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Arab Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

Posted by terres on January 16, 2009

Arab Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Sources of Arabs’ Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

It is now over two weeks since Israel started its vicious assault on Gaza resulting, so far, in close to 600 [1,100] dead and thousands of injuries mostly civilians. Israel true to its nature is once again ignoring all international laws and conventions. With its usual thirst for blood of the civilians, Israel is continuing its bombing of workshops, administrative buildings, roads, bridges, fuel depots, prisons, schools and mosques; killing and injuring large number of civilians in one of the world’s most impoverished and densely populated areas of the world. The Israelis are following their old method of destroying everything that makes a society a society, the infrastructure. The collective punishment of the Palestinians for what Hamas or Islamic Jihad is supposed to be doing or has done, reminds one of the collective punishments that Nazis meted out in the occupied areas in Eastern Europe during the WWII.

International Red Cross just issued a statement [ 1] condemning Israel for its brutality against civilians. There are several things that seem to have shocked the Red Cross. In one episode after several days of heavy pressure from the Red Cross, several ambulances were allowed to enter a neighbourhood to evacuate the injured civilians. In one house they found 12 bodies all civilians and mostly women and children. They also found four very young children still alive next to their dead mothers, too weak to stand. They have been holed-up in the same house for close to 4 days.

Apparently the whole neighbourhood was full of dead and injured civilians with Israeli forces only 80 meters away. According to the Red Cross the Israeli forces knew of the situation and not only didn’t do anything to help the civilians, but also were stopping Red Cross from providing assistance. Representative of the Norwegian Red Cross’ People’s Action calls this a war crime.

But this is only the tip of the ice berg. The Israeli forces have begun to use civilians as human shields. According to Amnesty International Israeli forces occupy civilian houses and keep the civilians as hostages on the first floor, while they position their soldiers on the second floor; ensuring that any fire on the house (especially with anti-tank or RPG missiles) kills the civilians as well.

In yet another report, the United Nations condemned Israel for targeting civilians. The head of the UN agency in Gaza running the school that was attacked by Israel forces categorically rejected the claim by Israel that Hamas fighters were in or even near the school. Israel bombed the UN run school, killing 43 children and injuring 100. [ 2]

Israel also targets ambulances and humanitarian relief convoys in Gaza. According to UN, at least one Palestinian was killed when UN relief convoy came under fire from Israeli forces. “The attack took place on Thursday as the lorries travelled to the Erez crossing to pick up supplies that were to have been allowed in during a three-hour ceasefire.” [ 3]

The atrocities committed by Israel is a genocide of a conquered people. Gaza is a concentration camp and no amount of PR can reduce the magnitude of this horrible crime against humanity and decency.

But Israel is Israel. She has shown that cruelty is in her nature. Here I am talking about the successive Israeli governments and not Israeli people in general. I am sure there are many in Israel that if became aware of what really is happening would not approve of it. This of course excludes the settlers and the Zionist movement. These groups like the South African white supremacists consider others to be inferior to them; or that they have the god given right to do as they please.

But states seldom are representative of their people. It is the elite and / or the governing class that makes the decisions. The state of Israel is determined to never allow the Palestinians to have a viable state. The maximum that they are willing to allow is some form of Bantustan (South African) or North American reservation (for Native Americans). With carte blanche from US and most of the European powers, Israel has been implementing this policy. Setting-up such a system takes many years. People’s spirit has to be crushed through collective punishment, economic strangulation and above all excessive and continuing violence. This has to continue for many years so the people lose hope of ever achieving anything more than what is on offer.

This of course cannot be done without the approval of other countries. Israel has the approval of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States. In addition, because of her US connections, she has managed to get a nod and a wink from the Europeans as well. So with this carte blanche in hand she has set forth to change the “reality” on the ground in her favour. By systematically settling extremists in the middle of populated Palestinian areas, she has made the creation of a viable Palestinian state almost impossible. A simple look at the map of the Palestinian territories resembles a Swiss cheese, with pockets of densely populated Palestinian areas surrounded by settlements and their protective military garrisons.

The violence both official (state sponsored) and unofficial (settlers) has been incessant. Couple this violence with economic strangulation and you will see the reasons behind the Palestinians’ anger and frustration. Any resistance is automatically branded as an act of terrorism and punished with even more violence, with US and Europeans cheering the Israelis on the side lines.

If you recall when Georgia invaded the Russian protected enclave of Abkhazia, and met Russian counter attack, the whole Western world with US at its head condemned Russia. Pushing for UN action and even sending warships with “humanitarian” supplies. Russians did not commit one thousandth of the Israeli atrocities and we had the Georgian president and other politician talking day and night about the horrible things the Russians were doing. Yet today we have US and European governments sitting silently watching this genocide taking place without doing anything. US even vetoes resolutions condemning Israeli actions, forgetting that no peace is ever made possible by killing so many innocent women and children.

But whenever a power tries to relocate a group of people by force, the Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes into effect. Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that if you try to imprison a person that person will try to break out. If you try to subjugate a people they will resist. This is the underlying causes of most liberation movements. The same applies to the Palestinians. They are resisting. We can agree or disagree with their methods, but theirs is a reaction to actions taken against them; we call this self-defence.

Israel is trying to push Palestinians into submission and in the process forcing many to leave the occupied territories. They are trying to show the Palestinians that they are alone and resistance in the face of an overwhelming force is suicide. Israel has tried this tactics before and has failed. The children that had to stay with their dead mothers for four days will not forget. The starved people of Gaza are not going to forget this barbarity; and neither shall the people of honour and conscious, regardless of their nationality, Israelis included.

But as for one of those who have followed the Israel’s actions for the past 30 years, I can say that I didn’t expect anything different from Israel. The lies and deceits are all too familiar to fall for again. The current Israeli action in Gaza was not a reaction to the recent event, but planned a year ago. Just read the New York Times article in which among others they interview a senior Israeli military officer [ 4].

Israel is now trying to portray herself as a nation that is defending itself, while the truth is that Israel is a cruel occupying power trying to force a people out of their land. And this is being done with the help of some Arab nations; the very same nations that constantly talk about Arab and Muslim solidarity. These nations are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The Arab Collaborators

The often asked question, when it comes to the Palestinians, is about the role of Arab countries in the Palestinian struggle for freedom. The people not familiar with the political landscape of the area often see the Middle East as two camps, Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other. The reality is totally different. Israel has seldom been alone. Beside its usual American , French, British and other staunch allies, she has had the hidden backing of several Arab countries.

For close to 30 years now, many Arab countries have been collaborating with Israel; some like Egypt (gained independence: 1922) and Jordan (gained independence: 1946) openly while others like Saudi Arabia (founded: 1932), UAE (founded: 1972) and Kuwait (founded: 1961) from behind the scenes. The reasons for this collaboration vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common: the rulers of these countries are all dictators and need foreign protection from their own people. Some such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and UAE were put in power by the British. The founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (the kingdom is name after him) was put in power by the British. The same goes for the others, except Egypt which experienced a coup by the army officers in 1952 resulting in the ousting of the monarchy and the accompanying British influence. But the Western influence returned with Anwar Sadat. All these countries are dictatorships and all are under pressure from their people. What they cannot accept is any democratically elected form of government in their mist. They fear that if an Arab government becomes democratic they may have to become one themselves, hence losing power. One of the things that they love about Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is that he won the election not by popular vote but by popular method of rigging the election; something that these Arab leaders understand and respect.

In contrast Hamas really represented the aspiration of the people. Soon, Mahmood Abbas term as president is over and he had to stand for re-election something that he would surely lose. In contrast Hamas really won the municipal elections in 2005 and the Parliamentary election in 2006. The elections were supervised by international observers, many from Europe, and US.

Palestinians were fed-up with the corrupt regime of Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah. They wanted to clean house. But as soon as Hamas took over, the US and the Europeans put an embargo on Hamas, calling it a terrorist organisation and not a peace partner. Israel closed the borders and refused to let anything into Gaza. Egypt also did the same.

What is not mentioned much in the media is that this was done with the complete approval of the Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. After all, Egypt could have opened its border for transfer of food and fuel. The reasons behind this hostility were and are that Hamas is a truly elected government and worst of all, Hamas is a branch or an off-shoot of Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood has a branch or related organisation in Jordan as well. Egypt and Jordan are worried that should Hamas survive and show its resistance, their people may get the idea that they can also resist the tyrannical rule of these despots. One must not forget that Muslim Brotherhood represents the only serious challenge to the Mubarak’s rule in Egypt.

Egypt

The 81 year old Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has been “president” since 1981 (28 years). He has won every election with a comfortable majority. He is much loved by his secret services. Prior to every election he arrests and imprisons all the opposition, ensuring a “clean” election. Torture is so widely used and accepted in Egypt that US outsources torturing of some its prisoners to Egypt. This alone should tell you volumes about the nature of Mubarak’s rule. He is now trying hard to crown his playboy son as his successor. But the Americans are not so sure if the son is capable of keeping the 80 million Egyptians in line and is therefore looking for alternative candidates. The head of the feared main secret service is one of the prime candidates along with some of the top generals. Challenging him is the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, enjoying grass root support from all sections of the Egyptian society including Lawyers, doctors, judges and student associations. Not surprisingly, US and Israel call Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

By all accounts, the Muslim Brotherhood be it in Jordan, Egypt or the occupied territories such as Gaza runs a clean operation, running many charity organisations and providing services to the poor and the needy. As such wherever they are, they pose a threat to the corrupt regimes, since they provide an alternative to the people of that area.

Jordan

King Abdullah II of Jordan, born of a British mother, educated in the West, including the Jesuit Center of Georgetown University, was brought to power by the CIA. His Uncle was a long time crown price, yet after his father died in a US hospital, Madeline Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of Estate flew to Jordan to inform the Jordanians that the King on his death bed had changed his will and named his son Abdullah as his successor.

The majority of this Kingdom of 5 million people are Palestinians who are not very friendly to this King. In 1967 there was a Palestinian uprising (led by PLO) against King Hussein (ruled: 1952-1999, the father of the current king), which resulted in heavy casualties among Palestinians. In addition, the Kingdom is currently full of Iraqi refugees who resent the King’s help to the Americans in invasion of their country. On top of all this, we have the Muslim Brotherhood which tries hard to abolish the monarchy. King Abdullah relies heavily on the US support and backing for staying in power. King Abdullah also sees a natural ally in Israel, a country that can come to its aid in case of another uprising.

Saudi Arabia (House of Saud)

I don’t have to tell you much about Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is run by the 84 year old, ailing Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. His personal wealth is estimated at $21 billion USD. He rules a clan of 8000 princes who in turn rule the country. Saudi Arabia is the centre of corruption in the Arab world. The Saudi rulers corrupt everything with their money. Lacking the necessary mental power or physical courage, they try to stay in power by subterfuge, lies, and deception. They fund the real extremists on the one hand while portraying themselves as the protectors of the Western interest on the other. They preach intolerance and xenophobia to their people decrying the Western decadence, while spending a lot of time enjoying the life in the West. They pay the West for protection against their own people and they pay the extremists to do their fighting elsewhere. Saudi rulers are indeed the worst of them all.

House of Saud is also the financier of the so called “Arab Moderates” and extremism that they cause. House of Saud financed the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. They later financed the Taliban. They also paid the Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. Then they paid the Americans and Egyptians to fight Saddam Hussein. They are the financiers of death and misery. They finance anything, anywhere, as long as this reduces the threat to their illegitimate rule. They are currently financing the civil war in Somalia, bandits in Baluchistan (Pakistan and Iran) and god knows what else. They are detested by their own people and neighbours yet loved by Bush, Cheney and the oil companies. As long as they provide the money and oil the US is willing to tolerate them. And guess what? Muslim Brotherhood hates the House of Saud too. This makes them a threat and hence has to be dealt with.

The Collaboration

As can be seen each country has a good reason to eliminate Hamas, but each is restrained by its population. Israel has no such a restrain imposed on it. She not only can wage a terrible war, but also get assistance from Arab countries. Indeed it is the second time (the first was the Lebanon invasion of 2006) that Israel is getting open and solid support from these Arab countries. The invasion of Gaza was discussed in Egypt before its implementation. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are Israel’s active partners.

Egypt is actively involved in stopping all aids from getting to Palestinians in Gaza save a token few trucks. These few trucks are allowed to go through so they can be filmed and shown to Egyptian people. All demonstrations are banned and all Egyptian volunteers for Gaza are either arrested or sent back.

There are hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the Muslim world that are willing to go to the aid of the Palestinians, but the Egyptian authorities don’t allow them passage. Egyptians even stop medical aid from passing through their territories. This is part of a report from Associated Press:

“RAFAH, Egypt: Frustration is mounting at Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli ground invasion.

Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.

“This is a shame,” said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled strip, was his best bet.

“That in 2009 they have people in need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won’t let us. This is crazy,” he added.” [ 5].

In addition there are many Iranian cargo planes full of food and medicine which have been sitting on the tarmacs in Egypt for days waiting for permission to deliver their cargo. Egyptians even denied the medical aid sent by the son of the Libyan President Qaddafi to land in Egypt [ 6].

One thing is clear: these three countries do not want the Israelis to fail in their mission of totally destroying Gaza. Hosni Mubarak said so himself. The daily Haaretz reported that Hosni Mubarak had told European ministers on a peace mission that Hamas must not be allowed to win the ongoing war in Gaza.

As Egypt physically aids the Israeli military by denying food, fuel and medicine to the civilians, The House of Saud helps Israel by giving her time and diplomatic cover. When Israel started its invasion there was an immediate call for an Arab summit. Saudi Arabia and Jordan (along with Egypt of course) delayed the summit. The Saudis along with the UAE said that they had another meeting to attend to and therefore Palestinian issue had to wait. After a few days when the summit was eventually held, they issued the same old statements. Yet this time same as the Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, they blamed the victims. In a statement Saudi Arabia blamed Hamas for Israel’s continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia, after blaming Hamas, declared that it will not even consider an oil embargo on Israel’s supporters. She then again blamed Hamas.

By this time, the three Arab countries along with Kuwait and UAE began singing the old song: international community is not doing anything about the catastrophe that is taking place in Gaza. It seems that these Arab tyrants have no shame at all. This reminds me of a quote from Marquis De Sade (1740-1814): “One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.”

These Arab leaders (many are indeed too old to blush) are complicit in the murder of so many civilians, especially young children. According to Agence France-Presse, quoting the medics on the ground, fully one third of all people killed have been children [ ]. How can these Arab leaders justify this to their people?

The answer is that they cannot. Israel knows this and for the second time can show the Arab street that their leaders are nothing but a bunch of old hypocrites. These Arab leaders are now exposed and can do nothing but to cooperate fully with Israel and US. What stand between them and their people’s rage is their army and secret services; which in turn are supported by US.

Israel has cleverly exposed these leaders for what they are: collaborators of the worst kind. These Arab leaders have brought an unimaginable shame to their people. To quote Lucien Bouchard: I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit. Our hope is now with the people of these countries to clean this stain from their honour.

Source: scoop. co.nz.  – Copyright the author or news agency.

NOTES
[1] ABC News Norway. “Røde Kors sjokkert over Israel”(Red Cross Shocked by Israel), 8 January 2009.
http://www.abcnyheter.no/node/81001

[2] Aljazeera.net. ” UN: No fighters in targeted school”, 8 January 2009
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091805410769377.html

[3] Aljazeera.net. ” Israel fires on UN Gaza convoy”, 8 January 2009
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/2009181119551714.html

[4] nytimes.com. “For Israel, 2006 Lessons but Old Pitfalls”, 7 January 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/middleeast/07military.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=print

[5] The Associated Press. “Doctors stuck at bottleneck on Egypt-Gaza border”. 6 January 2009
http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=19117028

[6] google.com: hosted news. ” Egypt denies Kadhafi’s son permission to land at airport”. 6 January 2009
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jnJ0VpCH7xYJooYYoiHuxIc8Femg

[7] Agence France-Presse. “Children make up third of Gaza dead”, 7 January 2009
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20090107-182021/Children-make-up-third-of-Gaza-dead

*************

Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway. He is a management consultant and a contributing writer for many online journals. He can be contacted at : Bakhtiarspace-articles@yahoo.no

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Posted in International Red Cross, Israeli genocide, shelling of UN HQ, war crimes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Image of the Day: The Flying Saudi Bunny Ranch

Posted by terres on August 23, 2008

Are the Saudi “Royals” Environmentally, Economically or Ethically Sustainable?

The Flying Saudi Bunny Ranch & the Royal Pimp


“Prince” Walid bin Talal al-Saud, the world’s 19th-richest person, with his jet and cabin crew. Photograph: Kamal Moghrabi/Rex. Image may be subject to copyright.

Note the “Prince’s” offensive hand gesture to the rest of the world!

Related Links:

Posted in air pollution, environment, human rights, King Abdullah, unethical royals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Out Damn Blot: A Letter to Colin Powell

Posted by terres on August 18, 2008

By Ray McGovern
August 15, 2008

Source: Consortium News

Dear Colin,

You have said you regret the “blot” on your record caused by your parroting spurious intelligence at the U.N. to justify war on Iraq. On the chance you may not have noticed, I write to point out that you now have a unique opportunity to do some rehab on your reputation.

If you were blindsided, well, here’s an opportunity to try to wipe off some of the blot. There is no need for you to end up like Lady Macbeth, wandering around aimlessly muttering, Out damn spot…or blot.

It has always strained credulity, at least as far as I was concerned, to accept the notion that naiveté prevented you from seeing through the game Vice President Dick Cheney and then-CIA Director George Tenet were playing on Iraq.

And I was particularly suspicious when you chose to ignore the strong dissents of your own State Department intelligence analysts who, as you know, turned out to be far more on target than counterparts in more servile agencies.

It was equally difficult for me to believe that you thought that, by insisting that shameless George Tenet sit behind you on camera, you could ensure a modicum of truth in your speech before the U.N. Security Council. You were far savvier than that.

That is certainly the impression I got from our every-other-morning conversations in the mid-80s, before I went in to brief the President’s Daily Brief to your boss, then-Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, one-on-one.

I saw the street smarts you displayed then. The savvy was familiar to me. I concluded that it came, in part, from the two decades you and I spent growing up in the same neighborhood at the same time in the Bronx.

On those Bronx streets, rough as they were, there was also a strong sense of what was honorable -honorable even among thieves and liars, you might say. And we had words, which I will not repeat here, for sycophants, pimps, and cowards.

Your U.N. speech of Feb. 5, 2003 left me speechless, so to speak – largely because of the measure of respect I had had for you before then.

Outrage is too tame a word for what quickly became my reaction and that of my colleagues in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), as we watched you perform before the Security Council less than six weeks before the unnecessary, illegal attack on Iraq.

The purpose – as well as the speciousness – of your address were all too transparent and, in a same-day commentary, we VIPS warned President George W. Bush that, if he attacked Iraq, “the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

That’s history. Or, as investigative reporter Ron Suskind would say, “It’s all on the record.”

You have not yet summoned the courage to admit it, but I think I know you well enough to believe you have a Lady Macbeth-type conscience problem that goes far beyond the spot on your record.

With 4,141 American soldiers – not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens – dead, and over 30,000 GIs badly wounded, how could you not?

What Did You Know…and When?

Here is what could be good news for you, Colin.

Information that has come to light over the past two years or so could wipe some of the blot fouling your record. It all depends, I guess, on how truthful you are prepared to be now.

Much of the new data comes from former CIA officials who, ironically, have sought to assuage their own consciences by doing talk therapy with authors like Sidney Blumenthal and Ron Suskind.

At first blush, these revelations seem so outlandish that they themselves strain credulity. But they stand up to close scrutiny far better than what you presented in your U.N. speech, for example.

If you now depend on the fawning corporate media (FCM) for your information, you will have missed this very significant, two-pronged story.

In brief, with the help of Allied intelligence services, the CIA recruited your Iraqi counterpart, Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister, Naji Sabri, and Tahir Jalil Habbush, the chief of Iraqi intelligence. They were cajoled into remaining in place while giving us critical intelligence well before the war – actually, well before your speech laying the groundwork for war.

In other words, at a time when Saddam Hussein believed that Sabri and Habbush were working for him, we had “turned” them. They were working for us, and much of the information they provided had been evaluated and verified.

Most important, each independently affirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, information that should have prevented you from making a fool of yourself before the U.N. Security Council.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister

The FCM gave almost no coverage (surprise, surprise!) to the reporting from Naji Sabri, which continues to be pretty much lost in the woodwork.

In case you missed it, we now know from former CIA officials that his information on the absence of WMD was concealed from Congress, from our senior military, and from intelligence analysts – including those working on the infamous National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002.

That NIE, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for WMD,” was the one specifically designed to mislead Congress into authorizing the president to make war on Iraq.

One question is whether it is true that Sabri’s reporting was also concealed from you.

Tyler Drumheller, at the time a division chief in CIA’s clandestine service, was the first to tell the story of Naji Sabri, who is now living a comfortable retirement in Qatar. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on April 23, 2006, Drumheller disclosed that the CIA had received documentary evidence from Sabri that Iraq had no WMD.

Drumheller added, “We continued to validate him the whole way through.”

Then two other former CIA officers confirmed this account to author Sidney Blumenthal, adding that George Tenet briefed this information to President George W. Bush on Sept. 18, 2002, and that Bush dismissed the information as worthless.

Wait. It gets worse. The two former CIA officers told Blumenthal that someone in the agency rewrote the report from Sabri to indicate that Saddam Hussein was “aggressively and covertly developing” nuclear weapons and already had chemical and biological weapons.

That altered report was shown to the likes of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was “duped,” according to one of the CIA officers.

Worse still, the former CIA officials reported that George Tenet never shared the unadulterated information from the Iraqi foreign minister with you, the Secretary of State and Naji Sabri’s counterpart. Again, whether that is true is a very large outstanding question.

The Chief of Iraqi Intelligence

Again, Colin, I am assuming you take your information from the FCM, so let me brief you, as in the old days, on what else has popped up over the past couple of weeks.

Two other CIA clandestine service officers have told author Ron Suskind that Iraqi intelligence chief Habbush had become one of our secret sources on Iraq, beginning in January 2003.

I hope you are sitting down, Colin, because Habbush also told us Iraq had no WMD. One of the helpful insights he passed along to us was that Saddam Hussein had decided that some ambiguity on the WMD issue would help prevent his main enemy, Iran, from thinking of Iraq as a toothless tiger.

Habbush, part of Saddam’s inner circle, had direct access to this kind of information. But when President Bush was first told of Habbush’s report that there were no WMD in Iraq, Suskind’s sources say the president reacted by saying, “Well, why don’t you tell him to give us something we can use to make our case?”

Apparently, Habbush was unable or unwilling to oblige by changing his story.

Nevertheless, later in 2003, when it became clear that he had been telling the unwelcome truth, Habbush was helped to resettle in Jordan and given $5 million to keep his mouth shut.

Suskind also reveals that in the fall of 2003, Habbush was asked to earn his keep by participating in a keystone-cops-type forgery aimed at “proving” that Saddam Hussein did, after all, have a direct hand in the tragedy of 9/11.

This crude forgery was not unlike the one that originally gave us the yarn about yellowcake uranium going from Niger to Iraq.

You will hardly be surprised to hear there is evidence, much of it circumstantial, that Vice President Dick Cheney was the intellectual author of both incredibly inept forgery operations.

Sorry to have to bring this up, but there is something else about Habbush that you need to know. He had actually been in charge of overseeing what was left of the Iraqi biological weapons program after the 1991 Gulf War, and reported that it was stopped in 1996.

Sabri vs. Curveball

Before the attack on Iraq, Tenet’s deputy, John McLaughlin, was repeatedly briefed on Sabri’s information, but complained that it was at variance with “our best source” – a reference to the infamous “Curveball,” the con-man whom German intelligence had warned the CIA not to take seriously.

You may recall hearing that on the evening before your U.N. speech, Drumheller warned Tenet not to use the information from Curveball on mobile biological weapons laboratories; Tenet gave Drumheller the brush-off.

The CIA artists’ renderings of those laboratories, to which you called such prominent attention during your speech, were spiffy, but bore no relationship to reality. Tenet and McLaughlin knew this almost as well as Sabri and Habbush did.

“We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails,” you will recall telling the world. Later, you lamented publicly that you had not been warned about Curveball either.

McLaughlin seemed to confirm that this was so, in an interview with the Washington Post in 2006: “If someone had made those doubts clear to me, I would not have permitted the reporting to be used in Secretary Powell’s speech.”

This is highly disingenuous, even by McLaughlin’s and Tenet’s standards, since they had deliberately chosen to ignore Drumheller’s warning. I know Drumheller; he is a far better bet for truthfulness that the other two.

Outright Lies

Although I am against the death penalty, I can sympathize with the vehement reaction of normally taciturn Carl Ford, head of State Department intelligence at the time. Ford has revealed that both Tenet and McLaughlin went to extraordinary lengths, and even took a personal hand in trying to salvage some credibility for the notorious Curveball.

In an interview for Hubris, a book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Carl Ford spared no words, asserting that Tenet’s and McLaughlin’s analysis “was not just wrong, they lied…they should have been shot.”

Though I’ve been around a while, I am not the best judge of character, Colin, and perhaps I am being too credulous in giving you the benefit of the doubt concerning what you knew – or didn’t. It could be, I suppose, that you were fully briefed on Naji Sabri, Habbush, Curveball, and all the rest of it, and have been able to orchestrate plausible denial.

If that is the case, I suppose it would seem safer to you to let sleeping dogs lie.

If, on the other hand, what my former colleagues say about your having been fenced off from this key intelligence is true, your reaction seems a bit … how shall I describe it? … understated.

Perhaps you are too long gone from the Bronx. Back there, back then, letting folks use you and make a fool of you without any response was just not done.

It was the equivalent to running away when someone was messing with your sister. And letting oneself be bullied always set a bad precedent, affirming for the bullies that they can push people around – especially understated ones – and risk nothing.

In sum, the CIA had both the Iraqi foreign minister and the Iraqi intelligence chief “turned” and reporting to us in the months before the war (in Naji Sabri’s case) and the weeks before your U.N. speech (in the case of Tahir Jalil Habbush).

Both were part of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle; both reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction.

But this was not what the president wanted to hear, so Tenet put the kibosh on Habbush and put Sabri on a cutter to Qatar.

So Here’s Your Opportunity

Either you knew about Sabri, Habbush and Curveball, or you did not. If you knew, I suppose you will keep hunkering down, licking your blot, and hoping that plausible denial will continue to work for you.

If you were kept in the dark, though, I would think you would want to raise holy hell – if not to hold accountable those of your former superiors and colleagues responsible for the carnage of the past five years, then at least to try to wipe the “blot” off your record.

Granted, it probably strikes you as a highly unwelcome choice – whether to appear complicit or naïve. Here’s an idea. Why not just tell the truth?

If House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is any guide, Congress seems quite taken with the explosive revelations in Ron Suskind’s book “The Way of the World.”

On Thursday, Conyers joined Suskind on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and declared that he is “the third day into the most critical investigation of the entire Bush administration.” (He clearly was referring to the Suskind revelations.)

Conyers emphasized that, even though Congress is in recess, “We’re starting our work, and … I’m calling everyone back. We’ve got a huge amount of work to engage in.”

At the same time, though, Conyers said he is “maybe the most frustrated person attempting to exercise the oversight responsibilities that I have on Judiciary.”

A good deal of his frustration comes from stonewalling by the Bush/Cheney administration, which will surely cite national security or executive privilege to justify withholding any damaging information.

Bush Visits CIA

It was, no doubt, pure coincidence that President Bush made a highly unusual visit to CIA headquarters, also on Thursday, before leaving for Crawford on vacation.

The official line is that he wanted an update on the situation in Georgia and the Russian role there, but Bush did not need to go to Langley for that

Rather, given the record of the past seven years, it is reasonable to suggest that he also wanted to assure malleable Mike Hayden, the CIA director, and his minions that they will be protected if they continue to stiff-arm appropriate congressional committees, denying them the information they need for a successful investigation.

Pardons dangled as hush money? Not so bizarre at all.

Some will recall that George H.W. Bush, just before leaving the White House, pardoned one of your former bosses, Casper Weinberger, who had been indicted and was about to go to trial for lying about his role in the Iran-Contra fiasco.

If past is precedent, sad to say, Conyers is not likely to get to first base, UNLESS he can get knowledgeable witnesses to come forward.

On Thursday he did not rule out a suggestion that Habbush be asked to come before Congress to testify, but the CIA can easily thwart that kind of thing – or delay it indefinitely.

In any case, your own credibility, though damaged, has got to be greater than Habbush’s.

Let me suggest that you offer yourself as a witness to help clear the air on these very important issues. This would seem the responsible, patriotic thing to do in the circumstances and could also have the salutary effect of beginning the atonement process for that day of infamy at the Security Council.

If we hear no peep out of you in the coming weeks, we shall not be able to escape concluding one of two things:

(1) That, as was the case with the White House Situation Room sessions on torture, you were a willing participant in suppressing/falsifying key intelligence on Iraq; or

(2) That you lack the courage to expose the scoundrels who betrayed not only you, but also that segment of our country and our world that still puts a premium on truth telling and the law.

Think about it.

With all due respect,

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career in CIA’s analysis ranks, he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and briefed the President’s Daily Brief to the most senior national security officials. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Way to Go Nepal!

Posted by terres on May 29, 2008

AND NOT A DAY TOO SOON!

Nepal’s monarchy comes to an end

KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 28 (UPI) — Nepal’s newly elected Constituent Assembly ended the country’s 240-year monarchy Wednesday and gave King Gyanendra 15 days to vacate the royal palace.

Lawmakers voted 560-4 that Nepal will become “an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular and an inclusive democratic republic nation,” The Telegraph reported.

The resolution also said that “all the privileges enjoyed by the king and royal family will automatically come to an end.”

The Narayanhiti Royal Palace is to become a museum, The Hindu reported.

Good Riddance Your “Majesty!”


No Longer King! Sketch portrait of Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal from June 4, 2001 until May 28, 2008 when the monarchy was abolished.Image drawn by Duvilar; GFDL and Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Version 2.5/2.0/1.0

The Constituent Assembly is now set to amend the country’s constitution and elect a president and a new prime minister of the Himalayan nation, the newspaper said.

The president will be the commander of the army and also have the authority to impose emergency rule on the recommendation of the Cabinet.

King Gyanendra inherited the throne seven years ago, after 10 members of the royal family were massacred by Crown Prince Diprenda. He is expected to move to his Kathmandu mansion, the newspaper said. © 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Who’s Next? King Dracula of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

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Stop the Oil Speculators

Posted by terres on May 28, 2008

by Ralph Nader
5/27/08

What factors are causing the zooming price of crude oil, gasoline and heating products? What is going to be done about it?

Don’t rely on the White House—with Bush and Cheney marinated in oil—or the Congress—which has hearings that grill oil executives who know that nothing is going to happen on Capitol Hill either.

Last week the price of crude oil reached about $130 a barrel after spiking to $140 briefly. The immediate cause? Guesses by oil man T. Boone Pickens and Goldman Sachs that the price could go to $150 and $200 a barrel respectivly in the near future. They were referring to what can be called the hoopla pricing party on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (NYMEX)

Meanwhile, consumers, workers and small businesses are suffering with the price of gasoline at $4 a gallon and diesel at $4.50 a gallon. Suffering but not protesting, except for a few demonstrations by independent truckers.

A consumer and small business revolt could be politically powerful. But what would they revolt to achieve? Their government is paralyzed and is unable to indicate any action if oil goes up to $200 or $400 a barrel. Washington, D.C. is leaving people defenseless and drawing no marker for when it will take action.

Oil was at $50 a barrel in January 2007, then $75 a barrel in August 2007. Now at $130 or so a barrel, it is clear that oil pricing is speculative activity, having very little to do with physical supply and demand. An essential product—petroleum—is set by speculators operating on rumor, greed, and fear of wild predictions.

Over the time since early 2007, U.S. demand for petroleum has fallen by 1 percent and world demand has risen by 1.3 percent. Supplies of crude are so plentiful, according to the Wall Street Journal, “traders of physical crude oil say their market is suffering from too much supply, not too little.”

Iran, for instance, is storing 25 million barrels of heavy, sour crude oil because, in the words of Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s oil governor, “there are simply no buyers because the market has more than enough oil.”

Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale in London agrees. “There’s various signals out there saying for right now, the markets are well supplied with crude.”

Historically, oil has been afflicted with the control of monopolists. From the late nineteenth century days of John D. Rockefeller, and his Standard Oil monopoly, to the emergence of the “Seven Sisters” oligopoly, made up of Standard Oil, Shell, BP, Texaco, Mobil, Gulf and Socal, to the rise of OPEC representing the major producing countries, the “free market” price of oil has been a mirage. Despite the breakup of the Standard Oil company by the government’s trustbusters about 100 years ago, selling cartels and buying oligopolies kept reasserting themselves.

In an ironic twist, the major price determinant has moved from OPEC (having only 40% of the world production) and the oil companies to the speculators in the commodities markets. What goes on in the essentially unregulated New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)—without Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) enforced margin requirements, and, unlike your personal purchases, untaxed—is now the place that leads to your skyrocketing gasoline bills. OPEC and the Big Oil companies reap the benefits and say that it’s not their doing, but that of the speculators. Gives new meaning to “passing the buck.”

Deborah Fineman, president of Mitchell Supreme Fuel Co. in Orange, New Jersey, summed up the scene: “Energy markets have been dictated for too long by hedge funds and speculators, who artificially manipulate the numbers for their own benefit. The current market isn’t based on the sound principles of supply and demand but it is being rigged by companies and speculators who are jacking up prices for their own greed.”

Harry C. Johnson, former banker who worked for many years inside Big Oil and ran his own small oil company in Oklahoma, blames the CFTC, the Department of Energy, the Administration, and Congress, as “asleep at the switch on an issue that is probably costing U.S. consumers $1 billion per day.”

He cites “some industry experts, who profit greatly from the high price of crude, and have stated openly that the worldwide economic price of crude, absent speculators, would be around $50 to $60 per barrel.

Imagine, our government is letting your price for gasoline and home heating oil be determined by a gambling casino on Wall Street called NYMEX. The people need regulatory protection from speculators and an excess profits tax on Big Oil.

In addition, a sane government would see the present price crises as an opportunity to expand our passenger and freight railroad capacity and technology.

A sane government would drop all subsidies and tax loopholes for Big Oil’s huge profits and other fossil fuels and promote a national mission to solarize our economy to achieve major savings from energy conservation technology, retrofitting buildings, and upgrading efficiency standards for motor vehicles, home appliances, industrial engines and electric generating plants.

Those are the permanent ways to achieve energy independence, reduce our trade deficit, create good jobs that can’t be exported and protect the environmental health of people and nature.

Those are the reforms and advances that a muscular consumer, worker and small business revolt can focus on in the coming weeks.

What say you, America?
[EoF]

Related links: Pinheads in the House: Fanning Oil Chaos

mnc

Posted in agriculture, bankruptcy, bribes, bush, BushCo, cabal, environment, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »