tehran as the most effective way to deal with Tehran's controversial nuclear program, which some suspect is aimed at developing nuclear weapons but which Iran says is solely for peaceful purposes.

Writing in the Washington Post Wednesday, Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace cited the Haass conversion with enthusiasm, arguing, "President Obama has a once-in-a-generation opportunity over the next few months to help make the world a dramatically safer place."

"Given the role that the Islamic theocracy in Tehran has played in leading and sponsoring anti-democratic, anti-liberal and anti-Western fanaticism for the past three decades, the toppling or even substantial reform of that regime would be second only to the collapse of the Soviet Union in its ideological and geopolitical ramifications," he wrote.

In his State of the Union address on Wednesday night in Washington, Obama warned that Iran would suffer consequences as a result of its refusal to cooperate with the international community on its nuclear program. He said that Tehran had to "come clean about its nuclear goals". "As Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: they, too, will face growing consequences," Obama said.

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The Neocons, and the "Realist" camp is beating the war drums for Iran again. Another example of Western intervention for alterior motives. We sponsored a coup before, the one that put the Shah into place.
Who is it that is calling for this regime change?
Israel, Saudi Arabia, the West, have all been the war-hawks when it comes to Iran. What is it that they are afraid of? Or better put what is it that they wish to accomplish with a regime change? Will the President, or any one else please define the process of "regime change". I assure you it will not be pretty.
Hillary will be beating the drums hard. She has already been given her orders along with others within our bought and paid for State Dept.
Sanctions do not work, never have never will. It will just unite the Iranians further.
Hard rhetoric will now come about freedom, and democracy for Iran. Nonsense, this is all about energy, and the routes for that energy. Iran has already warned the Gulf States not to allow Western bases in their countries to be used for attacks against Iran.
Is the West that hell bent on seeing a total regional Sunni-Shia civil war within Islam.
Divide and conquer has been an old military tactic. Unfortunately the West does not understand an old proverb. ---
The enemy of my enemy, is my enemy. ---

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ret. Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar [Colonel Imam]: Mullah Omar Is The Key To Peace ?

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — The U.S. must negotiate a political settlement to the Afghanistan war directly with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar because any bid to split the insurgency through defections will fail, said the Pakistani former intelligence officer who trained the insurgent chief.

Omar is open to such talks, asserted retired Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar, a former operative of Pakistan's premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. He is popularly known as Colonel Imam, whose exploits have gained him near-legendary status in central Asia.

"If a sincere message comes from the Americans, these people (the Taliban) are very big-hearted. They will listen. But if you try to divide the Taliban, you'll fail. Anyone who leaves Mullah Omar is no more Taliban. Such people are just trying to deceive," said Tarar, a tall, imposing man with a long gray beard and white turban, in an interview with McClatchy.

His comments came as the U.S. and its NATO allies appear increasingly anxious to find a path toward a political resolution to the more than eight-year-old war whose escalating human and financial costs are fueling growing popular opposition.

In Washington, U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones was asked by McClatchy if the Obama administration ruled out having the ISI act as a conduit between Omar and the U.S., as Pakistani officials are advocating.

"We are pursuing a general strategy of engagement," replied Jones, a former four-star Marine general. "We'll see where this takes us."

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Taliban Enters The Grand Chess Game, Again?

Circles within circles around the Taliban
By M K Bhadrakumar

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s attention is likely to be divided as hosts long-awaited international deliberations in London on the war in Afghanistan on Thursday. To be or not to be in the British capital was the question as Brown rushed to Belfast on Monday to "talk through the night" to save the Ulster power-sharing process from collapse.

In a manner of speaking, power sharing also forms the agenda of the London conference, attended by some 60 countries. Cynics label the meeting a public relations stunt by Brown at a time when two-thirds of Britons oppose the Afghan war.

However, the conference serves a purpose. An idea that seemed heretic until recently has tiptoed to the center of the conflict-resolution agenda in Afghanistan - devolving on reconciliation with the Taliban. The United Nations put its imprimatur on the idea on Sunday, when its special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, suggested that at least some of the Taliban senior leaders should be removed from the UN's list of terrorists drawn up in 2001.

"If you want relevant results, then you have to talk to the relevant person in authority," Eide said. "I think the time has come to do it."

The UN black list contains 144 names, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Under UN Resolution 1267, all governments are obliged to freeze the bank accounts of people on the list and prevent them from traveling. The George W Bush administration forced the decision on the world community.

After eight years of war and loss of thousands of lives, Washington has changed course. As Robert Gates, the US secretary of defense said last week: "The Taliban ... are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan at this point."

In an extraordinary interview timed for the London Conference, the commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, said: "As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting."

"After eight years of war, it's clear that domestically many [Western] political leaders are having to answer questions, this [war] has gone on a long time and it's no better than it was in 2004, so why are we maintaining it, will it get better?" he told the Financial Times on Monday.

Echoing Eide, McChrystal underscored that "the possibility for everybody to look at [is] what's the right combination of participation in the government [in Kabul]". It is important that all parts of the population have an absolute stake in the government, he said. "I think any Afghan can play a role ... It's the return of al-Qaeda we don't want."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai would use the London platform to "announce his intent to implement a reintegration policy [towards the Taliban] and then move forward to implementation, and I'm hopeful and very optimistic that the international community will completely back that," McChrystal predicted.

From various accounts, the Karzai plan pits the main protagonists in the insurgency - the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban, former mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the so-called Haqqani network - within five concentric circles. The first circle includes Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Hekmatyar; the second circle slots some 15-20 insurgent groups; the third comprises 60-70 individuals who include provincial commanders; the fourth brings together some 700 individuals; and the fifth circle brackets around 20,000 to 25,000 "foot soldiers".

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Talibanizing Afghanization ?

POLITICS: Behind Cautious Signal, a Decision for Afghan Peace Talks
By Gareth Porter*

KABUL, Jan 26, 2010 (IPS) - Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's very cautiously-worded support for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban leadership in an interview published Monday is only the first public signal of a policy decision by the Barack Obama administration to support a political settlement between the Hamid Karzai regime and the Taliban, an official of McChrystal's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command has revealed in an interview with IPS.

Speaking to the Financial Times, McChrystal couched his position on negotiations in terms of an abstract support for negotiated settlements of wars, saying, "I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome." The ISAF commander avoided a direct answer to the question of whether the Taliban could play a role in a future Afghan government.

When pressed by the interviewer on the issue, McChrystal would only say that "any Afghan can play a role if they focus on the future and not the past."

The ISAF official, who spoke with IPS on condition that he would not be named, was much more candid about the centrality of peace negotiations with the Taliban leadership in the Obama administration's strategy in Afghanistan and about the understanding of the ISAF command that the Taliban leadership is independent of al Qaeda and is already positioning itself for a political settlement.

The official said the objective of the troop surge and the ISAF strategy accompanying it is to support a negotiated political settlement. "The story of the next 18 months is the story of establishing the conditions under which reconciliation will take place," said the official.

"Reconciliation" is the term used within the U.S. military for an understanding between the Karzai regime and the leadership of the insurgency, whereas "reintegration" refers to a strategy for bringing mid-level Taliban commanders and their troops back into society.

The counterinsurgency strategy now being mounted in Afghanistan by ISAF "is aimed at providing time and space" for "reconciliation", according to the official, as well as governance reforms and increasing the capacity of the national army and police force during that 18-month period.

The ISAF official said there has been a debate among U.S. officials about "the terms on which the Taliban will become part of the political fabric". The debate is not on whether the Taliban movement will be participating in the Afghan political system, however, but on whether or not the administration could accept the participation of a specific individual -- Mullah Omar, the leader of the organisation and former chief of state of the Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001 -- in the political future of Afghanistan.

Some U.S. officials have argued that the Taliban leader should be barred from participation, because of his role in protecting Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 terror attacks and refusing to hand over the al Qaeda leader in the weeks that followed the attacks.

The official suggested that the Obama administration and its NATO allies need to reach a consensus about the issue, and that recent events make the present moment "seem like a good time to deal with that."

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Is Team Obama Wall Streets Tool Box ?

Blocking Bernanke is Smart Economics, Smart Politics for Dems

If the Democratic Party wants to lose – or, to be more precise, wants to lose badly in 2010 and 2012, it need only maintain its current loyalty to the most powerful interests on Wall Street.

The United States already has a party of Wall Street. It does not need two.

Yet, despite an occasional populist turn (like his current bank bashing), President Obama has with his absurd nominations and even more absurd policies given every indication that he intends to position the Democratic Party closer to corporate interests than all but the most reprehensible Republicans.

Forget about Obama's rhetorical flourishes. As a candidate and as a president, he has too frequently chosen to side with multinational corporations rather than working Americans.

After he secured the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Obama told Fortune magazine that business executives did not need to worry about his talk of reforming U.S. free trade policies; despite some nice rhetorical flourishes on the primary campaign trail in hard-hit industrial states, Obama said, he had no intention of embracing or implementing a fair trade agenda.

Once he was elected, Obama selected as his chief of staff the Democratic party's most ardent advocate for free trade and the broader corporate program, Rahm Emanuel. Then, the new president peopled his administration with Wall Street insiders like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers.

When it came time to push for stimulus legislation, Obama accepted a plan that squeezed necessary spending for job creation in order to pay for tax cuts for wealthier Americans. Now, instead of the promised unemployment rate of 8 percent or below, we're in double digits.

When it came time to fund an automobile-industry bailout, Obama implemented a plan that shifted tens of billions of money from then U.S. Treasury into the accounts of firms that then announced they would close more than two dozen U.S. auto plants and use the federal money to fund the opening of new factories in China and Mexico. At the same time, those companies forced thousands of auto dealerships to shut their doors and layoff more than 100,000 workers.

In the fight over financial-services regulation, Obama and his aides have repeatedly rejected serious moves to hold banks and brokers to account – creating a circumstance where Democrats in the House and Senate must battle not just Wall Street and the Republican Party but the White House if they hope to achieve meaningful reforms. Even now, as Obama tries to surf some of the anger at big banks, polling tells us that Americans are skeptical – and rightly so, as the president's party continues to collect campaign contributions from, you guessed it, the big banks.

If John McCain had compiled Obama's record, he would be condemned by even the most moderate Democrats as a tool of the corporate elites.

Because Obama is a Democrat, many in his own party continue to cut him slack.

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The Neocon's Manchurian Candidate strikes again.

Why would the Uber Elite, Neocons, MIC, Banksters cry for Mc Cain, when they have Team Obama?

Here is Gibbs playing another Wall.St. fear card.


Ambassador Eikenberry's Cables To His Boss ?

Ambassador Eikenberry's Cables on U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan

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Monday, January 25, 2010

SCOTUS Rules For Inverted Totalitarianism

Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

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Posted on Jan 24, 2010
Original: AP / Charles Dharapak

By Chris Hedges

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.

The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.

Much of the outrage expressed about the court’s ruling is the outrage of those who prefer this choreographed charade. As long as the charade is played, they do not have to consider how to combat what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”

Inverted totalitarianism represents “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry,” Wolin writes in “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism differs from classical forms of totalitarianism, which revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader, and finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. The corporate forces behind inverted totalitarianism do not, as classical totalitarian movements do, boast of replacing decaying structures with a new, revolutionary structure. They purport to honor electoral politics, freedom and the Constitution. But they so corrupt and manipulate the levers of power as to make democracy impossible.

Inverted totalitarianism is not conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. It is furthered by “power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions,” Wolin writes. But it is as dangerous as classical forms of totalitarianism. In a system of inverted totalitarianism, as this court ruling illustrates, it is not necessary to rewrite the Constitution, as fascist and communist regimes do. It is enough to exploit legitimate power by means of judicial and legislative interpretation. This exploitation ensures that huge corporate campaign contributions are protected speech under the First Amendment. It ensures that heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations is interpreted as an application of the people’s right to petition the government. The court again ratified the concept that corporations are persons, except in those cases where the “persons” agree to a “settlement.” Those within corporations who commit crimes can avoid going to prison by paying large sums of money to the government while, according to this twisted judicial reasoning, not “admitting any wrongdoing.” There is a word for this. It is called corruption.

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Gates Calls On New Delhi ?

US woos India back to the Bush era
By M K Bhadrakumar

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates is not new to the field of diplomacy in the South Asian region. The "Gates Mission" in 1990 to defuse a cascading wave of India-Pakistan tensions is the stuff of legends. Historians are still in two minds whether Gates deserves to be credited for having conceivably averted the world's first nuclear war.

In comparison, Gates' mission to New Delhi and Islamabad last week wasn't breathtaking but it stood out as a pivotal moment. He was choreographing the US's global strategy.

Gates charms Indians ...
Delhi faces an existential dilemma: it needs to determine how far it is prepared to go with Uncle Sam down the path into the garden where it has never been before. Gates made it clear the enterprise could be rewarding. He said, "India can be an anchor for regional and global security ... this will be a defining partnership for the 21st century." In the Barack Obama presidency, India has never heard such heady thoughts.

There were three vectors to Gates' visit - Afghanistan, India-Pakistan relations and the US-India security partnership. Gates upheld India's legitimate interests in Afghanistan. He praised the Indian role and in turn received an Indian offer on an enhanced role strictly within the parameters of the overall US/North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strategy - "frankly, the kind of support and extraordinary support that India is providing in Afghanistan now is really ideal".

India will not complicate the US's diplomacy in Islamabad by seeking any role in the build-up of the Afghan armed forces or police. Beneath that threshold, Delhi will play a role in the "Afghanization" process. Nor is Delhi inclined to raise dust about US plans regarding the "reintegration and reconciliation" of the Taliban. The Indian position was dogmatic but nuances have crept in. This is partly tactical, as it is clear Indian opposition will not stall the process of integrating the Taliban into Afghan political life.
But Washington assured Delhi that the established Afghan government would spearhead the peace process and the United Nations would endorse and promote it. The bottom line for Delhi is that the US should not cut and run from the Hindu Kush. As long as the US remains the supervisor-cum-custodian of the peace process with the Taliban, Delhi feels that a takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban leader Mullah Omar won't be in the cards. Again, the US no longer buys the Pakistani thesis about "Pashtun alienation". Delhi considers that any broad-based government in Kabul that reflects Afghanistan's plural society will be a bulwark against the return to Taliban rule.

In sum, Delhi has opted to hitch its wagon to Washington's strategy. Delhi's choice is limited. Pakistan has done everything possible to keep India out of any regional frameworks, such as Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan, Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan or the Organization of Islamic Conference initiative. Other like-minded countries that abhor religious militancy such as Russia, Uzbekistan and Iran have their own agenda born out of national interests.
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This is why Gates was left in the position that he has and will have for some time to come.
IMO: Gates was brought into the W regime by Papa Bush and his camp of "realist internationals".
This agenda has now carried into the Obama regime. This only means further militarization of the region. It is an agenda of securing land, and sea choke points for the transport of energy.
Curtailing China is their main objective. India is aligning itself with the West, while at the same time drawing a larger line in the sand against Pakistan. Afghanistan is a proxy war zone in this Grand Chess Game. Pakistan will now also have to make a choice. Do they look to the East, or the West. I believe they will align more toward China.
Iran will now also have to emerge as a bigger player in the
region, as Baluchistan will become an even larger target.
Shipping lanes, pipeline transport of energy are all choke points that have to be secured and dominated.
Unfortunately, for the U.S., the inhabitants of these areas
do not look very highly upon America any more. We are not the shining beacon on the hill that we once were.
Obama is a puppet to this agenda. Sooner or later he will give the green light to attack another country. The horn of Africa is most likely.

The MIC is now in full swing. Most of the players seem to be in place. But nothing ever goes the way it was suppose to. The flags of endless wars without borders have been raised. Lets just hope we do not see a false flag being raised.
Obama's Cairo speech was total lip service. The world, and especially the middle east sees this now.
Why do Americans not see this?
After Bibi's slap in the face to Mitchell, and Obama yesterday there should be ample reason for Obama to treat Israel for what it is. A rogue, apartheid, dangerous nuclear armed Zionist state. Obama is surrounded by Neocons, Neolibs, and Israel Firsters.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progressives: Who And Where Are They ? ? ?

It’s Time for Kucinich, Conyers, Feingold and Other ‘Progressives’ to Take a Stand

Sen. Russ Feingold

What’s missing in Congress these days is real progressive leadership and real political courage.

Over the past several decades, the Democratic Party has been entirely taken over by corporate shills and money-grubbing sleazes while those who might still have some vestigial remnant of a conscience or genuine concern for the plight of the common person have been co-opted or intimidated into silence or powerlessness.

Look at Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). He says all the right things. He’s fought all the good fights. And yet after 15 years in Congress, he is chair of what? The House subcommittee on domestic policy of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Heck, his post doesn’t even merit capitalization in the AP Stylebook! And when he submits an important bill, like his articles of impeachment of both former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, he can’t even get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

Which, of course, is chaired by another long-standing allegedly progressive House member, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Conyers, despite being chair of the House Progressive Caucus (the largest, and least powerful Democratic Party caucus in the Congress) and despite his having served 22 terms in the House, couldn’t even manage to get “permission” from the Speaker (Rep. Nancy Pelosi–once a member of the Progressive Caucus!) to hold a hearing on impeachment during the Bush/Cheney years in the Judiciary Committee that he chairs. And more recently, he was even barred from having his own health reform proposal–an expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans–get a lousy hearing in the House.

Progressives in the Democratic Party are both joke and oxymoron.

It is time for any real progressives in House or Senate to admit the truth–that they are boxed in and effectively neutered by the Party leadership–and that if they really want to be defenders of the public interest and the progressive cause, they must give up their sinecures, cut themselves loose from the shackles of the Democratic Party, and form a new and independent national progressive party. They have a model: Bernie Sanders, the independent self-described socialist senator from Vermont. Of course, even Sanders is boxed in, given that he is alone in the Senate as an independent progressive , so that if he wants a committee assignment he has to agree to vote with the Democrats on the key issues of party control. But that is because there is nobody standing with him in the Senate.

This could change if the progressive caucus members of both houses were to quit the sell-out Democrats and form the nucleus of a new party, instead of just a caucus within the sclerotic and rancidly corrupt Democratic Party.

There is a huge ferment across the land. Americans of all political persuasions are angry, fearful, frustrated and ready for change. That’s why so many of them voted for a black presidential candidate promising “real change” in 2008. The trouncing of Democratic senate candidate Martha Coakley this week in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy was a direct result of the anger that those same voters feel at being betrayed by that president, who instead of change has given them more of the same pro-corporate, anti-common-citizen politics that they were trying to escape.

We on the left know that nothing much is going to change in America until there is a genuine people’s party on the ballot, but for years we have watched in despair as well-meaning third parties like Peace & Freedom, the Green Party, the Socialist Party-USA and others (including parties not on the left like the Libertarians) have tried and failed to become national political forces. These efforts have been stymied because American voters, sensibly, have not wanted to “waste their votes” by casting ballots for Third Party candidates who stand no chance of being elected. They have been stymied because Americans have either been forced to accept a “lesser of two evils” approach to voting, or to simply not vote.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Listen Up Democrats; It's The Economy Stupid ! !

They Still Don’t Get It

by Bob Herbert

How loud do the alarms have to get? There is an economic emergency in the country with millions upon millions of Americans riddled with fear and anxiety as they struggle with long-term joblessness, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies and dwindling opportunities for themselves and their children.

The door is being slammed on the American dream and the politicians, including the president and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, seem not just helpless to deal with the crisis, but completely out of touch with the hardships that have fallen on so many.

While the nation was suffering through the worst economy since the Depression, the Democrats wasted a year squabbling like unruly toddlers over health insurance legislation. No one in his or her right mind could have believed that a workable, efficient, cost-effective system could come out of the monstrously ugly plan that finally emerged from the Senate after long months of shady alliances, disgraceful back-room deals, outlandish payoffs and abject capitulation to the insurance companies and giant pharmaceutical outfits.

The public interest? Forget about it.

With the power elite consumed with its incessant, discordant fiddling over health care, the economic plight of ordinary Americans, from the middle class to the very poor, got pathetically short shrift. And there is no evidence, even now, that leaders of either party fully grasp the depth of the crisis, which began long before the official start of the Great Recession in December 2007.

A new study from the Brookings Institution tells us that the largest and fastest-growing population of poor people in the U.S. is in the suburbs. You don't hear about this from the politicians who are always so anxious to tell you, in between fund-raisers and photo-ops, what a great job they're doing. From 2000 to 2008, the number of poor people in the U.S. grew by 5.2 million, reaching nearly 40 million. That represented an increase of 15.4 percent in the poor population, which was more than twice the increase in the population as a whole during that period.

The study does not include data from 2009, when so many millions of families were just hammered by the recession. So the reality is worse than the Brookings figures would indicate.

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The American people do not want any more lip service, or more lip stick on pigs.

If they do not pull the economy out in time, it is over. The last I saw was that only 20% of the stimulus money has been put into place. So one has to ask. What are they waiting for?

How much time was wasted on this Health Care plan that was written by and for the INSURANCE CORPS, and Big PHARMA.

The Democratic party is once again giving lessons on how to self destruct.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Network: The Corporate States Of Fascist America?

So, here we have it folks. Get used to it. The future of our country was set in stone yesterday. Now they are just blatant about it. ChiMerika is coming to a neighborhood near you. All evils come from compromises. We have just been compromised to serfdom.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Corpotocracy Marches America into Fascism ! ! !

So, then now what else do Americans have to see and or hear that we are headed toward a Fascist state.

We exist under a one Party system, and then now this. China is the model for the New World Order.

The Corpotocracy can not wait to turn us into ChiMerika.

Are you all pissed off enough now? What more will it take?

I am not surprised by this. But man AM I FUCKING PISSED.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Howard Zinn On Obama

Howard Zinn


I' ve been searching hard for a highlight. The only thing that comes close is some of Obama's rhetoric; I don't see any kind of a highlight in his actions and policies.

As far as disappointments, I wasn't terribly disappointed because I didn't expect that much. I expected him to be a traditional Democratic president. On foreign policy, that's hardly any different from a Republican--as nationalist, expansionist, imperial and warlike. So in that sense, there's no expectation and no disappointment. On domestic policy, traditionally Democratic presidents are more reformist, closer to the labor movement, more willing to pass legislation on behalf of ordinary people--and that's been true of Obama. But Democratic reforms have also been limited, cautious. Obama's no exception. On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now.

I thought that in the area of constitutional rights he would be better than he has been. That's the greatest disappointment, because Obama went to Harvard Law School and is presumably dedicated to constitutional rights. But he becomes president, and he's not making any significant step away from Bush policies. Sure, he keeps talking about closing Guantánamo, but he still treats the prisoners there as "suspected terrorists." They have not been tried and have not been found guilty. So when Obama proposes taking people out of Guantánamo and putting them into other prisons, he's not advancing the cause of constitutional rights very far. And then he's gone into court arguing for preventive detention, and he's continued the policy of sending suspects to countries where they very well may be tortured.

I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown Robo Calls Arizona For Mc Cain.

I am a registered Independent, and I just received a Robocall from Brown. I am not kidding. I live in Arizona. Brown wanted to thank every one for their support, and especially the support he got from Mc Cain. He wants every one to thank Mc Cain and support the two of them in their agendas.

This had better be a wake up call for all Dems. They are coming out of the gate hard and fast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Liberals In Denial Over Obama's Foreign/Military Policy?

Disillusion among Liberal Supporters: Obama's Foreign / Military Policy