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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pakistan may relocate troops to border if tension escalates with India...

'Pak may relocate 100,000 army personnel to border'
November 29, 2008 21:35 IST

Pakistan may relocate around 100,000 military personnel from its restive border area with Afghanistan if there is an escalation in tension with India,which has hinted at the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage, a media report said today.

Private channel Geo News reported that Pakistan's military and intelligence sources told a select group of journalists today that NATO and American command had been told

that Islamabad [Images] would be forced to relocate its military from the borders with Afghanistan if there is escalation in tension with India, where nearly 200 people were killed in the multiple terror attacks on the Indian financial capital.

"These sources have said NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far moreimportant," Geo News quoted senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir as saying.

He also said the sources had briefed the media that the decision not to send the ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to India was taken after Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee used a very aggressive tone with Pakistani officials on telephone after the Mumbai attacks.

"The decision to not send the ISI DG to India was taken because Mukherjee used strong words with Pakistani officials and warned of consequences," Mir quoted the military sources as saying.

Israel leaders call for war in Gaza,and to use detainees as human shields...

Israeli leaders call for war in Gaza, Likud MK calls for using detainees as human shields
Saed Bannoura - IMEMC
November 29, 2008

Several Israeli right wing leaders called for a full invasion into the Gaza Strip especially after eight soldiers were wounded by Palestinian homemade shells. A Likud member of Knesset called for establishing an open air prison in the Negev area in order to imprison Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in it as use them as human shields against Qassam shells.

The eight Israeli soldiers were wounded after Palestinian fighters struck the Nahal Oz military base with several homemade shells. Two of the soldiers are in serious conditions.

Palestinian armed groups said that the shelling comes in retaliation to the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip and the ongoing siege which led to the death of hundreds of patients.

Likud member of Knesset, Gilad Ardan, said that Israel must establish an open air, unprotected detention camp in the western Negev in order to use the Palestinian detainees who would be confined in it as human shields against Qassam and mortar shells.

Ardan added that using Hamas and Islamic Jihad detainees as human shields would deter the Palestinian armed groups from firing homemade shells at adjacent areas.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, called for "alternate means of response" against the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.

Likud member fo Knesset, Yuval Steinitz, accused the government of Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, of causing the deterioration of the security situation in the south.

Steinitz added the government's lack of serious response and its lack of action are worse that its misconduct during the second Lebanon war.

Israeli deputy security minister, Matan Vilnai, said that he has no doubt that Israel is approaching a large-scaled military offensive against the Gaza Strip, and added that this time Israel should act differently and choose the right time for the offensive.

Science magazine concedes that cell phone radiation causes cancer according to more than one lab...

November 27… Science has conceded the error: More than one lab has in fact shown that cell phone radiation can cause DNA breaks. Back in August, reporter Gretchen Vogel claimed that Hugo Rüdiger at the University of Vienna medical school was the only one (see September 3, below). Now, Vogel allows that a team from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, had previously observed DNA breaks in cells exposed to GSM radiation.

In a letter published in the magazine's November 28 issue, Vini Khurana, a neurosurgeon in Canberra, Australia, advises that, "[T]here are many other peer-reviewed papers from laboratories in at least seven countries, including the United States, showing that cell phone or similar low-intensity EMFs can break DNA or modulate it structurally." (Others have submitted similar complaints to the magazine's editors.) In her response, Vogel writes, "My intention was not to imply that there were only two papers showing any effects of EMFs. There are many publications that show effects of EMFs on DNA, but the citations listed [by Khurana] do not directly contradict the quoted sentence." That sentence which leads her August 29 article begins: "The only two peer-reviewed scientific papers showing that [EMFs] from cell phones can cause DNA breakage...'' In an exchange with Microwave News, Vogel drew a sharp distinction between DNA "damage" and "breakage," which, she said, allowed her to exclude many other papers, particularly one by John Aitken.

Khurana made international headlines earlier this year when he predicted that cell phone radiation would turn out to be a worse public-health disaster than either smoking or asbestos (see our April 10 post).

European Commissioner accuses Big Pharma of 'delaying cheaper drugs'...

Pharmaceutical companies "delaying cheaper drugs"
The European Commission has accused leading pharmaceutical companies of delaying and impeding the entry of generic drugs to the market, denying the public access to cheaper medicines.
By Graham Ruddick
Last Updated: 9:50PM GMT 28 Nov 2008

Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, concluded her 10-month investigation into the pharmaceutical industry by concluding it "does not work as well as it should" and had cost 17 member states €3bn (£2.5bn) between 2000 and 2007 by limiting the availability of cheaper generic drugs.

Ms Kroes – whose inquiry began in January with raids at some of Europe's largest drugs companies, including GlaxoSmithKline in the UK – warned that the EC may now launch anti-trust proceedings against individual companies.

Industry analysts said the report could lead to less investment in developing new drugs by the leading pharmaceutical companies. Generic drugs have become a key issue for the sector with sales of a company's branded drugs being severely damaged after the patent expires or is successfully challenged.

Ms Kroes' report accuses pharmaceutical companies of various practices to slow the progress of generic drugs to market including filing large numbers of patents to prevent their launch, filing patent litigation cases, signing settlements with generic manufacturers, and intervening in national procedures for the approval of generic medicines.

"These preliminary results show that market entry of generic companies and the development of new and more affordable medicines is sometimes blocked or delayed, at significant cost to healthcare systems, consumers and taxpayers," Ms Kroes said.

"It is still early days, but the Commission will not hesitate to open anti-trust cases against companies where there are indications that the anti-trust rules may have been breached."

AstraZeneca, the UK's second-largest pharmaceutical company, was fined €60m (£50m) in 2006 for blocking cheaper rivals to its heartburn and ulcer pill Losec. It is appealing the ruling but analysts warned that any financial penalties resulting from the report could be outweighed by other implications.

Mitra Thompson, at Global Insight, said: "A fine from the EC, while clearly unwelcome, is not the biggest hurdle faced by Europe's brand-name pharma companies. What would be more damaging is the long-term implications that the probe could have on the way drug-makers defend their blockbusters against the onset of generic competition."

Industry representatives criticised the report, claiming it "contradicts itself". "The report acknowledges that patents are key to pharmaceutical innovation and should be protected," the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said. "It then contradicts itself by questioning the right of the industry to use perfectly lawful practices – such as patent portfolios, patent litigation and the release of improved medicines. These are essential for innovators to protect their huge investments in R&D."

The Obama "Dream Team": Rubin-clones and political fakery...

The Obama "Dream Team": Rubin-clones and political fakery
by Mike Whitney
Global Research, November 30, 2008

Things are getting crazier by the day. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced that the Fed would commit another $800 billion to fight the financial crisis which has spread to the broader economy and is causing sharp declines in consumer spending. The Fed plans to buy $600 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and another $200 billion of Triple A bonds from non-bank financial companies that provide financing for consumers. There's just one little glitch, Fannie and Freddie are already owned by the government, so buying the bad paper is like moving the figures from one ledger to another. It's pointless. Except for the fact, that by shuffling the paperwork, Bernanke can drive down long-term interest rates and (hopefully) rekindle flagging home sales. It's a parlour trick.

And with the other $200 billion he can kick-start the securitization market by purchasing bundles of student loans, credit cards and car loans. Investors have been boycotting the asset-backed securities (ABS) markets for months now which has choked off the flow credit to consumers. So the Fed is trying to unclog the plumbing by stepping in as the lender of last resort. Of course, if the Fed really wanted to get money to consumers, there are much easier ways to do it, like cutting the payroll tax, mailing out stimulus checks or issuing tax rebates to couples making under $60,000 per year. But that's not the objective. What Bernanke really wants to do is to rev up securitization again because that's the vehicle the investment banks and hedge funds use to increase profits through leveraged bets on odd-sounding derivatives. (CDO, MBS, CDS). BFor now, no one is buying dodgy securities because no one knows they're really worth. Until that can be worked out, investors will stay away. That's why it would be better to cut back on the liquidity and work harder on transparency. Price discovery for structured investments is critical. If investors think that prices are reliable, then they'll jump back in. If not; it's no dice.

Bernanke and Paulson are trying to tackle the financial crisis from the wrong end. This isn't about liquidity or "access to credit", its about confidence. The public's trust has been betrayed a million times over. They've been tricked with WMD, bamboozled with phantom enemies, and cheated with bogus securities. All the surveys say the same thing; public confidence is at an all-time low. As a result, fear and pessimism are more widespread than any time in recent history. People no longer expect tomorrow to be better than today. In fact, they expect it to be worse, and for good reason. The country has broken loose from its moorings and is adrift. There's no accountability at any level of government. It doesn't matter how big or heinous the crime, no one pays. The justice system is a sham. In fact, the D.O.J. is just a weapon for destroying political enemies; that's it. The one noteworthy conviction in the last 8 years was home-decorating guru Martha Stewart. What a joke. In his memoirs, Bush can boast, "At least we got Martha Stewart off the streets."

And it's not just the justice system that lacks credibility either; it's the financial system, too. The stampede out of the stock market to US Treasurys shows how quickly trust can turn to panic. The downward spiral of the economy reflects the mood of the country; dark and gloomy. That's not something that can be changed with more liquidity. After all, the economy is more than the sum of its parts, just like people are more than just consumption machines that can be zapped like rats into spending themselves into oblivion. They're sentient beings who can see the deteriorating economic conditions closing in on them and threatening their security. They're scared. Bernanke--the academic--sees the economy through the lens of his research on the Great Depression. He, like many other monetarists, believe that the depression was the result of the one-third contraction in the money supply during the 1930s. It is a widely held view and it could be true. But if that's the case, than why haven't the Fed's myriad lending facilities--which have flooded the financial system with trillions of dollars of liquidity--stopped the markets from crashing and the recession from deepening. Could it be that there are other factors involved besides money supply?

People are hunkering down for a reason, and its not just lost revenue. They've lost faith in their institutions--the government, the banks, and the media; everybody is in it for themselves, and it shows. Even now, with the economy teetering at the brink of disaster, high-ranking officials like Paulson are still diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from the Treasury to their Wall Street buddies leaving nothing behind but a few scraps for the working stiffs. And Paulson isn't alone either; his Darwinian "dog eat dog" creed is the prevailing ethos of the corrupt oligarchy that runs the country, Republican and Democrat alike, it makes no difference. It's "me first" and the public be damned.

If Bernanke really wants to know how the economy is doing, he should pay a visit to any town or city in America. Business is off everywhere; it's not just retail. The restaurants, the gas stations, the dry cleaners; even the casinos are hurting. The lines at the food banks are longer than the unemployment lines, and the only business that's booming is the pawn shops where the family silver is traded away for gas money or a few bucks to blow on groceries. This is what recession looks like from the ground floor where people are struggling to just make ends meet. No more 3-course dinners at Olive Garden and no more $5.25 lattes and cranberry scones at Starbucks. It's Campbells for lunch, Spam for dinner and plenty of wool blankets for evening TV.

Does Paulson think he can "turn off" the public's pessimism like a light switch?
Does Bernanke think he can get people to spend themselves further into debt by lowering interest rates?
It can't be done. And the Obama camp is going to run into the same brick wall. The nation's confidence has been shattered and people are developing a bunker mentality.

The truth is, Obama was shoehorned into the White House because the ruling elite saw that the country was slipping into a consumer-led depression. They needed a bright new face to restore confidence and spark optimism during the tough times ahead. But now that he's been elected, they've surrounded him with the same men who created the present crisis. Lawrence Summers pushed for the repeal of the laws which prevented commercial banks from merging with the Wall Street casinos and he also helped to deregulate derivatives trading which now threatens to bring down the entire financial system if a major player, like Citigroup, goes under.

Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers were central figures in the bubble-driven growth and deregulation mania of the last decade. Their influence factored heavily into the speculation that was brought on by low interest rates, easy credit and massive leverage; the lethal combo that created the present crisis. Their elevation to the top positions in the administration --along with Paul Volcker--proves that the Obama presidency is just more political fakery; a charming and charismatic figurehead placed in front of the executive podium to conceal the machinations of deeply-entrenched interests who are busy rebuilding the trickle-down system from the ground up. There's nothing new here, and certainly nothing progressive. The much-celebrated "Dream Team" is an amalgam of Rubin-clones who used Obama as a land-bridge to the White House to strengthen the status quo and get on with the task of shifting the nation's wealth to Wall Street's economic royalists.

The fact is, the Obama star-studded economic recovery team emerges from the same ideological petris-dish as Bernanke and Paulson. Their world view is shaped by the same strong sense of entitlement which will prevent them from enacting the regulatory reforms that need to be put in place to restore transparency, confidence and credibility. Instead, they will unleash a torrent of stimulus (infrastructure and green technology mainly) followed by unorthodox monetarist/fiscal chicanery (like purchasing stocks on the equities market or buying long-term Treasurys) all of which will hide the fact that they are not forcing the bad debts out into the open so they can be written down and the markets can reestablish equilibrium.

No one disputes that Geithner, Summers and Volcker are smarter and more competent than Team Bush, and that, their Keynesian plan to inject massive doses of stimulus into the economy will have a positive effect. But that's as far as it goes. The men behind these remedies are limited by institutional loyalties that will keep them from overhauling the system in meaningful way. Neither Summers, nor Geithner nor Volcker would ever dare to tamper with the revenue-producing system which maintains the orderly division between rich and poor. That just won't happen.

So, after the fanfare subsides and Obama's economic team puts its stimulus plan in motion, there should be some marginal uptick in economic activity. But unless the underlying problems are addressed, there's little hope of any lasting recovery. The banks need to take their medicine and write down the losses. Regulators have to decide which institutions are solvent and can be saved, and which are underwater and will have to be shut down. The Obama administration will have to open a bank morgue, like the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), so the bad assets from failed banks can be sold at auction to the highest bidder. That's the only way to put this whole mess behind us and start to dig out. Putting the securities up for bid will restore confidence and, eventually, lure investors back into the stock market. It will also remove the zombie banks from hanging on and depending on government bailouts. There's a method for unwinding sick banks through restructuring debt. It needs to be put to use.

Regardless of what the new administration does, the stock markets will take another leg down between the end of 2009 to early 2010, finding a bottom on the Dow of 4,500 or thereabouts (70% plus declines took place on the NASDAQ following the dot.com bust, Japan during the 1990s "lost decade" and the Great Depression. In none of these cases was the bottom reached in the first year) Hedge fund redemptions will force more deleveraging and more wild swings on the stock market. The banks--which have accounted for nearly half of their losses--will need to write off another $800 to $900 billion before they see daylight. It's a long uphill slog and no one knows where they'll get the capital. Unemployment will skyrocket, housing will overshoot to the downside, and there will be the first random incidents of political instability (and rioting) in major US cities. The economy will be flat on its back for some years into the future. How quickly the markets rebound depends largely on how fast Obama's team is able to grasp that the system needs deep structural change and a banking system that is not paralyzed with debt.

Who was behind Mumbai attacks?

India's 9/11. Who was Behind the Mumbai Attacks?
Washington is Fostering Political Divisions between India and Pakistan
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, November 30, 2008

The Mumbai terror attacks were part of a carefully planned and coordinated operation involving several teams of experienced and trained gunmen.

The operation has the fingerprints of a paramilitary-intelligence operation. According to a Russian counter terrorist expert, the Mumbai terrorists "used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus attacks where entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized". (Russia Today, November 27, 2008).

The Mumbai attacks are described as " India's 9/11".

The attacks were carried out simultaneously in several locations, within minutes of each other.

The first target was in the main hall of Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (CST), where the gunmen fired indiscriminately into the crowd of passengers. The gunmen " then ran out of the station and into neighboring buildings, including Cama Hospital"

Attacks by separate groups of gunmen took place at two of Mumbai's luxury hotels - the Oberoi-Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace, located at the heart of the tourist area, within proximity of the Gateway of India.

The gunmen also opened fire at Café Leopold, a stylish restaurant in the tourist area. The third target was Nariman House, a business center which houses Chabad Lubavitch, Mumbai's Jewish Center. Six hostages including the Rabbi and his wife were killed.

The domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and the Mazgaon Dockyard were also targeted.

"The attacks occurred at the busiest places. Besides hotels and hospitals, terrorists struck at railway stations, Crawford Market, Wadi Bunder and on the Western Express Highway near the airport. Seven places have been attacked with automatic weapons and grenades.(Times of India, 26 November 2008),

Indian troops surrounded the hotels. Indian Special Forces commandos were sent into the two hotels to confront the terrorists. Witnesses at the hotels said that the gunmen were singling out people with US and British passports.

Casualties, according to reports, are in excess of 150 killed. Most of those killed were Indian nationals, many of whom died in the attack on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway Terminus.

At least 22 foreigners were killed in the attacks. Fourteen police officers, including the chief of the anti-terror squad, were killed in the attacks.

Who was Behind the Attacks?

A virtually unknown group called "the Deccan Mujahideen", has according to reports, claimed responsibility for attacks. The Deccan Plateau refers to a region of central-Southern India largely centered in the State of Andhra Pradesh. This unknown group has already been categorized, without supporting evidence, as belonging to the Al Qaeda network of terrorist organizations.

Police reports confirm that nine "suspected attackers" have been arrested and three of the attackers have, according to unconfirmed police sources, confessed to belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba [Lashkar-e-Tayyiba], a Pakistani Kasmiri separatist organization, covertly supported by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI). At least one of the arrested, according to the reports, is a British citizen of Pakistani descent.

In chorus, both the Western and Indian media are pointing fingers at Pakistan and its alleged support of Islamic terrorist organizations:

"Strategic gurus and security analysts in the US and from across the world are examining Pakistan's role in terrorism following yet another terror episode in India ending with fingers pointed at its widely-reviled neighbor.

While initial reports from India suggested the Mumbai carnage was a localized attack by militant malcontents in India because of the "Deccan Mujahideen" decoy that was used to claim responsibility, evidence cited by Indian army and security experts based on phone intercepts, nature of weaponry, mode of entry by sea etc., has quickly focused the attention on Pakistan." (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The US media has centered its attention on the links between the Mumbai attacks and the "resurgent terrorist groups [which] enjoy havens in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as alleged protection or support from elements of Pakistani intelligence." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008).

"Clash of Civilizations"

In Europe and North America, the Mumbai attacks by Islamic fundamentalists are perceived as part of the "Clash of Civilizations". "Militant Islam is involved in a war against civilization".

The dramatic loss of lives resulting from the attacks has indelibly contributed to reinforcing anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the Western World.

The outlines of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are becoming clear. The terrorists targeted India, the U.S. and Britain, and the Jewish people. (Market Watch, November 28, 2008)

According to the media, the enemy is Al Qaeda, the illusory "outside enemy " which has its operational bases in the tribal areas and North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Washington's self-proclaimed holy mandate under the "Global War on Terrorism" is to take out bin Laden and extirpate Islamic fundamentalism.

America's right to intervene militarily inside Pakistan in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty is therefore upheld. Bombing villages in the tribal areas of North West Pakistan is part of a "humanitarian endeavor", in response to the loss of life resulting from the Mumbai attacks:

"Before these awful raids, news from South Asia had been encouraging. The central problem remains pacifying Afghanistan, where U.S. and other NATO forces struggle to stamp out Taliban and al-Qaeda elements." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008)

"Washington, however, wants the Pakistani army's cooperation in fighting terrorism. In recent weeks, U.S. officers in Afghanistan reported better results, crediting the Pakistanis with taking the offensive against the Taliban on Pakistani territory."

Media Disinformation

US network TV has extensively covered the dramatic events in Mumbai. The attacks have served to trigger an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across America.

The Mumbai attacks are said to be intimately related to 9/11. Official US statements and media reports have described the Mumbai attacks as part of a broader process, including the possibility of an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack on US soil.

Vice President Elect Joe Biden during the election campaign had warned America with foresight that "the people who... attacked us on 9/11, -- they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks". (emphasis added)

These are the same people who were behind the terror attacks in Mumbai.

These are also the same people who are planning to attack America.

Immediately following the Mumbai attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put New York City's subway system "on high alert" based on "an unsubstantiated report of potential terrorism here in New York. This report led the New York Police Department to take precautionary steps to protect our transit system, and we will always do whatever is necessary to keep our city safe," Bloomberg said in a statement" (McClatchy-Tribune Business News, November 28, 2008, emphasis added).

It just so happens that one day before the Mumbai attacks, "the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had warned that there is a 'possible but uncorroborated' Al -Qaeda threat against the New York transportation system." (Ibid)

"As the attacks in Mumbai were carried out, U.S. authorities issued a warning that Al-Qaeda might have recently discussed making attacks on the New York subway system. A vague warning, to be sure. 'We have no specific details to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspirational planning, but we are issuing this warning out of concern that such an attack could possibly be conducted during the forthcoming holiday season,' the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said." (Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2008)

Pakistan's Military Intelligence is America's Trojan Horse

The media reports point, in chorus, to the involvement of Pakistan's Military Intelligence, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), without mentioning that the ISI invariably operates in close liaison with the CIA.

The US media indelibly serves the interests of the US intelligence apparatus. The implications of these distorted reports are that:

1. The terrorists are linked to Al Qaeda. The Mumbai attacks are a "State sponsored" operation involving Pakistan's ISI

2. The Mumbai gunmen have ties to terrorist groups in Pakistan's tribal areas and North West Frontier Province.

3. The continued bombing of the tribal areas by the US Air Force in violation of Pakistan's' sovereignty is consequently justified as part of the "Global War on Terrorism".

The ISI is America's Trojan Horse, a de facto proxy of the CIA. Pakistani Intelligence has, since the early 1980s, worked in close liaison with its US and British intelligence counterparts.

Were the ISI to have been involved in a major covert operation directed against India, the CIA would have prior knowledge regarding the precise nature and timing of the operation. The ISI does not act without the consent of its US intelligence counterpart.

Moreover, US intelligence is known to have supported Al Qaeda from the outset of the Soviet Afghan war and throughout the post-Cold War era. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the War on Terrorism, Global Research, January 20, 2008)

CIA sponsored guerilla training camps were established in Pakistan to train the Mujahideen. Historically, US intelligence has supported Al Qaeda, using Pakistan's ISI as a go-between.

"With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". (Dipankar Banerjee, "Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry", India Abroad, 2 December 1994).

In the wake of 9/11, Pakistan's ISI played a key role in the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, in close liaison with the US and NATO military high command. Ironically, in October 2001, both US and Indian press reports quoting FBI and intelligence sources, suggested that the ISI was providing support to the alleged 9/11 terrorists.(See Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration, The Role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI) in the September 11 Attacks, Global Research, November 2, 2001)

Pakistan's Chief Spy Appointed by the CIA

Historically, the CIA has played an unofficial role in the appointment of the director of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

In September, Washington pressured Islamabad, using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext to fire the ISI chief Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj.

"Washington is understood to be exerting intense pressure on Pakistan to remove ISI boss Nadeem Taj and two of his deputies because of the key agency's alleged "double-dealing" with the militants.( Daily Times, September 30, 2008

President Asif Ali Zardari had meetings in New York in late September with CIA Director Michael Hayden. (The Australian, September 29, 2008), Barely a few days later, a new US approved ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed by the Chief of the Army, General Kayani, on behalf of Washington.

In this regard, the pressures exerted by the Bush administration contributed to blocking a parliamentary initiative led by the PPP government to put the country's intelligence services (ISI) under civilian authority, namely under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.

The U.S. Violates Pakistan's Territorial Sovereignty

The US is currently violating Pakistan territorial sovereignty through the routine bombing of villages in the tribal areas and the North West Frontier Province. These operations are carried out using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext. While the Pakistani government has "officially" accused the US of waging aerial bombardments on its territory, Pakistan's military (including the ISI) has "unofficially" endorsed the air strikes.

In this regard, the timely appointment of Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha to the helm of the ISI was intended to ensure continuity in US "counter-terrorism" operations in Pakistan. Prior to his appointment as ISI chief, Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was responsible, in close consultation with the US and NATO, for carrying out targeted attacks allegedly against the Taliban and Al Qaeda by the Pakistani military in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Upon his appointment, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha implemented a major reshuffle within the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), replacing several of the ISI regional commanders. ( Daily Times, September 30, 2008). In late October, he was in Washington, at CIA headquarters at Langley and at the Pentagon, to meet his US military and intelligence counterparts:

"Pakistan is publicly complaining about U.S. air strikes. But the country's new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, visited Washington last week for talks with America's top military and spy chiefs, and everyone seemed to come away smiling." (David Ignatieff, A Quiet Deal With Pakistan, Washington Post, November 4, 2008, emphasis added).

The Timing of the Mumbai Attacks

The US air strikes on the Tribal Areas resulting in countless civilians deaths have created a wave of anti-US sentiment throughout Pakistan. At the same token, this anti-American sentiment has also served, in the months preceding the Mumbai attacks, to promote a renewed atmosphere of cooperation between India and Pakistan.

While US-Pakistan relations are at an all time low, there were significant efforts, in recent months, by the Islamabad and Delhi governments to foster bilateral relations.

Barely a week prior to the attacks, Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari "urged opening the Kashmir issue to public debate in India and Pakistan and letting the people decide the future of IHK."

He also called for "taking bilateral relations to a new level" as well as forging an economic union between the two countries.

Divide and Rule

What interests are served by these attacks?

Washington is intent on using the Mumbai attacks to:

1) Foster divisions between Pakistan and India and shunt the process of bilateral cooperation and trade between the two countries;

2) Promote internal social, ethnic and sectarian divisions in both India and Pakistan;

3) Justify US military actions inside Pakistan including the killing of civilians in violation of the country's territorial sovereignty;

4) Provide a justification for extending the US led "war on terrorism" into the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia.

In 2006, the Pentagon had warned that "another [major 9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets" (Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006). In the current context, the Mumbai attacks are considered "a justification" to go after "known targets" in the tribal areas of North Western Pakistan.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that "external forces" forces carried the attacks, hinting to the possible role of Pakistan. The media reports also point in that direction, hinting that the Pakistani government is behind the attacks:

US officials and lawmakers refrained from naming Pakistan, but their condemnation of "Islamist terrorism" left little doubt where their anxieties lay.

....

What has added potency to the latest charges against Islamabad is the Bush administration's own assessment - leaked to the US media - that Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI was linked to the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul some weeks back that killed nearly 60 people including a much-admired Indian diplomat and a respected senior defense official. (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The Attacks have Triggered Anti-Pakistani Sentiment in India

The attacks have served to foster anti-Pakistani sentiment within India as well as sectarian divisions between Hindus and Muslims.

Time Magazine has pointed in no uncertain terms to the insidious role of "the powerful Inter Services Intelligence organization — often accused of orchestrating terror attacks on India", without acknowledging that the new head of the ISI was appointed at Washington's behest. (Time online).

The Time report suggests, without evidence, that the most likely architects of the attacks are several Pakistani sponsored Islamic groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure), "which is part of the 'al-Qaeda compact'", Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Kashmiri separatist organization belonging to Al Qaeda which claimed responsibility in the December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Union parliament in Delhi and The Students Islamic Movement of India, (SIMI). (Ibid)

Both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are known to be supported by the ISI.

Islamabad-Delhi Shuttle Diplomacy

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari indicated that his government would fully collaborate with the Indian authorities.

Pakistan's newly elected civilian government has been sidetracked by its own intelligence services, which remain under the jurisdiction of the military high command.

The Pakistan's People's Party government under the helm of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has no control over the military and intelligence apparatus, which continues to maintain a close rapport with its US counterparts. The Pakistani civilian government, in many regards, is not in control of its foreign policy. The Pakistani Military and its powerful intelligence arm (ISI) call the shots.

In this context, president Asif Ali Zardari seems to be playing on both sides: collusion with the Military-Intelligence apparatus, dialogue with Washington and lip service to prime minister Gilani and the National Assembly.

On November 28, two days following the Mumbai attacks, Islamabad announced that the recently appointed ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha would be dispatched to Delhi for consultations with his Indian counterparts including National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and the heads of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau, responsible for internal intelligence. RAW and Pakistan's ISI are known to have been waging a covert war against one another for more than thirty years.1

On the following day (November 29), Islamabad cancelled the visit of ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to India, following Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee's "very aggressive tone with Pakistani officials [in a] telephone [conversation] after the Mumbai attacks". (Press Trust of India, November 29, 2008 quoting Geo News Pakistan).

Tense Situation. Deterioration of India-Pakistan Relations

The Mumbai attacks have already created an extremely tense situation, which largely serves US geopolitical interests in the region.

Islamabad is contemplating the relocation of some 100,000 military personnel from the Pakistani-Afghan border to the Indian border, "if there is an escalation in tension with India, which has hinted at the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage." (Pakistan news source quoted by PTI, op cit).

"These sources have said NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far more important," (Ibid, Geo News quoting senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir).

US Interference in the Conduct of the Indian Police Investigation

Also of significance is Washington's outright interference in the conduct of the Indian police investigation. The Times of India points to an "unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel."

Both the FBI and Britain's Secret Service MI6 have liaison offices in Delhi. The FBI has dispatched police, counter-terrorism officials and forensic scientists to Mumbai "to investigate attacks that now include American victims..." Experts from the London's Metropolitan Police have also been dispatched to Mumbai:

"The U.S. government's "working assumption" that the Pakistani militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are suspects in the attacks "has held up" as Indian authorities have begun their investigation, the official said. The two Kashmiri militant groups have ties to al Qaeda." (Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2008)

The role of the US-UK-Israeli counter terrorism and police officials, is essentially to manipulate the results of the Indian police investigation.

It is worth noting, however, that the Delhi government turned down Israel's request to send a special forces military unit to assist the Indian commandos in freeing Jewish hostages held inside Mumbai's Chabad Jewish Center (PTI, November 28, 2008).

Bali 2002 versus Mumbai 2008

The Mumbai terrorist attacks bear certain similarities to the 2002 Bali attacks. In both cases, Western tourists were targets. The tourist resort of Kuta on the island of Bali, Indonesia, was the object of two separate attacks, which targeted mainly Australian tourists. (Ibid)

The alleged terrorists in the Bali 2002 bombings were executed, following a lengthy trial period, barely a few weeks ago, on November 9, 2008. (Michel Chossudovsky, Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings? Global Research, November 13, 2009). The political architects of the 2002 Bali attacks were never brought to trial.

A November 2002 report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA. The links of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to the Indonesian intelligence agency (BIN) were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation --which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA. Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard "admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning." (Christchurch Press, November 22, 2002).

With regard to the Bali 2002 bombings, the statements of two former presidents of Indonesia were casually dismissed in the trial procedures, both of which pointed to complicity of the Indonesian military and police. In 2002, president Megawati Sukarnoputri, accused the US of involvement in the attacks. In 2005, in an October 2005 interview with Australia's SBS TV, former president Wahid Abdurrahman stated that the Indonesian military and police played a complicit role in the 2002 Bali bombing. (quoted in Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings?, op cit)

Note

1. In recent months, the head of India's external intelligence (RAW), Ashok Chaturvedi has become a political target. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is intent upon firing him and replacing him with a more acceptable individual. It is unclear whether Chaturvedi will be involved in the intelligence and police investigation.

Conspiracies and Confabulation: Tales from two Naomis...

Conspiracies and Confabulation: Tales from two Naomis
November 29, 2008
by Kevin Ryan
AmericanBuddhist.net

Learning about self-deception is important for all people today. That's because many of our problems, both as individuals and as a society, are rooted in self-deception, and many of the ways in which others abuse us relate to our inherent tendency to self-deceive. We can overcome these problems, and have a decent chance at long-term survival as a species, only if we learn about such limitations, and strive to control them. One great way to rapidly learn about self-deception, and other forms of deception, is to learn about the events of September 11th.

It's easy to see widespread self-deception with regard to 9/11. For one thing, most people don't know the actual official story, given by the 9/11 Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is despite the fact that everyone, at least in the US, has invested essentially their entire future in that story, whether they know it or not.

Some have gone beyond simple avoidance of the facts, in an attempt to prevent themselves and others from looking closely at 9/11. These folks have gone to the extent of changing the definitions of common words, engaging in wild speculation and exaggerations, and suggesting that long strings of unprecedented events, including violations of the laws of nature, were possible on just that one day. These painful self-deceptions help some people dodge the emotional stress that accompanies careful examination of the events of 9/11.

In order to understand the extreme self-deception surrounding 9/11, we should first look at how people deceive themselves. There are quite a few ways, in fact, and a good book that describes some of them is Brain Fiction: Self Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation, by William Hirstein.1 In this well-referenced book, Hirstein describes a continuum of human conditions that relate to self-deception, spanning from clinical confabulation to clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These conditions can be seen in terms of a gradual increase in "tension," or amount of knowledge that a person has about the fact that he or she is making false claims. People who have these conditions are described as follows.

Clinical confabulator
Sociopath
Self-deceived person without tension
Normal confabulator
Neutral normal person
Self-deceived person with tension
Lying person
Obsessive-compulsive person
Clinical OCD sufferer

Hirstein explains that normal thinking patterns involve the creation of multiple mental representations for any given situation, which can be either image-like or concept-like in nature. Those representations that are false, or that do not fit with our sense of reality, are culled out before being articulated, by a checking process. Sometimes these critical checking processes do not work, and the affected person can lie easily and with full belief that the false statements he or she is making are in fact true. In those cases, the person is said to be confabulating. But when the checking processes do work, and for whatever reasons false claims are still made, tension is created and the person is considered to be self-deceived.

Hirstein's book details the fascinating research that supports this representation/checking theory of self-deception and confabulation. Through split-brain experiments, "mind-reading" experiments, and "don't know" tests, we have learned that people deceive themselves, through physical damage to the brain, and also through other, more natural mechanisms.

At the extreme ends of the self-deception continuum are clinical confabulation, which involves essentially no tension, and clinical OCD, where tension is highest and the checking processes are out of control. Clinical confabulation is a condition in which people make completely false claims but have no idea that they are doing so because the checking processes that prevent such claims are not in place. This can happen through brain damage, to the orbitofrontal cortex specifically. It is in the orbitofrontal cortex that the checking process is thought to occur, although the right parietal cortex has also been implicated in the decision to initiate the checking process.

Sociopathy, and a similar condition called disinhibition, are also caused by damage to the orbitofrontal cortex, and also involve very little tension. In the national discussion on 9/11, we have seen a few people who act as if they are sociopaths, lying easily and with confidence but without regard for the harm caused to others, and apparently without regret. These are the people who aggressively promote and defend the US government's explanations of what happened that day, even as those explanations change radically, often to the point of contradicting the previous position completely. These adamant defenders of the official story of 9/11 have no regard for the truth or falsity of their claims, or for the fact that they are propping up the one and only source of power for those behind the disastrous 9/11 Wars. Such people might be sociopaths, or they might simply be professional liars.

In any case, when the normal checking processes do work, and the validity of potential claims is checked, false claims are weeded out before being articulated. This is what we see when people are functioning in what the above list calls the "neutral normal" condition. But even people who are considered "normal" tend to make false claims without being aware of it. Apparently this is due to the checking processes being diminished not by physical damage, but by the emotional stress caused by the mental imagery involved.

For example, anosognosia refers to the denial of illness or physical disability. People with anosognosia will confabulate about the loss of an arm or a leg, pretending that the limb is still intact despite being given overwhelming evidence that this is not true. It is simply too emotionally disturbing, at least initially, for such people to admit their disability.

Our representation checking processes have been shown, through electroencephalograph (EEG) experiments, to involve an emotional evaluation first, followed later by a cognitive evaluation. That is, the limbic system is first actuated in response to a potential claim produced by our explanation-producing mechanisms. It is thought that the limbic system (emotional seat) can "distort or eliminate the conscious experience of an emotionally significant event".2 In such cases, cognitive evaluation of mental representations is avoided altogether.

In other words, we tend to filter out information that would bring us great emotional pain. In doing so, we leave ourselves with alternative scenarios and stories that do not involve the filtered facts, and that consequently can be quite absurd with respect to reality.

It seems we can all agree that there has been no public event in recent memory that was more "emotionally significant" than 9/11. And we should also be able to agree that our emotional responses to this event have been manipulated and exploited by one of the two primary suspects in the crimes, certain agencies within the US government. Finally, it is apparent that those who still deny the urgent need for the truth about 9/11 have simply avoided any serious cognition on the matter.

This is clear if one considers that, regarding 9/11, where alternative theories do exist the difference between the official story and the alternative accounts boils down to one small but important question. Were government representatives involved in committing these crimes? Those upholding the official account, as given by the 9/11 Commission, are convinced that no government agencies from any nation or locality could possibly have been involved. On the other hand, those promoting the less well-defined alternative theories suggest that some form of government representatives would have had to be involved for the crimes to have succeeded.

This brings us to the milder forms of self-deception in the continuum, and the most prevalent ways in which people self-deceive with regard to 9/11. How are "normal confabulation" and "self-deception with tension" reflected in the national discussion about 9/11? One widespread case of self-deception without tension, or normal confabulation, concerns the recent popular use of the word "conspiracy."

We all understand the definition of a conspiracy to be a secret plan, among two or more people, to commit a crime. Yet many of us pretend that the definition of the word has changed dramatically since 9/11. It is certain that, unless you believe these crimes were committed by one person acting alone, you believe in a conspiracy about 9/11. But people today have been trained to use the word conspiracy to mean only a small subset of conspiracies enacted by powerful people, like government officials.

For those who make this redefinition, al Queda is not capable of a conspiracy, and moreover, belief in conspiracies committed by powerful people is not rational. We are therefore left with the notion that conspiracies are irrational altogether, despite the fact that our news and our laws are chock-full of conspiracy charges. Additionally, to accept this redefinition, we must close our eyes to the many instances of conspiracy involving powerful US government agencies, like Operation Northwoods, Operation Gladio and the Gulf of Tonkin incident, all of which are now a matter of indisputable fact.

Another simple example of tension free self-deception regarding 9/11 concerns the "blowback" theory. This is the idea that certain people in the Middle East, who the US government has been bombing and blockading for many years, might gather up the means and organization to strike back with vengeful acts of otherwise irrational violence, by attacking symbols of western wealth and power. One reason this theory is so obviously confabulatory is that its proponents cling forcefully to it, but yet could never, under any circumstances, consider the "managed blowback" theory. That is, they would never allow the thought that powerful people might notice, and then manipulate, exploit and even promote, such vengeance.

One particularly interesting example of these two simple forms of confabulation, the redefinition of conspiracy and the "blowback but never managed blowback" theory, is found in the book: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein.3 This book is well written, apparently well researched, and very frightening.

The most interesting aspect of The Shock Doctrine, however, is the way in which Klein handles the idea of a conspiracy surrounding 9/11. After going to great lengths to describe what can only be called a long-term conspiracy to economically exploit (and torture) a string of entire nations, she adds a small disclaimer section near the end of the book, saying, "No conspiracies required." It's a bit like reading the Bible and struggling through a new section at the end claiming "No deities required."

In this disclaimer section, which might have been added simply to ensure the book got published and promoted, Klein goes on to suggest that "The truth is at once less sinister and more dangerous [than the 9/11 conspiracy]." She struggles slightly in an effort to explain that --"wars waged for control over scarce resources ... create terrorist blowback." The ideas here are clearly meant to separate the book from any implication that certain powerful people, in the wars they have recently created to seize control of scarce resources, could ever have helped along (or managed) the events that were absolutely needed to initiate the whole process.

But again, to give Klein some credit, she does not resort to what I would call the larval stage of confabulation regarding 9/11. That is, she doesn't suggest that those people who have ruled and abused us so completely for the past eight years are simply too stupid to have been involved in 9/11. Believe it or not, a number of those who call themselves intellectuals in America have proposed this utterly ridiculous and embarrassing self-deception. Instead, Klein observes that those engaging in economic shock and disaster capitalism are quite shrewd. She mentions Donald Rumsfeld as part of this clever group.

A second good example of what appears to be self-deception about 9/11, this time with tension, comes from another Naomi. In this case it is Naomi Wolf, who recently wrote an essay entitled "A Conspiracy So Immense," that found its way into an interesting collection of non-US publications.4 This short essay seems somewhat cathartic and sensational, and appears to be have been published only one day after an impromptu interview was posted on the internet, in which Wolf was asked to answer questions about 9/11 before she had time to pause and filter.5

In the essay, the tension is quite noticeable, as Wolf is much less confident and more defensive than she appears in other writings and presentations. She begins with an exaggeration, suggesting that any conspiracy regarding 9/11 would have had to be "immense," as in the "vast" conspiracy so often referred to by the corporate media. Of course, Wolf gives us no idea how immense such a conspiracy would need to be in her estimation. The added adjective seems to be only a reflection of the emotion she is feeling in the moment.

Paradoxically, Wolf's "immense" term does not apply to al Queda, a group that we're told is at once a small band of incompetent misfits, and when needed, so widespread around the globe that you can't swing a stick without hitting one at scene of the latest terrorist incident. The official line is that al Queda has supremely elusive franchises in every politically sensitive area, at least those related to the production of oil and natural gas. They even have a "media arm," it is said, that distributes so many politically timely videos it makes one think they must employ a DC lobbyist-run marketing outfit, as well. In any case, for a tense Naomi Wolf, al Queda is not immense but any other possible group of conspirators would definitely have to be.

Unfortunately, Wolf's essay also uses smear campaign tactics by suggesting that people calling for the truth about 9/11 must be anti-semitic. Of course, this unsubstantiated accusation is not only false, but is also at odds with the fact that a good number of Jewish people are involved in calling for the truth about 9/11.

Wolf's essay uses several other techniques used by those who seem to be experiencing tension over 9/11 truth. She degrades those questioning the official story by first putting them in quotes – "'The 9/11 Truth Movement'," thereby implying they are either not real, or are not legitimate. She then quickly adds that "conspiracy theories surface where people are poorly educated and a rigorous press is lacking." Wolf goes on to explain why such a large and growing number of people are interested in learning the truth about 9/11, suggesting that such "conspiracy theories" are "psychologically more comforting."

The truth, of course, is plainly the opposite. As a group, those questioning the official story of 9/11 are at least as well educated as those who accept the official story without question. But certainly it is not comforting to consider that elements of your own government might have been involved in the worst terrorist crime in the history of your country. What is even less comforting is the inevitable conclusion that the terrorists might actually be running your country as it is being destroyed in nearly every way, and that any future terrorist activity would therefore be unstoppable (and perhaps irrelevant).

What might be comforting, for some, is the idea that those poor people who just happen to live on the last remaining oil-rich land will always be the only terrorists. That would be convenient in any case. And it is also the kind of improbable story that the human mind is left with, when it cannot face the emotional pain of more truthful information it is receiving, and working to ignore.

It is clear that those who work to ignore or downplay the urgent need for the truth about 9/11 are the ones who are exhibiting psychological weakness, often making claims that are directly in opposition to known facts. That is, they confabulate and self-deceive in order to avoid emotional trauma. We have seen this happen with people from all kinds of backgrounds, including highly intelligent, and otherwise honest people.

Maintaining self-deception about 9/11 is not easy though. It requires people to ignore the fact that the ever-changing official story of 9/11 was created (and repeatedly re-created) by representatives of the Bush Administration, who we know have lied to us on many occasions. Additionally, continued self-deception about 9/11 involves ignoring a huge number of other startling facts. These include the fact that the US national air defenses shut down for nearly two hours only on that one morning, and insider trading occurred without any insiders, and three tall buildings fell through the path of most resistance, when no such things have ever occurred before or since.

The two Naomis are not alone, to be sure. We all confabulate and self-deceive and we do so regularly. In fact, more powerful people sometimes work to exploit that fact of human nature. Our best chance at avoiding such exploitation is to notice the self-deceptive tendencies in ourselves, and prioritize education in relation to them. With 9/11, we have an opportunity to do just that, by witnessing the most glaring and widespread examples of self-deception in our time. That's why 9/11 truth has such a powerful potential to effect real change in our society.

Seeking integrity at the CIA...

Seeking Integrity at the CIA
By Ray McGovern
November 26, 2008

Consortiumnews.com Editor's Note: An underlying factor in the national security crises confronting the United States has been the corruption of the U.S. intelligence process, with analyses tailored to fit the desires of the policymakers and with laws bent to permit torture and other abuses.

In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern reflects on what went wrong and what now needs to go right:

The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) must be a person whose previous professional performance has been distinguished by unimpeachable integrity and independence. The director must have the courage of his or her own convictions.

Without integrity and courage, all virtue is specious, and no amount of structural or organizational reform will make any difference.

Though a 2004 law gave most of the DCI's intelligence community-wide authority to the new position of Director of National Intelligence -- after the failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks and after the false intelligence analysis on Iraq's WMDs -- the same principles regarding integrity and courage apply to the DNI.

Instructive lessons can be drawn from the performance of George Tenet, the sixteenth CIA director since the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, and from his predecessors regarding what attributes a director needs to discharge the duties of the office as the National Security Act of 1947 intended.

The director should have already made a mark on the world by excelling in a field unrelated to intelligence work -- business, the military or academia -- bringing a well-established record of honesty and competence.

If he comes from more humble circumstances than most top administration officials, it is essential that her or his strength of character and self-confidence be such that there is no need to depend on the anointing of Washington hoi aristoi for reassurance of self worth.

These qualities are all the more essential because of the mismatch of responsibility and authority in the Director of Central Intelligence's position.

As the chief foreign intelligence adviser to the President, the director has broad responsibility for coordinating the intelligence effort of a dozen agencies of government, but has little operational or budgetary control over most of them. As a result, the director's authority is essentially ad referendum to the President.

Too many Directors of Central Intelligence, out of a desire to be good team players, have been reluctant to seek and invoke that authority. A notable exception was Admiral Stansfield Turner, whose military background instilled in him an acute appreciation of the need for command authority to match responsibility.

Turner knew he had to take determined steps to dispel the ambiguity -- and did. Thus, when the parochial interests of, say, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Security Agency got in the way of his intelligence community coordinating responsibilities, Turner would simply meet with President Carter and lay it on the line.

"If you want me to be able to discharge my responsibilities as your principal intelligence adviser," he would say, "you need to tell the Attorney General to instruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be more responsive, and the Secretary of Defense to tell the National Security Agency to do the same."

In other words, there is a way to deal with the anomalies inherent in the director's portfolio, but it takes a DCI who is willing to put noses out of joint in order to assert the necessary authority to do his job. Such directors have been few and far between.

What Tenet Should Have Said

To be concrete, let's take the experience of George Tenet as an example. Here are a few of the things he should have told the President:

~ The FBI is not sharing with my people the information they need. Would you instruct the Attorney General to tell the bureau to cooperate?

~ The Vice President and Secretary of Defense have each established, in their offices, mini-CIAs to push their own agendas. They are using their privileged access to you to promote intelligence judgments with which my analysts and I do not agree. If you wish me to be able to discharge my statutory duties effectively, please make it clear to them that they are required to vet such analysis
with the Central Intelligence Agency so that we can put it into perspective before it is given to you.

~ The same goes for raw reporting from the field or from liaison intelligence services. I am particularly upset that Israel regularly skirts established procedures and gives raw information to top White House and Pentagon officials before Central Intelligence Agency analysts have time to evaluate it. Quite aside from the fact that by law I am responsible for substantive liaison with foreign services, serious mischief can result when the Central Intelligence Agency is not able to comment on key reports before they are acted upon. Think back to June of 2002, for example, when, on the strength of an Israeli report that the CIA had not had a chance to evaluate properly, you were persuaded to reverse the longstanding American policy of recognizing Yasir Arafat as the duly elected representative of the Palestinian people. Surely, if the crescendo of violence over recent years has proven anything, it is that Arafat simply cannot be left out.

~ You need to ensure that the Central Intelligence Agency and other parts of the intelligence community have the opportunity to provide appropriate intelligence input before major decisions are made. Think, for example, of the sudden, arbitrary decision by Ahmad Chalabi, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Ambassador Paul Bremer to disband the Iraqi army. Were my people given the chance, they could have told you that would be a very dumb idea.

~ Experience -- including mine -- has shown that it is counterproductive over the long run for the DCI to have advocated for or become associated with any particular policy. I should have known better than to become so closely associated with the "Tenet Plan" for Israel-Palestine. How, for example, can my analysts retain any credibility for objective assessment of that plan's prospects for success when it bears my name?

The Director of Central Intelligence must not need the job; and he must have the self-confidence and courage to resign when the demands of integrity dictate this as the only honorable course. Should the President refuse to honor the kind of requests I have just illustrated, the DCI should give very serious consideration to resigning.

Directors of Central Intelligence cannot let themselves be used, as the Vice President and Defense Secretary used Tenet, for example. Historically, depending on who was President at the time, several DCIs had the experience of being marginalized by the White House. And some, like William Colby, were fired. But Colby's marginalization and eventual firing came as a result of his standing on principle (and standing up to Henry Kissinger), not for letting himself be used.

It is a myth that the DCI must enjoy a close personal relationship with the President. In fact, doing so is a net minus. The White House is not a fraternity house; mutual respect is far more important than camaraderie. A mature, self-confident President will respect an independent director. The director must avoid being "part of the team" in the way the President's political advisers are part of the team.

Team Work

Overly close identification with "the team" can erode objectivity and cloud intelligence judgments.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, like Vice President Dick Cheney a frequent visitor to CIA headquarters to "help" with analysis on Iraq, told the press that Director Tenet was "so grateful to the President [presumably for not firing him after Sept. 11, 2001] that he would do anything for him."
That attitude is the antithesis of what is needed in a director.

A DCI who has built a relationship of mutual respect with the President does not need to join the briefer who presents the President's Daily Brief. It is far better to encourage those senior analysts to brief, as we did in the past, unencumbered by a boss looking over our shoulder.

And in ordinary circumstances, one session with the President per week should be enough face-time to discuss key substantive issues and, when necessary, Central Intelligence Agency operations.

As a general rule, a DCI should not be drawn from the operational ranks of the agency. Major mistakes made by Allen Dulles, Richard Helms and William Casey provide ample proof that having a spy at the helm is a poor idea. (William Colby, who had an unusually wide grasp of the analytic as well as the operational function of intelligence -- and a keen respect for the Constitution -- was a notable exception to this guideline.)

A director has to be a wise manager. The director must be able to function effectively while standing astride the structural fault created by the National Security Act of 1947, which allowed for DCI involvement in operational matters in addition to the director's primary role as chief substantive intelligence adviser to the President.

This unenviable, schizophrenic portfolio demands uncommon self-confidence, objectivity, balance, and skill -- and, again, integrity.

Among those who failed the test were Dulles, with the Bay of Pigs disaster; Helms, who, while running large-scale operations in Vietnam, knowingly acquiesced in General William Westmoreland's deceptively low estimates of Vietnamese Communist troop strength; and Casey, with his personal involvement in an array of misadventures in Central America and Iran/Contra, his cooking of intelligence to promote and support those escapades, and his unswerving devotion to the idea that the Soviet Union could never change.

The congressional hearings on Iran-Contra and on Robert Gates's nomination to head the agency revealed many examples of how Casey and Gates politicized intelligence analysis. Although appointed by the President, a Director of Central Intelligence needs to resist pressure to play politics.

Some Directors of Central Intelligence have played the political game -- most of them ineptly, it turns out. Helms, for example, bent over backwards to accommodate President Nixon -- to the point of perjuring himself before Congress.

Yet Helms never could overcome Nixon's paranoid suspicion of him as one of that "Georgetown crowd out to get me." Chalk it up to our naiveté as intelligence analysts, but we were shocked when James Schlesinger, upon succeeding Helms as director early in Nixon's first term, announced on arrival, "I am here to see that you guys don't screw Richard Nixon!"

The freshly appointed DCI supplemented the news about his main mission by announcing that he would be reporting to Bob Haldeman, not Henry Kissinger.

No Political Agenda

A director must not have a political agenda. Ironically -- and to his credit -- George H.W. Bush, who had been chair of the Republican National Committee before being named Director of Central Intelligence, was careful to avoid policy advocacy.

But even he found it impossible to resist political pressure to appoint "Team B," a group of extreme hardliners, to review intelligence community estimates on Soviet strategic forces.

Neither must a Director of Central Intelligence have a personal agenda.

The tenure of John Deutch provided a case study in the disasters that can attend overweening ambition on the part of a director. Deutch made no secret that he was accepting the job only as a way station to replacing his close friend William Perry as Secretary of Defense.

Thus, it should have come as no surprise that Deutch made rather callous, calculated decisions to improve the chances for his candidacy.

Deutch gave the Pentagon his full cooperation in covering up the fact for several years that about 101,000 (the Pentagon's current estimate) U.S. troops were exposed to chemical warfare agents, including sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gases, at the end of the Gulf War.

And in 1996 he ceded the Central Intelligence Agency's entire imagery analysis capability to the Pentagon, lock, stock, and barrel.

Deutch was devastated when President Bill Clinton picked William Cohen to succeed Perry, and he left the Central Intelligence Agency with such a long trail of grave security violations that he needed one of President Bill Clinton's last-day pardons to escape prosecution.

(Deutch's personal agenda was so transparent that, aside from the people he brought with him to the Central Intelligence Agency to do his bidding, there was hardly a soul sorry to see him go.)

No Director of Central Intelligence should come from Congress, the quintessential example of the kind of politicized ambience that is antithetical to substantive intelligence work. For example, outside intelligence circles, it was deemed a good sign that, as a congressional staffer, George Tenet had been equally popular on both sides of the aisle.

But this raised a red flag for seasoned intelligence professionals. As we had all learned early in our careers, if you tell it like it is, you are certain to make enemies. Those enjoying universal popularity are ipso facto suspect of perfecting the political art of compromise -- shading this and shaving that.

However useful this may be on the Hill, it sounds the death knell for intelligence analysis. In addition to having come from Congress, Tenet had zero prior experience managing a large organization. He played the political game, and he has presided over two disasters: September 11 and Iraq.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, publications outreach of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His career as a CIA analyst spanned seven administrations, and included responsibility for chairing NIEs. He is now a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Czech upper house votes in favor of US missile shield...

Czech upper house votes in favor of U.S. missile shield
19:19 | 27/ 11/ 2008

WARSAW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) - The upper house of the Czech parliament voted on Thursday in favor of the deployment of a U.S. missile tracking radar in the country.

The bill was backed by 49 out of 81 lawmakers.

An agreement to station a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic was signed on July 8 by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

On September 19, Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The pact governs the deployment of U.S. military personnel at the radar station.

However, the agreements require ratification from both houses of the Czech parliament and the president. The lower house of the Czech parliament, which started debates on the issue on October 29, has decided to postpone its vote until U.S. president-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated.

Some political analysts believe that the ratification process could continue until spring next year.

The United States intends to deploy a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. Washington has said the shield is needed to protect against attacks from "rogue states" such as Iran. Russia has opposed the U.S. plans, saying they destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe and threaten Russia's security.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country's Kaliningrad exclave, which borders Poland, in response to the U.S. missile defense system.

After Barack Obama's U.S. presidential election victory, one of his foreign policy advisers said the president-elect was not committed to the missile shield, and would only continue with the project if its effectiveness was proven.

Israel spy Steve Rosen goes to work for think tank....

Now I've Seen Everything
A spy goes to work for a thinktank
By Justin Raimondo

November 28, 2008 "Anti War" -- - Of course there's nothing all that unusual about a spy going to work for a Washington thinktank. Ex-CIA employees do it all the time: so do all sorts of other spooks, who would otherwise be haunting the world's darkest corners. No big deal. But what I've never seen, and don't recall ever hearing about, is the spectacle of a spy for a foreign country being hired by any organization that hopes to influence U.S. foreign policy. Well, here's one for the record books: the Middle East Forum has hired Steve Rosen, once the head of policy development for the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Rosen is accused of stealing highly classified information from the U.S. government and passing it on to Israeli government officials.
Rosen was the sparkplug of AIPAC, known for implementing – with notable success – the powerful lobbying group's efforts to influence the executive branch. The very effective modus operandi of this behind-the-scenes wheeler dealer was summed up by his reported comment that:

"A lobby is like a night flower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun."

Slinking about in the shadows, Rosen and his sidekick Keith Weissman – an Iran expert – cultivated one Larry Franklin, the Pentagon policy department's top Iran analyst, and pried top secret intelligence from him, including information on al Qaeda, the Khobar Towers terrorist attack, and Iranian armaments. Before the FBI descended on him, Franklin had been passing information to the AIPAC espionage team for over a year, planning to advance his career using the influential lobby as his sponsor: he hoped for a spot on Bush's National Security Council. In return, he gave his handlers access to some of America's most closely guarded secrets. When FBI agents finally paid him a visit, he led them to a treasure trove of stolen top secret dossiers kept in his Alexandria,0 Virginia home – a veritable library of classified information, 83 documents in all, spanning three decades.

The arrest was prefigured by two FBI raids on AIPAC headquarters in Washington: federal law enforcement descended on the building early in the morning, without warning, surrounded the place and carted away loads of evidence. Four AIPAC officials were handed subpoenas.

Franklin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison and a $10,000 fine, agreeing to testify for the prosecution. Rosen and Weissman pleaded innocent, and their top-flight lawyers have kept pretrial maneuvering ongoing for four years this past August. Their very effective method: greymail. Apparently, the purloined information is so sensitive that it cannot be revealed without compromising America's national security interests in a major way: the defense has delayed the trial by insisting that all this information be discussed in open court, or else the defendants will not be able to get a fair hearing.

What is amazing about this case isn't just the long delay in the legal proceedings, but the brazenness of the accused: they openly proclaim their guilt – that is, they admit to the actions detailed in the indictment – while maintaining that they did absolutely nothing wrong. Spying? Who – us? Why, we were just exercising our "First Amendment rights" like any journalist out to get a scoop.

With one big difference, though: legitimate journalists don't report their findings – classified sensitive purloined information – to the intelligence agencies of foreign nations.

The contempt the defendants and their lawyers have for the very concept of American national security permeates this case like a bad smell, and is enough to make any patriot – heck, any ordinary American – sick to his or her stomach. To give some further indication of the unsavory flavor of this case, I'll only note the latest wrinkle: in a recent court session, defense lawyers argued that the information their clients are accused of stealing was already known to the Israelis. This has been another of what I call the "chutzpah defense" mounted by Rosen and Weissman's legal team: the Israelis don't need to steal our secrets, they aver, because they already know everything worth knowing anyway. As Josh Gerstein, a former writer for the now-permanently-set New York Sun, puts it on his blog:

"Both sides in the case seemed to agree that if information came from Israel, even if it passed through U.S. Government hands, it could not be a basis for the charges against Rosen and Weissman. That seemed puzzling, since the mere fact that information came from a foreign government is usually a good enough reason to get it classified."

The government has gone easy on the AIPAC defendants, and their former employers. An apparent attempt was made by some in the Justice Department to indict not only Rosen and Weissman, but AIPAC itself. This was quashed by the chief prosecutor, Paul J. McNulty – who has since gone on to graze in greener pastures – and the case was limited from the outset: only Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman were charged.

As Grant F. Smith shows in his recent book, AIPAC's organizational forerunner as Israel's Capitol Hill amen corner – the AZC, American Zionist Council – was financed almost entirely by overseas sources, i.e. Israel, and yet was not required to register as an agent of a foreign government. Particularly fascinating is his original research into the findings of Senator J. William Fulbright, remembered today as an acerbic critic of the Vietnam war, who investigated and uncovered financial conduits running from Israeli government agencies to AIPAC in its AZC incarnation.

Everybody knows AIPAC is indeed an agent of a foreign government, i.e. the Israelis. What most don't know, however, is that, unlike all others, it is exempt from complying with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This immunity – the legal genesis of which Grant traces in his fascinating account – created an opening for the Israeli government and its various overseas agencies to act with impunity within our borders. This includes not just advocacy, but also providing the organizational mask behind which intelligence-burglars like Rosen, Weissman, and god-knows-who-else are hiding.

AIPAC quickly threw Rosen and Weissman overboard, the apparent price for avoiding a wider prosecution, and Rosen's quest to reemerge found limited sympathy on his old stomping grounds, the Washington policy wonk circuit. The Forward reports:

"Rosen has been looking for his way back to the foreign policy scene for a long while, but he found that in most cases, doors of think tanks and advisory groups were closed. "They'd pat me on my back and say it is not fair, but there are only a few that agree to stand up," Rosen said, praising the Middle East Forum for 'having the courage' to reach out to him."

While the presumption of innocence is obligatory in a narrow legal sense, one has only to read the indictment to see that Rosen and Weissman not only stole classified information, but knew perfectly well they were breaking the law, and went to great pains to avoid detection. At one point, the indictment has the defendants shifting meeting locations three times, going from restaurant to restaurant in the clear knowledge that they were likely being followed. Document exchanges were avoided: Franklin briefed his handlers verbally. Recordings of these conversations are the core of the government's case, and their substance is highly sensitive. Wrangling over what to play in open court has delayed the trial for four years. In playing for time, the defense is hoping that the incoming administration will rein in the Justice Department and quash the case, and there is good reason to suspect that this is true.

In any case, what kind of a public policy organization would hire Rosen, in hopes of influencing U.S. foreign policy? The Middle East Forum is a hate-the-Muslims "educational" organization, run by Daniel Pipes. Pipes and his pals have followed the time-honored traditions of smear artists everywhere in maintaining an academic blacklist, "Campus Watch," which keeps tabs on college professors deemed insufficiently friendly to Israeli government policies. Pipes believes a "substantial" number of American Muslims are plotting to overthrow the government and establish an Islamist theocracy in America, and that this represents a real threat: it's all downhill from there. In one of his recent screeds, Pipes attacks Barack Obama for his supposed "links" to … Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. Yikes.

M. J. Rosenberg, blogging at Talking Points Memo, asks: "Are these people crazy?" and concludes they're "crazy/irrelevant rather than crazy/dangerous," and yet Rosen wielded enormous influence in Washington, at one point. Jeffrey Goldberg, over at the New Yorker, relates a conversation with Rosen:

"He pushed a napkin across the table. 'You see this napkin?' he said. 'In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.'"

Rosen may have personally fallen on hard times, having to take up with a loony like Pipes, but one has to remember that the organizational framework that spawned his treason is not only alive and well – but it could still deliver those 70 senatorial signatures on a napkin with the greatest of ease.

Crazy, yes – and dangerous, too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Who is Paul Volcker?

Who is Paul Volcker? Obama appoints a longtime enemy of the working class
By Patrick Martin
29 November 2008

President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday the appointment of former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker to head a White House advisory board to oversee the new administration's policies for stabilizing financial markets. The selection of the 81-year-old Volcker puts an inveterate enemy of the working class at the side of the new president, and demonstrates the class character of the right-wing government that Obama is assembling.


In the course of the week, Obama selected his entire economic team: Timothy Geithner, currently president of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve, who will become secretary of the treasury; Lawrence Summers, former Clinton treasury secretary, who will head the National Economic Council, the chief White House group for coordinating economic policy; and Peter Orszag, who will become budget director. Summers, Geithner and Orszag are all protégés of former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Rubin, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and now director and vice chairman of Citigroup.


These appointments have been greeted favorably on Wall Street, with a 1,200-point runup in stock prices since Geithner's name was made public last Friday. Congressional Republicans hailed the selection of Geithner and Summers, and an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal November 28 by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove was headlined, "Thanksgiving Cheer From Obama: He's assembled a first-rate economic team."


But it is the selection of Volcker that is the sharpest warning to the working class. No other individual in modern US history is so closely identified with the deliberate creation of mass unemployment to drive down wages and smash the organized resistance of the working class to the demands of corporate America. He put into motion policies that led to the destruction of large sections of industry and the explosive growth of financial speculation in the US economy.


Volcker served as Fed Chairman from 1979 to 1987, a critical period in the history of the American working class, in which the official labor movement was effectively destroyed as an instrument of workers' self-defense, and the unions transformed into what they are today: a mechanism for the suppression of workers' struggles and the destruction of their jobs and wages.


Democratic President Jimmy Carter nominated Volcker—a former Chase Manhattan Bank executive—to head the Federal Reserve in August 1979, at a turning point for the American ruling class and world capitalism as a whole. The coming to power of Margaret Thatcher in Britain three months earlier first signaled the drastic shift to the right internationally on the part of big business. The selection of Volcker initiated a similar shift within the United States, which culminated in November 1980 when Ronald Reagan defeated Carter for reelection.


Runaway price inflation had sparked a series of bitter strikes by workers seeking to defend their living standards, and the Carter administration had suffered a humiliating defeat when more than 100,000 coal miners struck for 111 days in 1977-78 in defiance of a presidential no-strike order under the Taft-Hartley Law. The White House had been unable to cow the miners into submission—they publicly burned copies of the president's back-to-work order on the picket line—and Carter was compelled to rely on the leadership of the United Mine Workers union to deprive the rank-and-file of any gains from their struggle.


Volcker was brought in to initiate policies that would suppress inflation—and the wages movement in the working class—by driving up the rate of unemployment. Under his leadership, the Federal Reserve rapidly raised interest rates to an unprecedented 20 percent, choking off home-buying and purchases of cars and other durable goods and triggering a series of corporate bankruptcies.


The economic turmoil contributed heavily to Carter's defeat in the presidential contest, but that prospect did not faze Volcker, whose loyalty to the Democratic Party and the president who nominated him took a distant second place to his devotion to the long-term interests of American capitalism, which required the most draconian methods.


Once Reagan entered the White House in January 1981, Volcker worked closely with the new Republican administration, and was reappointed by Reagan in 1983 to continue his inflation-fighting course. In 1982-83, the US economy plunged into the sharpest recession of the post-World War II period.


The economic devastation was focused particularly in the industrial Midwest—steel mills, auto plants, coal mines were shut down, many of them permanently. The city of Detroit began the downward slide that has continued to this day, and Buffalo, Akron, Youngstown, Gary, Indiana and countless industrial towns followed suit.


The response to the attacks by big business and the Reagan administration was the biggest wave of strike struggles since the 1940s, beginning with the PATCO air traffic controllers strike in August 1981, where Reagan ordered the firing of 12,000 workers and made the firings stick. He had the backing of the entire US ruling elite, Democrats and Republicans alike, and critical assistance from the AFL-CIO bureaucracy, which blocked any large-scale mobilization of workers behind the PATCO strikers, leaving them to isolation and defeat.


Volcker famously praised Reagan for breaking the PATCO strike, calling his action the most important factor in bringing inflation under control.


PATCO set the pattern for the struggles which followed: Greyhound, Phelps Dodge, Hormel, International Paper, A. T. Massey Coal, Continental Airlines, and Eastern Airlines. Isolated groups of workers engaged in militant and protracted battles, in many cases against state repression and employer violence, all stabbed in the back by the AFL-CIO. The outcome was the destruction of union locals, the arrest, imprisonment and even murder of striking workers, the strengthening of the bureaucratic apparatus, and the emergence of corporatism—labor-management "partnership" —as the guiding philosophy of the American unions.


Throughout this period, there was a bipartisan anti-labor front in Washington: Republican Reagan in the White House, Democrat Volcker at the Fed, a Republican-controlled US Senate, and a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Democratic governors and mayors worked hand-in-glove with unionbusting corporations, calling out the National Guard or mobilizing local police against strikes in Arizona, Minnesota, Kentucky, West Virginia and countless cities and towns.


Particularly relevant today is the role played by the Democrats in the bailout of Chrysler Corporation in 1979-80. The Carter administration provided loan guarantees to Chrysler in return for concessions by the United Auto Workers union, including the first-ever cuts in wages and benefits imposed by a major American trade union on its own membership—setting the pattern for the concessions bargaining of the 1980s.


Like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime, Volcker now goes back to Washington as a principal adviser to another Democratic Party administration preparing to bail out bankrupt auto manufacturers at the expense of the auto workers and the working class as a whole. He can rely on his direct personal experience with the UAW bureaucracy to demand that the union finish the job it began three decades ago: transforming what was once the most powerful section of the American working class into a super-exploited mass of low-paid, casual laborers, without any rights.


When Obama announced that he was establishing the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, with Volcker as its head, he praised the "sound and independent judgment" of the former Fed chairman. That "judgment" included early support for Obama's presidential campaign—he gave $2,300 to Obama's primary campaign last February, the most Volcker has ever contributed to any candidate, Democrat or Republican.


"Paul Volcker hasn't been in Washington for quite some time," Obama said, "and that's part of the reason he can provide a fresh perspective."


Volcker's record from 1979 to 1987 suggests what this "fresh perspective" will consist of. Unemployment in the United States reached 11.3 percent in 1982, double the level of 1975. The average wage of young workers fell 30 percent by 1987. Infant mortality, family violence, drug addiction and other concomitants of economic hardship soared.


But the wealthiest 1 percent of the population saw a staggering 50 percent increase in their wealth during that period. That is why the American ruling elite remembers the Volcker years fondly, and why, acting through their servant Obama, the financial aristocracy has summoned the old reactionary for one last service in attacking the working class.

Mumbai terrorists used Chechen tactics...

Mumbai terrorists used Chechen tactics
Global Research, November 29, 2008
Russia Today - 2008-11-28

The terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, who killed more than 150 people and injured over 300, used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus, says Russian counter terrorism presidential envoy Anatoly Safonov.

In towns of the Northern Cauasus in 1990s, terrorists seized homes and hospitals and took numerous hostages.

"These tactics were used during raids by militant Chechen field commanders Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev against the towns of Buddyonnovsk and Pervomaiskoye. For the first time in history the entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized. The Mumbai terrorists have learned these tactics well," Safonov told Russian news agency Interfax on Thursday.

Safonov says that the terror in Mumbai is proof that the anti-terror measures on a regional level are insufficient.

“The world is spending enormous resources to fight nonexistent threats and to support the military adventures of the leaders of certain countries. And it turns out that a big city may be unprotected against the raid of a handful of terrorists. This is another warning that in the global world terrorism truly remains the greatest challenge," Safonov said to Interfax.

He also pointed out that now it’s the task of Indian special services to track down the terrorist group behind the attack on Mumbai. Safonov said they would need to determine whether it was “a subsidiary of some prominent terrorist organization”.

The presidential aide expressed hope that the Russian-Indian working group for combating terrorism will meet in the near future.

"We express our support and condolences to the people of India and sympathize with the families that lost relatives and dear ones in the terrorist attack in Mumbai," Safonov said.

On Thursday terrorists attacked 10 targets in Mumbai, including several five star hotels, a cafe and a railway station.

Police say they have regained full control over the city.

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